Protecting the Presumption of Freedom

7 Pages Posted: 11 May 2020

Date Written: May 8, 2020


The damage of the global coronavirus pandemic extends beyond the health and lives of people; it also shows up in the shuttering of stores, restaurants, salons, theaters, ballparks, and breweries ordered by many state governors. Americans are left sitting at home, waiting for a way out of the crisis. Economists are warning that coronavirus lockdowns could result in nearly one out of every three Americans losing their jobs. The resulting havoc has stopped a once-surging economy in its tracks.

This brief outlines three state-level model legislative reforms that can unleash the power of American entrepreneurship and encourage innovation: the Right to Earn a Living Act, which requires governments to prove some real risk to the public before it can restrict entrepreneurs’ freedom; the Permit Freedom Act, which protects permit seekers from ambiguous and abusive processes; and the Home-Based Business Fairness Act, which prevents government from outlawing a business simply because it operates out of someone’s home.

Many Americans are willing and able to work now, and others want to return to work as soon as it is safe. These reforms can help ensure that government does not become a barrier to their success.

Keywords: healthcare, coronavirus, coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, public health, economics, quarantine, economy, economic crisis, innovation, small business

JEL Classification: I00, I18, L26, K20

Suggested Citation

Sandefur, Christina and Riches, Jon, Protecting the Presumption of Freedom (May 8, 2020). Mercatus Special Edition Policy Brief, Available at SSRN: or

Christina Sandefur (Contact Author)

Goldwater Institute ( email )

500 E. Coronado Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States


Jon Riches

Goldwater Institute ( email )

500 E. Coronado Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States

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