Stricter COVID rules didn’t hurt California’s economy: report

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Regulations aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 did not come at the expense of California’s economy, according to a new report that found states that took a more hands-off approach to the pandemic did not see an economic boost from their limited regulation.

The findings from the UCLA Anderson Forecast are “diametrically opposed” to the narrative common among some COVID-19 regulation opponents that the public health orders undermined economic recovery, said Director Jerry Nickelsburg.

Among large states, those with strict pandemic rules performed as well and in some cases better than their laissez-faire counterparts. California’s GDP shrunk less than that of Texas and Florida in 2020, all of which outperformed the United States as a whole. Washington, which had some of the strictest pandemic restrictions in the country, had the lowest GDP loss among large states.

“In that group, you simply can’t find evidence that the economy — as…

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