When unbridled capitalism helped shift millions of production jobs to low-wage countries like China decades ago, we unintentionally but systematically ceded control of our supply chains to them. Our chaotic response to the coronavirus situation shows how thoroughly unaware we were of how the systems we have created truly work. Take, for example, that 90% of antibiotics and 80% of active ingredients for other medicines come from India and China. That means we no longer have the ability to easily ramp up production of such items here.
The United States should force some fraction of essential items -- food, medical equipment, drugs and other items essential for survival -- to always be sourced from within the United States, even if it costs more. This can be done through some combination of subsidies, tax incentives and tariffs on imports. If we don't, future global emergencies could have even worse outcomes than what we are experiencing now.