The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Permanent "Crisis"

You'd think that the Biden Administration Team of 1s never wants the "COVID Crisis" to end. Rather than allowing the CDC's ill-advised, ineffective, unscientific, and clearly unnecessary mask mandates on public transportation to fade away, the Feds have decided to go to court to keep them in place—to keep the bitter COVID clingers afraid and hiding in their figurative basements. 

The authoritarian feel of mandates seems to strike a chord with those on the Left. Rather than "strongly advising" that citizens should wear masks, if they assess the risk to be severe (an irrational assessment, but whatever), the blue governance crowd DEMANDS that everyone be forced to mask up because ... "caring." 

This ridiculous position was invalidated by a federal judge, but the DoJ is fighting back at the behest of Biden's Team of 1s. In the process, citizens (who think rationally) lose even more trust trust in a government that has already lost its position of authority and credibility.

But there's more to this that that. The editors of the Wall Street Journal comment:

The Covid emergency is over thanks mainly to vaccines and therapies. Yet Health and Human Service s Secretary Xavier Becerra on Wednesday extended the national public-health emergency for another 90 days. Why? Because permanent crisis means more dependence on government.

The Trump Administration invoked the emergency under the Public Health Service Act on Jan. 31, 2020 to reduce red tape for healthcare providers. But then Congress linked an expansion of Medicaid and food stamps to the declaration. Now progressives don’t want the emergency to end.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of March 2020 suspended food-stamp work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents during the emergency. These individuals normally can’t receive benefits for more than three months over a three-year period unless they work or participate in a work-training program. Congress also boosted benefits, so the average monthly payment is now double ($240 per person) what it was in 2019.

Suspending work requirements was intended to help workers laid off during lockdowns when few jobs were available. But once lockdowns eased, businesses were desperate to hire. The sweetened food stamps and suspended work-requirement—on top of enhanced unemployment benefits and other transfer payments—reduced the incentive to return to work.Now there are 1.8 job openings for every unemployed worker, and the unemployment rate has fallen to near pre-pandemic levels. Yet as of January there were nearly 2.5 million more households receiving food stamps than in 2019 and 500,000 more than in April 2020. What’s wrong with this picture?

Nothing ... from the point of view of the Democrats. Prolonging the "emergency" prolongs unnecessary dependence on government, and that is the core strategy of the blue crowd. Dependence is purchased through massive spending (inflation, anyone?)—and that benefits the millions of people who feed off the federal bureaucracy far more than it benefits the people who actually might need a helping hand.

With the exception of an accelerated vaccine program, virtually every COVID decision made by federal leaders has been proven (repeatedly) to have caused more harm that good. Lockdowns, school closures, mask mandates and the like have created an environment that has done little good and a lot of bad. The petty dictators who enforce this idiocy seem to love it, but that doesn't make them right or righteous.


James Taranto comments:

About a year ago, mask mandates became a matter less of promoting public health than of imposing authority on people with lower status. That explains why they have lingered far longer in schools and colleges, which have the ability to control the behavior of students, than in most adult settings, even though young people are at low risk from Covid. It explains why political officeholders so often flouted their own mask mandates in public. It explains why, during the brief Covid spring of 2021, the CDC decreed that only unvaccinated people needed to keep wearing masks.

It explains why even after the CDC reversed itself in July and returned to urging masks for everyone, major retailers and service establishments required employees but not customers to wear masks. 

COVID-related "mandates" of any kind trample the rights of citizens to assess risk, take recommendations from legitimate scientists (Anthony Fauci has forfeited any right to be included in that category), and then decide for themselves the precautions to take. The notion that all of us must accede to the often irrational demands of the most fearful or even the most vulnerable is a travesty. Those who are fearful and/or vulnerable have a responsibility to act differently from the rest of us so they can mitigate the danger they perceive. But to force the rest of us to go along isn't based on "caring"—it's authoritarian nonsense.