We voted for Pedro; did all of our wildest dreams come true?

Joe Biden’s campaign promises were similar to those of Pedro’s (“if you vote for me, all of your wildest dreams will come true”) in Napoleon Dynamite.

It has been a year. How did Biden deliver on the promised dreams?

First, let’s check the promises on archive.org, 10/29/2020. It was a “Battle for the Soul of the Nation.” Do we have a better soul today?

Biden promised “leadership during the COVID-19 Pandemic”:

Biden knows how to mount an effective crisis response and elevate the voices of scientists, public health experts, and first responders because he has done it before.

We need a decisive public health response to curb the spread of this disease and provide treatment to those in need — as well as a decisive economic response that delivers real relief to American workers, families, and small businesses, and protects the economy as a whole.

More Americans have died with a COVID-19 tag during the Biden administration than during the Trump administration. Did the dead people die happier under Biden because they heard the voices of scientists before they died?

Then there was “Joe and Kamala’s Plan to Beat COVID-19”:

Fix Trump’s testing-and-tracing fiasco to ensure all Americans have access to regular, reliable, and free testing.

Double the number of drive-through testing sites.

Invest in next-generation testing, including at home tests and instant tests, so we can scale up our testing capacity by orders of magnitude.

Stand up a Pandemic Testing Board like Roosevelt’s War Production Board. It’s how we produced tanks, planes, uniforms, and supplies in record time, and it’s how we can produce and distribute tens of millions of tests.

Create the Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard that Americans can check in real-time to help them gauge whether local transmission is actively occurring in their zip codes. This information is critical to helping all individuals, but especially older Americans and others at high risk, understand what level of precaution to take.

Immediately restore our relationship with the World Health Organization, which — while not perfect — is essential to coordinating a global response during a pandemic.

By how many orders of magnitude was our testing capacity scaled up? Just two orders of magnitude (100X) or did Biden/Harris get us 10,000X the testing capacity that prevailed in the Dark Days of Donald?

And where did President Biden hide the promised “Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard”?

How about the economy? Did Biden promise the highest inflation since Jimmy Carter? Not according to Google. joebiden.com barely uses the word “inflation”. One thing that raging inflation will facilitate: Biden’s promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which will also be the price of a stick of chewing gum.

Foreign policy?

Biden will end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, which have cost us untold blood and treasure. As he has long argued, Biden will bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan and narrowly focus our mission on Al-Qaeda and ISIS. And he will end our support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Staying entrenched in unwinnable conflicts only drains our capacity to lead on other issues that require our attention, and it prevents us from rebuilding the other instruments of American power.

I’d say that President Biden delivered on this dream!

A taco shop at the Delray Beach Market:

Biden promised to discriminate in hiring on the basis of membership in the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community:

Biden will nominate and appoint federal officials and judges who represent the diversity of the American people, including LGBTQ+ people.

How many people who wouldn’t otherwise have qualified for high positions did Joe Biden appoint? And did they have to wear these socks in order to get hired? (also from Delray Beach)

On education:

The challenge facing our schools is unprecedented. President Trump has made it much worse. We had a window to get this right. And, Trump blew it. His administration failed to heed the experts and take the steps required to reduce infections in our communities. As a result, cases have exploded.

Joe Biden has a simple five-step roadmap to support local decision-making on reopening schools safely

Get the Virus Under Control:… Implement nationwide testing-and-tracing, including doubling the number of drive-through testing sites;

Where are these extra sites and how does one sign up for nationwide test and trace?

Readers, especially those who voted for Biden: did your dreams of what President Biden would do come true?

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Breaking bad habits for the New Year

Happy New Year to everyone!

What bad habits are you going to try to swear off for the New Year?

A recent conversation in the middle seat of the minivan:

  • 6-year-old: Dad, if you crack your knuckles you can’t have any ice cream for a month. I’m trying to stop your habitat [habit].
  • Me: Are you going to follow any rules, like brushing your teeth every night, or are you just going to make rules for adults?
  • 6-year-old: I’m just going to make rules for adults. I’m Joe Biden.
  • 8-year-old: If you’re Joe Biden, then give me money. I’m not working, so give me money. If you don’t give me money then you’re a fake Joe Biden.

Another fun conversation was in Naples, Florida, where we saw multiple Rolls-Royces and Ferraris every hour that we were downtown. This sparked a conversation regarding what were the world’s most expensive cars. The 8-year-old settled on a $28 million Rolls-Royce for himself. A short time later, we happened to see a Bentley and I pointed it out. The 8-year-old scoffed, “Those are common. A Bentley is for un-rich people.” (His first language is Russian (via mom and grandparents) so he didn’t have ready access to the English word “poor”.)

[Note that we haven’t attempted to persuade our kids of the merits of any particular politician, just answered their questions regarding why people might want to vote for Biden (“he promised to give people who don’t work extra money”) or Trump (“he promised to keep taxes and regulation low, which would be good for people who are trying to run small businesses”).]

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Uncle Joe’s restaurant

On the way to a swamp wetlands boardwalk, we stopped at a strip mall and found Uncle Joe’s:

Here’s the menu:

Depending on who was reading the menu, the General Tao’s Chicken was either $1.85 trillion or “zero”.

(When Uncle Joe is not busy stirring the wokSeptember 24 Remarks by President Biden:

We talk about price tags. The — it is zero price tag on the debt. We’re paying — we’re going to pay for everything we spend. So they say it’s not — you know, people, understandably — “Well, you know, it started off at $6 trillion, now it’s $3.5 trillion. Now it’s — is it going to be $2.9? Is it…”

It’s going to be zero — zero. Because in the — in that plan that I put forward — and I said from the outset — I said, “I’m running to change the dynamic of how the economy grows.”

)

Another menu, from “Everything in the House Democrats’ Budget Bill” (NYT, 11/18):

Stepping back from this a bit, isn’t this another way to transfer money from hard-working childless Americans to those of us fortunate enough to have kids? A single drone worker in a city is not a “family” and won’t get anything out of the biggest block at top left. The drone probably will earn too much to qualify for any of the housing or health care subsidies. The drone already has a job and is already in the U.S., so won’t obviously benefit from the $133 billion spent on immigration. The drone doesn’t have $80,000 in state and local taxes to deduct (the Democrats’ new limit, up from Trump’s $10,000; average property tax rate in the U.S. is about 1.08 percent, so this new tax code will be perfect for anyone with a $7.4 million house).

How about the birdwatching from the boardwalk? It was actually better in the strip mall:

I think that the above bird is a Great Blue Heron who identifies as white. We saw some sandhill cranes on the highway just before turning into Grassy Waters Preserve. After a few minutes of strolling, we learned that immigration is detrimental to natives:

We also learned that birds and alligators do not show up when tourists want them to…

(I think the tricks for wildlife spotting in South Florida are (a) wait until mating season for animals that migrate from the north, and/or (b) wait until the mid-winter dry season when animals collect near the remaining water.)

Most bizarre thing about the boardwalk? Even in the shaded heavily wooded parts… no bugs!

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Bidenflation will make it easier for rich people to avoid estate tax?

President Biden promised chicken soup for our envious souls in the form of taking money away from rich people. But the inflation associated with Big Government and Bigger Government is already making rich corporate executives richer (easier to meet targets expressed in nominal dollars; see Is Elon Musk one of the bigger winners from inflation?). A recent Bloomberg article makes it look as though inflation also makes it much easier to work around the estate tax. From “The Hidden Ways the Ultrarich Pass Wealth to Their Heirs Tax-Free”:

First, Knight cycled millions of Nike shares through a series of trusts that effectively moved billions of dollars’ worth of stock price gains from his estate to his heirs, tax-free. Then he put most of his remaining shares into a vehicle called Swoosh LLC and let a trust controlled by his son, Travis, purchase a stake at a big discount. The chain of trusts let hundreds of millions of dollars in dividends flow to Knight’s heirs with him covering the income taxes. All this planning also ensured his family would retain control of his sneaker empire.

The foundation of Knight’s strategy is the grantor-retained annuity trust, or GRAT. His first step was to set up nine GRATs, which successfully transferred Nike shares now worth $6.1 billion to heirs tax-free from 2009 to 2016. Two other GRATs that show up in public filings received about $970 million of unspecified assets from Knight. The filings don’t disclose the ultimate beneficiaries, but Lord says that, based on how family wealth transfers usually work, they might include the family of Knight’s late son, Matthew, who died in 2004.

Officially, gifts are taxable: If you send someone more than $15,000 per year, you’re supposed to file a separate gift tax return, with the total counting toward your $11.7 million lifetime estate-and-gift-tax exemption. (Double that for married couples.) Once you reach that threshold, you must pay a 40% levy. But giving heirs the right to profit, risk-free, from your investments? Not a taxable gift if you route it through a GRAT. “It looks like the heirs didn’t receive anything of value, but in fact they have been given all of the upside growth potential,” says Ray Madoff, a law professor at Boston College.

[section on the grantor-retained annuity trust machinery]

Put in assets, such as stocks, that have a good chance of making money over time. Technically this isn’t a taxable gift, as long as the GRAT is set to repay you the initial value of the assets in the form of an annuity, usually over two or three years.

If the assets go up in value during this period, the gains can stay in the GRAT, minus a (usually low) minimum rate tied to interest rates. Whatever’s left goes to the heirs tax-free.

If the assets drop in value during that time, your heirs are unaffected. You can pretend the GRAT never existed and try again. The more GRATs you set up—and some of the ultrarich open one monthly—the higher the chance some will succeed.

In our current inflationary environment, it is a lot more likely that assets in the trust will go up in value (expressed in nominal dollars rather than real (inflation-adjusted)). Thus, the more money President Biden and the Democrats promise to spend, the richer the children and grandchildren of today’s super rich should become. American tax law in general and estate-/trust-related law in particular are so complex that it takes a $600/hour lawyer to figure it all out and a layperson’s head will be left spinning, but I think the Bloomberg article is worth reading.

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Biden and the Democrats try a Great Leap Forward?

The Fall and Rise of China, a course by Richard Baum (late professor at UCLA), has an interesting section on the Great Leap Forward (1958-1962). Essentially the Chinese economy didn’t produce enough to give the government the resources that was required to meet the leaders’ objectives. Without any analysis or claims that the measures they were taking represented a likely optimum, the government introduced one policy after another in hopes of increasing the amount of money flowing into the capital. The Chinese Great Leap Forward had a big emphasis on infrastructure, albeit not subsidized child care as “infrastructure”, but dams and other massive civil engineering works (these ultimately proved to have been poor investments).

The parallels aren’t perfect. Mao was trying to create a society in which every able-bodied person worked; the U.S. is a work-optional society in which ever-more people can get paid for not working (child support plaintiff, means-tested housing/health care/SNAP/Obamaphone beneficiary, alimony plaintiff, stay-at-home parent, SSI or TANF recipient, 1.5-year unemployment check recipient, etc.). Americans these days get upset when they hear about powerful people having sex with the less powerful; according to the professor, Mao, then in his 60s, partied with teenage girls every night (bedroom with oversized bed (since multiple teenage girls would occupy simultaneously) next to a dance hall).

The high-level picture seems similar. The proposed corporate tax rates are not being set based on the idea that they will lead to a optimum balance of economic growth, competitive positioning with respect to Europe, and revenue for the government without discouraging effort and investment. The new rates are justified with “we need the money”. We’ll assess capital gains tax against people with $1.0001 billion in assets, but not those with $0.99999 billion (it would be a lot simpler just to eliminate the charitable contribution deduction so that the super rich couldn’t avoid taxation by stuffing money into foundations).

Readers: Do you think there is a parallel here?

(Also, if the federal unrealized capital gains tax on billionaires goes through, why can’t the billionaires simply move to Puerto Rico for 183 days per year and pay 4% income tax instead? Could it be that this is the way the Democrats pull Puerto Rico in as the 51st state? If all of the billionaires move there to escape the new 20 percent haircut (and why won’t California add 13 percent on top?), isn’t the most obvious solution to make P.R. a standard part of the U.S. and therefore subject to conventional federal taxation? Or maybe the Feds will say that the tax still applies even for those who flee to Puerto Rico because the gains happened while the targets of the tax were still living within the 50 states.)

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The one-month anniversary of Dr. Joe Biden, M.D.’s vaccination order for Head Start workers

From the US Department of HHS:

Vaccination of Head Start staff is essential as we work together to build back out of the COVID-19 pandemic and move toward fully in-person services. On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced a plan requiring all Head Start program staff and certain contractors to be vaccinated. This action will help more programs and early childhood centers safely remain open and provide comfort to the many parents and guardians that rely on them every day to keep their children safe.

Beginning January 2022, all Head Start teachers and program staff will be required to be vaccinated to help ensure the health and safety of children, families, and their communities.

COVID-19 is an emergency requiring unprecedented suspensions of what had been considered Americans’ rights. At the same time, it is not such a serious emergency that people need to be vaccinated sooner than four months after the President/Physician-in-Chief’s order.

Related:

  • “Head Start: A Tragic Waste of Money” (CATO, 2010): Created in 1965, the comprehensive preschool program for 3- and 4‐​year olds and their parents is meant to narrow the education gap between low‐​income students and their middle‐ and upper‐​income peers. Forty‐​five years and $166 billion later, it has been proven a failure. The bad news came in the [Obama administration] study released this month: It found that, by the end of the first grade, children who attended Head Start are essentially indistinguishable from a control group of students who didn’t. … In fact, not a single one of the 114 tests administered to first graders — of academics, socio‐​emotional development, health care/​health status and parenting practice — showed a reliable, statistically significant effect from participating in Head Start.
  • “The Head Start CARES Demonstration: Another Failed Federal Early Childhood Education Program” (Heritage, 2015): The two small-scale studies—of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Project begun in 1962 and the Carolina Abecedarian Project begun in 1972—that were used to demonstrate the effectiveness of such interventions are now outdated. Their results have never been replicated.
  • coming to the opposite conclusion (i.e., give them more money) … “The Never-Ending Struggle to Improve Head Start” (Atlantic, 2016): The federal government has invested billions in preschool, but there’s still lots of room to grow. No rigorous research project followed the children Johnson was talking about to determine whether now, in their mid-50s, the 1965 Head Start graduates are living the productive and rewarding lives predicted for them. Critics charge that Head Start is a big federal program spending billions of tax dollars on a pipe dream: that the effects of being born into poverty can be averted for a lifetime with a few hours a day spent in a classroom at age 4. On the other hand, its champions argue that everything Johnson predicted is still possible, if only the country gives the program the resources it needs to succeed. … Despite its evidently strong program, there is scant empirical evidence supporting Portland’s success at improving the academic futures of its graduates beyond that first year of kindergarten entry. The same is true of Head Start as a whole.
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Why are we deporting anyone to Haiti?

On May 22, 2021, the Biden Administration decided that nobody could be sent back to Haiti (DHS.gov):

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced a new 18-month designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This new TPS designation enables Haitian nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Haiti) currently residing in the United States as of May 21, 2021 to file initial applications for TPS, so long as they meet eligibility requirements.

Haiti is currently experiencing serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “After careful consideration, we determined that we must do what we can to support Haitian nationals in the United States until conditions in Haiti improve so they may safely return home.”

When did this temporary government program start?

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano initially designated Haiti for TPS in January 2010 based on extraordinary and temporary conditions within the country, specifically the effects of a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. In 2011, Haiti’s designation was extended, and the country was also redesignated for TPS at the same time. Haiti’s designation was subsequently extended again for 18 months in 2013 and 2015, and for an additional six months in 2017.

In January 2018, a Federal Register notice announced termination of Haiti’s TPS designation effective July 22, 2019. Four separate lawsuits challenged that termination. Due to court injunctions and other rulings, TPS for Haiti remains in effect pending case outcomes.

(Proof of the adage that “nothing is more permanent than a temporary government program”?)

The New York Times tells us that Haitians who arrived last week are being deported. Haiti is safe for them. But Haitians who arrived prior to July 29 will find that Haiti is unsafe. Thus, they can stay and enjoy a lifetime of means-tested housing, Medicaid, SNAP/EBT, and Obamaphone (none of which is “welfare” because these are non-cash benefits):

Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said on Monday that while the United States has extended protection for Haitians who had arrived in the country before July 29, those who arrive now are not covered.

Once [Aminadel Glezil] was on an airport shuttle, heading to a plane, he realized he was being deported, he said, and began to protest that he had never seen an immigration official and had no deportation order. He said he was beaten by officers and handcuffed for the flight.

“I couldn’t believe a powerful country like the U.S. would treat us that way,” he said.

Many of the migrants said they spent their life’s savings on the arduous trip, on foot and by bus, to the United States.

Some described the long march across a stretch of jungle along the border between Panama and Colombia called the Darien Gap, saying they stumbled past the cadavers of fellow travelers.

Despite receiving billions of dollars in reconstruction aid after a devastating earthquake in 2010, Haiti is a dangerous and politically turbulent country.

Armed gangs control many areas. Poverty and hunger are rising. The country’s few institutions are so underfunded as to seem meaningless, and its Parliament, with only eleven elected officials still in office, was stunned this summer by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

If it is our moral duty to accept Haitians who arrived prior to July 29, and provide them with 3 or 4 generations of what was formerly called “welfare”, why don’t we have any duty to provide residence and citizenship to those who arrived after July 29? If we don’t have a moral duty to Haitians who walked into Texas after July 29, why do we have any duty to continue to house, feed, and provide health care to those who arrived before July 29?

Separately, how are any Haitians being deported? If they say that they’re being attacked at home, they can apply for asylum as domestic violence survivors. If they say that they identify as LGBQTIA+, they can apply for asylum on the grounds that their neighbors back home in Haiti are anti-LGBTQIA+ (“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Haiti may face social and legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents … Public opinion tends to be opposed to LGBT rights, which is why LGBT people are not protected from discrimination, are not included in hate crimes laws and households headed by same-sex couples do not have any of the legal rights given to married couples.” — Wikipedia). They can claim that gangs back in Haiti will kill them if they show up. At a minimum, they should be entitled to a multi-year process of hearings, etc. Assuming that Haitians do any research at all into U.S. asylum procedure, how are we able to just round people up and put them on a chartered airliner without hearing their asylum tale?

(A friend of a friend has been extracting people from Afghanistan and delivering them into the U.S. refugee/asylum system. He advises all of the asylum-seekers to claim LGBTQIA+ orientation as the reason that they can’t live among fellow devout Muslims. Note that this doesn’t always work. My friend who observed the drama of Au pair to green card later employed a Ukrainian au pair who tried the asylum gambit by claiming that she was being targeted by the police for going to a Pride rally and that she was herself LGBTQIA+. This was ultimately unsuccessful due to Ukraine not having any laws against LGBTQIA+ sexual activity.)

Finally, if Biden is deporting Haitians into a society that his own administration says is “experiencing serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic”, how does that make him better than Donald Trump? Is the argument that Trump deported migrants in economy seats while Biden is deporting migrants in First Class?

So many questions! I hope readers can enlighten me.

Related:

  • “U.S. expulsions of Haitians may violate international law – UN refugee boss” (Reuters): The mass expulsion of Haitians from the United States without screening for their protection needs may contravene international law and constitute forced returns, the United Nations’ top refugee official Filippo Grandi said on Tuesday. He urged the United States to lift its Title 42 health-related restrictions in place since March 2020, saying they “deny most people arriving at the southwest U.S. land border any opportunity to request asylum”. “The summary, mass expulsions of individuals currently under way under the Title 42 authority, without screening for protection needs, is inconsistent with international norms and may constitute refoulement,” Grandi said in the Geneva-based agency’s strongest statement since the crisis began. … “We are disturbed by the images that we have seen and by the fact that we have seen all these migrants and refugees and asylum-seekers in transport to Port-au-Prince,” U.N. human rights spokesperson Marta Hurtado told a briefing in Geneva. “We are seriously concerned by the fact that it appears there have not been any individual assessments of the cases … and that therefore maybe some of these people have not received the protection that they needed.” … “While some people arriving at the border may not be refugees, anyone who … claims to have a well-founded fear of being persecuted in their country of origin – they should have access to asylum and to have their claim assessed before being subjected to expulsion or deportation,” U.N. refugee agency spokesperson Shabia Mantoo told the briefing.
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Taking away guns from people who work in health care and/or for larger employers

Dr. Joe Biden, M.D., Ph.D., has read all of the papers and looked at the data and made a science-informed decision to order anyone who wants to keep working in a Medicare/Medicaid-funded health care business (i.e., everyone in American health care) to get vaccinated against the coronavirus version that existed in December 2019. Unless they want to transition to the disability lifestyle (“my long COVID is acting up”), employees at companies with at least 100 employees will also have to get vaccinated against this two-year-old virus under OSHA emergency rules.

Via this order, COVID-19 will be in full retreat. What’s next for this selfless hero of public health? How about bold action against gun ownership? “‘Something has to be done’: After decades of near-silence from the CDC, the agency’s director is speaking up about gun violence” (CNN, August 28, 2021):

For the first time in decades, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the nation’s top public health agency — is speaking out forcefully about gun violence in America, calling it a “serious public health threat.”

“Something has to be done about this,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in an exclusive interview with CNN. “Now is the time — it’s pedal to the metal time.”

This summer alone has seen a spree of gun injuries and deaths, and the weekends have been especially violent, with an average of 200 people killed and 472 injured by guns each weekend in the United States, not including suicides, according to an analysis done by the Gun Violence Archive for CNN. That’s nearly 3.4 people shot every hour every weekend.

In April, President Joe Biden said the country was facing “a gun violence public health epidemic,” but the CDC hasn’t said how it plans to address the epidemic until now.

(I trust and expect that the aforementioned weekend shooters were following all local mask mandates when on their sprees.)

If vaccines can be ordered by the President/Physician-in-Chief as a condition of employment, why not giving up gun ownership? If nobody with a job has a gun, then by definition there can’t be any workplace gun violence (examples: San Bernardino 2015 attack, in which 14 were killed and 22 injured; 2009 Fort Hood shooting, in which 13 were killed and 30 injured).

Just as President Biden’s order on vaccines won’t reach every American (since many of us wisely decided to choose disability or unwisely decided to work for a small company) and therefore won’t end the pandemic overnight, the above-proposed order from President Biden on gun violence won’t end all gun violence, but I hope that everyone can agree that it would be a positive step forward for our nation or, at least, that if President Biden has the authority to end anti-vax violence in the workplace then he has the authority to end gun violence in the workplace.

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Disability lifestyle getting more attractive under Biden?

I’m wondering if we should expect a massive increase in the number of Americans who transition to the disability lifestyle during the Biden administration.

Let’s consider today’s world of work. Unless remote, the worker will be exposed to variant coronavirus that laughs at our feeble vaccines. The worker may need to wear a mask for 8 hours per day. The worker will be forced to accept whatever injections Dr. Joe Biden, M.D., Ph.D. orders, according to “Sweeping new vaccine mandates for 100 million Americans” (AP):

In his most forceful pandemic actions and words, President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered sweeping new federal vaccine requirements for as many as 100 million Americans — private-sector employees as well as health care workers and federal contractors — in an all-out effort to curb the surging COVID-19 delta variant.

Speaking at the White House, Biden sharply criticized the tens of millions of Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives.

“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” he said, all but biting off his words. The unvaccinated minority “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”

The expansive rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.

Biden is also requiring vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government — with no option to test out. That covers several million more workers.

Biden announced the new requirements in a Thursday afternoon address from the White House as part of a new “action plan” to address the latest rise in coronavirus cases and the stagnating pace of COVID-19 shots.

See also

What is there to like about any of the above?

Let’s consider disability lifestyle enhancements during the Biden administration.

First, it should be much easier to qualify: “Biden says ‘long Covid’ could qualify as a disability under federal law” (NBC). Here’s a list of long COVID symptoms from Mayo:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Joint pain
  • Chest pain
  • Memory, concentration or sleep problems
  • Muscle pain or headache
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fever
  • Dizziness when you stand
  • Worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities

I.e., a pretty good summary of how I feel every morning while attempting to get out of bed. Is there anyone over age 40 who wouldn’t qualify as a long COVID sufferer?

Once your claim for disability due to long COVID is accepted, you don’t have to pay back those student loans that have been overwhelming your finances (NYT: “$10 Billion in Student Debt Erased Under Biden, but Calls Grow for More”).

Need to fatten up so that COVID-19 can get a good grip on your body? “Biden Administration Prompts Largest Permanent Increase in Food Stamps” (NYT): “Under rules to be announced on Monday and put in place in October, average benefits will rise more than 25 percent from prepandemic levels.” (See also “Swipe Yo EBT”) Most folks on disability should also qualify for SNAP/EBT, right?

(Separately, have we noticed COVID Karens displaying thinner/fitter bodies compared to 1.5 years ago and compared to their COVID-ignoring Deplorable counterparts? If people are more worried about COVID, shouldn’t they have been exercising a lot more over the past 1.5 years compared to people who weren’t afraid to resume their lives?)

What if you want to move into a $1 million apartment in Cambridge or San Francisco and pay a means-tested $200/month including utilities (set as a fraction of whatever you get from SSDI)? In the bad old days there was a long waiting list for taxpayer-subsidized housing. Maybe not anymore, though! “Biden Administration Proposes $318 Billion for Affordable Housing in American Jobs Plan” (June 1, 2021)

Other than qualifying for disability, how could a working age American escape being hassled by all of these new requirements and simultaneously avoid the risks of contracting COVID-19? A purely remote job sounds like a possible solution, but the government and employer can presumably still impose requirements as a condition of continued employment (anti-racism training, sexual harassment training, vaccine requirements, etc.), just as Rutgers constructively expelled an unvaccinated student who was taking classes from home.

Related:

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