TL;DR (3-minute read)
- There are national labor shortages in the fields of health, transportation, and the military.
- These shortages are caused by the Biden Administration’s vaccination mandate.
- States usually decide disputed and decisive issues, less than 60% of Americans are vaccinated.
- We must weigh the consequences of a failing economy between a pandemic.
- The federal government should consider taking more of an informative role rather than an authoritative stance.
The Biden administration has recently decided to place restrictions upon the unvaccinated population of the United States, but this has led to many questioning the authority and role of the government in public health. As a result of the decision to work with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require companies with 100 or more employees to get vaccinated, many have chosen to quit their jobs in exchange for their personal medical liberties or for religious principles. Politico writes in their article, “Biden’s Vaccine Mandate Has Cargo Giants in a Pre-holiday Panic,” that cargo carriers are struggling to find the essential workers needed to continue our global economic involvement. With hospitals struggling to find staff, airlines shutting down temporarily, and soon a potential mass exodus of military members refusing to get vaccinated, one must question the role of the President and federal government when it comes to decisions of public health in America.
Hot button issues like abortion, gun control, or the deathpenalty have typically led to the principles of federalism kicking in, setting the table of responsibilities for state governments to represent those in their individualistic planes rather than the broader continent. We need to understand that some solutions to issues work better in an environment of federal decision making versus state decision making. According to usafacts.org, under 60% of Americans are vaccinated despite the widespread availability of vaccinations all around the country. This statistic implies that the issue of vaccination against coronavirus is more polarized and decisive than one could imagine, and this phenomenon is reflected in the national worker shortage brought upon the United States shortly after these changes. This leads me to believe that a state-by-state decision would be much more fitting and appealing to the safety of our economy and job market over time.
When people align themselves with a particular lifestyle or value certain laws, they will tend to live near others or live in areas in which these laws or values are reflected in their governments. This idealistic principle in federalism is what separates the political environments of places like Texas and California, which have widely different rules and regulations despite being under the umbrella of the United States. If particular states decide to mandate vaccination themselves, seeing as the statistics of vaccinated versus unvaccinated is around half, one could assume that as many people who leave a state will move to that state, equalizing population growth and loss. This would also apply to the job market and economy, with new people from other states filling the empty roles of those who chose to leave. While many are unable to leave their homes to find ones in a more politically favorable environment, I believe that the disadvantage of a few pales in comparison to the active dissent towards an entire half of a population. Think about how many people may lose their lives to COVID-19, but also how many could lose their homes, jobs, savings, and more from an economic meltdown of our country.
The role of the federal government as the entity that sets the national goal for the people can be interpreted as setting the standard with power and law or enforcement of the law, or investigating and sharing vital information with the people to motivate them to foster change themselves. My thoughts are that the role of the federal government during the pandemic should have been simply to establish research and development in the processes, dangers, and implications of the pandemic, and allow for state legislators to take the role of deciding how to protect public health for the people. Enforcing non-majority decisions pushes people away from trusting the government, as it disrupts the balance between personal liberty and safety of the people; legislators must make a conscious choice to make the best of situations, and unfortunately, it seems that the mandates by the Biden administration are only continuing to push people away from the idea of getting themselves vaccinated.