Vaccine Mandate Will Cost Us All

Problems inherent in OSHA’s forthcoming new mandatory co-vax standards will be legion. How do we know that?

The Occupational Safety and Health Act covers most private sector employers and employees and is mirrored in the federal workplace but exempts state and local governmental workers. That’s small potatoes, though, as every state has adopted OSHA standards or has an OSHA-approved state plan. Most every worker in the country is protected from identified unsafe workplace hazards, practices, and conditions.

The new mandate will only cover those employers with 100 or more employees, leaving out 98.1% of all companies in the US. But as Newsweek so helpfully points out, the 1.9% of companies covered under the mandate employ one-third of America’s workforce. If the mandate really is about protecting workers, yet it ignores two-thirds of the workforce, equal protection seems to have gone out the window here.

Such a limited mandate is not how OSHA works, protecting only some workers in a few workplaces, rather than many in most. I wonder how the agency feels about the Administration making a mockery of its mission. Incidental to workplace safety is the follow-on effect that sees those entering workplaces as customers or service personnel being protected by those same standards. But not with the COVID. Customers will carry it in and share it around, especially given OSHA regulations regarding mandatory air exchanges per hour in workplaces, and no amount of current masking will stop it.

What about those already infected? Why would Biden force companies and individuals to test if they have already acquired natural immunity? Seems to me this whole federal response to the virus constitutes an implementation of medical martial law. Forcing testing upon those engaged in commercial activities appears to be a “taking” that ought to be explored in court.

Anyone, even the doubly-vaccinated, can acquire, carry, and transmit the disease asymptomatically. The blatant targeting of some but not all individuals who might be asymptomatic carriers (for just a few days) of a virus that is almost always survivable, will certainly create a hostile work environment. Such a practice is unfair and, given the demographics of the unvaccinated, comes awfully close to being systemically racist and anti-religion.

Unfair—and foolish, as COVID has an incubation period as short as two days per the CDC. Do we really want to suck up all the testing supplies and personnel for nothing, and leave those truly in need without?

I also wonder if targeting larger companies will backfire, as they are the most likely to have a union presence. Unions that initially supported Joe Biden and other Democrats may think twice in 2022 and 2024, especially if the job loss accompanying this mandate results in a noticeable reduction in union membership and inflowing dues. Stalwarts of the D party facing being primaried by their pro-regressive wing might want to take note. Surely Republicans can make a political pitch in support of personal autonomy to those who chose union but don’t choose co-vax.

But still, Joe wants everybody vaxxed or every unvaccinated working body tested weekly. Employers will have to monitor, report, and enforce the mandate. What an ungodly burden to place on just 1.9% of America’s employers. Does anyone think he intends to stop at the larger workplaces?

Thomas Lifson, in his excellent article a couple of weeks ago, asks “Who will pay for the weekly COVID tests” for upwards of 80 million Americans. Turns out all of us will.

The government pays a little less than $20 per test, excluding overhead. 80 million tests, at the government rate, would cost $1.6 billion per week, $80 billion per year. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average commercial price is $127 (range is $20 to more than $1400 depending on all sorts of variables). Thus, without government intervention into the pricing of mandated tests, which is abhorrent to a free marketer like me, the weekly cost to the economy would exceed $10 billion.

Bill Clinton to the rescue! A little law he signed called the Unfunded Mandates Reform (2 U.S.C. § 25-1501(7)(B)) states that part of its purpose is to require that Federal agencies prepare and consider estimates of the budgetary impact of regulations containing Federal mandates upon the private sector before adopting such regulations. I look forward to the CBO’s determination based upon OSHA’s impact statement (required under 2 U.S.C. § 1532) and its identification of “a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives” (under § 1535) to this ill-considered vaccine mandate.

Were I an insurance company, I wouldn’t take on the cost of this weekly nonsense as it has little impact on the health of the one being tested. If insurance companies are required to absorb this debt, it will resurface in greater premiums for all workers and companies, larger deductibles, or by some other means.

What about the large number of those over 65 still in the workplace? Will Medicare cover these costs? How about disabled workers who are eligible for Medicaid? Will states, and thus their taxpayers, have to pick up the burden of weekly testing? Not without state input into the regulatory process.

Will individuals cover the cost? The ones that can afford it might, and it will go to reduce their overall tax burden as an increase in medical deductions. But this, like so many other of Biden’s bright ideas, disproportionately affects the poor. At the average cost of $127, a commercial test costs almost half a week’s pay for those at the federal minimum wage and more than a day’s pay at the touted $15 wage.

Many companies will cover these costs. Most likely we’ll see price increases to the consuming public as well as dividend reductions to shareholders. Who buys goods and services? All of us. And who has their retirement savings in or pegged to the stock market? Nearly all of us. Just another inflationary push from the party seeking to crush us all—Rs, Is, and Ds alike.

Along with the predictable job loss, we’ll see another reduction in the availability of goods and services, consistent with recent years of crop shortages, material shortages, COVID politics business shutdowns, and transportation gaps. An emphasis on Buy American is in the big, Big, BIG spending bill and yet this administration is doing everything in its power to make that impossible.

As well, companies will fold these costs into the net cost of production, thereby reducing their overall tax liability. Okay for commercial entities, but nonprofits will see their ability to carry out their stated missions reduced. Fewer taxes collected mean a greater tax burden on the rest of the taxpayers, including small businesses and their workers who are exempted from the mandate.

Everyone will pay, in some way, the vaccinated as well as the non-co-vaxxed, for this evil, oppressive, ineffective mandate. COVID is here to stay; the number of breakthrough infections proves it. The best use of our efforts and resources might be vastly simpler. Let’s consider a general dispensation of a much less costly, less time-consuming, less invasive, and proven safe prophylactic treatment, say, ivermectin tablets. Seems a reasonable alternative to the hundreds of billions of dollars boondoggle Biden has proposed.

Anony Mee is a retired public servant.

Image: COVID test site by Garry Knight. CC BY 2.0.

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