The suggestion has been made that the US government should actually pay money to its citizens to get them to take the vaccine for Covid-19. The idea was proposed by a Brookings Institution economist, Robert Litan, who clearly does not understand the slippery slope his idea presents.
At first glance, it seems this proposal solves two problems concurrently: get people to take the vaccine, and get stimulus money into the hands of Americans that desperately need it. The idea has risen eyebrows at The New York Times and received CNN coverage, but no one is talking about the threat this poses for the American people.
First of all, yes, we need as many Americans to be innoculated as soon as we can. We are, after all, facing the worst pandemic any of us has experienced in our lifetimes. People are dying. This needs to stop sooner rather than later. US citizens need to get on with the business of living and the mourning desperately need to hold memorial services for their lost loved ones. Doctors and nurses need a very long break after serving on the frontlines of this pandemic since the virus first made its way to American soil.
Secondly, yes, the American people and the small businesses that keep this country going are suffering economic hardships that many are not recovering from. People are losing their livelihoods. Their businesses. Many are also losing loved ones. Stimulus money is a crucial part of the plan to get us all back on our feet.
But pay American citizens to receive their vaccine? This sounds like something out of a Margaret Atwood novel. It reeks of government control via monetary reward for people doing what they are told to do. It stinks in a way I am afraid we won't be able to wash it off. How quickly people line up when they need the money? For now, they'd line up and get paid for a much-neede vaccine. But later who knows. The door to a bleak future paradigm would be opened. Money is power and I do not want the government lording that over me or my family.
I sure do need a check. I'll be honest about that. But I prefer my health not be bartered with, rented, bought, or sold.
Dear US government;
Approve a stimulus package. Provide us with a vaccine option. Let the American people choose what is best for their own health without financial pressure being held over their heads like some disturbing carrot.
Thanks for reading my thoughts. You are welcome to share your own in the comments.
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Christina M. Ward
Blogger, poet, writer, author of organic, Fiddleheads & Floss vol. 1