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Friday, May 7, 2021

Governor opens more stuff up

McKee sacrifices Rhode Islanders to protect his small businesses

By Will Collette

Like most sane people, I am happy to see our COVID numbers come down, but I also recognize that (a) COVID is not gone and (b) all it takes is one nasty variant, that could well come out of India's horrific coronavirus surge to put us back where we were a year ago.

So accidental Governor Dan McKee's announcement of yet more business openings, combined with his decision to reinstate the requirement that anyone receiving unemployment insurance must show they are looking for work are, in my opinion, two dangerous mistakes.

McKee seems to relate to issues only in a monomaniacal fashion - he either doesn't care or he is 150% committed. Charter schools used to be McKee's cause.

But now it's those generic "small businesses," such as restaurant chains, who are driving much of the re-opening. 

McKee is tuned in to their complaints that they couldn't get workers to risk their lives in now largely maskless restaurants for sub-minimum wage (i.e. tip-based earnings).

Rather than raise wages - the classic "free market" approach to dealing with a labor shortage - they've gone to Uncle Dan who has obligingly agreed to push workers to take shit jobs with no benefits - at the risk of losing their unemployment benefits.

In case you didn't know, Rhode Island's minimum wage for tipped workers is $3.89 an hour.

The pandemic ends when enough people have immunity to stop community spread. That's also the point where people will feel safe enough to come out and really give the economy the boost it needs.

Charts showing a rapid racketing re-opening crafted by political hacks like our DINO governor do not reflect conditions on the ground. At least not yet. We started the vaccine campaign like gangbusters and saw some great numbers.

But those numbers have now fallen off as we are now running into the vaccine "hesitant" who just don't think they need the shots. Some are motivated by anti-vax propaganda, Fox News, evangelical preachers and Trumplican politicians like local Rep. Flip Filippi and Justin Price. 

I don't like masks any more than any one of these resistors. They fog my glasses. But even with my two full doses of Pfizer, there's still a one in ten chance I could catch COVID from some idiot who does whatever Tucker Carson tells him to do. 

There is so much stupid misinformation around that the RI Health Department posted this useful chart:

Come on, neighbors, we're almost there. Get vaccinated. Wear your masks and let's stop the spread.