President Biden’s soft authoritarianism hardened up somewhat last week.

While announcing on Thursday new dictates to businesses nationwide with over 100 employees to require vaccinations or weekly tests, he expressed his frustration with those unvaccinated deplorables; his “patience has run out.”

Apparently vaccine availability only went so far, and now that the carrot and stick approach has run its course, it has become time to start waiving the hammer.

Supposedly our federal government is governed by a Constitution, in which the states grant only certain powers to Washington D.C. But throughout the Progressive Era, both crooks and do-gooders alike have tried to ignore or bypass those pesky guardrails of power.

Biden is overreaching, again, just after saying the White House had no authority to extend extra unemployment benefits but then doing so soon anyway.

Cue the court battles.

Whether one thinks this national mandate, or whatever technocratic if/then flowchart comes to fruition, is a good idea or not, the Feds shouldn’t be doing this.

However, in our system, if individual states like California or New York decide to on their own, well, that’s another matter. In fact, the White House is free to use its power of persuasion to convince the state governors to pursue similar rules in their respective jurisdictions.

In light of this egregious federal overreach, the state of Missouri must stand and issue a rebuke, to protect its citizens and employers from unjust actions from Washington. Leaders in Jefferson City are already talking about a special session to do just that.

Let’s also realize that when Biden paternalistically talks down to those ornery Americans who have “failed” to get their shot, that would equate to about half of our fellow Missourians.

What about the many businesses who have already implemented their own risk management strategies to keep their workers and customers safe?

Many have taken these precautions since early last year, such as working from home, (at least temporary) mask rules, social distancing guidelines and the like. Many likely follow the local health department guidelines as best they can. Particularly the largest employers, many of whom have issued vaccine requirements to their workers already.

Mizzou has probably been above average in this regard, without dictates from Washington. It was reported that smaller non-profit Ragtag decided to require proof of vaccination to enter its theater and cafe.

It is interesting that while some state governments were wanting to ban mask mandates in schools, mask mandate proponents cried about the loss of local control.

Also interesting, last year there was a buzz from some employers who quietly welcomed local mask mandates. Some wanted to implement this on their own, but a government law gave them cover for those who disagreed. Some large employers might feel the same about the strong arm of OSHA mandating workplace vaccine requirements as well, helping them shrug off a potentially controversial internal decision.

Confusion and anxiety instantly spread, and if this vaccine-at-work mandate does come to a job site near us, there will be ramifications. Yes, some will get their now required shot for fear of losing their job. Some might go through the hassle of the weekly testing routine, at least for a while. Some, when confronted with this choice, will just quit their job.

You may have seen the front page of the Missourian this Sunday, which also ran a feature of local employers struggling to find workers. Numerous operations, such as food services, are limiting their hours, closing certain days of the week in rotation and turning down business opportunities.

A local school bus driver I chatted with over the weekend said there has been a chronic shortage of bus drivers already. He says if this federal jab mandate comes to the bus provider, he will just quit and knows colleagues who will, too. This person estimates routes would have to be cut and some kids would not be provided transportation to school. Maybe remote schooling would again become the default, but for a different reason.

There is a distinct difference between should and shall; between a suggestion and a requirement; between reaping one’s own costs for being “cavalier” and a $14,000 fine.

We have a president of a constitutionally limited government, not a king or emperor. Yet Caesar talks down to half of our fellow Missourians, that he, from on high, knows the best precautions for them and their employers. Missouri’s state government will feel compelled to fight back.

Steve Spellman hosts “The Mid-Missouri Freedom Forum” on 89.5 KOPN at 5 p.m. every Tuesday.


About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

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