Jonathan Kraut | Detecting a Modest Shift in Government?

Jonathan Kraut

In my last Signal column, I reported that our L.A. County issuing site for the COVID-19 vaccines at Six Flags Magic Mountain was greatly overstaffed and highly inefficient. 

I hate it when our taxpayer money is wasted on extra manpower, and especially when efficiency is also compromised. 

The good news is that at my second vaccine appointment, instead of more than 250 personnel on site and a three-hour wait, the Magic Mountain vaccine operation was much more appropriate. Staffed by about 75 personnel in total, the wait time was just 15 minutes. The process appeared highly coordinated and professional.  

I was pleasantly shocked. 

More good news: The California vaccine rate has moved from 4 million shots issued in January to the current rate of over 6 million per month. The amount of vaccine available in California by April is estimated to exceed 8 million doses per month.  

The expanded availability of the vaccine is a direct result of the Joe Biden administration using the National Defense Production Act and mobilizing critical resources. One has to wonder why Donald Trump never took urgent action regarding the pandemic. It is clear Biden’s sincere interest in ending the pandemic is making a difference.  

Biden’s intention on defeating the pandemic has resulted in doubling national vaccine purchases, tripling the speed of vaccine production, expanding the deployment of military mobile clinics, and authorizing 20,000 local pharmacies and clinics to out give shots.     

Under the Trump administration, there were only enough vaccines purchased to inoculate about half the nation by the end of July. The Biden administration has recently purchased enough shots to vaccinate all adults and most children in the U.S. with a small surplus that can be exported if needed.  

Perhaps there is a modest shift in how our government agencies are functioning?  

The pandemic is being honestly addressed. The county and other agencies are coordinating more efficiently. The Centers for Disease Control can tell the truth without fear of reprisal. 

Help is finally here.  

Biden’s push to have Congress enact the America Rescue Plan Act was successful. The bill just passed injects much-needed cash into the economy and into our pockets. The act offers support to industries most economically impacted by COVID-19.  

While I agree with critics that the $1.9 trillion bill was possibly excessive, most benefit from its passage and few are harmed.   

Republican officials are complaining the act was far too costly. 

But where was the Republican outrage when Trump had passed his $2.3-trillion tax break bill? 

The tax break bill clearly favored the wealthiest and corporations and benefited few others, yet cost more than the Rescue Plan act. 

The Republican majority in the House and Senate saw it fit to give out tax breaks and benefits to those who did not need it, but now kvetch about the average Joe and Jane getting some help. 

The Republican position is that allocating $1,400 to each taxpayer earning under $75,000 a year, replenishing local government costs of fighting the pandemic, offering vital sustenance to vulnerable businesses, and allowing higher tax credits to families with children costs too much, but that spending more than $2.3 billion on big business and the wealthy is fine. 

If we remain disciplined and continue to mask, refrain from large gatherings, and get our vaccines, the national nightmare may be over in three or four months. 

Despite Texas and Mississippi, which pretend Alice is back in Wonderland, the COVID-19 plague is not yet over. 

Those who can’t wait to gather, party, unmask and feel “free” will only perpetuate the pandemic. Ireland and Italy have recently initiated lockdowns as more dangerous COVID variants are killing again. Immature and impulsive conduct may put many states and even the whole nation back into quarantine.   

The recent shift in government support and realistic acknowledgment of science are only partial cures to the pandemic, however. 

We still need to stay disciplined and vigilant for a few months more.  

We don’t take food off the stove when it is still raw. 

We don’t get off a roller coaster before it stops at the gate. 

We don’t dial the first five numbers on our phone and expect our call to go through. 

Why should we let up now before science tells us it is time?  

We need to have another 12 to 15 weeks of patience and allow the rest of America to get vaccines before letting out a deep breath. 

Let’s let the investment and efforts distributing a cure play out, and let the danger pass.  

Jonathan Kraut directs a private investigations agency, is the CEO of a private security firm, is the COO of an acting conservatory, a published author, and Democratic Party activist. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations. 

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