Interested in travel, recreation, and moving freely in society post-Coronavirus pandemic? Your papers, please.
Vaccine “Passports”—Coming Soon.
Urged on by U.S. airlines and travel industry groups, the Biden White House is weighing a plan to follow in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s footsteps and roll out a “vaccine passport,” a credential to prove that an individual has been vaccinated or does not have COVID-19.
While allowing those who have been vaccinated to traverse more easily and engage in more activities, passports are also expected to put pressure on those who are resisting vaccination. “There is also some focus-group evidence that vaccine passports could help convince Americans who do not want to get inoculated to sign up for a shot,” New York Magazine reports.
Israel, with the highest vaccination rate in the world, launched a passport program in February. At that time, the Wall Street Journal highlighted some of the many potential ethical “pitfalls” of such a scheme, including discrimination against those last in line or those who do not want to receive a vaccine.
U.S. government efforts to develop a credential are housed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with coronavirus czar Jeff Zients coordinating efforts across agencies.
Local Millennial With “Good Basic Knowledge” Pitches $3 Trillion Infrastructure Plan.
Former presidential hopeful, now-millennial transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg is “charming” Washington with his “accessibility” and earning compliments for his “good basic knowledge” as he works to sell President Joe Biden’s $3 trillion infrastructure plan.
Buttigieg floated a big idea late last week for funding Biden’s massive “Build Back Better” scheme: taxing American motorists by the mile. “I think that shows a lot of promise,” Buttigieg said. “If we believe in that so-called user pays principle, the idea that part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive, the gas tax used to be the obvious way to do it, it’s not anymore, so a so-called vehicle miles traveled tax or mileage tax, whatever you want to call it, could be a way to do it.
Such a move would take an extra toll on the gig workers who have helped to shore up the U.S. economy during the pandemic. “The plan, if enacted, could have significant implications on the income of independent contractors in the transportation industry, especially truck drivers, Uber and Lyft gig workers and delivery workers,” Fortune magazine wrote.
But alas for Buttigieg: In a recurring tradition throughout the Biden administration, the Transportation Department was swift to explain what the secretary meant to say: “The Secretary was having a broad conversation about a variety of ways to fund transportation,” a spokesperson told Business Insider. “To be clear, he never said that VMT was under consideration by the White House as part of this infrastructure plan—and it is not.”
Tough Questions For POTUS.
Biden’s immigration messaging game has gone off the rails. The majority of Americans call the border situation a crisis. But the press corps had more serious things to cover as the president returned from Wilmington, Delaware, Sunday evening: Biden’s much-adored affinity for ice cream.
Q: Mr. President, what have you given up for Lent?
BIDEN: I gave up all sweets for Lent. You have no idea how hard it is for me.
Q: What’s the first sweet you’re looking forward to having when it’s over?
BIDEN: Ice cream.