A senior fellow from the Hoover Institute, a conservative think tank, on Monday criticized lockdowns as a means of combatting the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In an interview on the Fox News program “The Next Revolution” with Steve Hilton, Scott Atlas called into question the effectiveness of lockdowns as a policy.
“We are entering now a phase of a continuous cycle of lockdowns with no end in sight,” Atlas said. “And we see all over Europe, all over the states in the U.S., lockdowns do not get rid of the virus.”
Atlas served on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, where he was criticized heavily for controversially doubting the effectiveness of wearing face masks and practicing social distancing, among other things. Additionally, he served as Special Advisor to President Donald Trump until resigning on November 30, having began the job in August.
“The virus is there, you can slow things down by delaying things, as, unfortunately, was done and part of the reason we’re seeing so many cases is because of the lockdowns delaying things into winter months, colder weather,” he claimed, “where we see that you cannot socially distance from your elderly family members.”
Atlas, however, did not specify which delayed things he was referring to.
“So, I think that public health officials need to do something very essential which has been missing,” Atlas added. “They have to consider the impact of the virus and they have to consider the impact of the policy itself.”
Coronavirus cases continue to skyrocket across the country, pushing the total number of deaths in the U.S. past 282,000 and the number of cases nearing 15 million, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. This has led many state and local leaders to strengthen their COVID-19 restrictions in the lead-up to the holiday travel season, after loosening the restrictions in many places throughout the summer.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Biden Administration Proposes Rule to Fortify Federal Bureaucracy Against Republican Presidency
In a strategic move, the Biden administration has unveiled a proposed rule aimed at reinforcing the left-leaning federal bureaucracy, potentially hindering future conservative policy implementations by Republican presidents. This move has raised concerns about the efficacy of democratic elections when a deep-seated bureaucracy remains largely unchanged, regardless of electoral outcomes.
Key points of the situation include:
Presidential Appointees vs. Career Bureaucrats: Of the 2.2 million federal civil workers, only 4,000 are presidential appointees. The vast majority, made up of career bureaucrats, continue in their roles from one administration to the next. This continuity is facilitated by rules that make it exceedingly difficult to discipline or replace them, resulting in a bureaucracy that tends to lean left politically.
Union Political Affiliation: A striking 95% of unionized federal employees who donate to political candidates support Democrats, according to Open Secrets, with only 5% favoring Republicans. This significant political skew among federal workers raises questions about the potential for political bias in the execution of government policies.
Obstructionism and Challenges for GOP Presidents: Some career bureaucrats have been accused of obstructing Republican presidents’ agendas, leading to policy delays and challenges. For example, during the Trump administration, career lawyers in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division declined to challenge Yale University’s discrimination against Asian American applicants, prompting Trump to seek legal counsel from other divisions. The case was subsequently dropped when Joe Biden took office.
Biden’s Countermeasures: President Biden has taken steps to protect the bureaucracy’s status quo. In October 2020, Trump issued an executive order aiming to reclassify federal workers who make policy as at-will employees, but Biden canceled it upon taking office.
Proposed Rule and Congressional Actions: The rule unveiled by the Biden administration seeks to further impede a president’s ability to reinstate Trump’s order. Additionally, some Democrats in Congress are pushing to eliminate the president’s authority to reclassify jobs entirely. This has been referred to as an attempt to “Trump-proof the federal workforce.”
Republican Candidates’ Pledge: GOP candidates such as President Donald J Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis have pledged to address this issue. According to reports from Fox News, Ramaswamy has gone further, advocating for the elimination of half or more of civil service positions, emphasizing the need for accountability.
Debate on the Merit of the Civil Service: While Democrats and their media allies argue that civil service protects merit over patronage, critics contend that the system has evolved into a form of job security for federal workers with minimal accountability. Federal employees often receive higher salaries and more substantial benefits than their private-sector counterparts.
In summary, the Biden administration’s proposed rule and broader actions to protect the federal bureaucracy have sparked a debate over the role of career bureaucrats in shaping government policy.
Republican candidates are vowing to address these concerns, highlighting the need for accountability and ensuring that government agencies work in alignment with the elected president’s agenda. This ongoing debate raises important questions about the relationship between the bureaucracy and the democratic process in the United States.
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