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2020-04-12

What Joe Left Out

Joe Biden, the presumed nominee for president from the Democratic Party, offered his thoughts on how to safely reopen America. His vehicle was an OpEd in the New York Times. He talked about testing, both for diagnosing COVID-19 and serological testing to determine who may have some immunity. That type of information will allow careful reopening of parts of our economy. 

Mr. Biden's ideas work as a thoughtful approach to the factors involved in returning our economy from its currently moribund state. He did not state a timeframe, but clearly months would be involved in the type of programmatic approach he outlines. It's that timeframe that prompts me to point out what he did not specifically mention–income support. 

Ramping up testing of the kinds he outlines will take months itself. Moreover, testing alone is not enough. These tests have to be part of a programmatic approach that is societal in scale. He mentions that, but does not give the complexity and logistical elements their due. The implication is that all that  effort and development takes time for a nation of almost 330 million people. 

In that meantime, what can people do who are waiting to return to serving patrons in restaurants, teach children in classrooms, or do any of the myriad jobs that are closed now. Those jobs will remain on the shelf until those workers can safely return to work. And they should be closed because the alternative is illness and death not seen for a century or more. 

What will those who cannot work do? They need more than the one-time payment in current law. They need continued income support to keep feeding their families and paying for a place to live. Everyone has bills to pay. Without income support, these families will continue to suffer. So will the rest of us. 

Come on, Joe, finish the circle. Add income support to your plan. 

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