COVID cases may be going down, but the health worker shortage is bigger than ever. In places like New York, leaders are desperately trying to fill the 34,000-person gap by either bringing in foreign nurses or throwing money at the ones already here. "We have to stop the hemorrhaging of current health care workers," Governor Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) insisted. Her state's solution? Four billion dollars in bonuses and higher wages. Conservatives have a better idea: end the job-crushing mandate.
All across the country, Democratic leaders are doing everything to jump start the workforce except the one thing that would work. Instead of rolling back the vaccine mandate that forced thousands of employees to up and leave, Hochul and others are clinging to the tyranny that's put them in this mess in the first place. Now, the situation is so dire, that hospitals, nursing homes, and adult care facilities are putting up "help wanted" signs at the border. Amy Erlbacher-Anderson, an immigration attorney, told the AP she's "seen more demand for foreign nurses in two years than the rest of her 18-year career.
And it's no wonder. Blue states like California have lost a whopping 14 percent of their nursing workforce, forcing them to pay traveling nurses as much as $100 an hour just to meet the demand. Even graduating students as fast as possible, schools can't keep up.
For a lot of health care workers, most of whom have had COVID (and, as a result, natural immunity), the mandate is outrageous. Worst of all, Hochul -- and before her, Andrew Cuomo (D) -- went out of their way to bypass any exemptions. In New York, employers were told that they couldn't offer religious accommodations, in complete violation of Title VII law. And, as Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver pointed out, locals were told that if they ignored that order and recognized a religious exemption, they would lose their business license. And these are states -- Maine is another one -- who were already well understaffed before the pandemic began. "So when COVID hit in 2020... some of them got out of the health care industry."
Fortunately, in October, a federal judge ordered New York to start allowing religious exemptions. But by then, the damage had already been done. Desperate to cope, some of the governors called in the National Guard or started hiring foreign workers. "That's like putting your finger in the bathtub to try to raise the water level," Staver joked. "Because the number of workers that have left [these states] are in the tens of thousands. And the National Guard simply doesn't have the [volume] of nurses or doctors to be able to come in and replace that loss. So who suffers? The patient."
Meanwhile, in a picture of contrast, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R) declared an end to the state's COVID health emergency on Thursday, insisting it's time to move on from the pandemic restrictions. "After two years, it's no longer feasible or necessary," she said. "The flu and other infectious illnesses are part of our everyday lives, and coronavirus can be managed similarly."
The truckers of America will be glad to hear that, since they'll be rolling through that friendly ground during next month's Freedom Convoy. Taking their cue from the Canadian truckers up north, a group of Americans plans to carry on the protest, starting in California on March 1 and ending up in the nation's capital. Brian Brase, who co-founded the effort, says it's not just about trucking. It's about "looking out for our community" and "stop[ping] the mandates."
"We're not anti-vax," Brase explained on "Washington Watch." "We just we believe that you should have the choice." Looking around the country right now, he said, "it's really kind of sad." [People] are losing their jobs that they've had for years. These are some of the most talented people in their fields. The military spends millions of dollars in training on these soldiers, and they're being forced to leave because they won't get the vaccine because they don't want to put something in their arm. It violates not only your constitutional rights as an American, but it's violating your rights as a human being, what some would call your God-given rights..."
As far as Brase is concerned, most of the supply chain crunch Americans are experiencing could have been avoided. Instead, Democrats tried to throw money at the problem, paying employees to stay home and not work. That means, there's "nobody to manufacture products. There's nobody to load the trucks. There's nobody to unload the trucks. We're spending hours sitting in the docks because they don't have the employees. A lot of times they don't have the employees because places are requiring all of their employees to be vaccinated... That's why there's only two loaves of bread on the shelf at Walmart."
Of course, that's not a truth the far-Left wants to admit, so they're censoring the truckers -- pulling down their Facebook page under the auspices of "community standards." Well, they can take away their platform, but they can't stop the movement. Not even Big Tech can censor the image of thousands of trucks driving down America's highways in the biggest mobile protest of all.