What seems to have escaped notice, however, is the role that Covid-related lockdowns may have played in reducing inspections and preparations for a possibly brutal winter. With so much of normal life shut down during the spring and summer, and so many people finding every excuse to Zoom meet rather than go to work, power plants were subject to neglect.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) – a quasi-government entity – “manages the flow of electric power on the Texas Interconnection that supplies power to more than 25 million Texas customers – representing 90 percent of the state’s electric load.” It is also responsible for inspections, training, and maintenance such as preparing for extreme weather.
An investigation by NBC found that ERCOT “did not conduct any on-site inspections of the state’s power plants to see if they were ready for this winter season. Due to COVID-19 they conducted virtual tabletop exercises instead – but only with 16% of the state’s power generating facilities.”
Thus in compliance with all the restrictions, and possibly also in order to avoid a germ, ERCOT shelved all its usual preparations in favor of pretend exercises.
As the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) notes, half the spending in the coronavirus relief plan would go toward such poorly targeted measures. The plan also includes expansions to Obamacare subsidies and would hike the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour—in 2025. Ultimately, the hike would cost jobs rather than preserve them. But raising the federal minimum wage has been a Democratic policy priority for years, so it got stuffed into the relief bill grab bag.
If we insist on a society of zero risk forever, people will never see their elderly parents again. The forever pandemic and the zero-risk society bear heavy costs.
We are going to have to apply pressure on government officials to make the same recognition. Many leaders have seen their power spike, and they like it. A lot. Scientists have served as their handmaids: Witness Fauci’s bizarre and decidedly unscientific recent claim that schools can’t be reopened without further federal stimulus. Huh?
Teachers unions have held our children hostage for a year, and politicians have looked the other way. Two weeks ago, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention boss Rochelle Walensky said schools can safely reopen even before teachers were vaccinated. But White House press secretary Jen Psaki absurdly insisted Walensky was speaking in her “personal capacity.” So much for listening to experts.
Sherelle Jacobs predicts an outcome of the Covid reaction that has haunted me for months now: from here on in, ordinary flus will be seen as cousins of Covid-19, thus prompting humanity never to escape hygiene socialism and the tyranny that it entails. A slice:
Coronavirus may be a medical milestone rather than simply a scientific event, changing society’s attitude to endemic viruses permanently, as threats that must be eliminated. If anything, rather than seeing Covid like flu, society is more likely to start seeing flu like Covid.
(DBx: If she’s correct, humanity, in its hysteria, has descended into a permanent hell.)
James Bolt debunks the myth that Australia’s Covid tyranny “worked.” Here’s his opening:
It must be tempting, from overseas, to see Australia as the country that defeated Covid-19. A land where the suffering of 2020 was worth it, allowing Australians to be free of the restrictions crippling Britain.
Wrong. There has been no victory, and the fear of lockdown permanently hangs over our heads.
Even more worrying, it seems that governments around the world have forgotten how extreme these policies are and how sparingly they must be used. Curfews and other emergency powers such as restrictions on travel are supposed to be used in times of tremendous peril. Deploying such policies like they were some sort of experiment to test out government power as if society is a sandbox should be seen as a direct assault against the very foundation of a free society.
This is a lesson as old as time. You give a mouse a cookie, it’s going to want a glass of milk. You start to unravel the restrictions on the government’s power, it’s going to want more and more. The power to declare emergencies and the problematic ease that seems to surround declaring one is a haunting specter over the heads of our freedom.