With Democrats and Republicans still stuck at an impasse on stimulus negotiations, one Maryland Congressman and erstwhile presidential candidate named John Delaney has engineered a novel strategy for killing two birds with one stone: dispersing another round of stimulus funds, while ensuring that enough Americans consent to receiving the vaccine that the US can quickly top the roughly 70% immunity threshold at which point scientists believe the vaccine will stop propagating.
And that plan is: Offering Americans a $1,500 “incentive payment” to acquiesce to receiving both doses of the vaccine. Delaney argued that the plan would benefit all Americans, even those who still refuse, because it might help the country crush the virus more quickly.
“The faster we get 75% of this country vaccinated, the faster we end Covid and the sooner everything returns to normal,” Delaney said in an interview with CNBC.com.
To be sure, Delaney’s plan has virtually zero chance of becoming law. Republicans and Democrats can’t even seem to agree on basic things like the size of the package ($600BN or $900BN) and whether businesses deserve a liability shield to stop them from being sued by people claiming to have been infected in their establishment (GOP leader Mitch McConnell sees this as a must). President Trump recently promised Americans that the vaccine wouldn’t be mandatory.
Delaney initially conceived of the scheme as a workaround for the widespread public skepticism about the vaccine. While recent opinion polls show that the number of Americans planning to get the vaccine as soon as it’s available has been on the upswing, more than 40% of the population either has already been infected, doesn’t see any urgent need for a vaccine, or simply doesn’t trust the data.