This story is truly heartbreaking, and part of the unintended consequences of Congress’s ill-informed efforts to “help” the unemployed.
NEW VIDEO: When it pays NOT to work: Generous #COVID19 stimulus benefits unintentionally HURTS the helpless. Patrick Driscoll, a spastic quadriplegic, tells @kelseybolar @IWF @DailySignal how he’s been left without caregivers—and what that means for people like him. Watch ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/d3UnU0Lz26
— Independent Women's Forum (@IWF) March 29, 2021
Kelsey Bolar Senior Policy Analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum shares the story of Patrick Driscoll, who has been a spastic quadriplegic since he was 19 years old. Driscoll is able to live somewhat independently with the help of assisted care in the morning and evening to get him up in the morning, prepare his food, give him his medications (he has a seizure disorder), and help him settle in for the evening.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the first relief package was signed into law on March 27, 2020, it gave enhanced unemployment of $600 a week ($2,400 a month), on top of the state’s weekly benefit amount. As soon as this was implemented, Driscoll began experiencing problems with his home healthcare provider. The organization struggled to maintain staff because it became more profitable for caregivers to stay at home rather than go to work. Driscoll’s caregivers frequently arrived late, or more troubling, did not show up at all. This has negatively impacted his health because it has disrupted the timing of his medications, which are crucial to his ability to function.
As our country steadily moves out of “pandemic mode”, and States re-open and distribute the COVID vaccines, we will continue to see the fallout from the unintended consequences wrought by our lawmakers and elected officials hurried and poorly executed approach to the pandemic.
Sadly, the Biden administration continues to double down on the most destructive tenets of these policies, one of them being continuing the enhanced unemployment benefits (now $300 a week) through September of 2021.
As my colleague Lenny McAlister wrote:
Each day, we find that those in government – from elected officials to redundant bureaucrats – often work twice as hard to defend and implement half-baked ideas of democracy and service as they do listening to their neighbors, defending the greater good more than their self-righteous opinions, and serving the growing diversity of America with a consistent patriotic love for all. The failure of equality, stability, efficiency, and transparency during 2020 from the various local, statewide, and federal leaders that have talked and acted in duplicitous and disjointed ways should highlight more than ever the need for good women and men to hold government accountable daily. Stories such as the failure to offer a hand up during a time of great need in Pennsylvania should reflect to all Americans that the basic premise of our democracy – that a lesser amount of government and a greater amount of “sweat equity” from Americans can allow resources to flow faster and better – is what we need more to survive the pandemic and endure as the geo-economic and geopolitical leader of the globe.
From his brother: "Patrick's circumstances are an unforeseen consequence of a well-meaning federal program that no doubt helps countless people who suffer from COVID-19 unemployment. But the unintentional consequence of the program hurts those who are most vulnerable."
— Kelsey Bolar (Harkness) (@kelseybolar) March 30, 2021
Driscoll’s story is one example among many of those who have suffered from these “well-meaning” federal programs. Our government seems to be on a mission to incentivize welfare and dependence rather than “sweat equity”—Americans maintaining and building their businesses, and empowering each individual to earn a living. As we watch local and state governments adopt more policies that incorporate a guaranteed basic income and a universal basic income, we will sadly see these stories increase, rather than decrease.
Driscoll’s family has mounted a GoFundMe account to cover these gaps in his care and assist with the purchase of a new van. Driscoll’s current handicap-accessible van is over 25 years old.
If you would like to contribute, visit Help Patrick Overcome His Quadriplegia.