As we head into our second month of dealing with the coronavirus in a national, systemic way, skeptics are beginning to look at the fallout from state and local lockdowns and wondering: Is this economic shutdown really worth it?
This skepticism is not limited to – or even really related to – the few Americans who are still dismissing the coronavirus as “just the flu.” We’re beyond that point. But even if this disease is far deadlier than common ailments already spreading throughout the population, there comes a point where we have to confront the economic reality.
Liberals loathe this calculation for some reason, but it’s not a cold-hearted “money is more important than people” suggestion. Not by a long shot. This isn’t about the evil rich shareholders, or whoever else the left thinks about when they hear economic arguments. This is about 10 million people (so far) filing for unemployment. This is about families struggling to put food on the table. This is about a full-scale economic collapse and a second Great Depression.
Are we really able to say that this is all worth it?
It’s a legitimate question, and it’s one we have to start asking. And look, we’re not suggesting that we hold the ultimate answer. But if we just dismiss the question and say that anyone asking it cares more about the almighty dollar than about human lives, we could rush into one of the worst mistakes in American history without a second thought.
Fox News’s Tucker Carlson is one of those rare media personalities willing to go where no one else will tread, and that makes him one of the most valuable people on the network. On Monday night, he addressed this very issue. He made several excellent points, one being that while we’re all supposed to be sheltered in our homes, we’re also heading out to the grocery store every day. How is that less dangerous than going to work? Another good point: Why are we seeing communities that have been in lockdown for a month still experiencing new infections?
“We’ve decided that offices are somehow more dangerous than supermarkets, far more dangerous, though no one has bothered to explain how,” he said in his monologue. “The result: by some estimates, more 17 million Americans are unemployed right now. That’s the highest number in the history of this country. A year from now, we should think about this. How will we feel about all this, about our decisions in the face of this pandemic? Is there a single person who sincerely expects the coronavirus itself will hurt more people in the end than the damage we’re causing in our response to it? Probably not. Mass unemployment is almost certain to cause far more harm — including physical harm — to the average family than this disease.”
Carlson said it’s time to demand specific, direct answers from those in charge.
“No thoughtful person wants to reopen baseball stadiums tomorrow or book a cruise to Shanghai, but there has to be a more balanced course than the one we are on now,” he said. “For most people, going to work cannot be more dangerous than buying produce at Safeway twice a week. And if it is more dangerous, tell us how it’s more dangerous, and be specific when you describe that. Otherwise, it’s time to start caring about the entire population. Healthy people are suffering badly too.”
This is a subject we’re going to have to address as a country sooner or later. Keeping the economy shut down for the next 18 months isn’t even close to feasible or reasonable. It’s time to get very serious about the damage we’re doing to the economy with each passing day of this crisis.