Yesterday, the Labor Department released its weekly jobless numbers and the news is frightening. After 3.3 million people lost their jobs in the prior week, another 6.6 million have filed for unemployment this past week, bringing the total up to nearly 10 million lost jobs in just two weeks. The worst part? The real numbers are probably considerably higher than that because state unemployment websites have been crashing as of late.
Michelle Meyer, chief U.S. economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, put it this way: “What usually takes months or quarters to happen in a recession is happening in a matter of weeks.”
Of course, the reason for this is quite obvious: the Wuhan virus. According to the Labor Department’s report, “The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims. Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus.”
I would argue that the government’s response to the virus, both at the state and federal level, have more of an impact than the virus itself. There is no denying the virus’ own impact (sick and dying people can’t exactly work), but losing 10 million+ jobs in just two weeks shows a far bigger fingerprint from response to the virus than the actual virus.
As of now, we have just hit 5,000+ deaths, with a 1,000+ death increase in a single day (unfortunately, this is a sign that it’s not plateauing). But state-ordered shut-downs are doing far more harm to the American people than the virus is.
Now, don’t even try and accuse me of “putting money over people” here. That is a ridiculous accusation based on nothing, as you all know just how important life is to me. And it’s the value of life that leads me to believe what I believe: we need the economy opened within the next few weeks, if not days. More and more people will lose their jobs. Remember, last week’s 3.3 million jobless claims was a record high… until this week, when that number was DOUBLED. Do you think we won’t reach higher and higher numbers if things don’t change soon?
We are looking at the destruction of the economy here. We are looking at numbers that rival, if not surpass, what this country saw during the Great Depression. And it’s all by our government’s own hands.
Yes, there is no doubt in mind that China has set the world on fire, as I have said in the past few weeks. Their lies (both in the past and the present) have set the world back months in terms of preparedness. In an effort to appear like an in-control world super power, China lied to the world about the situation in Wuhan. Even now, they lie about the number of cases by refusing to continue testing, trying to position themselves as the most effective world super power when they are damnable liars.
China is the lowest common denominator when it comes to the worldwide epidemic and should be severely punished with tariffs and other economic measures (and we should stop funding the WHO, which the Japanese vice-PM has accurately called the “Chinese Health Organization”), but China didn’t force our government to be stupid and shut everything down for everyone. China isn’t forcing our state governments to issue communist-style shutdowns and orders (ridiculous that serial assaulters are being released from New York prisons, but pastors are thrown in jail for holding church services) and it isn’t forcing our government to shut down our economy.
Our own response to the virus matters more than the actual virus or the actions of China, which is why Trump said he didn’t want the cure to be worse than the disease. A viral epidemic has the potential to destroy a nation, there is no doubt about it and things ought to be done to mitigate it. However, shutting down an economy will ALWAYS destroy a country.
Now, again, before anyone attempts to accuse me of putting the economy over people, allow me to clarify my stance: I am not saying that everyone should go back to work regardless of how they are feeling. Obviously, that would be just as stupid as shutting everything down and not allowing anyone to work (and yes, I realize I’m using the term “anyone” loosely here, as I recognize that there are businesses deemed “essential”, which allows for people in those industries to work, but the general point remains). But there is very obviously a middle ground here: allow for those who are not sick/not showing symptoms/are not likely to die to go to work, while quarantining those who are sick and most at-risk.
What people would do in the past when it comes to diseases like leprosy is isolate those who are sick and allow the rest of the people who were not sick to go about their business. Granted, the way they were isolated usually involved being kicked out of cities, and leprosy works considerably different from the Wuhan virus, but the general idea of isolating those with the disease and highest at-risk of death as a result is still applicable.
Also, isolation isn’t the only way to combat the virus. Wearing masks, washing your hands often, avoiding touching your face, and generally maintaining good hygiene is the single best way to combat a virus without a cure (Japan is not doing much testing and not shutting down their economy, but everyone wears masks, so the cases aren’t particularly prevalent in that Asian country).
There are remedies for ensuring people don’t get sick and die amidst this global pandemic without going down the dumbest road imaginable of shutting down the economy. You can strike a good balance of taking care of your sick and those who are most at-risk without leaving millions upon millions of people without the ability to work and feed themselves and their families.
The virus is not the only thing that can kill people. Aside from the fact that I highly suspect the actual number of deaths aren’t accurate (largely because there have been cases when someone died of complications unrelated to the virus, but because they had the virus, hospitals have counted them as deaths to COVID-19), people can die by other means, most notably suicide, as suicide rates increased from the beginning of the Great Depression (1929) when it was at 17.0 per 100,000 to 21.3 per 100,000 in 1932.
Other diseases can also lay claim to many people, gun violence can bring an end to people’s lives, etc. I’m not saying people will be living on the street and killing themselves over the next few days/weeks because of this (even on Black Thursday, the day the stock market crashed in 1929, there were less suicides in New York than on that day a year prior, according to John Kenneth Galbraith in his book “The Great Crash 1929”), but I am saying that an economic depression stands to harm far more Americans for considerably longer than just about any virus can.
We need to be able to strike a balance here. We can’t go wildly one direction without expecting serious consequences. We can’t shut down the economy for as long as the federal government plans to without suffering from an economic fallout that makes the Great Depression look like people lost a quarter under the couch cushions (hyperbole, of course).
Shutting down the economy for most people is simply not a viable option, which is why I wish Trump would get economists working alongside the medical experts to arrive at a compromise that helps both the health of the people with regards to the virus and the health of the people with regards to their financial stability. Simply giving a few people a one-time check of $1,200, or even if it were for a few months, isn’t a good option when the government itself is massively in debt.
The economic news would be CONSIDERABLY better if we weren’t going down the path of shutting virtually everything down out of unwarranted fear of the virus. I’m not saying the virus is not serious. I am saying it’s not worth all this.
With an economy that is mostly open for the VAST majority of people, leaving only a few to not be able to work, we would see a far better economy and far less jobs lost. No, it wouldn’t be at the same levels as before the virus hit, but they’d be considerably better than now, and there’d be little to no fear that we wouldn’t be able to get past this relatively unscathed.
According to Rasmussen, 36% of likely U.S. voters believe the country “can afford to remain largely shutdown for an indefinite period of time to limit the spread of the coronavirus.” However, 46% said “America can’t afford an indefinite shutdown.” 18% are unsure.
It’s worth pointing this out for two reasons.
Number 1, more people believe we can’t stay shut down for however long people like Fauci (and it sickens me that the guy called 10 million people losing their jobs in two weeks “inconvenient”, practically tossing it aside as a non-issue) and Birx want us to be shut down than believe we can. So already, more people would want the economy to be opened up than remain shut down, at least for those who are able to work.
Number 2, this poll was taken on April 1st, the day before we received the news about 6.6 million jobs lost this week. I can guarantee that the number of people who believe we can’t afford this indefinite shut down has gone up considerably as a result. 10 million people losing their jobs in just two weeks is unprecedented and it’s only a matter of time before people say “enough” and demand the economy to be opened back up.
President Trump would be wise, as a result, to advocate for opening the economy back up for those who can go out to work. Sure, the media and the Democrats would lambast him and claim he would have “blood on his hands” as a result, but these are the same media who have been calling him a Nazi since he BEGAN TO RUN FOR OFFICE. Their opinions are irrelevant and Trump would have the majority of people on his side.
The American people need to be able to go to work. The state and federal governments have the ability to let go of their stranglehold on the economy. They will need to listen to the people soon.
But let us pray to God that we will get through this with as little damage done as possible. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place right now and we need His guidance and strength to get through this.
Despite the current medical and economic situations that we face and will continue to face for God knows how long, let us rejoice in the fact that God is the one in control. He comforts the brokenhearted, heals the wounded and brings everlasting joy to those whose faith are in Him.
There’s no doubt that we will face affliction in many ways as time goes on. We don’t know what roads lie ahead and what they have in store for us. But take comfort in the One who is King; the One to whom none of this is a surprise; the One who, while we may not see a way, sees a way; and the One who is bigger than any virus, than any economic disaster, than any journalist or congressman or governor or president or king or nation or planet or galaxy or universe.
Take heart, that while the enemy plots against us, we rest securely in His omnipotent palm. I won’t say that bad things aren’t in our future, particularly if things aren’t done to remedy them. But I will say: rejoice, for Christ is King, our Savior and our Redeemer. God isn’t evil. He never would’ve allowed for this if something great couldn’t come out of it. While we may never really know what that great thing may be, we can rest, knowing God is in control and is working for His children.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
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