What If You 'Reopened' The Economy And Trump And Like Five Fake Tea Party People Came?
Some conservatives want to recklessly “reopen" the economy during the COVID-19 outbreak. They believe that the only people who support government-mandated shutdowns are Ivy Tower liberals, comfortably working from their fancy homes while drinking cappuccinos (because they can afford espresso machines). These disconnected, science-humping liberals have no problem temporarily sacrificing liberty for the security of not dying. They lack the wisdom of the common man who would cheerfully die from a painful respiratory disease for the honor of selling his fellow American a jumbo popcorn at the movie theater.
Yesterday, Jesse Kelly — a common conservative talk show host — shared a tweet about the idiotic “OperationGridlock" protest in Michigan. He declared that a “storm was coming" and he'd tried to warn us in our "NYC/DC bubble" but we wouldn't shut up about the virus that was killing people in that bubble. Now real Americans are fed up with the shutdowns that dragged on longer than Martin Scorsese's The Irishman. It's time to reopen America, damnit. People wearing plaid demand it.
Pollster Frank Luntz responded to Kelly's tweet with data, which is like kryptonite to a conservative.
No one is dying to return to work or go see a concert so much that they'd literally die for it.
When asked how quickly they will return to their normal activities once the government lifts restrictions and businesses and schools start to reopen, the vast majority of Americans say they would wait and see what happens with the spread of the virus (71%) and another 10% would wait indefinitely. Just 20% say they would return to their normal activities immediately.
So, it's like what reasonable people have said all along. You can't “restart" the economy until you resolve the public health crisis. We focus a lot on morons who violate current social distance guidelines and stay-at-home orders, but there probably aren't enough of them to keep the economic engine churning. People who fuck around with infectious diseases aren't a longterm customer base.
Big business doesn't want it either.
"I really don't understand how they are communicating on this," one CEO told POLITICO on condition that neither they nor their firm be named for fear of angering the White House. "He's got to stop talking about turning the economy back on and start talking about making people feel safe, things that are happening around testing and the health care system. That's the only way you will really get the economy reopened over a period of time."
Matt Walsh with The Daily Wire attempted to “well, actually" the Gallup poll findings.
OK, once more for the back of the room: Someone can deeply regret losing their job. They can regret that their child won't have a normal graduation ceremony. They can also regret that their summer vacation plans were cancelled. This doesn't mean they would willingly endanger themselves and their loved ones. They might possess the maturity and basic common sense to appreciate that these extreme lockdown measures are keeping them safe and alive. Fix the virus. Then fix the economy. They want our elected leaders to provide a plan that isn't just throwing us into the deep end of a lake and seeing if we'll swim.
This libertarian FREEDOM! approach would “reopen" the economy, place employee health at the whim of their employers, and accelerate the spread of the virus. You'd gain nothing worthwhile. Businesses would still shutter. People would lose their jobs, and the government would lose their numbers. After all, the government rebooted America! Economy 2.0 is virus free!
Luntz shared a Pew Research poll, which showed that Americans currently fear the spread of infectious disease more than nuclear proliferation and terrorism. Walsh however “guarantees" that people will return to their lives as usual once the restrictions are lifted. He knows this is true because of a thousand or so Besty DeVos-wrangled idiots in Michigan and that feeling in his gut.
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According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll released yesterday, the number's even crazy higher: 81 percent of Americans said we "should continue to social distance for as long as is needed to curb the spread of coronavirus, even if it means continued damage to the economy." Only 10 percent of Americans think we should stop social distancing so the economy can thrive in a world ruled by apes. (That is about as close to universal as polling can get.) Walsh rejects this as a straw man. He thinks you can “restart" the economy and let people take their own reasonable precautions — wear a mask, wash your hands, try not to bump into anyone when at the park. Most experts on this subject agree that half-assed mitigation is barely better than no mitigation at all. People would still die at alarming rates, and that might just impact the GDP.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).