According to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, Donald Trump is being aided by the "right-wing crazies" who support him as he attempts to rush workers back to work even though public health experts say it could result in hundreds of thousands of more deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.
As Krugman notes in his New York Times column, they know it is still dangerous for workers to return, but they don't care because the president and anti-lockdown activists have their own agendas.
"As far as I can tell, most epidemiologists are horrified by America’s rush to reopen the economy, to abandon much of the social distancing that has helped contain Covid-19," Krugman wrote before adding, "... if the experts are right again, premature opening could lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths — and backfire even in economic terms, as a second wave of infections forces us back into lockdown."
Asking where the push is coming from, Krugman answered his own question by pointing the finger at the president who has riled up his base.
"Some of it comes from right-wing crazies. Only a small minority of Americans believes that freedom includes the right to endanger other people’s lives (which is what congregating in large groups in the midst of a pandemic does); that wearing a mask is un-American, or unmanly, or something; that Covid-19 is a hoax perpetrated by liberals. But that minority has huge influence within the Republican Party," Krugman explained. "Some of it comes from Donald Trump’s obsession with the stock market. His initial refusal to do anything to prepare for the pandemic reportedly reflected concern that any acknowledgment of the threat would “spook the market.” And the push to reopen may similarly reflect a belief that going back to normal life would be good for the market, even if it kills many people."
To get his point across he added a sarcastic, "Let’s die for the Dow!"
According to the economist, workers would be better off staying at home and collecting unemployment rather than being the source -- and victims-- of a second wave of COVID-19 infections that would only prolong the pain.
"Unemployment assistance, after a troubled start, is doing a lot to help American workers. And credit should go to Democrats, who insisted that this aid be a part of the package," he wrote before adding that it's not workers who are "clamoring" to go back to their jobs, knowing it could endanger their health and the health of their families.
Writing, "Job losses have been concentrated among lower-paid workers; but polling suggests that the demand for faster opening is coming largely from high-income Republicans," Krugman added, "Suppose, after all, that the epidemiologists are right, and that premature reopening leads to a second wave of infections. What we’ll need in that case is a second lockdown. But all indications are that Republicans are totally opposed to extending benefits."
"What they want, instead, is legislation that would protect businesses from liability if their employees get sick," he explained before bluntly stating, "That is, they want to force Americans to go to work even if it kills them."
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