Death is Inevitable So Lets Open The Economy Says Lizard-Brained Senator

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I suppose you can be fair and acknowledge that Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) is not arguing that we should immediately reopen the entire economy, but he is arguing that we should reopen the vast majority of it.

Johnson argues we should play pandemic roulette with the economy because, in his words, we're all going to die anyway, right?

In an op-ed for USA Today, Johnson wrote that death is an inevitable part of life so we should just get over it. He also appears to be arguing that pandemic statistics shouldn't be reported.

Each year, approximately 48,000 Americans commit suicide and an estimated 67,000 die of a drug overdose. That level of individual despair has occurred in a strong economy with near-record low levels of unemployment in virtually every demographic.

Imagine the potential psychological and human toll if this shutdown continues indefinitely, unemployment reaches 20% or higher, as some now predict, and we sink into a deep recession or depression. [...]

Every premature death is a tragedy, but death is an unavoidable part of life. More than 2.8 million die each year — nearly 7,700 a day. The 2017-18 flu season was exceptionally bad, with 61,000 deaths attributed to it. Can you imagine the panic if those mortality statistics were attributed to a new virus and reported nonstop?

Rather than announcing general shutdowns and drawing up lists of “essential” business that can remain open, let’s draw up lists of “nonessential” businesses that pose a risk for coronavirus spread.

An unacceptable number of American do commit suicide or overdose on drugs each year in so-called "deaths of despair" in an allegedly "strong" economy, but those numbers are relatively small compared to what could happen if we followed the advice of Ron Johnson or Donald Trump.

The difference between keeping most of the economy shut down and prematurely reopening it is the difference between 100,000 deaths and 1 million deaths. And somewhere in between those numbers is the more likely scenario that will still dwarf the number of Americans who intentionally or accidentally kill themselves each year.

Just because the seasonal flu kills an unfortunate number of people each year doesn't mean we shouldn't take steps to limit the loss of life. We encourage everyone to obtain a flu vaccine each year, after all, but there is no vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

The psychological toll of allowing the pandemic to spread and kill a million Americans in the name of the economy would be far, far higher than the cost of keeping the economy shut down for several months. Even under our current circumstances, everyone reading this will likely know someone who contracted the virus or died from it.

Republicans appear to be widely fascinated or infatuated with death, but they're more openly accepting to the idea of other random, abstract people dying, not themselves.

  • Christopher Foxx

    Rather than announcing general shutdowns and drawing up lists of “essential” business that can remain open, let’s draw up lists of “nonessential” businesses that pose a risk for coronavirus spread.

    Doesn’t matter if you draw up lists of the even numbers, or draw up lists of the odd ones. You’re going to end up with the same two groups identified.

    Sociopathic asshole.

    Hey, Ron. If death is inevitable why don’t you just kill yourself already? Oh, you’re only talking about for other people. I should have known.

  • Badgerite

    The healthcare system and its workers have to deal with a highly contagious, lethal illness that is raging through populations at close quarters. Many have died already. A pandemic spreads quickly and inexorably which is what makes it a pandemic. I suggest we listen to what the people on the frontlines are telling us they need and provide that to them. That includes community self quarantining if that is what they need to fight this. Congress will just have to do it’s job and provide whatever can help with the economic fallout as this progresses. If the illness can be contained, things can open back up again. If it isn’t contained, all bets are off anyway. Our healthcare systems are already strained in some areas to the breaking point. If Congress people want to get the economy going then get these frontline doctors and nurses and hospitals what they need however that can be done.
    Please notice the response of Amazon employees at a distribution center in New York when an employee there tested positive for the virus. A lethal pandemic tends to put a damper on consumer confidence. That’s not going to change until the federal government, I’m looking at you gop, starts doing its job.

  • Aynwrong

    The economy is man made. We invented it. It does exist in nature. It is not a God like being that needs to be worshipped, Atlas Shrugged is not scripture and Wall Street is not holy ground.

    The economy exists to service us. Not the other way around.

  • muselet

    Covid-19 is not suicide. It’s not drug overdoses. It’s not influenza. It’s none of the things people like Ron Johnson insist on comparing it to.

    You can’t catch suicide or a car crash from someone else. And the case fatality rate for Covid-19 is an order of magnitude higher than for seasonal flu (what 61,000 times ten works out to is left as an exercise for Senator Johnson), and that assumes we do everything more or less right going forward.

    But despite all that, Johnson wants us to open up the economy because reasons.

    Another day, another proof the modern GOP is a death cult.


  • gescove

    For all the Republicans urging us to Die for the Dow I say “You first”.

  • katanahamon

    Well..we are just allowing base, fundamental, disgusting affronts to truth, fact, science, morality…I could go on. First, the economy is not strong. We have seen an unprecedented shift of wealth and disposable income to the already obscenely wealthy, rises in costs of all kinds to the public, increases of debts. A collapse was imminent. Now the Republicans are taking further advantage of a pandemic (!) to roll back things like abortion, clean water rules, clean air rules, all sorts of morally reprehensible things. As we pass the death toll of 9-11 with no end in sight, we have a “bored” President bragging about his ratings, and threatening governors that aren’t “nice” to him, and accusing medical personnel of stealing equipment that protects their lives on the job. Anybody else just simply had enough?

    • Christopher Foxx

      Hit that point around January 22, 2017.