We’re told to shut up, stay home, and watch Netflix. What more could you possibly want? The, for all we know, indefinite lockdown sounds like a great plan until you realize that 30 million Americans have already filed for unemployment since mid-March.
Americans are protesting to get back to work, and elites can’t fathom why. Why would people be calling to open up the economy?
On May 2nd, New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz said in a now-deleted tweet: “The ‘open up the economy’ people are truly the dumbest [people] on here. How do they think the economy will look when millions are dead and our hospitals are overwhelmed? If u want to ‘save the economy’ then [you] need to keep everyone *alive.* [sic]”
To Taylors tweet: there also might not be much of an economy to save if this continues for much longer.
It’s no shock that there’s a disconnect. Elites don’t understand the plight of blue-collar America. Because they are financially insulated, elites won’t be feeling the full-throated fatal consequences of the coronavirus shutdown. Not everyone can sit in their apartment and do Skype calls and Zoom Yoga. They can’t fathom the widespread suffering.
Elites—Celebrities, Journalists, and Politicians—would be more likely to champion opening up the economy if they found themselves without a source of income.
Reports have found that 25 percent of small businesses have less than 13 days of cash reserves. Closing the economy down isn’t without consequences. When the economy is down, people can’t feed their families, homelessness, crime and suicides skyrocket. The effects of shutting down the economy is more than just Facebook screen time increases—It’s widespread suffering.
Lorenz has previously stated, in another now-deleted tweet, that those who want the economy opened up are akin to Nazis. This argument is intellectually hollow. People can’t afford their healthcare, auto insurance, rent, bills. You can’t condense this entire discussion to this simplicity.
These protests are in large part justifiable, people are right to be livid. You can’t forcibly take away someone’s income, give them a few hundred dollars, and tell them to deal with it. Because our politicians were caught so flatfooted, they adopted such extreme measures, that tens of millions have lost their jobs. The $1,200 stimulus isn’t nearly sufficient to remedy the effects of the shutdown. While celebrities sit at home singing “Imagine,” Americans are reluctantly signing up for food stamps for the first time.
This is compounded with the uncertainty of the return-to-work timeline. If the only “plan” for reopening is to stay closed and wait it out—which has been the universal response and the governors that have begun to open up have been widely condemned—then it makes perfect sense for protests because there is no framework or end date to the shutdown.
There’s a widespread belief among elites, that the economy equates to the stock market. It’s not just that, it’s the local mechanic who now has to indefinitely close up shop. Now his five workers are at risk and can’t feed their family.
A testament to the severity of suffering, people are risking jail time in order to be able to keep themselves afloat. But for the elites everything is fine. The Washington Post suggests: “The key to escaping lockdown? Sleep in your guest room and pretend it’s a trip,” and don’t forget the $22 Avocado toast.
When ordinary Americans hear that the lockdown might be extended for two more weeks, they hear “I have to survive another two weeks without any income.”