A response to NYT article, “California, in Rush to Save Lives, Pushed Potent Economy to Brink”:
As a grateful Californian and participant in the “potent economy” I am deeply offended and dismayed by this article on multiple fronts. My biggest beef, is that the article was void of any counterbalancing reasons as to why California shut down in the midst of an MIA (missing in action) federal government, the absence of any substantial knowledge about how COVID19 would impact our population, and no discernible way to protect our healthcare workers, food processors, grocery store clerks, and the working population at large as the state begins to open up retail.
With 100,000 deaths and counting, and unemployment worse than it was under the Great Depression it is without a doubt the fault of the Trump administration and the federal government.
There was no mention of why Gavin Newsom made the choice to shut down the economy, in the absence of Federal leadership, while at the same time battling the negativity and obfuscations coming out of Washington. The article could have pointed to how prepared the Federal Government COULD have been for an emergency, with plans and equipment to support our front line workers. If only they had listened to their own experts who warned them over and over that a plague was coming, rather than trying to defund them.
The article ignored the statistics of how many lives Gavin Newsom has saved with his stay-at-home orders compared to a hard hit location like New York City. This isn’t a new strategy, even medieval people knew they needed to get out of Dodge and go into self-isolation when The Plague rolled into town. Sir Isaac Newton self-isolated in 1665 in his country home to stay safe.
Should Sir Isaac Newton’s contributions to humanity have been sacrificed so a few more people could see some plays or eat at the local tavern? What is the price of life then? Certainly, there was no debate in this article – it was all economy, all the way.
Of course the California economy would be impacted – it is huge! California makes up eighteen percent of US GDP, close to twice the size of the next largest economy in the USA, and is the 6th largest producer in the global economy. Many of the states that have been under loose quarantine or opened back up earlier than CA have economies so small, no one is noticing the difference. If California behaved in the same fashion, our economy and its workers would be devastated.
As most of the state begins to completely reopen, we are now responsible for cleaning up the mess the Trump administration left on our doorstep’. Many Californians have been forced to return to work, even if they feel unsafe about returning to crowded spaces because the federal government left them out to starve when they shut down the economy. A one time check for $1,200 is a pitiful excuse for economic assistance, it barely pays the rent, let alone the countless other bills Americans have. These decisions will no doubt create a second wave of infections that will hit the poorest Californians the hardest.
We cannot fall into the Trump administration’s playbook of ‘let them eat cake’, we must demand our institutions hold those accountable. So NYT, let’s not obfuscate the culprits of California’s economic pain when it’s clear who’s to blame.