In every crisis America faces, a hero emerges to calm nerves and reassure the people that everything will be alright. World War II gave us General Dwight D. Eisenhower. After 9/11, it was New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. And the current man of the hour is none other than New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been on the front lines and leading the charge in his bewildered state. As such, he’s been more than a little in the public eye. His daily briefings are covered by every national news outlet and online in other formats. People tune in to Cuomo nearly as often as they do President Donald Trump.
But it appears the last 30 days have taken a heavy toll. Mr. Cuomo is undoubtedly exhausted. Which is probably the reason for his making an incredulous statement in the heat of the moment to an annoying reporter. When asked if there was a “right to work” for New Yorkers who needed money but hadn’t received unemployment checks, Cuomo let fly this gem, Biden-style:
“You want to go to work, go take a job as an essential worker. Do it tomorrow. There are people hiring. You can get a job as an essential worker, so now you can go to work, and now you are an essential worker, and now you won’t kill anyone.”
Sounds legit: a steady paycheck while not killing anyone. But here is what is considered “essential” in New York: medical care, public infrastructure, public transportation, food supply, auto repair, and the media. But then factor in education: the local bartender may be interested in driving a bus, but does she have the commercial license? Perhaps she wants to nurse the sick, but there are at least minimum requirements of training and education, and all schools, vocational and trade colleges, and universities are shuttered.
Open, Open, Open
Protests have popped up around the country – and in New York, as Cuomo briefed the press – as folks are just plain running out of money. They want to go back to work. They need to go back to work. Liberty Nation’s economic authority, Andrew Moran warns:
“Last week, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits surged 5.245 million, worse than the market forecast of 5.105 million. Continuing jobless claims were reported to be just shy of 12 million for the week ending April 4. The four-week average topped 5.5 million. In total, approximately 26 million Americans have lost their jobs in five weeks.”
The burden on taxpayers and middle Americans will be devastating. And Mr. Cuomo is faced with a righteously panicked electorate because the state is the epicenter of cases and because people are losing the shirts off their backs as savings dwindle to pennies. What is the good governor to do?
Damned if You Do
The dogged reporter attempted a redirect with clarifying information, mentioning she spoke with the protesters in Albany and “These are regular people that aren’t getting a paycheck, some of them not getting their unemployment check.”
Cuomo shot back, “The illness is death, what is worse than death? Economic hardship, yes, very bad, not death.”
In all fairness, Mr. Cuomo is wedged between the rock of physical health protection for his people and the mental health from loss of job, income, and the damn hard place of unintended consequences spiraling out of control due to an ongoing, indefinite, stay at home order. Cuomo may not have the stamina nor the temperament to wear the hero of the day cape much further. We wish him well and hope he takes a day or two to collect himself.
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.
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