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Are You Willing to Die for the Economy?

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

March 24, 2020 — Daryl, a longtime Member, suggested what he termed a “potentially explosive topic” for the Blog: Are our Members willing to sacrifice their lives for the economy under COVID-19? It arises because of the controversial comments by Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who recently said: “‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?”

Lt. Gov. Patrick’s COVID remarks

The Lt. Governor seemed to be picking up on comments from the President and other conservatives that we should open up businesses to keep the economy from tanking further. Those are in contradiction to the action most health care officials recommend – closing things down to slow the infection curve.

Our question

So here is our question. To slow down the infection curve, do you think everyone except essential personnel should continue to stay at home and maintain social distancing? Or, is preserving the economy more important, so we should let people go back to work and resume their normal activities, even if means that you, as a member of the most vulnerable age group, might die as a result?

Please let us know where you stand. Note that if you start a political rant we will not publish your remarks, and if this gets out of hand we will terminate discussion. But, we hope we can have a thoughtful exchange of ideas without the usual partisan divide.

Posted by Admin on March 24th, 2020


  1. I will continue to self isolate and social distance until this pandemic has passed. What the president says and does holds little influence on me unfortunately.

    by Staci — March 25, 2020

  2. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has a lot of nerve suggesting that we, the older generation, should sacrifice our lives and go back to work.

    Is this ignorance at the highest level?

    This is an epidemic that needs to be dealt with as adults and with the scientific community. If we all rush back to work too soon, the epidemic may kill millions of people. This includes old people and children. Let us follow some good examples and stay at home till this thing is under control.

    We need to get an adult in the room who can lead us thru this very difficult time with leadership and intelligence. Trained soldiers don’t run into battle willy nilly then successfully win the battle. Soldiers have solid plans and are disciplined to follow orders. Solid plans need to be implemented and followed until we see decreasing outbreak.

    I hope the current administration does not pressure the scientists to say all is okay for everyone to go back to work till it really is okay.

    by Louise — March 25, 2020

  3. We need to continue to stay at home and practice social distancing. Otherwise the case load will continue to climb and more will be taken ill or die. Please listen to the medical experts and protect yourselves!

    by Fionna — March 25, 2020

  4. I think this boils down to what one thinks is the value of a human life – ANY human life. Are any members of our society expendable for the sake of preserving the economic condition of the rest? I say no. Although the scale is different, it reminds me of the philosophy of the Nazis, who believed that the life and economy of Germany and its empire was better off by ridding it of human beings they felt were expendable and did not conform to what the Nazis believed was an ideal society. Sometimes in warfare and certain disasters the concept of triage is necessary, but human “triage” to help the economy is not analogous. The suggestion by our current administration and others that we consider a “trade off” involving the certainty of death for many people in order to improve the nation’s economy – and possibly to protect a political position – is abhorrent.

    by Clyde — March 25, 2020

  5. As a senior I am happy to stay isolated while the rest of the population goes back to work. And I have to wonder about that dreaded curve that needs flattening. Do the increased positive tests really an increase in cases or just reflect increased testing? Some Drs in some cities are now reporting that in Dec and Jan they treated patients with symptoms consistent with covid and ever had similar symptoms themselves all with negative flu tests, they thing it was covid back then. But the real issue is What happens if the economy totally tanks? Think that might cause so deaths? With the gigantic amount of govt spending, how long can that last with no economic activity to generate money for the govt to spend? And for those who are totally dependent on Social Security/Medicare, lack of funds coming in from not-working-workers will speed up the depletion of SS And, when things settle down and the govt looks into how to pay for the enormous debt everything will be on the table, a perfect time to replace SS, no? Remember, as Rahm Emanuel famously said “Never let a crisis go to waste”.

    by Jean — March 25, 2020

  6. This topic is being discussed on site. The medical experts should be listened to as they are fighting in the front lines of this viral war. Lets hope the governors are smart to save lives as their #1 priority – to be vigilant for their states and not swayed by a political agenda.

    by JoannL — March 25, 2020

  7. Would I give my life to protect the life of one of my grandchildren, yes. Would I give it to protect their inheritance or 401k – i don’t think so. I could see how letting younger people who are not infected or no longer carriers go back to work would be a good idea. This assumes that older people and those who are at risk are not permitted to go outside or have contact with others. But before you can do that we have to have adequate testing in place so that everyone going to work has been tested. Otherwise silent carriers will infect others and we will have an epidemic. Enough people will get really sick that healthcare workers and facilities will be overwhelmed, and the system will collapse. So, the way I see it, the situation is not as simple as let people go back to work and allow the old people who can’t make to die. Because if we do that the whole system will break down and millions of people will die, and then the economy will really tank.

    by Rick — March 25, 2020

  8. The whole premise of this q (” should let people go back to work and resume their normal activities, even if means that you, as a member of the most vulnerable age group, might die as a result? “) is silly.
    There are always unintended consequences and shutting down the economy to maybe delay the deaths of seniors a few years (yes, hate to break it to y’all, but like Country Joe and the Fish reminded us so many years ago “…Whoopee we’re all going to die!”) . So about those unintended consequences, clinical research in many indications has been virtually put on hold. Trials testing potential cancer treatments, Alzheimer’s treatments, heart failure treatments, etc., etc., etc., are delayed for an unknown amount of time. And when the oppression is lifted they wont just start up overnight. Will the delays and disruptions of those trials result in the premature deaths of future patients ? And how many people who had their screening colonoscopy canceled wont get them rescheduled in time to catch that cancer in a treatable stage? We seniors should isolate but let others return to work and let everyone do the social distancing.

    by Jean — March 25, 2020

  9. I felt really sad when viewing a segment on TV about what lessons we can learn from South Korea’s handling of the virus. They reported their first cases about the same time as our country, but it appears they might be over the hump while we are still climbing. They cited early frequent testing to identify clusters, social distancing, phone apps tracking positive patients, wearing masks, ramping up acquisition of medical equipment, etc. In other words, took it seriously from the get-go, unlike here. We’re struggling to close the barn door after the horses have bolted. And every day people ranging from radio talk show hosts to our own leaders continue to set us back by minimizing the danger. I think that’s what wrecked the economy. If this virus takes it’s toll, I hope not to hear the same people joking about the virus making social security, medicare, medicaid solvent again by culling the herd, opening up jobs and the housing market.

    by Daryl — March 25, 2020

  10. I am pretty sure there would be no “healthy economy” without healthy people! Perhaps we need to look back in history and take lessons from how other pandemics were handled. How did things turn out after the early 1900’s flu or after the run of polio? what is that adage? Something about those who don’t know history, are doomed to repeat it.

    I agree with Rick – I would protect my grandchild but not their investments. I cannot believe that a public figure actually stood up and said those words out loud to the public!!!

    by HEF — March 25, 2020

  11. Vast majority of seniors are retired. We can self-isolate pretty easily without affecting an employer’s business. So I think the question is irrelevant, for the most part.

    by Helen — March 25, 2020

  12. Can you imagine the guilt of the child/grandchild who infected their grandparent with the virus after they died? (You murdered your grandpa)

    by Shumidog — March 25, 2020

  13. Well, It certainly seems true about disasters revealing a person’s true character. Congress members with insider knowledge dumping stocks, doctors stockpiling malaria medicine for family/friends. It’s fascinating watching America become un-masked. They’ll be studying this in social psychology classes for years to come.

    by Daryl — March 25, 2020

  14. Forgot to credit all our emerging heroes in this pandemic. Restores faith. Both the highs and lows of our civilization being revealed.

    by Daryl — March 25, 2020

  15. Longtime reader, but like many, a lurker, and very rarely have commented. Generally, I support your moderation efforts at TR, but you clearly invited conflict, and am mostly disappointed. How can you suggest that comments can remain purely apolitical? A controversial interview, on State TV, with a national political nobody, expressing extremely provocative views, and aligning more with one major political party over the other. And I say this as a decades long, moderate independent, with history of voting a mix of R’s and D’s. That said, I support listening to our scientific experts here, including Dr. Fauci, leaving the president to the sidelines more often, which is a very large ask.

    Editor Comment: Thanks DLJ for commenting, and thoughtful words they are. You are right, this one was risky and already we have had to delete a number of comments from people who couldn’t help themselves jump into the political frey. I support your advice to listen to the scientific experts. Dr. Fauci for Man of the Year! And just to the pure question, no, I am not willing to die for the sake of the economy.

    by DLJ — March 25, 2020

  16. Thank you, John, and staff. And I concur with your conclusion. Be well.

    by DLJ — March 25, 2020

  17. If we as a society have not learned from the 1918 flu epidemic, I have my doubts we will learn anything from this pandemic. We had 102 years to study what happened and have a basic plan in place to acquire equipment, masks, gowns, hospital beds and whatever is necessary.

    It is pathetic to see our government scramble around with no answers, lies or half truths. American people want the truth and are in need of leaders who can lead us into the light, not the abyss.

    I applaud our State governments for taking the lead and guiding us by implementing shut downs to cut down on the spread of the virus.

    by Louise — March 25, 2020

  18. No, the economy should not take precedence over lives. Those politicos who suggested this would never agree with “economy first” if it was their life — or even if it was their political position.

    by RichPB — March 25, 2020

  19. For what it’s worth, I am not willing to die for the economy — but I’d be willing to die for my family. My family, on the other hand, is insistent that I self-quarantine so they don’t have to worry about me – as the only parent/grandparent left.

    In a way, our family is an example. Everyone has a personal story to share, of course. I live in a county that is a hot spot for the virus. My daughter & son-in-law are medical professionals in a US News top 5 hospital, and have a toddler who I babysit. Multiple medical professionals in their hospital have been diagnosed, and are working 16 hour shifts. They’ve been told to reuse masks for a week, and are short of protective gear. They risk their toddler to possible exposure. My daughter lost an early pregnancy last week (unknown reason), and is grieving while she works those stressful, 16 hour shifts. Another kid works for the federal gov’t, and has been directed to work at home. His boss is quarantined. She just lost a close relative who died from Covid-19. Another kid who is a medical professional in the same hospital has seen multiple people in his department quarantined, so they are working with an increasingly reduced staff. My god-daughter in another state (a single Mom) has lost her job, and is trying to apply for benefits. Her retired parents will be trying to help support her and her kids. It’s clearly hard for the elderly/retired to sit in quarantine while our loved ones deal with such incredible stresses, but it may be the only thing we can do to help try to control the pandemic.

    by Kate — March 26, 2020

  20. To clarify – I didn’t mean to say that diagnosed people are working 16-hr shifts. That sentence wasn’t clear, and I hope everyone reading it understood I meant to say that the medical professionals work those long shifts…not that diagnosed people work after being diagnosed. I’ll continue to work on my editing skills :-(.

    by Kate — March 26, 2020

  21. Don’t some of you understand that the economy and your health are intimately joined. It’s impossible to protect everyone all the time.

    If this problem last for a long time and we focus just on saving lives, the economy will be destroyed! I’m not exaggerating! If that happens there will be no one to contribute to SS. If the economy fails all your (teachers) pensions, IRAs, 401Ks dry up! No money to fund them. Needless to say people will be in absolute despair! Major depression, sucides, social unrest like you’ve wouldn’t believe!

    Life is full of risks. Most of you are old enough to understand that truism. Now start acting like adults and stop expecting someone else to ruin their lives to protect you!

    by JR — March 26, 2020

  22. Although the question is tongue-in-cheek (are you willing to die for the economy,) I think the premise is valid and a human one, not necessarily political. It was a real dilemma for me thinking about how to balance the need for re-starting the economy with spreading a deadly virus, both of which can take down our country. Yes, I have a political affiliation, but I didn’t have an answer and wanted to see what my age group thought, since we are the ones most at risk with the virus. We are also the ones living off our 401Ks and helping out children who are now unemployed because of the shutdown. I thought the systems in our country would have been better prepared, but that train has left the station. Am I willing to self-isolate while life resumes around me? Sure. Is that the solution? Still don’t know.

    by Daryl — March 26, 2020

  23. I am angry that we are put in this position because our government and other systems were not proactive about this situation. Everybody saw this coming across the globe. And I would say the same thing whether it was the current administration, the last one, or George Washington. No loyalty to party here. And disappointing to see other countries just as stupid.

    by Daryl — March 26, 2020

  24. With the real uncertainty in our daily lives during this pandemic, I personally like to reflect on the state motto of New Hampshire: LIVE FREE OR DIE!

    by Bubbajog — March 26, 2020

  25. Sounds as if Lt. Gov. Patrick is raising a nonsensical question — one without an answer beyond the philosophical abstract — to get into Trump’s good graces. He was, as the Washington Post reported, “offering his best argument in defense of Trump’s evolving position on what his government, and our society, should do in response to coronavirus” – that is, to reopen businesses and get the economy going again.

    Perhaps this guy could be the next Treasury secretary? Or a member of the Council of Economic Advisers?

    Just a political ploy to gain points, in my humble opinion.

    As for Social Security and Medicare, which a number of posts here have pinpointed for future cuts, now that we have multiple trillions in debt, I think that we will have to raise taxes; otherwise these programs could face cutbacks, depending on which party is running the government next year.

    by Ed LaFreniere — March 26, 2020

  26. …FOR MY KIDS, YES.

    by Uncle al — March 26, 2020

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