Want a Job? Get Essential!

That is the message from Andy Cuomo, who has presided over the one real disaster in the U.S. response to the Wuhan flu. The Washington Times reports:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a message for angry citizens who can’t pay their bills during the coronavirus pandemic: “You want to go to work? Go take a job as an essential worker.”

The Democrat fielded questions Wednesday while angry protesters outside expressed their displeasure with ongoing shutdown policies. A reporter said she spoke to many of the protesters and found them to be “regular people who are not getting a paycheck.”
Mr. Cuomo’s response suggested that government-imposed shutdowns might exist as long as a single person was at risk of dying from the contagion.

“The illness is death,” he said. “What is worse than death? Economic hardship? Yes, very bad. Not death. Emotional stress from being locked in a house — very bad. Not death. Domestic violence on the increase — very bad. Not death.”

The question, of course, is not whether unemployment is worse than death. The question is whether the unemployment of millions is worth a very slight risk of death. But Andy Cuomo is not a very intelligent person.

Mr. Cuomo was then asked if a fundamental right to work exists if “the government can’t get [citizens] the money” they need in a timely manner.

“You want to go to work?” Mr. Cuomo replied. “Go take a job as an essential worker.”

It turns out that there are a lot of “essential” workers, beyond those who are obviously needed, like truck drivers and checkout people at grocery stores. Pretty much every public employee appears to be “essential,” although most would question that characterization.

Here is a good example: the University of Minnesota Medical School is advertising for a Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The treacly job description seems like a message in a bottle from a former age. But it isn’t; the money is on offer as we speak. And when I say money, I’m not kidding: the salary range for this position is $392,000 to $400,000 annually:

The University of Minnesota Medical School seeks a transformational leader and motivated changemaker to assume the inaugural position of Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion across our two unique campuses—Duluth and Twin Cities.

The Vice Dean will foster an inclusive and respectful environment for all members of the Medical School community by providing leadership over a focused mission and vision for the new Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The Vice Dean will work across all Medical School departments and units in collaboration with community partners and health system leadership to promote and advance innovative ideas, programs and initiatives making diversity, equity, and inclusion a foundation of institutional excellence.

Yeah, right. Until now, the University of Minnesota Medical School has been a hotbed of prejudice and discrimination. Is there anyone in the world who actually believes this? Presumably not. And yet the diversity gravy train rolls on, while millions are unemployed by government dictates.

So when Andy Cuomo says the unemployed should try to become “essential,” hollow laughter is the only plausible response. Well, not the only one. Tar and feathers is another.

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