Few seem to be talking about the death toll that may result if the economy remains shut longer than it should. I reject the notion that wanting to reopen America puts “profits over people.” I see some on the Left putting political agenda over people.
Lives Depend on Economic Activity. When you stop that, then you kill people. Before we insist on totally destroying the American economy, we must weigh the risk of reopening businesses—because there is always risk—against the risk of not reopening. We must not allow fear, induced by those with hidden motives, to bring us to disaster.
Remember the forecasts that virus-related death-totals for the United States would range from as high as 10 million, to a low of 2.2 million? Thank God they were so, so wrong. Of course any death is too much death but we must separate fact from fiction. To stay shut until there is zero threat is unrealistic. That day will never come. But something will come if we stay shut too long. The danger is, hardly anyone is talking about the other calamity that may doom our nation. Thank God some are talking about it.
Thomas K. Duncan, Ph.D., an associate professor of economics at Radford University, and Audrey Redford Ph.D., the assistant professor of economics at Western Carolina University wrote an article entitled: How Shutting Down The Economy Much Longer Could Kill Tens Of Thousands Of Americans.
The article appeared in The Federalist today, March 30, 2020. Here is an excerpt from their article:
“The recession could be longer than some economists are projecting. If the economy does linger in its downturn, the human costs to the shutdown will inevitably begin to increase.”
The article suggests that there could possibly be “28,797 More Deaths from Opioids,” based on the following calculations:
“A 2017 National Bureau of Economic Research paper finds a 3.6% increase in the opioid death rate per 100,000 people (when there is a) 1% rise in unemployment. There were 14.6 opioid death rates per 100,000 in the United States in 2018. If we use the more conservative estimate of a 20% unemployment rate without a quick return to lower levels, then there would be an estimated 59.4% rise in deaths per 100,000, leading to an increase of 8.7 deaths for a total of 23.3 for opioids.”
If unemployment were to increase, then so would both suicide and homicide:
“The deaths related to economic downturns go beyond those from chemical dependency, also. The mental toll is not inconsequential. For example, Blakely, et al, (2003) finds that being unemployed may also increase the risk of suicide two to threefold. Milner, et al. (2014) similarly finds that unemployment is associated with a higher relative risk of suicide, with prior mental health issues being a key factor in that association. While a study by Kerr, et al, (2018) did not find that unemployment is directly linked to suicides, it did find a significant link between poverty, suicide, and alcoholism.
After reading the article, I came to a conclusion: I do not want to risk anyone’s life. We should stay home until it is reasonably safe. But our definition of safety must be weighed against the risk of death from listening to leftists who have other goals.
It is far too tempting for the Left. They have demonstrated a passion for three things to happen:
- They want desperately, above all else, for Trump to lose the election.
- They want to replace Free Market Capitalism with Socialism.
- And they want to weaken the church.
In order to accomplish these three goals, they have also demonstrated an amoral viciousness in their remarks against Trump and his handling of the virus pandemic. They simply can’t be trusted or allowed to make such a critical decision as reopening.
No one can look inside the heart of someone and truly know what goes on there. Jeremiah 17:9 says: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” We already know they believe America is so unfair and stupid that they will blame the failure of the economy on Trump and not on the virus.
But who knows? Their hatred may go deep enough to cheer on the destruction of our economy, just so the chaos will birth Socialism. Or, that the devastation will close churches for good.
Here’s the one I want to focus on. I personally know of many churches that cannot afford to stay closed much longer. I also expect that even if the arc of viral infection flattens, Blue State Governors will still push for keeping churches closed.
Sadly, theologically challenged believers will dismiss the notion that churches will be permanently closed because of this. They will quote Matthew 16:18, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
Of course, the universal church of Christ will not go out of existence, but I know congregations and pastors who will have to shut their doors if this economic shutdown goes on much longer.
To say that churches can’t be shut down for good is to deny the existence of underground churches all over the world that have already lost their rights and their buildings.
Churches provide a necessary healing gift. They stop suicide. Faith based ministries rescue people from dying every day. Only God knows if any have died since drug programs and outreach ministries have been shut down. There is no way to replace the human touch online.
If the virus becomes an open-ended political excuse—relying on models that are leftist and not scientific—then we have to do some deep soul searching. If we see our leaders are willing to allow the deaths that we know will happen from a dead economy—and closed churches—because they want to prevent the ones that might happen, then it’s no longer prudence, it’s politics.
Agree with me in fervent prayer for President Donald Trump. When to reopen America will be the hardest and greatest decision of his entire career. Pray for wisdom greater than any human intellect.