I want to discuss a touchy and controversial subject. I’ve tried not to use this site for that purpose, but what you are about to read needs to be said and shared. I believe there are some very kind, compassionate, and well-intentioned people who are trying to protect lives, while not considering all the factors, and those good intentions will end up costing more lives than the ones they’re trying to save.
According to UNICEF and the WHO, an estimated 6.3 million CHILDREN under the age of 15 died in 2017 from poverty related deaths[i]. So, I want to speak to the people who keep bashing everyone who brings up the topic of opening the economy.
Poverty will kill more people this year than COVID-19; that’s an undeniable fact. Talk of opening the economy is not a comparison of “lives with money”, as so many good-hearted yet ill-informed protesters have called it. It is a comparison of “lives with lives,” and we need to understand that the topic of opening the economy is not an insensitive plea to “make me rich.” It is a heartfelt cry for the lives of all those who will fall prey to something much more lethal—poverty.
Is there risk involved in making this decision? Absolutely!!! Just like there is risk involved every time we get behind the wheel of our vehicles. In large part, we are putting our safety and well-being in the hands of others, believing they are looking out, not only for their own safety, but also the safety of those around them. However, we don’t expect the government to take away our right to drive even though there are over 6 million car accidents every year, including nearly 33,000 fatalities[ii]. We don’t stay at home or decide to walk or ride our bikes everywhere because of our fear of being the victim of or even the cause of one of those 6 million accidents. We decide to get in our vehicles and do the best we can to ensure our safety and the safety of others.
We’re all required to make “risky” decisions in our lives. Some of those decisions will require a cost no matter what we choose, and those instances require us to decide which will cost less. When you factor in lives, it makes the decision much trickier because lives are always more valuable than money! If it was a decision of saving lives or making more money, it would be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy. We are facing 2 killers—COVID-19 and poverty. We must decide which will take fewer lives and pursue that decision, as difficult as that will be. But to do nothing is to choose poverty which will kill millions of children, adults, and elderly, compared to the 10s of thousands that might be lost to COVID-19.
While this post has only taken poverty into account, there are many other factors in this debate that are not being considered, such as the rise in mental health cases[iii], drug overdoses[iv], alcohol abuse[v], and the more than doubling of domestic violence related deaths [vi], which are all consequences of keeping Americans locked down and unemployed. It is vital that we consider all factors involved in a situation like this before we cast stones at those we deem “heartless and insensitive,” because those people may be the very ones who save your life.