A GOP Indiana lawmaker said it was time for officials to “put on our big boy and big girl pants” and reopen the coronavirus-ravaged US economy — even if meant more Americans would die.
“It is policymakers’ decision to put on our big boy and big girl pants and say it is the lesser of these two evils,” Rep. Trey Hollingsworth told radio station WIBC-FM of Indianapolis.
“It is not zero evil, but it is the lesser of these two evils, and we intend to move forward in that direction. There is no zero harm choice here. We are going to have look Americans in the eye and say ‘we are making the best decisions for the most Americans possible’ and the answer to that to get Americans back to work, to get Americans back to their businesses.”
The two-term lawmaker, who has a reported a net worth of $50.1 million, making him the 12th richest member of Congress, acknowledged that people could suffer if the economy were to reopen too quickly, but asserted that the economic tailspin also caused suffering.
“Certainly the social scientists are telling us about the economic disaster that is going on. Our GDP is supposed to be down 20 percent alone this quarter,” Hollingsworth said.
But he added, Americans would bounce back.
“That’s the strength of this country. We have to understand that. We’ve got to get Americans back to work, back to their schools, and back to their churches. That’s where they want to be when I talk to them every single day,” Hollingsworth said.
“It is always the American government’s position to say, in the choice between the loss of our way of life as Americans and the loss of life, of American lives, we have to always choose the latter,” he said.
His comments echoed those of President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly called for the country to reopen to revive the once-roaring economy.
The top scientist on his Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has also warned that ending stay-at-home orders too soon could lead a new spike in cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
But Hollingsworth is not alone.
South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has refused to implement a stay-at-home order, which critics charge could have led to an outbreak Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, a charge she denied Tuesday.
“I’ve seen some national stories written that a shelter-in-place would have prevented this outbreak at Smithfield. That is absolutely false,” Noem said, adding that the plant would have remained open anyway.
“This is a critical infrastructure job plant,” she said.
And Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson questioned the experts’ opinions.
“The president was very unfairly criticized for just [saying] what is indisputably true: ‘We need to make sure the cure isn’t worse than the disease.’ And I am concerned that the cure is worse than the disease,” said Sen. Ron Johnson.
“If you’re a carpenter, every nail you see, the solution’s a hammer. The same may be true for epidemiologists.”
Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn agreed.
“I’m a big fan of Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx. I think they’ve done a great job,” he said, referring to Dr. Deborah Birx, another task force member.
“But their job is public health. We also need to realize that we can’t continue like this for a long time without there being enormous personal and economic consequences,” he said, Politico reported.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said last month that America’s elderly should be willing to risk their lives to protect the economy for their children.
“No one reached out to me and 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 its children and grandchildren?’” he told Fox News last month. “And if that is the exchange, I’m all in.”
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