To the people who earn a living from them, every job is essential.
That doesn’t sit well with Mike Rowe, host of the web-based reality series “Returning the Favor” and an advocate for the hard-working folks who keep the America running.
The former “Dirty Jobs” host appeared on Fox News’ “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino” on Tuesday and was asked for his take on the Democratic governor’s statements late last month in regard to people who have lost their jobs.
“You want to go to work? Go take a job as an essential worker,” Cuomo said of protesters concerned about the government-imposed shutdown’s effects on their livelihoods.
“You can get a job as an essential worker,” he said.
“So now you can go to work, and you can be an essential worker, and you’re not going to kill anyone.”
Perino asked Rowe what he thought of those remarks, noting that many people are “put off” by politicians deciding their jobs are either “essential” or “nonessential.”
“Well, can you blame them?” Rowe replied. “When I was doing ‘Dirty Jobs,’ things were flush and very few people were paying very little attention to these anonymous, unsung workers who were making civilized life possible for the rest of us.
“Well, we’re in a different world right now,” he added. “People got the memo.”
Rowe explained that millions of people are out of work because of government action, “but if you look at the impact of removing those workers from our economy — our macro economy — you can see that they’re absolutely essential.”
Speaking about the impact of using such binary classifications for workers, Rowe said:
“This is one of those instances where the headlines have caught up to our vernacular and if we don’t make some tweaks to our lexicon, we’re going to wind up sounding really — oh, what’s the word — stupid.”
Rowe does think it is possible to safely reopen the economy.
“Well, it’s not just that we can do it, we have to do it,” he said, using Fox host Greg Gutfeld’s metaphor to explain the conundrum.
“We’re trapped in a prison of two ideas: the idea that releasing the lockdown is somehow going to be irresponsible, and extending the quarantine is going to be cowardly. These are bad choices,” Rowe said, “but it’s what happens when we dispense cookie-cutter advice.”
Rowe talked about his “safety-third” theory, reasonably weighing risks and rewards equally to make a decision.
His theory is in stark contrast to Cuomo’s relentless belief that locking down the state is worth it if even one life is saved, regardless of the economic or lifestyle destruction that occurs in the process.
“Not to pile up on the governor,” Rowe began, “but a couple weeks ago he said another thing that really snapped my neck.
“He said ‘no measure, no matter how drastic or draconian should be deemed unjustified if it saves a single life,’” Rowe said, paraphrasing the governor.
“The notion that nothing in the country is more important than staying safe, that’s not something common-sensical people embrace,” Rowe added.
“That’s something you hear from people who are trying to sell you something or politicians who are trying to get re-elected.”
Cuomo has indeed continued to take this approach.
“There is no dollar figure to a human life,” the governor tweeted Tuesday. “New York will reopen (by region) when it is safe to do so.”
There is no dollar figure to a human life.
New York will reopen (by region) when it is safe to do so.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 5, 2020
Rowe is absolutely correct about politicians like Cuomo who tell residents that their jobs are suddenly “nonessential” only by virtue of government edict.
The fact of the matter is that all jobs are essential to the people who earn livings from them, and the pain caused by being prevented from working cannot be ignored.
Furthermore, Cuomo advising people to simply take “essential” jobs, as if it is that easy in the middle of a pandemic, is as condescending as former Vice President Joe Biden telling coal miners to “learn how to program.”
Mike Rowe is right — putting safety above all else is not a principled philosophy, but rather a tactic of power-hungry politicians like Cuomo.
It’s time to empower struggling Americans by giving them the chance — and more importantly the freedom — to get back to work.