Did The NYT Just Argue We Should Keep People Unemployed To Reduce Income Inequality?


There is no pleasing the author of an article Wednesday in The New York Times.

The coronavirus pandemic and government-ordered shutdowns have had a disproportionate impact on the financial prospects of minorities and low-income Americans, writer Jim Tankersley insisted.

However, reopening the economy would expose these groups to greater harm than those in higher income brackets, Tankersley wrote.

In “Job or Health? Restarting the Economy Threatens to Worsen Economic Inequality,” the writer maintained that the pandemic exacerbates income inequality during the lockdown and will do so even more if we reopen the economy.

He has therefore rigged the argument to proclaim our American society and economy just aren’t fair.

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We must self-flagellate if the economy is closed and then self-flagellate again when we reopen it.

“It is a pick-your-poison fact of the crisis: The pandemic recession has knocked millions of the most economically vulnerable Americans out of work,” Tankersley wrote.

Hence, we would assume, we should let them go back to work, right? Not so.

“Rushing to reopen their employers could offer them a financial lifeline, but at a potentially steep cost to their health,” he said.

Do you trust The New York Times?

This wasn’t labeled as an opinion piece, and Tankersley is billed as a reporter who “covers economic and tax policy.”

The next line in his bio, however, betrays his bias: “Over more than a decade covering politics and economics in Washington, he has written extensively about the stagnation of the American middle class and the decline of economic opportunity.”

There is one steady theme we can count on when progressives discuss our free enterprise system: American society is unjust no matter what we do.

If we reopen the economy, it will help the affluent more, in Tankersley’s view.

“That push is likely to exacerbate longstanding inequalities, with workers who are college educated, relatively affluent and primarily white able to continue working from home and minimizing outdoor excursions to reduce the risk of contracting the virus,” he wrote.

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“Those who are lower paid, less educated and employed in jobs where teleworking is not an option would face a bleak choice if states lift restrictive orders and employers order them back to work: expose themselves to the pandemic or lose their jobs,” Tankersley said.

“That disempowered group is heavily black and Latino, though it includes lower-income white workers as well.”

He managed to leave out the seminal statistic regarding the impact of the pandemic: The coronavirus has struck most viciously and fatally according to age, rather than race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those age 65 and above have experienced much higher fatalities from COVID-19 alone, or with additional health complications, than those who are in younger age groups.

But the left generally does not care much for older Americans, especially when they’re in the way of an argument about supposed economic injustice.

“In New York City and across the country, black and Latino Americans are dying at higher rates from the virus than whites,” Tankersley wrote, clearly omitting the fact that in America and around the world, seniors are suffering more than any other group or category during this pandemic.

Moreover, when the Trump economy set employment records for blacks and Latinos, progressives still touted “income inequality” as a major problem. Even the lowest unemployment results in 50 years did not satisfy Democratic candidates vying for the presidential nomination; each of them insisted the Trump economy was not good enough.

The phrase “income inequality”  is a catch-all: There has always been and will always be income inequality. Even communist countries did not end inequality. As long as there are unequal talents and an unequal work ethic — that is, human nature itself — we are stuck with income inequality.

That is why it is a useful phrase for the left: It justifies the envy and greed the lower classes can feel for those who are richer; it justifies looting the labor of the achievers to spread the wealth to those who achieve less, as is the basis of most government programs.

There is also another inconvenient fact that must be considered: Government interference in the economy is usually just as bad or worse than the ills it attempts to cure.

The recent federal and state government mandates to battle the coronavirus turned a booming economy into a depression.

The economy Trump created before the coronavirus allowed Americans to help themselves to a higher economic status: all people, all groups.

We just tossed away the recipe for economic success.

If all people in low-income groups fully grasp that their socioeconomic status is in their own hands, they will have no need for smug writers and politicians who perpetually lament the phantom of “inequality.”

These progressives perpetuate a paralyzing mindset of victimology and dependency rather than an empowering worldview that emboldens individuals to take full advantage of the abundant opportunities in this plentiful land.

Every American should go back to work as soon as possible so we can return to the remarkable pre-coronavirus prosperity of the Trump economy.

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Grace Vuoto is a columnist and pundit. She was an editor at The Washington Times and a professor. Her former radio show, “American Heartland with Dr. Grace,” was nationally syndicated.
Grace Vuoto is a columnist and pundit. She was an editor at The Washington Times and a professor. Her former radio show, “American Heartland with Dr. Grace,” was nationally syndicated.