Opinion: There Are NO Non-Essential Jobs

Unemployed people, numbering about 5,000, wait outside the State Labor Bureau which houses the State Temporary Employment Relief administration in New York City, Nov. 24, 1933. The crowd began to gather at 5 a.m. to register for possibly 90,000 federal relief jobs during the Great Depression. (AP Photo)

A few short weeks ago, the evil Wuhan Virus arrived on our shores and is now killing hundreds of Americans each and every day. Although the jury is still out, there are some possible indications that, when all is said and done, American fatalities could end up well under those resulting from our annual Flu pandemic. That discussion is for another day.

The focus of this article isn’t on the direct medical effects of this scourge, rather its indirect effects as manifested in the government response to it, from the local level through state and up to the federal government. Some of these responses are unarguable…fast-tracking contracting and acquisition authority to get more ventilators into the field, waiving certain drug test procedures to get possibly helpful medication out to the public more quickly, even tasking the various State National Guard units to set up temporary hospital facilities. All of these responses appear to be beyond reproach.

Now come the restrictions on the behavior of us ordinary citizens. Depending on the state governor involved, such restrictions can run the gamut from voluntary “social distancing,” to official limits on movements, gatherings and commercial activities…limits enforced by the threat of fines and/or imprisonment. Even enumerated Constitutional rights are at risk; witness the attempted closure of gun stores by Blue State politicos.

These limits are often couched in what might sound like reasonable terms, “All public activity is to cease with the exception of ‘essential services’ or ‘essential jobs.’” On its face, this might seem a reasonable response. Call me paranoid, but I do get very nervous when I hear governments use the descriptive, “reasonable” when referring to an increase of government power or additional limits on my rights. What bothers me, in this particular case, is that these “reasonable” restrictions are being promoted as though, in this situation, we must make a choice between the economy and the lives of our fellow Americans.

In this evaluation, the left defines “the economy,” as corpulent CEO’s who merely wish to add to their fortunes no matter the risk to their employees and customers. This meme goes something along the lines of “not one life lost to sustain corporate greed.” Like most things the Left gets involved in, their evaluation is exactly…backwards.

The CEO’s of large corporations and all the other folks at their income level are doing just fine during this troubled period. Government employees and other folks on salaries being floated by corporations big enough to allow for that are also doing just fine. However, the folks who the left purports to care so much about, those hourly wage workers, many in service industries and making not a whole lot more than minimum wage…are surely not just fine.

These are the folks who are living paycheck to paycheck. These are the folks who, if they miss an hour, day, week or month of work, they don’t get paid. These are the folks that for each day of government-mandated idleness, lose a day’s wages…wages that they can ill afford to go without. These are the folks who if they walk out their front door to drive to work in the morning and find 4 flat tires, are financially devastated for months afterward.

To these people, their jobs are quite essential. The idea that their livelihoods can be taken away, perhaps never to return by the government, needs some sober contemplation. I understand the need for certain measures to fight this attack on America and Americans. However, I have real heartburn with an attitude demonstrated by some of my fellow American citizens and our elected representatives, that declares any American’s livelihood, “non-essential.” Food for thought.

Mike Ford
Mike Ford, a retired Infantry Officer, writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters. 
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