Coronavirus

Andrew Cuomo's Morally Grotesque Rationale for Maintaining COVID-19 Lockdowns

Even the president is a better moral philosopher than New York's governor.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to show that he cannot be trusted to properly weigh the costs and benefits of COVID-19 lockdowns. While conceding the unavoidable tradeoff between lives and livelihoods, he insists that preventing even one death is worth any amount of economic pain.

"The faster we reopen," Cuomo told reporters this week, "the lower the economic cost, but the higher the human cost, because the more lives lost. That, my friends, is the decision we are really making."

Cuomo misleadingly implies that the economic burden of lockdowns—lost jobs, shuttered businesses, a precipitous drop in spending and output, unemployment at a level not seen since the Great Depression, tens of millions of Americans struggling to pay their bills and feed their children—is not a "human cost." Who is hurt by this suppression of economic activity? Robots? Policy makers should be trying to balance the interests of vulnerable people on both sides of this equation: medically vulnerable people who are especially likely to die if they get COVID-19 and economically vulnerable people who can't afford to sit on their couches and watch TV all day.

At least Cuomo said "the decision we are really making" involves accepting more infections, and therefore more deaths, as the cost of relieving some of this suffering. That will no doubt be true as legal restrictions on movement and work are relaxed, even as we try to minimize that cost through less sweeping social distancing measures, including both voluntary actions and more carefully targeted regulations.

But then Cuomo took it all back. "How much is a human life worth?" he asked. "That is the real discussion that no one is admitting, openly or freely. That we should. To me, I say the cost of a human life, a human life is priceless. Period."

Although Cuomo thinks "no one is admitting" that decisions about COVID-19 control measures require putting a value on human life (either implicitly or explicitly), some of us have been raising that point for months. Maybe that value should be in the neighborhood of $10 million—a figure often used to assess the cost-effectiveness of health and safety regulations, derived from the extra pay that people demand for risky jobs. Maybe the value should be adjusted based on how many years someone can be expected to live. But even if you think $10 million is too low or reject the idea of taking into account life-years as well as lives, the value cannot be infinite, as Cuomo has been insisting since March. "A human life is priceless" may sound like a nice sentiment, but its moral implications are grotesque. It requires us to ignore any amount of suffering that's not reflected in mortality statistics, as long as the policy that inflicts it can be expected to prolong even one person's life.

That is not the way regulatory agencies usually make decisions. If it were, the government would not only have to radically rethink speed limits; it would have to seriously contemplate abolishing cars altogether. It would have to insist on zero pollution emissions, no matter how much achieving that goal would cost in terms of productivity and living standards. It would have to ban all risky activities that kill even a handful of people each year, regardless of how much enjoyment or utility they provide.

Policies like these, of course, might lead to deaths from other causes, just as measures aimed at mitigating the impact of COVID-19—such as bans on potentially lifesaving "elective" surgery, or recession-inducing lockdowns that could drive up the suicide rate—might kill some people in an effort to save others. But if we take Cuomo at his word, the relevant consideration is the net impact on mortality and nothing else, no matter how many people are affected or how much they value the things they are forced to sacrifice.

That position is not just impractical but immoral. Even people who have qualms about a consistently applied utilitarianism should be willing to concede that there is something fundamentally wrong with Cuomo's approach, which implies that postponing one person's death by a few years is worth throwing millions of others out of work.

Even Donald Trump, for all his manifest failings, seems to be a better moral philosopher than Cuomo. Yesterday a reporter posed this question to the president: "It seems [there is] little question that, by beginning the reopening process and continuing it, there will likely be more cases of coronavirus, more deaths than there would have been had everything stayed shut down. Will the nation just have to accept the idea that, by reopening, there will be more cases, there will be more deaths?" Trump conceded that "it could very well be the case," although he alluded to precautions aimed at limiting the impact on people who are elderly or have serious preexisting medical conditions. Then he added: "We have to get our country open again….People want to go back. You're going to have a problem if you don't do it. If you don't do it, you've got a very big problem."

Trump's critics no doubt will portray that formulation as the crass elevation of mere economic concerns above "human life," which Cuomo informs us is "priceless." But economic concerns—the voluntary transactions through which people not only support themselves and their families but find pleasure and meaning—are also very much about human life. Pretending otherwise can only lead to policies that impoverish all of us in the vain hope of creating a world without risk.

NEXT: Michigan House and Senate Move to Intervene, and Petition for Rehearing En Banc in "Basic Minimum Education Case"

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  1. “it would have to seriously contemplate abolishing cars altogether. It would have to insist on zero pollution emissions, no matter how much achieving that goal would cost in terms of productivity and living standards. It would have to ban all risky activities that kill even a handful of people each year, regardless of how much enjoyment or utility they provide.”

    Way to give them ideas.

    1. Who knew that Cuomo has secretly been a sleeper agent for the Amish agenda all this time?

      1. Cuomo is clearly under the delusion that the government holds the power over life and death. Governors are the modern Gods of Olympus. Better be careful what you advocate or he will chain you in a cave to have your liver ripped out by eagles.

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          1. I am morally opposed to prostitution. sorry zstanley

        2. Please come and walk in to a New York hospital, with no personal protection.

          1. That taunt is played out. Try something new, like try to get healthcare when everyone’s dead…

          2. You mean walk into those empty wards that used to house those recovering from elective surgeries?

            Better than walking into the homes of those thrown out of work with starving kids.

            1. Yeah… we might feed you to our ravenous offspring.

          3. Good point. There are people there who are dying, and have died, of the virus! Who failed to keep these people alive, when every single life is precious!?!

            Sometimes bad stuff just happens, Victor. And to the asinine point you were trying to make, no one here is saying the virus isn’t real or isn’t dangerous, so unless you just hate anyone who disagrees with you, you’re not making much of a point.

          4. please walk into a heroin shooting gallery in NYC with no protection

            1. I tried a heroin shooting gallery once but I didn’t bring enough money to win the stuffed dragon.

        3. “Cuomo is clearly under the delusion that the government holds the power over life and death.”

          It’s not a delusion. It currently DOES hold that power.

          1. No, it only holds the power of death. For reference, see Mao, Stalin, etc.

      2. Not the Amish, the misanthropic Greens who favor forced human extinction to protect “the environment”.

      3. Not really. I know Amish. They have a “live, let live” view when it comes to dealing with those outside their religion. Inside the religion is another story.

    2. So, no more abortions then?

      1. Some lives are less equal than others…

        1. Spammers, for example.

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    3. No offense to the author, but that list is actually the Progressive Democrat goals so it’s not a great example of hypocrisy when they really do want to return the United States to circa 1800.

      In short, the far left has gone so insane that they have become impossible to parody or use in hyperbolic examples. Inevitably, whatever point you’re trying to make turns out to already be a thing in reality instead of just an absurd notion about the future.

    4. Cuomo is either a dummy or a hypocrite or, if I am to be as nice as possible, ignorant.

      If every life is priceless, we could shut everything down every year from Oct through May – exactly as we are doing now – and we could save 25,000 -50,000 lives from the flu. I guess flu victims of all ages, including children aren’t the lives he is talking about.

      1. I am actually starting to have trouble imagining that not being seriously proposed, and perhaps implemented, this fall.

        1. I agree in California all restaurant have to check everyone temperature and guest have to wash hand upon entering i think this will be a permenant feature

          1. To be fair there was a disturbing amount of people that didn’t (and still don’t) know how to properly wash their hands. It’s not the worst thing for people to do.

    5. Platitudes are always the strongest arguments.

  2. I say the cost of a human life, a human life is priceless. Period.

    Breaking news: Abortion now illegal in NY

    For the record: I am more “pro-choice”, then “pro-life”. But I didn’t say all life is priceless.

    1. But we’re talking about New York, and we already know what demographic uses abortion the most so how else is New York supposed to get rid of those ‘undesirable’ populations in the name of improving the human race through eugenics?

      Stop and Frisk is just a program for those that decided not to follow their advice on getting abortions, and if you get choked out by the cops for selling cigarettes in the parking lot that’s really just a late-term abortion.

      /sarc

  3. Didn’t we see a guy with an NYPD Officer’s knee on his head? That isn’t a human cost to this lockdown?

    1. Not one that a lick-spittle like Cuomo would give a shit about.

    2. Does this idiot really think the sky high death rate in New York is somehow not related to the stupid and high handed decisions he made? Does he think that somehow Covid just landed on New York and he and other bureaucrats just stepped forward to take the brunt of it? He and De Blasio did a shit job of handling it and he still even now wants to double down on the stupid?

      1. Covid-19 is all Trump’s fault-Get with the program!

      2. I think you have the wrong guy. Sounds more like you are describing Trump the chump who initially blamed the whole thing on the Chinese (and still is_. Likened it to a Chinese decease because they are dirty people. He was convinced no Americans would die from this as they are much cleaner and more superior. Now he is peddling backwards.

        Cuomo has done a thousand times better than clueless Trump. In fact, Coumo’s daily press briefings made Trumps idiotic press proclamations about consuming clorox look like the act of a sad, pitiful, ignorant baffoon.

        1. So you are the new DNC sock puppet?

          1. CCP sock puppet

        2. Yeah, Fredo urged people to go to Chinatown in the subway. He’s way more for restoring economic freedom and opening the country than stay at home Trump.

        3. You lost your /sarc tag

        4. So your standard for handling the pandemic well with a minimum loss of life is how you talk at press briefings? Oh, and how often you give them. So leading the nation in covid deaths per million is fine as long as your good at hand wringing, finger pointing, and grandstanding?

          1. YOU’RE dammit

          2. It’s how you sound, not how you do

        5. If you remove New York, which is the same area that sent covid positive workers back to work in nursing homes throughout March and April and only decided that was a bad idea 10 days ago, the US covid numbers are perfectly fine.

    3. “That isn’t a human cost to this lockdown?”

      Nope. That guy – ie the PROPERTY of the State aka a slave – was still alive. So NO cost at all.

  4. Better headline: Andrew Cuomo is morally grotesque

  5. His statement regarding how easing restrictions will somehow result in more infections and death, is, at least I think, very flawed.

    My theory on this is a bit different from what you hear in the news is a bit different as I think an entire class of people are being omitted.

    First, I think the virus has been widespread worldwide since at least December, maybe as far back as November (or earlier). Tens of millions have been exposed and are either symptomatic, asymptomatic or a *possible* third group I call “the cross immune”. We now have a good idea that millions more have likely developed antibodies without ever knowing they had it (asymptomatic), but I think there is a third class of people who already have immunity to it from previous exposure to other similar coronaviruses “cold” strains. They simply do not develop new antibodies to it?? We keep hearing how this is “novel”, but is that really the case? In fact can it be the case at all if the spread is what it looks like it is? Look at the Diamond Princess – there’s a huge cohort on that ship that never tested positive, but had to have been exposed.

    Therefore I hypothesize that as of now, the majority of people in the country have been exposed, through funnelling everyone to the “essential” businesses – and the decline in cases will be continual from here out.

    Something to think about, no one is really talking about that.

    1. More and more people come up with this stuff who had stayed home. It is pretty clear social distancing isn’t working.

      1. Probably, a lot to do with the sardine-like living arrangements in NYC – conditions that are unique in America. But I agree the whole social distancing thing is crap.

        1. The next step for tyrants like Cuomo will be a literal lockdown, as in do not leave your house at all and wait for delivery of your daily bread ration.

      2. I would say social distancing isn’t sustainable in the long run. But the shut sown fanatics seem to think its working just because numbers seem to be down. Without any empirical evidence how are we supposed to know?

        1. It’s really not possible to know whether the social distancing is working or not because we don’t know what the spread would have looked like without it. We have no “control group” to compare the “experiment group” to.

          The closest we have is Sweden and they seem to be doing OK. Slightly more cases than their immediate neighbors who did implement social distancing but not so much more that they’re all gonna die or some shit, which is what the lockdown fluffers seem to be assuming would have happened and will happen the second lockdown is lifted or even reduced. So I suspect it probably helps reduce the spread some, but probably not nearly as much as the chicken littles think.

          1. Sweden is doing a lot worse than Norway.

            1. And Norway will probably get fucked in the next wave because it will have a whole lot of people who weren’t exposed in the first one. Sweden basically chose to mitigate to the most vulnerable populations and take the hit early on so that their population will have built up antibodies and have some form of herd immunity later. People will still get sick, but the mortality won’t be as severe. That will definitely be the case if the virus mutates to a stronger strain; the same thing happened in the 1918 pandemic as well.

              1. I postulate there will be no “next wave” – and that as a practical matter, everyone has been exposed to this already one way or another.

                For all the “it’s not the flu” jibba-jabba, apparently using the 1918 spanish flu to support a “second wave” is ok because it fits neatly into the panic lock down narrative.

            2. Define “a lot worse.” Because I’d say we’re doing “a lot worse” than Sweden.

              Infection rates (# of confirmed cases per million):
              United States: 2,220.79
              Sweden: 1,368.61
              Norway: 1,288.27
              Denmark: 1,250.3*

              So, Sweden’s infection rate is ~6.2% higher than Norway’s, but ours is ~62.3% higher than Sweden’s. If 6.2% is “a lot worse” then we’re pretty much a dumpster fire in comparison. Yet we implemented varying degrees of “stay at home orders” while Sweden only issued “guidelines,” not orders to be enforced with varying degrees of penalties for violating. Of course, it’s also possible that a lot of the differences have nothing to do with lockdowns or not locking down and instead are driven by demographic differences, population density, amount of testing that’s been done, and who know what other factors.

              We really don’t have enough hard data to know whether or not “lockdowns” or “social distancing” mandates or whatever you want to call it are working, which was pretty much my original point. But that’s gonna stop the lockdown fluffers from claiming that they “know” for a fact that it’s working when really they’re just going on blind faith disguised as “science.”

              *for some stupid reason Reason’s commenting system won’t let me post links, I got those numbers from politifact. I guess jus tgoogle “number of covid 19 cases in sweden percentage of population” and look for the politifact article. And fuck you, reason.

              1. *not gonna stop*

                EDIT BUTTON!

              2. I ‘m a proponent of the Swedish model but confirmed cases is not a good metric. Too much dependence on testing. The best metric right now is deaths/million. The next best one is emerging but that would be the actual number of infected so we could accurately compute IFR.

                1. confirmed cases is not a good metric. Too much dependence on testing. The best metric right now is deaths/million.

                  I’m not sure how much better it really is. Death statistics have too much dependence on each country’s counting methodology (and realistically, even the methodology of the individual major cities in a given country).

                  And unless and until deaths are ever counted consistently, the death statistics going to create the same relative inconsistencies in infection fatality rates, even if we get to a point where we can accurately determine infection rates.

                  1. Ok Guys,

                    Each of you trashed the only data we have. So apparently no conclusions can be drawn.

                    Realistically, deaths per million is probably the best of a bad lot, we have this problem between countries with most health statistics. The classic example is mortality and average lifespan where we count infant deaths if they made it out of the birth canal and most European nations don’t count infant deaths until they have gone home or in some places made it to their first birthday.

            3. Not on a deaths per million basis. Germany and Sweden in fact have lower rates than Spain, France, Italy and the UK…

              1. So do Egypt, Mexico, Bangladesh, Singapore, Benin, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nigeria.

        2. Current thinking is that SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted usually by prolonged exposure, such as occurs in households, subways, and hospitals, particularly nursing homes.
          Waiting in line at Home Depot or running through the park isn’t going to cause a huge wave of infections.

          1. Yep open your windows and breath fresh air. I get a kick out of seeing people in their own cars while wearing a mask. Why? its f ing stupid in you own car. I live in a rural area, 5 acre lots. I saw a family going for a morning stroll they all had mask on why they were a family and they were outside its stupid breathing in you own CO2 is dangerous. Open windows people.

            1. And all virus’ are “killed” pretty quickly by exposure to Ultraviolet light. So any Chinese Virus-19 floating around outside, or on an outside surface during the day is “dead” (DNA strand broken) in a minute or so.

        3. We’re supposed to trust them, Comrade. Unquestioningly.

      3. Perhaps it’s more and more people just saying they stayed home. Is there any proof that they did? Before anyone jumps on the cell phones. My phone hasn’t left the house in weeks. But I have.

        As NY politicians double and triple down on their demands and enforcement, the less the citizens will be willing to admit any lack of compliance

        1. Yes, it’s hard to be sure how someone got it. You could stay home and have a neighbor bring over some cookies and have the person breathe towards you so you get it. Or it could be on the package delivered by the Amazon guy who exhaled on it. Or on a piece of mail that someone with it handled. You kept social distance but still got it.

          1. Not by breathing though.

            But it is conceivable that the Amazon guy has it, sneezed on your package, you pick up the package touching the sneeze then touch your face.

            1. Or you could pick up the package he just sneezed on and inhale deeply. Like it’s fine wine.

          2. This is why contact tracing is irrelevant and useless at this point.

      4. Even Cuomo admitted a few days ago that the rate of infection for those sheltering in place is higher than any other group so why maintain shelter in place when the facts say otherwise. he doesn’t give a shit he loves the power he has.

    2. Whether we are already at that stage or not, the only way to minimize the time the most vulnerable are exposed is to work this virus thru the population ASAP, especially via children. This is the way we always handled these things for widespread communicable diseases we didn’t have vaccines for.

      Even paralytic polio became epidemic only after we inadvertently stopped transmitting polio virus via our sewage. It was worth the tradeoff for eliminating cholera and dysentery and reducing hepatitis A.

      A vaccine against SARS-COV2 that works could take years. No matter how much isolation we practice, transmission of the unattenuated virus thru the population is going to (or already has) beat the development of a good vaccine.

  6. The government has dropped its case against Flynn

    https://apnews.com/ae1ad252bb13490db2ceffc5d17b6d92

    This is a big fucking deal. And the head prosecutor in the case, withdrew from the Flynn case and all of his other cases this morning.

    Holy cow DOJ might be held accountable for something. Ken White hardest hit.

    1. It took a while, but this was probably inevitable after Flynn’s legal team challenged the guilty plea based on the “fruit of the poisoned tree” issues they brought up with the Steele dossier. We have no way of knowing what all went on behind the scenes, but it’s pretty obvious by now that Democrat partisans in the FBI proceeded with malice aforethought and railroaded him because they needed a high-profile whale from Trump’s team.

      Strzok in particular needs to be dragged behind a speeding vehicle for the shit he pulled.

      1. I said that plea was complete garbage last year. And Mr Reason Board Member Ken Dopehat White called me a lunatic and sent his army of Twitter trolls after me for even suggesting it.

        Remember last week, White’s line was that it was wrong what happened to Flynn but he was still guilty and this is what DOJ does to everyone. Yeah, that is not looking so good this afternoon either.

        White will never offer any admission he was wrong. He has not a single shred of intellectual integrity. What a phony.

        1. Yep, White’s line is just what concerns me. I believe that “this is what DOJ does to everyone” and they normally get away with it.

      2. The legal team is winning based on withheld brady material, not the FISA issues.

        1. No. see the quote Fat Mike’s Drug habit gives below from the story.

          “The JDepartment said it had concluded that Flynn’s interview by the FBI was “untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn” and that the interview was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis.””

          That is the FISA warrant.

          1. You could read more than a single quote and see it was based on Van Grack swearing to Sullivan he had given Flynn’s team all brady materials which had a dump last week. Or just read one out of context quote. The federalist has been over this for months. Theyve written more than one quote.

            1. It was based on both. DOJ wouldn’t have mentioned the FISA warrant if it wasn’t part of the reason for their decision.

              1. Rosenstein’s memo wasnt regarding FISA, it was in regards to the depth of the special prosecutors office. The flynn wire taps were not a product of FISA on Carter page.

                1. THey were. They only interviewed Flynn because of the Page FISA case. That is part of the reason why they had a counter intelligence investigation at all. The whole thing goes together in one big mess.

          2. Van Grack has been under scrutiny for claiming to a federal court that he had turned over all relevant exculpatory informing involving Flynn — even though a slew of “exculpatory” documents surfaced last week.

            https://www.foxnews.com/politics/drops-doj-case-against-michael-flynn-in-wake-of-internal-memo-release

    2. “The JDepartment said it had concluded that Flynn’s interview by the FBI was “untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn” and that the interview was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis.””

      That from the Justice Department themselves, basically admitting “yeah the FBI fucked this guy for political reasons”. That is a god damned bombshell.

      1. DOJ never admits they are wrong about anything. They are total craven assholes. They are happy to get convictions they know will likely be overturned on appeal figuring they can at least destroy the defendant’s life and absent an appellate bond lock him up for a couple of years while the appeal is pending. That is what they did to the Eron defendants. For them to admit this case was bad and walk away from a plea deal is unheard of. I can’t think of a single time it has ever happened before now. Bombshell is the word for this. I am told CNN is losing its collective mind right now.

        1. Yup, 100%. Even if they think they’ll lose on appeal, the strategy is to circle the wagons, shut the fuck up about it and wait for everyone to forget that they fucked up. That strategy has a near 100% success rate.

          That they didn’t think that was viable this time speaks volumes. I predict some senior DoJ and FBI people are gonna have some sleepless nights ahead of them wondering when the other shoe is going to drop. This might be the biggest fuckup in the FBI’s history, and that is saying something.

          1. This makes me think there are some big size 12s looming out on the horizon that are going to drop. I thought that Flynn would either get the judge to throw this out or win on appeal. I would have never guessed that DOJ would dismiss this thing. That is just earth shattering and unthinkable. And it makes me think some other unthinkable things like people actually going to jail for this shit for once might happen.

            1. Question: has this ever happened?

              Has the DOJ ever done anything close to like this?

              I mean, they’re dismissing the prosecution of a guy who’s already plead guilty.
              Simply amazing

              1. To my knowledge they have not. I can’t think of a single example like this. The times I can think of that DOJ walked back on things were cases like Enron or Ted Stevens where the courts called them to the carpet. I can’t think of another time where they did it themselves without being forced by the courts.

                If someone can think of another example, I would sure like to hear it.

              2. Keep in mind that Flynn’s team started contesting the guilty plea the minute after it was put in, for the express purpose that by contesting it, they could start demanding the release of these documents. I think they figured out that the FBI was pulling a fast one in discovery and decided that was the most likely way to bring all this shit out into the open.

                1. Flynn’s NEW team started contesting the guilty plea. The OLD team turned out to be holding back on Flynn and aiding the FBI essentially because the FBI had dirt on them for something else.

                  This was a travesty on every level and should make us all wonder how much of the work done by the FBI is legit.

        2. If Trump is reelected, we just might see this thing get at where it all started – the Obama admin

          1. When Trump is reelected…

  7. Obviously he doesn’t really believe “I say the cost of a human life, a human life is priceless. Period.” any more than the global warming alarmists believe in their agenda; just as the warmists wouldn’t be buying sea level mansions and would be moving heaven and earth to get nuclear power plants built, so Cuomo would be moving heaven and earth to top the war on drugs and so many other statist fuckups.

    1. Never underestimate the ability of the rich and powerful to excuse away their use of modern miracle technology while also believing that the proles shouldn’t have access to it, or at the very least believing that they should have ultimate control over who does and does not have access to the marvels of the 1st world.

      If any of them gave a shit about ‘global climate change’ we would have already gone to war with India and/or China in order to keep them in the dark ages. Peasants don’t ruin the climate nearly as much as middle class consumers, after all, and there’s no rule that says the King needs to live as a serf.

  8. Once again, the side that claims to have Science on their side is engaging in magical thinking. It has never been about saving lives, slower or faster, the virus will take who it takes. Engaging in Cuomo’s conflations and fabrications is fallaciously arguing with a fallacious argument.

    1. Remember all the way back to three weeks ago, when the party of science understood that the areas of the curves are the same, regardless of their shapes?

  9. “But economic concerns—the voluntary transactions through which people not only support themselves and their families but find pleasure and meaning—are also very much about human life.”

    Economic concerns are the name we give to the actions done to maintain the lives of everyone in our civilization. To treat the economy as something beneath contempt smacks of the ancient bigotries against commerce as something honorable men did not engage in, at least not openly.

    1. you common trader you.. a merchant? how vile

  10. Even Donald Trump, for all his manifest failings

    See? Reason hates Trump. They can’t say something good about him without saying something bad. Total TDS.

    1. First person to bring up trump is once again sarcasmic.

      You’re broken.

      1. You do realize that that stuff in italics is a quote, right? Meaning the author brought up Trump with his backhanded compliment, which is proof that everyone at Reason voted for Hillary.

        1. Yes. And nobody was discussing the quote you posted so you could attempt to satirize you’re supposed enemies through shitty sarcasm. You dont realize how pathetic it makes you look.

          You’re broken.

          1. Nobody was discussing sarcasmic’s quote until you brought it up. Did you have a point?

            1. Yes, that you told us that you eat your own shit SQRLSY.

    2. They can’t list the failings. They are just assumed because that is what people think inside the giant beltway fart bubble reason inhabits.

      1. Oh I dunno. He’s an uncouth, bombastic, economically illiterate xenophobe. But other than that he’s failings free!

        1. So he’s like everyone else in DC, but without the insulting false pretense of respectability? It’s almost like he’s showing us what a clown show this has always been. What a monster! Without faith in public institutions, we’ll all shrivel and die!

        2. He’s certainly uncouth and bombastic, but his economic instincts are pretty good. We need to disengage from China a bit, both for economic and defense purposes. He has definitely back-footed them. Let’s just hope things improve enough in his second term that we can remove most of the tariffs.

      2. Trumpistas can’t admit the failings. You, for instance; care to mention any?

        1. Trump listened to the doctors and endorsed the lockdowns when they have proven ineffective and came too late anyway. It was a serious fuck up on his part.

          Just because you are a partisan retard doesn’t mean everyone else is. In fact, most people are not partisan retard and even the ones that are are rarely as big of a partisan retard as you are. You are a special partisan retard.

          When you use words like “Trumpista”, you are just telling anyone reading your post, “I am a partisan retard with poor reasoning skills and an even poorer vocabulary”. And what is even more sad is that you think using the word makes you look clever. It takes a heart of stone not laugh.

          1. That’s it?!?

            Damn you really put some hard work into avoiding everything else.

            1. And you waste your time socking when everyone knows youre the guy who eats his own shit.

            2. You ask for a criticism. I gave one. Your claim was “I couldn’t admit any”. So it wasn’t necessary to give a list of criticism only necessary to give one. Do you not understand what the word “any” means?

              Again, poor reasoning skills and a poor vocabulary seems to be universal among you people. I just disproved your point. Instead of conceding it and moving on, you whine that I didn’t give a list where only was called for or needed.

    3. Another of your brilliant “remotely libertarian” things that you constantly say.

  11. It would have to ban all risky activities that kill even a handful of people each year, regardless of how much enjoyment or utility they provide.

    Going to polls?
    Walking the streets of NYC?
    Abortions?
    Eating?
    Breathing (once the air gets back to normal pollution levels)?
    Buying lottery tickets?
    Texting?
    Giving NYC cops the finger?

    1. Life is a terminal disease with a 100% fatality rate. Ban all life.

      1. This thread is about Cuomo, not global climate warming change

        1. I don’t think Elvis survived Covid-19, sorry

          1. Elvis is real!

    2. Remy’s ‘People Will Die’ song is still relevant.

  12. But then Cuomo took it all back. “How much is a human life worth?” he asked. “That is the real discussion that no one is admitting, openly or freely. That we should. To me, I say the cost of a human life, a human life is priceless. Period.”

    You can practically hear all of the actuaries, laughing their asses off.

    1. unless you are drafted. then dying is your duty

    2. I’ve wondered all along… when it comes to policies during things like this (such as when lockdowns are justified, etc.), why are the main advisors not actuaries? This is exactly the kind of stuff they do- making models that actually have to work, and also take into account economic factors. The doctors and epidemiologists should be informing the actuaries, who then provide the numbers/risks to the policymakers. Asking an “epidemiologist” or medical scientist to call the shots in something like this is like asking a theoretical physicist to solve an engineering problem.

      1. I doubt that actuaries would have given any answer except “collect better data”. Until there is widespread testing of random samples of the population, no one has any idea how many undetected mild and asymptomatic cases there are, nor of the actual case hospitalization and fatality rates. At least one of the few random test series that has been completed (in California) seems to show that only 1 in 40 cases had been detected – and if that holds up, we might have nearly 100% of the people infected with about the impact of an average flu season.

        1. True. I guess I’m thinking more along the lines of developing a model that can use inputs once those become available. To start with, you can take the inputs from epidemiologists’ models for one scenario, and plug in other possibilities for other hypothetical scenarios, and determine what kind of actions are warranted for each based on costs vs. productive life-years saved. Then once the thing starts playing out and real data comes in, you can a) have some predetermined action plans based on how severe the thing turns out to be (i.e. whether the IFR looks to be closer to 5% or .5%, what age groups are at risk, etc.) and b) have a model that actual data can be plugged into as it is available. At the very least, you would have someone familiar with both statistical modeling and the concept of financial trade offs involved in the conversation. I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that showed that, even had the most dire forecasts about mortality and severity of this thing proved true, the actions we have taken do not make financial sense. People need to get over themselves and realize that every life isn’t infinitely valuable to anyone except maybe that individual. Lives have a price tag, and it’s really not that much (even for legal and actuarial purposes, I’m sure we vastly overestimate the value of an average individual life because “feels”). Yes, every individual has the right to consider their own life the most important thing in the world and act as they see fit to protect it at whatever cost they can afford or are willing to accept. But society as a whole can’t operate that way; no one is responsible for your life, health, or safety but yourself.

  13. “the decision we are really making” involves accepting more infections, and therefore more deaths, as the cost of relieving some of this suffering.

    You know, let’s just call off this whole Normandy thing. Someone might get hurt.

    /Gen D.D. Eisenhower, 5 June 1944

    1. OK, now THAT was funny.

      1. It wasn’t funny as much as it was poignant.

        After all, we have declared war on this virus haven’t we?

    2. yeah lol

  14. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to show that he cannot be trusted to properly weigh the costs and benefits of COVID-19 lockdowns.

    Can any of the clowns we’ve elected as governors?

    I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have called them clowns. It’s insulting to clowns.

    1. And their motorcades are made up of regular-sized cars. That isn’t any fun at all.

      1. Regular-sized cars? Have you seen an elected politicians motorcade?

  15. De Blasio and his commissioner just stated that the 1A doesn’t apply during a pandemic.

    1. De Blasio may very well be the biggest fascist fuckstick at any level of government in our entire country. The only person I can think of who might give him competition is the judge, Eric Moyé, who sent that hairdresser to jail for failing to show proper fealty to her “betters.”

      1. LOL! The Lt. Governor of Texas paid the hairdresser’s fine. I hope that unAmerican shitstain Moye feels the need to barricade himself inside his home because of all the hate directed at him.

        1. Last I heard she has had more the $450k in donations on GoFundMe also. The judge seems to have actually helped her out. Which I am sure wasn’t his intentions. But fuck him and Abbot has announced no one can be jailed now on Texas for not complying with stay at home orders.

          1. The judge seems to have actually helped her out.

            The totalitarians and leftists are so TDS and so wrong on the reaction to the lockdowns. They have completely blinded themselves to what is coming in November. They have lost every hardworking American including the minorities. It will be a bloodbath. There will gnashing of teeth and wailing of the women and everything.

            1. Wishful thinking.

              The original principal was that life is priceless you know.

          2. Are you sure that wasn’t his intention? $450k is enough loot for two.

  16. “A human life is priceless” may sound like a nice sentiment, but its moral implications are grotesque. It requires us to ignore any amount of suffering that’s not reflected in mortality statistics, as long as the policy that inflicts it can be expected to prolong even one person’s life.

    Ultimately though, a lot of the economic suffering may be reflected in mortality statistics. Many people who have been thrown out of work and had their lives turned upside down turn to alcohol, drugs, and even suicide from the depression caused by having their lives wrecked. So what Cuomo is implying here is even worse than at first glance: he’s implying that those people’s lives are less valuable than the lives of those who are more likely to die from COVID-19 such as aging boomers with pre-existing conditions who will more than likely be dead in a couple of years anyway.

    1. But more importantly, the lockdown is costing lives. At some point more will have been killed by the lockdown than will have been saved.

  17. “That, my friends, is the decision we are really making.”

    “I’m not your friend, pal.”

    1. “I’m not your pal, buddy!”

  18. That is not the way regulatory agencies usually make decisions. If it were, the government would not only have to radically rethink speed limits; it would have to seriously contemplate abolishing cars altogether.

    You probably shouldn’t give them ideas.

    It would have to insist on zero pollution emissions, no matter how much achieving that goal would cost in terms of productivity and living standards.

    That’s pretty much the exact argument that some people make for the “Green New Deal.”

    1. NYC doesn’t want to abolish cars. They want to make them so expensive to use that only people rich enough to fill the NYC coffers can afford to drive one.

  19. That is not the way regulatory agencies usually make decisions.

    Of course, NY agencies will have to after Andy’s Executive Order.

  20. If Cuomo really believed a single human life is priceless, he’d start bulldozing New York City and moving its population to Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas and Alaska. What Cuomo really believes is that he alone is fit to judge what a human life is worth. He believes he is God. Somebody needs to involuntary his ass, same as we’d do to anybody else so obviously insane.

    1. If Cuomo really believed a single human life is priceless, he’d start bulldozing New York City and moving its population to Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas and Alaska.

      Please, no. Those folks suffer enough through baking summers and snow-blasted winters, the last thing they need is a bunch of foghorn-mouthed New Yakkers bitching about the lack of drag shows and pizza shops.

  21. I think the thing is, people like Cuomo really do want to ban things like cars and have zero pollution. They just know they can’t implement things like that…yet.

    But this gives them hope that they can in the near future, seeing the sheep like attitude most of the public has taken.

    1. I think the thing is, people like Cuomo really do want to ban things like cars and have zero pollution.

      That may be the real reason that so many of them want to extend the lockdowns “until a vaccine or effective treatment is found”. They know that would take a very long time – so long that by the time the lockdowns are lifted we’ll never be able to get back to where we were, economically speaking, within most of our lifetimes. With so few cars on the road and so much less air pollution, this is as close as they’re likely to ever get to their preferred policy outcomes.

      1. It will not take to many more months of lockdown before the US is in a deeper depression than in the 1930’s, until many of the presently unemployed have no job to go back to. The last depression took WWII to emerge from. I wonder what war Joe Biden will start.

  22. “”While conceding the unavoidable tradeoff between lives and livelihoods, he insists that preventing even one death is worth any amount of economic pain.””

    That’s easy when a person firmly believes the COVID credit card will be paid by the feds. He’s on record saying he expects the feds to make NY whole. He expects the economic pain will be experienced by others, not him.

    1. If NYC had another 9/11, would anyone other than the urban fume huffers even give a shit at this point?

      1. I didn’t particularly care the first time, but what do you expect from a cynical asshole.

    2. Except the economy across the country is largely been ordered closed and is not producing wealth. Where does he think the Feds are getting money to float NY?

      1. Printing presses.

      2. Printing press? Cuomo is going to let the feds figure it out.

        Personally, I don’t believe the feds are going to cover everything. The little guy is going to get screwed. But the little guy in NYC will blame the feds for not paying for Cuomo’s actions. The liberal mindset is someone else must pay. For their rent, their food, their health, ect.

        1. He’s not alone.

          In the utopian world, extraneous costs don’t matter.

        2. Trump isn’t going to win NY state in 2020 anyway. What matters is how it’s perceived by the independent voter (the Ds and Rs are mostly settled on voting for whoever has the correct letter by their name) in many other states, particularly the “battleground” states.

  23. Poverty kills. 20% unemployment kills. Depression kills.

    How many those will kill compared to the virus is unknown, but those deaths are still deaths.

    “Any price to save just one life” should NOT be paid with other lives.

  24. I worked IT at a big oil company back in the 2000’s and stumbled across some files showing how much everything was worth to the company – ostensibly averages of lawsuits I’m assuming. Anyways, a human life lost on the job was 650k. Interestingly, a single finger or thumb cost the company 240k. Probably should double that due to inflation in the last 12+ years, but that’s still nowhere near 10mil.

  25. wait I thought the dude was going to be president.

    1. He certainly meets the primary qualification of being a lying, self aggrandizing, douchebag.

      1. tough to outshine your dad when he was a giant lol

    2. Trevor Noah sure has a chick-boner about the prospect.

      1. That by itself is a fairly strong argument in favor of voting for whatever turd sandwich the Rs put up.

  26. The saddest thing to think about is how his supporters will turn up to vote for him, pull the lever, and smile to themselves thinking how much more morally superior they are by voting for him.

  27. Would it be wrong to ask if any of the governors who want a longer lock down if they are taking a pay cut or if they are giving up their pay entirely as long as the lock down lasts?

    1. How about instead of suspending rents, we suspend all taxes?

  28. Want to see politicians and journalists call for an end to the lock down? Tell them they need to take a pay cut.

    1. Exactly!

      If they weren’t getting paid, they’d be just like the rest of us.

    2. I’ve been asking for weeks why government people are essential. They’re not, except the Prez in case we need to nuke someone.

  29. “…he insists that preventing even one death is worth any amount of economic pain…”

    Sarc or stupidity?

    1. Sure as hell not pro-life

  30. Contrary to Cuomo is this saying: “A human life is precious but not priceless.”

  31. Andy has that good authoritative voice , but lacks compassion for his fellow beings. Of course, if the economic pain is so worth suffering through then the Feds can tell him to screw off when MY tax $$$ are handed out.

  32. Even if the average life is worth 10 million there is no way the life of the average person killed by coronavirus is worth 10 million. If you asked your average 79-year-old with 3+ morbidities whether they’d eat a bullet for even 5 million you’d probably wipe out the nursing homes in a week flat.

  33. The thinking on this matter is definitely muddled at best.

    The stated strategy was to “flatten the curve” to prevent the overwhelming of healthcare resources. The idea was that the same number of people would get sick, but deaths would be reduced because all those at risk could receive optimal care.

    Not only have resources not been overwhelmed, it hasn’t been close. Which, if you are following their logic, means that they didn’t reach the optimal level of flattening. Because you’d want to get it over with as quickly as possible while still staying below the peak capacity of the healthcare system.

    Now they’ve shifted the goal. Now it is Cuomo’s “One single person gets sick and dies” benchmark. That’s nuts. Not just because it flies in the face of the stated strategy, but because it is entirely against nature. This virus is in global circulation. It isn’t going away. A certain percentage is going to catch it… globally. Until that happens, it won’t burn itself out. So this idea that we can just continue indefinitely until the virus is eliminated is not reality.

    1. If it’s like rolling out dough, they’re not flattening the curve any more, they’re just piling up a big hump at the edge where the isolation finally comes off.

    2. “Flattening the curve” was a lie from the get-go. It was somewhat obvious eight weeks ago. Now it is indisputable. Cuomo is just one of many exhibits in evidence.

  34. I am not going to vote any democrats. I am in NY.
    Human life is priceless? then why send infected to the nursing homes?
    Nursing home life is not priceless to Cuomo.
    And his own slide shows that 66% shows that lockdown leads to Covid. But I feel like you should include nursing home (22%). Nursing home people are by default quarantined. So 88%.
    A buffoon like De Blasio shouldn’t even be mentioned.

    1. The real crowning part of that story was the use of the powerpoint template where the border of each slide said “Stay Home, “Slow the Spread”, and “Save Lives”; especially on the slide showing that 2/3 of the recent newly hospitalized cases in the state of New York were people in the NYC area who were by all indications actually obeying the “Stay Home” part of that plan…

    2. Cuomo is working on the problem, IMHO, because he’s guilty of forcing nursing homes in NY to take patients with Covid even though they were unequipped to do so, resulting in lots of them dying. He’s trying to do his job after failing badly.

      Sullum needs to focus on Cuomo’s orders to nursing homes, you know the who, what, how and why they teach in journalism. After all Cuomo thinks one death is too many, and Cuomo has caused many deaths, so what could Cuomo do about it? Let him continue to make such decisions of course.

  35. We have no oil industry. We have no airline industry. We have no hospitality industry. We have no tourist industry. We have no convention industry. We have no automotive industry. We have no sports industry. We have no casino industry. The agriculture industry is collapsing. The trucking industry is collapsing. More than half of our healthcare industry is shut down. Hollywood is shut down. Decades old car rental companies are bankrupt. The nations largest retailers are bankrupt. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses are gone. Tens of millions out of work and the number is growing every day. Government has taken on never before imagined debt. The constitution has been suspended. A whole lot of the moving parts of the economy are frozen and a whole lot more are grinding to a halt.
    We can only imagine the damage as yet unseen.
    I’m frankly weary of reading articles about who fucked up when and by how much. What we know is that a majority of the media, politicians and general population got sold on a lie by a bunch of models created by Top Men even though it was obvious to a lot of us that this panic was bullshit from the beginning. The idea that governors and presidents can “reopen” an economy that is a shadow of what existed 6 months ago is not rational thinking.

    1. this is so true and now we need article about how do we fix it. but not Bs from governors on how they are going to let us reopen just reopen and now how do we fix all the latent problem of the companies that are gone. business don’t just suddenly reappear overnight it takes time and money and the money was already spent surviving this self inflicted disaster. the price of everything will have to come down and banks will just have to, this time, work with the business owners and home owners instead of just foreclosing on everyone without the Fed stepping in to prop them up

  36. This idiot is still pretending like government can just lockdown the population and make the virus go away. As long as the system isn’t overwhelmed, we have done as much as possible, no matter how many die.

    Meanwhile, the hospital ship was barely used and is already gone. It would still be parked in NY Harbor if there was even a 1% chance it would be needed.

  37. At what point did the public perception of “flattening the curve” depart from the reality of the concept?

    The whole point of “flattening” was to manage the rate of infection in order to prevent health care providers from being overwhelmed and the lack of capacity leading to additional deaths that should have been preventable. The entire discussion around it (especially by people who seem like they’re also proud of how long they’ve gone “without using math”, or would joke about such an accomplishment) now seems to be predicated on the fantasy that “flattening” was somehow going to prevent infections and possibly even somehow eliminate deaths altogether.

    How can anyone explain to an ignorant public that a curve that’s been flattened and is therefore longer is still likely to have the same area under it as a narrower and taller curve; with the area under the curve in this case representing total number of people infected? How can anyone explain to an aggressively ignorant pol such as Cuomo that the increase in infections following a “re-opening” is almost certainly made up of cases that might have been postponed for a while longer, but were unlikely to have been truly prevented barring the continuation of the lockdowns until such a time that an effective vaccine could be widely distributed?

    1. At what point did the public perception of “flattening the curve” depart from the reality of the concept?
      ———————
      Exactly the moment where it was obvious that 99% of the country didn’t have to worry about their systems being overwhelmed.

      That makes me think this has NEVER been about the virus, and it has ALWAYS been about November.

      At this rate I’m not sure the Democrats will even make it to the election.

      1. That point is exactly what has been lost. This was NOT about stopping the virus, it was a holding action until we could learn a bit more and make a bit of headway at putting systems into place to handle it.

        “where there was death, there will always be death”… sad but true.

        1. We are still a good year away from an effective and available vaccine. The same is true with anti-virals
          Newsom says CA’s restrictions will stay in place (perhaps loosened at bit) until there is a vaccine.
          Perhaps the D’s want a depression in November.

    2. But true believers think the gov will come up with cure or vaccination before too long. Just ask my CA neighbors. Gov shall set us free!

      1. So just like the vaccine for SARS, then?

    3. But flattening the curve has the advantage (for Cuomo) of extending the crisis. And a corollary to the politician’s “never let a good crisis go to waste” is “never let a crisis end too soon”.

    4. Amen, brother BG

  38. Rhymes w/Cuomo”insists that preventing even one death is worth any amount of economic pain.” This political ploy as about as stupid as they come (Biden excluded). If anyone agreed it may only be the family of the deceased and then unlikely. The devastation left in the “if only one survives” logic would be inescapable and destructive. Not sure how thankful a homeless city would be. Outright disgusting.

    1. And the shutdowns are definitely causing deaths too. So by the same reasoning, we must completely end the shutdowns immediately.
      Also by the same reasoning, we should always be shut down because there are always viruses circulating that kill people.
      So it’s a totally useless argument.

      1. every year 28% of people are axiomatic to the flue will we shut down every year, if not why not if it just saves on live. but this will be teh reason for vaccine check and temperature checks and vaccine passport to cross the street. many do believe its all about teh Vaccine money and teh control if brings with it, they may be right

  39. “Policy makers should be trying to balance the interests of vulnerable people on both sides of this equation”

    Policymakers (1 word, by the way) shouldn’t assume and abuse unconstitutional powers. There is no balancing necessary.

  40. “Andrew Cuomo continues to show that he cannot be trusted to properly weigh the costs and benefits of COVID-19 lockdowns.”

    This statement – and thus this article – BEGINS with a FALSE premise: that the STATE can “properly weigh the costs and benefits” of any actions for the individual. In other words, in declares the State can JUDGE *for* the individual. It simply claims that THIS State official has judged ‘incorrectly’ – and can NOT be “trusted” to make the ‘correct’ judgement FOR others at the point of a gun.

    Put simply, the author – and apparently Reason – proceed from the SAME *collectivist* premise as Cuomo. They just QUIBBLE over the ‘best’ way to PRACTICE that ANTI-individual principle.

    So much for “Free Minds and Free Markets”

    1. I agree with you. But I don’t think it is useless to analyse this from the normal non-individulaist person’s perspective. That is the assumption the government operates under and the issue you need to address if you want to change people’s minds. The pure individualism argument isn’t going to work for most people. We aren’t going to turn most people into libertarians, but we may be able to convince people that this is stupid and harmful. That’s what’s important right now.

  41. All I need to know about Cuomo’s effectiveness is that New York state has 6% of the U.S. population, and 33% of coronavirus deaths.

  42. Cuomo is right: this is just like the Ford Pinto: people just want to make a profit, no matter what the human cost is. It’s just greed on a larger scale.

    If people have economic hardship trying to save lives, then, that’s all the more reason we need UBI, Medicare for all, and the Green New Deal. That would be essential work.

    1. This has to be a joke, right?

      1. I don’t think it is.

        1. With a name like Earnest-o, how could it be?

    2. Yep forced essential work for those out of work getting more like China everyday. I wonder who really won that war. We sure didn’t.

    3. UBI and M4A are irrelevant to the question of how to handle corona virus.

  43. The issue I think is that many people think of the economy as some intangible, separate thing. They think that we are choosing between corporate profits and human life and they think that’s an easy choice.

    However, there is no “economy”. It’s just an aggregate measure of how everyone is doing. They think that “corporations” are the villains and so hurting them is good. They don’t think about Joe’s barbershop, Bob’s books, or Ling’s restaurant. People’s life’s work being decimated by this lockdown, and if we don’t open it back up soon, destroyed completely.

    1. All worth it. People will take their place.

      I have a friend (a big proponent of the lockdown as he makes 130k a year still) who was telling me about two of his friends who lost their jobs. He seemed to be flippant about it. ‘Yeh, collateral damage but….’ He feels no pain. He hears the damage but isn’t feeling it.

      Until people SHARE in the pain, this will continue.

      I’m at the point I think they only way it will sink in their fucken heads is if they lose their jobs.

      1. You don’t have to be personally not getting a paycheck to have some compassion.

        Cato forgive me, but when this started, my thought was that we were going to have many out of work folks needing a lot of help NOW, and that we would just have to deal with the consequences later once the dust settled.

    2. people do not realize that corporations are dependent on all the little companies that feed it. with out them the corporations stall as well its a terrible feedback loop that is hard to stop once started

  44. “The faster we reopen,” Cuomo told reporters this week, “the lower the economic cost, but the higher the human cost, because the more lives lost. That, my friends, is the decision we are really making.”

    We knew Cuomo is a low IQ twit. The issue was could it become evil? These people are the evil scientists in the comic books who want to save earth from itself. Basically what this fuckhead is saying:
    Starve them. Gee, where did we see this before?

    1. You, what do you own the world?
      How do you own disorder, disorder?

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  46. It’s an argument only a child would make. He and others of his ilk are delusional.

  47. Does ANYONE remember the “Science”?

    The “false choice” between “lives and money” is a false choice. A big lie… that no one is refuting, even in this article in REASON.

    The rationale behind quarantine and “shelter in place” was excruciatingly explained to us in the beginning: to “flatten the curve”… that is, to DELAY infections so that hospitals weren’t overwhelmed. Overwhelmed hospitals were what would lead to more deaths. Additional infections were INEVITABLE sooner or later.

    As long as measures are taken to avoid saturation of the medical system: additional ICU capacity, PPE, distancing, and yes, the reimposition of quarantine where and when necessary, there ARE NO additional infections or deaths from reopening.

    Unfortunately, articles like this just play Cuomo’s game by making it a choice between precious life and filthy lucre.

    1. I’ll take ‘filthy lucre’ for $2000.

  48. This “saving one life is worth it” metric is stupid, even for Cuomo. If that is the new standard, he should ban all cars in New York. After all, how many people die in car accidents in NY each year? Surely they should all be banned from the roads for the sake of just one life.

    1. Or just nuke NY.

      1. That’s step 2. Step 1 is that 49 states secede.

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