Fox News host Tucker Carlson struck a balanced approach between epidemiologists who would argue for shutting everything down to fight the coronavirus pandemic and those concerned that an economic recession and even depression could pose “its own kind of public health risk.”
Acknowledging the “major threat to the country” that coronavirus poses, Carlson pointed out the fact that there is “no clear consensus on how the country should respond.”
“That should not surprise you,” said the Fox News host on Monday night’s edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “People of good faith are working toward a couple of different goals tonight which at times collide with one another.”
While the “first obligation” is always public safety and should be accomplished if possible, Carlson pointed out that protecting the economy should also be considered.
“At the same time though, we need to protect our economy, and it’s not just something that Wall Street cares about, to be totally clear,” he said. “Economic decline is dangerous for everyone, especially at the bottom of the economy. It’s a legitimate human concern. It’s not just financial, it’s about families.”
The “two imperatives” can “often conflict,” the Fox News host contended. “So if you ask an epidemiologist what we ought to do next, the answer is simple: shut it down, close every public space until the virus passes.”
“From a public health standpoint, that makes sense, but what would be the consequences of doing that?” he asked. “Millions and millions of people would lose their jobs, some of them for good. We would enter a severe recession with mass unemployment and it could get worse from there. It’s not a joke, that could happen. You would see an awful lot of people in poverty in middle America and that poses its own kind of public health risk. Poor countries are never healthy countries. If you want great health care, you’ve got to pay for it and you have to have money to do so.”
Any proper response “requires balance” and is a “complex question” with “no obvious answers.”
Later in the monologue, Carlson warned against printing cheap money and eventually entering a situation where the U.S. “becomes Zimbabwe.” (RELATED: Jennifer Rubin: More Republicans Will Die From Coronavirus Than Democrats)
“It’s missing the point anyway,” he said. “The real imperative is saving jobs. For government bureaucrats and administrators and corporate H.R. directors, a month out of the office constitutes a vacation, but for the classes below, it could be the beginning of a long spiral, a real one. Of waiters, bartenders, retail workers, huge parts of the service industry on which we are dependent could see their income dropped to zero and not come back.”
Carlson called the “guaranteed basic income” proposed by Utah Sen. Mitt Romney a “well-meaning” idea but in actuality “decadent and foolish.”
“Name a place that’s become happier and more prosperous under a scheme like that,” he said before lauding the German system that allows employers to place their workers on “reduced hours” with the government making up the difference.