Gov. Cuomo Asks the Right Question but Gives an Absurd Answer

May 7, 2020 – Exclusive: Jim Breslo analyzes New York leader’s query, ‘How much is a human life worth?’

By Jim Breslo 

Finally, a politician had the guts to ask what has always been the most important question in the whole COVID-19 response debate: How much is a human life worth? It was New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who asked the question this week at one of his morning press conferences. “The fundamental question that we are not articulating,” he said, “is how much is a human life worth?” As he acknowledged, “There is a cost of staying closed. An economic cost and a personal cost.”

Cuomo is making an obvious point, but one that to date has not been adequately discussed or analyzed. Policymakers make this judgment all the time. They do so when they determine speed limits. They know that when they set a speed limit at 65 instead of 55, there will be more accidents and more deaths. But they balance the number of lost lives against the costs. Lower speed means less economic activity.

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