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WATCH: Mike Rowe Tells AOC, Cuomo ‘No Such Thing As Non-Essential Worker,’ Warns Of Lockdown ‘Unintended Consequences’
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 05: Mike Rowe discusses "Returning the Favor" with the Build Series at Build Studio on February 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

On Wednesday, former “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe rebutted the notion of so-called “nonessential” workers in the time of COVID and warned of “unintended consequences” of the lockdown, specifically massive cuts to healthcare and a false sense of security that’s deepening tribal divides.

Speaking with Rowe, The Blaze’s Glenn Beck highlighted Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo dismissing “nonessential” workers’ desire to get back to work to feed their families, and Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggesting Americans refuse to go back to work even after restrictions on the economy are lifted.

Cuomo and AOC are not appreciating the “dignity” of all work, Beck argued, American individualism, or the necessity for “nonessential” workers to reopen their businesses and get back to work.

Rowe, who’s highlighted so-called “essential” workers on his show “Dirty Jobs,” suggested there is no such thing as a “nonessential” worker.

“This conversation of essential work,” said Rowe, “and that’s what I wanted to say about AOC in the last block, and Cuomo before that. When Cuomo makes that distinction between essential and non-essential workers, it’s ironic for me to make this point because I’ve been singing the praises of essential workers for 20 years, but in COVID, and in an economy like this, when you take 26 million non-essential workers out of the equation, what happens?”

“The whole thing collapses under its own weight,” he continued. “I would suggest to you, right now, that there is no such thing as a non-essential worker.”

“It’s a view of work that I don’t share,” Rowe added, responding to Ocasio-Cortez’s suggestion folks refuse to get back to work. “It’s a view of work that I don’t understand, it’s a view of work that is rooted in the belief that the effort itself is the enemy of happiness, it takes work and turns it into nothing but a presupposed definition of drudgery.”

Rowe cautioned that one-size-fits-all approaches, including in the time of COVID, have pitfalls, adding that lockdown measures are already producing damaging “unintended consequences.”

“There’s a corollary, I think, between essential work and elective surgery, right?” he explained. “So we said no elective surgery because we want to make sure we have the capacity to handle the onslaught of COVID. Well, what happens? Mayo Clinic’s laying off thousands of people, hospitals — and again, this shouldn’t be controversial, it’s just a fact. Hospitals are in real trouble, because they don’t have any patients/customers.”

“You’re gonna find when you peel back all the layers of this onion, a giant ball of unintended consequence,” he warned.

“I don’t know exactly how deep it goes, but its gonna be everywhere, and I think also you’re gonna find really surprising corollaries. You know, I was just walking my dog this morning, and some woman looked at me — I wasn’t wearing a mask and I’m in a fairly rural area here — and she walked by and just shook her head, just gave me that look, you know? It’s just, we can’t help ourselves, this thing is falling into this tribal thing, and it’s a trap.”

“Maybe the grown-up in the room right now has to say, look the situation in Michigan is different than the situation in Florida. We can’t treat them identically, even if it makes us feel good to do that. There’s gonna be a consequence if we do.”


WATCH the full interview, below (relevant comments begin at the 13-minute mark):

Related: Unemployment Tops 30 Million As Coronavirus Crisis Crests

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