To the editor:
Over the past several years, many owners of New York City yellow cab taxi medallions have committed suicide because the worth of these heavily financed medallions have plummeted in value from more than $1 million each, to about several hundred thousand dollars.
At one time, owners of these then-coveted (limited-in-number) objects were considered financial geniuses because they had bought these medallions at a low price that then had rapidly appreciated in value.
Then circumstances changed. Uber and Lyft came along, and the monopoly business these medallion owners once possessed disappeared. Their income decreased enormously, as did the worth of their once-prized medallions.
And so we now have an ever-increasing number of suicides in the medallion cab industry because these unfortunate souls cannot pay their bills.
They found themselves in this horrible situation because they had made an unfortunate business decision by putting all their eggs in one basket. It was great on the upside, but disastrous on the downside. But as sad as it was, it was their decision that led to their present situation, and to the rash of suicides.
But if the horrendous coronavirus pandemic that we are currently experiencing causes the countless businesses, both large and small that are the lifeblood of this great nation, to be forced to remain closed much longer, then the number of suicides in this country will increase enormously. Not to mention the overwhelming outbreak of mental health issues that will plague this nation.
At the time this letter was written, there were more than 26 million people unemployed through no fault of their own, or because of any decision they had personally made. This momentous decision was made for them by the U.S. government, based on the medical information it had at the time.
These 26 million people now find themselves in a horrible financial position where there is little or no money coming in to pay their bills. Many of them live paycheck to paycheck. Their stress and anxiety is enormous.
People are fortunate enough to be considered “essential” workers, have safe, secure jobs such as teachers and politicians, or are retirees who receive pensions. These very fortunate people whose income is unaffected can afford to sit by and comment sanctimoniously, “We shouldn’t allow anyone to go back to work until we are absolutely certain that nobody will die by doing so.”
Their desire is certainly a worthwhile goal, but it is unrealistic and unreasonable. There is absolutely no certainty in life, except death, taxes and corrupt politicians. Now that the medical situation in this country has improved enormously, we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, or the cure be worse than the disease.
People will die one way or another.
It is not time to allow people to back to work and earn a living. Financial ruin will be averted, and many, many, many lives will be saved.