James Rowen
Op Ed

Wear a Mask, Boost the Economy

Goldman Sachs study: for every day you wear a mask the GDP will be boosted by $56.14.

By - Aug 24th, 2020 04:54 pm
Man wearing a mask. Pixabay License Free for commercial use No attribution required

Man wearing a mask. (Pixabay License).

Allegedly-conservative Republicans purport to regularly do what helps the economy, yet have re-opened it in Wisconsin and other states which they control without embracing common-sense health-and-fiscal measures to rein in an historic viral pandemic. And that has economic consequences.

Fresh, easy-to-understand calculations show the long-range benefits and daily per-person dollar support for the economy created by wearing a mask:

Calculations from Goldman Sachs, a bank, suggest that a 15 percentage-point rise in the share of the population that wears masks would reduce the daily growth of cases by about one percentage point. That obviates the need for lockdown measures that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from gdp. The Economist took those calculations a step further.

According to our reckoning, an American wearing a mask for a day is helping prevent a fall in gdp of $56.14. Not bad for something that you can buy for about 50 cents apiece.

Yet Wisconsin’s Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and others on the right are content with throwing that money away as the costly-positive-COVID-19 case load in Wisconsin has surpassed 70,000, plus the incalculable losses to families, businesses and communities from more than 1,000 dead Wisconsinites. Fitzgerald has a novel approach to wearing life-saving masks during a pandemic, opposing Gov. Tony Evers‘ mask order and pushing the Legislature to strike down the order. “I think things are going well now,” he said while noting that at some campaign events, no one in the room was wearing a mask, while at others, as many as 50 percent are masked.”

You might think that Wisconsin’s GOP Senior Senator and accounting whiz Ron Johnson could grasp those monetary calculations from the Goldman Sachs study, given his other COVID-19-related money and numbers’ expertise. But no, this is the politician with the Onion-esque ghoulish headline on his resume:

GOP senator says only small percentage of population might die of coronavirus

Spoiler and perspective alert: that any small percentage of 3.4% equals 11 million dead Americans.

And Johnson has said people didn’t have a right to housing, food and health care because those were “privileges.”

And his latest statement on stimulus negotiations: “I hope the talks remain broken down.”

My guess is he won’t be embracing the results of the mask wearing study.

James Rowen, a former journalist and mayoral staffer in Milwaukee and Madison, writes a regular blog, The Political Environment.

More about the Coronavirus Pandemic

Read more about Coronavirus Pandemic here

More about the Statewide Mask Mandate

Read more about Statewide Mask Mandate here

Categories: Economics, Health

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