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Fri Mar 6, 2020, 05:06 PM

Coronavirus Matters, the Stock Market Doesn't, and Thinking It Does May Literally Kill Us [View all]

( Our country is very sick )

Jon Schwarz

March 6 2020, 12:38 p.m.

If you’ve been spending any time online or watching cable TV, you’ve gotten the message that humanity now faces two grave threats — a novel coronavirus and the crashing stock market — of roughly equal importance.

Yesterday CNBC’s Rick Santelli went further, staking out the position that stocks losing value is actually more terrifying than millions of deaths. “Maybe we’d be just better off if we gave it to everybody,” Santelli sagely explained. That way, lots of people would expire quickly, thereby removing the uncertainty that’s been plaguing investors.

It’s easy to criticize Santelli, but he was just taking the logic of America’s obsession with the stock market a few steps further than normal. For decades, whenever we’ve faced a choice between the reality of human beings and little numbers on a screen, we’ve always gone with the little numbers.


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