April 07, 2020
From Chris Farrell’s Op-Ed for The Daily Caller:
It took an act of political courage for President Trump to shut down the country and take the hit to our economy in order to combat the Wuhan virus. Soon it will take an even more courageous act for him to put America back to work.
The United States has responded in unprecedented fashion to the pandemic, with statewide lockdowns, business closures, social distancing practices and stay-at-home orders. The federal government has been placed on a war footing to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
Thankfully, the rate of increase of new cases has declined in many hotspots, including New York City, which expects to see peak new case numbers this week. Current estimates show that the country as a whole will pass the peak next week.
However, the economy has taken the worst hit since the Great Depression, maybe the worst ever. Unemployment has soared, GDP is cratering, and the stock market, while stabilizing, is down 20 percent from its historic highs in February.
The question is, how long can the United States put economic activity on hold before the temporary crash becomes permanent? The prevailing belief is that since the fundamentals were good before the pandemic, things will quickly snap back once restrictions are lifted. This is not an economic problem, it’s a biological problem with economic consequences. The consensus belief is that a $2.2 trillion stimulus will hopefully stem enough of the bleeding to get through the hard times.
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