January 17, 2021

Experts Debate How to Revive the Economy After the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a brutal toll on the U.S. economy. Job losses resulting from the health crisis wiped out years’ worth of gains, hitting women, people of color and lower-paid workers already vulnerable to economic swings the hardest. An estimated 60 percent of businesses — about 100,000 individual establishments — that closed their doors temporarily as a result of Covid-19 have shut down for good, and more may follow in the months to come.

It is going to be a bleak winter for many businesses. And although hope is on the horizon in the form of vaccines, the toll is expected to get worse before it gets better.

Given the limited number of initial doses and rising case numbers in the United States, “the reality is, December and January and February are going to be rough times,” Dr. Robert Redfield of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said recently. “I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation.” That means the economy will suffer as well.

As part of the DealBook D.C. Policy Project, The New York Times gathered a virtual panel of experts in early December to debate the priorities for economic policy in the months and years ahead. The consensus was that a huge aid package is necessary now to keep households and businesses afloat. In Washington, lawmakers said they were making “significant progress” in stimulus talks, but the negotiations hadn’t yet yielded a deal of any size. And once the pandemic has been brought under control and it’s safe for in-person activity to resume, policymakers must figure out how to fix a shattered economy — and better yet, to safeguard it against the next catastrophe.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/16/business/dealbook/economic-policy-debate.html

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