Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the Federal Reserve has probably done more to try to ease the financial pain of businesses, consumers, and institutions than just about any other organization on earth with their monetary policy. It’s lowered interest rates, purchased trillions of dollars of assets – some of which, like corporate bonds, it’s never bought before – eased bank capital requirements, and increased existing or created new lending programs to help Americans weather the storm and get back on their feet.
Now the president of the Minneapolis Fed and a current voting member of the Fed’s monetary policy committee is calling on people to suffer a few more weeks in quarantine in order to get the virus under control and the economy back on an upward trajectory – as if it weren’t on that already.
“If we were to lock down really hard, I know I hate to even suggest it. People will be frustrated by it,” Neel Kashkari told CBS’s Face the Nation program. “But if we were to lock down hard for a month or six weeks, we could get the case count down so that our testing and our contact tracing was actually enough to control it the way that it's happening in the Northeast right now. That’s the only way we’re really going to have a real robust economic recovery.”
“Now, if we don't do that and we just have this raging virus spreading throughout the country with flare-ups and local lockdowns for the next year or two, which is entirely possible, we're going to see many, many more business bankruptcies, small businesses, big businesses, and that's going to take a lot of time to recover from to rebuild those businesses and then to bring workers back in and re-engage them in the workforce. That's going to be a much slower recovery for all of us.”
If we take his advice and do another “hard lockdown” for six weeks or a month, how many more businesses will fail, and how many more people will be laid off or lose their jobs permanently in the meantime? Continue reading "Let's Move Forward, Not Back"