President Trump is promising a swift and seamless economic recovery if only the states will hurry up and lift their stay-at-home orders. “Those jobs will be back and they’ll be back very soon,” he said, reacting to last month’s horrendous spike in unemployment.
This is fantasy. Besides ignoring the health hazards of prematurely reopening the economy, Trump is raising false hopes among millions of U.S. workers whose jobs have vanished in the COVID-19 crisis.
In fact, getting everyone back to work once the pandemic is contained will be a huge challenge. It will happen in stages, not all at once, and it will require a well-focused national push to help less-educated and low-wage workers find new jobs, skills and careers.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration seems as woefully unprepared to grapple with this urgent task as it was to check the pandemic’s spread. That means Congress will have to deliver what we need: A full-scale, full-employment initiative in which the federal, state and local governments work in tandem with the private sector to upskill displaced workers, match them to openings in fast-growing sectors and lower obstacles to starting a business.
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