The outbreak of COVID-19 (commonly known as coronavirus) has created a global market downturn and raised the prospect that the United States could enter its first recession since the 2008 financial crisis. Last night, President Donald Trump and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered two competing approaches for securing both the health and economic security of the American people. While the president’s proposals would arguably do more harm than good, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats should be commended for swiftly developing a comprehensive and serious plan to effectively tackle the crisis.
During the last recession, Speaker Pelosi passed a stimulus bill that used a combination of deficit-financed tax cuts and government spending increases to boost the economy. With interest rates on government debt now below projected inflation, many are calling for her to now take similar action. The problem is that commerce is currently being constrained by proactive measures people are taking to limit the spread of a pandemic, not a lack of money in consumers’ pockets. Additionally, the coronavirus has disrupted global supply chains, which no amount of demand-side stimulus can alleviate in the short term. A unique economic problem requires a unique solution.