I'd like everyone to think a bit more about this proposal.
See this first: http://www.levyinstitute.org/publications/the-economic-response-to-the-coronavirus-pandemic
I admit that things have deteriorated greatly in the 5 days (!!) since we wrote that piece.
People need free testing; free medical care; debt relief; paid sick leave (NOT Pelosi's bait and switch, which excludes 85% of all workers--thanks Nancy for excluding Wall Street and megacorps).
Many have lost their jobs (some permanently); many are losing their small businesses.
They need additional help--expanded and more generous unemployment compensation for example.
The homeless need special attention, more urgently than pre-crisis.
"cash" should be targeted; care and compassion should be indiscriminately supplied.
A small BIG is not the answer. As the virus spreads, infecting perhaps 2/3 or 3/4 of the population, putting cash into everyone's hands is not the answer.
It is the "free market" solution favored by Silicon Valley and others who think we will eliminate most workers and just turn them into consumers who are otherwise detached from the economy and the political system. As Naomi Klein put it, this is shock
doctrine--and the virus is the perfect shock to implement the doctrine.
More cash indiscriminately handed out + loss of maybe half or more of the labor force + disruption of global supply chains = significant fall of output = ???
This is a REAL crisis, not a situation of insufficient aggregate demand. More cash will not get more people onto airlines or into restaurants. We are a service sector economy. Much of that requires physical proximity.
L. Randall Wray
Senior Scholar, Levy Economics Institute
Professor of Economics, Bard College
Emeritus Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Co-editor Journal of Post Keynesian Economics
ISSN 0160-3477 (Print), 1557-7821 (Online)
Please make note of my new email address as I will be transitioning all email to:
Great idea, Tim.
It would be great to have such a letter composed, and circulated widely for signatures, by the members of AFEE, which is, as I often say, an (American based) international group of scholars in the tradition
of those who fashioned the New Deal and Great Society. Of course, signatures would not be limited to AFEE members.
I also think this should be done in a nonpartisan way.
And, since the crisis is global, perhaps we should see if members of our sister organizations in Japan (JAFEE) and Europe (EAEPE) want to pursue similar letters in a coordinated fashion.
Iím willing to contribute input.
Tim: Donít worry about your rank as a social or professional influencer, just draft something and share it for comment. If you build itÖ ;
Can we get an open letter started calling on the government to get money to families directly? There is a proposal for 850 billion in emergency funds. That's enough to give every man woman and child $2500. Can someone more influential than I am start an
open letter calling for the government to send households money directly. So a household of 4 would get $10k. A household of 2 would get $5k.
This would be incredibly popular and it would actually help the people.
I know there are people on this list who could organize something like this. Retail workers are terrified, as are so many Americans. Perhaps this is something we could do to help.
Timothy A Wunder
Clinical Associate Professor of Economics
Department of Economics