The Federal Reserve appears to be not just the first but the only instrumentality of the federal government to actually do something significant in response to the coronovirus. Since this is overwhelmingly not a monetary policy but a public health problem, this is really, really, really, really not how things should be: Claudia Sahm: U.S. Economic Policymakers Need To Fight The Coronavirus Now https://equitablegrowth.org/u-s-economic-policymakers-need-to-fight-the-coronavirus-now/: 'The Fed['s]... policy tools... are too blunt to help the people who need it most. People in our country are getting sick, and the most vulnerable workers could lose their jobs if they are too ill to show up. Monetary policy cannot address this gaping public health problem. Yes, the Fed might calm financial markets some. Yes, the Fed might help businesses and borrowers who are taking on debt. The Fed is doing its part, doing what it can. But it needs help. Chair Powell made that clear before the cameras, saying: "The virus outbreak is something that will require a multifaceted response. And that response will come in the first instance from healthcare professionals and health policy experts. It will also come from fiscal authorities, should they determine that a response is appropriate. It will come from many other public- and private-sector actors, businesses, schools, state and local governments.... This morning’s G-7 statement... reflect[s] coordination at a high level in a form of a commitment to use all available tools..." What can the federal government do? Here is my proposal, grounded in more than a decade of research and forecasting at the Fed. Act fast. It is time for the federal government—all parts of it—to move swiftly against the spread of the coronavirus and any economic distress it may cause.... Provide financial support to people who are suffering.... Plan for the worst.... Have automatic support ready for a recession...


#noted #2020-03-06

Comments