The massive, nationwide lockdowns aimed at battling the virus have frozen our once-booming economy. Hundreds of thousands of businesses shut their doors, with millions of Americans out of work. Healthy Americans were denied access to basic goods and services, as the economy plunged. Despite all this, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin struck an optimistic tone about when the economy was going to bounce back.
Plenty has been written (by yours truly) about the mistake the lockdowns have been. I’m not the only one. From political pundits to economic experts to anyone that can look at the numbers have said the damage caused by these shutdowns has been far worse than the disease.
We’ve seen over 20 million Americans go on unemployment in less than a month. Major stock indexes have plummeted. The price of oil is at record lows. Small, local businesses (the backbone of our economy) have closed their doors—many to never reopen.
All those stimulus bills and loans were just about keeping us above water. But they were a temporary measure. The government cannot (and will not) keep printing money to keep people and companies afloat. The economy has to reopen and reopen soon. If not, the damage will not be reparable. And even liberals (who have been rooting for an economy crisis for years) will begin to regret it.
But the man in charge of the nation’s wealth seems to think things will turn around and turn around quickly.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday that he believes that the economy is going to bounce back quickly over the summer as states start to reopen.
“I think as we begin to reopen the economy in May and June, you’re going to see the economy really bounce back in July, August, September,” Mnuchin said…
“This is not the Financial Crisis,” Mnuchin said. “This is a scenario where we’ve closed the economy and we’re going to open the economy. So, all these models are based upon health assumptions, how quickly we reopen, so we’ll see.” [Source: Daily Wire]
Mnuchin is confident, largely thanks to the money the government has injected into the system. You could expect the economy to bounce back quickly, if we were locked down for just two weeks (the original goal). But after a month and a half, it’s not as certain. If companies aren’t able to reopen, there’s no economy to recover.
Let’s face it: Americans are eager to go back to work. More than that, they’re just eager to leave their houses. It would be easy to say that once the summer hits, millions of Americans will jump on a plane, drive to the beach, or pack out parks, concert venues, and restaurants.
But if many of those places are gone… then the economy won’t bounce back.
Mnuchin points to the fact that the relief loans and checks are keeping businesses functioning, until we reopen. That might be true. If small businesses can pay their bills (and employees), then there is no reason they can’t reopen soon.
But the key word there is soon. The longer states stay in lockdown, the far less likely businesses will bounce back at all. We need to reopen most states immediately. Get back up and running by early May. Any state that delays it longer will have a harder time coming back. In fact, they might see an exodus of citizens to states that are smart enough to open sooner.
A nationwide reopening, instigated by the president, might be the only path back to normalcy. With some states opening, some stated closed, it will make it harder for the entire economy to thaw.
With so many governors totally unwilling to reopen, that might be our only recourse. But will Trump do that?