How to restart the economy?

shutdownHow to restart the economy? First it has never been stopped. The measures we have adopted are intended to slow the spread of the virus, not to defeat it. We don’t have the will to adopt the more extreme measures that appear to have been effective overseas. Our policies are predicated on the assumption that the vulnerable among us may die.

  • Essential workers continue to work, many in jobs that bring them into close contact with the public.
  • Essential workers lack protective supplies.
  • There are scofflaws, those who ignore the guidelines.
  • Several states continue to ignore the danger.

Restrictions are necessary, but are discriminatory:

  • Some can afford a loss of income, others can’t.
  • Some must work, some are prohibited from working.
  • Those who didn’t file a tax return with a bank account identified will have to fight for a stimulus payment.
  • Businesses (restaurants, hotels, retail stores) forced to close may fail.

Restrictions are intended to slow the spread of disease; they may be working. Slowing the spread of the disease relieves pressure on hospitals and funeral homes; it does little for vulnerable individuals–we will need to exercise caution until there is a prevention or cure. Any action to allow more social interaction puts many of us at risk of death.

It is a dilemma:

  • Letting some go back to work and prohibiting others from doing so is unfair.
  • Removing restrictions on some parts of the country and not on others is unfair.
  • Restricting some businesses but not their competitors is unfair.

I don’t know what will happen, but there will be winners and losers whatever it is. Will we strive for the greatest good, or will the voices of lobbyists prevail?





About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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24 Responses to How to restart the economy?

  1. Richelieu says:

    I have lost track of the number of unemployed, but I seem to remember it being north of 16 million. The last headline I saw was that unemployment hasn’t been this high since the Great Depression. Predictions are being made that the unemployment rate is going to be greater than 30%. Trillions of dollars have been pumped into the economy just to keep things rolling. Maybe the economy is not stopped completely, thank our lucky stars, but it is certainly on extreme life support. I would take the position that it is like an olympic class athlete who has gotten so ill that the athlete is on a ventilator in an ICU, requiring extraordinary efforts to keep from passing away.

    So extending the metaphor….the first thing to do to return the athlete to full health would be to make the athlete less ill. Get the best doctors and equipment. Get the athlete off life support. Remove the ventilator. Manage Pain. Stabilize. Then rehabilitate. Then get them out of the hospital and back to training.

    How do we make the economy less ill? The athlete needed the best doctors and equipment. We need the best leadership and experts. Which we don’t have. Trump and his henchmen have proven to be criminally negligent. THEIR ACTIONS HAVE COST LIVES!!!! REMEMBER THAT!!! And unless it is a friend or family, Trump is indifferent to suffering and death. BUT he desperately wants to be reelected. Reelection requires the economy be restarted. Case closed. It’s time for a Hail Mary Pass, fingers crossed. Sacrifices will need to be made for it to happen. Too bad there is not a volcano nearby so we could toss a virgin in.

    To state it as simply as possible, is it reasonable to expect that the idiot who got us into this mess is competent enough to get us out?

    Things are going to get much worse before they get better. And that’s all my crystal ball will show.

    Cumulative Known Coronavirus cases today (many are unknown..due to lack of testing) 560,402
    Cumulative Known Coronavirus deaths today (many are unknown..due to lack of testing) 22105
    mortality rate 3.94% (was 1.93 % on 3/30/2020)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. whungerford says:

    Arthur, (I think it’s you) I agree that things will get worse before they get better. I don’t want to suffocate alone in an overcrowded hospital, so I will continue to take what precautions I can.


  3. Porthos says:

    I value my skin every bit as much as you value yours.
    And Trump//Reed don’t care about us either way.

    In this case the light at the end of the tunnel is the oncoming train.

    Well need all the luck we can get to survive this.


  4. Athos says:

    I feel your pain and completely agree.I and my wife are taking extreme precautions so that we can survive until the vaccination is deployed. That said, that is a luxury that most of our fellow citizens do not enjoy. And that is a crime. Perpetrated by the people who have bungled this disaster. You know who I mean.

    Here’s a great story from USA Today dated 3/25/2020, headlined
    “We will have a devastating recession economy until there’s widespread coronavirus testing
    Trump team failures turned a public health threat into a recession.
    Other countries used robust testing to target responses and limit economic damage.”
    First paragraph:
    “America’s failure to do widespread testing for the coronavirus has forced our economy to its knees. We need to stand up testing before we can rise. While this challenge grew in plain sight for more than two months, President Donald Trump and his administration dismissed the threat and squandered our head start instead of using it to prepare. Many American families will lose loved ones and many tens of millions more will lose paychecks and sales because of this leadership failure.”
    Trump’s leadership failure! We are losing lives because of this. REMEMBER!

    Finally, I prefer the use of noms de guerre of the four musketeers and Richelieu. Each has a distinct voice, and is useful as a separate, distinct personality. D’Artagnan…impulsive, brave, clumsy. Figurative son to Athos. Athos…extremely ethical and moral, yet badly damaged. Aramis, the studly priest. And blundering not very bright Porthos. Followed of course by scheming Richelieu, whose machinations were designed to save the monarchy and whose schemes the Musketeers thwarted. And regretted those actions 20 years later. Allows me to frame my thoughts.

    Stay Well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Richelieu says:

    Reporting from Axios, the New York Times, Washington Post, AP and other media outlets has revealed that Trump and his administration were repeatedly warned about the threat that the virus could pose to American lives and the economy. Earlier action could have curbed the spread.

    Anthony Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that “no one is going to deny” that more lives could have been saved if the Trump administration had implemented social distancing guidelines earlier on.

    Ten (10) times Trump and/or his administration were informed about the coronavirus emergency. The timeline starts on January 18, 2020.

    You can see it all here:

    And enjoy Fauci while you can. Trump is greasing the skids for his ejection.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Athos says:

    I’ve been contemplating why the big push to ‘restart the economy.’
    This article explains it well:


  7. whungerford says:

    Athos, I don’t get it. Author Umair Haque argues that more should be done to compensate for the effect of Covid on the economy. I don’t see where he argues for an immediate restart. If there is a big push, I think it comes from business interests and political operatives.


  8. Athos says:

    I think that you get it just fine.
    My takeaway is that the situation is much worse than has been acknowledged and the business interests and political operatives are well aware.
    Hence the big push.


  9. Richelieu says:

    The cease fire is over.

    At his mid afternoon news conference, Governor Cuomo stopped tiptoeing around the ‘federal government’ and on numerous occasions mentioned what he wanted from ‘the president’ vis a vis reopening the economy. He identified specifics in detail. He also announced the formation of a commission to reopen the economy consisting of six regional states.

    There is no way that Trump will allow such effrontery. Expect fireworks.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. josephurban says:

    The economy has not been shut down. The unnecessary RETAIL economy has been temporarily on hold. But the essential tasks of keeping the country running have not been shut down. It allows us to see what is really essential, doesn’t it?


  11. Aramis says:

    ‘The economy has not been shut down.’

    I found that to be an interesting statement. One that had me rush to my dictionary where I found:

    An economy is a system of making and trading things of value. It is usually divided into goods (physical things) and services (things done by people). It assumes there is medium of exchange, which in the modern world is a system of finance. This makes trade possible.

    Which led to a definition of economics:
    noun: economics; plural noun: economics
    1. 1.
    the branch of knowledge concerned with the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth.
    2. 2.
    the condition of a region or group as regards material prosperity

    When we are discussing ‘economy’ a lot of assumptions lie in the background: World, National, State, City, Town, Family, Demographic? I’d imagine that the statement above refers to the national economy.

    I guess that we could have quite a discussion about whether or not the national economy is shut down. But I look at the national economy as an aggregate of smaller economies, and these are either shut down or in the process of shutting down.

    Consider that many people/families live paycheck to paycheck. Consider also that these people are employed in menial jobs. Hotel workers, meat packers, fast food workers, gig workers. These people lost their jobs and their income, which means (according to the first definition above) they have nothing to trade, and have lost their medium of exchange. Their economies are effectively shut down

    Consider the 3000 employees at the JBS plant in Greeley, CO. The plant just shut down, due to COVID -19. Each furloughed employee has had their economy shut down.

    Same for the employees of the Freudenberg factory in Brisol, NH. The factory, which employs 350 people and makes bonded piston seals and other components for carmakers around the world, has an outsize impact on Bristol’s economy. The auto industry is not doing well, so piston seals are not in demand. Bristol just fired over 100 people. Each of whom now has a personal shut down economy.

    The Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Fall, South Dakota is responsible for 5% of our daily pork supply and employs 3700 people. The plant shut down indefinitely on Sunday due to COVID-19. 3700 personal economies shut down.

    Pawn shops every where are doing a brisk business as people secure short term loans as a means to eat / secure medication / pay rent.

    Every time a person loses their livelihood, the effects are felt elsewhere. Rent doesn’t get paid, landlords go without, grocery purchases are reduced, less gasoline is purchased…etc. These will reverberate through all the economies upstream local, county, etc. and eventually hit the national economy.

    Right now, there are more than 16,000,000 reported personal economies shut down in our nation. Doubtless we will find the number is much higher when new unemployment numbers come out. When we have enough personal economies shut down, the impact will be such that even the privileged will be unable to ignore it.

    Is it really so important to argue the semantics of ‘is the economy shut down? It is clear that many of our fellow citizens are hurting in a way they never expected. Maybe we could concentrate our efforts / discussions on what can be done to lessen the our fellow citizens’ suffering?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. As the child of parents who were young adults during the Depression (much older when I was born), my view is that this situation inflicts immense hardship on many people. As a historian I liken it to the Black Death sweeping through Medieval Europe. In both cases the problems of the present were seemingly insurmountable, but unity of purpose & good leadership helped society rebuild. Good leadership includes a leader who recognizes the need to work for the Common Good, using facts not hysteria or self-interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Richelieu says:

    from today’s washington post about the 1200 dollar stimulus checks:

    Netspend, which processed nearly $1 billion in relief payments by Monday, said its customers are using the government money “for groceries, fast food, pharmacies and gas, as well as withdrawing cash from ATMs.” More than half of the transactions were PIN-based at ATMs or grocery stores, and about a quarter were done online.

    Does anyone believe that people using the stimulus checks to buy essentials will jumpstart the economy?


  14. I think most people are more concerned about their family’s survival than the economy, so of course, they are spending it on essentials.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Athos says:

    Everybody agrees that a robust testing program is needed to start to consider when people will be able to return to work. Mostly everyone agrees that testing to date has been insufficient. And now….

    Politico reports today that ‘The number of coronavirus tests analyzed each day by commercial labs in the U.S. plummeted by more than 30 percent over the past week, even though new infections are still surging in many states and officials are desperately trying to ramp up testing so the country can reopen.
    One reason for the drop-off may be the narrow testing criteria that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last revised in March. The agency’s guidelines prioritize hospitalized patients, health care workers and those thought to be especially vulnerable to the disease, such as the elderly. Health providers have been turning away others in part due to shortages of the swabs used to collect samples.’

    This will negatively impact efforts to get people back to work.


  16. Richelieu says:

    “I don’t know what will happen, but there will be winners and losers whatever it is. Will we strive for the greatest good, or will the voices of lobbyists prevail? “

    Consider this:
    ‘As the dust settles on the $2.2 trillion legislation, it has become clear that one of its largest provisions, a $170 billion tax giveaway, appears to be tailor-made for the benefit of wealthy real estate investors such as President Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is running one of Trump’s coronavirus task forces.

    The giveaway, primarily to real estate investors and hedge funds, is larger than the total amount in the legislation for hospitals ($100 billion) and for relief for all state and local governments ($150 billion). Worse, the bonanza for these millionaires and billionaires has little to do with the coronavirus: It lets them offset losses not just from 2020 but from 2018 and 2019, before the pandemic.’


  17. Richelieu says:

    ‘Those who didn’t file a tax return with a bank account identified will have to fight for a stimulus payment.’

    You nailed that one!

    “….Tuesday, when the White House made official the latest initiative in the SuperTrump campaign: the President’s name will be printed on each of the stimulus checks that is mailed to voters. There was talk of this last week, with the idea being that the checks would bear Trump’s signature. However, someone pointed out to him that he is not legally entitled to sign government checks (that power is deliberately vested only in non-partisan officials). So, now his name will just be printed on the checks themselves, serving no particular purpose other than to imply that Trump is somehow responsible for the money.
    This has an unpleasant odor to it, and has no precedent in U.S. history. Never before have government-issued checks like this borne the president’s name, and if you doubt that it’s a bad look, just spend 10 seconds pondering what Fox News would have done if Barack Obama had tried something like this. But will it work? With the base, it surely will, but they are already giving Trump credit for all that is good and right with the world. As to anyone else, it’s hard to see how. To begin with, having Trump’s name there is as likely to remind people of whom they should be blaming, as opposed to whom they should be thanking. Further, since most people are getting their stimulus via auto-deposit, only a minority of recipients will even see the messaging.
    Since Trump doesn’t think any further ahead than the day’s news cycle, he doesn’t realize how this stunt could backfire on him. The government printing plant is capable of printing only 5 million checks a week, so it could take up to 20 weeks for the last ones to arrive. Imagine a struggling person who gets his check in August or September and is wondering why it took so bloody long. Then he sees “Donald Trump” emblazoned on the check. Will he immediately think: “Damn that Steven Mnuchin”? Maybe not.”


  18. Aramis says:

    “With Bernie Sanders out, Trump is now the only socialist in the race
    He’s pushing something that sounds a lot like Medicare for All”

    Trump’s aversion to ‘….doing anything under the name of Obamacare must have been so noxious to Trump that instead he is making this a new direct government payment. In other words, rather than push some of the cost of coronavirus treatments, not tests, to private insurers, he intends to cover the costs under money from the recently passed aid bill as if the uninsured were enrolled fully in state Medicaid programs.’
    In other words….a narrow version of Medicare for All!
    Who knew??


  19. josephurban says:

    When I say the economy has not “shut down” this is what I am suggesting. Economic activity has most certainly SLOWED down. But we still have the delivery of goods and services which are essential. People are still working, not everyone, of course. But a “shut down” in my mind means no activity. Like when you shut down your furnace for the summer.Or (in the days when we had unions) workers would shut down a plant in a strike.

    We have economic activity. Slowed down. Now, the MIPOTUS (Mentally Ill President of the United States) equates the economy with the stock market. While the market is an important part of the economy it is not the most important part. It is the part that rewards investors. But the actual mechanisms of the economy continue.

    My fear is that the MIPOTUS will continue to equate the stock market with the economy and try to force more non-essential businesses to open before the virus is under control. Economic activity has slowed. But not stopped.


  20. Richelieu says:

    Trump is under immense pressure from corporations to reopen the economy.
    Trump is under immense pressure from Republicans to reopen the economy.
    Trump is even under immense pressure from Trump to reopen the economy! He needs the economy opened and humming along as soon as possible. Otherwise he is toast in November. Hmmm….would he be more concerned with people’s lives or his reelection? hmmmm….

    Trump has very little control here. The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution gives states the absolute right to control their destinies. I wouldn’t expect the illiterate Trump to know this, but the Republicans, who have spent decades championing states’ rights, certainly do. Their silence on this issue is instructive. Tom Reed is certainly uncharacteristically quiet on this issue.

    Additionally, true to form, Trump has no plan for reopening the economy! Fortunately for us, the lucky citizens on the east and west coasts, our governors have structured plans which they have begun to share. Governor Cuomo outlined the beginnings this afternoon at his daily press conference. Expect Tom Reed to object. Loudly and often!

    California, New York, Illinois, and Washington, all blue states with blue governors and legislatures, have a greater annual GDP ($5.803 trillion) than the bottom 35 states combined ($5.783 trillion). Until those four blue states get going again, this economy isn’t going anywhere.

    To recap. Trump has no authority. The states do. Trump has no plan. East and West States have governors who do. And these people are concerned with the health and welfare of their citizens. Unlike Trump.

    I sleep well knowing this.


  21. Richelieu says:

    1. The president spent much of his day hosting conference calls with company executives, industry groups and others that he announced Tuesday as part of a hastily formed outside advisory council devoted to the issue. Many of the chief executives urged the White House to focus more on mass testing, according to several participants on the calls. Public health experts have argued that widespread testing is a key prerequisite to reopening the economy because it would determine who is infected and needs to be isolated, giving Americans greater confidence that they can safely return to work and public life.
    2. Morning Consult / Politico Poll 4/15/2020….75% of the polled voters think the top priority is containing the virus and only 17% think fixing the economy is #1.


  22. Athos says:

    As to the health of the economy:
    1. As of today, 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment, approaching the levels of the Great Depression.
    2. Among the newly unemployed:
    Hotel workers, Airline workers, sports workers and…..
    Private investigators (because snooping around stands out so much more now)
    Elvis impersonators (because they are performers and there are no audiences any more)
    Tattoo artists (because it is hard to do tattoos standing 6 feet from the client)
    Sporting equipment manufacturers (because all sports have been canceled)
    Sex doll companies (surprised? The problem is that the product is made in China)
    Notaries (because people aren’t buying things that require notarization)
    Pet sitters (because everyone is at home sitting their own pet)
    Auto mechanics (because no one is driving anywhere, so cars aren’t breaking down)
    Check cashers (because if you aren’t getting a paycheck, you don’t need to cash it)
    Matchmakers (because nobody wants to meet strangers for coffee and COVID)
    Buskers (because they work in places that are now empty, like the subway)
    3. Some Banks Keep Customers’ Stimulus Checks if Accounts Are Overdrawn
    4. The Paycheck Protection Program, an initiative created by the $2.2 trillion stimulus law enacted last month, could well have been exhausted as early as last night. This means that the Small Business Administration would have to stop approving applications. Effective immediately.


  23. Athos says:

    More on the health of the economy:
    March Retail sales dropped 8.7% compared to February. Biggest hits- Clothing (-51%), furniture and home furnishings (-27%), motor vehicles (-26%).

    Not only will those sectors be hurt, but so will local, county, state governments. Those entities rely on sales tax revenue to provide essential services and will be impacted negatively immediately. State governments which rely also on income tax revenues to provide essential services will also be impacted negatively immediately.

    What will happen to those essential services as revenue dries up? Will government cut back or eliminate essential services?
    In other parts of the country which have faced similar difficulties fire and police departments have been closed, road repair suspended, and so on.
    Will that happen here?


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