The Economy and the Coronavirus: Making Sense of the Moment

March 24, 2020

The current economic crisis is fast-moving, and many of the challenges we are facing—and anticipating—are unprecedented. Though the immediate effects of the coronavirus may spark a potential recession, our economy’s underlying structural problems mean that the fallout will likely be much worse and last longer for millions of people unless we act quickly and aggressively.

On Friday, March 20, the Roosevelt Institute partnered with Groundwork Collaborative and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth for a webinar to translate the latest in economic news, provide a snapshot of what may happen next, and share lessons from the 2008-2009 financial crisis that may apply to today.

As our health crisis continues, the potential magnitude of economic disruption is enormous, including the collapse of state and local budgets, business closures, and a spike in unemployment. To address these challenges, we can—and must—take action on many fronts: address our health needs; provide cash to support every family; support workers, through paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, and real legal protections; provide money to states and cities; and prevent business collapse with loans and other backstops, in ways that put workers first.

As Roosevelt Director of Progressive Thought Mike Konczal explains, the risk of doing too little economically—through monetary and fiscal policy—far outweighs the risk of doing too much.

It’s crucial to note that given the magnitude of the crisis, now is not the time for policymakers to worry about raising deficits and debt as they consider what steps to take. Big ideas, bold action, and fiscal relief now will both help mitigate the coming recession and secure a better economic future for more in the long term.

Watch the webinar below and download the PowerPoint presentation here.