Republicans Need to Go Bigger on Coronavirus. Much Bigger.
Published in The Washington Post
on March 20, 2020
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) presented the Senate Republicans’ coronavirus economic stimulus on Thursday. It contains many good ideas, but still comes up short.
This economic stimulus is unlike any other because it seeks to compensate people for something the government chose to do on their behalf. This isn’t a case of bailing out failing businesses or trying to pump up an economy falling into recession on its own. This downturn was caused by the government to protect something more important — our lives. The economic response, therefore, needs to be as sweeping and comprehensive as the action that makes it necessary.
Measured by the that standard, the Senate Republican response is still too timid despite its massive $1 trillion price tag. The provision that offers loans to small businesses without any underwriting comes close to meeting the need. Smaller businesses will be the ones most damaged by social distancing, because so many of them depend on social activity or walk-in sales. Extending an open door for federal help to offset the damage matches the help to the need. The more people whose businesses and jobs can be maintained during the crisis, the better off we will all be.
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Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.