Today, more than 100 economists, led by former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, published a statement addressed to congressional leadership urging them to take immediate action to spur America’s economic recovery.
“The novel coronavirus outbreak has unleashed a recession that is unprecedented in the speed and severity of its decline. Since February, 1 in 5 workers has applied for unemployment benefits. And among people who were working in February, almost 40 percent of those in households making less than $40,000 a year had lost a job in March.”
The signatories, including two Nobel laureates and three former chairs of the Federal Reserve, continued:
“If Congress fails to act, state and local governments face potentially disastrous budget shortfalls, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates the unemployment rate will likely be more than 11 percent at the end of the year… Congress should address this risk, and the already occurring economic damage, by passing, as soon as possible, a multifaceted relief bill of a magnitude commensurate with the challenges our economy faces.”
The sentiment shared in the powerful statement echoes the calls by America’s Recovery Fund Coalition (ARFC) for more aggressive action by Congress to support America’s small businesses and the employees and communities that rely on them. Just this week, ARFC released a survey showing 85 percent of small businesses are suffering moderate to severe reductions in revenue, with as many as 1.2 million small businesses at risk of closing by September 2020 without additional federal support.