What kinds of fiscal stimulus are justified right now?

Here is my Bloomberg column on that topic, excerpt:

The greatest potential problem facing the U.S. economy right now is a loss of organizational capital, most of all in small businesses. As they fold, jobs will be lost and the knowledge and efficiencies embedded in those businesses will disappear. In many cases it will be difficult to reconstitute that knowledge quickly, and so the markets for both labor and goods will be operating at less than full capacity…

If you are very optimistic about vaccines and anti-Covid therapeutics, as I am, this strengthens the case for short-term aid. If you believe that more or less normal times for many small businesses will arrive by April or May, that argues for tiding them over in the meantime.

If you are more pessimistic, however, and expect a high level of Covid-19 cases for the next few years, then the argument for aid is weaker. Those endangered small businesses cannot be kept on “life support” for that long; better for them to know that aid is not forthcoming. The economy would then continue to adjust into fewer restaurant jobs and more food-delivery jobs.

I consider further arguments and options at the link.


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