News Release

Two Rounds of Stimulus Were Supposed to Protect Jobs — Instead We Have Record Unemployment

THOMAS FERGUSON, thomas.ferguson at umb.edu
Ferguson is professor emeritus, University of Massachusetts Boston and the author of many books and articles. His podcast interview with “The Analysis” on COVID-19 and the workforce is available here.

He said today: “We all know that the U.S. response to COVID-19 has lagged far behind other countries. But now a real trap is closing. The public premise of the government stimulus programs was that they would be needed only for a short period and channeling aid to businesses would enable them to retain workers on their payrolls. So vast sums were handed out while the Federal Reserve intervened massively in financial markets. But now unemployment is soaring, in a country whose health insurance system is keyed to the workplace. Small businesses are collapsing and plainly never got much aid. Workers are also dropping out of the workforce in enormous numbers while a major health and safety crisis rages. Government policy has got to address these issues before it’s too late. It can’t simply grant blanket immunity to businesses for the sake of a hasty, premature reopening. A major re-calibration of policy is in order.”