Who could have predicted that stopping a $21 trillion economy in its tracks for months on end would bring about a crisis comparable to the Great Depression?
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicted the U.S. unemployment rate may hit 30% in the second quarter because of shutdowns to combat the coronavirus, with an unprecedented 50% drop in gross domestic product.
Bullard called for a powerful fiscal response to replace the $2.5 trillion in lost income that quarter to ensure a strong eventual U.S. recovery, adding the Fed would be poised to do more to ensure markets function during a period of high volatility.
Note that this unemployment rate would exceed the peak of 24.9% reached in 1933.
At least giant retailers like Amazon and Walmart are still hiring – indeed, they are planning to add hundreds of thousands of workers to keep up with soaring demand, while small businesses get brutalized.
Common-sense measures to slow the spread of the virus, like a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all inbound travelers to the US and the wearing of facemasks in public, are apparently not even being discussed, while crazy, anti-social, panic-inducing, economy-killing actions are instead being taken that have transformed daily life more than any single event since World War II. These draconian measures are being imposed in the name of health and safety, but nobody seems to have run an analysis on the public health costs of tanking the economy and effectively confining a quarter of the population to their homes.
Peter Hitchens isn’t falling for this destructive insanity in his home country of Britain.