With a Little Ingenuity, We Can Reopen Much of the Economy Right Now
Professor Jonathan Caulkins believes that a black and white framing of “saving human life” versus “saving the economy” presents a false choice, and that by creatively rethinking the way certain professions are done—rather than shuttering businesses entirely based on whether or not they are deemed “essential”—we could start phasing workers back in immediately while minimizing risk.
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating simultaneous public health and economic crises in the United States. As states have issued stay-at-home orders and closed non-essential businesses to prevent the spread of the virus, a sharp decline in employment and economic activity has followed, with no clear end in sight. Experts worry that the rapid slowdown will lead not only to a recession, but a full-blown depression and lasting economic suffering.
In this thought-provoking piece for POLITICO, Caulkins lays out several policy and operational solutions that could help get people back to work across various sectors in the short term, from manufacturing and construction to retail and gas stations. These approaches could help businesses survive and mitigate job losses while continuing to protect our communities from coronavirus.