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How We Should Respond to the National Coronavirus Emergency

Congress must immediately enact an emergency $400 billion. 

Our imminent coronavirus and economic crises won’t respond to trickle-down economics. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Our imminent coronavirus and economic crises won’t respond to trickle-down economics. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

CEOs of the major Wall Street banks have been summoned to the White House to discuss the coronavirus its economic fallout. I’m told Trump administration is considering more corporate tax cuts, tax cuts targeted to the airlines and hospitality industries, and a temporary payroll tax cut. 

The bank CEOs will approve of all these. 

But they would be useless. They’d be too slow to stimulate the economy, and wouldn’t reach households and consumers who should be the real targets. And they’d reward the rich, who don’t spend much of their additional dollars, without getting money into the hands of the poor and middle-class, who do. 

In short, our imminent coronavirus and economic crises won’t respond to trickle-down economics. 

Instead, Congress must immediately enact an emergency $400 billion. 

The money should be used for

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1. Coronavirus testing and treatment. 

2. Paid sick leave and family leave this year, renewable for next year if necessary.

3. Extended Medicaid and unemployment insurance.

4. Immediate one-time payments of $1000 to every adult and $500 per child, renewable for next year if necessary.

I don’t think this is an over-reaction to what’s imminent. It will help us prevent a health and economic calamity.

Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert Reich, is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the the twentieth century. The author of many books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations, Beyond Outrage and, Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." Reich's newest book is "The Common Good." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

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