Why You Can't Solve a Public Health Problem With Economic Stimulus

Is a new stimulus package the right response to a pandemic?  


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Coronavirus isn't just a threat to your health, it's also a threat to the economy. As infection numbers ticked up, the stock market had its worst day in 12 years. 

So it's probably not surprising that President Donald Trump has touted "very dramatic" plans to help keep the economy up and running, with ideas ranging from tax breaks for individuals to writing everyone checks to industry-specific bailouts. 

But that just raises new questions: Can you solve a public health problem with economic policy? Is a new stimulus package the right response to a pandemic?  

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a frequent contributor to Reason magazine. She spoke with Reason Features Editor Peter Suderman about the coronavirus economy, and what government officials should do to fend off its economic effects.

Interview by Peter Suderman, edited by Ian Keyser, cameras by Austin and Meredith Bragg

Music: "Somnolence" by Kai Engel is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Photo credits: Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, MONIKA GRAFF/UPI/Newscom; President Trump tours the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory, SplashNews/Newscom; President Trump, SplashNews/Newscom; Three large U.S. flags hang on the New York Stock Exchange, Jürgen Schwenkenbecher/picture alliance/Newscom; Pile of Cash, Digitalstormcinema |; Coronavirus Visualization, CDC