As governments grapple with when and how to reopen, people in NYC are mixed on when they would feel safe opening up the economy. (14 April)
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin believes the U.S. economy will swiftly “bounce back” from the coronavirus crisis over the summer.
In an interview Sunday with Fox News, the former Goldman Sachs banker said as the nation’s small businesses begin to reopen in May and June, the economy will quickly rebound in July, August and September.
“This is not the financial crisis,” Mnuchin told Fox News’ Chris Wallace. “This is a scenario where we’ve closed the economy. And we are going to open the economy.”
His re-entry projection is based on the government’s stimulus package which is set to pump trillions of dollars into small businesses and checking accounts for weeks to come. The relief trickled out after millions lost jobs and non-essential businesses were instructed to close shop until further notice due to COVID-19.
Mnuchin pointed toward expanded unemployment benefits that include part-time workers, the Paycheck Protection Program which encourages employers to rehire employees and the $1,200 checks aimed at most taxpayers.
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“We’re very sympathetic to the people that are out of work, but there is enhanced unemployment. There’s the PPP. There’s direct deposits,” Mnuchin said. “As businesses begin to open you’re going to see (the) demand side of the economy rebound.”
His light-switch rebound projection aligns with sentiments shared by President Donald Trump, who said in a recent press briefing that the nation’s financial conditions will improve swiftly.
“We’re going to rebuild it. And we’re going to rebuild it better, and it’s going to go faster than people think,” Trump said on April 20, during a coronavirus press conference. “I built it once; I’ll build it a second time,”
Some states have already begun gradually reopening, with Florida opening beaches and Georgia greenlighting barbershops.
But it remains unclear how quickly Americans will be ready to crowd bars, restaurants and retail stores in the wake of the pandemic. And household spending is limited as more than 26 million people seek unemployment benefits.
A recent Harris Poll found that Americans are wary of getting back to normal too soon.
In fact, 30% of Americans surveyed said they will wait at least four months after the virus spread flattens before going out for dinner, while 44% say it will take that long for them to go to the movies.
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown.
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