Letter: Biden has to avoid the lasting scars of a slow economic recovery

Financial Times

Martin Wolf has raised several significant points in his article “A light shines in the gloom cast by Covid” (Opinion, December 2). Most importantly, he reminds us that we must not permit a slow recovery that leaves deep and lasting scars on the economic, social and political fabric. As the Covid pandemic surges, and as we await the distribution of what looks to be very hopeful vaccines to slow and stop the spread, we must focus on the damage already done and what that means for the pace and success of our global economic recovery.

On Wall Street, quick action by the Federal Reserve and Congress has achieved a rather remarkable recovery from the depths of the stock market sell-off in March. But Wall Street is not Main Street, and we are reminded that it is Main Street that will ultimately determine the strength of a successful economic recovery.

Recent studies estimate that in the US alone, over the next few months, between 3.5m and 7.5m small businesses may be forced to close their doors. Such businesses in the US and across the globe are the driver of employment and economic growth, and right now they operate in a world void of typical customer interaction and consumers who are rightfully concerned with their health while also watching their spending.

The inability of Congress, thus far, to find a way to compromise on a new stimulus package is unacceptable and will seriously undermine business recovery if action is not taken soon.

To Mr Wolf’s point, we must not make the mistake of pulling economic support prematurely. A solution is within reach. President-elect Joe Biden and his team are ready and fully aware of the looming small business crisis.

They are working to identify new stimulus measures that will provide much needed fuel for the economic engine, shine a bright light among the gloom of Covid, and avoid the lasting and damaging economic, social and political scars that a slow recovery would surely bring.

Michael J Roman
Non-resident Senior Fellow, American
Council for Capital Formation
President, CertainPoint Strategies
Vienna, VA, US