Everyone, no matter their political viewpoint, over the course of a few months has come to realize that the COVID – 19 crisis is truly a problem. It has killed nearly 100,000 people in the United States and 350,000 people worldwide. A major effect, in the United States, of the quarantine has been the plummet of the economy. Since a national stay at home order has been declared, the Dow Jones has slipped 34%. The Dow Jones contains 30 major industrial companies and is often a credible source used to determine how the United States Trading Markets are doing. Another poor result of the economic impact of this quarantine is the decline of the GDP or Gross Domestic Product. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the GDP is a calculation of the values of goods and services provided by the United States. During this time period, this value has declined by almost 5%. This number has declined because workers have been laid off or been forced to shelter reducing the material output of the United States.
The Unemployment rate in the United States is very high. Over 18% of Americans in the labor force are unemployed. For reference, the Great Depression had 25% of Americans unemployed. America is approaching the Great Depression Era level unemployment.
The Great Depression, like other economic crises, were able to be solved through Government Intervention. President Franklin D. Roosevelt is famous for his idea of the New Deal. Helping people find employment through public works projects that could benefit American society. The Civilian Conservation Corps was responsible for maintaining forests and the Public Works Administration was able to successfully build bridges like the one that connected Florida and the Key West Island and Dams like the Hoover Dam. The Government helped revive the American Economy by putting Americans back to work.
During the 2008 recession nicknamed the Great Recession, there was a 10% unemployment rate and the country’s GDP declined by 5%. The recession ended via governmental action. President Obama, who had just taken office, passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This act allocated government money to various public businesses to promote “business development, innovative research, and construction projects” according to the U.S Department of Commerce. The United States also passed the Troubled Asset Relief Program – meant to assist big business. Essentially, the United States government would buy stocks from companies to help keep the company from going bankrupt. The government used this act to purchase stocks from companies like Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo.
In 2009, the United States Government also passed a stimulus check sending checks of $300 to individual Americans via their Social Security. Similarly during this crisis, President Trump successfully passed a stimulus check-called the Cares Act. This was worth $1200 with certain restrictions. In addition, each family receives a $500 payment for each dependent child. The federal government has mimicked some of the policies like the ones passed in 2009, yet they have not followed through on other policies like Job creation. With millions of unemployed, it has taken a toll on the economy.
This has put the State governments into a position where they have to take action. Some of these governments have stepped up – specifically the ones in New York. They are creating Public Works Programs. On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the State of New York would be advancing construction at Penn Station in New York, a new AirTran connection from Laguardia to other stations, creating more tunnels, and expanding the subway.
This idea of creating public works projects should be implemented in as many places as possible. As declared earlier, the New deal policies were mostly successful. Now is the time to take action. There are several public works programs that could be completed. The building of new buildings, the planting of more trees, city-wide cleanups. Public Works Programs can help with other agendas. Planting trees will assist with the environment reducing carbon dioxide, creating buildings that are Carbon Neutral will save the same purpose. City Wide cleanups will keep environments clean, allowing animals to thrive.
Public Works Programs are the easiest way to bring the economy back. New York State is trying it out and the previous history shows it can be done.