Getting America Back to Work

This adaptation of Andy’s new broadside, Getting America Back to Work, appeared on Real Clear Books on April 28, 2020.

Most people seem to agree that a federal government–managed response is appropriate in a national crisis such as the current pandemic, particularly when economic stress is the direct result of government action, such as its recent economic shut-down. But when this crisis ends, will we return to the freest economy in decades, the thriving private sector that, over the past three years, created jobs and rising wages across all income groups? Will we restore the labor market strength that carried with it a belief that the future held even greater promise than the past?

Or, will we move to a government-dominated economy that discourages individual initiative and dampens ingenuity? Where people succeed not by meeting the needs of others (consumers) but rather by meeting the demands of elites who distribute government largesse to those they deem worthy.

In other words, will we return to the economic stagnation that became the Obama era’s “new normal” or the prosperity we came to expect under President Trump?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which Congress enacted to address the coronavirus economic shutdown, contemplates a return to the vibrant and dynamic economy of the last three years once the crisis ends. The government programs it created to assist individuals and businesses have expiration dates or dollar caps. The checks to individuals are a one-time benefit. The increased unemployment benefits expire in four months. The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) small business loans program has a $350 billion cap (recently increased by an additional $310 billion). Various other provisions have similar end dates and monetary caps. It is crucial that any further programs Congress passes to address the crisis similarly have expiration dates or monetary caps tied to the end of the crisis.

Click here to read the full adaptation.

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