Donald Trump’s bungling of the coronavirus crisis has led to the “most severe” economic downturn in modern history, according to his hand-picked Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.
“The current economic downturn is the most severe in our lifetimes,” Powell said on Wednesday, according to Barron’s. “It will take continued support from both monetary and fiscal policy” to recover.
Despite Trump essentially washing his hands of the virus, Powell said that the economic carnage will not go away until the government adequately deals with the health crisis – something this administration has still failed to do after more than six months.
More from Barron’s:
Powell told reporters the outlook “will depend in large part on our success in keeping the virus in check.”
“The path forward will also depend on policy actions taken at all levels of government to provide relief and to support the recovery for as long as needed,” he said.
But Democrats are pushing for a $3 trillion plan that retains the higher unemployment payments.
Powell has been careful to avoid treading into the dangerous area of advising legislators, but he again made clear that more spending would be appropriate.
Economists expect GDP in the second quarter to have contracted more than 35 percent, but the Fed chief said the initial rounds of support from Congress “made a critical difference to families, businesses and communities across the country.”
None of this is going away before the election
Despite Donald Trump’s happy talk about the virus and the economy – even as the U.S. death toll climbs and millions of Americans remain out of work – these dueling crises will likely be with us through the November election.
And as the rest of the world appears to be moving on from the worst of the pandemic, it’s clear that America’s uniquely poor position was completely preventable had there been competent leadership at the federal level.
Unfortunately, this is the president we have – a man who spent weeks dragging his feet and playing politics while the virus spread. A man who downplayed social distancing measures and spread misinformation about masks.
This total failure in leadership is the reason why the United States death toll is so high and why the damage to the economy has been so great.
America is not better off now than it was four years ago when Donald Trump took office. In November, he’s going to have to own that.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.