What does a global pandemic do to the economy?

Richard Denniss explains why the government is shutting down whole sections of the economy and unpacks the government’s economic survival package.

Image: AAP

How big is the economic impact of coronavirus going to be?

We’ve never been through a period where government policy has been used to shut down so many parts of the economy all at the same time for what’s likely to be quite a long time.

Just how different is this going to be from a regular recession?

To say this is unprecedented is is an understatement. It’s like saying getting hit by meteor is unprecedented.

A lot of people have seen their income dry up instantly

The last thing people who’ve lost their jobs need to worry about is is managing cash flow for the next couple of weeks while the while the government sits on the money.

The government should be literally employing tens of thousands of people to go and work on small community projects that need doing, now. All these schools that are shut down can do with a coat of paint and some new carpet.

There’s public buildings, there’s public toilets, there’s community buildings, there’s town halls. All of these things could do with some maintenance that’s probably been put off.

We could come out of this with some tangible benefits — if we do it right

Nearly a hundred years ago, we knew exactly what to do in times like these. And yes, there is an enormous opportunity for the government here, too.

Not just to create meaningful work, and the income that people need to get through this crisis, but the government can literally create assets that will last not just for decades, but for a century or more.

The capacity to do that is sitting right in front of us.

We were poorly set up to meet a crisis of this magnitude

Centrelink, unfortunately, has provided terrible service to our most vulnerable people for years. Now, middle class people are discovering just how cruel but how inefficient that is.

Unfortunately, neoliberalism has made us vulnerable and weak.

an independent think-tank based in Canberra > australia.org.au

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