The $2 trillion U.S. stimulus program (the CARES Act) is an important step towards mitigating the economic shocks of the COVID-19 crisis. However, further actions are required to minimize a catastrophic collapse in employment. Specifically, while CARES provides limited support for small businesses to keep people in employment, such paycheck protection support must be urgently expanded to include all businesses and non-profits in the economy. Other major economies have enacted such programmes. An “American Paycheck Protection Guarantee” would provide immediate funds explicitly for keeping workers in employment during the crisis, minimizing the number of workers laid off, losing healthcare coverage, and requiring unemployment insurance. Not only would such a program help put a brake on the collapse in employment, but by keeping employees in place, would help minimize the barriers to a rapid recovery once public health restrictions are lifted, and reduce the ultimate fiscal costs of the crisis to taxpayers. It is vital that Americans be able to “shelter in job” as long as they are required to “shelter in place.”
Beinhocker, E. (2020) 'Guarantee All U.S. Paychecks Now to Prevent a Depression - updated 3rd April'. INET Oxford COVID-19 Blog, 3 April 2020.