White House Economic Advisor Kevin Hassett thinks a fourth economic stimulus package may not be necessary if states can safely and successfully reopen in due time.
Hassett, speaking with FOX News, said it would depend on how well the country can stop the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus. “If they really do sort of get back to normal relatively quickly … then there might not necessarily be much need for another bill,” he said.
The first few stimulus items passed by Congress funneled trillions into aid for corporations, small businesses, unemployment benefits and individual payments.
But the economic strife from the pandemic has hit hard, with the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) shrinking by 4.8 percent and losing almost all the gains made since the 2008 recession. Unemployment has surged, with over 30 million Americans filing for benefits over the past six weeks since the pandemic hit U.S. shores. The unemployment rate has jumped from 4.4 percent to around 19 percent since then.
Hassett’s words echo those of prominent members of the administration like Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who think a rebound in the second half of the year is very likely, given all of the aid the government has already poured into various sectors.
President Donald Trump has espoused a similar viewpoint, saying the administration had “thought about” more aid packages, but that it had already given quite a lot. He said he believes the economic numbers later in the year would be “fantastic.”
Democratic leaders have disagreed, saying there needs to be another bill with more aid provisions for cities.
Hassett did relinquish a little, saying that more aid would be determined as needed. If the virus is still an issue throughout the summer, he said it would be a “very, very heavy lift” to keep the economy going, and said no one knows the best-case scenario will actually happen.