The Trump Administration is reportedly considering tax deferments for industries hit hard by the coronavirus, like the airline, travel and cruise industries, according to a report by The Washington Post.
The news illustrates how the administration is trying to balance the economic implications of the virus while trying to handle public sentiment about it.
Some administration officials are not sure to what extent the tax deferments can be made without Congress, and it’s not known whether the president’s own hotels will be affected.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the administration is looking into “timely and targeted” interventions by the government to help workers and industries harmed by the coronavirus.
Other countries, like China, have experienced mass shutdowns of some workplaces as well as furloughs and layoffs.
Kudlow speaking out is the most public admission so far from the government that the coronavirus is affecting the economy. Kudlow said a larger stimulus package wasn’t necessary because the virus was mostly “contained” and that the economy is in great shape.
“Perhaps on a large scale, some of the sectors might need some temporary assistance,” Kudlow said. He didn’t “want to act prematurely,” however.
Some sectors, like hospitality and airlines, may get help, he said, and the government could also potentially help parts of the U.S. where people are forced to stay home, and businesses that need “cash flow” help during the outbreak.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell over 700 points on Friday (March 6), but rebounded some after Kudlow spoke on TV.
“What we are looking at ... is a timely and targeted micro approach,” Kudlow said. “We want targeted, in a timely fashion, for those areas that have been hit the worst.”
A funding bill signed on Friday by President Trump includes $7 billion in loans from the Small Business Administration.
“People who may be stranded at home and will lose pay, we want to help them,” Kudlow said. For small businesses, he said “we may wish to help them with some cash flow.”