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Economic freeze could control the damage

Our government, including leaders on both sides of the aisle, is responding to the virus outbreak backwards. There seems to be too much emphasis on the economy rather than curbing the illness. As such, I suggest the following.

Cease all financial obligations for everyone for two months. No payment for rent, mortgage, loans, insurance, credit cards etc. This way no one needs money to pay bills. So, when the tenant does not pay rent, the landlord does not have to worry about the mortgage payment. We will all be in the same boat.

As we focus on preserving good health, hopefully we will be able to start to wean back into normal life quicker. This will give small business owners a chance. Think about this; without such a policy in place, local small businesses such as salons, restaurants, dry cleaners, jewelry stores etc., all must pay their financial obligations such as rent, utilities, insurance etc. and do so, for one month, or more, with no income. It will lead to permanent closures.

The government thinks providing a $1,200 stipend to individuals, offering small business loans and corporate bailouts will be the answer. It is not likely to work because even now the government can’t even handle the number of people trying to apply for, never mind collect, unemployment payments. While it feels good, it is like throwing a water bottle on a raging inferno, as we have no idea how large this crisis will grow. Don’t throw good money after bad.

If no one has any financial obligations, then there is no need for anyone to file for unemployment. The money saved in the meantime can better boost the economy if spent on the back end, when we know the economic impact of this unprecedented situation and we can logically think about how to get businesses, small and large, operating successfully.

The government has the power to do this. The details would need to be worked out for sure; but start with the premise of ceasing all financial obligations for two months. We will be in much better economic shape thereafter.

Mathew H. Greene is an attorney with a practice in New London.

 

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