Skip to navigationSkip to content
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
Fed Chair Jay Powell has his game face on.

Here’s why the US can afford its high-priced pandemic rescue

Tim Fernholz
Member exclusive by Tim Fernholz for How to save the economy

The US Congress is doing what it does best: Throwing money at a problem.

In the last month, US lawmakers have approved some $2 trillion in relief. The money has gone to workers and businesses, to airlines and hospitals, to buy healthcare equipment and to launch a long-overdue national coronavirus testing program.

The cost of this effort dwarfs the combined cost of the rescue programs that followed the 2008 financial crisis. The 2008 bank bailouts and the 2009 stimulus act together cost about $1.5 trillion on paper, though final outlays were significantly less thanks to repayments from the financial sector. Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office forecast the 2020 deficit to be $3.7 trillion; as a share of the US economy, it’s the highest since 1945, the peak of World War II.

You are reading a Quartz member exclusive.

Become a member to keep reading this story and the rest of our expert analyses on the changing global economy.

Why we think you’ll like it:

The rest of our guide to How to save the economy

News of the moment that’s contextualized, digestible, and always global in perspective

Exclusive, deeply researched guides on what the economy’s next normal will look like

Master this transition in your work and personal life through direct access to our journalists and the rest of our community

Quartz Japanへの登録をご希望の方はこちらから。