EXPERTS FROM ACROSS POLITICAL AISLE SAY WE MUST “GO BIG” ON COVID RELIEF TO BUILD BACK BETTER

Experts across the political spectrum agree that America must go big on public investment like the American Rescue Plan to ensure our economy recovers and that we build back better. 

Here’s what they’re saying: 

More than 120 economists signed a letter organized by Invest in America Action urging Congress to go big in support of the American Rescue Plan. 

  • Signers included former Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling, Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, and former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Alan Blinder.

Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary and former Federal Reserve Chair

  • “‘We are digging out of a deep hole… We think it’s very important to have a big package that addresses the pain this has caused.” [2/18/21]
  • “This is really an urgent need and we need to act big.” [2/4/21]

Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve Chair

  • “Additional fiscal support could be costly, but worth it if it helps avoid long-term damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery.” [5/13/20]
  • “State and local governments provide essential services, as we all know […] It will hold back the economic recovery if they continue to lay people off and if they continue to cut essential services. In fact, that’s kind of what happened post the global financial crisis.” [6/17/20]

Jared Bernstein, White House Economic Advisor

  • “We have to go big and bold to finally put this crisis behind us […] the risks of going too small are much greater [than of] doing too much.” 

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

  • “Bold public spending only way to recover better from COVID-19.”

Glenn Hubbard, Former Economic Advisor to President George W. Bush and Sen. McCain:

  • “One lesson from the financial crisis is that you want to be careful about doing too little.” 

Gene Sperling, Former Director of the National Economic Council 

  • “The US cannot always justify going ‘big’ just to buy insurance against the unexpected. Yet what is unique about this moment is the combination of how high the benefit is of taking out such economic recovery insurance with how inexpensive it would be to purchase.” 

Ben Bernanke, Former Federal Reserve Chair 

  • “To continue to provide services that its citizens need and to avoid severe budget and employment cuts that will drag down the economy, states and localities need more federal help. Providing that help is in everyone’s interest.”

Claudia Sahm, Director of Macroeconomic Policy at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth

  • “If we don’t go big, we are going to pay for it for years and years… My concern about a backslide is getting more serious everyday.”

Paul Krugman, Nobel laureate and Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

  • “Far better to run the risk of needing some monetary tightening a year from now than risking an inadequate plan that repeats the mistakes of 2009.”

Heather Boushey, Member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers

  • “The idea that we should pare back now, out of a future fear that maybe we might possibly do too much, just doesn’t seem consistent with the economic evidence we have in front of us.”

Kevin Hassett, Former Economic Advisor to President Trump and former advisor to Sen. Romney 

  • “Absolutely [in favor of the $1.9 trillion proposed American Rescue Plan]…The idea that you shouldn’t act right now is not consistent with the real time data…I would 100% support additional checks to people.”

Josh Bivens, Director of Research at the Economic Policy Institute 

  • “[President Biden’s $1.9 trillion recovery package] marks a welcome break from mistakes made in past downturns, such as the Great Recession. It is critical that the incoming Biden administration and Congress work to pass this important relief and recovery measure.”

David Brooks, The New York Times: Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan is absolutely right to go big

  • “The risks are worth it. The economy was still humming along in 2019 but the predicted inflation never came. We’ve been borrowing a lot of money, but the debt load is not yet crushing because interest rates remain low. When your great nation is facing decline because of rising inequality, insecurity, distrust and alienation, you don’t just sit there. You try something big.” 

Rebecca Dixon, Executive Director at the National Employment Law Center; Thea Lee, President of the Economic Policy Institute; Sharon Parrott, President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; John Podesta, Founder and Chair of the Board of Center For American Progress; Felicia Wong, President and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute 

  • “President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan—with its critical public health investments to beat COVID-19, its aid to help struggling families, and its assistance to states, localities, tribes, and territories—is an appropriate scale of new spending under current conditions.”

Rick Kriseman and Francis Suarez, Mayors of St. Petersburg and Miami

  • “We mayors — a Democrat in St. Petersburg and a Republican in Miami — need President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to save our communities” 

Jim Justice, Governor of West Virginia

  • “Our nation needs to step up in a bigger way, and move forward, and that’s all there is to it.” 

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

  • “We applaud [President Biden’s $1.9 trillion recovery package] focus on vaccinations and on economic sectors and families that continue to suffer as the pandemic rages on.”

Center for American Progress

  • “Evidence from the Great Recession shows that fiscal stimulus powered by large deficits stopped the economic freefall and thus limited the increases of the debt-to-GDP ratio. Today, the alternative to deficit-financed stimulus is more economic pain for everybody, including larger deficits down the road.”

Douglas Elmendorf, Harvard Kennedy School Dean and former Congressional Budget Office Director

  • “The idea that we should not let the debt constrain our response to the pandemic is exactly right.”
###