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COVID-19

Dallas Fed president calls policies relief, rather than stimulus

Kai Ryssdal and Sean McHenry Mar 27, 2020
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Robert Kaplan, president and CEO of the Dallas Federal Reserve. Courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
COVID-19

Dallas Fed president calls policies relief, rather than stimulus

Kai Ryssdal and Sean McHenry Mar 27, 2020
Robert Kaplan, president and CEO of the Dallas Federal Reserve. Courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
HTML EMBED:
COPY

From emergency cuts to interest rates to providing capital for businesses, the Federal Reserve has taken numerous steps to curtail the economic fallout from COVID-19.

But even with various relief efforts from Congress and the central bank, many small businesses and consumers could take a while to recover, according to Robert Kaplan, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Kaplan spoke with “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal about how the Fed is navigating the pandemic, and what the economy will look like when it’s over.

“By the end of the year, we’ll have a higher unemployment rate than we did going into it. And we’ll have to spend 2021 working that down,” Kaplan said. “That’ll be a different situation, very different than the one we’ve been experiencing the last two or three years.”

Click the audio player above to hear the interview.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?

Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.

How has the pandemic changed scientific research?

Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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