Episode 153
Mar 10, 2020

Welcome to the coronavirus economy

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Does the government have the tools to mitigate the damage that will be caused by COVID-19?

While reports of new cases of COVID-19 are slowing in China, the outbreak is only just starting in America.

That also means that even after weeks of market volatility, supply shock, a surprise interest rate cut and a brewing oil price war, the new coronavirus has only just started battering the economy. This is not a momentary blip, it’s starting to look like the beginning of a real economic slowdown, even a recession. Does the government have the tools to avoid the worst?

We talked with New York Times senior economics correspondent Neil Irwin last summer when it felt like a recession was in the air, but for completely different reasons.

Today, he’s back to talk to us about what to watch for in the coming weeks and months, and what levers the government can press to mitigate the damage. After all, a payroll tax holiday isn’t all that useful if you’re let go from your hotel job.

Plus, we’ll talk about the NBA and cancelled industry conferences, and even hear from a “Make Me Smart” listener in Venice, Italy.

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The team

Molly Wood Host
Jody Becker Interim Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Sam Anderson Associate Producer