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Yale Professor: Promote Online Spending to Boost Economy and Protect Public Health

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COVID-19 is called a novel coronavirus for a reason: It’s something we have never seen before. So why are policymakers relying on the same old ingredients they would normally use to bolster the economy in a recession when this public health crisis looks completely different?  

Yair Listokin, the Shibley Professor of Law at Yale Law School and author of Law and Macroeconomics: Legal Remedies to Recessions, writes to CNN Business that, “we need targeted spending and interventions that stimulate the economy while promoting public health. One way to do that is encouraging consumers to spend online.”

Actions like cutting interest rates, lowering taxes or mailing Americans checks have been used in the past to increase spending and encourage people to do more activities. Instead, Listokin suggests Congress send each U.S. resident a $1,000 virtual services voucher that expires at the end of June.

“Buying and selling goods and services virtually presents fewer health risks because it does not require in-person interaction,” he explains. “Many service providers, such as personal trainers and restaurant chefs, are suffering, but there is an opportunity for them to offer their services online because in-person demand has shriveled.”

Click here to read Listokin’s full column.

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