Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday, May 10, that not lifting lockdown measures in the United States could lead to “permanent economic damage,” saying that he was not overly concerned about economic repercussions because the reopening is being handled responsibly.
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Mnuchin insisted that keeping things shut down amid the CCP Virus (coronavirus) pandemic would pose a greater risk than reopening too soon.
“If we do this carefully, working with the governors, I don’t think there’s a considerable risk,” he said. “Matter of fact, I think there’s a considerable risk of not reopening. You’re talking about what would be permanent economic damage to the American public.”
“We’re going to reopen in a very thoughtful way that gets people back to work safely, that has them social distance,” the secretary said, adding that under such a scenario, “people will be able to go into stores” and “some of them will have reservations.”
Mnuchin said that the Trump administration remains committed to helping the public during the CCP Virus crisis, explaining that though the president has said he was not “in a rush” to sign another massive relief bill, but being slow to spend more is not the same as being unwilling.
“What the president and I are now saying is we’ve spent a lot of money, a lot of this money is not even into the economy yet,” Mnuchin said. “We just want to make sure that before we jump back in and spend another few trillion of taxpayers’ money that we do it carefully.”
The debate over when and how to reopen the economy has reemerged after the latest job report on Friday found that as many as 20.5 million jobs vanished from the U.S labor market in April and the unemployment rate surged by 10.3 percentage points to 14.7% in April, the highest rate in the history.
During his interview on Sunday, Mnuchin said, “These are not large numbers because the economy isn’t doing well. These are large numbers because we’ve shut down the economy” in 2020, “unlike the Great Depression, where we had economic issues.”
The secretary added, “The reported numbers are probably going to get worse before they get better” in the third and fourth quarters and “Next year is going to be a great year.”