“I don’t know how we could have explained to the public that we didn’t go to the limit of what we can do. History will judge how well we did.” Jerome Powell, October 6, 2020
Decisions have been taken and, as it happens, the right decisions were taken, big enough, bold enough, well-targeted; now we need to focus on execution. The original CARES Act – its timeliness, design and size – is something we all should be proud of. It saved households and it saved businesses, and of course it saved markets. What people don’t recognize, in Congress and in the White House, is that execution is on-going, and unfortunately not optimized – there is still $1.8 trillion or more in original CARES Act authorizations that are available to assist the Main Street economy. The Fed – never designed to interact with Main Street – has raised the alarm, and now should focus on targeted action. The place for them to direct their attention first is infrastructure, including states and municipalities, companies and especially great projects.
For our purposes the injection of a significant portion of these funds into infrastructure projects and networks – say $500 billion over the next three years – would be enormously valuable, reviving the infrastructure market, setting us on a smart path to the future, and providing Main Street with a good, long, runway into that future.
This investment in states and municipalities, and into the companies that design, build and maintain waterworks, highways, transit systems and airports, would be an instant jolt of electricity to our economy. It would also create long-term physical assets that would make our lives better. Public works are different from travel and hospitality – in infrastructure the bleeding