Government Acts to Blunt Financial Impact of Global COVID-19 Pandemic
On March 11th, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, and two days later President Trump declared a national emergency.
This week, Craig Siminski, of CMS Retirement Income Planning, shares a discussion of the measures being taken by the federal government to support workers, businesses, financial markets, and the economy in these trying times:
The unknowns surrounding a new virus make it difficult to predict the potential human and economic toll, but unprecedented steps are being taken to help slow the spread of the disease and prepare medical facilities to treat a rising number of cases.
Businesses are suffering losses as they spend more to help keep workers and customers safe and/or have closed their doors to the public.
The economy — in the United States and globally — has been interrupted as abruptly as our daily routines, and a downturn is looming. This jarring reality triggered the first bear market for U.S. stocks in 11 years.
Many people are now working from home, but a record number of workers (3.3 million) filed for unemployment in one harrowing week.
The financial impact of the health crisis is likely to be more severe for some households, businesses, and industries than others. With lives and livelihoods at risk, the Federal Reserve, state governments, and the federal government have responded with a full slate of emergency measures.
Central Bank in Action
The Federal Reserve moved swiftly in recent weeks to support the U.S. economy and help alleviate stress in the financial markets. On March 3, the Fed dropped the target range for the benchmark federal funds rate by one-half percentage point to 1.00% to 1.25%, stating that the coronavirus posed evolving risks to the economic outlook.
Following an emergency session on Sunday, March 15, the Fed slashed the rate to near zero (0% to 0.25%) and committed to at least $700 billion in debt purchases. This policy was later expanded to essentially unlimited debt purchases “in amounts needed to support smooth market functioning.” The U.S. central bank is also extending currency swaps with foreign central banks to keep high-demand U.S. dollars flowing freely around the world.
Citing emergency powers, the Federal Reserve launched a number of lending facilities to keep credit flowing to households and businesses. These operations required permission from the Treasury Secretary and are protected from …
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Craig Siminski is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, with more than 21 years of experience. His goal is to provide families, business owners, and their employees with assistance in building their financial freedom.
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