Many Americans might be tempted to believe the assurances of the President and his Treasury Secretary that the negative economic impact of the Coronavirus outbreak will be short, and that the US economy and stock prices will recover quickly.
But if that were the case, the Federal Reserve would not have taken action of cutting rates near 0% to stabilize the financial system.
The US central bank took these extraordinary steps in part because investors in specific corners of the credit markets have been panicking.
Although these aren’t markets that average Americans follow, they can still impact them in ways they can see and feel like money market funds, mortgage rates and small business lending.
But the volatility in these critical credit markets is unlikely to end any time soon.
While the Fed’s actions may have soothed the credit markets, it led to a pullback in the stock markets—futures sold off violently right after the Fed’s move.
But even if the Fed succeeds in stabilizing markets, the government will still need to do much more to help average Americans, including putting actual cash in the hand of consumers and other forms of financial assistance to stave off or minimize a recession.
Trump has made the economy—and the stock markets—a signature part of his re-election campaign, so we can expect to see him pressure Congress in the near term to pass a fiscal stimulus package. His re-election may depend on it.