By Tank Murdoch @TheNatSent
(TNS) We’re getting close to the economic point of no return in America, thanks to coronavirus-related shutdowns that have shuttered hundreds of thousands of businesses and thrown at least 10 million people out of work.
That’s the diagnosis from economist Stephen Moore, who warned Sunday we could be “facing a potential Great Depression scenario” if the country remains on lockdown into May.
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In addition to the economic holocaust, Moore told New York AM 970 radio’s “The Cats Roundtable” program that the death rate from violence will likely rise too thanks to a massively increased unemployment rate.
“[A]t some point soon, we’re going to have to make some real decisions about what kind of a calamity we are causing through this lockdown of our economy,” Moore told host John Catsimatidis.
“I’m not saying we shouldn’t be inattentive to the public health concern — we should. … But at some point, we have to worry about what we’re doing to our society, and what kind of economy we’re going to have after this is all over,” he added.
Moore said a combination of concern and smarter public policies could get businesses open again, Americans back to work, and ‘bend’ the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Donald Trump and governors across the country should get the economy “up and running for the good of our country” by coming up with “smart policies,” he said.
“If we go much past May 1st, we are facing a potential Great Depression scenario,” Moore added after agreeing with Catsimatidis that the economy needs to be started back in the next 30 days.
Moore is not the only economic and financial expert sounding this alarm.
Dimon said the country’s largest bank is in a good financial place and that lenders have prepared for this. However, he added that what we’re seeing now with coronavirus is “dramatically different” from the industry’s Federal Reserve stress tests.
“We don’t know exactly what the future will hold – but at a minimum, we assume that it will include a bad recession combined with some kind of financial stress similar to the global financial crisis of 2008,” Dimon said Monday in his annual shareholders letter. “Our bank cannot be immune to the effects of this kind of stress.”
While the lender is fresh off a record year for revenue and profit, Dimon warned that the bank’s earnings “will be down meaningfully in 2020” because of the coronavirus. He also warned that in an “extremely adverse” downturn in the U.S. economy, JPMorgan Chase would probably consider suspending its dividend to preserve capital.
That message is likely to reverberate among bank investors and analysts. Executives have said that while the biggest U.S. banks voluntarily pulled back on share repurchases at the onset of the crisis, their dividends were safe. Now, with the leader of the world’s most valuable bank by market capitalization broaching the topic of a dividend cut, it would seem that most banks could also be vulnerable if the economy doesn’t recover later this year.
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