A couple of months ago, I remember arguing that it would be fairly easy to restart the economy once we had defeated COVID-19. My reasoning was pretty simple: unlike a normal recession, which breeds a tremendous amount of uncertainty, an artificial recession can be brought to a clean end. Once COVID-19 is gone, businesses can be certain that the economy will recover immediately, especially since government aid programs ensured that consumers had plenty of money saved up to begin buying stuff again.
Now, I’ll fess up to being a little too cavalier about this. It was probably always going to be harder than I thought. But one thing I never took into consideration—because it seemed ridiculous—was the notion that we would just give up on COVID-19 and therefore cause precisely the kind of uncertainty you get with a normal recession. I mean, that’s just crazy, right? No one would do that.
But in the era of Trump, that’s exactly what we did. So not only do we have a deep recession, but nobody knows when it will end. And even if it looks like it’s about to end, nobody can be sure that it’s really ending. If anything, Trump has created an economic doom loop with even more uncertainty than any recession we’ve ever had. And I guess the public is finally catching on to that: