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Combating the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States:

A policy statement by the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation

The idea that the earth belongs to all people, and should provide for all people, lies at the heart of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation’s mission.  As nation after nation grapples with the uncertainties and devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, this foundational idea and a shared recognition of our inherent interconnectedness have taken center stage.  At RSF we understand that in order to address the widespread devastation resulting from the virus we must:

Embrace the idea of free trade and facilitate effective and efficient testing through all means available.  The U.S. should not hesitate to utilize tests created and/or provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and any other entity (including foreign governments), which has developed testing regimes that will enable the rapid, reliable identification of infected individuals.  Any regulatory barriers to test implementation should be removed to help limit the further spread of the coronavirus among the populace.

A natural extension of this effort will be the broadscale testing of the population – again, using the best available testing technology available, regardless of its origin – to identify those who possess antibodies to the virus, but for whom a positive test result was not obtained (either because they were ill but never tested, or were infected but asymptomatic).  This information could prove critical in returning Americans to the workforce expeditiously, and therefore, limiting further social and economic harm.

Replace economically stifling taxation with revenue streams that support growth and recovery.  With businesses and schools shuttered and events canceled nationwide, the country is reeling and many of our most economically vulnerable citizens are already teetering on the brink of personal disaster.  It is critical, therefore, that we shift publicly-generated economic burdens away from individuals, households, and small businesses, and instead generate this much-needed revenue from user fees, pollution levies, and the implicit subsidies of higher rent and land value generated by public spending. If this shift were coupled with the disbursement of one-time or ongoing equal cash payments to everyone – particularly if the funds were drawn from resource rents – the overall stimulus effect would be further heightened. 

By taking these actions now, RSF believes we can create a highly effective “economic vaccine” against many of the effects of coronavirus on the United States.


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