Think about the additional policy measures that have been mentioned. One is increasing purchases of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities under quantitative easing. Another is moving those purchases out to longer maturities. The Fed may and should do both. But no one should seriously think such policies will have large effects on the economy.
Another option would be switching to yield-curve control, as practiced in Japan. That means replacing QE with pegging the yield on one or more Treasury maturities for a while. I’m sympathetic. But again, how much effect can yield-curve control have when yields on long-term Treasurys are already so low? Will U.S. borrowing rates go negative? I doubt it.
So it’s up to Congress and what’s left of the Trump administration. They should be working overtime on a compromise fiscal package in the range of, say, $1 trillion to $2 trillion. As Jason Furmanrecently argued on these pages, the economy can’t wait until the Biden administration takes office.
The package should have many components. Most obviously, the country is still short on critical items such as test kits and personal protective equipment.