What would actually stimulate the economy? Solving the underlying problem.

For all of President Trump’s fantasies about a grand re-opening of the country by Easter, there is not going to be any kind of economic revival—with or without a stimulus—until people stop dying. Bill Gates is right: “It’s very tough to say to people, ‘Hey, keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner.’”

Nothing is going to convince people to go back to work, or investors to get back into the market, short of rescuing us from the prospect of mass death.

If Congress wanted a real stimulus, they would put money toward ramping up testing and treatments for COVID-19, building up capacity in hospitals and the production of masks and other protective equipment, and maybe retraining some of the laid-off workers and employing them as part of the recovery effort. It might take months to train someone to take a new job in the healthcare field—but we will need extra workers for many months to come, and those who are working round-the-clock now can’t keep doing so for forever.