Growth will be disappointingly tepid after an initial rebound and, for a time at least, inflation dangerously lower and unemployment heartbreakingly higher than they were back then. Government debt -– and the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet -– will be much bigger, while interest rates stay low.
“Our economy will have lost something of value,” said Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. “We will be scarred, and the recovery will be slow.”
The New Normal 2.0 will be a just-in-case economy of diminished demand and paltry productivity as consumers and companies emerge from this crisis gingerly and build buffers against the next.
Households worried about their health and finances will save more and spend less. Companies will be less efficient and less global as they rearrange supply lines and bring production back to the U.S. to improve resiliency rather than to cut costs. Government involvement in the economy will be greater as officials place a premium on domestic supplies of medical equipment and other products deemed essential.