Risks and Remedies for U.S. Consumers, India Joins the Fight

Many consumers entered the crisis with no cushion.
Feb 26, 2021 8:40 AM ET

By Carl R. Tannenbaum, Ryan James Boyle, Vaibhav Tandon


  • Contagion and Consumers
  • India’s Battle to Maintain Economic Health

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Comedian George Carlin once quipped that “Consumption is the new national pastime.”  Well, if he was right, no one is having much fun these days.  Mandated closures and social distancing have had an immediate and dramatic effect on American spending, which is critical to global economic growth.  Substantial fiscal and monetary policy support should help many consumers survive this difficult interval without lasting financial damage.  But for some consumers, any income disruption may be too much to bear.

Consumers have been the focus of several stimulus bills passed by Congress this year.  The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, ratified March 18, includes job protections and paid leave for certain workers battling COVID-19 or tending to family members, including parents looking after children whose schools have closed.  The Act also increases funding for unemployment programs and lowered the eligibility requirements for food assistance.  These measures provide only basic relief for people in greatest need.