KATU: Local economics expert says possible recession could pose new challenges for lawmakers
Author: Keaton Thomas
Posted: March 24, 2020

View the original story and video on the KATU website.

With stocks still dropping, economists are saying a recession is growing more likely. Some say this one will be unprecedented, unlike any recession the U.S. has seen before.

Hiro Ito, chair of the economics department at Portland State University, says in 2008, lawmakers knew what was wrong and what steps were required to fix the recession.

However, if the coronavirus outbreak results in a recession, Ito says things will be different. He said lawmakers will try their conventional tools to address a recession, but they may need to try something new.

Ito said without a functioning economy, without people and goods moving around, he said the government's traditional policies to help Americans through a downturn might not work.

"This time, what we are experiencing is so severe that we don't know where to start," Ito said. "So, the only thing we can do is to provide minimal financial resources so people can live on in normal life."

KATU News asked Sen. Jeff Merkley if lawmakers need to think outside the box to get the country through a possible impending recession.

"We're brainstorming. One advantage of the legislative process is we can tackle the issues we are hearing about. Then, we're going to hear about others," Merkley said.

Ito said it's too early to tell how long it will take to get through a potential recession.