Mnuchin Warns of ‘Permanent Economic Damage’ if House Arrests Continue

(Liberty Headlines) Some of President Donald Trump‘s top economic advisers emphasized on Sunday the importance of states getting more businesses and offices open.

Tight restrictions on which businesses can operate are causing millions of people to join the ranks of the unemployed.

Decisions about how fast to reopen come with a general election less than six months away, and Trump and other incumbents facing the prospects of seeking another term in the midst of a public health and economic crisis.

“If we do this carefully, working with the governors, I don’t think there’s a considerable risk,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday.”.

“Matter of fact, I think there’s a considerable risk of not reopening. You’re talking about what would be permanent economic damage to the American public.”

Another 3.2 million U.S. workers applied for jobless benefits last week, bringing the total over the last seven weeks to 33.5 million as states keep citizens under house arrest.

Mnuchin said the jobless numbers “are probably going to get worse before they get better,” but he expected the economic numbers to improve in the second half of 2020 and that next year would be a “great year.”

Gov. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, announced this past week that his state’s bars and restaurants can fully reopen in two weeks, on May 21, with outside dining allowed a few days earlier.

Barbershops, hair salons, nail salons and day spas will also reopen this coming Friday.

He said he wished the number of coronavirus cases were going down, but the state needs to come back “very carefully.”

We’ve got to try to do two things at once and it’s, you know, no one is underestimating how difficult this is, but it’s something that we have to do,” DeWine said on Fox.

The White House dispatched several of its top economic advisers to hit the Sunday talk shows.

White House adviser Kevin Hassett appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“And so this is a very, very scary virus. You know, that people are going to go back to work and they’re gonna be worried about things,” Hassett said. “And it’s going to take awhile for things to get back to normal, absolutely.”

At the same time, he said some $9 trillion has been injected into the economy through actions taken by Congress, the White House and the Federal Reserve.

“I think that right now we have bought some time with all the money that we’ve thrown at the economy and we’ve been using the time to do things like develop treatments, improve our treatments, learn more about social distancing and so on,” Hassett said.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.