Where are the Economists Willing to be Wrong on Coronavirus Right Now?



Economists are famous for predicting future events and their careers can be made on just one prescient model, but there appears to be a shortage of them willing to take a stab on when exactly America needs to reopen to prevent the economy from failing, Buck Sexton, the host of “The Buck Sexton Show”said on Wednesday.

“Where are the economists who are willing to be wrong right now on an issue where it shouldn’t be that hard to be right?” Sexton asked. “We know that the economy is in very bad shape. How bad can this thing get if we keep doing this? Shouldn’t we know that?”

Sexton said he was surprised at the lack of economists working on models to present to government officials on how long the country’s virtual lockdown can continue without completely sacrificing the economy.

“What if we extend to June?” Sexton asked. “What does that look like for unemployment?”

Sexton continued, where are “all of these people that usually tell us they’ve got all the answers. Economists love to say, ‘Don’t do this or else my models show you this.’”

President Trump said this week that he was organizing another task force that will focus on how to reopen the country. Shelter-in-place orders have essentially closed down much of the economy and resulted in 16 million new jobless claims in the past few weeks. Jobless claims are expected to increase another 5.4 million for the week ending April 11,Yahoo Finance reported.

“There is some evidence that states that implemented lockdowns earlier are seeing their claims numbers ease,” Lewis Alexander, an economist at Nomura Group told the website. “However, this is being offset by increased claims in states with more recent lockdowns. As we move further away from the date of initial lockdowns, claims should begin to normalize somewhat further.”

The economy has been in a tailspin for weeks. Trump signed a $2.2T economic stimulus package and some Americans are already receiving their $1,200 checks. The Motley Fool reported that the IRS will make about 60 million direct deposit payments in mid-April.

Kellyanne Conway, the counselor to the president, said Wednesday that the best person to revive “the Donald Trump economy is Donald Trump.”

“And with him in the lead, working with the governors” she said he will take the appropriate steps forward.

The persistent theory is that the U.S. will be unable to officially reopen until there is a cure or vaccine for coronavirus, which, at the minimum, is 18 months away.

“The longer this disruption goes on, the more likely it will have a permanent effect,”Roger Farmer, an economics professor at UCLA told the Los Angeles Times last month. “Three weeks we can bounce back from, three months is not so clear.”