Baker Interview – Podcast August 17, 2020

Assessing The Economic Impact Of The Pandemic. Democratic Perspective welcomes Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, D.C. to discuss the short-term and long-term effects of the pandemic. He begins by noting that we’re really not out of the woods yet. Baker says that the current infection rate poses many problems for the immediate future saying, “It would be great to open the schools, but we’re really not prepared to do that, at least in many parts of the country because we did not take the steps necessary.”

Nevertheless, Baker is optimistic for the long-term. “I think we’re seeing some very, very interesting… stories play out here. We’re going to see permanent changes in behavior. A lot more people are not going to be commuting into offices so employers are not going to need as much office space. All of those people tasked with taking care of those offices won’t be needed. Restaurants, gyms – things that people do before and after work…purchases of business clothes. There’ll be a lot less demand in a wide range of areas. But we should really think of this as an increase in productivity. That’s a good thing. It frees up resources for a lot of other things. The list of needs is a long one.”

For example, Baker states that the capital can be used to respond to climate change. “There’s a whole range of things we need to do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he says. “We also need more childcare. That’s become very clear in the pandemic. Parents who want to work need a place for their kids during the day.”

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