Re: “Maine Voices: Forecasts of a looming economic depression are greatly exaggerated” (April 3):

As an economist, I find Beau Michaud’s column misleading. “Recession” and “depression” now only have historic meanings.

We are in a health crisis, not an economic crisis. Federal Reserve actions are important but not the answer. There is confusion of who gets what, how it gets to them and when it arrives. Fiscal policies are not discussed, especially for extensive investment in health care, let alone in other sectors.

We are “building the ship at sea.” Nothing is known about future storms nor the programs to manage them. We know how to keep the hull from flooding but not much else.

We need to consider matters for which we have little experience: 1. How to rectify the disruptions in the global supply system. 2. Rebuilding tax revenues with diminished demand and increased debt. 3. A switch to turn on the economy back on. 4. Consumer adjusting to new debt loads and the need to build back depleted assets. Many will defer consumption even with recovery.

Realism is required, rather pessimism or optimism. We are not very good at planning for the unknown, but we must go beyond the past.

Ronald Savitt


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