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Next task: Getting back on our feet

The Wall Street Journal printed a front-page article on June 2 containing the ominous projection that America’s economic setback stemming from the coronavirus pandemic could take a decade to heal. Unfortunately, that is not difficult to fathom, all considered, and the disastrous situation would worsen significantly if a COVID-19 “second wave” materializes in the fall, winter– or whenever.

Actually, the first round remains ongoing.

A Journal front-page article in its June 6-7 edition headlined “Surprise job gains seed hopes” represents no more than that — hopes that might prove exaggerated in the months ahead.

The nation’s jobless rate, despite employment gains in May, still remains historically high, nearly four times the February rate. Employment remained down by nearly 20 million jobs, or 13 percent, since this year’s second month, the month before the onset of the pandemic caused states to shutter big segments of their respective economies.

Compare those numbers with the recession caused by the financial crisis, when “just” 9 million jobs were lost between December 2007 and February 2010.

Even back on Jan. 29 of this year, before the pandemic began inflicting its deadly human and devastating economic consequences on this nation, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that the government would spend $1 trillion more than it would collect in 2020, and that deficits would reach or exceed that threshold every year for the foreseeable future.

As a share of gross domestic product, the CBO reported, the deficit will be at least 4.3 percent every year through 2030 — the longest period of budget deficits exceeding 4 percent of GDP over the past century.

When the final math on the pandemic’s terrible impact is calculated, those concerning January financial numbers will take on a much more positive perception than how they were looked upon in January.

Some people and businesses will fare well in the end, despite the current challenges. However, many people will not, with behemoth losses having gutted their investments.

The old adage remains true: The big losses sustained over a short period of time take a lot longer to recoup. Perhaps younger investors will have the opportunity to recover their substantial losses over a number of years, but that might not be possible within the smaller time window available to many older Americans.

Then there is the pandemic’s financial impact on communities themselves — whether they will be able to provide the same level of services as they have provided in recent years. Beyond that, there is the pandemic’s assault on businesses within those communities.

Every year on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the Mirror publishes an editorial emphasizing the importance of shopping at local businesses during the Christmas-buying season. That will be especially important this year, because of how the business communities of Blair and surrounding counties have been pummeled by the COVID-19 health emergency.

The best leadership that this nation can muster will be the key to how quickly and how effectively America will exit the current crisis.

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