Containing the Pandemic Public Debt by The Conference Board

In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic presented the entire world with its worst public health threat in at least a century. But the pandemic had economic consequences as well. And like the public health impact, the shock to the economy was large and impossible to assess accurately at its outset. Prudent public policy required strong and immediate responses. With the ultimate extent of the damage unknown but potentially catastrophic, policymakers deemed it essential that government react swiftly and robustly, employing extreme remedies, including enormous increases in spending, that are without precedent in peacetime. The resulting budget deficits have forced a substantial increase in borrowing and public debt. This impending buildup of enormous public debt cannot become another occasion for casual policymaking, or worse still, ignoring the issue entirely. Rather than cowering before its imposing size, this massive debt can and should be segmented and addressed, indicating responsible intent to other nations and financial markets around the world.

This piece was created as a complement to the research report, Containing the Pandemic Public Debt.