Navroz Saju: Let’s open!

Apr 30, 2020

Key factors that cannot be ignored as our Nation’s policy makers deliberate on the path to opening up the economy are the steep daily increases in the nation’s unemployment numbers, the tremendous stress on our financial system, the millions of students sitting idle and millions of Americans spending their days in unhealthy isolation. Additional considerations are the trillions of dollars of debt that has been added and the millions of furloughed medical professionals due to empty hospitals.

In January and February, we were enjoying the benefits of a vibrant and robust economy. The current situation is resulting in millions of hard working Americans becoming unemployed through no fault of their own. None of us will be able to quantify our societal costs of skilled, positive and hardworking Americans being prevented to work, contribute and provide for themselves and their families. With each passing day, the financial and human costs mount. All economists agree on the principle that a key factor in influencing the quality of life of any country is the productivity of its workforce. Our policy makers have to scrupulously consider the human cost of people not being able to earn a livelihood as they formulate plans to open up our economy.

A key principle that all of us believe in is the importance of school age students spending the working part of the day studying while learning the important life principle of productively engaging with peers. Currently, our children are being deprived of this essential life building activity of structured education to develop their intellectual and social acumen. Realistically, virtual learning is not a viable option, when according to a USA Today article, over 50% of school age students do not have the technology for successful homeschooling. This also applies to college age students, many of whom are ready to graduate and have to place their career plans on hold. During this time, the skill set they have invested thousands of dollars in, sits idle. This personal cost is accentuated for college student athletes.

Also at risk is our first in class capital markets. Our markets have created the most successful middle class in the history of western civilization. The key market underpinning principle is that ordinary citizens can confidently invest their savings in equity markets, in debt markets, in bank CDs and directly as investors in businesses with the very strong confidence that their investment will be safe, while they have the opportunity to earn a reasonable rate of return depending on the risk they are taking. These investment dollars allow banks to loan capital to businesses, individuals who are starting a business, or who are growing a business, buying a home, or a car. Our capital markets allow people to borrow and invest money with the sole purpose of improving the quality of their personal and professional life. The foundational principle here is that people will be able to pay back the money they have borrowed. Failing to timely and thoughtfully open, will compromise the ability of most people and companies, if not all, to meet their financial obligations.