MIT economist Jonathan Gruber calls for federal sick leave program in wake of Covid-19 pandemic

On Boston Public Radio, Gruber warns that the lack of economic productivity could lead to a chain of events that ripples through the economy.

"What I would propose, and I think this is where they’re heading, is basically starting today that essentially we federalize the pay of sick leave and it’s there for all workers and basically we say look this is a short term emergency... and we’re going to basically unburden the companies from paying for this and also make it available for those workers who don’t have it available." 

— Jonathan Gruber, Ford Professor of Economics at MIT

Research and Perspectives for the Pandemic
Main Page | Healthcare | Economic Impacts

EXCERPT | MARCH 11, 2020

"Despite the major disruptions to the stock market caused by the spread of the virus, in an interview with Boston Public Radio on Tuesday, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber warned that without federal intervention the lack of economic productivity caused by workers missing work could lead to a chain of events that ripples through the economy.

“'Here’s the way to think about it: We’ve got a weird situation where you’re going to have a lot of people unable to go to work. You need to keep them being able to pay their mortgage and pay their bills. At the same time they can’t buy stuff if nobody is going to work,' Gruber said. 'So, you need to be able to support people if they can’t buy things, but you also need to prop up the sectors where they need to buy things from.'

"President Donald Trump recently called on Congress to work with him to pass immediate economic relief. Among the measures the president proposed was a payroll tax cut to provide Americans with more money in each paycheck, but Gruber said that would be ineffective."

Full commentary at WGBH

Suggested links

Jonathan Gruber's MIT webpage

MIT Economics