COVID-19 has done more damage to our economy in a few weeks than the 2008 financial crisis did in a few years. Week-to-week unemployment filings show new millions out of work. We need experienced leadership to help us persevere in this crisis.
After 2008, I worked with the governor to champion a funding package through the State Senate to support worker training programs, attract outside investment to Arkansas, and create thousands of jobs. Thanks to this program, companies like Caterpillar, HP, and Mitsubishi brought good paying jobs to Arkansas.
This economic downturn is different from 2008. Everyone is hurting, and no individual could have planned for this. We can’t penalize people for not pulling themselves up by their bootstraps right now. I don’t favor making things easier only for the wealthy and well-connected. In the State Capitol, I focused on measures like cutting the grocery tax, something that helps everyone. That’s what I’ll do in Washington as well.
Public servants in Washington should look out for both employers and employees in this crisis. There’s a clear divide between which industries—through no fault of their own—can adapt to COVID-19 and those that can’t. It’s not realistic for every employer to completely retool and every employee to completely retrain in a few months. Paycheck protection and bridge-loans are the humane, sane thing to do.