Jun 11, 2020 - Economy & Business

Mnuchin: "We can’t shut down the economy again" over coronavirus


Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Photo: AL DRAGO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told CNBC Thursday that shutting down the economy again to stop the spread of the coronavirus is not an option.

Why it matters: The comment came as stocks opened much lower Thursday amid fears that infections are spiking again in states that have reopened. Mnuchin said the country "learned a lot” from the first shutdown, which he said caused significant damage even if it helped slow the spread of the virus.

  • Mnuchin said he is ready to ask Congress for additional money if needed, after telling the Senate at a hearing Wednesday that the U.S. will "definitely" need another bipartisan stimulus package to prop up certain vulnerable industries.

What he's saying: “We can’t shut down the economy again. I think we’ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you’re going to create more damage,” Mnuchin told Jim Cramer on “Squawk on the Street.” 

  • “And not just economic damage, but there are other areas and we’ve talked about this: medical problems and everything else that get put on hold. I think it was very prudent what the president did, but I think we’ve learned a lot.”
  • “We have the Fed program, we have Main Street [lending program], which is going to be now up and running, and we’re prepared to go back to Congress for more money to support the American worker. So we’re going to get everybody back to work. That’s my No. 1 job working with the president and we’re going to do that.”
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