Every event needs to be cancelled, and nearly everyone will need to stay home. People will still need to pay bills and buy food. Which means direct payments from the government could become necessary.
In a crisis, ideology has to go out the window.
And looking at the basic logic of what’s happening with Coronavirus, it becomes likely that some kind of Universal Guaranteed Income will need to be put in place temporarily.
It could be under a different name, or through a combo of the Employment Insurance Payments and direct payments to Canadians financed by the Bank of Canada, but one way or another direct payments are likely to become necessary.
The reason is that to stop the Coronavirus from killing a huge amount of Canadians, we need people to stay home. We need to shut off most economic activity in the country, because we need people to stop moving and stop interacting.
But people still need food. People still need supplies. People still need money while they are laid off or avoiding work.
And companies will still need some money coming in, so that there’s an economy left for all us to return to when the crisis has passed.
This means a massive amount of government intervention could become necessary.
In addition to the direct payments to individuals mentioned above, the government will have to extend huge zero-interest loans to small business and large corporations across the country.
When the crisis is over, the economy will recover.
But until that happens, we may need to rethink how we keep things going. And that will likely require a temporary Universal Guaranteed Income in Canada.