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What kind of stimulus is needed to rescue the economy?

After the Federal Reserve fired nearly all of its bullets Sunday in a bid to rescue the teetering U.S. economy from the devastating effects of the coronavirus, investors promptly replied, “Next!”

Markets plunged again Monday after the Fed’s decision to cut its key interest rate to zero, among other historic moves, with the Dow Jones industrial average plummeting nearly 3,000 points, or 13%. And so hopes of at least minimizing a recession that almost certainly has already begun now rest with Congress.

The Fed can open the economy’s lending spigots wider but it can’t aid airlines, retailers or restaurants whose revenue has fallen off a cliff as customers fearful of the coronavirus hunker down at home. Nor can it shore up the employees of those businesses who have lost their jobs or are toiling sharply reduced hours.

Only Congress can hand cold hard cash to consumers and businesses to tide them over until the outbreak starts easing, perhaps in a couple of months.

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