During pandemic, Federal Reserve to grant zero-interest loans to cities and states | Letters


The COVID-19 recession has thrown people’s lives into chaos, especially in black and brown communities. We have seen massive losses in income, housing and food insecurity, and parents are struggling to make distance learning work despite the lack of child care facilities and appropriate technology. People who can’t work from home have to choose between their health and safety and try to keep the lights on.

Local, county and state authorities scramble to find solutions as the 2021 budget deadlines approach.

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A proposal has recently emerged as a quick and efficient way to deal with the crisis. The Federal Reserve could grant zero-interest loans to city, county and state governments, as proposed in a new report from the Acre Center for Action on Race and the Economy (ACRE). Together, the governments of Illinois, Chicago and Cook County could save nearly $ 3 billion a year.

A resolution supporting this proposal was recently presented at a Chicago city council meeting. Saving Chicago $ 1.1 billion a year from zero-interest long-term loans could allow the city to pay for internet access for all CPS students and help 72,600 families avoid the eviction by covering the rent for one year.

The Federal Reserve is already offering low-interest loans to banks and private companies. The least they can do is act like the popular bank they are supposed to be in extending these benefits to taxpayers. There is no reason for taxpayer dollars to go into the pockets of Wall Street investors, who are thriving during the economic downturn even as so many people are suffering.

The Federal Reserve should give loans to cities and states across the country, saving us $ 160 billion collectively.

There is no single solution to the growing COVID-19 crisis. But we should take this opportunity to help millions of people, especially the black and brown families who have lost the most. Trading Wall Street profits to save lives is a simple and straightforward opportunity – and the Federal Reserve should seize it.

Ald. Rossana Rodriguez, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson and Illinois State Representative Lakesia Collins

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