“We have to remember that what we do today in moments of crisis will echo throughout history.”

By on July 7, 2020 in Featured News, News

Hollingsworth Praises Efforts to Stabilize the Economy, but Cautions Against Federal Overreach

WASHINGTON, DC — Four years ago, Trey Hollingsworth was a successful small business owner in his home state of Indiana, founding one company that bought and revived former manufacturing locations and running another that has produced over 1.8 billion pounds of aluminum.  

Today, Hollingsworth represents the 9th District of the Hoosier State in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The Ripon Society hosted a virtual discussion with the businessman and Indiana lawmaker this past Thursday to get his thoughts on the economic impact of the pandemic on the people he represents and the steps that Congress has taken over the past few months to stabilize the economy and keep American workers safe and secure.

“We have never seen a full demand stop of the economy like we have seen this year,” Hollingsworth stated.  “In early March, I was deeply concerned that would lead to a depression, the likes of which we haven’t seen in the better part of 90 years. I think the quick and swift action of the federal government — whether administratively or legislatively — has eliminated this worst case scenario and enabled us to start seeing the green shoots of economic growth that we’re beginning to see today. 

“That response certainly hasn’t been perfect.  It hasn’t been as swift as some would have liked.  But that response — whether through the PPP or some of the programs that have been put in place by the Fed — has been able to stabilize markets and ensure that the economy continues to function, albeit at a lower level than before. I’ll leave it to those that majored in epidemiology and are far smarter than I to talk about the biological responses and some of the challenges associated with that. But from an economic response, I do think the federal government has taken significant and swift action.”

Hollingsworth was elected to the House in 2016.  A member of the Financial Services Committee, he has spent much of his first two terms in office making sure Washington was taking common sense steps that helped Americans get ahead in life, instead of erecting bureaucratic barriers that kept them from getting the job done.  

Since the pandemic first took hold of America four months ago, Hollingsworth said he has spent most of his time working toward this same goal.

“I’ve been really focused on ensuring that our businesses have the capital that they need to fund themselves going forward so they can take the next steps of rehiring their employees, restarting their production, and servicing their customers in the way that they want and need,” he said.  “I’ve also been focused on ensuring that the federal government does not intrude into American businesses where and when it is not needed.  Ultimately, we cannot operate under the assumption that we are going to save every single business model and that we are going to save every single business. 

“Our focus should be on getting to the best possible outcomes for the widest number of people, while recognizing that not every business model was sustainable before this, not every business model will be sustainable through this.  I want to make sure that we keep the federal government from setting precedents that will be used later.  We have to remember that what we do today in moments of crisis will echo throughout history. 

“I want to make sure that in addition to taking the swift action that we have, that we are also being as thoughtful as possible to draw boundaries around what the federal government should and should not be responsible for and recognize — much as we have in other endeavors — that not every business, not every business model, and not every job will be saved immediately.”

That said, Hollingsworth added that he remained very optimistic about the country’s future in the coming months and years.

“I want to make sure that we recognize that America will bounce back from this, that American companies will rebound from this, that the American economy will rebound from this, and that American workers remain focused on their bright future that is ahead of them.  

“I also want people to remember that we have been here before — maybe not as severe, maybe not as abrupt, maybe not as acute — but we have been here before.  I’m hopeful that Americans will take heart that we have risen to the challenge before, and I think this time will be no different in that regard.”

Following his remarks, Hollingsworth took a number of questions, including one about businesses trying to reopen and operate during the pandemic and whether Congress should pass liability protections in the weeks or months ahead.

“First and foremost,” he stated, “every Hoosier business that I talk to and every American business that calls my office says they want to do what’s right. They want to make sure their employees are safe and they want to make sure their customers are safe.  I hear that every single day, and I know that American companies are trying to do that.

“As we have learned more about virus transmission, as we have learned more things that are specific to this Coronavirus, it is really important that those companies that did their level best — that invested in PPP, that invested in best practices, that invested in ensuring that they were social distancing — have the opportunity to bring more employees back and more customers back. We’re not going to be able to get to a full tilt economy with significant liabilities hanging over their heads.  I continue to hear from main street businesses that say that they’re too scared to reopen and rehire employees, because they’re worried about those liabilities. I hear from big employers that feel like they can only produce at one-tenth of the rate that they were producing before, because they’re worried about the liabilities.

“I think if we can establish a liability protection that is based on adhering to the best practices at the time, then we could enable more companies to reopen more businesses to serve more customers and ultimately engender higher and faster economic growth throughout the course of this recovery. I think that’s really important for us to get to. I recognize that there are going to be challenges and that the devil will be in the details, but it’s worth investing the effort to work out those details, to get the mechanics right, so that we can empower companies and American workers to get back to doing what they want to do.”

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin.  One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success.  These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.  

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