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Slowdowns in the economy are inevitable. While it may be tempting to rely on Federal Reserve policy as a lone response to recessions, this would be a mistake; we know that fiscal stimulus is effective. Rather than wait for a crisis to strike before designing discretionary fiscal policy, we would be better served by preparing in advance. Enacting evidence-based automatic stabilizer proposals before the next recession will help the next recovery start faster, make job creation stronger, and restore confidence to businesses and households.
Transportation infrastructure investment during economic downturns often occurs too slowly—and in insufficient quantities—to help stabilize the economy. Andrew Haughwout of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York proposes a modification of the BUILD grant program that would automatically fund additional transportation infrastructure investments during recessions.