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COVID Cases Growing Fast in Latin America; Unemployment in America Near Historic Highs; Interview With L.Z. Granderson; Interview With Stanford University Professor of Economics Raj Chetty. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired June 17, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ACOSTA: -- as to how this task force is not really relevant to what's happening over here at the White House anymore, Brianna. We understand
that the task force hasn't even been asked about whether or not it is a good idea for the president to hold this rally in Tulsa this weekend. I
talked to an official about this, and he said, listen, the White House knows better than to ask members of the task force, the health experts on
the task force whether this is a good idea, because, quite frankly, it's not a good idea and there are officials in the administration who
understand that, Brianna.
KEILAR: Yes. Don't ask if you know what the answer will be and you don't like it. Jim Acosta, thank you so much.
ACOSTA: You bet.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know the I am putting my children in, but I don't have a choice. Either I die to get out or starve to death in my room.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: COVID's new Latin America epicenter. Infections are surging. One family's harrowing escape from the virus in Lima, Peru. And the former
Mexican health secretary, Julio Frenk, on the impact across the continent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJ CHETTY, DIRECTOR, OPPORTUNITY INSIGHTS: Where are jobs being lost? In what particular businesses or what income groups?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Breaking down the virus-induced economic disaster. Harvard professor, Raj Chetty, talks to our Hari Sreenivasan.
And later, are sports leagues paying more than lip service to the anti- racism movement. ESPN journalist, LZ Granderson, joins me.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour working from home in London.
New coronavirus cases are being reported in Beijing and across the United States, but it is Latin America where infections continue to grow the
fastest. Brazil reported a record of nearly 35,000 new cases in just 24 hours, even as the government insists the outbreak is under control. And
Peru has also turned into a hot spot despite initial success, taking early measures to control the virus.
Structural poverty is a huge reason for people having to choose between whether to go out to work or stay home and perish. And there's an exodus
from the Capital of Lima for those unable to pay their rent or feed themselves. Like Maria Tambo, a desperate mother who took her children on a
harrowing 350-mile journey to escape. Here is journalist, Guillermo Galdos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUILLERMO GALDOS, JOURNALIST: This bus terminal is overwhelmed with people to get out of Lima. About 70 percent of Peruvians work in the foreign
economy and live hand to mouth. When President Martin Vizcarra imposed a strict lockdown for the coronavirus, it sparked an economic crisis. Maria
and her three daughters moved to Lima for the sake of her oldest child's education, but now she's desperate to get back home, back to her husband,
back to safety. With no planes, trains or buses, she is starting the 350- mile journey on foot.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know the I am putting my children in, but I don't have a choice. Either I die to get out or starve to death in my room.
GALDOS: It's hot, and food and water are scarce. A passing truck driver throws the family something to eat.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am thinking, because I am almost home.
GALDOS: After three days on the road, Maria is struggling to carry on. She's 4,500 meters high in the Andes. The air is thin, the journey
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a bit hard to breathe. He's stopping. I have walked a lot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can imagine. There is a little food. If you want, you can eat this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. God bless you.
GALDOS: The truck driver takes them to the next town. From there, the family must continue on foot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't this checkpoint with minors.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no one to leave them with. Where would I leave them? I am going to my farm.
GALDOS: That night maria and her daughters set up camp in a clearing in the rainforest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to apologize for putting you at risk. But we couldn't stay there any longer. Thankfully God has protected us. But I have
put you at risk.
GALDOS: After seven days and 300 miles traveled, Maria and her family have made it to their home province, the lands of the indigenous Ashaninka
people. They are only about 50 miles from home, but there is a problem. Maria and her daughters had heard that the local indigenous communities
have shut down completely the area and they are not allowing anybody in.
The indigenous people are right to be worried. Ucayali Region is one of the most badly affected areas in the country for coronavirus. After delicate
negotiations, she's allowed to pass on the agreement that she self-isolates on her farm once she gets there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just a little left before I see my animals, my husband. Thank you deal Lord. Thank you. Thank you, God, for bringing me
GALDOSL: After all the pain and suffering, the final torment. The family cannot hold one another in case someone transmits the virus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How was the journey?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was so difficult. We walked a lot. We have all suffered so much. I never want to go to Lima again. I thought I was going
to die there with my girls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Heartbreak on top of hardship. For more now on the impact of the coronavirus on Latin America, I'm joined by Julio Frenk. He is the
president of the University of Miami, and he's a former W.H.O. official and also the former Mexican health minister.
Welcome to the program, Mr. Frenk, from Miami, of course, where you are.
Let's just build on what we just saw in very human form and very heartbreaking. Maria's family having to leave Lima and this idea that the
president of Peru really did the right thing way early, somewhere around March 16th, by taking, you know, harsh lockdown measures. And now, it's
spiking again. It's the same number of cases as Italy. Why has it gone from success to disaster, in your opinion?
JULIO FRENK, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: There are very complex societal and structural reasons why even when governments institute the
correct policies, as was the case in Peru, you have these (INAUDIBLE) and it's basically the constructural poverty, the incredible prevalence of
people who live in the informal sector who can't afford to stay in lockdown.
Now, compound that with the other countries, especially the larger countries that have had the wrong policies, and you have all the makings of
a true humanitarian, health and economic catastrophe.
AMANPOUR: Well, I'm just going to put up a little graphic of the informal economy in some of the Latin American countries, because this does seem to
be a major issue. Because informal means they're on their own, they don't have any assess to any sort of state help, whatever it might be, health,
economy or whatever.
So, I want to ask you because, you know, for instance, the president of the Argentina said in March, faced with the dilemma of preserving the economy
or life, we do not hesitate. We choose life. And yet, these massive lockdowns continue. I mean, they may go on, you know, until the end of the
month, into next month, and people are really hurting. What's the way out for these countries in Latin America?
FRENK: You know, I think we need to switch that set forth dilemma, although I would also choose life. But the dilemma, it's false. We need to
pursue simultaneously the goal of protecting the people's health and reactivating the economy. Because, you know, if you extend the lockdown
beyond what's necessary, you will actually not just hurt the economy, you hurt the health of people. People who can't eat, who lose their jobs, who
are -- plus, the physical and mental health burden of being -- staying at home.
If, on the other hand, you open the economy in a responsible manner, not only will you hurt people's health, you will probably face a future
lockdown that will further harm the economy. So, the two objectives need to be hand in hand. And the key to achieving both is to be able to carry out
enough testing so that we can actually move from this extreme measure of what I would call mitigation, which is the lockdown, to the more
traditional public health response, which is where you test people, you identify cases, you trace their contacts, and those are the people you
The problem in Latin America and even the world with this pandemic is that faced with a highly contagious disease, there was a huge delay in
instituting which level of testing. And then you have countries like Mexico that explicitly decided not to do testing, in a baffling way, contradicting
all the expert opinion.
And because it's an exponential growth, even a delay of one, two, three weeks translates into thousands of cases. And by the time those countries
were reacting, it was too late. I mean, the transmission was so entrenched in communities that you couldn't go to the traditional public health
response of only quarantining people who are positive under context.
So, the solution for both things is testing and then it's enforcing some of the personal protection measures, like wearing face masks. But again, this
requires from the politicians clear, clear communication that -- what it takes to be safely back in the economy.
FRENK: We've seen not just a failure of leadership in some of these policies, but also an incredibly confusing communication that leaves people
with no clear idea on what they would do.
AMANPOUR: Well, you mentioned Mexico, and Mexico is, right now, in the middle of trying to get out of its lockdown despite the fact that there is
not the testing infrastructure. I mean, the president has said, it's -- we're under control, we're going to get out of lockdown, and we're not
because the cases -- they're nearly, you know, more than -- well, nearly 5,000 new cases there.
What do you foresee, then, happening in Mexico where you were the health minister if they come out of lockdown with no testing infrastructure or not
FRENK: Well, we're going to see what we're seeing, a rapid rise in new cases, a rapidly rising of burden for unnecessary debts by people. That's
going to hurt the economy as well. And there is an example of failed leadership. You know, we used to say when I worked at the World Health
Organization, there are communicable diseases and there are communicated diseases.
A part of the duty of a leader faced with a crisis is to communicate clearly and there have been so many equivocations in the communication
where you see political figures contradicting the experts. One commonality, not just in Latin America but around the world, is that you tent to see the
worst responses in places where you have populist leaders. It's the case of Mexico, it's the case of Brazil or Nicaragua, are the worst cases in Latin
America, but goes, you know, to Turkey and Russia and Italy and the United States, because it's in the mindset of populists to disregard the opinion
of experts, and nothing confuses more people than the spectacle of the pollical figures contradicting the experts.
People are left without clear communication, and that's when you start -- you know, when people need to go out, they don't have a choice, but they
don't actually take the measures that would be in their control, like wearing a face mask, like maintaining hand hygiene, like keeping a safe
distance. They don't have clear communication that would guide that behavioral change. But to me, these --
AMANPOUR: We have that same issue --
AMANPOUR: Sorry to interrupt you. We have that same issue here in the U.K., the populist leadership, the mixed messaging, the concerns about, you
know, how to open and do it safely, again, without the required amount of testing and tracing.
But you mentioned Brazil, you know, because it's not just populist leaders, but it's those who don't just not respect experts, but they actually
actively go against them. I mean, the leader of Brazil has said the most incredible things about the nature of this pandemic. He's also bought into
what President Trump for a while in terms of chloroquine and the other malaria drugs. What do you expect to see? And we've seen these mass graves
in Manaus. I mean, it's a real disaster in Brazil. How do you expect that there to play out?
FRENK: Well, you know, eventually, pandemics will kill a lot of people. They will come under control, because, you know, you start reducing the
number of people who are susceptible. People get infected, they develop immunity or people sadly die.
Eventually, we will have a vaccine. I am very optimistic about the prospect of a vaccine. But I hope that the most important thing that would come out
of this pandemic is a clear exercise in learning lessons. And one thing we have learned around the world is this correlation, I'm not saying it's a
cause and effect, but there is a cluster of examples of bad government particularly among populist leaders. The idea of undervaluing the opinion
of experts, downplaying the role of science in formulating public policy, embracing outlandish nonscientific visions, and it's not meaning Brazil,
it's happening in other countries.
It is -- yes. I hope it's a wakeup call that populism is dangerous to public health. You know, (INAUDIBLE) being a great danger to democracy. And
my hope is that, you know, at least something that's happened as you've seen some national action, many governors in Brazil and Mexico taking
action, and you have seen civil society. And I hope that among the many lessons we will have to learn, there will be a deep exercise in holding
governments to account for the policies and in understanding again the value of investing in health to deal with this and other crises.
AMANPOUR: So, I'm really interested -- it's very, very fascinating the way you break down the types of government in leadership and the resulting
situation that we have. Because also on your continent, Uruguay has had relatively few, just about 800 or more, just over 800 cases and very, very
few deaths. And we see that compared to the others that we show where the majority of people are in the informal economy in some countries, in
Uruguay, it's the opposite. Plus, they really appear to really trust their institutions.
Can you expand a little bit more on why Uruguay has come out of this much better than the other countries we've just been discussing?
FRENK: Yes. We have bright cases (INAUDIBLE) is another one. Colombia has unreasonably well and Chile was, like Peru, doing well, but I think they
relaxed the measures a little bit early. But Uruguay is an example of good policy, good governance and a country that for -- way before the pandemic,
was working at some of those structural elements of poverty of creating jobs that are sustainable, that allow people to -- that create a reserve
(ph) where you have some where you have some systems of social protection from the government. So, it's an example of good governance. It's always
been a country that's ahead of -- from the rest of Latin America. So, you know, there are valuable lessons.
You know, COVID-19 is not itself an agent of change, it's an accelerator of change. It reveals trends that were happening and it has accelerated. And,
you know, the transition to online work and online education and even TeleHelp, all of those are positive changes. I hope we'll also accelerate a
re-evaluation of what sound public policy is.
It's very important that governments are held to account. You know, it's a sad story for Maria that you narrated there, and that's a dramatic effect
of the lack of social protection and informality in the economy. But when you add to that, deliberately irresponsible policies, either we've seen in
Mexico, Brazil, Nicaragua, other countries, and then you said, not just in Latin America but around the world, there is something there that I think
should jolt citizens into action.
We need to emulate countries like Uruguay. By the way, interestingly, it's not the case of Uruguay but the other pattern around the world is that --
governments, the most successful governments, you have an overrepresentation of women in leadership positions. And, again, I'm not
saying it's cause and effect. I hope that this will put to rest the idea that women can't be political leaders because that's what we've seen,
whether it's New Zealand, Norway, Taiwan, Germany. I mean, it's another very interesting pattern that has emerged, the effectiveness of women
versus the ineffectiveness of populist men is quite a striking pattern in this pandemic.
AMANPOUR: I was hoping you were going to get there, Dr. Frenk. Of course, you know, Iceland, Finland, all the others, and we focused on it quite a
lot. It's very interesting.
Can I just ask you make, you said you were convinced that a vaccine would be developed? There is, as you know, in the United Kingdom a readily
available cheap steroid that they are talking about as some kind of a game changer once you're actually in hospital, that it can help survival rates
if you have to be on a ventilator or if you have to have oxygen. What do you make of that, and what does it say about the effort to find
FRENK: Well, one of the big lessons, I hope, will be, as I was saying before, that the ultimate solutions here will come from investing in
science, which is, again, something that populist leaders don't do very willingly because it's the distrust of (INAUDIBLE), distrust of expertise.
But investing in science is what's going to get us out of here, both in tests, better and more precise and cheaper tests. Therapeutics like
dexamethasone that was just proven be an effective measure, as you said, it reduces mortality, and eventually a vaccine.
I think that's a big lesson. And the lesson is, you don't start doing this once you have the crisis upon you. You need to be developing the platforms.
So, the reason we're moving so fast, it's because in the previous years we developed platforms to develop vaccines to create more vaccines and to try
and test a lot of drugs and be able to identify candidates. We need to continue with that kind of investment.
And then, you know, make sure that everyone has access. Because if we end up with a great vaccine but only the rich countries have access or as it
was the case with AIDS in the early stages of that pandemic, we come up with effective therapeutics, but it's out of reach for the majority of poor
people in the world.
FRENK: Which is going to generate further divisions. But the great lesson is science holds some of the answers, and global cooperation is the other
big lesson. A lot of these advances in vaccines and unprecedented pace is because there is a movement of collaboration among scientists in industry,
in government, in the private sector around the world racing to find a vaccine and effective drugs. That's the other lesson that we need to not
heed the cause for a retrenchment from (INAUDIBLE).
This is not the time to retrench. Pandemics are a reflection of our global world. The solutions to global problems are global themselves, and the idea
that now we can blame some other country, we can blame foreigners and that this is a time to go back into notions of isolationism, I think, would be
very dangerous. That would leave us very vulnerable when there is the next pandemic, and there will be a next pandemic.
AMANPOUR: On that note, Julio Frenk, thank you very much for joining us from Miami.
Now, since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have been bombarded, of course, with stats and facts of the economic fallout. Like this one. At 13.3
percent, the unemployment rate in the United States is at near historic highs. But what does that actually mean? Well, our next guest is trying to
make sense of it all, and he is Raj Chetty. He is an economics professor at Harvard University, and here he is talking to our Hari Sreenivasan about
his research, about where the economic fallout lands.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Christiane.
Raj Chetty, thanks for joining us.
So, Raj, people are generally familiar with the big 30,000-foot view of what has happened to the economy thanks to COVID. We know that there is
massive unemployment, we know that spending has decreased. What's different about the index you have built?
RAJ CHETTY, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Yes, Hari, I think the data people have seen in the newspaper is coming from surveys that the
government conducts on a regular basis of businesses and households across the United States. Those are the surveys that are used to construct GDP,
unemployment rates, the big numbers that you see in the headlines.
What we are missing in that national picture is exactly what's going on at the ground level, where are jobs being lost, in what particular businesses,
for what income groups? Why exactly has spending fallen so much, and what does that mean in terms of which kinds of folks have lost their jobs as a
And so, what we're trying to do with the data that we've constructed using information from private companies is really grill down and show
neighborhood by neighborhood, income group by income group, how is this crisis unfolding, who needs help and what should we be doing from a policy
SREENIVASAN: So, who stopped spending the most?
CHETTY: Yes. So, when we look at this data, start with the spending picture, which is where I think this crisis really began, you see that
spending in the U.S. as measured by credit cards has fallen by about 30 percent from where it was in February to essentially a couple weeks after
the COVID crisis began in the U.S. in the middle of March. We saw a 30 percent reduction in overall consumer spending, which, just to be clear,
you know, is the biggest reduction in spending we've ever seen in the United States and recorded data, right. So, unprecedented in scale.
Now, here's what's interesting, when you break that overall data up, you find that the vast majority of that reduction in spending is coming from
high-income households rather than low-income households. So, you might have had the intuition that, you know, the folks who are going to bear the
branch (ph) of this crisis, people who might have lost their jobs and so forth, are lower income folks, and they would be the ones cutting back on
But, in fact, you see that, you know, by the end of May, two-thirds of the spending reduction we're seeing in the U.S. is coming from people in the
top quarter of the income distribution. So, it's really the rich who have retracted their spending the most.
SREENIVASAN: So, then that has a ripple effect? The first being that where they spend their money, their neighborhoods are going to feel the economic
CHETTY: That's exactly right. So, you know, thinking about the mechanics of this, why have the rich reduced spending the most? If you look at data
on just the amount of time people are spending outside, you see a pattern where high-income folks have cut the amount of time they're spending
outside their homes much more than low-income folks. So, what does that do? Local businesses that rely on foot traffic and particular businesses that
are providing services in person, think of your local restaurants, retail shops and so forth, they have, you know, as you can just see walking around
on the streets, they've lost a tremendous amount of business revenue. And in particular, they've lost a tremendous amount of revenue if they're
located in very affluent neighborhoods.
So, think of the upper east side of Manhattan, for example. There you're seeing business, small businesses, there losing 70 or 80 percent of their
revenue relative to baseline, relevant to January or February. In contrast, you look at -- another place in New York, look at the Bronx, for example,
you're seeing 30 percent reductions in revenue from local businesses, and that's coming from the fact that, as I was saying at the beginning, high-
income folks are cutting spending the most.
SREENIVASAN: So, in these areas, then, does that mean there are more layoffs or fewer job openings?
CHETTY: Exactly. So, the third piece of kind of this chain of dominoes falling, so high-income folks spends less, local businesses revenues fall,
especially in affluent areas. Who basically takes the hit from that? It's predominantly lower-income workers at these businesses in affluent areas.
So, the restaurants in the upper east side that employ lots of folks that live in other parts of New York, in lower income neighborhoods, those folks
tend to be the ones who have lost their jobs at much higher rates than people who happen to be working in similar restaurants in low-income areas
or people who happen to be working for Amazon which has experienced a boon in business because of the nature of this shock.
SREENIVASAN: So, are there particular stats on low wage workers that are in affluent areas?
CHETTY: Yes. So, low wage workers in affluent areas, 70 percent of them who are working in small businesses have lost their jobs, 70 percent. So,
you know, the odds are you lost your job if you're working in a restaurant, working in a retail store in an affluent area. And so, those folks are just
getting by, at this point, because of the unemployment benefit system. In less affluent areas, that number is 30 percent. So, there is a big
difference across these places.
SREENIVASAN: Where this is happening and who this is happening to, how does that impact the recovery? Is that going to make it take longer?
CHETTY: And so -- yes. So, in addition to seeing higher job losses in these particular areas -- give you another example, you know, San Francisco
-- the center of San Francisco, very affluent neighborhoods, again, tremendous number of layoffs there at the heart of Silicon Valley. In
addition to seeing higher rates of job loss there for the low-income workers, and I want to stress, it's the low-income workers there, not the
high-income workers there who lost their jobs.
We're also seeing fewer job ads being posted in those areas, and if you look at jobs that don't require a college degree, for example, you see that
those job postings have fallen the most in places like Downtown San Francisco in Silicon Valley. So, it's not just that there is greater job
loss there to begin with, we're also seeing ominous signs that the recovery might take longer in many places, in particular for less educated workers
because we're not seeing much of a recovery in spending yet for more affluent households. We're still able to self-isolate while the threat of
COVID is present.
SREENIVASAN: Is that changing as states open back up?
CHETTY: You can ask. You know, do we actually see more spending, more employment in the states that opened earlier? Does this seem to have an
effect? And the answer, unfortunately, is really no. Especially if you look at higher-income folks where spending has fallen the most, you look at the
businesses that have been hurt the most, we're not seeing much of an accelerated recovery at all when you have an earlier reopening of a state.
And I think that's fundamentally because the reason that spending has fallen is not because of shutdown orders or because, you know, certain
businesses were ordered to be closed, it's because of people's choices.
If you look at the data, you see that spending actually fell before a lot of the shutdown orders went into place. And what that's telling you is,
people are cutting back on their spending because they themselves are worried about their health. And you're not going to be able to undo that
fully by just issuing an order that you're reopening businesses.
SREENIVASAN: So, were you able to compare states, perhaps neighboring states, on kind of both sides before the orders came down?
Were you able to see that spending habits changed, vs. an order that comes down to order back up, and that says, fine, we can go ahead and open
businesses again, but does that change the spending habits?
So, to give you a concrete example, Hari, of the type of analysis we did, let's take Minnesota and Wisconsin. So, Minnesota and Wisconsin shut down
at roughly the same point. They issued stay-at-home orders. And what we saw in both states is that spending had essentially fallen by about 30 percent
even before the shutdown orders went into place.
So what that shows you is, people were making choices on their own, and it was not fundamentally the states' decisions that drove down that change in
spending behavior. Minnesota then reopened two weeks before Wisconsin did, partial reopening of its businesses.
But if you look at the data, you can track spending patterns in Minnesota and Wisconsin over time, and you see that they basically perfectly match
each other, even though Minnesota opened two weeks before Wisconsin did.
And so it's that type of analysis, not just done with those two examples, but comparing states across the U.S., you can see that we can't count on
reopenings by themselves to revive our economy.
SREENIVASAN: So, let's look a little bit at the measures that we took as a government. So, first, let's talk about the CARES Act.
How do you measure the impact of the CARES Act?
CHETTY: Yes, so the CARES Act had two central elements.
The first was stimulus payments to households, and the second was loans to small businesses. So, let me start with the stimulus payments to the
households. So, these are the typically $1,200 checks that lots of folks received in the mail around April 15 to try to support spending, increase
spending in the U.S.
And so what we can do to these data, coming back to the credit card spending data, you can literally look day by day and ask, the day that
people got these checks, we were able to see in bank accounts when many of these deposits went in, literally the day of April 15.
And so we can see, are people starting to spend more on April 16, 17, 18, once they have this extra $1,200 in their checking account? And, sure
enough, you do see that spending goes up quite significantly immediately afterward.
So, at that level, the policy seems to have worked. But here's the wrinkle there. Spending went up primarily among lower-income families who, perhaps
because they have less savings, have a tendency to spend more when they get a check in the mail.
But if you look at the high-income families -- and, remember, that's where most of the spending reduction came from to begin with -- we see relatively
little impact. If they got a stimulus check, there wasn't that much of a propensity to spend it.
SREENIVASAN: The Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to be something targeted exactly toward businesses.
How do you measure the impact of that? What did employers do with those funds, if they applied for and got it?
CHETTY: So, it turns out that, for the most part, you were eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program if you had fewer than 500 employees, but if
you had more than 500 employees, you weren't eligible.
And so what you can do is compare firms that happened to have less than 500 employees and would have been eligible for the PPP program vs. firms that
had more than 500 employees and ask, did the firms that had less than 500 employees, did they actually layoff fewer workers once the program began on
So, that's kind of a way to -- sort of like an experiment that you can analyze. And what you end up finding in the data -- and we were quite
surprised by this -- is, there's actually not that much of a differential effect.
There might have been a modest effect of the paycheck Protection Program on increasing employment in those firms with fewer than 500 employees. But,
overall, you see an enormous decline in the fraction of workers those firms were employing, just like the firms that were larger and would not have
gotten assistance from the PPP.
SREENIVASAN: So, the $300 billion that went through to consumers didn't have the effect that we thought it was going to have, at least not evenly.
The $500 billion that went to businesses, you're saying, didn't have a measurable impact on whether it actually kept more people employed or not.
So, now I have got to ask the other question. This is, based on all this other information you're looking at, what should we be doing?
CHETTY: Yes, so I think this is a very unusual crisis.
I think the policy responses that were undertaken, I don't want to say they had no effect. I think some of what we have done -- there's one other
important piece, Hari, that we haven't touched on yet, which was the extension of the unemployment insurance benefits, in particular for people
who are unemployed, sustaining their incomes.
That, I think, has been incredibly important. Had we not taken those steps early on, which I think the government did very effectively, we would have
an even bigger crisis on our hands, because lots of people wouldn't be able to pay rent, would have no money to spend on food and so forth. Everyone
has lost their jobs.
And that would be an even bigger crisis than what we have. So, some of the steps the government has taken, I think, have been incredibly important, in
particular that expansion of the unemployment insurance benefits.
SREENIVASAN: So, if unemployment insurance benefit programs were working, and they actually had a measurable impact, according to all the
information, would the money that we deployed have been better spent if we actually just gave unemployed people more money to spend and, well, boost
CHETTY: Yes, and so that's exactly where I was going with this, as you anticipated.
I think targeting our assistance -- there is only a finite amount of resources the government can spend at the end of the day. I think targeting
that assistance to folks who have lost their job and are in the greatest need of help at the moment is the smartest strategy, as opposed to the
stimulus, which also, I think, had that sort of intention, but also gave these $1,200 to people who have not lost their jobs, right?
So, the distinction between the unemployment benefits and the stimulus is that the unemployment benefits specifically go to people who have lost
their income. And that, I think, is critical, because those folks, had we not given them unemployment benefits, they would have lost purchasing
power, and you would have seen their spending fall for lower-income folks even further.
And that would have had a further ripple effect and so on. And so the way I look at it is, the deep problem that overall spending in the U.S. has
fallen, and that that's having this cascading effect of lower employment and so forth, that can only be solved by addressing the fundamental health
concern, so, the public health issues.
How do you get people to feel confident about coming back out of their houses, to going and working in the neighborhoods where they usually
worked? Of course, the long-term solution here is a vaccine, but, in the interim, are there public health measures we can figure out through social
distancing or contact tracing, et cetera, that can restore consumer confidence?
That, I think, is the only fundamental solution. In the meantime, there are lots of people who are going to be suffering as a result of this crisis, in
particular what we see in the data, low-income workers.
I think we need to think hard about how we can use our limited resources to support those households while they're out of a job.
SREENIVASAN: You have done a lot of research about kind of the rungs of opportunity and how some disappear or how people slip back and forth.
We saw a tremendous amount, for example, of wealth lost for African- American households after the real estate and the financial crisis 10, 12 years ago. When you see this crisis playing out, and you see communities of
color who might be low-income disproportionately affected here, are you concerned about a longer-term impact on social mobility?
CHETTY: I'm very concerned, and I'm glad you raise that.
I actually think one of the things we need to keep our eye on in this crisis -- we're all very focused on the immediate current jobs numbers --
2.5 million jobs added last month, that's great news. But what I think we really need to be keeping our eye on is the potential long-term impacts of
And so let me give you one piece of data that we have been tracking that we think illuminates why this crisis could have very long-lasting impacts. One
of the things we have been looking at is how much kids are learning in school.
So, as you know, most schools have essentially shut down to instruction online. And we have been looking data from a platform called Zearn, which
provides a math curriculum that many students use in school online, so this is essentially doing lessons, math lessons, online, which they were doing
in school before, and now they're doing remotely.
For high-income families, you see a sharp dip in the amount of time that kids are spending on the Web site, the amount of progress they're making in
these lessons. But, within a week or two, that bounces back, and they're basically back to their baseline levels of learning or exceeding where they
For low-income families, you see something like a 60 percent reduction, and it essentially never comes back.
What I think it illustrates is a broader issue, which is, folks that are in lower-income backgrounds, you know, people of color, I think, in this
crisis, are going to experience shocks, not just in terms of their current economic situation, but also potentially adverse impacts that are going to
last into the next generation, because we have seen from our prior research that what is going on in the early part of childhood in particular has
dramatic effects on social mobility.
The environment that you're in as you're growing up, your educational opportunities and so forth, are a key driver of how much you're earning
when you're 30 years old.
SREENIVASAN: Raj Chetty, thanks so much for joining us.
CHETTY: My pleasure. Thank you.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Really important economic data there.
Now to sports and racial justice. Today, here in England, when the whistle blew for the first of the Premier League returns, all players from Aston
Villa and Sheffield United took a knee in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
Perhaps, though, the most iconic moment in racial activism and sports was during the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. On the podium, receiving their
gold and bronze medals, U.S. sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised the black power of salute for freedom and wore no shoes to represent
They never ran again.
Decades later, the NFL's Colin Kaepernick, as we know, took a knee during the national anthem to protest police killings of unarmed black Americans.
He hasn't played in the league ever since.
L.Z. Granderson is an "L.A. Times" columnist, an ESPN co-host and a major voice on racism in sport. And he's joining me now.
Welcome to the program.
I just want to ask you to react to -- it was described on Twitter as sending chills through all of those who are able to see every single player
in the Premier League as they return to the field taking that knee right now.
It's come way across from your country to ours to all over the world, this movement.
L.Z. GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, this movement is global because slavery was global.
You know, I know that it's popular to kind of characterize this racial dynamic as an American issue, but the truth is, is that racism was imported
along with everyone else. And so the reason I believe it resonates so well in Europe and other nations is because they know what it's like for
Even if it's not simply black and white, there have been issues in terms of darker skin vs. lighter skins in much of the world. And so I think that
message, as much as anything else, is a reason why people are able to tap into this.
AMANPOUR: So let's get into what some of the commissioners, some of the head of the sports groups in the United States have been doing and saying
since the killing of George Floyd.
A lot of them have come out and -- quote, unquote -- "said the right thing."
But this is what you have written in one of your latest "L.A. Times" columns: "You can be certain that athletes will carry the message of the
protest forward. They will be loud. They will kneel. They will make white America feel awkward and inconvenienced. Will their employers follow?"
You have said over and over again that it's the follow-up that matters.
GRANDERSON: Yes, absolutely.
Strong statements are a good first step. And I believe part of the reason why our country in particular has been dealing with this issue in the
capacity in which it's been dealing with this issue is because companies in particular have been satisfied with winning the press conference, saying
the right things, donating to the right organization, and then returning back to business as usual.
What you're seeing right now in the United States, and, frankly, all over the world is a -- first, a recognition that you can't go back to business
as usual, and then, two -- and this is perhaps most important -- that the system isn't broken; the system is doing exactly what it was designed to
And so the question is about, how do we create a new system? The United States has been doing patchwork trying to correct something that was never
broken to begin with. It was supposed to support white supremacy, and the system worked very effectively in doing that.
Now people are realizing what the system is actually doing to people, and they're now saying, we need to have a new system in place, and not just
trying to fix something that actually wasn't broken; it was just nefarious.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to ask you, L.Z., because Colin Kaepernick is the sort of icon of this movement. And he was there four years ago, when he
started this, taking a knee.
And, of course, as we mentioned in the lead-up, the last really iconic American athletes were those at the 1968 Olympics. And Tommie Smith has
been talking, saying he cannot believe that what he did all those decades again -- ago, rather, still is necessary today.
Just put it into context. And, of course, the great Muhammad Ali also put his career and his life and his reputation and his earnings on the line
when he refused to support and go to Vietnam.
Put that into context, if you like, in the sports world.
GRANDERSON: Well, sports in general -- I know people don't like to think of it this way, but sports has always been used as a platform to make
larger social issue sort of statements as well, whether it's Jackie Robinson in '47, whether it's boycotting South Africa and its apartheid,
whether it's boycotting the Soviet Union's presence in the Olympics because of the invasion of Afghanistan.
Sports has always been utilized as a way to communicate a message, a military message, a political message, or multiple messages, indeed. And so
some of these people that you refer to are simply following in the tradition of what sports has always been.
But I will also add, too, it's important that we talk about Peter Norman, who was the white man who was on the podium in 1968 in Mexico City as well.
He also sided with fighting for criminal -- fighting for justice, fighting for racial justice. He sided with that. And when he returned home to
Australia, he too was ostracized.
And that's what's needed. It's not just a black issue. Racism isn't something for black athletes to push across and try to get resolved. It's
an issue for everyone. And we also need Peter Normans of today, white athletes joining in with the black athletes, like a Colin Kaepernick, to
put an end to this, as opposed to being complicit with their silence.
AMANPOUR: So, that obviously leads to the real big issue here right now. And that story of both the Americans and the Australians at -- on that
podium is really remarkable. I'm so glad you brought up Norman. It's really, really important.
And so what now to, let's say, the commissioner of the NFL? It's the biggest sports league in the U.S. He did not support Colin Kaepernick at
the beginning. And the president was very, very vociferous against anybody who took a knee.
And now they say, oh, well, yes, I encourage NFL teams to hire Kaepernick. How do you assess what, let's say, Roger Goodell is saying right now? How
meaningful is it now?
GRANDERSON: Well, what he is saying, what he truthfully is saying is that the culture is changing, the landscape is changing, our place in this
landscape is changing, the president's place in this landscape is changing, because we're in an election year, and he may not even be president come
And so the Roger Goodell statement, the NFL, they're trying to keep pace with being behind. And what I mean by that is, they have never been
proactive, to your point. They have never been proactive in this statement to begin with, in this conversation. They were always reactionary.
And so they are still being reactionary, but they're trying to keep up to the changing pace on a reactionary basis, if that makes sense. No one takes
what Roger Goodell said very seriously, because the simple fact of the matter is, is that, if you want to make sure that Colin Kaepernick had an
opportunity, instead of doing cute little videos on Instagram, you would make phone calls, and you would advocate, and you would use the media and
say, I don't have a problem with it. I'm making phone calls. I want people to at least bring him to camp because he's a talented quarterback.
There are ways to be an advocate, and then there are ways, as I said earlier, to try and win a press conference. To me, Roger Goodell's latest
statements were still an effort to try to win the press conference.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to ask you, because it's clear that the NFL and the NBA, other sports leagues, essentially, without black players, they would
So I want to know, what is the power that you see that black players can exercise themselves in this moment or any moment, and that colliding with
what I'm going to read you now?
Former White House Press Secretary, former NFL executive Joe Lockhart wrote on CNN.com just a few days ago: "An executive from one team in the NFL who
considered signing Kaepernick told me the team projected losing 20 percent of their season ticket holders if they did. That was a business risk no
team was willing to take, whether the" -- et cetera, et cetera.
Are we still in that place, where it's going to be about, you know, bums on seat, so to speak, or is it going to be a tipping point moment in justice,
not just on the courts or on the pitches, but in the structural connection of this -- of sports now?
GRANDERSON: Well, I think there are several layers to the question that you're asking. Number one, what can players do? What can a black player
specifically do, given their importance to the major sports in this country?
Well, the platform is a good place to start. But they also have access to resources that the average American, and certainly not the average
grassroots leader, has.
They're able to call up Phil Knight, for instance, from Nike and have one- on-one conversations about how that particular apparel company could use its muscle to help get things passed.
They also have access to ownership groups, many of whom have other businesses besides their ownership of a sport team, in which they can tap
Remember, stadiums here in the United States, a lot of them are getting built based upon a cooperative relationship with municipalities, whether
it's tax breaks, whether it's zoning laws being changed. Whatever the muscle that these white billionaires are using to help get their stadiums
built for these games, they can use the exact same muscle to get critical changes made in the criminal justice system.
And these black athletes have the ears of these owners. So those are some of the things that athletes can do in particular.
And when it comes to the other question in terms of this moment in sports, if sports was truly just about what happened on the field, there never
would have been a need to integrate baseball with Jackie Robinson. If sports was strictly about how you played on the field, the United States
still would not be waiting for an openly gay player in the major sports in his prime to be on a court or on a floor.
So, clearly, there are other factors involved with who makes it to the field. Colin Kaepernick's circumstances, three, two, maybe even last year
made it possible from a financial aspect for business, someone who is a COO of a franchise green-light his signing.
But the climate has changed. Colin Kaepernick, for all intents and purposes, has become good for business. Now it's about which sports team,
which NFL team, which owner is going to have the courage to deal with the initial publicity.
And I say initial, because you and I both know the news cycle moves very quickly. And while it would be a big story that Colin Kaepernick had an
opportunity to play in the National Football League again, it won't be a story that lasts forever. Very few things in today's news cycle does.
AMANPOUR: That's true. This is -- though, seems to be a really major moment. The entire uprising for justice does really seem to be a moment.
And I want to ask you just to assess, because you have said, some of the words that are coming out of the NFL or elsewhere are just sort of words
catching up with the moment.
But you do believe that NASCAR banning Confederate Flags is a big deal. Why is that? And do you think it will be enforced when they come back and
everybody comes fluttering with their Confederate Flags on their, whatever they are, antennas?
GRANDERSON: It's absolutely amazing to me that we have allowed this okeydoke, if you will, in terms of people trying to say that the
Confederate Flag, it's about their heritage.
Colin Kaepernick has almost been out of the NFL as long as Confederate States united -- of America. The Confederacy movement lasted about five
years. Kaepernick has been out for about four. With that rationale, you can almost say that Kaepernick is a culture, and I don't want to give him up.
It's -- the truth is that people love white supremacy, and the flag and this notion of heritage gave them a certain degree of cover. That is the
reason why what NASCAR has done, at least in terms of a statement, has been so incredible, because Bubba Wallace isn't in the NFL or the NBA. He's not
surrounded by a bunch of people that look like him.
He's basically on an island. And he's depending upon the Peter Normans of NASCAR to stand with him. And that's the follow-through that I was talking
about in the piece that I wrote for "The L.A. Times." The statement was strong. There's no doubt about it.
But now it's about enforcing that statement when the pressure is on. If they do that, then it would be an absolutely critical moment for this
AMANPOUR: And I know you also look at the college level athletes. It's not just the professionals.
And I think you believe that, just like on the streets, where it's really the young who are in charge, by and large, of what's happening on the
streets, do you think that whatever needs to be done structurally in sports must come from the young? Tell me what you think.
GRANDERSON: Well, remember, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a young man. I know that we forget that he got started very young, but he clearly was a
GRANDERSON: And I'm not trying to say that we have Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s leading the Black Lives Matter marches.
But what I will say is that generation of youth and energy is what's needed. And when you're seeing college players who, once upon a time, never
challenged their coaches, especially publicly, because they really held their futures in their hands, basically, now you're seeing them challenge
coaches who are being caught saying or doing some very questionable things.
What is happening in Oklahoma State, with the coach there wearing an OAN T- shirt, and then trying to pretend as if he didn't know what it was about, he's being called out by his players, not just for the T-shirt, but for
previous behavior as well that many viewed as racist.
And Clemson -- Dabo Swinney is in trouble right now because he allowed one of his assistant coaches to say the N-word, and he wasn't fired or at least
punished in a way that the players recognized.
These things are starting to come out now. Last year, you never heard these stories. You never saw athletes challenge their white male coaches like
this. Now they are. And it's because these young people, they have the energy, they have the means, and they have the determination to keep
driving this forward and uproot this long problem of racism in America.
AMANPOUR: L.Z. Granderson, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us.
GRANDERSON: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And that is it for now.
You can always catch us online, on our podcast, and across social media. Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.