At a press conference in Washington, D.C. today, United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin assured a room full of reporters that the government has no plans to shut down the markets.
Posed a question by the audience, Mnuchin denied any plans to shut them down as was done following September 11. “We absolutely believe in keeping the markets open,” he explained. “Americans need to know they have access to their money. After September 11, the only reason why the markets were closed, was because the technology was disrupted.”
Mnuchin added that there was some consideration of rolling back hours, as part of a nation-wide social distancing effort being deployed to curb the spread of COVID-19. But for now, at least, a full shutdown is seemingly off the table as the administration continues to prioritize impacts on the markets themselves.
“I’ve been on the phone with the major banks with the New York Stock Exchange,” he added. “Everybody wants to keep it up and we make it to a point where we shorten the hours, if that’s something they need to do, but Americans should know that we are going to do everything to make sure that they have access to their money at their banks, the money in their 401k is into the money in stocks, so I want to just be very clear. We intend to keep the markets open.”
A number of other economic solutions are on the table and currently being considered by the White House and Congress, including public sector bailouts and temporary versions of universal basic income, designed at helping ease the strain of widespread business shutdowns.