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A German import to fight the economic impact of the coronavirus

Peter S. Rashish

Senior Fellow; Director, Geoeconomics Program

Peter S. Rashish, who counts over 25 years of experience counseling corporations, think tanks, foundations, and international organizations on transatlantic trade and economic strategy, is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Geoeconomics Program at AICGS. He also writes The Wider Atlantic blog.

Mr. Rashish has served as Vice President for Europe and Eurasia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he spearheaded the Chamber’s advocacy for an ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement between the United States and the European Union, which was officially launched as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and developed new engagements in the continent’s emerging markets.

Previously, Mr. Rashish was a Senior Advisor for Europe at McLarty Associates, and has held positions as Executive Vice President of the European Institute, on the Paris-based staff of the International Energy Agency, and as a consultant to the World Bank, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Atlantic Council, the Bertelsmann Foundation, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Mr. Rashish has testified on the euro zone and U.S.-European economic relations before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade and the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia and has advised two U.S. presidential campaigns. He has been a member of the faculty at the Salzburg Global Seminar and a speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival. His commentaries have been published in The New York Times, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The National Interest, and Foreign Policy and he has appeared on PBS, CNBC, CNN, and NPR.

He earned his B.A. from Harvard College and an M.Phil. in international relations from Oxford University. He speaks French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

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prashish@aicgs.org

Peter Rashish writes in The Hill about one German policy tool that could help the U.S. economy and workforce recover from the coronavirus.

As the novel coronavirus has become a global pandemic, Germany attracted attention earlier this month for President Trump’s alleged interest in bringing Tuebingen-based CureVac’s vaccine research to the United States. While such zero-sum actions would only worsen the ability of countries to formulate effective public health responses, there is another German achievement that Congress and the administration would be wise to emulate as they craft legislation to deal with the economic consequences of the crisis: Its Kurzarbeit system of federal government employment guarantees.

Kurzarbeit (roughly translated, “short-time work”) is a German government program first used during the 2008 financial crisis that pays roughly two-thirds of an employee’s salary to a company that would otherwise be forced to resort to layoffs in the face of an economic downturn. By providing for staff to remain on the job (even at reduced hours and salary) Kurzarbeit benefits both employers and employees. Workers maintain a steady stream of income, while companies avoid losing the skills these workers have acquired and which are likely to be needed once an economic upturn arrives.

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This article originally appeared in The Hill on March 19, 2020.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.