The United States has entered what could be a deep and lengthy recession. The way that policymakers, policy experts, advocates and pundits both discuss and address the recession will have a lasting impact on the wellbeing of millions of families and communities across the country and the economy overall.

While COVID-19 may have sparked this crisis, decades of rampant inequality, attacks on public institutions, and blind faith in markets to solve public problems have left our economy more vulnerable and less equipped to respond to any crisis.

This crisis demonstrates that people are the economy, and the only way to bring the economy back from the brink is to make systemic investments in people’s economic stability—particularly marginalized groups who never fully recovered from the last recession—and build in resilience for the long term.