The pending federal stimulus package, along with earlier legislation focused on sick leave, offers the United States a very good chance of quick economic recovery following the coronavirus outbreak.
The stimulus is far from perfect, starting that it will cost more than $2 trillion, which is a 2 followed by 12 zeros. Political leaders are calling the pandemic crisis a war and that’s accurate because of the unbelievable cost.
Provisions in the stimulus stand to be very beneficial and they need to be because the U.S. Treasury will need to recover its huge expenses at some point, which generally means more taxes.
First things first, though: Unlike previous government stimulus programs in previous crises, the current programs aim to keep employees and employers closely linked, even during furloughs and layoffs.
Using broadened sick leave, a massive new unemployment assistance fund and checks to be sent to many middle-income workers, employees should be able to retain their jobs and sustain their incomes even if temporarily laid off or at home ill.
Even those who lose some of their hours at work will be eligible for unemployment assistance.
Added to these individual provisions are options for businesses to obtain loans that may not even need to be repaid if workforces are kept in place.
Yes, it’s welfare. Individual welfare. Corporate welfare. It amounts to the government adding a new line of printing presses to churn out a lot more money. It’s not the way governments should run, especially not under a Republican administration. It’s overkill even, but a lesson learned from underkilling the past several economic upheavals.
Toss those thoughts aside though. The expensive steps aren’t the preferred way for things to happen but they are necessary if the country is to stave off recession and hold onto a good chance for a quick economic recovery.
The key to a fast recovery, measured in months instead of years, is getting workers back on the job and producing for their employers. The stimulus will do that while propping up businesses during the interim.
An amazing thing about the virus crisis is that no one did anything wrong to mess up a strong economy. Businesses were smart. Employees were productive. Then, blammo, a little bug came calling.
Once the virus spread — that single upsetting factor — is controlled, the economy can roar again as long as businesses don’t have to face a long rebuilding. The stimulus, a play of last resort, improves the odds the economy can blast off soon.
— Today’s News-Herald