The global pandemic brought on by Covid-19 has already claimed over 125,000 lives
in America with over 2.6 million confirmed cases
. Infection rates are now surging in 36 states
. As a result of the economic disruption, more than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment claims
and economists estimate that up to 42% of lost jobs
aren’t coming back.
Millions are increasingly desperate. Simply reopening the economy will not do the trick, as millions of Americans are fully aware that a pandemic continues to rage and there is no going back to our pre-crisis routine. Texas
, for instance, just closed its bars after trying to reopen too early, while Florida
is closing some beaches for Fourth of July weekend. We must accept that we are closer to the beginning of this crisis than the end, and both economic activity and jobs will be depressed for the foreseeable future.
In response to the economic catastrophe, the US government has passed a series of aid packages, most notably the CARES Act
. This provided well over $2 trillion in enhanced unemployment benefits, direct payments, Small Business Administration loans and money for health care providers and research. It’s the largest aid package ever passed, but it’s not nearly enough to salvage an economy that has been crippled for months. People spent their direct payments weeks ago, and the extended unemployment benefits will run out soon. The CARES Act has kept millions afloat, but time is running out.
Congress is now debating what the next aid package should look like, and it seems we’ve reached an impasse. The House passed a $3 trillion HEROES Act
back in May, with funding for state and local governments, up to $6,000 in direct payments to each American household and essential worker hazard pay. Republicans in both chambers want a back-to-work bonus
instead of the extended unemployment benefits. No one seems to know when the next bill is going to pass.