The United States has spent around $3 trillion in an effort to combat the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. This money has been used to bailout corporations, support small business, assist state governments, provide additional resources for hospitals, fund schools, and pay individuals a one time check for $1,200. However, Democrats say that this still isn't enough. They have asked for several measures to support citizens, especially those affected the most, until the pandemic subsides. The cost for these measures will be astronomical, but Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio says, "The only thing that would cost more is to do nothing" (https://www.foxnews.com/media/tim-ryan-coronavirus-aid-payment-plan).
Rep. Ryan recently introduced a bill that would provide $2,000 a month for Americans 16 and up who earn less than $130,000 annually. Married couples would receive $4,000 if they earn less than $260,000 annually, and couples with three or fewer children would receive an extra $500 per child. While less than an average paycheck, these payments would still help families cover living expenses, groceries, and other costs, especially for the over 30 million Americans who have filed for unemployment.
Another bill was introduced a few weeks ago by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. This bill would cancel rent and mortgage payments for Americans regardless of income. This would stay in effect until a month after the state of emergency ends. The bill would also retroactively cover payments for April. A relief fund would cover the costs for landlords and mortgage lenders. Any action against tenants or property owners would levy significant fines. This would serve as support for many, as rent and mortgage payments are often he highest amounts in personal budgets.
While both well intentioned, what are the long term implications and costs and are they worth it? First and foremost, where is this money coming from and how do they intend to cover these expenses when this all ends? As it currently stands, each US citizen would owe almost $70,000 in order to pay off the national debt. Would temporary economic relief be worth potentially increasing this amount to six figures? Right now Americans on unemployment are receiving an additional $600 per payment, a larger payout than some paychecks. Would increasing the pay to $2,000 slow reopening as many would prefer to get paid to stay home? While both bills are set to end with the crisis, could we see them extended as Democrats look to change the political landscape. California Gov. Gavin Newsom was even quoted saying, "There is opportunity for reimagining a [more] progressive era as it [relates] to capitalism. So yes, absolutely we see this as an opportunity to reshape the way we do business and how we govern." Should this be a cause for concern, or is it a step in the right direction as a post COVID future remains uncertain?
Image Credit: L: AP Photo/John Locher R: House Television via AP