December 21, 2020 - Douglas Myser

Economist say another stimulus critical. Negotiations over a second round of economic stimulus have been at an impasse for several months, after Congress came together and passed the bipartisan $2.2 trillion CARES Act in march. That legislation included one time $1200 direct stimulus checks to most Americans as well as an additional $600 per week in federal unemployment assistance and forgivable loans for struggling businesses amid lockdown measures across the country. But that financial assistance largely ran out by the end of summer, as lawmakers have stressed the need for further stimulus. Economist say another stimulus critical.

The politics of re-election seemed to get in the way of stimulus negotiations, as opening up the economy paved the way, and information about the potential spread of COVID-19 by doing that was muted by the Administration. It is clear that the goal was to ramp up the economy, to keep President Trump's election on track, regardless of the cost in human lives, and the potential for having to shut the economy down again due to an increase in COVID cases. Well that is exactly where we are at, with what President Elect Joe Biden has called a "Dark Winter" waiting ahead for us. We now have the best capability for dealing with COVID in the world, yet the most politically incapable. Hopefully, that will change with the new administration. Economist say another stimulus critical. 

"Unless policymakers act quickly to respond to the crisis at the scale necessary, we risk having a much longer downturn than necessary, particularly for those at the bottom who have been hit the hardest, multiple economist wrote in their open letter published by the Economic Security Project. Alan Blinder, a former board vice-chairman at the Federal Reserve, Claudia Sahm, a former Federal Reserve economist, and Jason Furman, an economist, advisor to former President Barack Obama were among the signatories. "We know the next stimulus needs to be big, immediate and direct, and lasting until the economy recovers", the letter said. "We urge policymakers to use all the tools at their disposal to revitalize the economy.

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