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Government relief comes to American workers

Coronavirus pandemic spurs relief package for workers

Melvin B. Miller
Government relief comes to American workers
“This time they’re providing benefits for working-class Americans!”

Economists agree that about 70% of the U.S. economic activity results from consumer spending. Nonetheless, the government usually focuses on the corporate world rather than the working class when trying to resolve a problem with the economy. The $700 billion TARP Plan of 2008 provided federal funds primarily to banks and other financial institutions to prevent the collapse of the banking system.

Now in 2020, four years after the TARP funds have been repaid to the government, the country faces another crisis, the collapse of the economy because of the invasive coronavirus. Millions of American workers have been laid off because the ravages of the pandemic have caused businesses to close. The absence of sales revenue to the companies and the loss of paychecks to workers would destroy the country’s economic system.

In an unusual move, Democrats and Republicans in Congress negotiated a $2 trillion package to resolve the problem. Rather than focusing only on corporate losses, the proposal provides funds to people. Those earning less than $75,000 per year will get $1,200, and $500 for every dependent child. Married couples earning $150,000 or less will get $2,400.

Those who filed for unemployment will also have expedited processing of their claims. The Small Business Administration is also establishing a procedure to provide some financial benefits for small businesses that had to close because of COVID-19. While individuals receiving funds will not have to repay the government, it is likely that businesses will have to do so, as did the beneficiaries of the TARP plan.

While there is every reason to be hopeful, people must remain politically attentive to assure that the funds are deposited in their bank accounts.

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