Unprecedented aid for unprecedented times

Photo Source: 401K Specialist

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law an unprecedented $2 trillion stimulus package aiming to bring life into the U.S. economy as it suffers during the coronavirus pandemic. Industries, schools, and businesses have been shut down or heavily restricted in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. This has resulted in a huge financial downturn in the country and this bill aims to offset the losses and prevent a recession. Basically, the goal of a stimulus package is to encourage and incentivize more spending and borrowing of money so that the country will stay afloat financially. 

The bill known as the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act allocates $250 billion as direct payment for individuals and families, $350 billion for small businesses, $250 billion for unemployment benefits, $500 billion for large companies, $130 billion for hospitals, and $150 billion for state and local governments. 

If you make $75,000 or less, you would receive $1,200. This amount doubles for a married couple. You also get $500 per child under 17. If you make more than $75,000, your payment would slowly diminish until you make over $99,000, at which you wouldn’t qualify at all. The majority of Americans would be covered, however, some may be missed either because they don’t need the help or if they haven’t recently filed their taxes. Estimates say the checks should be going out in a couple of weeks. These checks are currently a one-time thing. 

With mass shutdowns and social distancing measures, many people have been put out of work and no longer have a stream of revenue to support themselves and their families. Some essential workers such as hospital personnel, police, grocery store employees, construction workers or teachers are still at work but a large sum of the American population is out of work and fear a collapsing livelihood. Many families are in danger of not being able to buy groceries or cover utility bills. Rent forgiveness options are being explored but most people are relying on the government checks to be stable.

Perhaps the worst part of the measures taken to combat the coronavirus is not being able to see or interact with loved ones, especially the vulnerable. Social distancing has prevented people from seeing their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. The elderly and immunocompromised are most at risk and thus, are the ones experiencing the most isolation and fear. 

We’ve experienced a recession before in 2008 and a subsequent stimulus package known as the 2009 Recovery Act, which offered $831 billion in aid, dwarfed by the newest bill’s $2 trillion. This newest bill wasn’t even the initial draft proposed by Senate Republicans. Democrats blocked procedural votes to the initial bill and fought for more protections for workers and oversight for funding, including provisions that would block top government officials, including Trump and his family, from receiving aid from the stimulus. The latest bill secured a unanimous 96-0 vote, a rare act of bipartisan support in today’s political world. 

More bills are to come and things are subject to change, but the U.S. is certainly going to change dramatically because of the coronavirus for at least months to come. 

By Brandon Padilla (Culture Editor)

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