Republicans may unveil their latest coronavirus ‘stimulus’ package tomorrow, although it could be more piecemeal than not. White House officials made the Sunday talk show rounds this morning promoting tweaks to unemployment benefits instead of keeping the extra $600 people were previously getting.
“The original unemployment benefits actually paid people to stay home and actually a lot of people got more money staying at home than they would going back to work,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told ABC’s This Week noting the GOP doesn’t believe the $600 benefit is worth keeping around. “We are going to be prepared on Monday to provide unemployment insurance extension that would be 70% of whatever the wages you were prior to being unemployed, that it would reimburse you for up to 70% of those wages. Hopefully as a way to get people back on their feet.”
Similar comments came from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Fox News Sunday regarding Unemployment Benefits and keeping people home from work. “[W]e want to have something which pays people about 70 percent wage replacement, which I think is a very fair level. So it’s not a fixed number, it’s something that pays you a percentage of your wages that are lost…U.I. is just a component of the overall economic package, which everybody wants the same thing, which is, let’s get kids back to school where it’s safe, and let’s get workers back to their jobs.”
When might the next Republican ‘relief’ bill be released? Tomorrow, if Meadows is to be believed. The prime focus appears to be unemployment benefits, money for schools, and another tax credit for businesses to encourage them to not layoff workers. There is a push to lower the payroll tax from President Donald Trump, however, Mnuchin mentioned direct payments as a “much quicker way of effectively giving everybody a tax cut and it’s much quicker than the payroll tax cut.” The White House may have to accept direct payments as the solution versus any payroll tax cut given some of the GOP Senate Leadership’s hesitancy.
House Democrats see the issue much differently.
“The reason we had $600 was its simplicity,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on CBS’s Face the Nation today when asked about the credit. “And figuring out 70 percent of somebodies wages. People don’t all make a salary. Maybe they do. They make wages and they sometimes have it vary. So why don’t we just keep it simple?”
Pelosi continued the attack line of Republicans only caring for the rich when others Americans are hurting, even though the St. Louis Fed reported on July 16th the so-called 1% saw the most losses in the First Quarter of 2020. It’s likely the 1% can absorb losses better than those in lower classes, however, failing to mention their income loss is unwise.
Of course, Pelosi’s ability to tell an emotional story works better than just going into the numbers. Americans will likely feel more neglected and angry when they hear or read Pelosi claim, “[Republicans are] resenting $600 for single moms to be able to put food on the table, for dads to maintain the dignity of-of keeping their families intact, and with unemployment insurance, with assistance for rent…” versus Mnuchin or Meadows commenting on the fact unemployment didn’t go as high as was originally expected, regardless of its truth.
A payroll tax cut or elimination would be fantastic, but the federal government would also need to reduce spending to make up for the drop in tax revenue. Given the White House’s reluctance to rein in spending, it’s not going to happen.
There is no ‘good’ solution to the next so-called ‘stimulus’ bill because the damage has already happened. The least bad of the ‘bad’ solutions under consideration is probably a direct payment to all living Americans combined with a payroll tax cut/elimination and spending cuts. No unemployment benefits extension, no tax increases, no extra tax loopholes for businesses, and no other ‘goodies’ put into the so-called ‘stimulus’ bill. Also, the elimination of even more burdensome regulations would be appealing, as well.
Governments have done too much to ‘help’ during this pandemic – including shutting down the economy. No more ‘help’ is necessary or wanted.