May 1, 2021

UBI IS INEVITABLE:

How the US won the economic recovery (Dylan Matthews, Apr 30, 2021, Vox)

In March 2020, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law the CARES Act, which sent out no-strings-attached checks to the vast majority of Americans for the first time. The bill also dramatically increased the generosity of unemployment insurance, making many workers whole and, for some months, leaving most workers (including Holloway) with more money than they would have earned at their employer. It paused evictions and created a new near-universal child tax credit reaching the poorest families with children.

Then lawmakers did it again in December 2020, passing another bill that offered bonus unemployment benefits and one-time $600-per-person checks.

Under President Biden, the government passed yet another bill, with one-time $1,400-per-person checks, another bonus unemployment measure, and hundreds of billions in relief money for state and local governments.

The result? The poverty rate in the US fell in early 2020. The government did so much to assist its citizens that many people were left financially better off than before the pandemic.

As an American who supports large government intervention to help those in need, I'm used to envying other nations' governments. I envy European universal health care systems, France's crèches for child care, and Finland's success at reducing homelessness.

When my editors asked me to write a story for our Pandemic Playbook series on the country that I thought "got Covid-19 right" economically, I immediately looked abroad. I spent a few weeks researching and writing about Japan, which has kept unemployment low and spent big to fight the economic downturn.

But as I was working on my Japan article, the US adopted Biden's American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion behemoth of a bill. With that step coming after the two Trump relief bills, the US just about matched Japan's spending to fight the downturn. And as I looked into the details, it became impossible to deny that the US spent the money better.

Posted by at May 1, 2021 12:00 AM

  

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