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"Nice package." - 96 Senators
The coronavirus bailout, er, stimulus package is on its way to the House after the Senate unanimously voted in favor of saving America (four Senators are quarantining and were not able to vote). *USA chant breaks out*
In case you've been self-quarantining without wifi (read: you are Amish), there's something you should probably know: this ain't your daddy's stimulus package. It is f*cking massive. The bill includes $2T in "stimuli."
Hit me with the highlights
There is a lot to unpack but here are the cliff notes...
- Individuals making less than $75k stand to receive direct checks of $1,200, ($2,400 for couples, with $500 added for every child). It's probably worth noting that the benefits begin to phase out over $75k and anyone making over $99k (or $198k as a couple) is sh*t out of luck.
- The available unemployment benefit is increased by $600 per week for the next four months.
- $350B will become available for small businesses as loans to help fund payroll, rent, utilities, and other short term operating costs. These loans can be forgiven and effectively become grants.
- An additional $500B will become available for businesses to take out as loans that will have favorable interest rates.
- There will also be bailouts for hard-hit industries (like $25B in grants to airlines), $117B earmarked for hospitals and tax credits for employers that retain employees.
So it's a done deal?
Not exactly... The House still has to vote on the bill. And since we've all seen 'Schoolhouse Rock' and 'House of Cards' we know getting a bill passed is not easy. Not to mention, members of the House are, let’s say, social distancing… read: the House is not in session.
Rumor has it that to remedy the absentee lawmaker issue the decision in the House might go to a "voice vote" as soon as today. This would allow reps to phone it in if they can't make it to DC, thus expediting the process and saving America. *Again, USA chant breaks out*
"But, what about The White House?" - you, a worrywart
The good news is that POTUS and The White House worked closely with the Senate on the bill, meaning that the President should lend his John Hancock to the bill should it get past the House.
The bottom line...
For what it’s worth, this isn't the government's first rodeo. Johnny Gov doled out payments, in the form of tax rebates, to individuals in 2001 and 2008 to help boost the economy. Who can forget that "Boosting Our Economy" sign President Bush sat behind which appeared to be hastily made with clip art?
The good news? According to at least one really smart person, former Fed economist Claudia Strahm, people did pour that money back into the economy which helped alleviate at least some of the pain.
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