Unemployment claims last week were about a quarter higher than the week before. This week they’ve already doubled and may double again when every state is counted. Justin Wolfers has the chart:
This is just the start, and it’s the reason that a $1,000 check is so inadequate. We’re facing a crisis that will last for months at least, and if we want people to continue spending we need to provide them with the security of knowing that they’ll have an income for that entire time. Otherwise they’ll hoard their money just the same as they’re hoarding food and toilet paper now. Expanded unemployment insurance will help, but it’s not enough. We need to commit to replacing upwards of 70-80 percent of lost income. Or maybe even more.
And this needs to apply to just about everyone. You might think that someone with a six-figure income can get by, but if they lose their job they probably can’t. Even most upper middle-class folks don’t have a lot of savings, and their mortgages and car payments and credit card bills are all at upper-middle-class levels. They might be better off than the poor, but most of them will still run out of money pretty quickly if they get laid off.
If Donald Trump is dead set on mailing out checks with a MAGA hat on the back, I guess there are worse things than letting him do it. But make no mistake: this is just a reelection stunt. One way or another, we need to rescue both consumers and businesses with serious money that will last until the crisis is over. Let’s knock off the bullshit and get started.