We Need New Stimulus Now

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More insanity:

Senior Trump administration officials have begun signaling their willingness to approve a narrow extension of the enhanced unemployment benefits helping tens of millions of jobless Americans hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

….One potential compromise discussed by Republican lawmakers would involve cutting the unemployment benefit from $600 per week to between $200 and $400 per week and making up at least part of the difference by sending another round of $1,200 stimulus payments, these people said.

….White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement that the administration is opposed to the $600-per-week increase but would not rule out the administration agreeing to a more limited expansion of the benefit. Maintaining unemployment insurance benefits at current levels “does not incentivize returning to work,” Deere said in an email. “UI reform is a priority for this White House in any phase four package and we are in ongoing discussions with the Hill.”

It’s not that the disincentive to work is hogwash. It really is true that the $600 UI bonus is big enough that it makes total UI benefits bigger than normal pay for a lot of low-income workers. But this only matters when people are using it as a reason not to work. Right now, COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing, mortality is rising, and states are shutting down again. That’s why people aren’t going back to work.

In any case, I’d be willing to compromise on a $400 bonus plus a new round of stimulus checks. The UI bonus is more tightly focused on people out of work, but the stimulus checks go out to everyone, which makes up for some of the folks genuinely in need but who don’t qualify for UI. It’s not a bad combination.

The important thing, though, is to get moving on this. We already know that states need time to get their UI machinery going and Treasury needs time to print stimulus checks. It’s stupid to make millions of people wait and wonder if they can pay next month’s rent while Congress dithers. Do it now.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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