Stimulus bill needed as we enter “Covid hell”

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Tomorrow is a big day because it is the first day that the House of Representatives returns to Washington during this lame-duck period.

With issues like the appointment of a Supreme Court justice now in the rearview mirror of Congress and the elections (mostly) figured out, a stimulus deal will be at the forefront of discussion.

Here’s what we know about where things currently stand.

Current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated there is “urgent need for Congress to pass a bipartisan bill in the lame duck session.”

“This is a red alert, all hands on deck… An emergency of the highest magnitude.”

So clearly there is a high sense of urgency with Pelosi. (But one has to wonder how far she will dig in her heels when it comes to the negotiations to come.)

President Trump recently tweeted out support for a large stimulus bill when he tweeted yesterday, “Congress must now do a Covid Relief Bill. Needs Democrats support. Make it big and focused. Get it done!.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed that an additional stimulus bill is needed but is still aiming for something much smaller than what Democrats would agree to.

Some Republicans like McConnell have pointed to the unemployment rate dropping as a sign that we need less relief for the economy.

But there are problems with that approach.

One of the problems is that some experts are predicting that things are going to get much worse before they get better.

“What America has to understand is that we are about to enter COVID hell,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a renowned infectious disease expert told CNBC.

“It is happening.”

Many reports indicate that the fatality rates for the virus have gone down. This could be a result of many things including more effective treatments, changing demographics, virus strain mutations, etc.

But it is impossible to deny that there has been a large surge in cases over the last month or two. In fact, we are way above the peak levels that once had everybody worried back in the spring and then in the middle of the summer.

While some healthcare systems may be doing okay others seem to be getting overwhelmed once again.

So regardless of unemployment numbers, there’s a good chance that many more people will experience economic hardships due to the inevitable shut downs and partial shut downs that are already starting to happen again.

Another stimulus package may be key to keeping the economy from falling into a deep recession.

“We need to recognize that the economy has only done as well as it has because we had such aggressive fiscal stimulus early on,” said Karen Dynan, a Harvard economist stated.

H/T

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