For many Americans across the country, the prospect of getting a second stimulus check from the government is a matter of life and death. With millions of people out of work due to layoffs and cuts caused by the coronavirus pandemic, many households have been forced to depend on government aid to help pay for basic needs, including food and housing. Jake Schwartz, one of the co-founders of General Assembly, an education company, explains why the second stimulus bill is critical to the overall economy.
JAKE SCHWARTZ: I guarantee you in every generation since the beginning of history, there has been times where it felt like the world was coming apart at the seams. I think it's for your own sanity to believe that things will probably get better. Let's hope they don't get worse before they get better. But that's probably what's at stake.
It's not a huge mystery in that things are starting to open back up a little bit in fits and starts. But really, the vast majority of Americans are still living a very different type of life than they were before the coronavirus lockdowns. And the simple reality is this has all sorts of knock-on effects. We talk a lot about the restaurants, and people can't go to the restaurants. And even that has an effect because if a restaurant is at 70% capacity, it may not be able to hire that extra bartender, that extra server, that extra kitchen staff.
That extra kitchen staff-- that person is not just an extra kitchen staff. They're a human being who has their own household, and they're paying their own rent. And this is sometimes what people misunderstand about the economy, is that it's not a bunch of discrete activities. It's a very intricately intertwined, sometimes very complexly intertwined, ecosystem. And when you start messing around the ecosystem, just like we know in nature, that ecosystem can start to collapse.
And so it's a complex game because if the polls are to be believed, if you're Nancy Pelosi, you're saying, do I compromise and have a crappy stimulus that doesn't really solve all the problems that need to be solved, or do we hold out for another 20 days and have the political landscape completely shifted, and we get more of what we want? And I think that's part of it.
It's also really bizarre because you would think the Republicans and where they are right now politically and what they're looking at in terms of a potential blue wave knocking them out of a lot of majority positions-- not just the White House, but potentially the Senate as well-- that you would expect them to be really looking to get as many voters feeling good about where they are as they go into the polls as humanly possible.
We're seeing incredible demand for our full-time career changer type courses right now, as you would expect. And I think that's only going to continue. And I think as we talk about policy and who should pay for this going forward, that's going to be a really important dialogue in this next administration. And I personally feel that employers should be more on the hook than they currently are for this. And in fact, employers can build models where it is to their benefit to be investing in the next generation of talent.
The simple reality is that there's nobody at the wheel asking the question, of are we getting our money's worth out of all that money we as a country are spending on this? And that's what needs to happen for us to be able to successfully transition to this new economy and new workforce paradigm that we're so clearly entering.