House Democrats plan to pass President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief package including $1,400 relief checks for most Americans.
- The Conversation
Relief or stimulus: What's the difference, and what it means for Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus package
Biden made passing his $1.9 trillion bill one of his top priorities. AP Photo/Evan VucciThe Biden administration and Congress are fast-tracking a US$1.9 trillion coronavirus package that includes aid for states, cities, individuals, the unemployed, schools and much else. It could become law within weeks. But is it stimulus or relief? If you’ve been reading stories on the legislation, you’ll frequently see it called one or the other – or sometimes both. The White House calls it a “rescue plan,” while an economist might dryly refer to it as a “fiscal” package. What does it matter? As a macroeconomist who focuses on growth, I would argue it both matters – and it doesn’t. On one level it’s semantics, or politics, but there’s also a fundamental question about what really ails the economy – and what the right remedy is. It’s a relief A macroeconomy – that is, the overall economy, not individual businesses or industries – is made of two basic components: aggregate supply and aggregate demand. Aggregate supply represents the quantity of goods and services an economy can produce, while aggregate demand represents how much consumers and businesses are willing to spend on those products. When an economic crisis strikes, the problem is usually considered one or the other: Either the economy’s capacity to produce goods and services has been curtailed, or something reduced the willingness of consumers and businesses to buy stuff. More rarely, it can also be both. Economists consider a relief package the right solution when the crisis affects primarily supply. When much of the U.S. economy shut down a year ago, for example, the pandemic recession felt very much like a so-called supply shock, as many businesses had to close their doors and stop providing goods and services. So economists and policymakers assumed the economy’s primary need was aid to tide over companies and workers until the crisis passed. That’s why the 2020 coronavirus bills were generally seen as aimed at providing relief – in the form of supplemental unemployment benefits, individual checks and grants to small businesses to keep workers on their payroll – not stimulus. The Associated Press style guide, effectively a bible for journalists about word usage, explicitly advises reporters covering March’s $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill: “Do not refer to it as a stimulus. … The measure was passed to replace money lost in the collapse of the economy, rather than to stimulate demand.” So if the economy’s underlying problems concern supply, the main goal is to shore up industries, businesses and individuals most affected until they can get back to work, which, most people at first assumed, was just a matter of time. The Paycheck Protection Program, which gave forgivable loans to businesses affected by COVID-19 lockdowns last year, is a good example of this approach. Or is it stimulating A stimulus, as the name implies, is meant to stimulate the macroeconomy. It begins with the assumption that what ails the economy is a lack of demand for goods and services. The idea, first proposed by British economist John Maynard Keynes during the Great Depression, is that an economy is unlikely to recover on its own unless the government jump-starts spending, stimulating consumer and business demand. One recent example of government stimulus is the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in 2009 during the Great Recession. Economists broadly consider it stimulus, and it was split between tax cuts, spending on unemployment and education, and infrastructure investment. A stimulus bill, first and foremost, is meant to get consumers to spend and businesses to invest. It can accomplish this by cutting taxes, injecting money into the economy or investing in what were referred to in 2009 as “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects. Depends on the crisis So that raises the question, what kind of economic crisis are we in now? To some extent, it’s delivered a shock to both supply and demand and has affected different parts of the economy in very divergent ways. Some companies, like Amazon, are doing great, while others, such as airlines and hotels, are doing terribly. And employees with professional jobs who can work from home over Zoom are doing fine, while many lower-paid service workers are among the hardest hit. January’s jobs report shows the dual track. The main unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, significantly down from 14.8% last April. At the same time, the number of unemployed describing their job loss as “permanent” is declining more slowly and remains three times its pre-pandemic level. And the number of long-term unemployed has been increasing. Moreover, the 6.3% headline rate measures only people actively looking for work and leaves out millions of Americans who have given up looking for work or are underemployed. Taken together, these numbers indicate that a large number of people are not expecting to get back to work anytime soon and will need more than just a little help to tide them over. This situation makes the case for a large, broad-based package – something like the Biden proposal – that both provides relief but also stimulus to create the demand for new jobs and to draw the long-term unemployed back into the job market. Some have grown alarmed about the amount of money the government will spend, however, and worry that it’ll stimulate too much and spur inflation. Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, for example, says the so-called output gap – the difference between what the U.S. economy is currently producing and what it is capable of producing – isn’t all that big, which could mean the size of Biden’s package will drive up prices without really generating new economic activity. [Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.] You say potato, I say stimulus To some extent, these definitions may be distinctions without a difference. Even a narrowly tailored relief package would have some stimulative effect on the economy. All those “economic impact” checks the government sent out in 2020 were meant as relief, but they had a significant stimulating impact as well. To the extent that a program gets people spending more, it is a stimulus. To the extent that the same program leads to job creation for the unemployed, it is a relief package. Ultimately, the word matters less than the impact. And economists in the White House, Federal Reserve and academia like me will be tracking it closely.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: William Hauk, University of South Carolina. Read more:Why Black and Hispanic small-business owners have been so badly hit in the pandemic recessionTrillions in coronavirus spending is putting AOC’s favorite economic theory to the test William Hauk has previously received funding from the Center for International Business Education Research (CIBER), which is funded in part by the U.S. Department of State.
- CBS News Videos
President Biden is signing an executive order on supply chains Wednesday, part of the administration's efforts to cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes as Congress continues to consider Biden's Cabinet nominees and the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. CBS News senior White House and political correspondent Ed O'Keefe joins CBSN with the latest.
- ABC News Videos
As Congress debates another round of pandemic relief, ABC News’ Elizabeth Schulze looks at how Americans have spent the first two rounds of checks.
- The Independent
President’s embattled nominee faces blowback for past tweets condemning Republicans and calling Mitch McConnell names like ‘Voldemort’ and ‘Moscow Mitch’
- CBS News
The House Budget Committee advanced President Biden's $1.9 trillion relief bill on Monday, setting up a floor vote this week.
While it's been a challenge for bands to collaborate in person over the last year, archival releases have been booming. And over the course of this first quarter, lots of goodies have dropped. Here are some of the most worthy entries in the reissue world. Black Sabbath Vol. 4…
- Associated Press
Don't tell Clemson coach Dabo Swinney he has anything to worry about without offensive stars and team leaders in quarterback Trevor Lawrence and tailback Travis Etienne on the Tigers. “There's nobody that's left our program that we can't go into the locker room and replace,” Swinney said with a smile. Clemson seemlessly moved from quarterbacks Tajh Boyd to Deshaun Watson to Lawrence.
- Associated Press
Thousands of anti-government protesters threw confetti and chanted slogans in Nepal’s capital on Wednesday to celebrate Parliament's reinstatement by the Supreme Court. The court order was major blow to troubled Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli, who dissolved the legislature in December because of a feud within the governing Nepal Communist Party. The jubilant demonstrators applauded the court's decision and demanded Oli's immediate dismissal.
- Associated Press
It’s been more than three years since the #MeToo movement launched a culture-shifting conversation about sexual violence. Now, Burke is part of a new initiative — called “We, As Ourselves” — in which three prominent groups are focusing on those survivors, who she says often feel that #MeToo has passed them by.
- Reuters Videos
Hyundai Motor is set to replace the batteries in some 82,000 electric vehicles over risks they could catch fire. Combined with an earlier recall, the problem looks set to cost the automaker about $900 million. The latest move mainly applies to its best-selling EV, the Kona. It was first recalled in October for a software upgrade after a series of fires. But in January one of the upgraded cars then caught fire, prompting South Korean authorities to probe whether the first recall was adequate. The unit of LG Chem which makes the batteries said Hyundai had misapplied its suggestions regarding battery management. It said the batteries themselves were not the fire risk. There have been 15 cases of fires involving the Kona EV. Most were in South Korea, but there were two in Canada and one each in Finland and Austria. Hyundai Motor shares were down close to 4 percent in afternoon trade on Wednesday (February 24).
- Associated Press
The February storm is unforgiving, violently shaking the humanitarian rescuers’ vessel as they try to revive a faulty engine and save African migrants drifting in the Mediterranean Sea after fleeing Libya on unseaworthy boats. Not only must they brave 70 kph (43 mph) winds and 4-meter (13-foot) waves, but also win the race against the Libyan coast guard, which has been trained and equipped by Europe to keep migrants away from its shores. In recent days, the Libyans had already thwarted eight rescue attempts by the Open Arms, a Spanish NGO vessel, harassing and threatening its crew in the international waters of the central Mediterranean where 160 people have died so far this year.
- Reuters Videos
A possible plan by the Filipino government of the Philippines to send nurses abroad in exchange for vaccines... isn't going down well with some of those nurses.A senior official said on Tuesday (February 23) that the country will let thousands of its healthcare workers, mostly nurses, take up jobs in Britain and Germany if the two countries agree to donate coronavirus vaccines.Melbert Reyes is president of the Philippines Nurses Association:“When we first read and heard about it we were saddened and we were hurt. It is as if we are like an object that can be traded for the vaccines, it's as if we are commodities."The Philippines has among Asia's highest number of coronavirus cases.It also currently limits the number of medical professionals leaving the country to 5,000 a year, but is now willing to lift that cap.Filipino nurses have fought to lift the deployment ban to escape poor working conditions and low pay at home."We hope our government officials will see our worth as part of the healthcare team and institution that takes care of each and every Filipino in our country."Britain's health ministry said it was not interested in such a deal and its priority was to use shots domestically. But added that it would share surplus vaccines internationally in the future.Germany has not responded.
Billie Eilish's documentary gives an intimate look at her secret relationship with rapper 7: AMP - and why she decided to end it
They began dating in late 2018, when Eilish was 16. The film chronicles her frustration with his "lack of effort" and "self-destructive" behavior.
How a woman lives in a 500-square-foot apartment with 2 roommates, a dog, 100 houseplants - and zero clutter
Maximalist Bruna Mello lives in a sunny, vibrant tiny apartment in South London, and she doesn't let the small space keep her from collecting things.
- Business Insider
Coinbase says the entire crypto market could be destabilized if Bitcoin's anonymous creator is ever revealed or sells their $30 billion stake
Satoshi Nakamoto owns about 5% of the bitcoin market. If their 1.1 million cache was transferred, bitcoin prices could plummet, Coinbase said.
Female track star on lawsuit to stop trans athletes from competing: ‘Biological males are taking our medals’
Less than 48 hours into his presidency, Joe Biden took steps towards protecting the rights of transgender athletes looking to participate as their identified gender in both high school and college sports. Wednesday, Alanna Smith, who filed the lawsuit with fellow athletes Selina Soule and Chelsea Mitchell, appeared on Fox News with her lawyer to denounce the actions of the current administration.
- The Week
In the race to get former President Donald Trump's tax records, New York prosecutors have won. While it was more of a marathon than a sprint, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office confirmed Thursday that it had received Trump's tax records a year and a half after first requesting them. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance and his team will now be able to dig through what sources tell CNN are "millions of pages" of documents spanning January 2011 to August 2019. Vance got the documents, which include financial statements and engagement agreements, from Trump's accounting firm Mazars USA. The transfer happened within an hour of the Supreme Court ordering that Mazars hand over the documents on Monday, Vance's spokesperson told reporters. Forensic accountants and analysts are now prepared to root through the records to find potential fraud or wrongdoing by the former president. But because the records were handed over as part of a grand jury investigation, they're unlikely to ever be made public. Democrats in the House had meanwhile been trying to access Trump's tax returns from the time they gained a majority two years ago. Courts had ruled both for and against the Democrats' subpoenas, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ultimately decided in December not to rule in the case, essentially letting Trump run out the clock. It's unclear if Congress will try to pursue Trump's records again now that he's out of the White House. More stories from theweek.comDemocrats should take the Romney-Cotton proposal seriouslyThe GOP's apathy for governing is being exposedThe MyPillow guy might be Trump's ultimate chump
Acting U.S. Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman testified on Thursday that cellphone records show former USCP chief Steven Sund requested National Guard support from the House sergeant-at-arms as early as 12:58pm on Jan. 6, but he did not receive approval until over an hour later.Why it matters: Sund and former House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving clashed at a Senate hearing on Tuesday over a dispute in the timeline for when Capitol Police requested the National Guard during the Capitol insurrection.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeIrving insisted that he has no recollection of receiving the request until after 2pm. Lawmakers are looking for accountability over that hour of lost time, when pro-Trump rioters were able to breach and ransack the Capitol."I did not get a request at 1:09 that I can remember," Irving, who resigned after the insurrection, testified. "The first conversation I had with chief Sund in that timeframe was 1:28, 1:30. In that conversation, he indicated that conditions were deteriorating and he might be looking for National Guard approval."Details: Pittman testified to a House subcommittee that Sund's phone records show the former chief first reached out for National Guard support to Irving at 12:58pm.Sund then spoke to former Senate sergeant-at-arms Michael Stenger to make the same request at 1:05pm, per Pittman.Pittman says Sund repeated his request to Irving at 1:28pm, then spoke to him again at 1:34pm, 1:39pm and 1:45pm.Go deeper: Pittman testifies officers were unsure of lethal force rules on Jan. 6Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
- Associated Press
A crisis over the supply of medical oxygen for coronavirus patients has struck nations in Africa and Latin America, where warnings went unheeded at the start of the pandemic and doctors say the shortage has led to unnecessary deaths. It takes about 12 weeks to install a hospital oxygen plant and even less time to convert industrial oxygen manufacturing systems into a medical-grade network. The gap in medical oxygen availability “is one of the defining health equity issues, I think, of our age,” said Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who said he survived a severe coronavirus infection thanks to the oxygen he received.
- The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty/TwitterA pickup truck parked at the United States Capitol and bearing a Three Percenter militia sticker on the day of the Jan. 6 riot belongs to the husband of freshman U.S. Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois, who approvingly quoted Adolf Hitler a day earlier.Researchers on Twitter first noticed the Ford pickup truck with the far-right militia’s decal parked on the Capitol grounds in footage posted to social media and taken by CBS News.The presence of a vehicle with a militia decal so close to the Capitol, inaccessible to normal vehicle traffic, raised questions about how it got there—and whether it belonged to any of the hundreds of suspects involved in the deadly riot.But in an email to The Daily Beast, Chris Miller, Rep. Miller’s husband and a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, conceded the truck belonged to him even as he pleaded ignorance about the militia group.Mitch McConnell Says He’ll Support Trump in 2024 After Blaming Him for Capitol Riot“Army friend gave me decal. Thought it was a cool decal. Took it off because of negative pub,” Miller wrote in an email late Thursday. He says he “never was member” of the militia and “didn’t know anything about 3% till fake news started this fake story and read about them.” A request for comment to the office of U.S. Rep. Miller was not returned prior to publication.The link between the truck and Rep. Miller was first reported on Twitter on Thursday by the @capitolhunters account, which is organizing research about rioters seen in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot from a large community of volunteers reviewing thousands of hours of footage.The #Sedition3PTruck with government plates parked in a restricted zone from 1:02. #SeditionHunters #Sedition3PSource: https://t.co/DubmxJhjSZ pic.twitter.com/INCs6geEYg— Phoenix on Wheels (@phoenixonwheels) February 25, 2021 A pickup truck with the same make, model, color, and Illinois plate number as the one at the Capitol on Jan. 6 is also visible in a July 2020 photo carrying Mary Miller for Congress banners during a Fourth of July parade in Illinois. That same day, Rep. Miller’s Facebook page posted a picture of what appeared to be the same truck with the same Trump-Pence and Mary Miller for Congress banners attached to the same PVC pipe frame as she campaigned in the towns of Mattoon, Sullivan, Herrick, and Moweaqua.https://www.facebook.com/BaileyforIllinois/photos/888345101571058Previously, the Millers have proudly posted pictures of the same model of Ford pickup truck, often emblazoned with the same stickers—like “herd quitter” and Guns Save Life, a website affiliated with an Illinois-based gun rights group—as the truck at the Capitol bore on Jan. 6. In at least one case, before Chris Miller’s election to the State House in 2018, the truck in question had a different license plate.The couple have appeared with that truck at campaign events, sometimes with the vehicle plastered in pictures of their faces or “taxpayers lives matter” posters. The license plate of the vehicle at the Capitol on Jan. 6—registered to Illinois, but with a drawing of the state’s Capitol building—appears to be a design reserved for Illinois politicians, like Chris Miller, who took office in 2019.The Three Percenter decal may have been a relatively new addition to the car, as it was not visible in images from this summer.https://www.facebook.com/ChrisMillerForStateRep/photos/2438928539529305Elected last November, Mary Miller, a Republican, is perhaps best known for speaking at a “Moms for America” rally in front of the Capitol one day before the riot. “Hitler was right on one thing: whoever has the youth has the future," she told the crowd. She later apologized for the remarks and said “some are trying to intentionally twist my words to mean something antithetical to my beliefs.”Militia groups have garnered new attention from law enforcement given the number of members arrested and charged with riot-related crimes since Jan. 6. Robert Gieswein, an alleged rioter identified by The Daily Beast who’s visible in footage of the first rioters to break into the Capitol, "appears to be affiliated with the radical militia group known as the Three Percenters," according to an FBI affidavit filed in the court case against him.The group, which first formed in 2008, is part of a loose network of “anti-government extremists” who liken their crusade against the U.S. government to that of Revolutionary War-era patriots, according to the Anti Defamation League. Their name comes from the false claim that only 3 percent of U.S. colonists fought in that war.Ties between militia groups and Congress have also come under greater scrutiny after some lawmakers suggested their colleagues may have played a role in the riot. Rep. Steve Cohen pointedly claimed that U.S. Rep Lauren Boebert led a “large” tour through the Capitol shortly before the riot. Boebert said she gave no tours to anyone outside her family at the time and there is no evidence as yet that any of the rioters benefited from inside help.Boebert has, however, been criticized for her links to militia groups after she posed for a picture at a December 2019 gun rights rally where rally-goers flashed Three Percenter hand signs.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.