But David, that’s politics, spread the wealth among as many voters as possible.
David Leonhardt , the New York Times
Of course, millions of other Americans are struggling mightily. Nine million fewer people are employed than a year ago. Others are coping with big medical bills. Many small businesses have closed or may soon. State and local governments are planning deep cuts.
The $900 billion stimulus bill that Congress passed last night will provide a lot of help to the economy. But many economists believe that it also has major flaws. Among them: It isn’t especially targeted at the parts of the economy that need help.
A central part of the stimulus are one-time checks that the government will mail to people. Any household with income below $150,000 will likely receive at least $1,200. Families with children will receive more.
Much of that money will go to Americans who are doing just fine and who will save the money they receive, which in turn will do nothing to keep struggling businesses afloat or keep workers employed. Already, the personal savings ratehad risen to about 14 percent this fall, from 8 percent at the start of the year.
At the same time, the bill provides only 11 weeks of expanded unemployment insurance. “That’s not enough to bridge us to when a vaccine is widely distributed,” Ernie Tedeschi, a former Treasury Department economist, wrote yesterday. In all, the bill spends less on the expanded jobless benefits than on the stimulus checks.