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This is one of the many terrible consequences of the collapsed stimulus talks

Published Oct 8th, 2020 1:08PM EDT
New stimulus bill
Image: Rod Lamkey - Pool via CNP/MEGA

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  • President Trump this week announced that he’s told his negotiators to end talks for now on a new stimulus bill.
  • While that would wreck the chances for a new round of $1,200 stimulus checks anytime soon, that’s far from the only negative consequence of a failure to pass a new coronavirus relief accord.
  • Millions of Americans are still out of work as a result of the pandemic, and not passing a new stimulus bill would have dire consequences for them.

There are no real winners as a result of President Trump’s decision Tuesday instructing his representatives to end negotiations over a new stimulus bill that would be a follow-up, finally, to the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that Congress passed back in March at the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the US. But it’s not hard at all to identify the losers in this scenario, should it become a permanent state of affairs — something that, luckily, is rarely the case with a president who changes his mind often and prefers to keep his decision-making as fluid as possible.

For example, tens of millions of American taxpayers will lose out, since the absence of a stimulus deal all but certainly guarantees no additional $1,200 stimulus checks will be distributed. Likewise, millions of Americans who’ve lost their job during the pandemic — which has wrecked business sectors ranging from the hospitality and aviation industries to local movie theaters — will be hurt, as well. They had a $600-per-week supplement to their unemployment insurance that dried up in July, and, likewise, self-employed people as well as gig workers will see these benefits end after December.

These peoples’ hopes for more aid were crushed after President Trump tweeted that he’s decided to halt negotiations over a new stimulus bill until after Election Day 2020. Further adding to the confusion, the president followed up that decree on Tuesday with something of an about-face, clarifying that he would support standalone legislation in support of the $1,200 stimulus checks — something that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has dismissed as a non-starter, countering that there needs to be an all-encompassing stimulus bill instead of attacking everything piecemeal.

“It appears we’re not getting another fiscal package over the next few months at least,” Ernie Tedeschi, a policy economist at Evercore ISI, told CNBC this week. Here’s one of the many reasons why that’s terrible news for average Americans:

Right now, according to Labor Department figures, more than 26 million Americans are collecting jobless benefits — and more than 1 million new applications for those jobless benefits are coming in every week. The amount of money those people are expected to live on monthly varies considerably, depending on where they live in the country. On average, for example, Labor Department data shows that states paid about $305 a week before tax in jobless aid during the month of August.

But that’s only an average. The unemployed in Mississippi and Louisiana, for example, only received a little more than $180/week on average. And in the state of Hawaii, that minimum figure is a mere $5/week, which is what jobless aid falls to there without a reinstatement of the increased federal supplement.

In addition to the $600/week increase in federal aid that went away at the end of July, the Lost Wages Assistance program from the Trump administration gave workers an additional $300 for up to six weeks. But that money is now gone, too, for many states, while others weren’t eligible to get that money at all.

“(Democrats) were trying to get things, we were trying to get things, it wasn’t going anywhere,” Trump told Mornings with Maria host Maria Bartiromo in a Fox Business Network interview Thursday. “I shut it down. I don’t want to play games.

“We are starting to have very productive talks. (Pelosi) wants it to happen, too. She doesn’t want it not to happen. I believe she wants it to happen because it’s so good for our country.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.