As of Saturday, 8/1/2020, Congress had not reached any agreement on a new economic stimulus bill. This has dire consequences which we will begin seeing Monday morning.
For one thing, the eviction moratorium for many ended on 7/31/2020. Many eviction notices have already been filed, ready for immediate dispersal. The only chance for millions of Americans at this point will be if Trump issues an executive order for a stay of evictions. Otherwise, it will require a massive flurry of mayors, state legislatures and governors issuing stays of evictions.
Even then, as I have pointed out before, as long as these stays are merely deferrals, rather than complete suspensions of mortgages, this is a snowball which will gain momentum and become an ever larger crushing financial disaster for the entire country. Congress has the power to order banks to cease assessing and collecting mortgages, both residential and commercial residential mortgages but have not done so. Many equity owners, individual and corporate, will be unable to continue functioning and will declare bankruptcy in the near future, as early as this month. Enacting a suspension of mortgages would not cost the banks anything. It would simply mean they were not collecting more money for a period of time. Their stockholders may not like it but that would be the only ones who suffered any decline in revenue.
Even if Congress came to a new agreement to continue unemployment supplements today (while they are on a 3 day weekend) or Monday morning, that funding would not reach the individuals who need it for as long as 3–4 weeks, possibly longer. This is according to multiple experts. The funding has to reach states first. Then, most states calculate unemployment benefits by whole weeks, with a 1 week lag being common. Because the last full week of benefits with the $600 supplement ended 7/25 or 7/26, there will be no supplemental income for this week. It’s highly unlikely Congress would make any supplements retroactive.
In addition to this, with no deal being agreed upon, it is yet unknown how much any supplement, if any, will be approved. Republicans want to decrease supplements to $200 a week.
It does seem they have gotten frantic calls from the state secretaries of labor, informing them that a percentage method would take as long as two years to implement accurately. In any case, it would at least take months to program and assess unemployment benefits by any percentage. The discussion being passed around now involves issuing unemployment supplements for a matter of a few months and then gradually decreasing to a percentage of income.
I’ve already pointed out that a percentage method would be enough to push many at the lower income brackets over the edge.
With no bailout being agreed upon, Wall Street is going to be unhappy and I will be waiting to see what the stock market looks like by Monday evening. I’m guessing it will not be an attractive sight. I’m also guessing corporate media will report frantically on the condition of the stock market and ignore the millions being evicted form their homes. Or relegate the evictions to page 6 or minor mention on broadcast news.
Some reports have stated that over 30 million Americans experienced food insecurity in July. August will be far worse. Even those who can currently barely afford food but are unsure of what their income will be over the next weeks will reduce spending on food, trying to stretch what resources they have.
This is the only place where I happen to agree with sending children back to schools at this time. At the very least, they may be able to have one meal per day. However, at what risk? Malnourishment versus pandemic infection. There’s a great choice.
Obviously, it is a choice faced only by the poor, not the wealthy. Like so many other choices in this country, the wealthy are immune from dangers faced by the poor. This is inexcusable. If you try and rationalize it, you literally display yourself as an inhumane sociopath.
The only thing we can do is try and help each other. Offer food and shelter to friends and family that need it if that is an option. If you offer shelter, make written agreements in advance of responsibilities and conflict resolution. Don’t open your home to a known abuser.