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Economic Recovery #1

  • Expiring unemployment benefits
  • Environmentalism and universal basic income
  • Undercounting stats
  • Home improvement loans
Published every Friday

The Hill

Congress gears up for battle over expiring unemployment benefits

The generous expansion to unemployment insurance Congress passed to keep Americans afloat during the COVID-19 crisis is due to run out at the end of the month, potentially leaving millions of people struggling.

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Boston Globe ($)

In case of economic emergency: break glass

Less than a decade later, Congress has authorized an even more enormous bailout. This time, the legislative process has been even more complicated. Congress once again scrambled, drafting legislation to address both the public health and economic emergencies stemming from COVID-19. So far it has rushed through five separate relief bills in a matter of months because each successive bill was insufficient to address not only the public health crisis but also the economic crisis. Congress will now likely take up a sixth bill in late July, in part to deal with the imminent expiration of expanded unemployment insurance benefits.

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Editor’s Note:

Recent coronavirus bailouts come after the bailouts of the 2008 financial crisis. Here a trio of academics propose that policymakers take a page out of the playbook of disaster management and have plans ready to implement swiftly before a crisis arises.

LA Times

Some homeowners struggled to pay PACE improvement loans. The coronavirus made it harder

It wasn’t until the work was done that Marcelino and Josefina Rodriguez said they learned the truth. They had been signed up for a roughly $45,000 PACE home improvement loan at nearly 10% interest — even though they said a woman working with the contractor told them their new roof and water heater would be free through a government program.

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Washington Post

‘We feel absolutely abandoned’: How the pandemic in Russia tanked the economy and plunged families into crisis

MOSCOW — She still has her dreams: to raise a doctor, an engineer, a military general and an athlete. But as the coronavirus pandemic swept over Russia, bankrupting businesses and families, Yekaterina Gorbunova, her husband, Alexander, and their four children lost nearly everything.

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Project Syndicate

America’s uncertain recovery

Stanford, California – Like most of the world, the United States is attempting to overcome both the COVID-19 pandemic and a deep recession caused by the resulting government-ordered shutdown. At annual rates, the U.S. economy shrank by 5 percent in the first quarter of 2020 and in the second quarter just ending, it could contract by 40 percent — the steepest decline since the Great Depression.

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The Revelator

Why environmentalists should embrace universal basic income

It’s a question a lot of Americans started pondering after entrepreneur Andrew Yang proposed just that when he jumped into the 2020 presidential race.

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Editor’s Note:

Even before the pandemic, the controversial idea of universal basic income was being debated in many countries. Here Tara Lohan takes a particular angle on it, environmentalism, and explores the pros and cons.

Haaretz

Budget must show the Israeli public the gov’t has a coronavirus exit strategy

The debate around Israel’s next state budget is focused right now on the technical question of whether the government will legislate separate budgets for what’s left of 2020 and all of 2021, or a single one covering the entire period.

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Nikkei Asian Review

Clock ticks on 100m jobs as global stimulus packages expire

LONDON/TOKYO — The fate of 100 million jobs hangs in the balance as a potential second wave of unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic looms over Japan, the U.S. and Europe with a combined $1 trillion worth of stimulus measures set to expire in the coming months.

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Pew Research

Unemployment undercount was greater for women, Asians, immigrants in May 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak has presented a unique set of measurement challenges for statistical agencies. Most recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the U.S. unemployment rate stood at 13% in May 2020, nonseasonally adjusted. At the same time, the bureau noted that the rate may have been as high as 16% if not for an error in the classification of the employment status of certain workers. Many workers not at work due to COVID-19-related business closures were classified as “employed but absent from work” instead of “unemployed on temporary layoff.”

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Editor’s Note:

One of the main tools in any economic policy decision is data, though the data comes with its own problems. Here Rakesh Kochhar looks at recent US unemployment numbers and their weak spots.

Caixin Global

Opinion: Asian Economies Must Use Fiscal Stimulus Wisely to Recover

For the first time in living memory, Asia’s growth is expected to contract by 1.6% — a downgrade from the April projection of zero growth. While Asia’s economic growth in the first quarter of 2020 was better than projected in the April World Economic Outlook — partly owning to early stabilization of the virus in some countries, projections for 2020 have been revised down for most of the countries in the region due to weaker global conditions and more protracted containment measures in several emerging economies.

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