US President-elect Joe Biden unveiled bold investments as part of the coronavirus relief package to combat the virus surges across the nation. The virus has killed more than 384,000 American people, and created an unemployment backlash that has hammered the economy.

Gregory Daco

Gregory Daco, an economist, shared an article on Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan which calls for unemployment support, stimulus cheques, and more. The coronavirus rescue package titled the American Rescue Plan has been unveiled to provide resilience to households and businesses till the vaccine is widely distributed across the country.

Some plans the President-elect has called for include direct payments of $1,400 to be provided to most citizens, bringing the total relief to $2,000, allocation of $50bn toward Covid-19 testing, and $20bn towards a national vaccine programme in collaboration with states, tribes, and territories, among others..

According to Biden officials, this is first of the two spending initiatives by Biden which is sought to be implemented during the first two months of his presidency. The second bill is expected in February and will focus on long-term goals such as climate change, job creation, reforming infrastructure, and combating racial inequalities.

Konstantina Beleli

Konstantina Beleli, an economist, re-tweeted on how US unemployment claims have hit the highest levels since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March. According to the Labour Department, US weekly jobless claims spiked to 965,000 last week, amid a slowdown in job hiring due to pandemic restrictions, and the highest levels ever reported since mid-August.

Economists claim that this is a sign the economy is still stuttering, in part because of restrictions in the hospitality and the restaurant sectors across states. The overall number of Americans receiving some kind of benefits spelled from 19 to about 18.5 million that included those who were covered under the pandemic emergency programme that was extended in an eleventh hour deal in December.

The Joe Biden administration has called upon an economic relief plan that focuses on stimulus cheques, the infusion of more cash to boost vaccinations, and efforts to re-open schools. Biden has also pledged to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and hopes to tackle taxes too. Consequently, he urged the big corporations and the wealthy to begin to pay.

Approximately, 140,000 jobs were lost in the US in December alone.

Richard Murphy

Richard Murphy, an economic justice campaigner, shared an article on a new department of education (DfE) guidance that has set the government in a different course to address disadvantaged children going hungry during the February half-term holiday. Murphy believes that this could be a distraction from Covid deaths.

According to the fresh guidance, schools have been advised not to provide lunch parcels or vouchers to children during the half term, as the government has already extended support to families and children outside the term time through the Covid winter grant scheme.

An earlier intervention by Marcus Rashford, the footballer and anti-poverty campaigner in November prompted the government to allocate $232.5m as part of a winter package.

However, the Local Government Association (LGA) stated that the winter grant was never meant to replace the free school meal provision during the school holidays and was part of the government’s efforts to cushion low-income families during the nationwide lockdown. The LGA further urged ministers to assist in providing these food vouchers to children during the half term.