Second Round of Stimulus - What Do You All Want In It?

With the standard political brinkmanship taking place right now as Congress negotiates over the second round of stimulus, I thought now might be a good time to ask what people would like to see?

[www.cnbc.com]

GOP is currently okay with another set of $1,200 (single) and $2,400 (married) and $500 (dependents - previously it was children under the age of 17, but now it can be over) checks. The same income criteria of $75,000 and $150,000 will be used.

There is debate, however, on extending enhanced unemployment at $600/week (which comes on top of state unemployment). Some want a reduced amount of $400/week to a low of $100/week. They argue $600 incentivizes people to not look for work. Some want up to 70% of wage replacement, instead of the weekly $600, but capped at $500/week. For some people, in that case, it could still leave them better off not working, depending on the math.

GOP wants businesses and schools to be free from COVID legal liabilities, except in cases of gross negligence or wrongdoing. Democrats are fighting this.

There is talk of extending PPP (although with less of an overall subsidy - $190 billion now - and a more stringent criteria of business size and business loss in mind).

What do YOU want to see in the bill?

For me, I'd want something of a conditional return to work for people ONLY if the virus situation in their area is under control. Seems unfair for an employer to call people back in a state like Texas or Florida and have a worker be forced back or risk losing unemployment benefits.

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And, YES, they better bring PUA back. It is already a slave-wage industry much of the time, so people need the help!
What I DON'T want in it is 1.4 billion for a new FBI building or a replacement of the money that was earmarked for the Pentagon but diverted to that damn stupid Wall.

What I DO want in it is enough income to families so that even more people aren't thrown on onto the street. I want enough money for small businesses to survive through this until they can reopen. I want money to be provided for education that may or may not be home-based for the foreseeable future. I want money for testing so that those at risk and possibly exposed can find out if they are okay or not. I want hazardous duty pay for the frontline workers who risk their lives and their families' lives every day, simply by walking into a hospital or other facility that is filled to capacity with sick people, many of whom have Covid-19.

Not having anything to do with the bill, but I really, really, really want our country and the world to become the relatively safe and sane place that it was six months ago.

And right now I want a homemade vanilla malt. At least I can have that.
For me? Keep the wall! Another stimulus check would be well used. We do not need anything in a bill in order to learn how to cost less. There are fine examples right here in this forum of how people are utilizing resources wisely and making the most of what they have for the moment and for the future. On a larger scale, practically anyone who wants to learn new skills or change their habits can find relevant information for free online, from their county extension offices, and perhaps from their own inspiration and ingenuity. This is the answer to reduced weekly, ongoing benefits. And, it is my vote for reduced weekly, ongoing benefits. Since I do not receive any covid money, I well know what is possible even if it is not exactly what other people want for themselves.

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so. - Tacitus
THIS as per Sandy Shopper!

"I want hazardous duty pay for the frontline workers who risk their lives and their families' lives every day, simply by walking into a hospital or other facility that is filled to capacity with sick people, many of whom have Covid-19."

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/30/2020 04:08AM by Madetoshop.
1. Increase in the federal minimum wage. Outside of healthcare providers most of the people putting themselves at risk are lower income. We need to provide for them.

2. Tie UI to actual income with a cap. That way people who cannot work will have the same income except high income people who likely have liquid assets to make up the shortfall.

3. Suspend UI work search requirements. They're stupid and waste of time right now.

4. I don't care about a straight up stimulus check. If you make sure everyone's income is the same there shouldn't be a need.

5. Significantly increase production, distribution, and processing of testing and prepare for the same need for a vaccine when it's available. It will likely take almost as long to distribute a vaccine as it will to create it.

6. Increase funding for health care across the board

7. A revamped business package that does a better job than just throwing money at the problem. I don't have any problem with helping businesses out, but the last one was poorly done. I don't place any blame on that, it was an emergency situation and throwing money at it was the best thing to do at the time. But it's been 4 months we should have a better plan by now.

8. Increased funding for virtual learning. And we have to figure out something for those people who still have to go to work but also have school aged children who likely will not be at school.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
What I do not want is making the state UI agencies again revamp their payment computation systems to fit payments to a percentage of prior income. The Senate bill proposes that to take effect within 2 weeks even AFTER they found that the states estimated the time needed to perform the needed reprogramming at from 5 to 22 weeks. Also, building a new FBI building on the existing location, snug up against the DC Trump Hotel, is crazy, even if that hotel died. FBI has needed a new building for years and congress has spoken before....that it should be in the MD suburbs with good public transit access on land already designated for that purpose.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
@walesmaven wrote:

What I do not want is making the state UI agencies again revamp their payment computation systems to fit payments to a percentage of prior income. The Senate bill proposes that to take effect within 2 weeks even AFTER they found that the states estimated the time needed to perform the needed reprogramming at from 5 to 22 weeks.

Coming from the IT world that is absolutely insane. The data is already there. They know exactly how much everyone on UI was make ng precovid. It should take 10 minutes.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
My real concern is limiting unemployment while eliminating business liability. If my understanding is correct, at present if my former employer calls me back to work yet has not created a safer environment, I lose my unemployment if I turn down the return to work even if it is because I am fearful for my health. If I get sick returning to work I at least can seek restitution through the courts. This makes it imperative that my employer create a safe work environment, just as he/she has always been required to do.

If the exemption from liability for COVID goes into the package, my employer can reopen as soon as governmentally allowed with no modifications except those specifically required by government and my concerns as a worker have no impact at all. I return to a potentially dangerous environment or I lose my unemployment.

Of course there need to be other limits on the package. I don't see the $1200 stimulus as something that needs to go away because it goes as a blanket to those earning less than a particular amount. For the unemployed this offers an opportunity to catch up on late payments while for others it is an opportunity to purchase big ticket items. I gather that new appliance sales boomed after the previous stimulus check. And of course since folks were at home, that meant cleaning out the kitchen, repainting, maybe putting down new flooring, etc. before those new appliances arrived. Certainly not enough to get new cabinets and counter tops, but enough to get a good working kitchen to cook through the isolation and semi-isolation. It also allowed a number of folks who didn't really need the money to survive to be more generous in their local area, where we just can't ignore the lines at the food banks, and the community just keeps stepping up. My point is that this is extra-budgetary "free money" and spending it locally for necessities, back bills, home improvements, local businesses and charity keeps the money flowing in the community and helps the community in many ways. It improves housing stocks, generates sales taxes, pays sales people and businesses and ultimately creates more community value.
@bgriffin wrote:

8. Increased funding for virtual learning. And we have to figure out something for those people who still have to go to work but also have school aged children who likely will not be at school.
This is an absolute nightmare.

Women who are major providers are caught in no-man's land (no pun intended) with the uncertainty of what will happen if schools have to shut down to deal with cases. Child supervision on those days may not be able to be arranged in the nick of time. I really have no idea what's going to happen there.

I agree on prioritizing funds for virtual learning. Too many households don't have a good set-up for that. If that is to be an option, we need funds NOW, as school starts next month.

I can't even imagine restarting schools in a place like Texas and Florida, where there are so many COVID non-compliant people and large virus cases. This sounds like disaster waiting to happen.
@Flash wrote:

My real concern is limiting unemployment while eliminating business liability. If my understanding is correct, at present if my former employer calls me back to work yet has not created a safer environment, I lose my unemployment if I turn down the return to work even if it is because I am fearful for my health. If I get sick returning to work I at least can seek restitution through the courts. This makes it imperative that my employer create a safe work environment, just as he/she has always been required to do.
GOP and Dems are debating liability. Some of the trickier points like this could stall a stimulus bill.

That would be a disaster for the economy right now, as the benefits cliff ends now. Yet, a point like this is so important. GOP wants no liability, except in cases of gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing.

But, there are "levels" of COVID safety between establishments. What if your employer only requires masks of staff, but not of customers and just has some hand sanitizer bottles around and it's a grocery store you work at? My doctor's office has UV light germ zapping air purifiers and my Wells Fargo has a bunch of plexiglass barriers over desks and counters. Wells also has appointment only hours. . . .Even beyond different employer standards of safety, you have different state/local government choices of when to lockdown if there is a large outbreak. Even if your employer creates as good of an environment as possible, what if your Governor is a psychopath who refuses to lockdown as cases explode around you. There's not really liability in that case either. You can always quit, but you will risk losing income and unemployment benefits. sad smiley

Paul Krugman - NYT columnist and Nobel economist - has predicted this week that we'd be forced to lock America down again either because there is enough pressure to do so or because people are too scared to resume normal activities and the economy tanks even after reopening. I hope he's right. We do need another "real" lockdown.
@shoptastic wrote:


I can't even imagine restarting schools in a place like Texas and Florida, where there are so many COVID non-compliant people and large virus cases. This sounds like disaster waiting to happen.

A disaster is what I am expecting here in Florida. I have no kids or grandkids in schools, nor working teachers in the family, so I don't have a dog in the hunt except as a citizen.

School opening has been pushed to the end of August. Parents were asked to designate by today what they wanted for their child(ren) for this fall. 41% want in classroom education, 39% want on line education, 19% want to start the year on line and go to classrooms later, 1% are going to just do home schooling. Unfortunately less than 40% of parents responded so the children of the other 60% will just be assigned to classrooms. Meanwhile parents are petitioning the School Board that their kids not be required to wear masks in school. But the one that strikes me as most questionable is the "Scientific Study" (by whom? in what professional peer reviewed journal?) that finds that if the teacher lectures from directly under the air vent into the room the children will be safe from infection, even if she/he is not wearing a mask.

Although Florida law states maximum number of students per class to be 20 in K-3 and 30 in 4-12 (at least I think that was the numbers), exemptions from compliance have been granted for the 20 years or so since it was passed because no school district has enough schools and classrooms to let that happen. Luckily most classrooms are built for 30. If 60% of parents did not respond with their education preferences, that is 18 kids in that 30 seat classroom because the parents did not respond. Now take the 41% of the 40% of parents who did respond and you have about 5 more kids. Total 23 kids in a 30 seat classroom. I don't see how they are going to get social distancing to work.

My county pays teachers so badly that they have issues getting teachers because as a coastal city teachers mostly can not afford to live here. In a typical year the district takes on college graduates without teaching certification as 'provisional teachers' to cover classrooms. Many teachers are saying, "I love teaching, I love my students, but I also love my family and my health. I can't afford to return to the classroom because of my need to stay well."
They should eliminate the $1200. Immediately extend the $600 through August and maybe sometime in August figure out how to proceed going forward. I figure eliminating the $1200 offsets a good percentage of the extension of the $600 for the month. After August, it is probably fair to base benefits based on prior income.

States have got to receive funding because every state has suffered tremendously as revenue has plummeted as a result of the shutdown and lack of business. States have to stay within budget. Teachers, police, healthcare workers, and virtually any state or city employee are paid by the state. If the state does not have the funds then these workers join the unemployment pool.

Schools that open and are in populations where the virus is not under control (wherever that is) will not be open long. As a former educator, I can tell you it is a disaster waiting to happen. Have you ever seen a school office? It's tiny. Who visits the office? Everybody. Many schools don't have nurses, or some are there part time. Who attends students that are sick? The office staff is first to see them. Have you ever seen the nurse's tiny office within the school office? Look inside. There is never just one kid. You will have students with rashes, sore throats, bee stings, nausea, pink eye, lice, flu, and soon COVID coming through that office. How long do you think the tiny little office staff will remain virus free? I don't know how many times I've seen one student with the sniffles followed by several more, or how many times I've seen one student with head lice and discover other students have been infected. Typically, if a student has siblings, the whole darn household is infected and so are other students in the siblings' class.

Who's gonna drive the school bus? Sheesh.... I wouldn't want that job.

Teachers will not be safe. They are packed in a room all day with these kids. So, in order to make a somewhat safe environment it will require significant changes and it will cost significant money. Otherwise, teachers and supporting staff will get sick and there won't be personnel left to operate the school. Anyway.........

1) eliminate the $1200
2) immediately extend the $600 for the month of August
3) base benefits on prior income
4) give states funds (perhaps distributed based on prior budget)
5) get refunds from the major corporations and mega churches who received money

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/2020 10:35AM by 1forum1.
August ? Congress is due to be out of town through Labor day, starting very soon (if not today). The house voted on its proposal and sent it to the Senate more that 2 (maybe 3?) months ago. The Senate waited until the very last moment to "answer" with its version. Go figure.....

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I just read that the House has canceled their August recess until there is a Covid relief package. The article didn't say anything about the Senate, but I hope they follow suit. Maybe they will buckle down and reach a reasonable compromise if they can't go out to play until their work is done.
Sandy, that is good news. In an election year, congess is back in session only briefly in September before going home to campaign. So, an august recess could be an economic disaster a-making.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/2020 07:26PM by walesmaven.
@Sandy Shopper wrote:

I just read that the House has canceled their August recess until there is a Covid relief package. The article didn't say anything about the Senate, but I hope they follow suit. Maybe they will buckle down and reach a reasonable compromise if they can't go out to play until their work is done.

I think you seriously underestimate how little McConnell cares about the US and it's people.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
bgriffin, I realize that the safety and well-being of their constituents is the last thing on the minds of most of the members of Congress.
They do care about elections, though.

I think we get something - even if in a rolling form of a series of bills - pretty soon, as without that, you'll likely get riots and violence across America.

I actually think the $1,200 thing is the easiest to do. Don't have the complications of unemployment.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/2020 09:16PM by shoptastic.
Also, their political donors care about the stock market.

It will crash without stimulus. The wealthy have spent considerably less since the pandemic started, while lower income brackets have spent more (with some making more now with the stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment). The lower income groups are off-setting spending reductions by the rich. Thus, that MUST continue to keep the economy and stock market up and going.

The rich don't have to spend, nor work if they don't want to. That leaves the poor, who need income, to go and work and pick up the spending slack.
Pffffft. We have that now!

@shoptastic wrote:

..... think we get something - even if in a rolling form of a series of bills - pretty soon, as without that, you'll likely get riots and violence across America....

Things are not to be judged good or bad merely because the public think so. - Tacitus
@Shop-et-al wrote:

Pffffft. We have that now!
@shoptastic wrote:

..... think we get something - even if in a rolling form of a series of bills - pretty soon, as without that, you'll likely get riots and violence across America....
You ain't seen nothin' yet if Congress fails to renew stimulus. winking smiley
What I would like is for the National Guard to have the 502f orders extended for COVID19 relief. Word is that we will be put on non voluntary State Active Duty if the funding does not go through. While I love to help my community and don't need the big bucks, SAD pay is less than base pay and there is no guarantee when the check will come for it. We also do not receive healthcare coverage. So getting put in the direct COVID fire but no cover should we get sick and actually need treatment. So fingers crossed that the federal money will continue for these missions.
For people who have the time, please consider calling your Senator. Just Google and you'll find out how.

Express concern and list your desires/wants. Flooding them works. There are stories of Congressmen/women getting scared with flooded calls for a position to do something. Pressure them!
My Senators are on board with the House bill.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Mine are not and no amount of calls or emails will change their mind.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
Keep trying. I once read that it only took 10 people to call or write to get the attention of their local congressperson. Keep trying.
@Flash wrote:

School opening has been pushed to the end of August.
Just read some of the earlier calendar schools have reopened. First day of school in Indiana had a student test positive for COVID.

My area has online learning for this fall at the secondary level, but in-person learning for colleges (the first of which starts in two weeks). I'm not sure which format is "best" (given the virus) for which level of education. I've seen arguments that kids simply will fall behind too much with online learning, while college students are more capable of self-learning and virtual learning at home. Scott Galloway (Professor at NYU) put out an article saying colleges reopening are doing so in denial of COVID threats and much of it is financially driven. They have high fixed costs (tenured professors who cannot be let go for cost-cutting, worker unions, and campus maintenance) and make their money from tuition and room & board. Few have big endowments, such as a Harvard, and enough state subsidies to survive. They are forced to reopen in some way or another. They are forced to deny*** the virus threat and human suffering that will follow, as everyone knows college students (as a whole) are not going to socially distance themselves forever or enough on campus (think frats/sororities, dating, sports, etc.).

It'll be interesting at top universities with Nobel Laureates and some of our nation's/world's top scientists. Many are old and vulnerable. Mathematically, some will assuredly end up catching COVID and at least some will die from it.
@ wrote:

Total 23 kids in a 30 seat classroom. I don't see how they are going to get social distancing to work.
Classrooms are small and 30 to a class is very dense. 15 seems to be the number I'd think would be an absolute minimum for a decent chance at safety.

At a Texas high school that has reopened, they have video of some students hugging, not wearing masks, and gathered closely together in the parking lot.

The combination of secondary and college education resuming (some already) in two weeks and businesses getting back to normal as restrictions come off will cause a spike in cases as my base case scenario. We're doing all of this at a time when the U.S. has not controlled the virus, so logically I only think we are headed for lots more cases and deaths. I hate to say it, but this feels inevitable to me, even though I shall fight politically for more protections and a "real" lockdown.

***By "deny," I mean they won't say that basically they can't make it safe doing in-person learning and living. I think they know in their heart of hearts that there is no way college students will do the stuff necessary to keep the virus from spreading. But, they have to make it seem like it will be safe. They cannot tell the truth. Sort of how some businesses try to make it seem safe with the safeguards they're implementing when you can just take one look and feel like no way that's going to be safe (e.g., a bar with a dance floor).
@Sandy Shopper wrote:

Keep trying. I once read that it only took 10 people to call or write to get the attention of their local congressperson. Keep trying.
Yes, THIS.

Some can be shocked by a "flood" of calls. Many treat their constituents as dumb sheep who believe the political double-talk they do, don't know that their "real constituents" are their big money donors, and are too lazy or uninformed to challenge them.

A ground swell of support or opposition to something they hadn't expected can move the needle for them sometimes. Not a guarantee by any means, but it's worth a try and does work at times.
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