US: Senate Passes Largest Economic Relief Bill in its History

By Ester Harding

Late Wednesday night, the US Senate passed a historic $2.2 trillion stimulus package in an effort to alleviate the deepening economic crisis.

The economic relief bill is the largest in US history. According to the ruling class media, House minority leader Chuck Schumer, said “The legislation now before us […] is historical because it is meant to match a historic crisis. Our health care system is not prepared to care for the sick. Our workers are without work. Our factories lie idle. The gears of the American economy have ground to a halt.”

There is no doubt that the American economy is in rough shape but a look back at the state of the economy just 5 months ago shows the US Economy was already seeing record numbers of federal debt despite President Trump boasting a strong economy and a positive economic outlook for the future. Schumer’s statement is meant to pass the blame onto COVID-19, but in reality is nothing but an indictment against capitalism.  

In October, unemployment was at the lowest it had been in 50 years, annual wages rose 2.3%, and the economy added 6 million jobs according to ruling class sources. These numbers were boasted by the Trump administration but they only represented one side of the economic coin. What the Trump administration did not choose to highlight is that October also marked the first time in history that U.S. debt surpassed $23 trillion, with $17 trillion being the publicly held debt. The trade deficit that Trump promised to reduce actually increased by 30%. “Reaching $23 trillion in debt on Halloween is a scary milestone for our economy and the next generation, but Washington shows no fear,” said Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the reactionary Peter G. Peterson Foundation; he added that, “Piling on debt like this is especially unwise and unnecessary in a strong economy.”

While Wednesday’s stimulus package is the first of its type, it does not deviate from the economic strategy of the Trump administration, accumulating long-term debt for short-term benefits. The stimulus package is expected to throw a little bit of money to small businesses as well as individual tax payers. For the average worker the numbers break down like this: under the legislation, single Americans would receive $1,200, married couples would get $2,400, and parents would see $500 for each child under the age of 17.

The payments would start to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000, and those making more than $99,000 would not qualify at all. The thresholds are doubled for couples. There will also be an unspecified increase in unemployment benefits for individuals.

When the average cost of living for single Americans falls right around $2,628 a month, the checks that are expected to arrive in many Americans bank accounts is little more than a Band-Aid on a bullet wound and still offers no long term solution to the ever-expanding public and federal debt that continues to grow. This stimulus package is just the latest installment of a saga of Band-Aids placed on the gushing wound of the American economy and only time will tell how long the American workers can be pacified before the fall-out of the most recent economic decisions threaten the stability and safety of working people once again.