Federal aid helped bring millions of Americans out of poverty last year. New reforms could make this social safety net permanent.

Asia's Tech News Daily

Federal aid helped bring millions of Americans out of poverty last year. New reforms could make this social safety net permanent.
© Provided by Business Insider Poverty rates fell to 9.1% in 2020 after accounting for the federal stimulus aid. Getty Images / Marco Geber

  • Paul Constant is a writer at Civic Ventures and cohost of the “Pitchfork Economics” podcast.
  • In a recent episode, he and cohost Jessyn Farrell examine how poverty rates fell during the pandemic.
  • Constant says continued pandemic benefits could help form a stronger safety net for all Americans.

In March of 2020, when the global economy was shutting down to stop the wildfire-like spread of COVID-19, the economic outcome for many Americans looked dire. With unemployment spiking to never-before-seen levels and businesses shuttering from coast to coast, many economists predicted that we were about to see levels of poverty in America comparable to the widespread suffering of the Great Depression.

But that’s not what happened. Heather Long and Amy Goldstein reported at the Washington Post last month that according to the US Census, “poverty fell to 9.1% in 2020 after accounting for all the government aid – the lowest rate on record and a significant decline from 11.8% in 2019.”

In the face of all that economic uncertainty, almost 8.5 million people rose above the poverty line last year – a change that Goldstein and Long report was “largely attributed to the stimulus payments” of several thousand dollars for most Americans that Congress approved through bipartisan support. Many of those Americans, too, were buoyed by the expanded pandemic unemployment checks, which totaled $600 per week for the early days of the pandemic and $300 per week for most of 2021 until the program ended altogether on September 4.

When those expanded unemployment payments ended, economists predicted a surge in employment levels as Americans rushed back to work. That hasn’t happened, either. States which ended additional unemployment benefits didn’t see an increase in employment, and after the benefits expired everywhere, the September jobs report was lackluster at best. It’s most likely lack of childcare, low wages, and unsafe work conditions, not larger unemployment checks, that are keeping Americans from going back to work.

The pandemic has taught us two significant economic lessons: We learned that we could cut poverty by a significant amount through large cash investments, and we learned that large benefit payments weren’t keeping Americans from rushing back to work. When taken in tandem, the lessons from both discoveries contribute to what might hopefully be a completely new understanding of how the American social safety net actually works.

In the latest episode of “Pitchfork Economics,” Jessyn Farrell and I explore the way the social safety net performed under the pandemic, through interviews with the Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein and Economist data journalist Elliott Morris.

The social safety net didn’t fall apart when strained by the pandemic. In fact, the robust protections our leaders put in place managed to significantly shrink poverty and save the economy from descending into a recession. The larger benefits clearly didn’t convince people to stay home, be lazy, and stop participating in the economy, either. In other words, benefits performed exactly as they should.

So why can’t America have a robust safety net all the time? Pandemic assistance benefits weren’t rigidly means-tested or challenging to access, the way many benefits have been for the last 40 years, and they pulled millions of Americans out of poverty. What’s more, when those people who had lost their jobs were able to pay their rent, buy food for themselves, and provide for their children, their spending likely saved other businesses from closing and more Americans from losing their jobs. In fact, estimates suggest that continuing expanded unemployment benefits into 2021 created more than 5 million jobs.

The fact is, our creaky old benefits systems don’t serve the modern economy. In particular, our unemployment insurance program, which was created in the 1930s for a nation of farms and factories, completely fails to meet the needs of our service economy.

In a new report for the Economic Policy Institute, Rebecca Dixon and William Spriggs propose the first steps toward systemic unemployment insurance reform “to ensure equity and adequate standards regarding just financing, eligibility, duration of benefits, and benefit levels and amounts – so that no one is left behind.”

Their proposals include increasing federal funding for higher unemployment payments, expanding the system to apply to part-time and gig workers, and including triggers that would automatically expand unemployment payments and the duration of payments when the economy enters a recession or depression. It’s a good start to rebuilding an important piece of our safety net. After all, now that we know what a functioning benefits system looks like, why would we go back to an old, broken system that harms us all?

Read the original article on Business Insider

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Blockchain.com is launching an NFT marketplace and has opened a waitlist for users as the digital collectibles market booms

© Sashkin Sashkin Sashkin Blockchain.com is launching its NFT marketplace in the coming weeks. Users can sign up for a waitlist to get first access to buy, sell, and hold ... Read more »

Galway's 2017 All-Ireland winner retires from inter-county hurling after 13 seasons

© Cathal Noonan INPHO GALWAY DEFENDER AIDAN Harte has announced his retirement from inter-county hurling after 13 seasons. Harte was a member of the side that captured the 2017 All-Ireland ... Read more »

Daniil Medvedev joins Novak Djokovic backing WTA over China stance amid Peng Shuai fears

Daniil Medvedev has joined Novak Djokovic in backing the WTA’s decision to suspend all tournaments taking place in China amid fears for Peng Shuai. Tennis star Shuai went missing last ... Read more »

Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election: Despite winning the Tories should remain wary of sliding public opinion

In many ways, the Conservatives holding a safe seat in a by-election is unspectacular news. However, by-elections do give us poll watchers the benefit of real votes to study. So ... Read more »

Feed your dog just once a day to prevent future health problems, says study

Analysis revealed that being fed once a day lowered a dog’s risk of health issues – Kohei Hara Feeding your dog once a day could reduce the risk of them ... Read more »

West Ham XI vs Chelsea FC: Predicted lineup, confirmed team news and injury latest for Premier League game

© ES Composite WestHamPredictedXIAntoniov1.jpg Aaron Cresswell remains a doubt for West Ham‘s London derby against Chelsea as he battles to return from a back injury. The Hammers left-back was forced ... Read more »

'Silent Night' Starring Keira Knightley With Director Camille Griffin

© Provided by CinemaBlend Silent Night / Camille Griffin Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode star in part Christmas, part apocalyptic film Silent Night. Writer/Director Camille Griffin joins the show to ... Read more »

Nvidia metaverse future bright even as Arm may slip from grasp

FILE PHOTO: The logo of technology company Nvidia is seen at its headquarters in Santa Clara By Nivedita Balu (Reuters) – Nvidia Corp's dreams of acquiring British chip technology provider ... Read more »

A toast to the COVID-weary families out there still doing this

Last weekend, we walked over to a park near us where a tree was about to be lit, because as you already know here in month #21 of this thing, ... Read more »

Fashion Fails: The Worst Celebrity Looks of December 2021

© Getty Images Sadie Sink wearing a white dress shirt and brown turtle neck After a year of fewer red carpets, award shows, film premieres and events, it’s a holiday ... Read more »

The Universal Joy of Mariah Carey's “All I Want for Christmas is You”

mariah-carey-christmas-the-magic-continues The enduring magic of the singer’s seasonal classic is linked to how the pop diva became the Queen of Christmas. Nearly three decades since the release of her holiday ... Read more »

U.S. service sector activity gauge hits record high in November - ISM survey

© Reuters/HANNAH BEIER FILE PHOTO: Proof of vaccination required upon entry to restaurants in Philadelphia WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A measure of U.S. services industry activity unexpectedly rose in November, hitting ... Read more »

Norway's wonky Christmas tree gift to England hilariously mocked on social media

LONDON, Dec 2 – Norway’s annual Christmas tree gift to London provoked unseasonably abrupt responses on Thursday, including demands that the 78-foot Norwegian spruce be replaced after it appeared to ... Read more »

ITV This Morning: Alison Hammond's very normal exes from cab driver to security guard and how Hollywood actor ‘dumped her'

This Morning’s Alison Hammond is almost at national treasure level as her popularity seems to increase every single day. The brilliant Brummie never seems to run out of energy and ... Read more »

Census Bureau works to improve confidence in 2020 headcount

© Provided by Associated Press FILE – This Sunday, April 5, 2020, photo shows an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident in Detroit. The Census ... Read more »

Canada added 154,000 jobs last month, pushing jobless rate down to pandemic low of 6%

© Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg Canada’s economy added far more jobs than expected last month, as the service sector and goods-producing industries both had large demand for more labour. Canada’s economy added ... Read more »

Stacey Abrams defends lack of concession after 2018 gubernatorial loss

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams defended herself from criticism that she never conceded her loss to Gov. Brian Kemp in 2018 on Friday, addressing what Republicans have already used against ... Read more »

Today in Music History - Dec. 18

Today in Music History for Dec. 18:   In 1707, English hymn writer Charles Wesley was born. He wrote more than 6,500 hymns, including “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” In 1737, ... Read more »

Podcasting can be a profitable side hustle, if you know how to do it right

This article was created by StackCommerce. Postmedia may earn an affiliate commission from purchases made through our links on this page. © Provided by Financial Post It wasn’t all that ... Read more »

Guelph's 2-year budget comes with hefty property tax increases

© Matt Carty / Global News Guelph city council approved a two-year budget on Thursday night. Guelph city council approved its first multi-year budget, which comes with a 4.21 per ... Read more »

France's Macron defends Saudi visit after Khashoggi murder

French President Emmanuel Macron insisted he hadn’t forgotten the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Friday as he defended his decision to visit Saudi Arabia during his Gulf tour. ... Read more »

Hungry leopard hunting antelope caught on film in rare moment

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo This is the jaw-dropping moment a leopard hunting down and pouncing on its prey was immortalised on film. Photographer Bhargava Srivari, 29, captured ... Read more »

US travel rules: can I visit the States and what are the testing and entry requirements?

The US reopened to the world on 8 November – albeit just to fully vaccinated travellers – after closing its borders for almost 20 months from the start of the ... Read more »

England fan abducted child from wheelchair in attempt to enter Wembley for Euro 2020 final

An England fan abducted a child from a wheelchair as they tried to gain access to Wembley for the Euro 2020 final, it has been revealed. The child was taken ... Read more »

'I'm Back From Maternity Leave, But My Husband's Lack Of Flexibility At Work Is Holding My Career Back'

In a world of in­spi­ra­tional memes and #girlboss In­sta­gram posts, it’s easy to for­get that we all get stuck at work, or feel like we can’t find a way for­ward ... Read more »

Govt announces additional cash expenditure of nearly Rs 3 lakh crore for FY22

© Provided by CNBCTV18 The Finance Ministry has announced one of the largest cash supplementary demands for grants in recent times, with an additional expenditure of close to Rs 3 ... Read more »

Ahead of civic polls, Congress reaches out to Gujarati voters

© Provided by Hindustan Times Congress is focusing on the economic hardships faced by the businessmen and small traders, among whom Gujarati voters are in substantial numbers (AP) Ahead of ... Read more »

Longer-term mortgages could help avoid a housing market crash, which is why more are coming to the market

It seems there are few things more certain in life than death, taxes and the fact that house prices in Britain continue to be immune to economic shocks. Ordinary workers ... Read more »

Cycling-Israel round of Track Champions League cancelled, London prepares for finale

FILE PHOTO: UCI Track Cycling World Championships LONDON (Reuters) – The UCI Track Champions League will culminate in this weekend's double-header in London after the final round scheduled for Israel ... Read more »

How Jerry Hall is making a modelling comeback at 65

Jerry Hall’s last major fashion moment was, arguably, in March 2016 when she married Rupert Murdoch wearing a gauzy turquoise corseted dress by Vivienne Westwood with jewelled silver flats. In ... Read more »

George Clooney turned down millions to appear in a commercial

© Bang Showbiz George Clooney turned down $35 million for one day’s work George Clooney once turned down $35 million to appear in an airline commercial. The 60-year-old star was ... Read more »

Car-free, supported by robotics and with zero emissions – welcome to Saudi Arabia's new sustainable city Neom

A gathering of stars, businesspeople and dignitaries from Baroness Helena Morrissey to adventurer Bear Grylls celebrated the creation of a floating $500 billion “smart city” called Neom on Tuesday night. ... Read more »

Man walks all the way from London to Birmingham in a week 'for a laugh'

A man walked from London to Birmingham in seven days because he wanted to have ‘a laugh’ and ‘realise a childhood dream’. The film fanatic videoed the whole journey as ... Read more »

KEC International bags Rs 1,065-crore orders

© Provided by Zee Business Infrastructure engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) major KEC International on Friday said it has bagged new orders worth Rs 1,065 crore across various businesses. Its ... Read more »

Heathrow and Gatwick: Weird loophole that means you don't have to do a PCR test when entering the UK

The new Omicron Covid variant has seen travel restrictions tighten. More and more countries are being added to the red travel list following the discovery of the super strain and ... Read more »

Bill on cryptocurrencies on anvil, set to go to Cabinet shortly, says FM Sitharaman

© Provided by Business Today Bill on cryptocurrencies on anvil, set to go to Cabinet shortly, says FM Sitharaman Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has stated that the cryptocurrency bill is ... Read more »

Sir Tom Jones knows he's not immortal

© Bang Showbiz Sir Tom Jones is thinking about his legacy Sir Tom Jones won’t “push away” the idea of his own mortality. The 81-year-old singer has accepted he won’t ... Read more »

Tori Spelling getting 'moderate' breast implants

© Bang Showbiz Tori Spelling is getting another boob job Tori Spelling is getting “moderate” breast implants. The former ‘90210’ star has admitted her 20-year-old implants had “expired”, and she ... Read more »

Katrina Kaif-Vicky Kaushal wedding: Actor reaches Kat's residence; top stylist and BFF Anaita Shroff Adajania follows - view pics

It looks like it is indeed happening now. Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal’s marriage has been grabbing headlines for a month how. The couple have been tight-lipped about everything, which ... Read more »

Deepika Padukone And Siddharth Chaturvedi Starrer Untitled Film Opts For OTT Release

© Provided by Lehren Deepika Padukone And Siddharth Chaturvedi Starrer Untitled Film Opts For OTT Release Director Shakun Batra, the man behind many hits like “Kapoor and sons” “Ek Main ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic