The more I think about the piecemeal quarantine / stimulus / recovery acts and the effects on people and the US economy, the more I think they are misguided at best.
- People are worried about their jobs. If not today, then how many days/weeks from now? Not all sectors are being affected equally, but all will see impact and it won't all be equal or happen at once, so...
- People might be trying to stay calm now, but once those first housing and car payments, etc get missed, or their business is finally affected, all bets are off
- "Sell off your unneeded assets" doesn't work when prices crash because everyone is in the same boat. Except the rich who get even greater deals.
- Even those who accept the need for quarantine - whether by understanding or by force - are anxious and bending or/flouting the recommendations because they need shelter and food, so they need to work. This double-speak is rampant even now! "Stay at home! But go out and order takeout from your local restaurant (and better pray they're not infected)!"
- A thousand-dollar check is nice... but won't even pay half the rent in many cases...
The haphazard economy is self-defeating and stimulus checks are misguided. What is needed is national quarantine to set the precedent (level the field) to implement a debt freeze for deferral. This could:
- If people don't have to worry about rent / mortgage / transport payments for the next month or whatever, that removes the temptation to skirt the rules and allows them to stay home.
- It allows discretionary businesses to rest easier in the decision to close and quit risking public health so they can make income to pay the bills.
- Household cash reserves are still spent on essential goods, with the rest hopefully saved to ride out the job recovery "on the other side" (whenever this is over).
- People able to WFH, and essential workers who can't stay home, will still drive the related economy by nature.
- Folks who are financially secure may continue to drive the economy by choice (Hey, those one-percenters love to claim they're the ones who drive and generate things from the top, so let them prove it...)
If this goes on for months, how many checks can the goverment cut over and over again? Keep in mind, shutting down the economy means no revenue (tax income) is being generated, so we're essentially double-dipping the impact those checks are going to cause (you think they ravage public services to reconcile revenue shortfalls now - holy shit can you imagine what the budget act is going to look like next year?!).
If debts were frozen and payments deferred, it could free liquidity for essential goods and reassure folks in the near term, providing stability...
OTOH, how you keep people from blowing their savings and/or assistance on frivolous non-essential goods then becomes the question, bah. So much of the economy is built on "non essentials"...