On Wednesday night, the United States Senate unanimously passed a historic $2 trillion stimulus package meant to soften the blow of the looming economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. According to former Vice President Joe Biden, the bill does not go far enough despite being a step in the right direction.
On Thursday, Biden released his own “plan to save the economy” amid the coronavirus pandemic. Available on the Democratic front-runner’s official website, the three-step plan is a set of policy proposals meant to tackle both the public health crisis caused by the virus and the coming economic meltdown.
Firstly, Biden states that he would focus on stopping the spread of the virus, which he would do by activating the Defense Production Act. Reopening the economy without a plan, according to the former vice president, would achieve nothing — it would simply cause a spike in cases and force the government to issue a shutdown order once again.
“Joe Biden would end this epidemic and get our economy back on track through bold action — not by picking an arbitrary date on the calendar and asserting it’s over,” the plan says, in an apparent dig at President Donald Trump, who recently indicated that he wants to reopen the economy by Easter.
Secondly, Biden would “launch a task force reporting directly to me to make sure every dollar going out the door gets to the people who need it — fast.” As he said, it is important to save as many jobs as possible, and congressional bills need to be passed in order to boost unemployment benefits.
According to Biden, the $377 billion for small businesses included in the Senate bill is not enough, because “unprecedented measures” are necessary to help entrepreneurs. A Biden administration, as noted, would spend whatever is necessary to help small businesses survive the looming crisis.
The second step of the Democratic front-runner’s plan also addresses major corporations, which he claims need to be held accountable, prevented from spending money on stock buybacks, and forced to use any assistance provided by the Congress to help the workers and not just the CEOs.
Lastly, Biden would “bring the leaders of Congress together to build the next deal.” The one-off $1,200 cash relief is not enough, according to the former vice president, and future bills need to address issues ranging from paid sick leave to Social Security.
As further pointed out, Social Security should be boosted, a minimum of $10,000 per person of federal student loans needs to be forgiven, workers need full paid sick leave, and additional checks have to be provided for every American in need. Furthermore, coronavirus testing and treatment has to be free.
In conclusion, Biden wrote that he would do “whatever it takes, spend whatever it takes, move heaven and earth to help all the people harmed by this crisis.”