- Saving Our Economy: Are Taxpayers Getting Their Money’s Worth?
Congress has authorized more than $3.6 trillion of relief spending for individuals, businesses, and state governments. About half has been spent as of the beginning of June. Much of the aid to date served as a floor for the economy to rest on while “non-essential” functions closed or operated at reduced capacity. The new aid and assistance available through existing programs, such as unemployment insurance, serve as temporary measures to allow public health officials to control the coronavirus pandemic. The economic recovery will ultimately be dictated by our ability and willingness to return to work, which necessitates an appropriately scaled reopening and public cooperation with health measures. The trillions in pandemic spending have direct and immediate benefits to the recipients, but federal aid cannot keep a shuttered economy on life support forever. The spending will ultimately distort incentives, which could be costly during the recovery.