America is in recession (says Bank of America).
Over the next three months, as many as 3.5 million Americans could lose their jobs as a result of demand for goods and services being destroyed by the coronavirus. And that's not counting the thousands (millions?) of workers who are currently confined to their homes under "self quarantine," urged to stay home for purposes of "social distancing," or just plain not having any jobs to go to because the stores, hotels, and restaurants that they technically still work for are now closed to the public.
So how are all these folks supposed to pay rent and buy groceries during the Great Coronavirus Shutdown?
President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin gave their answer to that question in a televised press conference Thursday. Within three weeks, the federal government will mail $1,000 checks to every American adult, and $500 to each American child -- then do it all over again six weeks later.
Describing the total effect for a family of four, Mnuchin added up the numbers and declared that each such family could expect an initial payout of $3,000 -- $1,000 each for mom and dad, and $1,000 more for the kids -- starting "three weeks" after "Congress passes this." Then, "six weeks later, if the president still has a national emergency, we'll deliver another $3,000," said Mnuchin.
The White House expects these payments to consume approximately half of the $1 trillion economic bailout that it's currently working up in cooperation with Congress. Acts offering loan forgiveness and helping businesses to make payroll would account for another $300 billion. The final $200 billion would be in the form of loans to "critical industries" such as airlines.