'The clock is ticking': Paul Krugman explains why Democrats must pass Biden's relief bill quickly

'The clock is ticking': Paul Krugman explains why Democrats must pass Biden's relief bill quickly

President Joe Biden has agreed to compromise with some of the more centrist Democratic senators on parts of the latest coronavirus relief bill, limiting the number of people who will receive direct payments from the federal government. Liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman analyzed the bill in a Twitter thread posted this week, stressing that it needs to be passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law by the president sooner rather than later.

Krugman, in his thread, writes that although the bill is "imperfect," it is "very, very good" — and because the wellbeing of the U.S. economy is on the line, he writes, "the clock is ticking."

The version of the bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 27 calls for direct payments for individuals making under $100,000 per year and couples making under $200,000 per year. But Biden has agreed to lower those amounts to $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for couples if that's what it takes to get centrist Democratic senators on board. Under the plan, most will get $1,400 checks per person, which will phase out quickly for people making over $75,000.

One of the centrists Biden is obviously concerned about is Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who said he is "very pleased" with changes being made to the bill. Another is Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Krugman tweets, "Sure, you can argue that some aid recipients don't need the money as badly as others. An idealized bill would target aid more accurately on families, local governments etc. hurt worst by the pandemic. But so what?.... The great bulk of the proposed outlays will go to extremely worthy causes — shots in arms, reopened schools, sustaining the unemployed, avoiding cuts in crucial services, and more. Compared with real-world bills of the past, this one is amazingly good."

The economist/Times columnist goes on to explain why he believes that the bill needs to become law as soon as possible.

"If it doesn't happen literally within days, some unemployed workers will be cut off," Krugman warns. "Beyond that, anyone awake in 2009 knows that political momentum, once lost, is very hard to regain…. This thing isn't going back to the drawing board. The choice now is to pass it, imperfections and all, or have the whole effort to rescue the economy crash and burn. Please, let's just get this done."


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