Trump administration to seek economic stimulus package amid coronavirus

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Administration of President Donald Trump will seek an economic stimulus package to the tune of $850 billion from Congress as the prospects of the world’s largest economy become a reality due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Congress has already passed legislation for almost $8 billion in emergency funding to combat the outbreak in the country.

This as American workers across the country were increasingly ordered to stay home, some regions have shelter-in-place directives, others curfews that restrict movement between certain hours while President Donald Trump acknowledged that the crisis could last six months.

As the government moves to buffer an economy in the wake of a steep falloff in consumer demand, particularly travel as many businesses close their doors with serious financial implications.

The White House Economic Advisor, Larry Kudlow says, “We have an enormous fiscal plan. It’s at least $800 billion and maybe more. We’re working with Congress to do it. But much of it can be done through executive authorities. And again, to quote the president, we will use whatever federal powers are available, and I will just add, and maybe then some.”

VIDEO: US President Donald Trump frees up much needed federal aid to states and municipalities: 

$50 billion dollar economic support

President Trump earlier also indicated openness to a $50 billion dollar economic support package for the struggling airline industry.

Kudlow says, “I just don’t want to be specific. We are looking at it, you know it’s not so much a bailout. Airlines are a key channel in the economy. You have got to have it, point number one. Point number two, this is more in our view a liquidity help, cash flow help because again we see this virus problem as a matter of months, not years. And we don’t see the airlines failing. But if they get into a cash crunch we are going to try to help them, with House and Senate leadership to see what works. And of course the Treasury Department and the Fed have enormous powers on this. So I see this as a liquidity fix, not a bailout.”

The backdrop to this is the stalling of regular activity with schools, universities, gyms, theatres and workplaces closed or operating under restrictions with restaurants in New York now limited to takeout or delivery only.

Restaurant manager in Manhattan, Mohammed Rana says, “[Business] is already affected. It’s already down like 60%, so it’s [coronavirus scare] going to affect it more. But, you know, it is what it is and we can’t change it. We’re hoping that, you know, they will come out with some sort of, ‘you don’t have to pay the rent or something,’ negotiating. But, you know, we haven’t heard anything yet. So we’re hoping for that to come out, otherwise, we can’t survive. It’s going to be a tough situation for everybody.”

 San Francisco

Six counties around the San Francisco area on the United States West Coast have announced “shelter in place” orders in the latest drastic measures echoed across the country including a daily curfew in the state New Jersey.

New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy says, “All non-essential and non-emergency travel in New Jersey is strongly discouraged between the hours of 8PM and 5PM  daily, effective this evening (Tuesday) at 8PM until further notice. To be clear, I think I may have contributed to this confusion over the weekend, this is not a curfew, but it is strongly recommended and travel is strongly discouraged.”

With warnings that restrictions could get worse as testing expands, case numbers grow, now exceeding 4500 with over 80 deaths, and as a new behavioural reality dawns on the United States.

In the video below, the USAID Acting Mission Director in South Africa, Natasha de Marcken  speaks about US’s donation to South Africa:

INFOGRAPHIC: Countries affected by SA travel ban

Copy of epidemic v pendamic by SABC Digital News