PRESS RELEASE: MORE THAN 120 ECONOMISTS CALL ON CONGRESS TO PASS “SUBSTANTIAL,” “SIGNIFICANT” COVID RELIEF PACKAGE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2021

Contact:
Maddy McDaniel, Communications Director

[email protected] or 914-471-7716

MORE THAN 120 ECONOMISTS CALL ON CONGRESS TO PASS “SUBSTANTIAL,” “SIGNIFICANT” COVID RELIEF PACKAGE

Signers Include Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, Former Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling, and Former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Alan Blinder

The Letter Urges Congress to Pass a COVID Relief Package as Robust as President Biden’s Proposed Plan

Gene Sperling is Available for Interviews and Will Join Sen. Ron Wyden for a Press Call to Discuss the Need for Immediate Action on COVID Relief Today at 12PM ET — Register Here

77% of Voters Want Another Stimulus Package, New Polling from GQR Shows

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, more than 120 economists from across the country called on Congress to immediately pass a new COVID relief package as sweeping as President Biden’s proposed American Rescue Plan, arguing that prior relief packages were not enough to address the severity of the economic crisis. Read the letter and view its signers here.

Among the signers are Gene Sperling, former director of the National Economic Council under President Clinton and President Obama, Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in economics and professor at Columbia University, and Alan Blinder, former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve under President Clinton. The signers hail from the halls of academia to think tanks across the political spectrum, and all agree that America cannot afford timidity in the face of what may be the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression.

President Biden’s robust plan provides for another round of direct stimulus checks, an expansion of unemployment insurance, and much-needed relief to state and local governments, renters and homeowners, and small businesses, among other key provisions.

“We cannot be remotely satisfied with fiscal policies that risk an uncertain, weak, or K-shaped recovery that accelerates inequality and leaves millions of families behind,” said Gene Sperling, former director of the National Economic Council under President Clinton and President Obama. “We face an economic and moral imperative to respond with the force needed to speed us to a full-employment recovery that lifts all working families, raises wages, and prevents devastating evictions, foreclosures and long-term unemployment. Biden’s plan recognizes that to ensure a strong, secure and shared recovery that promotes the economic dignity of all we must go big, go bold and go now.”

“Each provision of President Biden’s proposed plan, from support for local governments to aid for unemployed workers, is critical to a strong economic recovery,” said Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics, professor at Columbia University, and chief economist of the Roosevelt Institute. “It would be difficult to repair the damage that could be done to our economy if Congress fails to pass legislation on the scale of Biden’s plan.”

“In a crisis like this one, the government must use every possible avenue to protect the American people and our economy — particularly workers of color, who have borne the highest burden in this combined public health and economic crisis,” said Dr. Manuel Pastor, Director of the Equity Research Institute at the University of Southern California and expert on the economic conditions facing low-income communities. “We need a legislative package at least as bold as President Biden’s proposed package if we have any hope of pulling the country out of this recession, and we cannot allow partisan squabbles to water it down.”

“This is no time for half measures — and doing too little to address this crisis would pose a real danger to our economy,” said Lenore Palladino, Assistant Professor of Economics & Public Policy at University of Massachusetts Amherst and Roosevelt Institute fellow. “Congress must pass legislation at least on the scale of Biden’s proposed package to provide relief for the workers and small business owners whose livelihoods have been decimated by the pandemic.”

Economists who signed the letter are available for interviews and analysis on what is needed to lift America out of this economic crisis. To get in touch, please contact [email protected]

Read the letter below:

“The coronavirus has had a catastrophic impact on America’s economy, families and businesses. Since the crisis began, tens of millions have been forced to file for unemployment insurance, nearly 8 million have fallen into poverty, hundreds of thousands of businesses have shuttered, our nation’s industrial production has been severely damaged, and the inability of millions to make their rent and mortgage payments is threatening to plunge this nation into a housing emergency.

“Unfortunately, the steps taken by the previous administration and Congress were not enough to help families and businesses weather the storm, nor for our nation’s economy to fully recover. While the COVID relief package passed at the end of 2020 was better than nothing, it was too little and too late to address the enormity of the deteriorating situation. The modest increase in unemployment insurance, paltry direct stimulus checks to families, minimal rental assistance, and absence of aid to state and local governments have severely blunted the impact of the legislation.

“That’s why it’s critical for Congress to immediately pass a new coronavirus relief package that will provide additional assistance to families and businesses struggling through a hard winter, and to provide the economic boost required to promote growth and prosperity. This includes substantial unemployment benefits and stimulus checks, help for struggling renters and homeowners, and significant state and local aid that will pay for essential workers, as laid out by the Biden administration’s robust rescue package.

“There are some who suggest America cannot afford more relief at this time. They are simply wrong. Such thinking helped exacerbate and prolong the damage caused by the 2008 financial crisis. History shows that what our nation cannot afford is inaction or timidity in the face of what many consider to be the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression.

“For this reason, we urge Congress to put partisanship aside and show bold leadership during this time of crisis by passing a coronavirus relief package that meets the urgency of this moment.”

The economists join a chorus of experts calling for additional stimulus, including many conservative economists and GOP elected officials. Expert research shows that robust public investment is needed to rescue the American economy.

About Invest in America

Invest In America is a national rapid response operation advocating for robust public investment to rescue the economy from the COVID crisis and create prosperity for the future, and to fight back against fear-mongers who use deficit concerns as a scapegoat to starve American communities and businesses of resources.

The operation consists of two components: Invest in America, the charitable and public education arm, which is a fiscally sponsored project of Economic Security Project funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Economic Security Project co-chair Chris Hughes; and Invest in America Action, the advocacy and social welfare arm, which is a fiscally sponsored project of Economic Security Project Action funded by Chris Hughes and the Omidyar Network.

Learn more at InvestInAmericaNow.com and @InvestNowUSA, and InvestinAmericaProject.com.
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