Mathews’ piece, Sending Americans Checks is an old idea that’s finally going mainstream, discusses the paradigm shift in the acceptability of individual fund transfers congress has had in response to the economic ramifications of Covid-19. The author first gives a cursory summary of the the Bush administrations tax credits as well as the Obama administration’s Making Work Pay tax credit plan. Before contrasting how fundamentally different those method of stimulus (returning portions of workers' gross income) are from the government directing cash transfers to all but the wealthiest citizens. Finally, the article ends with a fascinating musing over the role automatic economic stabilizers, as conceived by the economist and former Federal Reserve worker Claudia Sahm, could play in preventing future recessions.
I found this piece fascinating when I first read it in mid-March, but now rereading it, I cannot help but feel an air of poignancy. The CARES act, which would pass ten days after this was published, was able to financially secure countless Americans during the worst financial downturn since the great depression. Having never heard of automatic stabilizers before this piece, I did not think much of there exclusion from the CARES act, now that it seems as though congress has lost all political will to renegotiate fiscal stimulus talks however, I think many (myself included) wish there was more discussion of their inclusion into the March legislation.
Article: Sending Americans checks is an old idea that’s finally going mainstream – Dylan Mathews