Friday, January 21News That Matters

Tag: American Rescue Plan (2021)

Child Tax Credit’s Extra Help Ends, Just as Covid Surges Anew

Child Tax Credit’s Extra Help Ends, Just as Covid Surges Anew

Business
That didn’t happen. Polls found the public roughly divided over whether the program should be extended, with opinions splitting along partisan and generational lines. And the expanded tax credit failed to win over the individual whose opinion mattered most: Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, who cited concerns over the cost and structure of the program in his decision to oppose Mr. Biden’s climate, tax and social policy bill. The bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, cannot proceed in the evenly divided Senate without Mr. Manchin’s support.To supporters of the child benefit, the failure to extend it is especially frustrating because, according to most analyses, the program itself has been a remarkable success. Researchers at Columbia University estimate that the paymen...
How a Relief Fund for Restaurants Picked Winners and Losers

How a Relief Fund for Restaurants Picked Winners and Losers

Business
When Congress created a grant program early this year to help battered bars and restaurants survive the pandemic, one thing was immediately clear: The money would not be enough. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund contained $28.6 billion, far below the $100 billion that industry groups estimated was needed.That made the rules about priority treatment — which were upended midstream by lawsuits from white male business owners who called them unfair — a crucial factor in determining who received relief.But Small Business Administration records obtained by The New York Times reveal a capricious methodology for determining winners and losers. In the most extreme cases, applicants whom lawmakers intended to favor — women and business owners from certain racial and cultural groups — ended up effec...
Mortgage Bills Are Coming Again. $10 Billion in Aid May Arrive First.

Mortgage Bills Are Coming Again. $10 Billion in Aid May Arrive First.

Business
“It all comes out of savings, and that is kind of dwindling,” she said.Each program sets its own rules, including how long it provides aid, the amount per household and the expenses covered. New York, for example, will provide up to $50,000 for costs including mortgage payments, utilities, broadband service and delinquent property taxes, with payments going directly to loan servicers, utility providers or tax authorities.Updated Nov. 18, 2021, 12:53 p.m. ETThe Ho-Chunk Nation plans to use much of the $3 million it received on heating costs, Mr. Whitegull said. “The majority of these funds are to be used for utility payments, natural gas, propane and wood,” he said. “The primary sources of heating.”That flexibility is important because of the success the federal government has had help...
The White House Says Its Plans Will Slow Inflation. The Big Question Is: When?

The White House Says Its Plans Will Slow Inflation. The Big Question Is: When?

Business
Rocketing inflation has become a headache for U.S. consumers, and President Biden has a go-to prescription. He says a key way to help relieve increasing prices is to pass a $1.85 trillion collection of spending programs and tax cuts that is currently languishing in the Senate.A wide range of economists agree with the president — but only in part. They generally accept his argument that in the long run, the bill and his infrastructure plan could make businesses and their workers more productive, which would help to ease inflation as more goods and services are produced across the economy.But many researchers, including a forecasting firm that Mr. Biden often cites to support the economic benefits of his proposals, say the bill is structured in a way that could add to inflation next year, be...

How Democrats Could Shrink Their $3.5 Trillion Budget Bill

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — As Democratic leaders struggle to unite their caucus behind a sprawling domestic policy package, it is increasingly clear the $3.5 trillion in spending and tax increases will have to be pared back, possibly by a lot, to make it to President Biden’s desk.That will involve difficult choices for a party fractured by mistrust and competing priorities. But in a package that is intended to shape every facet of American life, including public education, health care and the environment, there is room for agreement, even in a thinly divided Congress.Here are three possible scenarios for how to structure a final deal.A slightly scaled-back plan that uses budget tricks to hold down the cost.Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, initi...
Unemployment Benefits to Millions Are About to End

Unemployment Benefits to Millions Are About to End

Business
“You put 10, 15, 20 years into a career and then to suddenly not be able to go see a dentist anymore, it feels like something’s wrong there,” she said. “I think I’m still grieving the loss of my opportunity of being middle class, because that’s gone again.”Regular unemployment benefits, without the $300 add-on, replace only a fraction of workers’ lost wages. In Pennsylvania, the maximum benefit is $580 a week, the equivalent of about $30,000 a year. In some Southern states, the maximum benefit is less than $300 a week.Still, decades of economic research have shown that unemployment benefits are at least a bit of a disincentive to seeking work. When the economy is weak, that negative consequence is offset by the positive impact the benefits have on workers, but many economists argue that it...
The Economy Is Booming but Far From Normal, Posing a Challenge for Biden

The Economy Is Booming but Far From Normal, Posing a Challenge for Biden

Business
The American economy is growing at its fastest clip in a quarter-century, yet it remains far from normal, with some workers and small-business owners facing increasingly tough times while others thrive. That divergence poses a challenge to President Biden, who has promoted the nation’s economic recovery as a selling point in his quest to win support for a multitrillion-dollar spending agenda that could cement his legacy. A summer that many business owners and consumers had hoped would bring a return to prepandemic activity has delivered waves of disappointment in key areas. Restaurants are short on staff and long on wait times. Prices have spiked for food, gasoline and many services. Shoppers are struggling to find used cars. Retailers are struggling to hire. Beach towns are jammed with to...
Cutoff of Jobless Benefits Is Found to Get Few Back to Work

Cutoff of Jobless Benefits Is Found to Get Few Back to Work

Business
The cutoff of federal unemployment benefits in much of the country was meant to bring a flood of workers back to the job market. So far, that flood looks more like a trickle.A total of 26 states, all but one with Republican governors, have moved to end some or all of the expanded unemployment benefits that have been in place since the pandemic began. The governors, along with many business owners, have argued that the benefits discourage returning to work when many employers are struggling to hire.Several recent studies, however, have concluded that the extra payments have played only a small role in this year’s labor shortages. And they found at most a modest increase in employment in states that abandoned the programs — most of them in June — even as millions of jobless workers have had ...
Big Economic Challenges Await Biden and the Fed This Fall

Big Economic Challenges Await Biden and the Fed This Fall

Business
Mr. Powell said at his news conference last week that “we’re some way away from having had substantial further progress toward the maximum employment goal.”“I would want to see some strong job numbers,” he added.In the text of a speech on Friday, Lael Brainard, an influential Fed governor, said she wanted to see September economic data to assess whether the labor market was strong enough for the Fed to begin dialing back support, which suggests she would not favor signaling a start to the slowdown until later this fall. But her colleague Christopher J. Waller said in a CNBC interview on Monday that he would probably prefer to begin pulling back bond purchases quickly, if jobs data hold up, perhaps as soon as October.Increases in interest rates — the Fed’s more traditional, and more potent,...
The Coronavirus Pandemic Safety Net Is Coming Apart. Now What?

The Coronavirus Pandemic Safety Net Is Coming Apart. Now What?

Business
Distressed homeowners with loans owned by private banks or investors should contact their mortgage servicer to see what options they’re offering. Some of them have followed a framework similar to federally backed loans, but others’ terms may be murkier.No matter what type of loan you have, the most important action to take now is to reach out to your mortgage servicer to find out when your payments will resume and how much they will be. If you cannot afford them, the servicer can lay out your options. For more guidance, you can also seek out a housing counselor.Food AssistanceThe changes made to food stamps — now largely known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — during the pandemic were complicated.But one significant change, a 15 percent bump in benefits for all recipients,...