8 March 2021 - Monica Harkins (WTVQ)
Congress is expected to pass the latest stimulus package this week to help struggling Americans.
We talked to experts in Kentucky about what it could mean in the commonwealth.
“This has really been a very different situation than what we’ve seen historically,” Mike Clark, Ph.D., said.
Clark is University of Kentucky’s director of the Center for Business and Economic Research.
ABC 36’s Political Analyst and professor at UK, Stephen Voss, Ph.D., said the stimulus money included in this package will be an easy short term perk for many Kentuckians.
“It means that voters will be happy in the short-term,” he said.
Eastern Kentucky University’s Professor of Finance Ben Woodruff, Ph.D., says it’s no surprise figuring out how is best to stimulate the economy is when things gets political.
“This isn’t really anything new, it may just be that people are seeing it more,” Woodruff said.
The version passed in the U.S. Senate over the weekend, moves back to the U.S. House with a vote expected Tuesday.
The main points include, extending unemployment benefits until September, $1,400 stimulus checks if an individual makes less than 75k, and millions if not billions to help state and local governments, totaling a $1.9 trillion package.
“To put that in perspective, because it’s just a really big number, it’s about one tenth of the U.S. GDP so this is a significant amount of money that’s being put out into the economy,” Woodruff said. “We’re gonna see significant changes because of that.”
And part of giving money to governments is to help with COVID vaccinations, something Clark says goes hand-in-hand with seeing an economic recovery.
“You’ve gotta remember that part of it, is to keep the economy going, so that it can heal quicker, that it can recover more quickly, when in this particular case the public health threat is gone,” Clark said.
“While getting Congress to pass a bill is difficult, about the easiest sort of bill to get out of Congress, is one where it spends a lot of money,” Voss said.
Voss adds this package will give President Biden a popularity boost, but like the stimulus money, the next question is how long will it last?