Opinion: We Need An Economic Rescue Not Stimulus
NOTE: This is written as opinion, not as a news report.
Coronavirus has caused an incredible amount of damage to our country. Mostly it has impacted our collective anxiety, and our economy. Which is why we were told law makers were launching into work on legislation for a "stimulus package" to get money to citizens.
But if this lasts, we're going to need a long-term rescue, not to be stimulated.
If this economic shutdown continues, do we start to explore the cancellation of debts to financial institutions?
Credit cards, mortgages, car payments...if these can't be paid, what happens? Do we destroy the economy of the entire population, or just limit the damage to a few industries (that can actually handle the hit)? This swath of destruction will make the Great Depression look like a bad hair day, unless we wrap our heads around a creative solution.
Let's examine what everyday US citizens will be struggling with over the next few months. Mortgage and rent, utilities, food, gas, and insurance. But there's a hidden struggle mixed in...debt.
The amount of debt each US household carries is pretty big. Those payments will do one of two things during this shutdown: 1. Cause other payments to not be made 2. Fester so they will be insurmountable when the economy recovers, which will likely drag it back down again.
But even if we, as a nation, could knock out one of these large numbers, it will help the country more than a lot of economic stimulus shots. Look at these numbers
US Credit Card debt is around $1 trillion
Student Loan debt is around $1.5 trillion
Auto Loan debt is about $1.3 trillion
Mortgage debt is around $9.4 trillion
As many people who have worked to settle debts know, most companies will work to lower numbers if you pay off now. So if we can negotiate cutting those numbers down in mass, we can wrap them together. Pay off all Credit Card and Auto Loans for the same number as we launched into the stock market a couple weeks ago? That seems like it'd help A LOT of Americans right now.
The stimulus checks they're talking about sounds like a great idea for RIGHT NOW. But are we going to keep those coming every two weeks until this is over? Or do we need something with more long-term impact?
These are uncharted times, and we need ideas that sounded crazy a week ago.