Jobless numbers like “3 million,” “6 million,” and even “20 million” often don’t have much meaning on their own for many of us.
But when placed in the context of the previous 14 years, like in this graph from The New York Times, the numbers become jarring, to say the least.
While many of us are probably experiencing a sort of fatigue with coronavirus news, the magnitude of the job losses are hard to ignore. And the implications are immense. Many Americans and leaders are now asking if the one-time $1,200 stimulus was really enough given the continuing hemorrhaging of jobs. Some politicians are proposing a $2,000 monthly payment to all Americans, especially since the unemployment system for millions of Americans is an unreliable, severely overwhelmed mess.
Whatever the solution, one thing is for sure: the jobs picture is far worse than anticipated and must be dealt with aggressively. If individuals have little to no money to spend because they are jobless, businesses will suffer. State and local governments – and consequently, education, infrastructure, and social services – will suffer because of a lack of tax revenue from reduced consumer spending and businesses folding.
A one-time $1,200 payment may have made sense six weeks ago, as did relying on state governments to deal with unemployment. But the jobless numbers are simply too great now. A strong federal response is needed. And, sadly, President Trump and the GOP-controlled Senate seem to have trouble catching up to the current reality.