PETER’S VISION: ECONOMIC PROSPERITY
Non-negotiable: Economic prosperity occurs when you build the economy from the bottom up.
Whether or not our economy is working should be decided by everyday people, not by the payouts received by millionaires or the profit statements of corporations. Today, there is virtually no city or town in Louisiana where a person working a full-time minimum wage job can afford a decent, two-bedroom apartment. Small businesses are declining both in their numbers and in their ability to compete. And the failures of our economy disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities. We need a fundamental shift in the way that we view the issues of our economy and to prioritize reform that leads to real change for the workers and the entrepreneurs that built this country.
Economic Recovery, in its most free-market form, comes when businesses innovate and adapt according to demand. During economic downturns like the one we’re experiencing now, a vicious cycle emerges: businesses close, Louisianans lose their jobs, households cut back on their spending, and it becomes harder for other businesses to survive.
We must restart our economy by giving money to the people who are most likely to spend and invest it. Businesses that best innovate and adapt to this demand will earn profits and add jobs.
Quarterly Stimulus, Boosted Unemployment
Monthly Stimulus, Suspend Unemployment
Rebuilding American Infrastructure
All residents, including children, would receive $1,200 quarterly, until the unemployment rate is below 6% or the 10-year treasury rates are 2% or higher for two months. Unemployment checks will continue to have an additional $600 until the first vaccine passes final FDA clearance.
For families earning less than $120,000, adults receive $2,000 and children receive $1,000 monthly until the unemployment rate is below 6% and has fallen for three straight months. The unemployment insurance program would be suspended until this stimulus program ends, when those eligible would receive lower benefits.
Millions of American jobs in the entertainment and hospitality industries will not be able to safely return until there is a coronavirus vaccine. During this time, the government could employ these workers in a Federal jobs program with a $15 minimum wage to build a new smart energy grid, expand rural broadband, and retrofit government buildings to be green and pollutant-free, among other things.
SOME SPECIFICS ON THE PLANS:
- Quarterly Stimulus:
- This plan provides direct cash assistance to families who need it now more than ever. Continuing stimulus funding until trusted measures of economic and public health are reached provides stability to the markets, and most importantly to Americans.
- However, the unemployment insurance system has been difficult to navigate for many, and ultimately keeps people out of work. Quarterly payments may not be sufficient to meet the monthly financial needs of those without work.
- Monthly Stimulus:
- This plan provides important monthly income for families who need it, without removing the incentive to find work that is inherent in the unemployment insurance program. These stimulus funds will be funneled back into the economy, and could be an important step in moving some of our neighbors out of poverty, potentially permanently.
- Critics and economists suggest that providing this much income to Americans would be incredibly expensive. Approximately 90% of wage-earners make less than $100,000 and would qualify, and there is a significant portion of the population that is not currently in the workforce. A projected price-tag could top $5 trillion for this plan.
- Rebuilding American Infrastructure:
- Modeled after the successful Works Progress Administration of the New Deal, this plan provides steady income for workers while investing in our country’s infrastructure. The projected 6.5 million public jobs created would reduce our employment rate down to 6% while improving our cities and towns. The WPA was up and running in just 4 months after being created in 1935.
- This plan, however, would require significant government coordination and oversight to train and employ this new public workforce. Additionally, as there is no forecasted end to this economic downturn, maintaining sufficient staffing of infrastructure programs after the pandemic has subsided could be challenging.