120+ economists call on Congress to pass Joe Biden’s American Relief Plan

In new comments and op-eds, leading economists agree that additional stimulus is urgently needed to rescue our economy and working families bearing the brunt of the economic and public health crisis. 

More than 120 economists, signed a letter calling on Congress to pass Biden’s American Relief Plan and noted the importance of immediate action.

They add their voices to a chorus that includes top economic advisors from the last four presidents: Kevin HassettGene SperlingR. Glenn Hubbard, and Alan Blinder.

Their comments were echoed in a column from Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman who wrote: “The main purpose of the proposed plan isn’t stimulus, it’s disaster relief. The U.S. economy will remain depressed as long as the pandemic is rampant, so the goal is to help those parts of our society hit hard by the constrained economy to make it through with minimum damage. This includes families with unemployed workers, state and local governments that can’t run deficits and are taking a financial hit, and businesses hurt by lockdown.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that additional action from Congress would “help households and businesses weather the downturn as well as limit lasting damage to the economy that could otherwise impede the recovery.”

These comments are belied by a new report from the United States Food and Nutrition Service showing that 8 million more Americans are applying for food assistance than last year.

The report notes that 44 million individuals are currently on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Here is the text of the full letter from 120 economists:

“The coronavirus has had a catastrophic impact on America’s economy, families and businesses. Since the crisis began, tens of millions have been forced to file for unemployment insurance, nearly 8 million have fallen into poverty, hundreds of thousands of businesses have shuttered, our nation’s industrial production has been severely damaged, and the inability of millions to make their rent and mortgage payments is threatening to plunge this nation into a housing emergency.

“Unfortunately, the steps taken by the previous administration and Congress were not enough to help families and businesses weather the storm, nor for our nation’s economy to fully recover. While the COVID relief package passed at the end of 2020 was better than nothing, it was too little and too late to address the enormity of the deteriorating situation. The modest increase in unemployment insurance, paltry direct stimulus checks to families, minimal rental assistance, and absence of aid to state and local governments have severely blunted the impact of the legislation.

“That’s why it’s critical for Congress to immediately pass a new coronavirus relief package that will provide additional assistance to families and businesses struggling through a hard winter, and to provide the economic boost required to promote growth and prosperity. This includes substantial unemployment benefits and stimulus checks, help for struggling renters and homeowners, and significant state and local aid that will pay for essential workers, as laid out by the Biden administration’s robust rescue package.

“There are some who suggest America cannot afford more relief at this time. They are simply wrong. Such thinking helped exacerbate and prolong the damage caused by the 2008 financial crisis. History shows that what our nation cannot afford is inaction or timidity in the face of what many consider to be the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression.

“For this reason, we urge Congress to put partisanship aside and show bold leadership during this time of crisis by passing a coronavirus relief package that meets the urgency of this moment.”.

The letter was signed by:

  • Gene Sperling, Former National Economic Council Director under President Obama and President Clinton
  • Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University, Nobel Laureate
  • Alan Blinder, Princeton, former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve under President Clinton
  • Suresh Naidu, Columbia University
  • Brendan O’Flaherty, Columbia University
  • John Roemer, Yale University
  • Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute
  • Amy Crews Cutts, AC Cutts & Associates
  • Mieke Meurs, American University
  • Gabriel Mathy, American University
  • Kade Finnoff, Azim Premji University
  • David Weiman , Barnard College, Columbia University
  • Juliet Schor, Boston College
  • Jeanne Koopman, Boston University
  • Neva Goodwin, Boston University & Tufts University
  • John Sabelhaus, Brookings Institution
  • Alan Aja, Brooklyn College
  • Stephan Lefebvre, Bucknell University
  • Nina Banks, Bucknell University
  • Mark Votruba, Case Western Reserve University
  • Eileen Appelbaum, Center for Economic and Policy Research(CEPR)
  • Howard Chernick, City University of New York
  • EricVerhoogen, Columbia University
  • Elissa Braunstein, Colorado State University
  • MarkStelzner, Connecticut College
  • Christopher Barrett, Cornell University
  • Naomi Zewde, CUNY
  • Ruth Milkman, CUNY Graduate Center
  • Jennifer Olmsted, Drew University
  • Arnab Datta, Employ America
  • Ozge Ozay, Fitchburg State University
  • William Ferguson, Grinnell College
  • Anna Stansbury, Harvard University
  • Charles Davis, Indiana University
  • Anmol Chaddha, Institute for the Future
  • Darrick Hamilton, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University
  • Tim Smeeding, LaFollette School of Public Affairs , University of Wisconsin
  • Thomas Masterson, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
  • Julia Coronado, MacroPolicy Perspectives LLC
  • Peter Matthews, Middlebury College
  • Melissa Boteach, National Women’s Law Center
  • Mark Paul, New College of Florida
  • Samuel Hammond, Niskanen Center
  • Barry Bluestone, Northeastern University
  • Trevon Logan, Ohio State University
  • Justin Elardo, Portland Community College
  • John Gallup, Portland State University
  • Mary King, Portland State University
  • Yana Rodgers, Rutgers University
  • Kimberly Christensen, Sarah Lawrence College
  • Rick McGahey, Schwartz Center, New School for Social Research
  • Roger Kaufman, Smith College
  • Ellen Mutari, Stockton University
  • Deborah Figart, Stockton University
  • Edith Kuiper, SUNY New Paltz
  • Mona Ali, SUNY New Paltz
  • Ranjit Dighe, SUNY Oswego
  • Louise Sheiner, The Brookings Institution
  • Michele Naples, The College of New Jersey
  • PeterBohmer, The Evergreen State College
  • Anwar Shakih, The New School
  • William Semmler, The New School
  • Teresa Ghilarducci, The New School for Social Research
  • George-Ann Ryan, The Sadie Collective
  • Margaret Andrews, U.S. Department of Agriculture, retired
  • Aaron Sojourner, Univ. of Minnesota Carlson School of Management
  • Christian Proano, University of Bamberg
  • Michael Reich, University of California at Berkeley
  • Clair Brown, University of California- Berkeley
  • Ronald Lee, University of California-Berkeley
  • Chris Tilly, University of California-Los Angeles
  • Chris Benner University of California-Santa Cruz
  • Jesse Rothstein, University of California, Berkeley
  • Daphne Greenwood, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs
  • Farida Kahn, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs
  • Chiara Piovani, University of Denver
  • John Nicolarsen, University of Denver
  • Haider Kahn, University of Denver
  • Tracy Mott, University of Denver
  • Yavuz Yasar, University of Denver
  • Dietrich Vollrath, University of Houston
  • Marcus Casey, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • James Ziliak, University of Kentucky
  • Ethan Kaplan, University of Maryland at College Park
  • Robert Pollin, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Lenore Palladino, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Michael Ash, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Nancy Folbre, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Robert Pollin, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Gerald Epstein, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Julie Nelson, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Mary Stevenson, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Randy Albelda, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Marlene Kim, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Philip Moss, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Margaret Levenstein, University of Michigan
  • Sheldon Danziger, University of Michigan
  • Thomas Weisskopf, University of Michigan
  • Elliott Parker, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Doyne Farmer, University of Oxford
  • Ioana Marinescu, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice
  • DoreneIsenberg, University of Redlands
  • Nathaniel Cline, University of Redlands
  • Manuel Pastor,University of Southern California
  • Michael Hillard, University of Southern Maine
  • Anne Yeagle, University of Utah
  • Kenneth Jameson, University of Utah
  • Stephanie Seguino, University of Vermont
  • Fabio Ghironi, University of Washington
  • Laura Dresser, University of Wisconsin Madison
  • Timothy Bartik, Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
  • Elaine Maag, Urban Institute / Tax Policy Center
  • Michael Howard, US Basic Income Guarantee Network/UMaine
  • Joyce Burnette, Wabash College
  • Kate Bahn, Washington Center for Equitable Growth
  • Claudia Sahm, New York Times and Bloomberg Opinion contributor, former Federal Reserve economist
  • Wendy Rayack, Wesleyan University
  • Emily Hoffman, Western Michigan university
  • John Watkins, Westminster College
  • John Miller, Wheaton College
  • Sarah Jacobson, Williams College

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