Lest you didn’t know, US is struggling to fight COVID-19.
It’s now one of the worst-hit countries, ranking third in the total number of cases, just behind China and Italy. As of time of writing, the superpower now has a whopping 69,047 confirmed cases and 1,064 deaths.
A bulk of the cases are from New York, and many states have been shut down.
President Trump, together with his team, is giving daily briefings, and like him or not, he’s been working very hard and appearing on TV more often than he plays golf in recent days.
People Are Losing Their Jobs in the US
The virus started to spike only this month, and two weeks ago, 281,000 employees have already lost their jobs.
How do we know the number, you ask
Because in the US, if you lose your job “through no fault of your own”, you can apply for unemployment benefits as you look for a new job. Depending on the state you’re in, it’s about USD$450 (~S$651) per week (over in the US, people are paid weekly instead of monthly), but you can only receive the payout for 26 weeks (about 6 months).
There could have been more people who lost their jobs and didn’t apply for the unemployment benefits, though.
A Goldman Sachs projection indicates that just last week alone, an additional 2.25 million people in the US would have lost their job.
I don’t know why I’m not surprised; maybe because I’ve friends who’ve lost their jobs in Singapore, too.
And the US is going to spend a lot of money to ensure that these 2.25 million people (or more) can still survive.
US Giving About SGD$3.5K a Month to Anyone Who Lost Their Job Due to COVID-19
A USD$2 trillion stimulus deal has just been approved by both major parties in the US.
But of course, not all the money would go to individuals.
For example, USD$350 billion will be given as business loans, USD$500 billion to companies and whatnot, and a USD$250 billion will be given as unemployment insurance benefits.
And it’s this unemployment insurance benefits that’s the meat of this article.
Other than the usual unemployment benefits mentioned above, which is given by the individual’s state, the Federal Government is giving an additional USD$600 a week (~S$870) a week to people who’s lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
Yes, if you add the state’s amount of about SGD$651, that’s more than SGD$1,500 per week.
BTW elections this November ah, and not just the President election but also every state election there ah
But of course, you’d have to remember that the minimum hourly wage in the US is USD$7.50 (~S$10.86), and in some states, it’s USD$15 (~S$21.75).
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “It has unemployment insurance on steroids…But, and most importantly, the federal government will pay your salary, your full salary for now four months.”
I wonder if anyone in the US is hoping that he or she would lose his job.
And it turns out I’m not the only one wondering.
Several Republican senators (think of them as MPs in Singapore) raised objections to this. One said, “This bill pays you more not to work than if you were working…You’re literally incentivizing taking people out of the workforce at a time when we need critical infrastructure supplied with workers. If this is not a drafting error, then it’s the worst idea I’ve seen in a long time.”
Reader Bao: Wait, I thought you said the parties all agreed with the stimulus deal? You think US cannot POFMA you ah?
Hold your horses, Ah Bao. The stimulus deal is fully approved because it’s just a budget on how much money needs to be used and to which area.
Now, giving USD$250 billion to unemployment benefits is approved, but how much to give each individual is the one that’s being objected.
What do you think? Is it overkill, or should the money be given to your boss so that he can keep you employed?
And by the way, Singapore has no unemployment insurance and here’s why.