Groundwork Collaborative calls Biden Plan “important start,” calls for additional investments to continue getting economy back on track

January 14, 2021

Washington, DC – Groundwork Collaborative released the following statement in response to President-elect Biden releasing his COVID-19 rescue proposal: 

“The economic case is clear: only massive government investment in workers, families, and communities can pull us out of this crisis. While this proposal on its own won’t be enough to tackle this crisis, make people whole, and get our economy back on track, it would be an important start. The plan includes key provisions for people-centered relief. Congress should immediately move to pass President-elect Biden’s plan and send it to his desk to be signed into law as quickly as possible” said Claire Guzdar, director of campaigns and partnerships at The Groundwork Collaborative. 

“And we can’t stop there. Groundwork joins economists, experts, and people across this country in calling for the minimum of $3 to 4.5 trillion in investments needed to provide immediate relief. We can’t afford to repeat the mistakes of the Great Recession. Investing too little too slowly will only prolong the economic pain that millions of people—particularly Black and brown people—are experiencing, and will slow any chance of true economic recovery.” 

“We are encouraged that the administration appears to be taking this crisis seriously and will continue to work with movement leaders, experts, and advocates to push the incoming administration and Congress to build an inclusive, resilient economy for the long-term.” 

In December, Groundwork released a paper from economists Dr. Mark Paul and Dr. Adam Hersh entitled “How Much Emergency Relief Will it Take to Revive the U.S. Economy?” (see coverage in Vox here). The new paper reflects a growing consensus among experts and economists that the economy needs massive federal investments to recover and get back on track, and what has been signed into law so far isn’t nearly large enough to do the job. 

Last year, Groundwork joined other leaders of progressive research, policy, and advocacy groups to call on Congress to go much further to pass a robust legislative package that meets the scale of this crisis. The leaders laid out four specific principles to guide continued congressional action to ensure that upcoming legislation puts workers, Black and brown communities, and the most vulnerable families ahead of Wall Street and massive corporations. 

Other recent papers and media coverage reflecting this consensus include:

Some excerpts from the recent paper from Paul and Hersh are below:

“We estimate that Congress needs to provide economic relief of between $3-4.5 trillion in the short-term in order to get American families and businesses working at their full potential. Additionally, Congress should enact automatic triggers to renew support in the event of a prolonged recovery. This range of estimates accounts for a more realistic assessment of disguised unemployment not captured in official measures, and reflects uncertainty around the extent to which a temporary shock will mutate into permanent economic scarring, as well as the size of the multiplier effect from increased federal outlays.”

“The growing consensus among economists is that more risk lies in going too small than in going too big. The longer Congress waits to act, the more permanent damage will be done to American families and the overall economy, and the harder it will be for the U.S. economy to regain prosperity. Whereas our estimate for needed economic relief would bring the economy in line with true full employment, falling short of this target will only widen the current health and economic crises, worsen America’s longer-term problems of caustic economic polarization and a carbon-dependent economy, undermining the country’s long-term economic potential. By committing to adequate support now and making support more targeted, with automatic triggers, Congress can create confidence that will ultimately hasten recovery and bring the economy to true full employment. These actions will help mitigate inequality, benefiting groups long marginalized from economic prosperity.”

“Congress should learn from past mistakes and amplify the impact of stimulative measures by targeting aid at critical areas and setting an expectation that it will continue supporting the economy as long as is needed to return to true full employment. This would include continuing to expand eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits, renewing the $600 weekly supplemental benefits, providing fiscal aid to offset budgetary pressures on state, local, and tribal governments, renewal and better management of the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, and resources to expand COVID testing and tracing and health insurance subsidies, among other measures.

“While we recommend $3-4.5 trillion in immediate, near term relief, we also recognize that more support may be needed if relief measures move too slowly or aim too low, causing both the public health and the economic situation to deteriorate further. Thus, we also recommend that Congress should include measures to automatically reauthorize some stimulus spending until public health is normalized and the economy returns to full employment across all demographic groups.”

“…Congress and the Federal Reserve should target their actions to expand investment and job opportunities that help decarbonize the economy so that we take actions now to mitigate the likelihood and severity of similar future shocks. Such actions will not only fend off a prolonged recession and provide critical support for the millions of Americans forced into hardship by the crisis, but will also help reverse the problems of inequality and climate change that has left the United States so economically vulnerable.”

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The  Groundwork Collaborative is dedicated to advancing a coherent and persuasive progressive economic worldview and narrative capable of delivering meaningful opportunity and prosperity for everyone. Our work is driven by a core guiding principle: We are the economy. Groundwork Collaborative envisions an economic system that produces strong, broadly shared prosperity and power for all people, not just a wealthy few. Follow Groundwork Collaborative on Twitter at @Groundwork and learn more at GroundworkCollaborative.org.