Assessing Biden’s Pandemic Relief Package. Democratic Perspective welcomes Dean Baker, author, macroeconomist, and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. to discuss the $1.9 trillion bill. “It’s a large bill. No two ways about it,” says Baker. But he reminds us that the stimulus following the housing crisis was clearly inadequate and Democrats paid a huge political price as a result. “Biden knows this history. He lived it,” says Baker.
Addressing the more controversial parts of the bill, Baker dismisses the threat that it will lead to inflation. If that were to happen, he explains, “The Fed will raise interest rates and that will slow the economy. We know it’s been done again and again. So, we have the tools.” Baker is sympathetic to those who oppose the $1,400 checks. But he notes that many people have paid a big price for the pandemic with some being unemployed for 26 weeks. On the other hand, some are doing very well. “I would not be bothered if they lowered that cutoff,” he says.
Asked about the minimum wage, Baker replies, “That has been a real flash point. It certainly has a lot of people concerned. But it’s not happening tomorrow. This is going to be phased in over time. It will make a huge difference in lives. There’s a lot of research on this,” he says. “We’re not going to see a lot of people unemployed. On the whole, I think the package is very good, especially the $3,000 tax credit. When you have kids growing up in poverty, and now their parents are going to get another $3,000, that will make a big difference.”