For the 26 million Americans relying on some form of unemployment benefits and millions more threatened by layoffs and looming business bankruptcies, President Donald Trump’s Tuesday tweetstorm announcing he’d pulled the plug on stimulus talks was salt in the wounds.
Trump announced that he wanted to focus on the Supreme Court confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, claiming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is "not negotiating in good faith," and vowed that "immediately after I win, we will pass a Major Stimulus bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business." But Pelosi is the only leader to pass a significant stimulus bill since April. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who agrees with Trump’s decision, can’t because his own members won’t go along.
The $2.2 trillion CARES Act, enacted in March, is what’s kept the economy from cratering. Most of the help it offered the unemployed, small businesses, hospitals, school districts, and states and local municipalities has run out. Cold weather is coming, curtailing economic lifesavers like outdoor dining, even as a second wave of COVID-19 infections and flu season threaten. And school districts and state and local governments are beginning to enact layoffs that will depress consumer spending. Earlier in the day, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell practically begged for more money to be injected into the economy.
Not bolstering workers and businesses is terrible policy, and also terrible politics. It was no surprise the stock market tanked in response. Trump’s argument that the nation will get the help it needs by reelecting the Republicans now blocking such aid is a bad strategy for those Republicans, and a worse one for the nation.
— The editorial board