Coronavirus stimulus funds largely depleted after nine weeks


WASHINGTON — Nine weeks after Congress approved its biggest economic relief measure to fight the coronavirus pandemic, most of the direct cash assistance to keep the economy afloat has been spent or committed.

The so-called Care Act provided direct assistance of $ 1.2 trillion, ranging from increased unemployment benefits and repayable business loans to cash payments for households, hospitals, cities and towns. States. Congress supplemented that amount in April with an additional $ 400 billion for small businesses and hospitals.

Of the total aid of $ 1.6 trillion, about $ 1.12 trillion, or about 70%, was distributed, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data and government estimates by the Committee for a Budget responsible federal, a bipartisan, nonprofit group.

“This fiscal stimulus was spent very quickly compared to reasonable expectations, certainly compared to historical expectations, which is to the credit of the administration,” said Ernie Tedeschi, economist at Evercore ISI who served in the department. of the Treasury under President Obama. “In terms of basic aid to households and businesses, we have already passed the peak,” Tedeschi said.

Direct cash assistance is just one form of coronavirus-related spending; but some economists say it has the greatest impact because it is intended to fill the void in economic activity created by social distancing measures.

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