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10 Challenges Biden Faces in Righting the Economy

All presidents come into office vowing to rapidly put into effect an ambitious agenda. But for Joseph R. Biden Jr., the raging coronavirus pandemic and the economic pain it is causing mean many things must get done quickly if he wants to get the economy going. In a speech Thursday on his $1.9 trillion spending proposal, Mr. Biden repeatedly stressed the need to act “now.”But piecing together a majority in Congress could take time: Compromises and concessions will be needed to get the votes he will need to advance legislation.The new president is expected to reverse many of Donald …

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How Biden’s Proposed Paid Leave Would Work

More Americans may soon be able to take more than three months of paid leave from work for sickness or to care for children and family members during the pandemic, if Congress approves a plan proposed by President-elect Biden.Last spring, the first coronavirus relief package included paid leave. But a limited group of workers was eligible, and it expired in December. Now, as part of a wide-ranging plan to respond to the pandemic, the incoming administration has proposed reinstating and significantly expanding it.What kind of reasons can it be used for?Mr. Biden proposed offering paid leave to …

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Is Inflation About to Take Off? That’s the Wrong Question

The warnings that higher inflation lurks around the corner are starting to show up everywhere.They are appearing in some business surveys, with companies looking to raise prices as they prepare for a post-pandemic economy. They are showing up in the bond market, where price moves in the last few months imply that big-money investors expect consumer prices will start to rise faster. And they are apparent in the news media, from magazine covers to financial news segments.But inflation itself is not showing up: The Consumer Price Index in December showed only a 1.4 percent rise in what Americans paid …

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Frustrations Boil at Pace of Vaccinations at Long-Term Care Facilities

In mid-December, a top Trump administration official floated an enticing possibility: All nursing home residents in the United States could be vaccinated against the coronavirus by Christmas. “It’s really a remarkable, remarkable prospect,” Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, declared.It turned out to be a fantasy.A month later, vaccinations of some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens are going more slowly than many state officials, industry executives and families expected. Their hopes had been buoyed when government officials said long-term care facilities would be at the front of the line for …

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A Second Economic Crisis for Biden, but a Different First Response

Mr. Biden has stressed that such aid will support increased consumer spending, but he and his team cast the goal of distributing the money in more human terms: to ensure as many Americans as possible avoid the scarring damage of homelessness, hunger and the virus itself.The Biden team and its allies are confident that, if they succeed, the economy will be poised for a roaring rebound. Other policymakers and forecasters, including Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, have predicted a swift rebound once the virus is under control.“The recovery from the Great Recession was delayed by years …

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How China’s Economy Bounced Back

CHANGMINGZHEN, China — The smell, salty and pungent, wafts through the freshly paved streets near the gleaming new factory.The factory is owned by a company called Laoganma, which makes a piquant chili-and-soybean sauce famous across China for its power to set mouths watering. In a time of global pandemic, when the jobs of working people around the world hang in the balance, the factory’s scents signal opportunity.Since it opened in March, when China was still in the grip of Covid-19, the factory has struggled to find enough machinery operators or quality control technicians. Now workers are flocking to …

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Retail Sales Drop in December for Third-Straight Month

Consumer spending fell for the third-consecutive month in December, confirming what many economists had predicted would be a disappointing holiday season for many retailers and restaurants.Retail sales fell 0.7 percent last month, the Commerce Department said on Friday, as the economic recovery showed signs of stalling and virus cases surged across the country, prompting shoppers to avoid stores amid a new wave of restrictions.For the second-straight month, the drop was worse than what most economists had predicted, showing that the deterioration of the broader economy in the final quarter of 2020 was deeper than expected.“In one line: grim,” is …

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Biden Outlines $1.9 Trillion Spending Package to Combat Virus and Downturn

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday proposed a $1.9 trillion rescue package to combat the economic downturn and the Covid-19 crisis, outlining the type of sweeping aid that Democrats have demanded for months and signaling the shift in the federal government’s pandemic response as Mr. Biden prepares to take office.The package includes more than $400 billion to combat the pandemic directly, including money to accelerate vaccine deployment and to safely reopen most schools within 100 days. Another $350 billion would help state and local governments bridge budget shortfalls, while the plan would also include $1,400 direct payments to individuals, more generous …

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Unemployment Claims Rise Sharply, Showing New Economic Pain

Ten months after the coronavirus crisis decimated the labor market, the resurgent pandemic keeps sending shock waves through the American economy.Though more than half of the 22 million jobs lost last spring have been regained, a new surge of infections has prompted shutdowns and layoffs that have hit the leisure and hospitality industries especially hard, dealing a setback to the recovery.The latest evidence came on Thursday when the Labor Department reported that initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose sharply last week, exceeding one million for the first time since July.Just days earlier, the government announced that employers …

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What’s in Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Plan

The incoming Biden administration unveiled a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan on Thursday that offered a wish list of spending measures meant to help both people and the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic, from state and local aid and more generous unemployment benefits to mass vaccinations.Below, we run through a few of the biggest provisions, how they would work and what they might mean for the United States economy as it struggles through a winter of surging coronavirus cases and partial state and local lockdowns.Let’s put that headline number in context.That $1.9 trillion figure is a lot of …

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