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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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‘It Was a Joke’: Some Small Businesses Got $1 Relief Loans

Unprofitable and Out of LuckSole proprietorships are the most common business structure in America, accounting for around 26 million businesses, according to the latest I.R.S. data. Many are sidelines — workers who pick up an occasional freelance project or collect royalties report it on their taxes as business income — but millions of people rely on their business income as their primary source of support.Yet, because of the S.B.A. edict that sole proprietors had to be profitable to get a P.P.P. loan, many didn’t qualify. Nicole Davis, an accountant in Georgia who specializes in small …

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When Can I Apply for a P.P.P. Loan?

She did not directly mention the Paycheck Protection Program — the largest lending program by far in the agency’s nearly 70-year history — but she acknowledged the turmoil many companies are experiencing.The Second StimulusAnswers to Your Questions About the Stimulus BillUpdated Dec 30, 2020The economic relief package will issue payments of $600 and distribute a federal unemployment benefit of $300 for at least 10 weeks. Find more about the measure and what’s in it for you. For details on how to get assistance, check out our Hub for Help.Will I receive another stimulus payment? Individual adults with adjusted gross income on their 2019 …

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As Some Deficit Hawks Turn Dove, the New Politics of Debt Are on Display

And while running big deficits might have once stoked fears about inflation — as too many dollars chased too few goods — price gains have been too low for comfort for years. Add to that the emergency needs prompted by the pandemic, and even the Fed’s leader, who had long warned about the nation’s debt load, has said this is a reasonable time to spend money.“As a general rule, it is important to be on a sustainable fiscal path,” the Fed chair, Jerome H. Powell, a Republican, said at a news conference last month. “From my way of thinking …

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Why Markets Boomed in a Year of Human Misery

The central, befuddling economic reality of the United States at the close of 2020 is that everything is terrible in the world, while everything is wonderful in the financial markets.It’s a macabre spectacle. Asset prices keep reaching new, extraordinary highs, when around 3,000 people a day are dying of coronavirus and 800,000 people a week are filing new unemployment claims. Even an enthusiast of modern capitalism might wonder if something is deeply broken in how the economy works.To better understand this strange mix of buoyant markets and economic despair, it’s worth turning to the data. As it happens, the …

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Will an Overdraft Balance Impact Your Stimulus Check?

Bank fees are adding extra pain to some Americans’ pandemic-induced woes. In 2019, according to the Center for Responsible Lending, big banks collected more than $11 billion in overdraft fees from their customers, with 9 percent of customers paying more than 80 percent of the fees. For the first nine months of 2020, customers of big banks paid $6 billion in overdraft fees, according to Rebecca Borné, a researcher at the nonprofit, which advocates better treatment of consumers by financial institutions.The total amount of penalty fees that bank customers paid in 2020 could end up being lower than last year, but because such a large amount …

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Stimulus Money Should Have Gone to the Jobless, Economists Say

But in terms of the multiplier effect, it’s likely to pale in comparison to the impact in the spring, when the unemployment rate was much higher and there were real fears the country could experience a second Great Depression.“The more you hit the stimulus button, the less impact you see,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco. And the hardest hit sectors — dining, entertainment and travel — are unlikely to see much of a boost now, since consumers are wary of going out or live in states like California and New York where …

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As Bills Pile Up, Many Anxiously Keep Tabs on the Stimulus Bill

“It’s the worst thing I could possibly imagine,” she said. “If you told me a year ago that the entire country would be suffering the way it is now, with no help from the government, I would have told you that would never happen. We live in America.”More than 20 million Americans are collecting unemployment benefits and the unemployment rate stands at 6.7 percent. A year ago, before the pandemic hit, the jobless rate touched 3.5 percent, tying a 50-year low.For those living on the edge, the recent political gamesmanship has been infuriating.“We don’t have time for them …

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Coronavirus Deal Would Give Small Businesses a Shot at Second PPP Loan

The CARES Act designated up to $10,000 of each E.I.D.L. loan as an advance that lawmakers said would not have to be repaid. But the law required the advance to be docked from the amount that would be forgiven on a business’s P.P.P. loan, according to the Small Business Administration.Angelina Branca owns Saté Kampar in Philadelphia, an acclaimed restaurant that closed its storefront in May and has been subsisting on pop-up events. Ms. Branca used a $32,000 loan from the Paycheck Protection Program to pay her event workers, but when she applied recently to have …

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