Many Americans have expressed hope that 2021 will be better than 2020. However, as I have warned, the chance of a true improvement is unlikely because of the same fundamentals I have said before, which is debt leading to an inability to pay bills, leading to impoverishment of both the average man and business alike, and to that, eventually having serious consequences for the currency itself. There can be no meaningful “job recovery” until the debt situation is dealt with, and because there is no way to really pay it effectively without serious economic consequences, the other options are worse.
What I am saying is as much as I would like to be hopeful, I have to be realistic based on fundamentals. For the common man, these problems have been amplified by, as the AP reports, how millions who have been living on government stimulus checks now may find themselves homeless and still without money unless something changes soon.
Unemployment has forced aching decisions on millions of Americans and their families in the face of a rampaging viral pandemic that has closed shops and restaurants, paralyzed travel and left millions jobless for months. Now, their predicaments stand to grow bleaker yet if Congress fails to extend two unemployment programs that are set to expire the day after Christmas.
If no agreement is reached in negotiations taking place on Capitol Hill, more than 9 million people will lose federal jobless aid that averages about $320 a week and that typically serves as their only source of income.
Green, 39, and her husband are among them. An end to their unemployment benefits would force them to keep missing rent payments on their home in Dyer, Indiana, near Chicago. The couple have eight children. Green’s husband is a self-employed truck driver whose business disappeared when the pandemic erupted in the spring. Only in October did he start to pick up occasional work.
He now receives about $235 a week in unemployment aid. Even so, “all of our bills are late,” Green said. They’ve received several shutoff notices from utilities before managing to pay just before service was to be cut off.
“That’s really scary,” Green said, “because what are we going to do when we lose the unemployment money?”
The end of jobless aid is approaching at an especially perilous time. Job growth slowed sharply in November, and the resurgence of viral cases appears to be out of control across the country.
Even with the prospect of an effective vaccine being widely distributed in coming months, economists say the picture will worsen before it improves. Many foresee a net loss of jobs in December for the first time since April. (source)
One should remember too that it is common that in the last month of the year, a “gift” given by many employers is that of mass layoffs. With no real improvements to the economy, one should expect this to happen and to place, as a result, more people on the unemployment rosters.
With two-thirds of Americans living from check to check and with no savings, a single job loss could completely change their lives. The pandemic has exacerbated this threat, for all it would take is another economic contraction to destroy them.
This week is going to be the “make or break” week for the stimulus checks that so many are hoping for. If Congress does not pass something, a lot of people could start off 2021 homeless and perhaps even unable to feed themselves without direct food assistance.
I am not saying that the world is going to end. However, it is going to be a very hard year for many, from what the trends seems to indicate, and the next year is not even here yet.