What coronavirus relief package could mean for local economy, workers

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Relief could soon come to the thousands of Americans now unemployed and the businesses suffering because of the coronavirus.

Today, the Trump administration explained their plans for a major relief package that would put money in the hands of nearly every American.

“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.  He didn't give details except to say the amount should be significant and millionaires would not get it. The proposal requires approval from Congress.

"A lot of us don't need the money, but many of us need the money very desperately," said Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University.

Hicks says the action needs to be taken. As far as the possible $1,000 amount, he says it should be enough. Finding the optimal amount needed would take weeks or months, and action is needed now.

"Right now it's really important to get money into peoples' hands," Hicks said. "This is probably something we should have done late last week, much less this week."

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As part of the massive $850 billion rescue package, about $50 billion could be given to the airline industry. There would also be relief for small business and a massive tax cut for wage earners.

“It’s hard right now, and it’s only day one for me,” said Michele, an employee at Carmel Chocolate Cafe.

As of this week, she is one of thousands of Americans suddenly unemployed. She will go back to work when the cafe can reopen, but that could be weeks or months away.

“How am I going to pay my bills? How am I going to pay my rent? Because I live paycheck to paycheck,” Michele said. "I just can't go two weeks without working, I can't.”

The check would help thousands of Americans like Michele, and it would also help others spend more in the economy. They could also donate it to organizations in need. Hicks believes the more we act now, the quicker the economy will recover.

"This is not an economy-wrecking problem," Hicks said. "It's one where we really have to focus our response, and I think at the end of it, we should be optimistic about a strong and robust recovery."

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