We are still years away from a full recovery.

Courtesy of NYT:

After an ambitious expansion of the safety net in the spring saved millions of people from poverty, the aid is now largely exhausted and poverty has returned to levels higher than before the coronavirus crisis, two new studies have found.

The number of poor people has grown by eight million since May, according to researchers at Columbia University, after falling by four million at the pandemic’s start as a result of an $2 trillion emergency package known as the Cares Act.

Using a different definition of poverty, researchers from the University of Chicago and Notre Dame found that poverty has grown by six million people in the past three months, with circumstances worsening most for Black people and children.

Significantly, the studies differ on the most recent month: While the Columbia model shows an improvement in September, the Chicago and Notre Dame analysts found poverty continued to grow.

“These numbers are very concerning,” said Bruce D. Meyer, an economist at the University of Chicago and an author of the study. “They tell us people are having a lot more trouble paying their bills, paying their rent, putting food on the table.”

The recent rise in poverty has occurred despite an improving job market, an indiction that the economy has been rebounding too slowly to offset the lost benefits. The Democratic House has twice passed multitrillion-dollar packages to provide more help and to stimulate the economy, but members of a divided Republican Senate, questioning the cost and necessity, have proposed smaller plans. President Trump has alternately demanded that Congress “go big” before the elections and canceled negotiations.

It should be noted that while this is happening the Senate Republicans are laser-focused on ramming through a new conservative Supreme Court Justice rather than helping the American people. 

I have said it before, and I will say it again, in order to really repair the damage done to our economy by this pandemic we have to elect a Democratic President and provide a Democratically led Senate to support him. 

Without that this could continue to get worse year after year.