As the coronavirus spreads throughout the United States, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told “Face the Nation” Sunday (March 29) that Americans should be receiving $1,200 stimulus money within the next three weeks.
The way it will work, Mnuchin said, is the government will distribute the money electronically, in a direct deposit, to the bank accounts which the government has on file.
For those whose information the government doesn’t have, a website will be set up so they can apply to receive the money.
Asked what people should do with the money they receive (“… twelve hundred dollars takes you a lot farther in Nebraska than it does in California,” journalist Margaret Brennan pointed out), Mnuchin said he hoped the machinery of the economy would be spurred to keep people out of the red for a few weeks. He said part of the stimulus would be for business owners to pay their employees, and there would also be enhanced unemployment benefits.
The intent, Mnuchin said, was “bridge liquidity” for people through the crisis, as many have lost jobs and sources of financial income as the risk of infection from the virus makes it harder for people to go out in public. Mnuchin said the benefits taken as a whole package would probably be enough for “about 10 weeks.”
Mnuchin emphasized that this was not a bailout in the mode of the one done during the 2008 financial crisis. Instead, he said any loans made to corporate entities would be made up to the taxpayers. He said the government wouldn’t be forcing money on companies; instead, the companies will have to request financial aid under the government’s guidelines.
He named asset manager BlackRock, which was involved in the previous financial crisis, as one entity that would be assisting the government in this current process as well.
Brennan inquired as to whether Mnuchin could answer if all of the lost jobs would eventually come back. Unemployment, she noted, could hit up to 30 percent, and millions filed for unemployment just last week.
Mnuchin answered that the program would be “enormously successful in stabilizing the U.S. economy,” and the stimulus money was going to be coming “very quickly.”