With the election days away, the presidential candidates are pitching different ideas about how to restore the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 9 million Americans and killed 229,347.
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President Donald Trump's administration claims that the country is already well on its way to rebounding. The economy started to bounce back recently, growing at an annualized rate of 33.1% in the third quarter.
But the U.S. economy is still far below pre-pandemic levels--3.5% smaller than it was at the end of 2019.
"Two big reasons explain President Trump’s success. The first is that his pro-growth, pro-worker agenda made our economic fundamentals stronger," the White House touted this week after the 33.1% annualized growth rate for the third quarter came out.
"Second, President Trump took targeted action to help American workers and families after the Coronavirus hit. His Administration negotiated the CARES Act, implemented the Paycheck Protection Program to save jobs, extended supplemental unemployment benefits, paused student loan payments, and halted evictions."
The president released a phased reopening plan earlier this year, but has largely left it up to state and local officials to make decisions about when it is best to reopen their individual economies.
The former vice president has accused the Trump administration of falling "woefully short," and said he would implement "an eight-part plan to make sure the reopening is safe and strong."
The proposal from Biden includes guaranteed testing and PPE for everyone returning to work; guaranteed paid leave for workers who get sick; safe workplace standards set by OSHA; a national contact tracing workforce; protection for the elderly and other high-risk Americans; a "safer for shoppers" program; reopening schools and child care centers; and providing relief for small businesses.
These plans would be expensive, but Biden said he would pay for them by targeting the 2017 GOP Tax bill Trump ushered through Congress.
"He will pay for the ongoing costs of the plan by reversing some of Trump’s tax cuts for corporations and imposing common-sense tax reforms that finally make sure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share," the Biden campaign explains on its website.
The other side of this comes down to working with Congress on a stimulus bill. The Trump administration and Senate Republicans have been in discussions with Nancy Pelosi-led House Democrats for months about another phase of stimulus, but those talks have apparently stalled until after the election.
“After the election, we'll get the best stimulus package you've ever seen," Trump told reporters Tuesday before boarding Air Force One.
The size of a stimulus bill under a potential Biden administration would depend on who controls each chamber of Congress after Tuesday's election.
Whatever happens with the election, the pandemic isn't going away, as America recorded a record-high 88,521 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total for October to more than 1.7 million infections.