Economic bailouts to fight pandemic
March 26, 2020 - Governments around the world have released unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimuli in a bid to stop hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises going out of business -- permanently.
The U.S. Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve a $2 trillion fiscal package to shore up the economy -- the most extensive stimulus package in modern American history.
The bill would send direct payments of $1,200 to Americans earning up to $75,000 -- gradually reduced for those with incomes of more than $99,000 -- plus an additional $500 per child. The U.S. package would also extend benefits to freelancers and gig workers for the first time.
Faced with intense pressure to support businesses, Britain’s Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans to pay 80% of at-risk workers’ wages to discourage their employers from laying them off.
In Norway, unemployment has risen five-fold this month, according to the Labour and Welfare Agency. Unemployment stood at 10.9 per cent on March 24, up from just 2.3 per cent at the end of February. Joblessness is at the highest rate in Norway since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The minority right-wing government -- led by Conservative Party Prime Minister Erna Solberg -- has cut the mandatory notice period from two weeks to just two days. And the government has agreed to pay 100 per cent of salaries for laid-off workers for 20 days.
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is spending C$107bn (US$75bn) in emergency aid and economic stimulus, with C$2,000 ($1,416) a month for the next four months for people who have lost their job.
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