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[Article] During the crisis Congress is considering giving US$ 2,000 to every American. Which would be the right thing to do with our cash for those of us who have stable jobs, and want to keep the economy pumping?

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Scott Miller answers:

Spend it on a local business.

Don’t make money on this. The entire idea is to help the economy start going forward. When we hit another Great Depression, a few thousand in savings won’t do you any good.

Don’t waste the money online. Online merchants prefer to be bigger businesses that can withstand such a storm. They just don’t need your money.

Don’t pay off debt. I know it’s tempting, but paying off debt does not help the economy; it just goes into a corporate fund, and corporations do not need your help right now.

Do buy takeouts from local restaurants. It will hit local mum-and-pops and corporate franchises really hard. Do not go to McDonald’s, go to some place without a national brand. If you ever want to eat again there, don’t stop eating here now. Only make it to-go.

Do buy from local merchants. Again, not national chains except as necessary. But if there are local stores that you occasionally buy from, go there and buy something.

The key message here is Shop LOCAL. These are the places, as much as possible, that are most likely to go out of business from all of this — especially if it drags on for many months. And if most of those businesses get underway, we’re looking at a major economic crisis.

Martin Suster, Researcher and Director of Economic Research at the National Bank of Slovakia answers:

Do not, I can not stress this more, DO NOT spend the money.

This is primarily a health crisis, not an economic one. The correct response to the crisis is to stay home and stop spreading the virus. A side effect (a very painful one) is a severe economic downturn.

Owing to the economic crisis some (many) people will lose their profits. Such people (working in restaurants, hotels, sports, small businesses …) have to be granted income support completely. They need this income support to buy such necessities as food, lodging, medicines. I’m not sure whether $1000 or $2000 would suffice.

Others-including you-are going to have enough money to purchase the basics. Please, do not purchase anything else outside the basics-otherwise you will encourage others to NOT stay at home, but to provide the goods/services that you would purchase. This can alleviate the economic downturn but the pandemic would be intensified!!!

If you have loans, you just have to pay it back. The world will also be deprived once the pandemic is over. 

If you have no debt, just keep the money in a savings account. Once both the economic and health crisis is over, the government will have to deal with its debt – which will increase now. Taxes will have to go up! Since you know the taxes will go up in a year or two – the rational thing to do is to save the cash handout now, to easily pay the future taxes.

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Some people have suggested donating the money to the people who need it more. It is obviously the right thing to do. If you do it, you deserve all respect. In fact, that is what the government should be doing! Not giving handouts to everybody, but giving only to the people who need it, who are hit by the crisis. Instead of giving $1000 to everybody they could give say $5000 just to the ones hardest hit. That is what most European governments are doing. Giving $1000 to everybody is either a sign of an administration incapable of differentiating who is hardly hit by the crisis and who is not — or a government preparing for an election instead of fighting the pandemic.

What do you think? Comment your thoughts below!

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