For more than two months now, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted economic activity to a degree we’ve never previously witnessed. All told, the U.S. unemployment rate is nearing 15%, which is a level unseen since the Great Depression.
With the understanding that things may not be “normal” for a while, Congress passed and the president signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law on March 27. Among other things, the $2.2 trillion CARES Act provides $100 billion to hospitals, $500 billion for distressed industries, almost $350 billion for small business loans, and $260 billion for a four-month expansion of the unemployment benefits program.
But the most memorable aspect of the CARES Act is the $300 billion directed toward stimulus payouts.