Personal Finance in the Age of Coronavirus

Headline Roundup May 22nd, 2020

The ways Americans are spending, saving and using their money during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic have become a measuring stick for evaluating the outbreak's financial impact on the general public. While some individuals are closing their small business for good or unable to make credit card payments, others are spending stimulus checks on non-essential items.

Some left-rated voices have cited the pandemic's financial consequences as reason to develop a Universal Basic Income. Conversely, some right-rated outlets are focusing more on the purported wastefulness of federal stimulus plans and other finance-related virus legislation.

Personal Finance in the Age of Coronavirus

From the Right
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While many Americans have used their stimulus checks to cover basic needs such as groceries, mortgage or rent, there’s evidence people are also spending the money on non-essentials including electronics, clothes and toys, according to major retailers.

“Call it relief spending, as it was heavily influenced by stimulus dollars, leading to sales increases in categories such as apparel, televisions, video games, sporting goods and toys,” Walmart WMT, -0.36% CEO Doug McMillon said during the company’s earnings call Tuesday.

Target TGT, -0.79% and Best Buy Co. BBY, -4.36% also saw increased...

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From the Center
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Millions of people are behind on their credit-card and auto-loan payments, the latest sign of the coronavirus pandemic’s financial devastation.

Lenders in April had nearly 15 million credit cards in “financial hardship” programs, such as deferral programs that let borrowers temporarily stop making payments, according to estimates by credit-reporting firm TransUnion. That accounts for about 3% of the credit-card accounts the company tracks, TransUnion said Wednesday.

Nearly three million auto loans were in these hardship programs, accounting for about 3.5% of those tracked.

The numbers have surged from a year...

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From the Left
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OPINION

The idea of a universal basic income — a regular stipend paid to every American adult to meet minimum life needs — has been bubbling around the edges of American politics for decades.

With the coming of the coronavirus pandemic, UBI may finally move to center stage, and stay there.

“This is a moment when the UBI idea is possibly going to feel more appealing to a lot of people,” observes Ioana Marinescu, a labor economist at the University of Pennsylvania who has studied what she calls unconditional cash transfer...

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