FEATURE ARTICLE

Protracted Economic Collapse in America

Protracted Economic Collapse in America
 
Stephen Lendman 
Date: 01-23-2021
Subject: United States

Protracted Economic Collapse in America

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)

Never before in US history were Main Street hard times as dire as today — ongoing Depression conditions since last year, worse than during the 1930s Great Depression.

Millions of US households can't or are behind in paying rent or serving mortgages.

Millions are food insecure under growing hunger conditions.

Millions are at risk of evictions from residences when rent and mortgage moratoriums eventually end.

Since last March, around a million or more Americans filed claims for unemployment insurance (UI).

In the latest reporting period, it was 1.3 million — 900,000 for regular state UI, another 424,000 for  Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). 

What happens when the above aid expires for unemployed Americans in need with little or no other source of income is an unanswered question in Washington.

Before economic collapse last year, the largest number of Americans filing claims for UI was 695,000 in 1982.

For nearly the past 11 months, that peak was greatly exceeded weekly from March 2020 through the latest reporting period.

What over a year ago was inconceivable is now reality with likely protracted misery ahead for tens of millions of US households.

Most states provide a maximum of 26 weeks of UI so millions of unemployed US workers exhausted their benefits.

In the most recent reporting period, continuing claims for regular state UI declined by 127,000 because of expired benefits, hundreds of thousands more coming in the weeks and months ahead.

When workers no longer have regular state benefits, they can apply for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

Before expiration of PEUC at yearend 2020, benefits were extended through March 14, 2021 — an additional 11 weeks to a maximum 24 to eligible recipients.

Since Trump signed PEUC into law on March 27, 2020, over 3.5 million recipients exhausted 13 weeks of benefits.

Recertifying their eligibility is required to receive an additional 11 weeks of benefits.

If enacted into law, the Biden/Harris stimulus proposal calls for extending PUA benefits for 11 more weeks.

What's needed — but not proposed — is extended relief combined with extensive jobs creation programs for as long as economic crisis continues.

Since collapse occurred early last year, thousands of small businesses shut down permanently each month, a continuing pattern in the new year.

US trucking industry experts expect Biden to sign into law so-called Moving Forward Act legislation.

In 2020, the 2,705 page bill that likely no lawmaker read was passed in the House but rejected in the Senate.

Adoption is expected this year by the Dem controlled House and Senate, then signed into law by Biden.

It'll greatly harm small truckers by requiring over $2 million in insurance liability compared to $750,000 now. 

What large trucking firms can afford, small ones cannot at all times, especially not under today's dire conditions.

According to TruckInfo.net, about 1.2 million US trucking companies employ nearly 9 million workers, including 3.5 million drivers.

Around 9% are owner-operators. Around 97% of these firms operate 20 or fewer trucks. Over 90% operate 6 or fewer trucks.

Smaller firms are most vulnerable to harm by Moving Forward Act legislation.

Many may be forced out of business, their workers joining the unemployed rolls if unable to find hard to get other work. 

Large truckers stand to benefit greatly by less competition as was the case in other US industries able to consolidate to greater size in similar ways.

According to National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) president David Owen:

"It's a very dark day for small business in general, not just for trucking. I'm pretty discouraged."

Since made-in-the-USA economic collapse began early last year, small businesses and ordinary Americans have been hardest hit.

In stark contrast, the nation's super-rich never had things better.

What's benefitted them has come at the expense of the nation's most vulnerable.

Looking ahead under Dem-controlled Congress and the White House, things will likely worsen, not improve — despite Big Media backed state propaganda claiming otherwise.

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My two Wall Street books are timely reading:

"How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War"

https://www.claritypress.com/product/how-wall-street-fleeces-america/

"Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity"

https://www.claritypress.com/product/banker-occupation-waging-financial-war-on-humanity/