Amid the ongoing economic devastation of widespread shutdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House is considering taking unilateral steps to try to shore up the crippled economy, including extending the federal tax filing deadline even further — to as late as Dec. 15.
“Tax Day has already been pushed to July 15, but it could be extended further to Sept. 15 or as late as Dec. 15, these people said, although administration officials stressed that no decision has been made,” NBC News reported Thursday. “Another proposal under consideration is a moratorium on new federal regulations, and White House officials are looking into whether the president can take executive action to protect businesses from lawsuits if employees become infected with the coronavirus while on the job. Lawmakers have discussed some liability protection, but administration officials see the issue as urgent.”
“Many of the proposals the White House is considering depend on Americans’ reopening businesses and returning to work, with an administration official saying the timing of any announcements could hinge on how that unfolds,” NBC adds. “As states begin to reopen, we need to wait and see where and what the need is,” the official told the network.
NBC’s report came a day before what was expected to be another brutal unemployment report from the Department of Labor on Friday. The report proved to be indeed alarming, showing that the unemployment rate increased by over 10% since March, rising to 14.7% in April from 4.4% in March.
As noted by The Daily Wire, the true unemployment rate is actually worse than that. When “discouraged” workers, who are not currently looking for employment, are included, as reflected in the U-6 unemployment rate, the rate rises to 22.8%, “roughly five points above the 17.2% it measured at the height of the Great Recession.”
NBC’s sources cite nightmarish numbers presented to President Trump in recent economic briefings, among them “the potential collapse of as much as 50 percent of the country’s small businesses,” projections which two sources say “infuriated” the president.
“He lost it,” one of the sources in reference to Trump’s response to the devastating economic projections.
“The result was a president who started emphasizing the need for the country to reopen sooner than some of his advisers expected,” NBC reports, citing unnamed officials.
The Labor Department’s unemployment report Friday follows its report Thursday showing that 3.2 million more Americans filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total number of Americans who have filed new jobless claims since the widespread shutdowns began to go into effect in mid-March to over 33 million.
While early on the White House and some analysts were predicting a rapid rebound, evidence is increasingly pointing to longer term fallout that hoped. “We have to be utterly realistic about this because there is political fantasy out there and then there is economic reality,” RSM chief economist Joseph Brusuelas told Politico this week. “It is going to be years before we recover all of these lost jobs and as much as 25 percent of them aren’t ever coming back.”
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