For Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 Hurricane when it barreled into Louisiana on the same date as Hurricane Katrina, there was little to report other than one death directly attributed to the storm and over one million out of power. The Louisiana levee system held; however, the horrific state of southern infrastructure was captured by the collapse of a highway in Mississippi resulting in two deaths and multiple injuries. Notwithstanding the reports coming in about flooding and wind damage, Ida went out with a whimper.
And while all eyes have been upon the end of America’s Longest War and its end in Afghanistan, little lip service has been paid to the fact that all federal pandemic unemployment assistance will end by Labor Day — that is this coming Monday. All told, we are talking about roughly 9 million people. To put a dollar sign on it, that is $10.8 billion dollars a month drained out of the economy. And fact of the matter is that the vast majority of that money was being paid out to small businesses by the recipients — food, clothing, entertainment, etc. And for the far right wing of society whom incorrectly believe that federal unemployment bonuses accounted for the lack of worker enthusiasm, here is what a recent report stated,
In states that cut federal benefits in June, about 7 in 8 jobless workers receiving benefits hadn’t found work by early August, according to a recent study. That suggests withdrawing benefits didn’t lead to a big uptick in employment and caused households to cut $2 billion in spending from the local economy, the study found.
It is nothing new for the US government — no matter which political persuasion. A 1 in 8 growth in employment based upon cutting benefits still leaves 7 out of 8 unemployed. And no matter which side of the aisle you are on, the early and now permanent termination of these benefits are translating into a multi-billion loss of income in the revenue stream of state and federal coffers.
Adding fuel to the fire is the recent US Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) decision with respect to rental moratoriums at the federal level. The issue has taken a long and divisive journey through the annals of US government mismanagement. Precipitated by the unprecedented collapse of the employment sector by COVID, the argument was made that by allowing people to live rent free deprived landlord’s of their property interest in the rents themselves. The US government, as usual, rolled out a handful of soothsayers which were countered by Wall Street lawyers and the rest is history. Granted, Congress allocated tens of billions of dollars directly to states to make the rent payments, the reality is that less than ten percent of that has ever made it to tenants and landlords. Local and state government, always the fly in the ointment, are loathe to let go of the cash.
[A]s many as 3.5 million households are at risk of losing their homes, including hundreds of thousands of tenants this year alone, according to a Wall Street analysis. Goldman Sachs researchers used figures from the Census Bureau and landlord trade groups to estimate that 2.5 million to 3.5 million households are behind on rent. About 2 million of those families live in properties owned by small landlords, the investment bank found.
Goldman went on, though, to state that roughly 90% of all renters will lose any moratorium protection by the beginning of the fourth quarter. The continued by stating we are looking at the potential for 750,000 evictions by the end of the year which will translate to the loss of an additional 20,000 jobs. The problem with these numbers is that Goldman relies upon a national calculation of a 2.5% eviction rate during normal times — these are far from normal. The National Equity Atlas, a project of Right to the City and the University of Southern California, estimates that more than 6 million households were behind on rent as of early August.
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