From Politico:

But Jonathan Bydlak, director of the Fiscal and Budget Policy Project at the libertarian R Street Institute, said he isn’t too troubled. “We’re not talking about a permanent change,” he said, “which I think is very important.” And anyway, he said, the labor market right now is “to some extent frozen.”

“The stated reason for having some sort of government involvement in normal times is very different than being involved in a crisis situation,” Bydlak said, “and in particular, a crisis situation that is pretty much as pure an example of … a shock to the system as you could possibly ask for.”

The result, notes a Democratic congressional aide, will be a brief period of income redistribution. “If you are a lower paid worker, then you might actually be getting more than 100 percent of your wages. If you’re a higher paid worker, you’re probably getting less than 100 percent of your wages.”

Although unemployment rules have been modified temporarily to accommodate workers concerned for their safety from the coronavirus, it’s still not true that you can quit your job on a mere whim and expect to collect unemployment benefits. “If your employer wanted you to stay on the job and you were able to stay on the job and it was safe for you to stay on the job, you’re not eligible for unemployment insurance anyway,” the Democratic aide said.

Indeed, even R Street Institute’s Bydlak worries that the action from Congress may not be enough.

“Policymakers have been a little bit slow to realize the extent of the problem,” said Bydlak. “The reality is, we are almost certainly never going to go back to how things were on Jan. 1. There are going to be fundamental changes in consumer preferences and, in markets more generally, that we will probably never get over.”

“I don’t think the unemployment situation will be over at the end of the year,” agreed the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities’ Stone. “The programs should be tied more to economic conditions than to the calendar so that as long as unemployment is high, these extra benefits should be in effect.”

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