Unemployment benefits: an unheralded success story.
And the somewhat surprising fact is that we’re already doing a lot of that. The CARES Act, the $2 trillion disaster relief bill enacted in late March, greatly expanded both eligibility for unemployment benefits and the generosity of those benefits. And those expanded benefits are, despite early stumbles, increasingly doing what needs to be done.
Even so, a Brookings Institution study suggests that in April unemployment benefits offset about half the wages lost because of the lockdown — an estimate that matches my own back-of-the-envelope calculations.