Speaker of the House
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi:

In just five weeks, 26 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The CBO recently forecast an 11.4 percent average unemployment rate for 2020 and a 10.1 percent average unemployment rate for 2021. The policy choices we make now will impact how many people lose their jobs or remain jobless in the coming months. And without a viable vaccine in the immediate future, the federal government can enact programs that encourage people to stay home by allowing them to continue to receive a paycheck while providing assistance to keep businesses intact so that they are ready to open when social distancing protocols are eased. For this reason, we, the undersigned, urge Congress to pass the Paycheck Guarantee Act.

The Paycheck Guarantee Act, proposed by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, would provide grants to businesses to cover up to 100 percent of payroll for employee wage replacement up to $100,000 for three months. The grants would be retroactive to the beginning of the pandemic to allow businesses to rehire employees who had been laid off. Importantly, workers would keep their employer-provided benefits, including health care. States and cities as well as independent contractors and gig workers would be eligible for the grants. The grants would also cover business expenses like rent and utilities to ensure that they can re-open when conditions improve. The grants would be delivered through existing payroll infrastructure to get the funds out of the door and to employers and working people quickly and efficiently. The grants would continue every three months until the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ nominal personal consumption expenditures (PCE) estimates register two consecutive months that are at least 95% as high as the three-month average level between December 2019 and February 2020. In addition to Representative Jayapal’s proposal, Senators Sanders, Warner, Jones, and Blumenthal proposed similar legislation last week.

The CARES Act did provide needed relief, but as a policy response, it does not meet the scale of the COVID-19 crisis. The interim package passed on April 23 provides additional funding for the PPP small business loan program, but this too fails to adequately address the fallout from the pandemic. The Paycheck Guarantee Act does much more to prevent mass layoffs, keep businesses intact and facilitate a faster recovery. Congress should move swiftly to pass the Paycheck Guarantee Act.

Sincerely,

Randy Albelda, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston

Larry Allen, Professor of Economics, Lamar University

Eileen Appelbaum, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research

Peter Arno, Senior Fellow and Director of Health Policy Research, Political Economy Research Institute, UMASS, Amherst

Michael Ash, Professor of Economics & Public Policy, University of Massachusetts Amherst

M.V. Lee Badgett, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Ron Baiman, Associate Professor of Economics, Benedictine University

Dean Baker, Senior Economist and Co-Founder, Center for Economic and Policy Research

Erdogan Bakir, Associate Professor of Economics, Bucknell University

Radhika Balakrishnan, Professor, Rutgers University

Eric Beinhocker, Executive Director, Institute for New Economic Thinking, University of Oxford

Lourdes Beneria, Professor Emerita, Cornell University

Cyrus Bina, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics, University of Minnesota (Morris Campus)

Josh Bivens, Research Director, Economic Policy Institute

Sandra E. Black, Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Columbia University

Robert A. Blecker, Professor of Economics, American University

Howard Botwinick, Associate Professor of Economics Emeritus, SUNY Cortland

Scott Carter, Professor of Economics, The University of Tulsa

Kimberly Christensen , Economics Professor, Sarah Lawrence College

Nathaniel Cline, Associate Professor, University of Redlands

George De Martino, Professor of Economics, University of Denver

Arindrajit Dube, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts,Amherst

Richard Du Boff, Wexler Professor Emeritus of Economics, Bryn Mawr College

Amitava Krishna Dutt, Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of Notre Dame

Nina Eichacker, Professor, University of Rhode Island

Gerald Epstein, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Anders Fremstad, Assistant Professor of Economics, Colorado State University

John Gallup, Associate Professor, Portland State University

Don Goldstein, Emeritus, Professor of Economics, Allegheny College

Neva Goodwin, Co-Director, Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University

Joshua Greenstein, Assistant Professor of Economics, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Robert Guttmann, Augustus B Weller Professor of Economics, Hofstra University

Greg Hannsgen, Independent Economist, Greg Hannsgen’s Economics Blog

Denise Hare, Professor of Economics, Reed College

John Harvey, Professor of Economics, Texas Christian University

Baban Hasnat, Professor of International Business and Economics, SUNY Brockport

P. Sai-wing Ho, Professor of Economics, University of Denver

Eric Hoyt, Ph.D. in Economics, UMass-Amherst

Dorene Isenberg, Professor, Dept. of Economics, University of Redlands

Haider A. Khan, Distinguished University Professor, University of Denver

Mary C. King, Professor of Economics Emerita, Portland State University

Anthony Laramie, Chair and Professor of Economics, Merrimack College

William Van Lear, Professor of Economics, Belmont Abbey College

Thea Lee, President, Economic Policy Institute

Charles Levenstein, Professor Emeritus of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Margaret Levenstein, Research Professor, University of Michigan

Arthur MacEwan, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston

Allan, MacNeill, Professor, Webster University

Zagros Madjd-Sadjadi, Former Chief Economist, City and County of San Francisco and Professor of Economics, Winston-Salem State University

Arindam Mandal, Associate Professor of Economics, Siena College

Thomas Masterson, Director of Applied Micromodeling, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

Peter Hans Matthews, Professor of Economics, Middlebury College

Terrence McDonough, Emeritus Professor, National University of Ireland Galway

Martin Melkonian, Adjunct Associate Professor, Hofstra University

John Miller, Professor of Economics, Wheaton College, Norton, MA

Lawrence Mishel, Distinguished Fellow, Economic Policy Institute

Juan Antonio Montecino, Assistant Professor of Economics, American University

Tracy Mott, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Denver

Michele Naples, Dr, The College of New Jersey

Katherine Moos, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Catherine P. Mulder, Assoc. Professor, John Jay College-CUNY

Julie A. Nelson, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Boston

Reynold F. Nesiba, Professor of Economics, Augustana University

Eric Nilsson, Professor of Economics, California State University, San Bernardino

Lenore Palladino, Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Policy, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Mark Paul, Assistant Professor of Economics, New College of Florida

Eva Paus, Professor of Economics on the Ford Foundation, Mount Holyoke College

Luke Petach, Assistant Professor of Economics, Belmont University

Karen Pfeifer, Professor Emerita of Economics, Smith College

Lynda Pickbourn, Associate Professor of Economics and Lecturer in Economics , Hampshire College and University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Bruce Pietrykowski, Professor of Economics, University of Michigan-Dearborn

Robert Pollin, Distinguished University Professor of Economics and Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dr. Pratistha Joshi, Lecturer, Boston University

Lee Price, Associate Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies

Mark Price, Assistant Director of Research, Labor Economist, Pennsylvania State Education Association

Dr. Smita Ramnarain, University of Rhode Island

Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley

Michael D. Robinson, Professor of Economics, Mount Holyoke College
Leopoldo Rodriguez, Associate Professor, Portland State University

David F. Ruccio, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Notre Dame

Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor, Columbia University

Emmanuel Saez, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Equitable Growth, University of California, Berkeley

John Schmitt, Vice President, Economic Policy Institute

Elliott Sclar, Emeritus Professor, Columbia University

Laurence Seidman, Professor of Economics, University of Delaware

Stephanie Seguino, Professor of Economics, University of Vermont

Zoe Sherman, Associate Professor of Economics, Merrimack College

Heidi Shierholz, Senior Economist and Director of Policy, Economic Policy Institute

Nicholas Shunda, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Redlands

William Spriggs, Professor of Economics, Howard University

Howard Stein Professor, DAAS and Epidemiology, University of Michigan

Chris Tilly, Professor of Urban Planning and Sociology, UCLA

E. Ahmet Tonak, Visiting Professor, UMass Amherst, Economics Department

Mayo Toru?o, Professor Emeritus , California State University San Bernardino

Mariano Torras, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, Adelphi University

Andres Torres, Professor (retired), Lehman College, CUNY
Eric Tymoigne, Associate Professor of Economics, Lewis & Clark College

David F. Weiman, Professor of Economics, Barnard College, Columbia University

Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director and Co-Founder, Center for Economic and Policy Research

Jeannette Wicks-Lim, Associate Research Professor, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts

John Willoughby, Professor, Economics, American University

Brenda Wyss, Associate Professor of Economics, Wheaton College, MA

Tanadej Vechsuruck, Assistant Professor , University of Rhode Island

Yavuz Yasar, Associate Professor, University of Denver

Gabriel Zucman, Associate Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley

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