Republicans are currently betting that efforts to reopen states will be successful and the nearly $3 trillion already allocated by lawmakers — the largest federal rescue in American history — will be at least close to enough to start bringing the unemployment rate down and sending economic growth back up.
But it remains far from clear that it will be anywhere near enough to restore the tens of millions of jobs lost in recent weeks. A provision of the enhanced unemployment benefits enacted under the CARES Act added $600 per week to jobless benefits offered by states — but only through July 31.
And risks remain high that quick reopenings could lead to fresh virus breakouts, shutting down the economy again.
If that happens and the rescue programs aren’t expanded for individuals, businesses and state and local governments, the political toll could be enormous.