What is the best advice for the people that don’t qualify for the stimulus payments?


As a historian of 20th century US History, with a specialty in labor and working-class history, I can say that the federal government has been and still is doing a really horrible job of helping Americans during these incredibly hard times. The United States makes up a little over 4% of the world's population but the US has suffered almost 30% of the total deaths and infections in the entire world. The suffering in what is the richest country in the history of the world is shocking. Every single other industrialized economy has responded more effectively to the virus. The city of Tokyo, with more than fourteen million people, has 271 deaths. By contrast, NYC has suffered 16,000 deaths with a similar population. It's an abomination! President Trump already has gone down in history as a failed president.


Shockingly, after more than five months of knowledge about this pandemic, there still is NO national plan, leaving individual cities and states, individual people, and businesses to largely fend for themselves. 50 states with 50 plans rather than a single plan for a single nation. As a result, 100,000 people already are dead with several thousand more dying each day. The economy remains in freefall, the worst crisis since the early 1930s. It's a travesty on a scale we've not seen since Herbert Hoover's (and the Republican Party's) paltry, pathetic response to the Great Depression--doing almost nothing for 3+ years.


The stimulus payments are nice but incredibly insufficient. By contrast, across Europe, governments have created programs that have resulted in unemployment hardly increasing at all.


If one does not qualify for a stimulus payment, perhaps it's because one doesn't have to file an income tax return? In such cases, it's possible to register with the IRS in order to qualify. I gather the corporation Turbo Tax also is providing an online tool to assist such folks.


What do you think of insured unemployment as a measure for unemployment?


Although it seems odd, upon deeper reflection, there is no ideal way to measure unemployment. The conventional method, the so-called unemployment (UE) rate only counts people actively seeking work. Hence, if someone has given up on finding a job, magically that person disappears from the UE rate, thereby artificially undercounting the actual number of unemployed people. In addition, there are millions (including before the pandemic) who are underemployed, i.e. working part-time, but want/need to work full-time work; those people are not counted in the UE rate. These problems are no secret though it is easy for folks to "forget" this fact or more likely, never even have learned it. And these facts always must be pointed out. Thus, if the official UE is 4%, it's actually higher. Always.


As for the matter of whether using the "insured unemployment" number, as a more accurate, count. While that seems logical, it still leaves out the long-term unemployed, i.e. who are no longer eligible for UE insurance and those who have given up on the search.


Insured unemployment also omits those who move from not-in-the-labor-force (NILF) to unemployed (actively seeking).


Short version: the "insured unemployment" number definitely is a useful number, especially, as one can see how much it has risen from before the pandemic broke out.