US Govt & Congress should spend $ 2 Trillion Corona-fund responsibly on permanent infrastructure for 15 million households. By Hem Raj Jain
25 Mar 2020
It is now certain that the USA is going to spend over $ 2 Trillion on Coronavirus related matters as is evident from the report https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/23/coronavirus-updates-pelosi-to-release-stimulus-bill-as-senate-plan-stalls.html . Unlike many other democracies the constitutional arrangement of the USA has given priority to legislatives over executives hence primarily it is the responsibility of US Congress with bipartisan approach (along with US-Administration) to ensure that this Corona-fund is spent mainly for providing relief to the weaker section of the society. Many people, interest groups and lobbies will try to influence the US Govt & Congress to spend this Corona-fund in a way which will deprive the real suffering people from getting succor. Hence the US Govt & Congress should ensure that this Corona-fund is spent on THREE SECTORS which will not only provide relief to the people suffering from the ongoing Coronavirus epidemic but will also provide permanent infrastructure for similarly suffering people in future due to other reasons than epidemics.
Though as per various reports and studies the number of people who are going to suffer due to the Coronavirus epidemic are more but at least 15 million households (~ 10 % of total US-households) should be the direct real beneficiary of this Corona-fund of $ 2Trillion which should be spent on three sectors (generally in view of https://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/opinion-details/3563 ) on Government Housing, Public Distribution System and Universal Free Healthcare, as mentioned below:-
(1)- GOVERNMENT HOUSING: -
The substantial part of expenditure of the household is on rent of the houses. Moreover, in this age of mobility (due to economic reasons) owning a house is absurdity. Government can easily make a small house on government land at the cost of $ 50,000. Hence the government should spend $ 750 billion ($ 50,000 per house x 15 million houses = $ 750 billion one-time expenditure for houses) on government houses which should be given on rent (to be decided by statutory ‘Rent Commission’). During crises (like Coronavirus epidemic etc) the unemployed people may be exempt from giving rents.
(2)- HOUSEHOLD EXPENDITURES: -
During unemployment (due to Coronavirus epidemic or otherwise) $ 360 Billion should be spent every year by giving $ 2,000 every month to each household mostly in kind and not in cash (15 million households x $ 2,000 = $ 30 billion per month x 12 = $ 360 billion per year). For providing grocery etc to these 15 million households the government should construct 40,000 stores at the cost of $ 50,000 per store at government land all over the USA (which will make these stores approachable within a distance of ~ 10 miles) and its total cost will be merely $ 2 billion (40,000 stores x $ 50,000 = $ 2 billion).
(3)- UNIVERSAL FREE HEALTHCARE: -
The remaining $ 888 Billion ( $ 2 Trillion Corona-fund - $ 752 Billion one time expenditure on government houses and stores which will provide huge employment for constructing these houses and stores - one year expenditure $ 360 Billion = $ 888 Billion) should be spent on building permanent infrastructure of universal free healthcare for economically humble people. In the USA the healthcare system mainly by the private sector (and to some extent by government) has not been satisfactory even before the Coronavirus epidemic. Hence the universal free healthcare for economically humble people, should be achieved by launching the ‘Employees State Insurance’ (ESI) program. In this ESI the employees (up to say $ 50,000 per year income), their employers and government will contribute and the ESI will be managed by the representatives of these contributors. There should be Tribunals of doctors nominated mainly by employers (appealable to higher judiciary) which will hear the complaints of the employers against doctors of ESI, who will grant leave to sick employees on false grounds. During sickness of employees they will continue to get part of their salary / wages through ESI. During unemployment (during Coronavirus epidemic or otherwise) the employees will be considered as government employees with minimum statutory wages / salaries (hence during their unemployment the contribution of employees will be given by the government) and the government will ensure that such unemployed employees are not denied any of the benefits of universal free healthcare by ESI. Small businessmen (self-employed etc) upto $ 50,000 yearly income can also be considered as beneficiary of this ESI, like employees.
It is hoped that the US Govt & Congress would spend $ 2 Trillion Corona-fund responsibly in permanent infrastructure for 15 million households, as mentioned above in three sectors of Government Housing, Public Distribution System and Universal Free Healthcare - all these three sectors for the economically humble and vulnerable section of the USA.