By Billy Begas
House Committee on Ways and Means chairperson and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said the US government has made a correct timing in releasing their stimulus packages to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Salceda said the US has passed a $1.8 trillion financial assistance package to households. A stimulus package worth $2.2 trillion intended for new infrastructures comes only as the US nears hitting its vaccination target.
“In my opinion as an economist and a market analyst, that is the correct policy timing. Let’s save our people first and then let’s get them to be more productive,” said Salceda.
Salceda supported the call for another round of lifeline intervention or ayuda that would be release as the government rolls out the vaccination.
“The most important stimulus is vaccination, because it will help people return to their jobs, and help businesses return to normal demand. A big stimulus without fast vaccination is less effective than stimulus plus quick vaccination,” added Salceda.
He explained that lifeline interventions encourages compliance because people are less likely to break quarantine protocols when they have income security. He said mass testing is also needed to identify those who contracted the virus.
“Perhaps, we can even give a bonus ayuda for getting vaccinated, since getting the jabs will make you feel a little sick for a few hours or days. That will incentivize compliance,” Salceda said. “After we have done these necessary interventions, economic pump-priming will work much better.”