What’s Inside the $2 Trillion Economic Stimulus

President Trump just signed into law a massive coronavirus relief package, pumping $2 trillion of stimulus into the economy to prevent a catastrophe. It’s hard to imagine just how much money is at stake, much less where it’s going and who is going to benefit. That’s why we created our latest visualization.

Economic Stimulus

  • Individuals are set to benefit the most from the coronavirus relief bill, totaling an estimated $560 billion in direct cash payments to families and additional unemployment benefits.
  • Companies of all sizes will see substantial assistance from the federal government at about $500 billion. This includes special tax credits to keep people employed at distressed or closed businesses throughout the crisis.
  • Small businesses are set to benefit from $350 billion in guaranteed loans, which can be forgiven if they don’t lay people off.
  • Congress also appropriated money for a variety of different situations, including extra funding for hospitals, airlines and relief for student loans.

To create our visualization we used figures from NPR, which analyzed the original legislative text of the CARES Act. This is a highly complex piece of legislation, so let’s unpack some of the most important information.

Cash payments to individuals: A lot of people are trying to figure out if they qualify for a direct payment from the government, and if so, how much it’s going to be and when it will arrive. Individuals making less than $75,000 can expect to receive up to $1,200 each. Families with children can expect an additional $500 per child. The cash payout decreases for those making over $99,000 or $198,000 as a family. If the IRS has your account on file, it will deposit the money directly into your bank. In total, cash payments are expected to cost the government about $300 billion.

Extra unemployment benefits: A record 3.2 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, and the federal government is stepping in to help. Totaling approximately $260 billion, the feds are spending an extra $600 per week for any unemployed person on top of whatever amount individual state governments are providing. That extra money is scheduled to last up to 4 months. Gig workers and freelancers are also able to file for unemployment under the CARES Act.

Aid for companies: Large corporations and small businesses alike are set to receive substantial aid from the federal government during the coronavirus pandemic. The CARES Act allows for tax credits for any company hit by the virus that keeps workers on the payroll. Specific industries are also targeted for direct aid, including $58 billion for airlines to pay employee wages and benefits during the slowdown. Small businesses can also expect about $350 billion in forgivable loans to bridge the downturn.

And lots of other stuff: The CARES Act also sets money aside for lots of other organizations and projects. Most notably, hospitals are going to get $100 billion in direct funding to fight the virus. Financial relief is likewise coming to individuals in other ways beyond direct cash payments. President Trump already announced federal student loans wouldn’t accrue interest during the crisis, and the CARES Act goes even further, pausing all interest and loan payments through September 30, 2020.

In the rush to pass such a massive piece of legislation in record time, Congress snuck in lots of special deals for specific industries. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington is set to receive $25 million. The Smithsonian Institution can count on an extra $7.5 million. The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities will each get $75 million more. The CARES Act even allocates money for abstinence-only education. All of these things are unrelated to the spread of COVID-19, but they were necessary to pass the legislation so quickly.

Want to help fight the coronavirus right now? Donate to the WHO’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

About the article


Juan Carlos