Mr. Sperling’s challenge with the rescue plan will be different than the one Mr. Biden faced in 2009, because the relief bill differs starkly from Mr. Obama’s signature stimulus plan. The Biden plan is more than twice as large as Mr. Obama’s. It includes money meant to hasten the end of the pandemic, including billions for vaccine deployment and coronavirus testing. The plans also have similarities, including more than $400 billion each in total spending for school districts and state and local governments.

Oversight of the $1.9 trillion relief legislation is currently expected to rely on the byzantine oversight architecture that was established in the stimulus packages Congress passed last year.

The new effort will continue to rely on the Government Accountability Office and the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, a panel of inspectors general from across the federal government.

Less clear is the fate of the Congressional Oversight Commission, the five-person bipartisan panel that was created to oversee the $500 billion Treasury Department fund that supported the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending programs and loans to airlines and companies that are critical to national security. The commission currently has only three members, and the Fed programs concluded at the end of last year.

The commission’s report in January said that it planned to continue “analyzing loans, loan guarantees and investments that were made prior to program termination” and producing reports.

It is not clear if the existing mechanisms will be sufficient for overseeing the money in the new relief package, which will pump billions of dollars into states and cities. Additional oversight measures are likely to be needed.

A Treasury official said that the department would set up a process to monitor the use of funds that are being sent to states to ensure that they are used according to the eligibility requirements in the law.

Like many Americans in the pandemic, Mr. Sperling will have to coordinate and navigate those efforts virtually, at least at first. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said on Monday that Mr. Sperling would work remotely from his home in California until he is vaccinated.

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Biden, Pitching Stimulus, Promises Milestones for Vaccines and Checks

WASHINGTON — President Biden said on Monday that his administration was on pace to achieve two key goals by March 25: 100 million shots of Covid-19 vaccines since his inauguration and 100 million direct payments under his economic relief bill.

The announcement was the first in what promises to be a series of end-zone dances that Mr. Biden and administration officials are set to stage this week as they promote the $1.9 trillion package that the president signed into law last week.

“Shots in arms and money in pockets. That’s important,” Mr. Biden said in a brief address from the White House. “The American Rescue Plan is already doing what it was designed to do: make a difference in people’s everyday lives.”

Over the weekend, the Treasury Department began issuing direct electronic payments of $1,400 per person, as authorized by the law, to low- and middle-income Americans. The United States has administered 92.6 million vaccine doses since Jan. 20, when Mr. Biden took office, according to data released on Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the current pace of vaccinations, the country will pass 100 million doses before the end of the week, well ahead of the president’s promise of March 25.

relief plan includes dozens of other provisions that have yet to be carried out, such as new monthly checks for parents, $350 billion for state and local governments and additional relief for the unemployed.

With so much money at stake and Republicans criticizing the package as wasteful, Mr. Biden vowed to bring “fastidious oversight” to the relief bill in order to ensure that it is distributed quickly and equitably.

He introduced Gene Sperling, a longtime Democratic policy aide who advised Mr. Biden’s presidential campaign last year, as his pick to oversee spending from the relief package. Mr. Sperling will be a senior adviser to the president and a White House employee, operating independently from an oversight commission established by Congress during the pandemic that consists of inspectors general from various agencies.

“We have to prove to the American people that their government can deliver for them, and do it without waste or fraud,” Mr. Biden said.

His remarks came as his team prepared to fan out across the country for a week of sales pitches for a bill that has proved very popular with voters but garnered zero Republican votes.

helped deliver Democrats the Senate majority that made the relief plan possible.

A group of administration officials, including the first lady, Jill Biden, and Ms. Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, will make their own trips. Ms. Harris and her husband landed in Las Vegas for an event on Monday afternoon, while Dr. Biden finished an event in New Jersey.

The road show is an effort to avoid the messaging mistakes of President Barack Obama’s administration, which Democrats believe failed to continue vocally building support for his $780 billion stimulus act after it passed in 2009. The challenge for the Biden administration will be to highlight less obvious provisions, including the largest federal infusion in generations of aid to the poor, a substantial expansion of the child tax credit and increased subsidies for health insurance.

Mr. Sperling’s challenge will be to meet Mr. Biden’s promises of transparency and accountability for those programs.

The president and White House officials called Mr. Sperling well qualified for the task. He was the director of the National Economic Council under Mr. Obama and President Bill Clinton. In the Obama administration, where he first served as a counselor in the Treasury Department, Mr. Sperling helped to coordinate a bailout of Detroit automakers and other parts of the administration’s response to the 2008 financial crisis.

He advised Mr. Biden’s campaign informally in 2020, helping to hone the campaign’s “Build Back Better” policy agenda. Friends have described Mr. Sperling in recent months as eager to join the administration; he had been mentioned as a possible appointee to lead the Office of Management and Budget after Mr. Biden’s first nominee for that position, Neera Tanden, withdrew amid Senate opposition.

Frequently Asked Questions About the New Stimulus Package

The stimulus payments would be $1,400 for most recipients. Those who are eligible would also receive an identical payment for each of their children. To qualify for the full $1,400, a single person would need an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or below. For heads of household, adjusted gross income would need to be $112,500 or below, and for married couples filing jointly that number would need to be $150,000 or below. To be eligible for a payment, a person must have a Social Security number. Read more.

Buying insurance through the government program known as COBRA would temporarily become a lot cheaper. COBRA, for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, generally lets someone who loses a job buy coverage via the former employer. But it’s expensive: Under normal circumstances, a person may have to pay at least 102 percent of the cost of the premium. Under the relief bill, the government would pay the entire COBRA premium from April 1 through Sept. 30. A person who qualified for new, employer-based health insurance someplace else before Sept. 30 would lose eligibility for the no-cost coverage. And someone who left a job voluntarily would not be eligible, either. Read more

This credit, which helps working families offset the cost of care for children under 13 and other dependents, would be significantly expanded for a single year. More people would be eligible, and many recipients would get a bigger break. The bill would also make the credit fully refundable, which means you could collect the money as a refund even if your tax bill was zero. “That will be helpful to people at the lower end” of the income scale, said Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. Read more.

There would be a big one for people who already have debt. You wouldn’t have to pay income taxes on forgiven debt if you qualify for loan forgiveness or cancellation — for example, if you’ve been in an income-driven repayment plan for the requisite number of years, if your school defrauded you or if Congress or the president wipes away $10,000 of debt for large numbers of people. This would be the case for debt forgiven between Jan. 1, 2021, and the end of 2025. Read more.

The bill would provide billions of dollars in rental and utility assistance to people who are struggling and in danger of being evicted from their homes. About $27 billion would go toward emergency rental assistance. The vast majority of it would replenish the so-called Coronavirus Relief Fund, created by the CARES Act and distributed through state, local and tribal governments, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. That’s on top of the $25 billion in assistance provided by the relief package passed in December. To receive financial assistance — which could be used for rent, utilities and other housing expenses — households would have to meet several conditions. Household income could not exceed 80 percent of the area median income, at least one household member must be at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and individuals would have to qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced financial hardship (directly or indirectly) because of the pandemic. Assistance could be provided for up to 18 months, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Lower-income families that have been unemployed for three months or more would be given priority for assistance. Read more.

Mr. Sperling’s challenge with the rescue plan will be different than the one Mr. Biden faced in 2009, because the relief bill differs starkly from Mr. Obama’s signature stimulus plan. The Biden plan is more than twice as large as Mr. Obama’s. It includes money meant to hasten the end of the pandemic, including billions for vaccine deployment and coronavirus testing. The plans also have similarities, including more than $400 billion each in total spending for school districts and state and local governments.

Oversight of the $1.9 trillion relief legislation is currently expected to rely on the byzantine oversight architecture that was established in the stimulus packages Congress passed last year.

The new effort will continue to rely on the Government Accountability Office and the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, a panel of inspectors general from across the federal government.

Less clear is the fate of the Congressional Oversight Commission, the five-person bipartisan panel that was created to oversee the $500 billion Treasury Department fund that supported the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending programs and loans to airlines and companies that are critical to national security. The commission currently has only three members, and the Fed programs concluded at the end of last year.

The commission’s report in January said that it planned to continue “analyzing loans, loan guarantees and investments that were made prior to program termination” and producing reports.

It is not clear if the existing mechanisms will be sufficient for overseeing the money in the new relief package, which will pump billions of dollars into states and cities. Additional oversight measures are likely to be needed.

A Treasury official said that the department would set up a process to monitor the use of funds that are being sent to states to ensure that they are used according to the eligibility requirements in the law.

Like many Americans in the pandemic, Mr. Sperling will have to coordinate and navigate those efforts virtually, at least at first. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said on Monday that Mr. Sperling would work remotely from his home in California until he is vaccinated.

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How the U.S. Got It (Mostly) Right in the Economy’s Rescue

“Now that we need them, there’s no freaking help,” he said.

Research from Eliza Forsythe, an economist at the University of Illinois, found that from June until Feb. 17, only 41 percent of unemployed workers had access to benefits. Some of the rest were unaware of their eligibility or couldn’t navigate the thicket of rules in their states. Others simply weren’t eligible. Asian workers, Black workers and those with less education were disproportionately represented among the nonrecipients.

The gaps and delays in the system had consequences.

“The impact of that is folks’ having to move out of their apartments because they have this money that’s supposed to be coming but they just haven’t received it,” said Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group. Others kept their homes because of eviction bans, but had their utilities shut off, Ms. Dixon added, or turned to food banks to avoid going hungry — measures of food insecurity surged in the pandemic.

Still, the federal government did far more for unemployed workers than in any previous recession. Congress expanded the safety net to cover millions of workers — freelancers, part-time workers, the self-employed — who are left out in normal times. At the peak last summer, the state and federal unemployment systems were paying $5 billion a day in benefits — money that helped workers avoid evictions and hunger and that flowed through the economy, preventing an even worse outcome.

The record of other federal responses is similarly mixed. The Paycheck Protection Program helped hundreds of thousands of small businesses but was plagued by administrative hiccups and, at least according to some estimates, saved relatively few jobs. Direct checks to households similarly helped keep families afloat, but sent billions of dollars to households that were already financially stable, while failing to reach some of those who needed the help the most — in some cases because they had not filed tax returns or did not have bank accounts.

Beyond the successes and failures of specific programs, any evaluation of the broader economy needs to start with a question: Compared to what?

Relative to a world without Covid-19, the economy remains deeply troubled. The United States had 9.5 million fewer jobs in February than a year earlier, a hole deeper than in the worst of the last recession. Gross domestic product fell 3.5 percent in 2020, making it among the worst years on record.

Relative to the rosy predictions early in the pandemic — when economists hoped a brief shutdown would let the country beat the virus, then get quickly back to work — the downturn has been long and damaging. But those hopes were dashed not by a failure of economic policy but by the virus itself, and the failure to contain it.

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Uncounted in the Unemployment Rate, but They Want to Work

Robert Hesse was expecting an imminent promotion to manager of Sub Zero Ice Cream, a nitrogen ice cream shop in Ventura, Calif., when it shut down in March because of the pandemic.

“I like to work,” said Mr. Hesse, a college graduate who turns 26 on Tuesday. “Otherwise I feel like I’m useless.” But he has been reluctant to seek a new job because he lives with his parents, who are not yet vaccinated, and is afraid of bringing the virus home to them.

“It’s just health concerns — I don’t really want to be around the general public yet,” he said.

Mr. Hesse represents what economists say is one of the most striking features of the pandemic-driven economic downturn: the tide of workers who, as the government counts things, have left the labor force.

In the year since the pandemic upended the economy, more than four million people have quit the labor force, leaving a gaping hole in the job market that cuts across age and circumstances. An exceptionally high number have been sidelined because of child care and other family responsibilities or health concerns. Others gave up looking for work because they were discouraged by the lack of opportunities. And some older workers have called it quits earlier than they had planned.

labor force participation rate among those 16 or older has dropped to about 61 percent from 63 percent in February 2020. Among prime age workers — those 25 to 54 — it has declined to 81 percent from 83 percent.

Women in their prime working years have quit the labor force at nearly twice the rate of men, according to research by Wells Fargo, partly because more women work in industries like leisure and hospitality that are less suited to social distancing and partly because women are more likely to bear the burden of child care. The share of Black women who have left the labor force is more than twice the share of white men.

Then there are the many people who may be seeking a job but who are unavailable to take one because of health concerns, illness or caretaking obligations, putting them in what economists say is something of a gray area — between being unemployed and not in the labor force — that has become more common during the pandemic.

A single mother, Frankie Wiley, 29, worked as a housekeeper at a resort in Bloomington, Minn., until she was laid off last March. She would like a paid job, but she has to stay home with her 11-year-old daughter, who is attending school remotely.

“I take care of her, so I’m her only support,” she said. She said she plans to return to work once her daughter can go back to school safely.

labor force participation has fallen to 38 percent from 40 percent in the last year.

A study from the research firm Oxford Economics estimates that around two million workers have left the labor force to retire since the start of the pandemic, more than twice the level in 2019.

That was the case for Ed Hoag, a public librarian for 35 years, who decided on an early retirement last summer out of concerns for his health. He and his wife have no children, and he was worried that if either of them got sick, there would be no one to take care of them.

Now 60, he spends his days reading at his home in Lambertville, N.J., where he moved a few years ago in anticipation of a retirement that had once seemed much further off.

“I do miss working,” he said. “I miss my colleagues and I miss the activity of the library, the people that would come in, the jobs we did. I do miss all that interaction. But I think that for myself and my wife, it was the right decision to make.”

For the legion of older workers who hope to return to work after the pandemic, a challenging path may lie ahead. Studies show that older people who leave the work force will have a more difficult time re-entering it because of age discrimination and other reasons. If that reality holds during the recovery, the number of older workers who have left the labor force — either because they could not find a job or because they retired early — could be one of the pandemic’s enduring consequences.

One prevailing question is whether employers, as in the past, will look askance at those who have been out of the labor force for a significant time.

Even in a tight labor market, long-term unemployed workers faced a stigma, said Maria Heidkamp, the director of the New Start Career Network, which helps older job seekers in New Jersey.

“In addition to any age, race or gender discrimination that they may already encounter, there’s a lot of evidence that it is easier to get a job if you already have a job,” she said. Though employers may overlook any pandemic résumé gap, she said, “there’s no reason to think that that is going to be different for these people, who are on the sidelines right now who want to come back.”

Still, because of the pandemic’s unique economic impact, many economists believe that the extraordinary number of people who have left the labor force will be more of a temporary blip than emblematic of a deeper structural issue.

“I don’t think overall the U.S. labor force participation rate is going to get stuck at a lower rate,” said Betsey Stevenson, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan, who was a member of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Already there is evidence that people who left the labor force are returning to work.

Labor participation among young people, which tumbled in the early stages of the pandemic, has rebounded significantly as service industries bounce back.

And as the vaccination rate continues to rise and restrictions on activity lift across the country, many more people who have left the work force are beginning to plot their returns.

Since Heather Kilpatrick lost her job in private-event sales last March, she has spent her days at home in East Boston caring for her daughter, now 3.

Without her additional income, she and her husband, co-owner of a restaurant, could no longer afford day care at the local Y.M.C.A. So although Ms. Kilpatrick, 36, ached to go back to work, she felt as if she were trying to solve a chicken-or-egg dilemma.

“No disrespect to women who want to stay home, but that’s never been me,” she said.

Recently, she finally accepted a part-time job working from home for a restaurant group.

Her job began last week.

Ben Casselman and Jeanna Smialek contributed reporting.

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The Week in Business: Here Comes the Stimulus Cash

Good morning. Millions of Americans will receive their stimulus payments any minute now, as the American Rescue Plan is up and running. Here’s what else you need to know in business and tech news for the week ahead. — Charlotte Cowles

Credit…Giacomo Bagnara

President Biden signed his hard-fought whopper of a stimulus package into law on Thursday. The bill will provide direct payments of up to $1,400 to qualifying Americans, who can expect to see direct deposits hit their bank accounts as soon as this weekend (as in, today). It will also extend unemployment benefits, give aid to ailing businesses like airlines, provide funding to speed up vaccinations and reopen schools, and give most parents a tax credit of up to $300 per child, per month. The president has embarked on a weekslong campaign to publicize the benefits offered in the package, which is popular with voters of both parties even though it received no Republican support in Congress.

An international group of hackers has claimed that it breached 150,000 surveillance cameras inside hospitals, companies, police departments, prisons and schools in the United States, all by accessing a trove of camera data collected by the Silicon Valley start-up Verkada. Tesla is among the companies whose internal footage was potentially compromised. In taking credit, one of the hackers said they were motivated by “lots of curiosity, fighting for freedom of information and against intellectual property, a huge dose of anticapitalism, a hint of anarchism — and it’s also just too much fun not to do it.”

fell again last week, approaching their lowest numbers since the pandemic began. It’s a promising sign that the economy may be recovering in earnest after months of uneven improvement, but there’s a long way to go — joblessness still remains incredibly high by historical standards. Meanwhile, the stock market had a great week. The S&P 500 climbed to a record high on Thursday as investors salivated at the prospect of fresh stimulus cash boosting the economy.

Credit…Giacomo Bagnara

Wondering what it will take to go on a serious vacation this summer — the kind where you fly through several time zones, cross at least one border and genuinely forget to check your email because real life seems so far away? Well, vaccine passports could be the answer. This Wednesday, the European Union Commission will announce its proposal for special documents that would allow vaccinated people to travel more freely. The United States, China and Britain are considering similar measures. The rules are intended to help the ailing travel and tourism industries while curbing virus transmission.

Frequently Asked Questions About the New Stimulus Package

The stimulus payments would be $1,400 for most recipients. Those who are eligible would also receive an identical payment for each of their children. To qualify for the full $1,400, a single person would need an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or below. For heads of household, adjusted gross income would need to be $112,500 or below, and for married couples filing jointly that number would need to be $150,000 or below. To be eligible for a payment, a person must have a Social Security number. Read more.

Buying insurance through the government program known as COBRA would temporarily become a lot cheaper. COBRA, for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, generally lets someone who loses a job buy coverage via the former employer. But it’s expensive: Under normal circumstances, a person may have to pay at least 102 percent of the cost of the premium. Under the relief bill, the government would pay the entire COBRA premium from April 1 through Sept. 30. A person who qualified for new, employer-based health insurance someplace else before Sept. 30 would lose eligibility for the no-cost coverage. And someone who left a job voluntarily would not be eligible, either. Read more

This credit, which helps working families offset the cost of care for children under 13 and other dependents, would be significantly expanded for a single year. More people would be eligible, and many recipients would get a bigger break. The bill would also make the credit fully refundable, which means you could collect the money as a refund even if your tax bill was zero. “That will be helpful to people at the lower end” of the income scale, said Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. Read more.

There would be a big one for people who already have debt. You wouldn’t have to pay income taxes on forgiven debt if you qualify for loan forgiveness or cancellation — for example, if you’ve been in an income-driven repayment plan for the requisite number of years, if your school defrauded you or if Congress or the president wipes away $10,000 of debt for large numbers of people. This would be the case for debt forgiven between Jan. 1, 2021, and the end of 2025. Read more.

The bill would provide billions of dollars in rental and utility assistance to people who are struggling and in danger of being evicted from their homes. About $27 billion would go toward emergency rental assistance. The vast majority of it would replenish the so-called Coronavirus Relief Fund, created by the CARES Act and distributed through state, local and tribal governments, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. That’s on top of the $25 billion in assistance provided by the relief package passed in December. To receive financial assistance — which could be used for rent, utilities and other housing expenses — households would have to meet several conditions. Household income could not exceed 80 percent of the area median income, at least one household member must be at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and individuals would have to qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced financial hardship (directly or indirectly) because of the pandemic. Assistance could be provided for up to 18 months, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Lower-income families that have been unemployed for three months or more would be given priority for assistance. Read more.

President Biden has vowed to take a tough stance on China, but also to chart a more strategic approach than the Trump administration, which sparred with Beijing in a monthslong trade war with questionable results. This week, two top members of Mr. Biden’s team, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, will meet with their Chinese counterparts in Alaska. It will be the first high-level in-person contact between the two countries since Mr. Biden has taken office, and is expected to set the tone for relations moving forward.

As the economy recovers and people start commuting, traveling and buying things again, oil prices are expected to go up — and up and up. Usually when this happens, the energy industry pumps more oil out of the ground to meet consumer demand. But not this time. Fuel companies have been reluctant to increase their supply, as many remain spooked by the pandemic’s destructive effect on oil markets in the past year. (Oil prices even turned negative at one point last April, when traders had to pay buyers to take barrels off their hands.) That’s a far cry from the $4 a gallon that some states could see this summer if demand continues apace.

has sold for $51 million. The proceeds will go to a fund providing restitution for his abuse victims. On Wall Street, the share value of the gaming site Roblox soared on its first day of public trading, a sign of just how indispensable video games have become in the pandemic economy. And a Chinese bowl bought for $35 at a yard sale in Connecticut turned out to be a rare artifact from the Ming dynasty, and is expected to fetch up to $500,000 at auction this week.

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How Shifting Politics Re-energized the Fight Against Poverty

WASHINGTON — A quarter-century ago, a Democratic president celebrated “the end of welfare as we know it,” challenging the poor to exercise “independence” and espousing balanced budgets and smaller government.

The Democratic Party capped a march in the opposite direction this week.

Its first major legislative act under President Biden was a deficit-financed, $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” filled with programs as broad as expanded aid to nearly every family with children and as targeted as payments to Black farmers. While providing an array of benefits to the middle class, it is also a poverty-fighting initiative of potentially historic proportions, delivering more immediate cash assistance to families at the bottom of the income scale than any federal legislation since at least the New Deal.

Behind that shift is a realignment of economic, political and social forces, some decades in the making and others accelerated by the pandemic, that enabled a rapid advance in progressive priorities.

Rising inequality and stagnant incomes over much of the past two decades left a growing share of Americans — of all races, in conservative states and liberal ones, in inner cities and small towns — concerned about making ends meet. New research documented the long-term damage from child poverty.

economic equity at the forefront of the new administration’s agenda.

Whether the new law is a one-off culmination of those forces, or a down payment on even more ambitious efforts to address the nation’s challenges of poverty and opportunity, will be a defining battle for Democrats in the Biden era.

broadly popular with voters, an intensified focus on worker struggles on both the left and the right, including Republicans’ increasing efforts to define themselves as a party of the working class, has scrambled the politics of economic policy across the ideological spectrum.

prominent conservatives have welcomed the antipoverty provisions, applauding them as pro-family even though they violate core tenets of the Republican Party’s decades-long position that government aid is a disincentive to work.

Many Republicans from conservative-leaning states have turned increased attention to growing social problems in their own backyards, in the middle of an opioid crisis and economic stagnation that has left rural Americans with higher poverty rates than urban Americans, particularly for children.

An emerging strain of conservatism, often supported by a new generation of economic thinkers, has embraced expanded spending for families with children, to help lower-income workers and, in some cases, to encourage families to have more children. The conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt celebrated the expanded child credit in a series of Twitter posts on Friday, urging parents to use the proceeds to send their children to parochial school, and said he would work to make them permanent.

nearly six million children out of poverty, “came to be part of the package because families that earn in the bottom third of the income distribution, or at least of the wage distribution, have been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic,” said Cecilia Rouse, the chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Democrats and poverty researchers began laying the groundwork for many of those provisions years ago, amid economic changes that exposed holes in the safety net. When a 2015 book by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, “$2.00 a Day,” argued that rising numbers of families spent months with virtually no cash income, Mr. Brown arranged for all his Democratic Senate colleagues to receive a copy.

At the same time, many scholars shifted their focus from whether government benefits discouraged parents from working to whether the vagaries of a low-wage labor market left parents with adequate money to raise a child.

A growing body of academic research, which Obama administration officials began to herald shortly before leaving office, showed that a large proportion of children spent part of their childhood below the poverty line and that even short episodes of poverty left children less likely to prosper as adults. A landmark report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in 2019 found that aid programs left children better off.

“That allowed us to change the conversation,” away from the dangers of dependency “to the good these programs do,” said Hilary W. Hoynes, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who served on the committee that wrote the report.

cut child poverty from prepandemic levels among whites by 39 percent, Latinos by 45 percent and African-Americans by 52 percent.

“Covid exposed the fissures of systemic racism and systemic poverty that already existed,” said the Rev. William J. Barber II, who helps run the Poor People’s Campaign, an effort to get the needy more involved in electoral politics. “It forced a deeper conversation about poverty and wages in this country.”

White House officials and Democratic leaders in Congress say Mr. Biden’s rescue plan has now changed that conversation, creating momentum for permanent expansions of many of its antipoverty efforts. Multiple researchers project the bill will cut child poverty in half this year.

Democrats say they will turn that into an argument against Republicans who might oppose making the benefits permanent. “You’re voting for doubling the child poverty rate — you’re going to do that?” Mr. Brown said.

In selling the plan, Mr. Biden has blurred the lines between the poor and the middle class, treating them less as distinct groups with separate problems than as overlapping and shifting populations of people who were struggling with economic insecurity even before the pandemic. Last week, he at once talked of “millions of people out of work through no fault of their own” and cited the benefits his plan would bring to families with annual incomes of $100,000.

“This is part of why I think it is more transformational,” said Brian Deese, who heads Mr. Biden’s National Economic Council. “This is not just a targeted antipoverty program.”

In coming months, Democrats will face significant hurdles in making provisions like the child benefit permanent, including pressure from fiscal hawks to offset them by raising taxes or cutting other spending.

But the swift passage of even the temporary provisions has left many antipoverty experts delighted.

“A year ago, I would have said it was a pipe dream,” said Stacy Taylor, who tracks poverty policy for Fresh EBT by Propel, a phone application used by millions of food stamp recipients. “I can’t believe we’re going to have a guaranteed income for families with children.”

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Here Are 17 Reasons to Let The Economic Optimism Begin

That’s essentially what has happened in the last few decades as China has gone from being isolated to being deeply integrated in the world economy. When the country joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, its population of 1.28 billion was bigger than that of the combined 34 advanced countries that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (1.16 billion).

But that was a one-time adjustment, and wages are rising rapidly in China as it moves beyond low-end manufacturing and toward more sophisticated goods. India, the only other country with comparable population, is already well integrated into the world economy. To the degree globalization continues, it should be a more gradual process.

9. There’s only one Mexico

For years, American workers were also coming into competition with lower-earning Mexicans after enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994. As with China, the new dynamic improved the long-term economic prospects for the United States, but in the short run it was bad for many American factory workers.

But it too was a one-time adjustment. Even before President Trump, trade agreements under negotiation were for the most part no longer focused on making it easier to import from low- labor-cost countries. The main aim was to improve trade rules for American companies doing business in other rich countries.

10. The offshoring revolution is mostly played out

Once upon a time, if you were an American company that needed to operate a customer service call center or carry out some labor-intensive information technology work, you had no real choice but to hire a bunch of Americans to do it. The emergence of inexpensive, instant global telecommunication changed that, allowing you to put work wherever costs were the lowest.

In the first decade of the 2000s, American companies did just that on mass scale, locating work in countries like India and the Philippines. It’s a slightly different version of the earlier analogy involving the farm; a customer service operator in Kansas was suddenly in competition with millions of lower-earning Indians for a job.

But it’s not as if the internet can be invented a second time.

Sensing a theme here? In the early years of the 21st century, a combination of globalization and technological advancements put American workers in competition with billions of workers around the world.

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Which Families Will Receive the Most Money From the Stimulus Bill?

The Covid-19 relief legislation signed by President Biden on Thursday includes a larger increase in direct aid to families than in any other pandemic relief bills passed so far — an average of $6,660 for households with children, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

estimates, the bill could cut child poverty in half this year.

The bill accomplishes this in primarily two ways: a significant increase in stimulus payments per child, and a larger child tax credit that will benefit the lowest-income families in particular.

The coming stimulus checks are larger for adults than in the first two rounds — $1,400 per adult, compared with $1,200 per adult in a bill passed in March 2020 and $600 per adult in December. The same income thresholds apply for receiving the full amount: $75,000 for singles, $112,500 for heads of households and $150,000 for married couples, though the check amounts phase out much faster for earners above those levels.

The biggest increase is for children and other dependents. In the first two rounds, taxpayers received $500 and then $600 for each dependent child. This round includes $1,400 for each dependent child and adult dependent, which includes college students.

And unlike in previous rounds of stimulus, the child tax credit has been increased. It is now worth $3,600 per child under 5 and $3,000 per older child, from $2,000 per child. Low-income families will benefit the most, because they will now be eligible for the full amount, even if their tax liability is very low.

Previously, parents could deduct the $2,000-per-child credit from their tax liability. If they did not pay that much in taxes, they could be eligible to receive up to $1,400 as a refundable credit. Now, all parents will receive the full amount, with half of the value of the credit issued in advance beginning in July.

Income thresholds for the full child tax credit are the same as for the stimulus payments. The credits fully phase out for unmarried taxpayers earning $240,000 or more, and for married couples earning $440,000.

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Stimulus Payments Will Start Arriving This Weekend

The Treasury Department said on Friday that stimulus payments would begin arriving in bank accounts by direct deposit this weekend as the Biden administration tries to get much-needed money to struggling families.

Treasury and Internal Revenue Service Officials said the payments would be released in batches over the next several weeks, with some coming in the mail in the form of checks or debit cards. The payments are the first big logistical test for Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, as millions of Americans are anxiously awaiting the economic aid.

The payments will provide up to $1,400 per individual, including dependents. The amounts will be reduced for people making more than $75,000 and for married couples who earn more than $150,000. Individuals earning more than $80,000 or couples making more than $160,000 will not get payments.

This is the third round of direct payments since the pandemic started last year. The amount of money each person qualifies for is based on tax information filed with the Internal Revenue Service for 2019 or 2020.

misdirected into unused accounts. The majority of the payments are expected to be delivered within the next few weeks.

On Monday, people will be able to check the status of their payments on the I.R.S.’s website

Some of the first round of payments last year were delayed because former President Donald J. Trump wanted the design of the checks changed to have his name added to the memo line. A Treasury official said on Friday that the checks will be signed be a career official. On the memo line will be the words, “Economic Impact Payment.”

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Unemployment Claims Fall, Fueling Economic Hope

The second year of the coronavirus pandemic is starting with rising hopes for the economic outlook — and a long way to go.

Positive signs are emerging as restrictions on businesses lift and the pace of vaccine distributions ramps up. But millions remain unemployed, and many economists are cautioning that a return to pre-pandemic conditions could take months, if not years.

That reality became all the more evident on Thursday, when the Labor Department reported that a total of 709,000 workers filed first-time claims for state unemployment benefits in the week that ended March 6. Though the figure was 47,000 lower than the week before — and touching the lowest levels of the last year — it was still extraordinarily high by historical standards.

“The story week in and week out is that magnitude steals the show,” said AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at the career site Indeed. The report “really paints the picture of long-term joblessness,” she said, adding, “That is the reality for millions of Americans and is going to be a hurdle for the recovery to clear.”

final approval to President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package, which will inject the economy with a fresh surge of federal aid. The legislation, signed by Mr. Biden on Thursday, includes an extension of federal jobless benefits, which could provide a stopgap measure of relief for those still out of work as the labor market begins to heal in earnest after months of uneven improvement.

employers added 379,000 jobs in February, an unexpectedly robust number that reinforced confidence in the strength of the economic recovery roughly one year into the pandemic-induced downturn. The gains came largely in the hard-hit leisure and hospitality industries.

“The pieces are falling into place for a more substantial improvement in the labor market,” said Sarah House, a senior economist at Wells Fargo.

As vaccination rates climb, the weather warms up and additional government help arrives, many economists foresee a more positive trajectory.

“We’re seeing a huge pickup in hiring,” said Julia Pollak, a labor economist with the employment site ZipRecruiter. “I think for many employers, it’s becoming real, and for many job seekers it is as well.”

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