Since stepping into the Oval Office last week, U.S. president Joe Biden's has lost no time in taking executive action to support millions of Americans whose livelihoods have been displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He signed key presidential orders to speed up and widen access to stimulus checks and food assistance for low-income families as well as to protect the health and labor rights of vulnerable workers.
But he's only just getting started.
President Biden has proposed a 1.9 trillion dollar American Rescue plan that includes an additional 14-hundred dollar per-person payment, 400-dollars a week in unemployment benefits, 400 billion dollars for the vaccine and reopening schools, and 21 billion dollars for child care assistance and health care subsidies.
Key members of his economic team, Janet Yellen and Bernie Sanders are strongly pushing for Congress to pass this plan against Republican resistance, as the country adds more than 175-thousand infection cases a day, businesses remain closed, millions of workers have lost their jobs.
We discuss this with Neale Mahoney, Professor of Economics at Stanford University.
Also joining us is Yang Jun-sok, Professor of Economics at the Catholic University of Korea.
Dr. Mahoney: While Republicans have balked at the price tag of President Biden's plan, given that the country already spent close to 5 trillion dollars last year, his Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the key thing to do right now is "act big and worry later" to avoid a long-term recession. This is her second time to take federal office during a crisis. Do you trust her judgement?
Dr. Yang: Do you agree that Congress should 'act big' as Janet Yellen said, and how feasible do you think is her plan to tax unrealized capital gains? What would this entail?
Dr. Mahoney: While Yellen has mostly enjoyed bipartisan support, can she convince Republicans to get on board when it comes to hiking corporate tax from 21 percent to 28 percent, as well as raising the minimum wage? What challenges do you think she may face?
Dr. Mahoney: While the Trump administration pushed for a weaker U.S. currency to boost exports, Yellen said Tuesday at the Senate Finance Committee’s confirmation hearing that she won't be seeking a weak dollar and that its value should be determined by markets. What impact do you expect this to have?
Dr. Yang: What effect do think a stronger dollar will have, particularly on the Korean economy?
Dr. Yang: There are concerns that the Biden administration may retain some of former President Trump's protectionist policies on trade. Do you think that's likely, and how should Korean businesses prepare?
Dr. Mahoney: Janet Yellen is known for making bold moves during her time in the Federal Reserve. What other key initiatives do you expect her to focus on, after tackling the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Dr. Yang: Before we go, Janet Yellen also commented on Bitcoin. She said cryptocurrencies were "mainly" used in illegal financing and should be "curtailed." Are cryptocurrencies in for a tough time under the Biden administration?
That was Dr. Neale Mahoney, Professor of Economics at Stanford University.
and Dr. Yang Jun-sok, Professor of Economics at the Catholic University of Korea.
Thank you both for your time.