The American people will be focused this week on Tuesday's general election, where offices from the president on down will be decided by voters across the U.S.
But when the dust settles — which it will eventually — Congress and the Trump administration must finish work on a second stimulus package to keep the U.S. economy moving amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Regardless of who will be president on the afternoon of Jan. 20 (and who will lead the House and Senate after Jan. 3), Donald Trump is president now, and the American people remain in dire need of considerably more economic assistance, especially with winter coming.
Just as a lame-duck Bush administration intervened during the economic collapse 12 years ago to avoid catastrophe, so must the Trump administration step up as patriotic Americans to finish negotiations with Congress — still led by Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California and Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — on a second round of economic stimulus for the economy.
With many dealers enjoying record profits, there is little need for widespread consumer support, nor is there sufficient inventory to support a revamp of 2009's Cash for Clunkers program. What is needed is help for financially strained state and local governments as well as direct assistance for those who lost jobs to the pandemic.
An industry case can be made for both.
State and local governments are among the largest vehicle fleet operators in the country. From police cruisers to snow plows, these specialized vehicles take a pounding and require regular, specialized maintenance. But broke governments don't buy vehicles, and they may put off necessary service, resulting in higher costs down the road for taxpayers.
And as this nation learned so well in the Great Recession, consumers will give up many things before they will voluntarily give up the vehicle they need to get and keep a job. But auto loan delinquencies are trending up again, thanks to the COVID-caused recession. Direct federal assistance to those most in need allows consumers to hold on to their lives, and their assets, until the pandemic passes.
Regardless of the outcomes of this contentious election season, there's work to be done in Washington that can't wait until next year.