Apparently we have reached agreement on the Senate’s $2 trillion coronavirus rescue bill. Not much has changed since Sunday except that an inspector general will oversee the $500 billion corporate lending facility that’s part of the bill.
The astonishing part of all this is that virtually all of the money in this bill is meant to be spent over the next six months or so. That’s about 20 percent of GDP, which isn’t far off the amount we spent on World War II—though obviously that spending lasted considerably longer. By contrast, the 2009 stimulus bill spent roughly $400 billion per year, or a little under 3 percent of GDP.
This is a gigantic bill. Just to give you a sense of scale, here’s what it looks like in the context of the overall budget deficit on an annual basis. World War II is literally the only comparable period in recent history.