The success is total. The solidarity exemplary. The determination unfailing. And that’s not even counting the phenomenal success of the USA’s vaccination campaign: I myself got vaccinated in March well before my age bracket was called and just two days after I signed up for it. The US government has achieved another great feat as its citizens make their way out of the Covid crisis – financially – in a better position than before the beginning of the pandemic. While sensitive to social protections, Europe seems to have lost a part of its soul because of this crisis, after having been outdone by a nation that traditionally doesn’t demonstrate this kind of quality. In the end, it will come out of it having lost its credibility – this Europe – in so much that in cannot totally attribute America’s incredible accomplishment just to Biden (and his gargantuan 1.9 billion rescue plan) because even Trump, the despised one, had his two plans that were adopted towards the end of his tenure.
Studies by Brookings have shown that the country’s economy wouldn’t be able to recover before the end of 2023 without this series of stimulus packages, with the economic figures indicating that the fundamentals have returned in May 2021 to the levels they were on at the beginning of 2020. Americans have therefore learnt their lessons from the past. And from the recent past, because everyone remembers Obama’s prudent recovery plans in 2008 that were wholly responsible for the timid and unequal recovery. In fact, America’s authorities have gone even further with regards to the Covid crisis because, while they have of course spent a lot more, the have also spent a lot better. The emphasis has in fact been focused particularly (now under Biden and at the end of Trump’s tenure) on substantial aid for families, whereas almost all of the aid before went to companies and the most well-off. It is therefore a drastic revision of doctrine that has taken place during the Covid crisis because – in fact – the United States of America has now officially given up on its supply-side policy whilst also throwing the myth of trickle-down economics to the wind.
A typical family will therefore have now received three cheques: $1,200 per adult in spring 2020, 600 in December of the same year and 1,400 in March 2021! The impact on consumption, on household morale, but also the residual effects on business investments, have been massive because these extra no-strings-attached sums given to the citizens of America are equivalent to nearly $11,000 for a family of four over the course of one year. Such direct support to the public by giving out cheques has been a gamechanger. It is unprecedented in World History since it has openly favoured individuals and allowed them to compensate their income lost due to the pandemic, without frills and without bureaucracy. Some bitter – or rather jealous – individuals will accuse it as being “populist”, attacking the lack of involvement of intermediary bodies who would only have slowed down the process, and even diminished the final amounts distributed.
It’s nevertheless a Copernican revolution initiated in the US that is unfolding before our very eyes. It is all the more admirable given that Europe – whose average GDP contracted by 6.7% in 2020 – needed such active measures, in any case much more than the USA that only lost 3.5 GDP points over the same year. Europe’s faint-heartedness and bureaucracy have thus borne out nothing conclusive, while the economy that it manages has shrunk by twice what the USA’s has. America’s generosity, in turn, will have allowed its citizens – including and above all the least well-off – to calmly ride out this crisis, that has indeed revealed our continent’s shortcomings and growing indecisiveness.