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Fear drives $2 trillion economic rescue bid -- and sparks calls for the next one

Even $2 trillion is not enough to dispel fears stalking Washington that the coronavirus crisis could pull down the economic foundation on which American life depends.

There are several daunting takeaways from the bulging pandemic stimulus bill -- expected to clear Congress soon after the Senate passed it unanimously late Wednesday night, notwithstanding some last-minute quibbles by rank and file members on both sides. All of them underscore the extreme and historic nature of the crisis that may have already wiped out millions of jobs at a swipe.

The human tragedy of the pandemic is being played out in growing lists of lost family members and the courage of medical professionals saving lives behind closed hospital doors.

But the rescue bill's staggering size is the most public expression of the historic scale of the coronavirus disaster and the fragility of the systems that sustain American life. After all, in a matter of days, an economy powering ahead at historic rates suddenly needed a bill to plug a hole equal to 10% of US gross domestic product after the crisis swept away the complacency of a decade of economic expansion and perpetually rising stock markets.

The breakneck speed at which the bill came together in a capital fractured by vicious divides is an example of rare compromise in the bitter aftermath of impeachment. But it also reflects the motivating power inherent in the threat of economic implosion.

Thirdly, and perhaps most concerning, are signs that the biggest economic rescue measure in history won't be nearly sufficient to nurse the economy through the dark months to come.

Leaders on all sides are clear that the package is a stopgap to get through the next few months -- and will not revive the economy without another huge cash injection.

Source: CNN

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