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Congress needs to be ‘aggressive’ with economic assistance to boost recovery, Fed’s Kashkari says

Congress needs to be ‘aggressive’ with economic assistance to boost recovery, Fed’s Kashkari says

Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari is urging Congress to be “aggressive” with economic assistance in order to boost the United States’ recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m seeing, especially on the small business front, I mean, some sectors of the economy are doing fine. If you are a white-collar worker like I am … you’re able to work from home. You’re really not affected by this pandemic,” Kashkari told CBS’ Face the Nation. “But there are many sectors of the economy that are still being devastated. The travel and tourism industries, the frontline service industries, restaurants, and that’s where you’re seeing big job losses and bankruptcies. And this is going to continue to spiral and continue to bleed on.”

Kashkari said that there are roughly 11 million Americans who are still struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table, and that as long as the problem continues for consumers, there will be “spillover effects” on other areas of the economy.

“The reason the economy bounced back as strongly as it did in June and July is because Congress was so aggressive in the spring,” Kashkari added. “We need Congress to continue to be aggressive so that the recovery can be stronger.”

He warned that it took 10 years to rebuild the labor market from the Great Recession and that the country can avoid going through a similar experience now if Congress is more aggressive in its spending in the immediate moment rather than the future.

TRUMP SAYS HE WANTS A LARGER STIMULUS PACKAGE THAN GOP OR DEMS ARE DISCUSSING

While Kashkari acknowledged that the Federal Reserve can use broad-based tools like lowering interest rates and quantitative easing, he stressed that it cannot fix the specific areas

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TIO warns of hardship spike after NBN financial assistance winds up

TIO warns of hardship spike after NBN financial assistance winds up

More consumers are expected to experience hardship in paying their National Broadband Network (NBN) bills as Australia’s telcos look to eventually turn off the tap for financial support, a Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) representative told a Senate committee on Friday.

Standing before the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network on Friday, TIO Judi Jones said the financial support given by government and industry had stalled any potential uptick of complaints that the agency expected from consumers.

“We’ve waited to see an increase in complaints about hardship and problems paying a bill — we think that will come, but by the end of the year it wasn’t showing up as a particular issue. It was starting to rise but it actually dropped off as an important issue in the pandemic because of financial support,” Jones said.

“We are anticipating, as government and providers wind back support measures, we’ll see more hardship issues for residential and small business consumers,” Jones said. 

She noted, however, that there has been a 1,500% increase of consumer complaints during the most recent quarter in the category of being unable to contact internet providers when experiencing connection issues.

The latest report by the TIO, released in July, had revealed there was a direct correlation between the coronavirus pandemic, and the complaints it received between March and June 2020. 

The TIO’s systemic investigation report uncovered that there was an increase in complaints from mid-March by consumers about not being able to contact their providers. By early April, the average number of daily complaints by consumers being unable to reach their providers peaked at 130.

“What we did see in their complaints that came to us was the impact was more important for consumers, so not having a working internet service impacted not just watching Netflix in

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