Third Stimulus Check: Should stimulus checks be permanent? An increasing number of people – and Democrats
Even before the pandemic, people like Andrew Yang were calling for recurring payments for Americans.
Lawmakers and experts have said the three stimulus checks distributed so far are not enough.
Some Democrats and economists want to make them a permanent part of the social safety net.
See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The pandemic changed the American social safety net in dramatic but temporary ways. On top of expanded unemployment insurance, Americans have received three stimulus checks, an amount of aid that comes to nearly $850 billion so far.
But what if it was permanent?
Some Democrats and economists want this to be the new normal, saying that recurring aid would ensure equitable economic recovery and sustainable growth, even long after the pandemic is over.
Insider reported on Thursday that a fourth and fifth stimulus check could cut the number of Americans in poverty in 2021 from 44 million to 16 million while helping close imbalances in poverty, income, and wealth between white Americans and Americans of color.
Here are the main arguments in pushing for permanent aid to Americans since last year:
Universal basic income and Andrew Yang
While the idea of a universal basic income (UBI) has reemerged in popularity in recent years, Insider reported that the policy itself dates back to the 16th century, when Spanish-born humanist Juan Luis Vives advocated for a system of unconditional welfare. And even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared his support for basic income at a Stanford lecture in 1967.
But most recently, a key measure in the presidential campaign platform of Andrew Yang, currently running for mayor of New York City, was a UBI in which he proposed giving Americans $1,000 monthly payments. He also advocated for $2,000 monthly payments during the pandemic.
“If Congress had its s— together, we’d all be getting direct, recurring payments throughout this pandemic,” Yang told Insider in August.
According to Yang’s presidential campaign website, a UBI would enable Americans to pay their bills, start businesses, and “have a real stake in the future.” Yang’s campaign projected that his proposal would grow the economy by about $2.5 trillion by 2025 and increase the labor force by 4.5 million to 4.7 million people.
The CARES Act and $1,200 stimulus checks
Under the CARES Act in March, Americans received their first stimulus payment of $1,200, but House Democrats wanted that aid to go further, and in May they passed the HEROES Act, which called for additional $1,200 stimulus checks.
The HEROES Act didn’t end up becoming law, and it was less generous than a Senate bill led by Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California, who released a plan in May to give recurring $2,000 monthly checks to Americans for the duration of the pandemic.
Harris told MSNBC: “Through the course of this pandemic and crisis, we need to give people $2,000 a month as recurrent payments – people below a certain income level – to help them and sustain them through these months of crisis so at the end of it, they can get back up on their feet instead of falling deep deep deep into the crevices of this crisis.”
The second round of stimulus checks, worth $600
The December 2020 stimulus package included $600 stimulus payments for Americans. Lawmakers wanted that amount to be higher, though, and a group of over 125 economists wrote an open letter calling for recurring payments tied to economic conditions beyond the single check for each American included in the stimulus plan.
“Recurring direct payments will help families meet basic needs, boost state and local economies, and speed the recovery, and should be paired with other valuable programs like unemployment benefits, aid to state and local governments, stronger SNAP benefits, robust child care funding and more,” the letter said.
Sanders tweeted in November, before the package passed, that Congress “cannot go home for the Christmas holidays until we pass legislation which provides a $1,200 direct payment to working class adults, $2,400 for couples, and a $500 payment to their children.”
The third round of checks – $1,400 from the Biden administration
Most recently, Americans have started receiving their $1,400 stimulus checks from the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill Biden signed into law last month. And on March 31, in the midst of infrastructure negotiations, 21 Democratic senators urged Biden in a letter to include recurring direct payments in his $4 trillion infrastructure plan.
“While we are pleased that the American Rescue Plan included a one-time direct payment and an extension of federal unemployment insurance programs, a single direct payment will not last long for most families, and we are worried about the cliff facing unemployed workers when the unemployment insurance extensions expire on September 6,” the letter, signed by Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, said.
They added that direct payments are “crucial” for supporting families who aren’t reached by unemployment insurance, and when checks ran out after the CARES Act, poverty rose.
Biden has yet to comment on the inclusion of additional direct payments in his upcoming infrastructure plan, although they were not in his first proposal for $2.3 trillion in spending.
Read the original article on Fintech Zoom