The ink has barely dried on the third and latest round of stimulus checks that were dispersed to most Americans with the passing of the American Rescue Plan in March, and yet some Democratic Senators are already pushing for an additional round of payments to be sent out to the American people. And depending on the reports that you read, these Senators could have a valid point.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 30 percent of all Americans could not cover all of their household expenses in March 2021 and some 18 million American adults are still going hungry every month. This data is likely what spurred a group of more than 20 Democratic Senators to send a letter to President Joe Biden recently asking that he consider recurring stimulus payments and unemployment benefits extensions in any economic plan he’s plotting. Some of these Senators likely won’t surprise you — they’re the usual suspects like Bernie Sanders that are on the socialist side of the economic spectrum. And President Biden has not indicated where he stands on the matter, which probably indicates that he’s not in favor of it.
But with the economy surging, vaccine distribution ramping up and an end to the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly in sight, do we really need another stimulus plan? It depends on who you ask:
The Democratic Senators argue that the hard-hit Americans who need it the most should be given help during this time. They state that about 60 percent of stimulus check recipients say the $1,400 payments will last them less than three months and that direct payments for the duration of the pandemic is the sensible thing to do to lift these people up.
In fact, experts say that a fourth stimulus check could lift more than 6.5 million Americans out of poverty and enhance housing stability and food security.
But even with Biden’s blessing, the odds are likely stacked against another round of stimulus checks, let alone direct payments. For starters, more and more states are lifting restrictions as the vaccine rollout escalates and things open back up throughout the country. And as things open back up, hiring will accelerate as well. In fact, we’re already seeing this taking shape, as the last two job reports have been much better than initially forecast. There’s opportunity in the job market right now and there will likely continue to be an opportunity for hard-hit Americans to get back on their feet and out into the workforce.
Secondly, we think that if Democratic Senators really wanted to make a bigger dent in poverty, they would shift their focus toward extending the enhanced child tax credit made possible by the American Rescue Plan beyond the 2021 year.
Here’s hoping that a fourth stimulus check isn’t necessary. If one is issued, it would likely mean we’re much further away from defeating COVID-19 than we initially thought.