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Do people really need another Stimulus Check?

Okay, hear me out. Of course, people want stimulus checks. It is essentially free money. But do people really need them?

About 39.7 million Americans (12.3%) of Americans are below the poverty level. The majority of these people were struggling before COVID-19, struggling now, and will likely struggle after COVID-19.

The "benefit" for being below the poverty level is that you are likely eligible for a lot of government programs - Food Stamps, Rental assistance, etc:

Public Benefits: Easing Poverty and Ensuring Medical Coverage | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Sure, to be eligible for these programs you have to have low income and almost no assets, but what is a $1,200 or $2,000 stimulus check going to really do for these people?

When we talk about taking care of the essentials, we talk about the four walls - food, shelter, transportation, and utilities, the necessities to survive. If those below the poverty line already have food, shelter, and utilities taken care of from the government, how is a stimulus check going to help? They are not in trouble because of COVID-19, they were already in bad shape. If you were a broke college student before COVID-19 with a part-time job making minimum wage, I don't understand this notion the government needs to give you more money than you were making previously. I would think these students probably need a refund on their tuition and student housing, but that is another topic.

And then you have those that are considered upper class. These people make three, four, five, etc... times the median income in the United States. Sure, it is unfortunate to be making $100-200K a year and all of a sudden lose your job, but these people have many more resources available to them. The $600 FPUC payments and the maximum benefit paid by state unemployment would probably only give a person $1,200-$1,500 a week (varies by state) but is it really the government's job to help these people maintain a lifestyle 3-5 times above the median income in the U.S.?

If you own a BMW or Benz, sell it. If you own expensive designer clothing, sell it. If you have investments, cash it in and use it. That is a benefit of having a salary of $100-200k, you have a larger shovel to tackle your bills. I would also guess, these people are not struggling with their four walls.

That comes to everyone in between, the middle class. These are people making too much to receive government assistance like food stamps or housing assistance but not enough to be considered the upper class. They have savings, but cannot invest a whole lot in investments or an emergency fund. These are the people the government should help, which they have done with the $1,200 stimulus payments and $600 FPUC payments.

In my opinion, another check is not the best solution. I would suggest opening-up government programs like food stamps or housing/rental assistance up to more people in the middle class. That way the government can actually help people with basic necessities like rent, utilities, and groceries.

If people have the basic necessities fully covered by the government I do not understand all this clamoring for monthly payments to nearly every one of $2,000. The next bill should keep helping struggling businesses and focus on getting people back employed.

Kyle Phoenix

DP Veteran
May 13, 2020
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I'd lean towards establishing a Universal Basic Income (as Spain is attempting) to ensure the lock-down can be extended to protect public safety, whilst also providing people with enough money to cover essential goods so they don't have to work. I don't know if it is workable or sustainable, but "events" have essentially forced our hand to implement it regardless.

We are solidly in new territory when we have to shut down almost the entire economy to protect people from a Pandemic, so this would probably mean doing more in addition such as suspending rent and mortgage payments so people don't get thrown out on to the street as part of a bailout package.

This remains such a radical departure from the "neo-liberalism" we've had to the past forty years or so, that it's unlikely to win the support of Democrats or Republicans initially, but the longer the crisis goes on the more likely it is people will adopt more radical approaches (if only to keep social order).
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