Stimulus Check Update: 5 Reasons $2,000 Monthly Checks Are Essential
by Dana George | Published on Sept. 17, 2021
There are millions of Americans hanging on by their fingernails, but lawmakers have the power to improve the situation.
Let's be upfront: There is little chance that Republicans in the House and Senate will vote to distribute more funds to the American people, despite the ongoing battle with COVID-19. Still, highly respected economists, Democratic lawmakers, and everyday people continue to advocate for additional financial assistance until the pandemic has reached its dark conclusion.
It doesn't take long to gather five solid reasons it makes sense to continue to push for additional assistance, at least to those who face the greatest need.
1. Delta cases have surged
There was a brief moment earlier this summer when it almost felt like we might return to a life without masks. But due to the number of unvaccinated adults, every crowded beach, concert venue, and family reunion became an opportunity to pass the deadly virus.
As of this week, 1 in every 500 Americans has died of COVID-19. And with large swaths of people across the nation still unwilling to get vaccinated, there's no sign that the number of deaths will diminish anytime soon.
An additional stimulus to those most impacted could be the first line of defense against more businesses closing and families going without basic needs.
2. 5.3 million fewer people on payroll
CBS News recently looked at how COVID-19 has impacted jobs in Texas, a state with one of the highest infection rates in the country. Because Texans have been encouraged to go without masks, fear of contracting the virus has led many to stay home rather than go back to a job where they might be infected. Even those who don't fear for their personal wellbeing are often caught in the position of needing to stay home to care for family members with COVID-19. The inability of state leaders to stem the tide of the disease has led to the loss of nearly 72,000 jobs.
Despite the number of jobs currently available nationwide, 5.3 million fewer people are working on company payrolls than before the pandemic. The reasons for this vary. It could be that a parent needs to stay home to oversee the education of a child with the kinds of pre-existing conditions that would make returning to school dangerous. Or, it could be that the shock of COVID-19 caused many to rethink their lives. For a large number of people, COVID-19 sparked a desire to start their own businesses and begin making money for themselves rather than an employer.
An extra $2,000 a month could be the ticket to helping those starting over through the pandemic. At the same time, it would feed their local economies.
3. 9.1 million people are now without enhanced unemployment
It is impossible to overestimate how valuable a lifeline enhanced unemployment checks were to those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19. For some, it was the difference between putting food on the table and going hungry.
Given that every $1 of unemployment generates $1.61 back into the local economy, it's difficult to fathom how cutting those benefits made financial sense. According to a report from the office of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, unemployment benefits have been proven to save jobs, prevent evictions, and prevent people from being pushed further into poverty.
A $2,000 monthly payment would aid millions of Americans as they get back on their feet while invigorating local economies.
4. The Child Tax Credit is slated to end in December
There is no doubt that families benefit by receiving monthly Child Tax Credit payments in their bank accounts. While President Biden and most of the Democratic party are calling for these monthly checks to continue until 2025, we're not sure if enough Republicans will vote for the measure to make it a reality.
In the meantime, families need a lifeline, and if it's not going to be the Child Tax Credit, a $2,000 monthly check should still be on the table.
5. Food insecurity is part of 17 million children's lives
If you remember those old Save the Children commercials, you may recall a famous actor standing in the middle of a sad-looking little village, far away from American shores. According to Save the Children, though, American children also need help. They estimate that 17 million kids in the U.S. currently struggle with hunger, 6 million more than before the pandemic. Approximately 25% of children in Louisiana and 23% in Arkansas face hunger daily. Children of color are particularly at risk, with 38% of Hispanic children in New York going without the nutrition they need.
Trying to figure out why lawmakers make (or refuse to make) a particular decision is a fool's errand. Still, we know that experts have warned against doing nothing, and Urban Institute estimates that regular checks would keep 3.5 times more people from poverty than unemployment benefits alone. Further, experts say that direct payments would have a more significant impact on the overall GDP than many other policies currently under consideration.
As politicians posture, everyday Americans suffer. Alleviating their pain can begin by taking the advice of more than 150 top economic advisors and coming to an agreement on additional monthly stimulus for those still in need.
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