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Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans have received three stimulus payments from the government, and a new report finds that sending more checks would lift Americans out of poverty.
The Economic Security Project released a report on April 14 that found stimulus checks have played a critical role in fighting poverty, boosting small business revenue, and increasing state and local revenues. It called for the government to continue delivering stimulus checks to lift an additional 12 million Americans out of poverty, on top of the 16 million Americans from the most recent $1,400 stimulus payment, as well as closing imbalances in poverty, income, and wealth between white Americans and Americans of color.
“Evidence from the last year shows stimulus checks to be the fastest and most impactful investments helping Americans get through this crisis, lifting more people out of poverty than any other single policy,” the report said.
So far, Congress has sent Americans nearly $850 billion in stimulus aid, and the report said that continuing that kind of aid, along with making the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit permanent, would ensure a fast and equitable recovery, and sustainable economic growth, for the country.
The report added that the first round of $1,200 stimulus checks lasted Americans two to three months, and as aid ran out in the summer, 8 million Americans were forced back into poverty. However, combined with the $1,400 stimulus checks from President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, it said that a fourth and fifth check could reduce those in poverty in 2021 from 44 million to 16 million.
Other main findings of the report include:
- 60% of people said the $1,400 stimulus checks will only last them three or four months; Black and Latinx households are consistently having harder times meeting basic expenses compared to white households; And checks tailored to people earning under $100,000 would give Black and Latinx families about double the income boost as white families, helping close the racial gap.
The Economic Security Project is not alone in pushing for continued stimulus payments. On March 31, 21 Senate Democrats sent a letter to Biden urging him to implement recurring stimulus payments and automatic unemployment insurance tied to economic conditions to help support Americans still struggling during the pandemic.
“This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads,” the letter said. “Families should not be at the mercy of constantly-shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions.”
And over 150 economists wrote an open letter supporting recurring payments as an “essential tool” to promote economic security in the country.
Biden is set to unveil the second part of his $4 trillion infrastructure plan next week, and while it will include care-economy measures, like universal pre-K, the White House has not commented on implementing futher stimulus payments as part of the plan.
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