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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Stimulus Check: A Fourth Payment Along The Way?

Most media outlets have been fretting about the fourth stimulus check and what it might entail for the entire American economy. As it stands currently, the number of jobless claims has been falling every single week- with the last week containing 364,000 claims- which is the lowest ever since the pandemic began. This begs the question- will the fourth stimulus check be a possibility?

President Biden did mention last month that he and a group of bipartisan senators had taken it upon themselves to hammer out the details for an infrastructure deal. Incidentally, the proposal had no details about a possible stimulus payment- including no resemblance of any economic stimulus that would be sent out to families. Nevertheless, there have been reports that Joe Biden is quite open to ideas regarding stimulus packages, and according to Jen Psaki, he has already put forward what he believes to be the best under the circumstances. 

The Stimulus Check Conundrum

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Now, whether the stimulus check is going to be a series of multiple payments or just a single payment doesn’t factor into the greater scheme of things as most legislators in the country have been citing much greater support for such payment from financial analysts. Yet, there have been some lawmakers in Washington who have argued that with the improvement of the financial situation, stimulus money should definitely be on the lower end of the priority spectrum.

Stimulus Check
Stimulus Check

As far as recent studies go, the first three payments have definitely reduced problems like food insufficiency coupled with financial instability. The unemployment claims have been at a record low which means that a fourth payment isn’t that necessary for the current scenario. Till now, most eligible adults have been receiving a max stimulus payment of $3,200 whereas children have been receiving $2,500. While this may seem to be quite a lot, it still isn’t enough for several struggling families- bringing in a need for yet another payment. 

Is Another Stimulus Check Coming?

Ever since the White House decreed the American Rescue Plan in March, the Oval Office has officially forwarded a couple of packages- the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan. Neither of the two plans calls for yet another stimulus aid. But on the 3rd of June, a press conference from the White House indicated that the administration might be focusing its efforts on pushing for an infrastructure spending package.

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Interestingly, this compromise of the original bipartisan infrastructure deal doesn’t really include things like human infrastructure. The idea can be considered quite contradictory- for it doesn’t address human notions like job training, or child care- but the President has maintained that the comprehensive agenda would be looking out for both families and jobs for the American population. 

Several members of the Democratic Party have started calling for yet another stimulus check. In March, a group of legislators asked the President to put in regular stimulus payments in the next stimulus package. On the 17th of May, quite a few members of the House Ways and Means Committee also came up with a similar demand. The committee cited issues like spiraling debt and increased poverty where they noted that most of the people went on to spend their relief checks on essentials or expenses which could be utilities, food, rent, or any form of mortgage payments. 

What relief money has been approved so far as a part of Stimulus Check Payments?

The American Rescue Plan Act which came up in March this year directed three different forms of direct payments to individuals. 

Stimulus Check

According to the IRS, payments of $1,400 have already been sent out to those individuals who meet the requirements placed. Money has also been provided to individuals through plus-up payments.

Child Tax Credit

There has been an expansion made to the child tax credit for this year which provides qualifying families with a sum of $3,600 for every single child they have. These payments are monthly and have already begun- incidentally, they will be covering up the entire year with a final payment made in 2022. 

Federal Unemployment Bonus

The unemployment bonus (delivered weekly) has been extended till the 6th of September, which is quite similar to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance which was sent to freelancers and gig workers. However, almost half of the employees in the state governments have decided to opt-out of the extended benefits before the 6th of September. This has led to millions of jobless individuals being cut off from the funds as early as last month. 

Could The White House Give More Stimulus Check Money In 2021?

Stimulus Check
Stimulus Check

A snap judgment can’t be made when it comes to stimulus check payments- for there is a lot to be considered when deciding the future of stimulus aid that will be sent out to families. The current administration might just send additional funds to individuals through the following scenarios. 

If It Makes The Child Tax Credit Raise Permanent:

Money that will come under the expanded child tax credit will begin in a couple of weeks with the monthly payments coming to lower-income and middle-income families. Biden did call on the House as well as the Senate to push for the extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit till 2025. Several aspects of the American Families Plan include medical leave as well as health care costs- several things that haven’t been negotiated yet. 

If It Passes A Minimum Wage Hike:

Some of the senators have been looking to increase the federal minimum wage- which currently stands at $7.25 per hour. There have been a few who want to increase it to $15 per hour- while others have been looking till $11 per hour. In the last few years, many localities and businesses have been implementing their minimum wage quite above the national rate. Hence, it wouldn’t be that surprising if the next stimulus check is based on such statistics. 

There are a lot of factors that will come into play when the Biden administration decides to implement yet another stimulus check. But considering the present economic condition of the country, most Senators might not be as interested in pushing for another trillion-dollar package. Nonetheless, the current American Rescue Plan is one where everyone would set their sights on.

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