The third phase of stimulus payment has reached the majority of Americans in the past 2 months. Many more checks and prepaid debit cards are in the mail, but will $1,400 per head be enough to sustain most Americans through the year? The demand for a fourth stimulus check grows as most Americans continue to be hit by the economic slump triggered by the pandemic.
Millions of Americans have already run out of the amount and feel that the economic support should continue till the economy turns around. And this includes people from every walk of life, including prominent politicians.
But the White House has said that Congress has to decide on continuing the stimulus payments.
A Petition For Another Stimulus Check By Over 2.1 Million Americans
Millions of Americans have come out strongly for continuing the direct economic support in light of the continuing economic depression. Around 2.15M people have petitioned on the change.org website for a continuation of the stimulus checks.
The demand on the site has been for immediate payment of $2,000 per adult and $1,000 for children. They have further petitioned for the continuance of the economic support till normalcy is reached.
A restaurant owner, Stephanie Bonin, from Denver, started the online campaign. As she struggled to stay afloat during the epidemic, Bonin realized that she and her staff were not sure of through even a few weeks as income dried up totally.
Bonin wrote that for many other Americans like her, the stimulus amount was not sufficient to pay even for their basic expenses. They faced the daunting prospect of sliding into poverty.
And the only way to prevent whole communities from slipping into total financial ruin would be through continuous economic support.
The Outlook Continues To Be Grim
The Census Bureau of the US has said that Americans continue to spend most of the stimulus payment on basic household amenities and utilities, including food, necessities, rent, and mortgage.
A few have invested in the stock market using cash, but that number is but a fraction. A few others have gone in for necessary but non-essential goods including clothing and insurance. The demand for insurance has peaked after the pandemic.
As The White House Sees It
Jen Psaki, Press Secretary at the White House passed on the question of a fourth stimulus check to Congress. She said that it is up to Congress to decide. She further said that the stimulus checks are not for free. $5.3T has already been spent by the government for battling the pandemic as individuals, families, and businesses have all benefited from the support, as revealed by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
Concentrating On The Infrastructure Plan
President Biden is at present focused on the infrastructure plan and the American Families Plan. He hopes to get around $4T approved by Congress.
The quality of American infrastructure has sunk to 13th in the world. The American Jobs Plan has been projected as an investment in the future of America. It is expected to create millions of steady jobs, and invest in roads, water systems, bridges, housing, the internet, electricity infrastructure, and education. It will be the single highest investment since the building of the interstate highways.
The President also plans to extend the child tax credit that would enable millions of families with children to come out of poverty.
The Role Of The Congress
Leading Democratic lawmakers including Elisabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have called for stimulus support that would cover the pandemic and its aftereffects.
Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman from Minnesota said that the American people were expecting transformative change. The immediate way to do so is by an immediate monthly payment of $2,000. She has the backing of dozens of other Democratic lawmakers.
20 more lawmakers had signed a petition along similar lines in March 2021. But the top leadership has so far been silent. Speaker Pelosi has stressed that the immediate focus of the President was the infrastructure and the family’s plan. She remained silent on a fourth stimulus payment or other direct stimulus payments.
Future Stimulus Checks Could Be More Focussed
While the Republican camp and a section of the democrats have balked at the staggering cost of the proposals. There has been dissent even within the Democratic camp. To win them over, the President has stressed moving away from paying stimulus checks to high-income groups.
Given the situation, any new bill for a fresh round of stimulus payments would not pass the muster in the Senate and the House.
Getting Immediate Relief
Even as you wait for news on any future stimulus check, there are ways you can set your finances in order.
There have been some great home-finance plans that save you a lot if you refinance your mortgage. The average rate on a fixed mortgage for 30 years has gone down below 3%. Around 13M homeowners stand to save around $283 each, every month just by refinancing their loans.
Credit cards might be handy, but also include a killer rate of interest. By going for a low-interest loan to consolidate your debts would be ideal now.
There has been a substantial discount on car and homeowners insurance. A little evaluation could save you hundreds.
Check up on all the subscriptions you are using and cancel all but the essential. Resist the impulse to go in for ordered meals and shift to home-cooked meals. Search for online discounts and bargains every time you shop.
Learn to set aside a part of your income as investments. You don’t need big money or a stimulus check for investing in the stock market. New online apps allow you to finance in small amounts. Build up your stock portfolio judiciously.