With the federal administration tied down in partisan politics, no further stimulus checks are forthcoming from Washington. The added pressure of inflation soon after the pandemic and the resultant economic downturn has weighed heavily on household budgets. But the record inflation, the highest in over 4 decades has led to an unprecedented rise in prices of everything from gasoline to groceries.
Home rent and utility charges have proportionately increased leaving millions of households facing a situation similar to the one that prevailed for weeks immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic and before the first of the stimulus checks were issued by the federal administration.
Parallel to the direct payments to individuals and families through the stimulus checks, the CARES Act, and more expansively the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), provided emergency grants to businesses, an organization like hospitals and educational institutions, non-profits, and significantly, local governments.
Federal Assistance To Local, Tribal, And State Governments Has Enabled The Inflation Relief Stimulus Checks
The states are trying to ease the intense pressure of rising prices being faced by low and moderate-income families. The record inflation rate has touched every sector including gasoline, groceries, utility payments, and home rent.
The support given by the federal government under ARPA to state, city, and tribal governments has paved the way for the current inflation relief payments being made by over 20 states. While each state has come up with different relief measures depending on its surplus and also its political dispensation.
The ARPA funds to states were distributed for a continuation of the support afforded to public health and to lay a strong foundation for an equitable economic recovery.
To that end, the inflation relief measures seem a just utilization of the funds and will go a long way to support households who are back to the desperate times following the pandemic.
Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate Proposes $350 Stimulus Check
While Republican-ruled Ohio has no stimulus checks in line for its residents, the Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate for the midterms, Nan Whaley suggested a rebate check to help residents of the state come with the downturn and the subsequent inflation.
Republican Governor Mike DeWine is yet to decide on how to spend the massive chest of more than $2 billion of pandemic relief funds under the ARPA. This is the dilemma that other Republican states are facing as they do not want to be seen utilizing funds for the Rescue Plan which they had opposed in both chambers of Congress.
Whaley has assured that she would send a $350 stimulus rebate to help residents get some respite from the growing cost of gasoline, groceries, other essential items, home rent, and utility bills. But the Republicans continue to parrot the line that the stimulus check was behind the inflation in the first place. They contend that it has not benefitted the poor and the amount they have received over the past two years has been spent due to the rise in inflation.
Ohio to this day has 2.68 Rescue Plan funds lying in its possession. Even though the federal government has given an advisory on how to spend the amount, it has not placed any limitation or restriction on the way the amount is to be spent. Arizona for instance has used the funds to build a couple of prisons in the state, though there remains to be seen what link that has to the pandemic.
Whaley is still trailing the Republican candidate in the latest ratings. It is apparent that the Republicans have succeeded in pushing forward their storyline and Whaley has a tough time ahead in explaining how she can counter that argument, though it doesn’t have any basis. If she manages to win the November midterms, residents can expect a $350 check as individuals and double that as married couples filing jointly.
The Democratic Party candidate has reasoned that residents desperately need the money and were hurting badly. The severe increase in prices has negated the wage increase that most Americans have experienced after the pandemic.
The Democratic Party candidate said that the aged were the most badly hit as they have not received a substantial increase in their welfare or pension to match the inflation rate. they are among the worst hit by the rise in prices of food, water, health insurance, gasoline, and utility bills. She contended that most low and moderate-income people would find it very difficult to survive this twin crisis of both health and the economy. The support from the government can only assuage that.
The ruling Republicans on the other hand have argues that pumping in some money had backfired earlier and it would do so again. They are opposed to free money unless it is giving out massive tax sops to billionaires and large corporations.
They loathe admitting that the pandemic led to a massive disruption in the supply chain and led a severe shortage of essential goods. At the same time, people forced to stay at home spent less on travel and tourism. This excess money also went towards buying products. This created an imbalance in the demand and supply chain.
The shortage of goods led to a spike in their prices. Governor DeWine has in the meantime obtained clearance from the state legislature to spend around half of the total amount of $5.4 billion of federal funds related to the pandemic.
But he admitted to no plans in the immediate future for a direct stimulus check to help residents ride out the massive inflation that has stayed above the 8% mark all through 2022 and shows no sign of receding. Whaley has accused DeWine of indolence in his for the state.
But DeWine continues to hold a slender lead in the opinion polls despite promises by Whaley that the residents of Ohio remain her top priority and that she would send the stimulus check immediately if elected to power.
California on the other hand has moved forward with its plan to send up to $1,050 to eligible families. Even families with combined earnings of $500,000 are eligible for a stimulus check but the amount gets tapered to $600 maximum for a family with a dependent.