Everyone is expecting a second round of coronavirus stimulus payments this month. However, we have only seen proposals so far with no concrete discussions as to what it might include. Since no final decision has been made, politicians are still promoting their proposals of a second round of coronavirus stimulus payments. Two former Democratic presidential candidates, Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang, did the same on Monday in a virtual town hall hosted by The Appeal by demanding monthly coronavirus stimulus payments.
In the virtual town hall, both of the politicians renewed calls for a proposal that would promise up to $2,000 in monthly payments to Americans. Moreover, they also stressed the importance of coming up with a stimulus payment quickly at a time when over 40 million Americans are out of work.
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“The government should be here for the people in a moment of crisis. People should be able to count on their government to see them and to create a safety net for them, so that these people don’t fall into poverty—or further into poverty—during the course of this pandemic,” Harris said during the town hall.
Andrew Yang, who is an advocate of a universal basic income (UBI) of $1,000 monthly for all Americans, called on the government to give money directly to Americans.
“Our problems have accelerated where we have experienced 10 years of displacement in 10 weeks,” Andrew Yang said. “We’re facing a new Great Depression, but there are legislators that have bills on the table that, if enough Americans get behind [them], we can pass today”.
Yang’s nonprofit, Humanity Forward, has been promoting UBI benefits by funding its own UBI pilots. Andrew Yang proposes to fund universal basic income through four sources – Current welfare spending, Value-Added Tax, Economic growth and Taxes.
The idea has gained popularity during the pandemic. For instance, Spain is planning to roll-out a permanent UBI, which promises a monthly payment of $1,100 per couple and $500 per single adult. Similar measures are gaining popularity in other countries as well, including Brazil and Britain.
Also, Humanity Forward plans on giving a monthly UBI of $1,000 for one year to two South Carolina residents. Moreover, 20 Hudson, New York, residents will get $500 per month for five years starting this fall.
One-time fiscal stimulus won’t work
Kamala Harris recently introduced the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey. The proposal promises to give up to $2,000 monthly based on the annual income. The married couples who file jointly would be eligible for up to $4,000, while families would get $2,000 per child for up to three children.
The legislation if passed, would be retroactive to March 2020, and the payments would continue three months after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act promises payments to every U.S. resident whether or not they file taxes or have a Social Security number.
Harris’ Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act was introduced early last month. It is more than a one-time payment that the $2.2 trillion CARES Act offers.
Kamala Harris notes that the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act failed to meet the needs of the people amid the coronavirus pandemic. She believes that a one-time fiscal stimulus is inadequate amid the pandemic that could stretch on for months.
Similar sentiments were shared by Sanders earlier as well. “The one-time $1,200 check that many Americans recently received is not nearly enough to pay the rent, put food on the table and make ends meet,” Sanders said.
It is very unlikely that the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act would gain much traction considering Senate Republicans and the White House are already opposing the House Democrats’ $3 trillion HEROES stimulus package.
Harris, however, has slammed those who believe that stimulus measures, such as the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act, are unviable. She argues that one can’t talk about the cost without talking about the benefits, and the benefit of such a measure outweighs the cost, in every respect.
“They’re the same people who passed a tax bill benefiting the top one percent and the biggest corporations of America, and are going to cause us to face a $1 trillion deficit as a result,” Kamala Harris said.
Several opinions have come up regarding the objective of the next coronavirus stimulus payments. Many argue that the next stimulus should have a more targeted approach, instead of just sending direct checks to the people.
Recent data by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis backs such an argument. The data shows that personal income has witnessed a rise of over 10% in April, even though more than 40 million people lost jobs in the past ten weeks. This jump in personal income is largely attributed to the stimulus payments and the $600 per week federal unemployment benefit guaranteed by the CARES Act.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also said that the next coronavirus stimulus payments will be the last and that it won’t include a monthly stimulus check.