March 18, 2021 - Douglas Myser

Do americans need recurring stimulus. Some Democrats are urging President Biden to overhaul the nation's approach to handing out stimulus payments, the direct financial relief  deployed by Congress to help millions of Americans affected by the economic collapse that followed the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of providing discrete rounds of stimulus checks that are negotiated each time they arrive months apart, the federal government should provide recurring checks to help families get by until COVID-19 is over, the 10 lawmakers said in a letter to President Biden. The request comes as the Senate is taking up President Biden's $1.9 trillion relief package this week, which would include a third round of stimulus checks that would direct $1400 to millions of Americans. Congress distributed $1200 checks a year ago under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and sent an additional $600 payment in December as part of an additional relief package. Do americans need recurring stimulus.

The idea of issuing recurring stimulus payments as a way to speed up the economic recovery has been championed by progressives and some Democrats. In January, more than 50 House members urged the Biden administration to back a proposal for $2000 monthly payments until the pandemic ends. Supporters of the idea point out that financial hardship remains widespread around the U.S. almost a full year after COVID-19 effectively shuttered the economy. Despite the ongoing recovery, a third of adults are struggling to pay their bills, while employers have slashed roughly 10 million jobs from their payrolls during the crisis, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

"The decades of research on stimulus checks back up the argument that much of this is spent, which helps stimulate the economy, and sources like the Center show there is immense need for more funding despite the fitful recovery. The Senators who signed the letter, including Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Ron Wyden of Oregon, argue that aid such as enhanced unemployment benefits hasn't reached every family hurt by the economic crunch.