Yes, today’s jobs report is great. However, not all is well with the U.S. economy.
In just a few short weeks, millions of Americans could be mired in a world of financial hurt.
According to a new study by the People’s Policy Project, citing data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, it revealed that approximately ten million Americans on unemployment will lose those benefits beginning on September 6.
Moreover, another ten million Americans will likely see their unemployment benefits be slashed by $300 per week if Congress allows the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program to expire. Governors in about half of all states have already eliminated the enhanced $300 benefits that were approved under President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
Against this concerning backdrop—and even with the delivery of three stimulus payments to most Americans over the past year—it has been well-documented in studies and the media that millions of Americans are still struggling to make ends meet as the highly transmissible Delta variant continues to be responsible for a surge in new coronavirus cases.
Passionate Calls for More Stimulus
“For our team and other Americans who can claim unemployment, even the maximum payments will not be enough for most people to continue paying their bills—and avoid slipping into poverty,” says one popular Change.org petition that is demanding $2,000 monthly checks.
“The facts are, even successful small businesses can’t go months with their doors closed. But supplying Americans with monthly support until they can get back on their feet can save our communities from financial ruin,” it adds.
In Washington, more lawmakers are stepping up to call for additional monetary payments to cash-strapped Americans. Twenty-one Democratic senators have already signed off on a letter to the president that showcases that support.
“While we are pleased that the American Rescue Plan included a one-time direct payment and an extension of federal unemployment insurance programs, a single direct payment will not last long for most families,” they wrote.
“This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads,” they added.
Future In Mind
More recently, progressive Democrats in Congress have proposed a legislation—Sending Unconditional Payments to People Overcoming Resistances to Triumph (SUPPORT) Act—that calls for recurring monthly stimulus checks of $1,200 for adults and $600 for children.
That program, however, isn’t expected to be fully running until 2028.
“Poverty is a choice. For too long we have prioritized endless growth while millions are homeless, hungry or without health care,” Rep. Ilhan Omar said in a statement.
“The pandemic has laid bare these inequalities. We as a nation have the ability to make sure everyone has their basic needs like food, housing and health care met,” she added.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.