Over the past year and a half amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Congress has approved the delivery of three much-needed stimulus checks to most Americans—a $1,200 check in April 2020, $600 in December, and the $1,400 payments green-lighted in March under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
However, for those Americans who are still holding their collective breath for another round or two of stimulus checks, they likely have been highly disappointed by the inaction of both the White House and Congress. But that is not to say that their voices have been completely silenced.
In recent months, as most Americans have already felt in their pocketbooks, surging inflation has been raising prices on everything from used cars to meat and gas. In fact, the United States is experiencing the highest rate of inflation since 1990. Prices for U.S. consumers jumped 6.2 percent in October compared to a year earlier—and were up 0.9 percent from September alone, according to the Department of Labor.
In addition, the unemployment rate still stands at 5.2 percent, which is higher than the pre-pandemic level of 3.5 percent. At the same time, more than nine million Americans lost enhanced unemployment benefits on Labor Day, when those federal benefits expired.
Seven Active Petitions
With this in mind, there are currently a total of seven active petitions demanding monthly stimulus checks until the pandemic ends—and as of this writing, they have altogether amassed nearly five million signatures. The most popular among them was launched by a Denver-area restaurant owner who claimed that she witnessed firsthand the financial struggles of everyday Americans.
“I’m calling on Congress to support families with a $2,000 payment for adults and a $1,000 payment for kids immediately, and continuing regular checks for the duration of the crisis,” states the Change.org petition, which is only thirty-three thousand signatures away from hitting its three-million target.
“Otherwise, laid-off workers, furloughed workers, the self-employed, and workers dealing with reduced hours will struggle to pay their rent or put food on the table. Our country is still deeply struggling. We need immediate checks and recurring payments so that we can keep our heads above water,” it continues.
Stimulus for Seniors
Do take note that there are also calls for more targeted stimulus checks—namely just for seniors who receive Social Security benefits.
“Social Security benefits are one of the few types of income in retirement adjusted for inflation. But soaring inflation has taken a toll on household finances of retired and disabled Social Security recipients. In 2021, Social Security benefits increased by just 1.3 percent raising the average benefit by only about $20 a month. But about 86 percent of Social Security recipients surveyed say their expenses increased by much more than that amount,” states the petition that was launched by the Senior Citizens League.
“I strongly urge you that now is the time that you must support an emergency $1,400.00 stimulus check to Social Security recipients,” it concludes.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-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.