A 4th Stimulus Check in 2022?: While we’re only two weeks into 2022 it could be looking like the winter of great despair – the Covid-19 Omicron variant is on the rise, and even as there are no calls for renewed lockdowns, it is clear that the pandemic is far from over.
In fact, Covid could become endemic, meaning it is here to stay. Across Europe, there are already calls to treat it like the flu, which could change the period for self-isolation for those vaccinated.
In the United States, questions still linger as to whether children should return to schools and what travel restrictions should remain in place. In addition, unanswered is what Covid will mean for the economy on the road ahead, as the pandemic continues to impact the supply chain.
New Stimulus Check?
The biggest question, however, for many Americans who are struggling as the country also is gripped by the highest level of inflation in four decades is whether they can expect help from the federal government? In other words, can they expect a fourth stimulus check?
It was a year ago that Americans received the third and seemingly “final” stimulus payment, and that was before inflation spiked to 7 percent in 2021, the largest 12-month increase since June 1982, according to U.S. Labor Department data released on Wednesday.
Despite the fact that Americans are feeling pinched at the gas pump, paying more for food and seeing an increase in the price of durable goods, there is little indication that lawmakers are looking to send out another stimulus check any time soon.
Could Midterm Election Help of Hurt Stimulus Check Chances?
One factor is that 2022 is a midterm election year, and President Joe Biden’s polling numbers are near the lowest of any modern president coming into his second year in office. Republicans, who are already pegged to take back the United States Senate and House of Representatives in November, have zero incentive to give Biden any wins. In addition, such a win could only benefit those Democrats who face tight re-election prospects.
What could change the mind of lawmakers is whether the Omicron variant peters out this month. So far the cases of the variant have been reported to be less severe, which could allow meaning a “new normal” if not a complete return to normal. However, if Omicron continues to spread, or worse, a more deadly strain of Covid-19 emerges, that could result in shutdowns and layoffs. In such a scenario, the government would have to band together to help struggling Americans in such a time of need.
The other factor is that the national jobless rate dropped to 3.9 percent, the lowest level since the start of the pandemic. In addition, as The Motley Fool reported, the labor market is loaded with jobs wages have increased to entice talent. Given those facts, the government may not see the need to issue another round of stimulus.
Simply put, things just aren’t “bad enough” for the government to see the need to help folks out at this point in 2022.
Peter Suciu, a Forbes Magazine Contributing Writer, is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.