The Chances of a New Stimulus Check for Most Americans Are Remote: Food and gas prices are going up. You may be unemployed and are behind on bills. Maybe you haven’t had a raise in a long time. Perhaps you quit your job because it just didn’t give you satisfaction anymore.
Whatever the reason, Americans are wondering if they will be receiving a 4th stimulus check (or economic impact payment) from the federal government in 2022. You may qualify to get a certain type of stimulus payment if your family had a baby, fostered, or adopted a child in 2021 or 2022. This will be a $1,400 payment for the select few – a part of the American Rescue Plan.
Some states in 2021 delivered their own stimulus checks to citizens in California, Georgia, Connecticut, Florida, New York, and Tennessee. Some payments were universal, others required you to be a first responder, teacher, or student.
Let’s explore for a moment why so many Americans are after a 4th stimulus check and why it isn’t likely to pan out.
The Economy Is Leaving Some Behind
Times are still hard. Nine percent of American citizens (around 20 million people) said they didn’t have enough food in December 2021, according to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of U.S. Census polling results from September and October. Sixteen percent of renters (12 million people) have not paid their rent on time in months, including 23 percent of renters with kids at home.
It’s Bad Out There, But Not Bad Enough for a New Stimulus Check
The chances of a brand new Congressional act signed by President Joe Biden that would enable a new universal plan for the fourth round of economic stimulus checks are remote.
If Covid-19 would act up so much that a nationwide shutdown would occur – similar to the shutdown in March 2020 – this would maybe create the political environment for another stimulus check. However, more and more states, counties, and cities are keeping businesses open and refusing to shut down commerce. There are some cities and counties that require proof of vaccination to enter businesses such as restaurants and gyms, but for the most part, aside from mask mandates, policy makers are not recommending a massive shutdown of the economy and quarantines.
New Stimulus Checks Could Cause More Inflation
Riley Adams, the senior financial analyst for Google, told Yahoo Finance, “[I]njecting more federal stimulus into the economy could stoke the flames of inflation even further. With people having more income available, consumer demand might pick up and exacerbate an already stressed supply chain.”
Progressives Want More Stimulus Checks
Some Members of Congress banged the drum last year for more stimulus checks. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, wrote a letter to President Biden in March asking for more direct payments.
The letter said, “[P]olling shows 65 percent of Americans support recurring cash payments for the duration of the pandemic. This includes support from 54 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independents. Economists support the idea too. More than 150 economists recently wrote an open letter supporting automatic stabilizers as part of a strong recovery.”
In the House of Representatives, there is a similar movement from progressive members towards more stimulus checks for all citizens. Another 2021 letter to President Biden had 53 signatories, including Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib. Rep. Omar later said the payments should be $2,000 a month until the end of the pandemic.
Moderates and Conservatives Would Probably Not Support More Stimulus Checks
But legislation for more stimulus would meet a bridge too far in the senate with Republicans not likely supporting new monetary injections into the economy because of budget limitations and the risk of more inflation. This proposal would need every Democrat Senator to be on board, and Democrat Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has already said that inflation is “very, very troubling.”
So, the political support for stimulus is supported by progressives, but not as much by moderates, and conservatives. Could there be another Covid variant worse than Omicron? That remains to be seen. Right now, receivers of another stimulus check are for families with new children – not for the masses.
Now serving as 1945’s Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood.