Double Trouble: Omicron, Inflation Put Renewed Focus on Stimulus Check Petitions – It appears that all across the country, the current red-hot high-inflationary environment and the unrelenting spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant are driving more passionate calls to the White House and Congress to quickly approve another round or two of stimulus checks.
Over the nearly two-year-long pandemic, Congress has already stepped in to green-light three much-needed direct payments to most Americans. They include a $1,200 check in April 2020, $600 in December, and the $1,400 payments approved in March under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
Stimulus Check Standstill in Washington
However, in recent months, there has been no concrete action in Washington to make another round of stimulus checks a reality.
“Like the previous three stimulus checks, a fourth stimulus check would come from Congress,” Forbes writes.
“While Democrats control Congress, there has been no serious effort to date to pass legislation that would provide … a fourth stimulus check,” it continues.
Despite the standstill, that doesn’t mean millions of cash-strapped Americans are sitting around quietly.
Ordinary Citizens Take to Petitions for a Stimulus Check
Currently, there are at least seven circulating petitions with well over five million signatures that are demanding more payments. The most popular one by far is being orchestrated by a Colorado restaurant owner whose business has been devastated by the ongoing health crisis.
“I am one of millions of Americans who fear for my financial future because of this coronavirus crisis. … 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,” reads the Change.org petition, which surpassed its stated goal of three million signatures this past weekend.
“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,” it continues.
Now, it appears that reaching 4.5 million signatures is the next ambitious target. If that is eventually met, it would make the petition one of the top signed ever on Change.org.
“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,” the petition reads.
“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,” 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.