Could the Omicron wave lead to more stimulus checks? The Omicron variant is running roughshod over the U.S. population, with records being broken every day for new cases and other metrics. Experts are saying that the wave could last through the month of January, although there are signs that cases could slow down after that peak.
When coronavirus first arrived in the U.S. in the spring of 2020, the Trump Administration and Congress passed a round of stimulus checks, at a time when stay-at-home orders were in effect and the economy faced serious calamity.
With the new wave leading to as many or more cases as there were two years ago, could the U.S. government again visit the idea of stimulus checks?
It appears highly unlikely.
4th Stimulus Checks: The Latest
According to Motley Fool, if the Omicron variant leads to any type of shutdowns, “it could make the case for more stimulus funds.”
However, it doesn’t appear that anything like that is likely to happen, even in the case of Omicron spreading further.
First of all, there is little indication that there is much interest among top people in the government in a new round of stimulus checks. The White House has not proposed them, nor have the leaders of either party in Congress. The Biden Administration just spent several months seeking to negotiate a major spending package, called Build Back Better, which has now likely died in its current form in the Senate, in part because Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has objected to the size of the package.
Any spending package that includes universal stimulus checks would likely cost much more than Build Back Better did, and would appear unlikely to meet the approval of enough Senators to get through Congress.
Why 4th Stimulus Checks Won’t Happen
Again, probably not.
For one thing, while the unset of the pandemic caused the stock market to crash, that hasn’t happened as a result of Omicron.
There appears to be little appetite among the general public, or among elected officials, for more lockdowns or stay-at-home orders. When schools and businesses have closed due to Omicron, it has mostly been because of a lack of available personnel, as opposed to because of top-down pressure for state or local governments.
There are many differences between 2022 and 2020. There are, of course, vaccines available, as well as therapeutics, and the accumulation of two years of expert knowledge about how to deal with the virus, which two years ago was brand new. And furthermore, while Omicron is putting people in the hospital around the country, it is not thought to lead to illness as deadly as earlier variants of the virus.
Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.