A New Stimulus Check Push Coming Soon? During the COVID-19 pandemic, the stimulus checks sent to Americans were crucial lifelines that may have helped the country – perhaps even the world – fend off a major economic downturn that could have led to a deep recession or even depression. Even as some experts now contend that the stimulus money may have led, at least in part to the 40-year high record inflation, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the money also likely kept upwards of 11 million Americans out of poverty.
“The most impactful programs for alleviating poverty were economic impact payments under the ARP (American Rescue Plan) and unemployment compensation,” the HHS stated in a report from earlier this year.
While COVID-19 has essentially become endemic, meaning that the disease is still around but not at a level that is causing significant disruption of daily life, and life has returned to a post-pandemic new normal, for many the economic situation remains bleak. Even for those who have been able to rejoin the workforce, inflation woes are so great that hard choices are often made that include paying the rent or buying food.
In addition, that stimulus money shouldn’t be blamed for today’s inflation said former presidential candidate Andrew Yang. He told CNBC in April, “Money in people’s hands for a couple of months last year — in my mind — was a very, very minor factor, in that most of that money has long since been spent, and yet you see inflation continue to rise.”
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have largely been reluctant to push forward additional stimulus checks, even as inflation remains largely unchecked.
Forget a Stimulus Check – Is a Gas Stimulus Coming?
With the official beginning of summer this week, gasoline prices have leveled off – yet are expected to rise in the coming months.
As a result, the Biden administration has announced that is considering various options to help Americans who are feeling pain at the pump. That has included a new stimulus plan that is meant to address rising gasoline prices, and the president has called for a gasoline tax holiday that would run for upwards of three months.
Lawmakers have been largely skeptical of the gas tax holiday, as it would be temporary and would require the federal government to come up with other income to fund highway maintenance and construction projects. Raising other taxes to make up for any shortfalls would truly be a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
A rebate has also been floated.
In March, three Democratic House lawmakers introduced legislation, the Gas Rebate Act of 2022, which was aimed at addressing the high price of gasoline. Reps. Mike Thompson of California, John Larson of Connecticut, and Lauren Underwood of Illinois had called for an energy rebate of $100 per month for the rest of the year – and that legislation was actually drafted when gasoline had just exceeded $4 per gallon.
“Americans are feeling the impact at the pump of Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and right now we must work together on commonsense policy solutions to ease the financial burden that my constituents are feeling,” said Thompson. “The Putin Price Hike is putting strain on our economy, and I am proud to be working with Reps. Larson and Underwood to introduce this legislation to provide middle-class Americans with monthly payments to ease the financial burden of this global crises.”
While that legislation has so far failed to gain traction, the White House is again considering how gasoline cards could be sent to Americans. One hurdle that could likely impact this plan is that the United States continues to face a computer chip shortage, which would make it difficult to produce enough cards. For now, at least, it seems unlikely that Americans can expect further stimulus relief to actually combat inflation.
Now a Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes.