Fourth Stimulus Check Approval: Here’s What It’ll Take
The White House hasn’t responded to any of the proposals for additional stimulus checks, and the general sentiment is that a fourth stimulus check isn’t likely. Economists have suggested we’ve already moved past the pandemic’s worst financial woes, although there are signs that Americans could still use relief.
Experts certainly seem in agreement that there won’t be a fourth stimulus check. The latest stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan, is “gonna be the last on that front,” Deutsche Bank senior U.S. economist Brett Ryan told Fortune. “No more checks.”
Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst at Raymond James, agreed, telling CNBC recently “I think its unlikely at this time. D.C. has largely started to pivot towards the recovery and an infrastructure bill.”
Many economists and financial experts are worried that the third stimulus checks have contributed to a growing inflation rate. In June 2021, the core inflation rate, stripped of energy and food prices, rose 4.5% at an annual rate vs. the Dow Jones estimate of 3.8%. The overall consumer price index rose at an annualized 5.4% rate in June.
The Omicron Variant Didnt Slow Down Job Gains
Unlike last year though, when the Omicron variant pushed new infections to levels much higher than at any time during the pandemic, the US recorded significant job gains. Data collected in the middle of the surge reported 467,000 new hires, over three times what analysts had expected. Additionally, there are more job openings than there are workers available to take them pushing up wages as businesses try to attract employees.
On the other hand, 6 million people, nearly twice as many as in December, could not work or lost hours over the previous month due to the pandemic disrupting normal business at their place of employment. The incredibly fast rise in infections from the highly contagious Omicron variant fortunately appears to have reversed just as quickly.
Congress Previously Acted Quickly To Get Relief To Americans Affected By The Pandemic
When the US and the world were put on lockdown, millions of workers were confined to their homes sending the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 14.7 percent in April 2020. Congress acted rapidly to pass the 2020 CARES Act to get relief to businesses and households, including the first round of stimulus checks of up to $1,200 for eligible adults and $500 per qualifying kid under age 17.
Congress also passed generous enhanced pandemic unemployment benefits which kept households afloat where workers businesses were shuttered or they had to stay home because of pandemic-induced upheavals in their lives. Those benefits were extended in 2020 and again in 2021 but have now ceased, being seen by some as the reason behind a severe labor shortage in the US.
Two more rounds of stimulus checks were also passed in the interim of up to $2,000 in total. They are credited with supercharging the economic recovery which had begun to lag at the end of 2020 as a new variant caused infections to surge. But the last one has also been blamed for the current high rate of inflation.
Number of unemployed people per job opening unchanged at 0.6 in December 2021 #BLSdata
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As Central Texas Families Continue Struggling A Fourth Stimulus Check Could Be On The Way
KILLEEN, Texas – Lawmakers and advocates are saying the American Rescue Plan is failing to rescue families who have struggled since the start of the pandemic, proposing a fourth and recurring stimulus plan should be put in place.
In Central Texas, Local Realtor Jeremy Fay says two years into the pandemic, most families hes helped find a home have barely stayed afloat thanks to their stimulus pay. Now, with no new stimulus checks officially coming in, families are getting concerned.
The harsh reality is that there are a lot of families still enduring hardships, he said.
A lot of these are FHA and VA buyers, these are people local in our community. These are our military service members who I try to work with all the time and try to help them qualify for housing. Its difficult because housing costs continue to rise, costs across the board are going up.
Lawmakers say the proposal for recurring $2,000 stimulus payment every month would last until the pandemic is over. However, Texas A& M Central Texas Economics Professor Rob Tennant says while a fourth stimulus check is certainly possible, recurring payments isnt economically feasible.
Theyll have more money to work with, which could potentially drive inflation further harder and higher, as well as causing more shortages, he said.
So, it can create a vicious cycle. It doesnt mean the suffering of people doesnt matter it just means all aspects of this need to be taken into consideration.
Other Help For Social Security Claimants
The Social Security Administration looks at the cost of living and makes any necessary increases to Social Security benefits.
This practice has been going on since the 1950s to offset inflation for people living on a fixed income.
The cost-of-living adjustment for 2022 will see an increase of 5.9%, one of the biggest in history.
That means about 70million Americans will see that monthly increase in their benefits in the new year.
Plus, we explain how to get the most out of Social Security when you retire – including ways to boost your payments.
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More Money Is On The Way For Families With Children
The pandemic aid package passed in March also increased the size of the child tax credit. Those payments will be sent periodically beginning July 15.
More than 36 million families may be eligible for the payments. Most wont have to do anything to receive the money, which will be based on information provided on the 2020 or 2019 tax returns.
Parents can now check their eligibility online using a new IRS tool as well as opt out of monthly payments, instead receiving the full credit as a lump sum when they file their tax return next year. Low-income families who dont normally file taxes can also register for the payments online.
Those payments will technically be an advance on a 2021 tax credit. Eligible parents will receive $3,600 for each child under 6 and $3,000 for each child under age 18. Until now, the credit was up to only $2,000 per child under age 17. At least half of the amount will go out over the summer and the remainder will be lumped in with next years tax refund.
The enhanced portion of the credit will be available for single parents with annual incomes up to $75,000 and joint filers making up to $150,000 a year.
Congress also made the child tax credit fully refundable so more low-income families can benefit. Previously, if the credit exceeded the taxes owed, parents could receive only up to $1,400 as a refund. These households also must have earned income of at least $2,500. The change could make 20 million more children eligible.
Why There May Not Be A Fourth Stimulus Check
It’s true that the U.S. is deep in the throes of a major COVID-19 outbreak — one that threatens to overwhelm hospital systems, force schools into remote learning, and impact supply chains. But the silver lining is that omicron is said to result in milder illness than its predecessors, which means it may not be as disruptive.
Furthermore, the CDC recently updated its guidelines to shorten the length of quarantine for those diagnosed with COVID-19. That could mean fewer workplace disruptions and closures.
All of that would be a good thing for our economy. And speaking of the economy, it continues to improve. In December, the national jobless rate dropped to 3.9%, the lowest level since the start of the pandemic. Additionally, the labor market is loaded with jobs right now, so much so that many companies are raising wages in an effort to attract talent. This is a very different scenario than the one that presented in March 2021, when the most recent stimulus check was approved.
Finally, lawmakers aren’t looking to impose massive shutdowns to combat the current COVID-19 surge like they did early on in the pandemic. That alone could prevent a massive wave of layoffs.
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How Is The Economic Recovery Going
In the first quarter of 2021, the U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 6.4 percent, faster than the 4.3 percent rate from the fourth quarter of 2020. The annual rate of growth could reach double-digits in the second quarter. The countrys gross domestic product , an estimate of economic activity in the economy, is close to where it was before the pandemic. Experts believe it will return to its pre-pandemic level this summer. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the increase in first quarter GDP reflected the continued economic recovery, reopening of establishments, and continued government response related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Large segments of the workforce have felt little economic impact from the pandemic. Many jobs performed at a desk in an office were just as easily performed at a desk in someones home. And with fewer outlets for spending, plus three stimulus checks, many Americans managed to save more money. The personal saving rate ballooned to 33.7 percent last April and, at 13.7 percent for February 2021, remains almost double where it was before the pandemic. Households have accumulated a whopping $4.1 trillion in savings, more than triple what it was before the pandemic.
Unemployment Expected To Fall To 3 Percent
The US economy has been going gangbusters, recovering much faster than after the Great Recession. With covid-19 vaccine shots in their arms, Americans began venturing out once again driving up demand and hiring. This led to the most jobs gained on record in one year with the US adding 6.4 million in 2021.
The current unemployment rate of 4 percent though is still above the pre-pandemic level when it was 3.7 percent. And for all the jobs that were added there still remains a nearly similar number of Americans unemployed. However, the St Louis Fed President Jim Bullard predicts that it could , a level that could mean the economy is overheating.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard sees the U.S. unemployment rate falling below 3% this year, a jobless rate the country last saw in the early 1950s, he told in a conversation on Twitter Spaces 1/3
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No Economic Recovery For Others
The pandemic has further highlighted the growing imbalance across the broader economy. While many households have financially flourished during COVID, many others have fallen behind where they were in early 2020. Much of the gap depends on whether wage earners could work remotely during the shutdown or had public-facing jobs that required them to be on-site.
Financial insecurity is still widespread, and the loss of a job and the loss of hours were some of the main reasons over the course of the pandemic. Nine percent of American adults reported a shortage of food in their household over the previous week, according to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of U.S. Census survey data from late September and early October. Approximately 16 percent of renters have fallen behind on their rent, including 23 percent of renters with children in their household. The federal eviction moratorium, which ended October 3, didnt forgive rent that was owed, it pushed the debt into the future. And evictions continued in some parts of the country regardless. Meanwhile, only a fraction of the $46 billion Congress allocated for rental assistance has actually made it to tenants and landlords. As of late September, over a quarter of American adults reported some difficulty keeping up with expenses in the prior week.
As Of Now A Fourth Stimulus Check Is Unlikely
Recently, calls have circulated online for a fourth stimulus check to be approved, with many saying that although the payments have stopped, the pandemic clearly hasnt.
Over three million people have signed a Change.org petition calling for recurring $2,000 payments for adults and $1,000 payments for children until the pandemic ends.
But no such payment has yet been approved, IRS spokesperson Eric Smith told USA TODAY.
This isnt the first time people have posted misinformation about fourth stimulus checks. Similar posts also circulated in May and of 2021.
Analysts have their doubts about whether a fourth stimulus check is likely to be approved.
CBS News wrote on Jan. 31 that the Biden administrations focus on infrastructure to spur economic growth combined with criticisms that the previous stimulus contributed to ongoing inflation have lowered the odds of another cash infusion.
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Th Stimulus Checks Coming In 2022 Why Some Could Get $1400
Despite speculation that a fourth stimulus check could be around the corner, there remains no sign that the federal government has any interest in making further direct payments to American taxpayers.
With Democrats unable to pass their landmark Build Back Better and voting rights legislation, there has been no indication of a new package designed to deliver a fourth direct payment. Some legislators, however, have argued strongly in favor of extending the enhanced child tax credit for an additional year a measure opposed by moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also hit out at moderate Democratic Senator Kirsten Sinema for her refusal to toe the party line and pass Build Back Better. Ocasio-Cortez called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last week to make Sinemas life as difficult as possible.
Actually he should continue to make their lives as difficult as possible and treat them the way they treat, say, public housing residents. Or parents who rely on CTC , Ocasio-Cortez
A Fourth Stimulus Check: Just Fake News?
Some fake reports shared on social media have wrongly claimed that stimulus checks are just around the corner, with one viral Facebook post claiming that $2,000 payments will be deposited directly into bank accounts on February 9.
Other posts have claimed that many Americans are eligible for a further $1,400 in 2022. These claims are inaccurate.
Whats Really On The Table? A Fourth Stimulus Check for Some
Do People Need A Fourth Stimulus Check
According to CNBC, there is a case for a fourth stimulus check that goes beyond the calls from lawmakers. The Economic Security Project, a progressive organization that advocates for guaranteed income no matter what the state of the economy, says there’s a need for more stimulus checks.
We need at least one more check, said Adam Ruben.
Ruben, the campaign director at the Economic Security Project, also said that stimulus checks should be “automatic,” and not stalled as they were last summer when second stimulus check negotiations caused a long gap between the $1,200 and $600 payments.
There are signs of recovery, though. The June jobs report showed a gain of 850,000, which was better than expected, according to The New York Times. That’s the strongest one-month gain since last summer.
Likewise, the Commerce Department said that gross domestic product had grown at an annualized rate of 6.5% for April through June of 2021, surpassing the figure it had reached before the pandemic, the Washington Post reported. However, that was less than the 8% GDP growth some economists had forecast.
Regardless, certain lawmakers are pushing for relief.
This unprecedented moment demands an unprecedented response. People dont only need relief, they need stability, certainty, and predictability and the ABC Act delivers them exactly that,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal .
However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, didn’t appear to agree.
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Which Cities Are Giving Out 4th Stimulus Checks
Thats rightcities are now getting in on the stimulus check action too . See if your town made the list:
Low-income residents of The Windy City have been given stimulus checks at random. You read that right. Chicago will give out $500 checks to 5,000 people each month throughout 2022. Theyll be selected at random for this stimulus lottery.19
- Los Angeles
Like Chicago, LA is handing out payments to low-income residents for a year. Their program, called BIG:LEAP, will give 3,200 randomly chosen people $1,000 each month.20
Pittsburghs program is called the Assured Cash Experiment and gives 200 low-income residents $500 each monthfor two years. The program will spend $2.5 million on lower-income zip codes.21
- Santa Ana
The close-by neighbors of LA are getting a stimulus program of their own called the Revive Santa Ana Resident Stimulus Program. It will give out $6 million to neighborhoods that fall below the poverty level in Santa Ana. Payments of $300 will be loaded onto prepaid debit cards and given out door to door to about 20,000 residents.22
Seattle has one of the more generous payouts on the list. The Seattle Relief Fund is a $16 million program that gives payments of $1,0003,000 to low-income residents of the Emerald City.23
Fourth Stimulus Check: $2000 A Month Stimulus Checks
Congress provided three stimulus checks to qualifying Americans in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Like the previous three stimulus checks, a fourth stimulus check would come from Congress. While Democrats control Congress, there has been no serious effort to date to pass legislation that would provide $2,000 a month stimulus checks or even a fourth stimulus check. While the previous three stimulus checks were one-time stimulus checks, this petition calls for monthly stimulus checks. What is the rationale for recurring stimulus checks? Supporters say that a single stimulus check is insufficient to help Americans who are struggling financially due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This includes those who, like Bonin, work in the restaurant sector. Last year, Rep. Ilhan Omar and 55 Democrats sent a letter to President Joe Biden to support recurring stimulus checks. However, Biden doesnt support a fourth stimulus check or recurring stimulus checks. Currently, Biden is focused on Congress passing his legislative agenda, the Build Back Better plan, which doesnt include any stimulus checks.
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