Americans say $ 2,000 stimulus checks needed to help their own finances and economy weather pandemic – Forbes Advisor

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Americans say that more money in their pockets will not only help their own financial situation, it will help support the economy.

A new YouGov survey for Forbes Advisor asked Americans what kind of help would help both their personal finances and the economy withstand the continuing coronavirus pandemic. Almost half of respondents support a one-time payment of $ 2,000 per family member, far more than any other form of relief offered, including mortgage and rent relief, student loan forgiveness and unemployment benefits.

However, experts are not sure that stimulus checks are the most effective way to stimulate the economy.

Americans are clear: they want direct money in their pockets

When asked about the different forms of aid circulating around lawmakers in Washington, the results are clear: Americans want money put straight into their pockets.

Forty-six percent of respondents believe that a one-time payment of $ 2,000 per family member will strengthen their personal finances better than any other option presented. This is what Americans think would help support the US economy as well; 39% of respondents said a one-time payment of $ 2,000 per family member would help support the economy as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The results are similar to those of a previous survey by YouGov and Forbes Advisor in June 2020, where more than a third (36%) of respondents were in favor of monthly checks of $ 2,000 for at least six months or up to a year.

The results of the new survey are not surprising, given the overall popularity of stimulus checks. In a December 2020 poll from Vox and Data For Progress, 75% of respondents said they wanted the dunning checks to be prioritized in another package. However, it is surprising that so many Americans choose a one-time payment with a considerably lower value and with shorter-term benefits than some of the other options presented in the YouGov survey, such as $ 50,000 in student loan forgiveness.

For example, only 16% of respondents support waiving rent and mortgage payments for a year, even though the actual cost savings from a proposal like this could run into the tens of thousands of dollars. for millions of Americans.

Democrats have been pushing for the cancellation of rents and mortgage payments since they introduced the HEROES Act last May. the current federal moratorium on evictions stopped evictions for people who cannot pay rent, but tenants still owe those payments; and many accumulate thousands of dollars in overdue rent they’ll have to pay back at the end of the moratorium.

To date, the federal government has put in place a moratorium on evictions (now extended until at least March 31) and provided $ 25 billion to cover rent and utility payments. Some analysts, including Moody’s Analytics, say these forms of aid have only covered the tip of the iceberg and that much remains to be done. Newly introduced Biden $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal would allocate an additional $ 25 billion in rental assistance and utilities for low- and moderate-income households.

Just over a tenth (11%) of Americans reported forgiving up to $ 50,000 in student loan the debt would strengthen their personal finances. The YouGov survey did not assess the number of respondents with student loan debt; in 2019, however, 44.7 million borrowers held student loan debt, with an average loan balance of $ 32,731. The debate around student loan debt cancellation has grown since President Biden was elected; he supports at least $ 10,000 in student loan cancellation, but this provision was excluded from his stimulus proposal.

What does it take to help support the economy?

Respondents also believe that a direct payment of $ 2,000 would help the economy. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said a one-time payment of $ 2,000 per family member would best strengthen the US economy.

Other forms of assistance, such as waiving rent, forgiving a student loan up to $ 50,000, or increasing additional unemployment benefits to $ 600 per month, were much less popular. Eight percent of those polled don’t think further stimulus is needed to help the economy.

While out-of-pocket payments can be useful on an individual level, it is vastly different from what economists and analysts say is most beneficial for the economy as it continues to weather the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic caused the strongest and deepest economic contraction since the Great Depression.

The December jobs report found that the current unemployment rate is 6.7% and the economy has 10 million fewer jobs than before the pandemic began nearly a year ago. year. Although the economy has rebounded slightly from the peak of its decline last spring, the recovery is only benefiting middle to high wages, leaving behind low-income workers, women and blacks and Hispanics in particular. – Americans.

Addressing these issues goes beyond simply providing one-time payments of $ 2,000, according to a post by William G. Gale and Grace Enda, Principal Investigator and Research Assistant at the Brookings Institute, respectively.

Gale and Enda write that providing aid to state and local governments, as well as expanding the “generosity and timing of targeted relief,” such as unemployment insurance and rent assistance, is what will help the government. economy to weather the Covid-19 storm. They also argue that previous stimulus packages have eased efforts to keep people at home and curb the spread of the virus, rather than a real stimulus, which would increase economic activity.

Stimulus checks, for example, are one-time payments. The pandemic now spans over a year. To provide long-term relief, write Gale and Edna, the federal government should increase resources for the social safety net by increasing tax credits and assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. (WIC). Business funds to help preserve jobs and expanded unemployment insurance would also help.

“Investing in the social safety net not only helps people in the short term, but often provides the economy with long-term benefits that exceed the initial costs,” the authors say.

Biden could change income thresholds for next round of stimulus checks

Biden is backing another round of stimulus checks, but it’s unclear who would receive them if they are enacted with the next stimulus package.

Biden said he was open to negotiating income thresholds on stimulus payments. Previous stimulus packages granted the full stimulus payment amount to people with Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) up to $ 75,000 and married couples with AGI up to $ 150,000. A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) say lowering income thresholds would better target payments to Americans who need them most and lower the overall cost of the stimulus package.

However, this may alienate Americans who received previous stimulus checks but find that under new income restrictions they are no longer eligible.

There is still a lot of work to be done before the next stimulus package is enacted. The United States House of Representatives plans to introduce and vote on a stimulus bill in the first week of February. Even if it passes successfully through the House, it will have to be voted on and approved by the Senate. Republican lawmakers are already hesitant to back Biden’s stimulus package, citing his high price as a sign of danger, as reported by Reuters.

Biden has repeatedly said that he prefer to reach a bipartite agreement on the bill but he has a trick up his sleeve to move forward if he does not get enough Republican or moderate Democratic support: budget reconciliation.

The budget reconciliation process facilitates the adoption of budget legislation in the Senate; only a simple majority of 51 votes will be required, as opposed to the standard majority of 60 votes under ordinary legislation. The Senate is now split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, and Vice President Kamala Harris serves as a tiebreaker.

Methodology

YouGov interviewed 1,200 American adults. The survey was conducted on January 23, 2021. The survey was conducted via YouGov Direct. The data is weighted by age, sex, level of education, political affiliation, and ethnicity to be nationally representative of adults in the United States. The margin of error is approximately 4.0% for the entire sample.

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