Could stimulus checks lead to a universal basic income?
Coronavirus stimulus check issued in 2020 and 2021 had an undeniable impact on American families. They helped keep people out of poverty in an economically challenging time. And in fact, they actually helped increase household income above pre-pandemic levels for some individuals and families.
Since then, money paid directly to people bank accounts proved to be both popular and successful in reducing poverty, some legislators are now demanding that more monthly payments be issued.
In fact, rep. Ilhan Omar on Friday, July 30, a bill called Sending Unconditional Payments to People Overcoming Resistances to Triumph (SUPPORT), which would provide payments of $ 1,200 per. month per. adult and $ 600 per. month per. child. This money will be offered on an ongoing basis, as opposed to the one-time payments made available in each of the three corona aid bills.
How would ongoing stimulus payments work?
The Support Act does not refer to the current monthly payments as stimulus payments, but rather as a universal basic income. Rep. Omar makes it clear, however, that relief from coronavirus stimulation was the inspiration for the proposed legislation.
“The silver lining under COVID-19 has been that the federal government and local governments recognize the urgency and effectiveness of providing direct resources to struggling Americans,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar in a statement on the SUPPORT Act. “These emergency payments actually reduced poverty and strengthened our economy through increased consumer spending during one of the worst recessions in recent history.
Rep Omar does not believe that these stimulus payments should end with the pandemic. Instead, she believes they should be made into fixtures because of their poverty-fighting services. “It’s time for Congress to lift our society by simply putting money back in people’s pockets,” she said.
The Aid Act would do just that. Under the terms of the law, a new Treasury Department will be set up to oversee a $ 2.5 billion grant that would fund local pilot programs to offer regular direct payments to Americans.
Based on the results of these pilot programs, the federal government would subsequently implement a guaranteed income program for all Americans. The program will provide:
- $ 1,200 a month for U.S. residents over 18 years of age
- $ 600 a month for child support
Payments would begin to phase out when income hit $ 75,000 for single taxpayers; $ 150,000 for married public prosecutors; and $ 112,500 for household heads.
If the bill were passed, pilot programs would begin distributing money to Americans in eligible communities as early as 2023. The national program that provides funding to all eligible Americans would begin in 2028.
Of course, the bill must pass Congress and be signed by the president for this to happen. Although it has several Democratic co-sponsors, the likelihood of that happening in the current Congress, where Democrats have a thin majority, is not high.
Still, the introduction of the bill makes it clear that the success of stimulus checks could ultimately lead to a political shift, with the government providing more direct financial support as part of its anti-poverty efforts.
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