More money to individuals?

  • 30 April 2020
  • NormanL

Some members of Congress believe the best way to help individuals weather the economic storm is to hand out even more -- and bigger -- government checks. And also to make them monthly, for up to a year:

...according to Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH)...introduced a bill in Congress that would give every qualifying American over the age of 16 a stimulus payment of up to $2,000 each month for up to a year (plus $500 for up to three children).

If the Emergency Money for the People Act became law, the $2,000 monthly payments would be guaranteed for at least six months. They would then be renewed for another six months, unless the employment-to-population ratio for people ages 16 and older returns to the pre-coronavirus employment level of 60%. These payments would not count as income, so they would not affect your eligibility for any income-based federal or state government assistance programs.

That's a lot of money for an already cash-strapped federal government to be sending out the door each month. Who might get such assistance?

Eligibility for the $2,000 monthly payments under the Emergency Money for the People Act would be much broader than for the current CARES Act stimulus payments. To qualify for the monthly payments under the bill, you would have to be:

A citizen or resident of the U.S.; and

At least 16 years old as of January 1, 2020.

The citizenship or residency requirement would be satisfied if a person is physically present in the U.S. continuously since January 27, 2020, and stays in the U.S. throughout the payment period. (A person would fail to maintain a continuous presence in the U.S. if he or she left the country for any period exceeding 90 days or for any periods, in the aggregate, exceeding 180 days.)

There reportedly little congressional support for such a scheme right now. But given the current willingness to spend whatever it takes to prop up the economy, such a proposal (or some slimmed down version fo it) cannot be dismissed enitrely. Though like the trillions already spent, this money, too, would be borrowed. And every dime would have to be repaid. With interest.