by Dana George | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on May 20, 2021
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It is impossible to deny the number of Americans still living from hand to mouth.
Compared to this time last year, life appears to be getting better. And for many Americans, things are definitely looking up. But the cry for a fourth stimulus check is tied to the millions still struggling to put food on the table. Here are three reasons there are so many people still hoping for additional help in the way of another direct stimulus payment.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the unemployment rate in April was 6.1%.
Despite the fact that 6 out of 100 workers in the U.S. are unemployed, 22 Republican-led states have determined that boosted unemployment benefits are no longer necessary and are opting out of the federal programs that promised an extra $300 per week to unemployed workers through Sept. 4, 2021.
For families barely able to get by during the pandemic, taking more away from them feels like a recipe for financial disaster. An unemployed worker who counted on an extra $1,200 per month may be unable to pay rent. That, in turn, may impact the landlord's ability to pay their bills, and so on.
Although the boosted unemployment benefits have been labeled as frivolous by the GOP, those benefits are part of what has helped keep millions of Americans afloat. It's easy to see how cutting them could increase the call for aid in other forms, including more stimulus money.
Beginning in July, middle- and low-income families will begin receiving monthly payments as part of the expanded Child Tax Credit. According to the Biden administration, approximately 88% of all children living in the U.S. will be eligible for funds.
While the Child Tax Credit is expected to help support an economic recovery, not everyone has children. Americans without children must find a way to get back on their feet without the assistance of a tax credit.
It appears that there are two camps when it comes to vaccine and mask compliance. There are those who refuse the vaccine and fight tooth and nail to avoid wearing a mask in public and those who carefully adhere to CDC recommendations. Now that mask mandates are being lifted across the country, it's fair to assume that Americans who have carefully protected their health over the past 15 months will be hesitant to visit stores and restaurants that allow a totally mask-free experience -- primarily because there is no way to know who has been vaccinated.
For some businesses, recovery may be slow as Americans get a better sense of where they can safely spend time. Among the small businesses that have thus far survived the pandemic, a slow recovery will inevitably lead to the need for additional assistance.
Although we don't expect the demand for a fourth stimulus check to dissipate any time soon, we are realistic enough to recognize that Congress has already pivoted toward other issues, like arguing over whether an insurrection took place on Jan. 6 and how much is "too much" to spend on an infrastructure bill.
Perhaps as COVID deaths decrease and jobless numbers improve, the appeal for more stimulus money will wane. The next few months should tell the story.
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