11 million Americans unemployed.
55 million Americans in poverty this year.
100,000+ small businesses have been shut down, permanently.
We are now in the second wave of this pandemic. Major states and cities have already begun to re-enforce lockdowns, and with the incoming Biden administration, whether you support it or not, national lockdowns will be in the forefront of our political conversations.
If We Ask You to Stay Home, We Should Pay You So You Can
With more lockdowns will come immense economic distress. Those who rely on small businesses for income are now between a rock and a hard place, having to choose between following public health guidelines to keep their community safe or opening up their business to bring in money for the family. More than half of Americans could not afford a $500 emergency expense prior to the pandemic.
Now, most Americans have had to make numerous unplanned expenses, whether buying technology for their children to accommodate remote learning, investing in safety precautions for their family, or having to cover healthcare costs that come with being a victim of the pandemic.
The bottom line is that if Congress wants the country to get through this pandemic, it must send Americans direct cash relief so that they don’t have to worry about food, rent, and their family’s safety.
Consumption in our economy is significantly lower than it was one year ago, and few Americans have readily available disposable income to spend at their local small businesses.
Over the next six months, countless disenfranchised workers and former business owners will continue to slip out of the workforce -- a loss in our economy’s productivity that the declining unemployment rate won’t capture.
Reports show increasing automation as large corporations replace their disease-prone workers with robots that don’t need sick leave, days off, or employment benefits. Screens and apps are replacing retail and food service workers, warehouses are being filled with the hum of self-driving robots, and an MIT & Boston joint study found that as many as 200k jobs could be automated in the next year.
And that estimate was before COVID happened.
Humanity Forward proposes the United States Congress pass a bill that will expand the stimulus check from the CARES Act into 6 iterations of a monthly check during the economic recession induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Congress Should Take Action Now
In March, Congress worked in a bipartisan fashion to pass a stimulus package to deliver economic relief to Americans. Today, while the distress many families are facing hasn’t gone away, the urgency for Congress to work together to deliver continued relief has.
The single stimulus check we received in April of $1200 had positive impacts for Americans. 66% used the check to keep food on the table, over half used it to cover utility costs and necessary daily expenses. 88% of the money was injected into circulation in local economies.
Today, 56 million American households are facing serious financial hardship.
Why We Need Direct Cash Relief
When the government decides to invoke eminent domain and must occupy some land for public use, the constitution obliges the government to pay the owners in full.
Now, the government is invoking an eminent domain-like policy on our businesses, requiring them to be shut down. Similarly, it is obliged to compensate us for the loss in income we are facing. It’s not a handout, it’s the government’s responsibility.
Elected Democrats & Republicans need to get behind what that the rest of us already know is a good idea. Direct monthly stimulus checks are broadly popular across the political spectrum.
Nationally, 67% of Republicans, 65% of Independents, and 89% of Democrats support “regular payments until the economic crisis is over”. In battleground states, 74% of voters support regular direct payments throughout the pandemic. In swing districts, 70% of voters support prioritizing additional relief over debt reduction.
By putting cash in the hands of Americans, we put the country on the pathway for recovery. This policy will put coal in the economic fire; Americans will have disposable income again to spend on coffee, a night out, or a socially-distant trip, translating to income for small business owners and their employees. It’s time to break America out of the ice.