20 votes

House Democrats propose $2,000 monthly payments to Americans

41 comments

  1. [24]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    Hold on... what? Is that it? Americans are getting one single payment of only $1,200? Maybe I should have read those articles about the stimulus more closely. I just assumed it was something like...

    “A one-time, twelve hundred dollar check isn’t going to cut it,” Khanna added.

    Hold on... what? Is that it? Americans are getting one single payment of only $1,200? Maybe I should have read those articles about the stimulus more closely. I just assumed it was something like what's happening here in Australia, where unemployed people are having their payments bumped up to $1,500 per fortnight, and where employers are getting a payment of $1,500 per fortnight to be paid to each employee on their books (a wage subsidy) - and both payments will continue for the next 6 months. Yanks get that payment only once? You poor, poor people.

    21 votes
    1. [7]
      babypuncher
      Link Parent
      Unemployment was expanded significantly. The $1,200 "stimulus" being sent out right now goes to everyone making <$75k/year regardless of their current job situation.

      Unemployment was expanded significantly.

      The $1,200 "stimulus" being sent out right now goes to everyone making <$75k/year regardless of their current job situation.

      10 votes
      1. [5]
        envy
        Link Parent
        As @hidegger says below

        As @hidegger says below

        you have to qualify for UI benefits, so a bunch of freelancers, self-employed and other odd jobs won't necessarily qualify if they lose work over this.

        12 votes
        1. [4]
          dubteedub
          Link Parent
          Actually, the Phase 3 Coronavirus relief package included gig workers and the self-employed. However, it seems like many states may be struggling to adjust to those new definitions and it may take...

          Actually, the Phase 3 Coronavirus relief package included gig workers and the self-employed. However, it seems like many states may be struggling to adjust to those new definitions and it may take longer to process.

          The federal response to the pandemic includes an expansion of unemployment benefits to self-employed people who typically are not eligible.

          Self-employed workers should apply for benefits through the unemployment program in the state where they worked, but it may not be easy. Many states are modifying their systems and retraining staff to accommodate newly eligible self-employed workers.

          Certain gig workers — Lyft or Uber drivers, for example — should qualify for regular unemployment benefits in some places because of the broad definitions of employment under state laws, according to the National Employment Law Project. But it’s often difficult for these gig workers to claim regular benefits, often taking many months. That could potentially create a bottleneck in the application process, or shut out certain workers altogether. (Remember, to become eligible for pandemic benefits, workers must first be ineligible for regular unemployment.) In states that have passed formal exemptions for drivers or similar workers, however, the pandemic fund is supposed to serve as a backstop.

          4 votes
          1. [3]
            psi
            Link Parent
            On the other hand, the Labor Secretary has wide latitude on issuing guidance on how to implement the new law, and he's chosen "the narrowest possible definition of who qualifies for pandemic...

            On the other hand, the Labor Secretary has wide latitude on issuing guidance on how to implement the new law, and he's chosen "the narrowest possible definition of who qualifies for pandemic unemployment assistance".

            4 votes
            1. [2]
              dubteedub
              Link Parent
              oh, lovely One phrase I have seen constantly said about this administration is that "the pain is the point" Whatever ways they can hurt people they will

              oh, lovely

              One phrase I have seen constantly said about this administration is that "the pain is the point"

              Whatever ways they can hurt people they will

              3 votes
      2. psi
        Link Parent
        Unemployment is great, if you can qualify. Of course, the requirements and benefits (notably, the duration) vary significantly by state. My girlfriend's application was denied. Apparently refusing...

        Unemployment is great, if you can qualify. Of course, the requirements and benefits (notably, the duration) vary significantly by state.

        My girlfriend's application was denied. Apparently refusing to martyr herself (retail) counts as leaving for "personal reasons".

        1 vote
    2. [5]
      gpl
      Link Parent
      Unemployment benefits have been raised $600 (on top of what was already present), so the American plan is actually better off for low income folks than some plans adopted in other countries...

      Unemployment benefits have been raised $600 (on top of what was already present), so the American plan is actually better off for low income folks than some plans adopted in other countries (Norway for example). In addition small businesses can get interest free loans to hold them over so long as they don't fire or lay off any workers, so hopefully once the economy can open people will very quickly be able to get back to work. The 1200 dollar stimulus checks are a one time thing. There was a lot going on in that stimulus bill.

      More is definitely needed, but we got more than just a one time check.

      Yanks get that payment only once? You poor, poor people.

      Yeah, Australia rocks and America sucks. It's fine to be curious and ask about how different countries are responding, and it's even fine to disagree with some responses! But this smug condescension isn't particularly appreciated when there are a lot of people worried about keeping a roof over their head or friends and family dying.

      9 votes
      1. [2]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        It was supposed to be an attempt at sympathy!!!

        But this smug condescension

        It was supposed to be an attempt at sympathy!!!

        18 votes
        1. gpl
          Link Parent
          Apologies then, I badly misread the tone there.

          Apologies then, I badly misread the tone there.

          9 votes
      2. envy
        Link Parent
        $1,200 a fortnight, $2,400 a month, UBI. That is impressive.

        $1,200 a fortnight, $2,400 a month, UBI. That is impressive.

        5 votes
      3. Greg
        Link Parent
        Is there a wage subsidy in place in the US? I'm all about UBI, but assuming we're not going to run that experiment right now, wage subsidies seem like a good way of keeping the money flowing to...

        Is there a wage subsidy in place in the US? I'm all about UBI, but assuming we're not going to run that experiment right now, wage subsidies seem like a good way of keeping the money flowing to those who need it while simultaneously taking the load off the businesses.

        Loans are a valuable tool, but depending on your margins, a few months of staffing costs could be more than you'll ever reasonable pay back. The government has to pick up the unemployment tab either way, so running the it through the businesses as a subsidy and avoiding the bankruptcy entirely seems like a good way to go about it.

    3. spit-evil-olive-tips
      Link Parent
      Yup, welcome to our absurd country. Bear in mind that the pre-coronavirus state of our social safety net involved such wonders as one in four women return to work two weeks after childbirth. It's...

      Yup, welcome to our absurd country. Bear in mind that the pre-coronavirus state of our social safety net involved such wonders as one in four women return to work two weeks after childbirth.

      It's a sad commentary that as insufficient as the one-time $1200 check is, it's still an improvement and something that'll make a meaningful difference in people's lives. 40% of Americans would have troubling covering a surprise $400 expense.

      8 votes
    4. [2]
      Hidegger
      Link Parent
      The final stimulus bill that got passed wasn't actually that great. Single payment up to $1200 + $500 per child dependent, up to 3 kids. This means all college students that are considered...

      The final stimulus bill that got passed wasn't actually that great.
      Single payment up to $1200 + $500 per child dependent, up to 3 kids. This means all college students that are considered dependents get nothing directly, their parents get the stimulus money ($500) unless they make too much. Specific disabled adults claimed as dependents and immigrants that aren't holding one of 2 specific visas won't receive anything either.
      Unemployment insurance gives you +$600/week on top of what it would have normally given you. But you have to qualify for UI benefits, so a bunch of freelancers, self-employed and other odd jobs won't necessarily qualify if they lose work over this.
      Small business payroll loan offers $1000 per employees up to $10000 that will be completely forgiven. So about 1 week's pay. All of the other Small business loans are just regular loans with interest rates and they aren't particularly that great of a deal when you can lay off your employees and they collect UI +$600.
      The rest of the stimulus was just handing rich people with big businesses free money. Thanks republicans for that.

      So for me, I'm still working and just got an extra $1200 this month.
      My roommate got laid off his server job qualified for $86/week and this last week started getting +$600/week + $1200 for the month plus he focuses on his seedling/plant/landscaping business that he operates Spring through Fall and is just supposed to work less than 32 hours/week to still qualify for UI.
      My sister is still working from home and is getting maybe a little less than $2200 extra for the month for having 2 kids.
      My parents need to pay $2500 on taxes this year by July 15(?) before they qualify for their $2400 which would likely be received mid to late summer. Because they've paid in the last few years the IRS doesn't have direct deposit for them.
      If that gives any idea how different it is from person to person.

      7 votes
      1. hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        Actually, as far as I understand, people who claim dependents over the age of 17, will not receive $500 for those dependents. So college students and their parents got extra-fucked on this.

        This means all college students that are considered dependents get nothing directly, their parents get the stimulus money ($500) unless they make too much.

        Actually, as far as I understand, people who claim dependents over the age of 17, will not receive $500 for those dependents.

        So college students and their parents got extra-fucked on this.

        9 votes
    5. [7]
      dubteedub
      Link Parent
      Mine was actually only about $1,000 as its based on your annual income. It came in my bank account today since I hace direct deposit set up for my tax returns. Folks who did not actually have that...

      Is that it? Americans are getting one single payment of only $1,200?

      Mine was actually only about $1,000 as its based on your annual income. It came in my bank account today since I hace direct deposit set up for my tax returns. Folks who did not actually have that set up will not get theres for weeks/months.

      I just assumed it was something like what's happening here in Australia, where unemployed people are having their payments bumped up to $1,500 per fortnight, and where employers are getting a payment of $1,500 per fortnight to be paid to each employee on their books (a wage subsidy) - and both payments will continue for the next 6 months.

      They did also provide a few hundred billion in loans to small businesses and nonprofits to cover payroll that gets forgiven if the company doesn't fire any employees.

      Unemployment also got an increase in the ampunt paid out and it got extended by an extra month that it pays out.

      The onetime check is in addition to those measures.

      6 votes
      1. [4]
        BuckeyeSundae
        Link Parent
        And apparently it'll have the President's name on the paper check instead of the typical treasury secretary authorization.

        Folks who did not actually have that set up will not get theres for weeks/months.

        And apparently it'll have the President's name on the paper check instead of the typical treasury secretary authorization.

        6 votes
        1. [3]
          culturedleftfoot
          Link Parent
          At the risk of asking answers... why?

          At the risk of asking answers... why?

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            skybrian
            Link Parent
            The Washington Post has an article about it.

            The Washington Post has an article about it.

            7 votes
            1. psi
              Link Parent
              Just another example of the President gaslighting us. He muses about how great it would be for his name to be on the checks, then (once it happens) denies that he had anything to do with it. Like...

              Just another example of the President gaslighting us. He muses about how great it would be for his name to be on the checks, then (once it happens) denies that he had anything to do with it. Like who else would push for this? Joe Schmoe at the Treasury Department?

              I realize this particular act is rather inconsequential on the scale of terrible things Trump has done, but it's still upsetting that he can so brazenly lie.

              3 votes
      2. krg
        Link Parent
        This IRS page might help with that.

        Folks who did not actually have that set up will not get theres for weeks/months.

        This IRS page might help with that.

        4 votes
      3. Deimos
        Link Parent
        The small business loan fund ran out of money today, hitting its $349 billion cap in less than 2 weeks.

        The small business loan fund ran out of money today, hitting its $349 billion cap in less than 2 weeks.

        4 votes
    6. Turtle
      Link Parent
      Unemployment benefits have been raised $600 dollars, which could easily exceed $2000. But yes, definitely not enough.

      Unemployment benefits have been raised $600 dollars, which could easily exceed $2000. But yes, definitely not enough.

      5 votes
  2. [16]
    balooga
    Link
    This is some pretty rough cocktail-napkin math, but I'm trying to estimate roughly how much this would cost... First let's see how many people would be getting these checks. In 2016 there were...

    This is some pretty rough cocktail-napkin math, but I'm trying to estimate roughly how much this would cost...

    First let's see how many people would be getting these checks. In 2016 there were 148.6 million workers with incomes under $100k. Our number would be bigger because of population growth, and because the eligibility threshold is $130k, but let's just use that number as a conservative estimate.

    To give each of those people $2000, that's a total of $297.2 billion. A month.

    For comparison, the annual US military budget (for all five branches) is $693 billion. We would hit that amount in less than three months.

    Are we closing bases, withdrawing from armed conflicts, auctioning off humvees and aircraft? I'm not sure how these checks can be paid for in any sustainable way, but that's my recommendation. Beats going into further debt with China or something.

    2 votes
    1. dubteedub
      Link Parent
      Considering that the Phase 3 COVID-19 Relief bill totaled $2.2 trillion and gave out: $450 billion in forgiveable loans for large businesses and municipalities , including a $50 billion airline...

      To give each of those people $2000, that's a total of $297.2 billion. A month.

      Considering that the Phase 3 COVID-19 Relief bill totaled $2.2 trillion and gave out:

      • $450 billion in forgiveable loans for large businesses and municipalities , including a $50 billion airline industry bailout

      • $350 billion in forgiveable loans for small businesses, nonprofits, and self-employed individuals

      • $150 billion for states and tribal governments for public health expenses

      • $45 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency

      • $15 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development

      • President Signs $2 Trillion Phase 3 COVID-19 Response Bill

      I am not too worried about just printing out however much money it takes. We have bailed out businesses in this country plenty of times.

      The United States just announced that we now have 22 million unemployed. It is time to bail them America's' workers for once.

      10 votes
    2. [14]
      Turtle
      Link Parent
      Not an economist but I'm pretty sure we're just printing money? That's how we funded the other stimulus measures at least.

      Not an economist but I'm pretty sure we're just printing money? That's how we funded the other stimulus measures at least.

      8 votes
      1. [3]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        It's not printing money, it's running up the national debt by selling treasuries. Currently this isn't a problem since the interest rate is zero, indicating that the market would be happy to buy...

        It's not printing money, it's running up the national debt by selling treasuries. Currently this isn't a problem since the interest rate is zero, indicating that the market would be happy to buy more. There is probably some limit on how much debt they can sell, but it's not clear when it will be reached.

        But then again the markets aren't normal. Separately, the Fed can and does buy treasuries. This keeps interest rates at zero, but also creates money. Eventually this might lead to inflation but there is currently no sign of it.

        Again, there is probably some limit to how long it can go on, but when people are staying home and are in no mood to spend, it makes it hard for inflation to get started.

        9 votes
        1. [2]
          stu2b50
          Link Parent
          People keep fretting about QED causing inflation--right now the CPI just went DOWN. Rising prices (except for webcams on amazon) is the least of anyone's problems right now lol. Deflation is much,...

          Eventually this might lead to inflation but there is currently no sign of it.

          People keep fretting about QED causing inflation--right now the CPI just went DOWN. Rising prices (except for webcams on amazon) is the least of anyone's problems right now lol.

          Deflation is much, much, much, much, much scarier than the threat of hyperinflation in the US

          10 votes
          1. skybrian
            Link Parent
            I'm not all that worried about deflation. Much of that is the price of oil dropping. I'm not sure how scary that is. Electronics prices falling (like the new iPhone) is pretty much what we're used...

            I'm not all that worried about deflation. Much of that is the price of oil dropping. I'm not sure how scary that is. Electronics prices falling (like the new iPhone) is pretty much what we're used to.

            One thing to remember is that inflation is an average of a lot of price changes. Some things are in short supply, so we will see higher prices sometimes, along with lower prices on stuff people aren't buying. Hard to say how it will work out.

            In some sense this is a sideshow compared to housing, education, and healthcare.

            Who knows what's going to happen with education with people staying home. I can't see people paying a lot for video classes, so what does that mean for college tuition? Maybe a lot of college students will decide to make some changes for the next school year.

            5 votes
      2. [10]
        balooga
        Link Parent
        Of course you're absolutely right, but even borrowing from China would make more sense than massively devaluing the holdings of every person in the country.

        Of course you're absolutely right, but even borrowing from China would make more sense than massively devaluing the holdings of every person in the country.

        1. [9]
          MimicSquid
          Link Parent
          What holdings? Most Americans have already burned through their money. If we devalue the money that the richest Americans hold in order to keep food riots from happening I'm pretty all right with...

          What holdings? Most Americans have already burned through their money. If we devalue the money that the richest Americans hold in order to keep food riots from happening I'm pretty all right with that.

          12 votes
          1. [8]
            stu2b50
            Link Parent
            The richest americans proportionally have less in liquid assets in cash and more in illiquid assets like bonds, stocks, and real estate because, y'know, those tends to appreciate while cash by...

            The richest americans proportionally have less in liquid assets in cash and more in illiquid assets like bonds, stocks, and real estate because, y'know, those tends to appreciate while cash by definition depreciates in a healthy economy.

            Only need so much cash as you need to spend, the rest should be invested.

            2 votes
            1. [7]
              MimicSquid
              Link Parent
              Ok, yes, but those are still denominated in dollars, and so are vulnerable to the same effects, right?

              Ok, yes, but those are still denominated in dollars, and so are vulnerable to the same effects, right?

              1 vote
              1. [6]
                stu2b50
                Link Parent
                It depends. Bonds typically decrease in value, assets like houses go up in value, assets like stocks typically go up because bonds go down. When there is inflation, generally people purchase...

                It depends. Bonds typically decrease in value, assets like houses go up in value, assets like stocks typically go up because bonds go down. When there is inflation, generally people purchase assets that protect against it.

                High levels of inflation generally hurt lower income people more, because they are required to spend a greater proportion of their income, and have more cash on hand. It's like how sales tax are regressive even though on face value it seems to be neutral.

                1 vote
                1. [5]
                  MimicSquid
                  Link Parent
                  Ok, but the problem at the moment is that those people have no cash. None. Zero. The 2k a month will let them have... 2k. Many of them have debt instead of savings. In a situation where they're...

                  Ok, but the problem at the moment is that those people have no cash. None. Zero. The 2k a month will let them have... 2k. Many of them have debt instead of savings. In a situation where they're mostly receiving no income wouldn't inflation actually help them, as their debts are based on a dollar that was more highly valued?

                  1. [4]
                    stu2b50
                    Link Parent
                    First of all, I'm not the same person you were talking to. I don't think the stimulus bill has any real threat of causing significant inflation--for one thing with a decrease in CPI, we're more in...

                    First of all, I'm not the same person you were talking to. I don't think the stimulus bill has any real threat of causing significant inflation--for one thing with a decrease in CPI, we're more in threat of disinflation or god forbid deflation. Rising inflation is the last of our concerns.

                    So whether or not there should be the 2k checks, I don't think inflation matters.


                    With regards to inflation, to some extent, sure, it'll help with credit card debt and the such. However, it's going to hurt a lot more when you go grocery shopping and prices increase by 5%. That's the technical definition of inflation: rising prices.

                    For the "rich", they spend less proportionally of their income than the poor. They can sit on appreciating assets and wait, while poorer people must spend most of their income on rent, food, and the such, which will all rise by definition with inflation. Rich people can also have debt, but it's even better for them because that debt is typically leverage for investments.

                    "Poor" people are paying money into a void when they pay back CC debt, "rich" people are gaining assets as they pay back mortgages or other invested loans.

                    tl;dr rising inflation bader for poor people

                    2 votes
                    1. [3]
                      MimicSquid
                      Link Parent
                      Yes, I'm aware you're not the same person. Thanks for clarifying your position vis a vis disaster relief checks and inflation. I think the sticking point here is in regards to income. If the poor...

                      Yes, I'm aware you're not the same person. Thanks for clarifying your position vis a vis disaster relief checks and inflation.

                      I think the sticking point here is in regards to income. If the poor had any, it would be rough for them to be getting paid in dollars at a rate negotiated (to the degree they can successfully negotiate pay) back in the past while food prices are renegotiated faster. That's where inflation really hits, right? Getting paid in last year's dollars and paying this year's prices? But that's not the case right now. This is a situation where they're all getting paid today's dollars, and the monthly payment can be pegged to the CPI.

                      1. [2]
                        stu2b50
                        Link Parent
                        I'm not really sure what the sticking point is, though. I don't think the checks will cause inflation, so I don't think there's a particular problem with "being paid in yesterday's dollars to pay...

                        I'm not really sure what the sticking point is, though. I don't think the checks will cause inflation, so I don't think there's a particular problem with "being paid in yesterday's dollars to pay for today's prices", so I don't think you need to peg it to the CPI.

                        It was just a general statement that it's economic dogma that inflation disproportionally affects low income people, just like it's economic dogma that sales tax disproportionally affects low income people, in response to the statement that the inflation would be to the detriment of the rich.

                        Although if you assumed that the checks would be the direct cause of inflation, pegging it to the CPI would create an exponential self-loop.

                        1. MimicSquid
                          Link Parent
                          I don't believe that economic dogma is really the thing to be following right now. This is an unprecedented time, and so we should be reexamining some basic assumptions.

                          I don't believe that economic dogma is really the thing to be following right now. This is an unprecedented time, and so we should be reexamining some basic assumptions.

  3. bleem
    Link
    would republicans burn the money they get? Socialism is the bogey man and will welcome this with open arms.

    would republicans burn the money they get? Socialism is the bogey man and will welcome this with open arms.

    2 votes