The debate continues on Capitol Hill on whether or not to implement a fourth stimulus check. Although political considerations have made the passage of such a measure difficult, and President Joe Biden has devoted his energy towards pushing through his $4 trillion infrastructure and economic recovery plans, this has not stopped more than eighty House and Senate Democrats from pushing him to add a stimulus measure to his proposals.
The campaign in support of a fourth stimulus check is reliant on the notion that the checks have made a serious difference in Americans’ lives. There is some evidence to support this already; a recent letter from Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee to President Biden cited a study claiming that 12 million Americans would be saved from dire poverty by the implementation of a fourth round of stimulus payments.
While these claims are somewhat speculative, there is an increasing body of evidence that stimulus checks are broadly popular among the electorate. A Change.org petition for monthly stimulus payments of $2000 for the duration of the pandemic recently crossed 2.3 million signatures. A Data for Progress poll found that 65 percent of respondents supported a fourth stimulus measure. And a recent poll conducted by Doxo, a Seattle-based bill payment service, indicated that the number might be even higher.
In May, Doxo conducted a survey regarding Americans’ habits and beliefs during the pandemic. The full report noted that fully 95 percent of Americans thought that the stimulus payment had improved their financial health.
This seems like a blindingly obvious conclusion; it is clear that receiving a stimulus check would improve a person’s financial well-being. However, nine out of ten respondents also believed that the stimulus measures would help the United States recover. While 74 percent believed that it would take more than a year for the economy to fully recover, 63 percent believed that their own financial health would recover within the year.
The question was never raised about whether the respondents believed a fourth stimulus check would be beneficial. However, the answers given seem to suggest that, in spite of their cost to taxpayers – the American Rescue Plan Act cost $1.9 trillion, including nearly $400 million on stimulus payments alone – most Americans are in support of it.
At least most Americans near Seattle, anyway.
Trevor Filseth is a current and foreign affairs writer at the National Interest.