To date, Congress has green-lighted the delivery of three stimulus checks to most Americans—a $1,200 check in April 2020, $600 in December, and the current $1,400 payments.
“Evidence from the last year shows stimulus checks to be the fastest and most impactful investments helping Americans get through this crisis, lifting more people out of poverty than any other single policy,” the report read.
It further revealed that an additional sixteen million Americans were lifted out of poverty due to the most recent $1,400 stimulus payments, which amount to nearly $850 billion in total. Currently, roughly 85 percent of those funds have been disbursed to financially struggling Americans.
The report touched on the first round of $1,200 stimulus checks, which only lasted about two to three months for most Americans. It noted that as the aid dissipated as summer wore on, eight million Americans were forced back into poverty.
The latest data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau show that about thirty-four million people live in poverty in the United States.
In Washington, there appears to be growing support among Democratic lawmakers for more stimulus checks. Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden and twenty other senators had urged President Joe Biden to include recurring direct payments in his “Build Back Better” legislation.
“We urge you to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions tied to economic conditions in your Build Back Better long-term economic plan,” the senators’ letter to the president read.
“This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. Families should not be at the mercy of constantly-shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions,” they added.
In a separate analysis conducted by the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute & Brookings Institution, another round of stimulus payments has the potential to lift more than seven million people out of poverty.
“Another round of payments could lift an additional 6.6 to 7.3 million people out of poverty, depending on whether the payment was restricted to citizens or made available to everyone,” the team wrote.
But if two more additional stimulus checks were approved by Congress, more than twelve million Americans would no longer be mired in poverty. “Two such payments could reduce poverty to between 4.9 and 5.2 percent,” the study noted.
The researchers said that communities of color would see some of the highest benefits.
“Among Black people, an additional payment could reduce poverty from 10.5 percent to between 7.7 and 7.8 percent, and a second payment could further reduce poverty to between 5.8 and 6.0 percent,” they said. “Hispanic people could see poverty drop from 13.3 percent to between 9.0 and 9.9 percent with one additional payment and to between 6.3 and 7.6 percent with two additional payments.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.