Millions of people in the United States are now unemployed as a result of the ongoing pandemic and associated lockdowns, and the $1200 that is being sent out to some U.S. citizens as a part of the recent stimulus package can only go so far.
It is unclear when most people will be able to get back to work, and the stimulus payments were only sent out to workers who paid taxes, meaning that many people will be unable to pay for food and housing in the coming months.
A new plan proposed by two U.S. lawmakers this week in the House of Representatives calls for monthly payments of $2,000 to any U.S. citizen who is over the age of 16 and earns less than $130,000 per year.
The “Under the Emergency Money for the People Act,” would establish cash payments to a large portion of the country for at least six months. The payments are promised to continue until unemployment falls to pre-pandemic levels. The bill would also allow for payments of $500 per child for families, in addition to the $2,000 paid to adults.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Tim Ryan and Rep. Ro Khanna, and has 17 other cosponsors, all of them Democrats
“As millions of Americans file for unemployment week over week, we have to work quickly to patch the dam—and that means putting cash in the hands of hard-working families,” Ryan said in a press release.
Khanna/Ryan Livestream: Emergency Money for the People Act https://t.co/00rFzE5IpK
— Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) April 14, 2020
“A one-time, $1,200 check isn’t going to cut it. Americans need sustained cash infusions for the duration of this crisis in order to come out on the other side alive, healthy, and ready to get back to work,” Khanna added.
The unprecedented shut down of the economy has deepened the poverty crisis in the country, and local food banks have seen an overwhelming increase in demand as people begin to worry about where their next meals are going to come from.
The previous stimulus package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), has been criticized for giving insufficient support to low-wage earners. Some sources have even suggested that the bill was skewed to favor the wealthy.
Former U.S. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang who ran on a platform advocating Universal Basic Income (UBI) has said that a one-time payment is not enough and that people are going to need regular payments to make it through this difficult time. Yang says that the conditions experienced in the current pandemic have only strengthened the case for a UBI policy.
.@AndrewYang tells @GZEROMedia how the coronavirus crisis has made his UBI plan more urgent: "It's vital that we don't stop with one payment, because the fact is this $1,200 isn't going to last people very long." pic.twitter.com/zVxTy5p9kE
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) April 15, 2020
In Spain, officials are now seriously considering the implementation of a UBI program for the country’s poorest citizens. However, similar plans in other regions have not been accessible to the average person, especially undocumented workers and those who make a living in the informal economy.
Last Year, Italy began a very limited Universal Basic Income program, which in reality was more of an unemployment program that included some low wage workers. Unfortunately, many applications were rejected, and the qualifications excluded many of the people who needed it the most.