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Do Americans Need Another Stimulus Check? Bloink & Byrnes Go Thumb to Thumb

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Robert Bloink and William H. Byrnes

President Joe Biden quickly jumped into action after being sworn in, proposing an additional individual stimulus check to individuals as part of a new round of coronavirus aid.

Current proposals call for a $1,400-per-person payment for any individual that earns less than the annual threshold limits — which, so far, remain unchanged at $75,000 per individual and $150,000 per couple filing jointly. This new proposal follows on the heels of a $600-per-qualifying-individual payment that was included in the 2020 year-end stimulus legislation and a $1,200-per-person payment last spring.

We asked two professors and authors of ALM’s Tax Facts with opposing political viewpoints to share their opinions about this new round of individual stimulus funding. Below is a summary of the debate that ensued between the two professors.

Their Votes:

Bloink

Byrnes

Their Reasons:

Bloink: From an economic standpoint, we’re nowhere near recovering from this pandemic. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves. The law passed at the end of the year only takes us through March. American families continue to suffer despite a surprisingly strong stock market that, to be clear, primarily benefits the wealthy in this country. If we don’t provide regular relief at the individual level, the economic recovery will take even longer than necessary.

Byrnes: We just passed a stimulus package — in fact, the ink on that year-end stimulus package is barely dry. We need more time to evaluate how that impacted the economy — and we need to take the time to see how the availability of the vaccine will affect the economy. We can’t keep rushing into simply sending taxpayers a check every few months. 

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Bloink: Americans deserve assistance, and we have to stop dragging our feet when it comes to providing that much-needed help. We have to start taking a long-term approach to providing relief for families. That’s going to mean getting money into the pockets of Americans who can’t afford to pay their rent and feed their families. $1,800 in stimulus relief over the course of an entire year is not going to cut it for most Americans.

Byrnes: This isn’t a socialist state, regardless of what Democrats would have us believe. We can’t keep providing handouts to Americans who have the ability to go to work — and who are already collecting unemployment compensation that’s supplemented with federal funds. A year into this pandemic, we need to provide more targeted relief than simple checks in the mail to all families across the board.

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Bloink: Even families who are lucky enough to have savings blew through those savings months ago. There might be a way to provide more targeted relief — but the previous administration and Republicans in Congress have spent a year dragging their feet. Now, we have to take action to get relief to Americans quickly. Biden’s initial plan to expand tax credits and provide a larger stimulus check to struggling families takes us in the right direction.

Byrnes: This president just took office and seems obsessed with raising taxes. We should be focused on providing targeted relief to the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, rather than across-the-board funding for families who may be doing just fine from an economic perspective. If we keep providing stimulus checks for Americans who aren’t really struggling, we’re going to have no choice but to raise taxes to untenable levels for decades to come.

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