The United States is entering its 10th month of a global pandemic, and only one government-funded stimulus check has been given out.
A group of U.S. senators is currently in talks to construct a new stimulus bill that could appear later this week, according to the Financial Times. Yet, unlike the previous iteration of stimulus payments, U.S. lawmakers declared that direct payments of any amount will not be mailed to taxpayers or deposited in their accounts, which led some senators like Sen. Bernie Sanders to claim that they may oppose the bill altogether.
This is ultimately good news, but it is long overdue in a series of neglecting Americans’ needs during the COVID-19 lockdown.
In order to assist Americans during a trying time and restore faith in the country’s leaders, the U.S. government desperately needs to pass another stimulus bill.
The initial financial aid at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic was timely and impactful. Exactly one month after President Donald Trump declared that the virus is a national emergency, a $2 trillion stimulus bill was constructed and payments of $1,200 were sent out to 80 million eligible taxpayers in the country.
That sum of money would never be enough to sustain a family or an individual who was put out of work because of COVID-19, so U.S. lawmakers added $600 a week to all unemployment claims until July 25. More than four months have passed since that end date with no additional government assistance, despite continued lockdowns in states across the country.
However, the U.S. provided more money than other countries. According to BBC, Hong Kong sent $1,280 per adult, Japan gave out $930 to each adult and adults in Singapore received $422. Canadians who lost income after COVID-19 hit received $1,400 monthly. Paolo Mauro, deputy director of the International Monetary Fund’s fiscal affairs department, gave a sound explanation as to why America went so above and beyond when compensating its citizens.
“The discretionary response is very large in the United States, but when you’re comparing, you need to take into account that actually more needs to be done in the U.S. because the social safety nets are smaller,” Mauro told BBC.
The $2 trillion well dried up rather quickly and no further packages have been created since. America needs help from the federal government, especially considering that the country has had the most deaths due to COVID-19 by a substantial margin and has arguably handled the virus the worst out of all the other countries.
The national unemployment rate at the start of March was 4.4%. It peaked at 14.7% in April, but went down to 6.7% by November. These numbers are directly influenced by COVID-19, but the U.S. government only addressed unemployment when it was at its highest.
Citizens are at a crossroads when it comes to dealing with the pandemic. On one hand, they should be doing everything in their power to remain far away from people they don’t live with. On the other hand, they need to sustain themselves and their families, which forces them to work and interact with others.
This situation puts the health and future of our country in the hands of people who need to provide for their dependents, which is not how a pandemic should be handled.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden pushed for another stimulus bill during his campaign and has not stopped since the election. His plans are necessary for the country, but this situation should be handled before the turn of the year.
Every country probably regrets one facet of how the pandemic was handled. Across the board, it’s a shame that the U.S. has not managed to stop or slow the spread of the virus in any capacity.
The leaders of American government need to take accountability and right the wrongs made over the last 10 months. It is unfair to much of the nation’s population that they are unintentionally contributing to the spread of COVID-19 in order to maintain some sense of financial stability.
A second stimulus bill with direct compensation is necessary for the well-being of the U.S. population before the year comes to a close. Time Magazine recently declared 2020 the worst year ever, but there is still time to end on a positive note.