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One of the biggest disputes between Republicans and Democrats is: how exactly should people receive aid in order to get the economy back up and running?
Democrats are proposing to issue out another round of $1,200 stimulus checks. The second round of checks will have increased eligibility allowing families to receive up to $6,000 and also increase eligibility for certain types of dependents.
Republicans on the other hand prefer to stimulate the economy by incentivizing people to get back to work and to receive more pay for work. Their goals could conflict with another round of stimulus checks and here are some of the hotly debated issues that are taking place around that conflict.
Payroll tax cut
One of the most talked about proposals by Republicans is the payroll tax cut.
Employers are forced to pay certain types of payroll taxes and this cut would remove those or perhaps just defer them.
Either way, it would presumably free up funds that would make it easier for employers to rehire employees and even to offer them higher wages since taxes are not being taken out of their paychecks.
Some Republicans remark that this is a much more efficient process with more guaranteed results than sending out another round of stimulus checks.
Democrats, on the other hand, believe that this will put money back into the pockets of huge corporations and not working Americans.
Senator Ron Wyden, the senior Democrat on the Finance Committee, called Trump’s payroll tax proposal a “huge mistake” that would “amount to hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for big corporations.”
Liability protection is another hot issue for Republicans.
They want the businesses protected from lawsuits relating to coronavirus health issues. With these type of protections in place, businesses would be more willing to bring on employees without worrying about lawsuits in the future.
More people working would mean less need for stimulus checks.
But Democrats are worried that this will put the health of millions of workers at risk.
“Fear of lawsuits makes corporations behave better, and we have a situation now where you have thousands of workers who are getting sick because their employer hasn’t protected them. That’s what we see in the meat industry,” David Michaels, an epidemiologist and a former director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration appointed by former President Barack Obama, stated.
Republicans are also not huge on extending unemployment benefits. One of the arguments is that the extension of unemployment benefits has removed an incentive for many people to get back to work.
I’ve seen reports of people not super interested in getting back to work right away because they are receiving more in unemployment benefits than they did while working.
I’m not sure what percentage of the unemployed work force this makes up but it’s definitely something to be considered and that needs to be addressed.
If unemployment benefits are not extended it would seem like stimulus checks would be more needed and perhaps more likely to go out.
But declining to extend unemployment benefits could be indicative of a more widespread philosophy in Congress to not send out additional aid, since it presumably would not incentivize people to get back to work.
A new surprising statistic
One surprising number that just recently came out could be indicative of where Congress is headed.
According to recent estimates from researchers at the Federal Reserve, more than 95% of working American families have sufficient funds to pay off their usual expenses for six months.
By putting together savings, stimulus payments, and the expanded unemployment benefits, it seems that the vast majority of working Americans will be “okay” for the next six months (but not without millions still struggling to get there, I’m sure).
So that statistic speaks for working Americans but it could be a different story for those who are not working or who receive assistance from the government.
There have been other studies that show that most Americans will be in need of additional stimulus funds in the next three months so it seems like there is conflicting data on the need for more stimulus checks right now.
Currently, we are going to have to wait until June for the Senate to resume serious consideration of the next round of stimulus checks.
Democrats have not been thrilled with the speed that Republicans are moving with the speaker Nancy Pelosi stating:
“It’s always interesting to me to see how much patience some people have with the pain and suffering of other people. Let’s take a pause? Do you think this virus is taking a pause? Do you think that the rent takes a pause?”
But we will see how the negotiations proceed in the next couple of weeks. It’s definitely going to be interesting.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.