Student Opinion: Economy Boost Or Political Bust?

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By Alex Hernandez-Zavala

During a recent round of stimulus payments, payments per individual are $1,400, $2,800 for married couples and $1,400 per child and adult dependents.

Most Americans would agree it’s about time they see another significant, substantial round of aid. Though $1,400 does sound like a lot of money, and it is, it’s not enough to cover necessary living expenses. 

According to a CNBC report on the recent rounds regarding the stimulus check, “The payments would be based on the same income thresholds as the first two checks. Individuals with up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income, heads of household with up to $112,500, and married couples who file jointly with up to $150,000 would get full payments.”

As I mentioned, $1,400 is a considerable amount of money, but when I put this number into perspective for the cost of living in my town––it was barely enough. Where I live, the average price of owning a house is $491,000, in a recent overview by bestplaces.

This number is absurdly high, considering that median income is a little bit over $25,000 as of 2019, according to datacommons. With a couple’s median income reaching around $50,000, a $1,400 relief check won’t alleviate much pressure in this context. 

Residents will not reap the stimulus’s full benefits because it is barely enough to get them on their feet. I understand that the stimulus isn’t meant to cover one’s entire rent, phone bill, internet bill, food, etc., but this isn’t enough for struggling families to keep their heads above water. 

An article by Teen Vogue outlined how President Joe Biden pushed a $2,000 relief check stating that it ‘“…will go out the door, restoring hope, and decency, and honor for so many people who are struggling right now.”’ 

Teen Vogue also noted a campaign in Georgia regarding stimulus checks, saying that, “Biden didn’t say $1,400 checks will be out the door because the $600 from December was your down payment — no, he said, ‘$2,000 checks.’”

The confusion is evident. A looming cloud of political false promises and uncertainty seems to loom among the mediocre stimulus package.

The best method of moving forward for improving the distribution of stimulus checks is to simply offer monthly payments. These payments don’t have to be monumental installations, but somewhere in the ballpark of $500, even a little less, would do great and go a long way for providing struggling households with money for food and other necessities.

Though I understand that this would be a great monetary commitment for the government, I think it would be worth considering that we are at the tail end of this pandemic.

As a report by CNBC highlights, customers at Walmart are spending their stimulus money on necessities, “[w]e can see in our customer behavior that some customers — as they received this most recent stimulus — are spending it more on basics, more on private brands, smaller pack sizes, things like that as opposed to some of the stimulus dollars that came out earlier last year that were spent more like tax rebate checks, where people were buying televisions and things to entertain themselves at home.”

So rather than having a tumultuous and unsteady form of financial relief, having a consistent one for a short period could assist many people and boost the economy exponentially. Regarding the validity of our politicians’ words, I say holding our politicians to their word is crucial, and we must make sure they are held accountable for every word. 

Alex Hernandez-Zavala is a first-year student at UC Davis, double majoring in Psychology and Sociology. He was born in the Central Valley and raised in Salinas, California.


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4 thoughts on “Student Opinion: Economy Boost Or Political Bust?”

  1. Tia Will

    I speak from a very liberal perspective. If I could dictate the outcome, I would favor a UBI based on need which would put every individual, and every family above the poverty line. I understand this is an unpopular view in our society.

    A looming cloud of political false promises and uncertainty seems to loom among the mediocre stimulus package.”

    Having made my initial preference clear, I would like to draw a distinction between an aspirational statement and a “political false promise”. Everyone running for a political position makes statements of preference. If those actions are not theirs alone to make, and they must work with another branch of government, their “promises” are always provisional. I do not find it helpful to speak as though every aspirational statement a politician makes, and cannot deliver on, was a “lie”.

    1. Richard_McCann

      Tia

      I agree with how to characterize campaign statements. Why do people need “promises” and “guarantees”? I do have to admit that it doesn’t help when politicians use phrasing that sounds like a commitment, but we all should be adults who can account for the reality of what can happen.

  2. Alan Miller

    As I mentioned, $1,400 is a considerable amount of money, but when I put this number into perspective for the cost of living in my town––it was barely enough. Where I live, the average price of owning a house is $491,000, in a recent overview by bestplaces.

    I don’t think the government is who gives us money to buy houses.  So I don’t get what that comparison is supposed to be.

    the distribution of stimulus checks is to simply offer monthly payments. These payments don’t have to be monumental installations, but somewhere in the ballpark of $500,

    Money is a substitute for trade.  You flood the market with free federal money, and the market adjusts.  As a barista I talked to after the second minimum wage raise noted, her hours got cut, they raised prices, her fellow-employee was cut, shop hours were cut, and everywhere she went (bars, restaurants, other coffee shops, etc.) they all raised their prices.  She got it – both that she got a raise, and that the market adjusted and in the end people were hurt and it all balances out – just with new winners and losers.

    Same is gonna happen with free gov’t money.

    I’m not saying I don’t think there should be money given out to those hurt by Covid-19 – but it shouldn’t be stimulus checks to all – it should be focused on the crisis and those in crisis. Helping those who lost jobs, and helping small businesses that haven’t been able to operate. Many of us are fine and didn’t need those checks. No, I’m not giving it back, but I would have not applied for it if the program required you at least make a case for need.

    1. Richard_McCann

      I just saw a set of studies in the Journal of Economic Perspective, one of the prime journals of the economic profession, that could not find an adverse effect from raising the minimum wage. Those stories are unsubstantiated anecdotes akin to Reagan’s “welfare queen.” The more likely set of facts is that a store was already struggling and found an excuse to do what was going to happen anyway.

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