As Americans deal with COVID-induced economic woes, millions have signed a petition urging Congress to send out monthly $2,000 stimulus checks until the situation returns to normal. In 2020, a petition was launched via change.org calling on the US government to provide economic assistance during the COVID recovery.
Stephanie, a restaurant owner and creator of the petition, argued that without stimulus checks, "laid-off workers, furloughed workers, the self-employed, and workers dealing with reduced hours will struggle to pay their rent or put food on the table." She called for $2,000 per month for adults and $1,000 per month for kids. There is no mention of where the money will come from.
At the time of writing, the petition is 105,867 signatures away from reaching 3 million, a milestone that would make it among the top signed on Change.org.
Opponents argue giving out money is fiscally irresponsible and could encourage 'laziness.'
The logistical failures exhibited during the opening rounds of stimulus checks in 2020 point to structural inefficiencies in the system that make recurring payments a challenge.
As BGR reports, the Biden administration recently approved a fourth stimulus check aimed at workers in specific industries, namely the food sector. However, this round of reviews will not be administered by the IRS. Instead, money will be given to state agencies, non-profits, and tribal governments, then distributed from there.
While Stephanie's petition only pushes for checks to be delivered for a finite period, some fear it may lead to experimentation with universal basic income (UBI). Proponents of UBI suggest it does not bring the adverse effects some argue inevitably result from giving people "free" money.
A 2017-18 study in Finland, for example, tested the benefits and drawbacks of providing people checks every month with no strings attached. Results showed that while the money did not have a meaningful impact on one's employment status, it did result in better wellbeing than those in the control group who did not receive a check.
As the petition for more stimulus checks nears 3 million signatures, Americans continue to wrestle with the concept of providing financial assistance to citizens at a time where their economic future is so uncertain.