[guest post by Dana]
The White House is discussing whether to provide Americans with a one-time payment of $1,000 to help them with economic hardships resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, and to limit the economic fallout:
“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters at the White House.
Mnuchin said the administration was looking at ways to provide the checks within the next two weeks.
He also said the administration will allow Americans to defer up to $1 million in payments to the Internal Revenue Service for 90 days. Mnuchin said the IRS would not charge interest or penalties for the deferral. He said corporations could defer up to $10 million in IRS payments.
CNN’s John Harwood also asked President Donald Trump and Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin about the logistics of an economic stimulus idea that could give $1,000 checks to Americans, which is gaining some bipartisan support.
Mnuchin expressed some support for the idea and it would be discussed during his Capitol Hill meetings.
“I think it’s clear we don’t need to send people who make a million dollars a year checks. But we like — that’s one of the ideas we like. We’re going to preview that today and then we’ll be talking about details afterwards,” Mnuchin said.
Trump chimed in, saying, “I think we’re going to do something that gets money to them as quickly as possible. That may not be an accurate way of doing it because obviously some people shouldn’t be getting checks for $1000. But we’ll have a pretty good idea by the end of the day what we’re going to be doing.”
Note: No matter how much people claim this is the same thing as Andrew Yang’s universal basic income (UBI) plan, which promised “a set of guaranteed payments of $1,000 per month, or $12,000 per year, to all U.S. citizens over the age of 18…you and everyone you know would get $1,000/month every month from the U.S. government, no questions asked,” it isn’t. The current discussion surrounding Trump’s proposal addresses a one-time, emergency shot in the wallet for Americans. Yang’s payment was every month, in perpetuity, and it was painfully obvious that it was an unsustainable plan. A one-time $1,000 payment is simply nowhere the same as a full-blown UBI.
Sen. Tom Cotton proposed his own relief plan today:
Cotton (R-Ark.) proposed Tuesday providing a $1,000 tax rebate check to every adult making under $100,000 per year and $500 for every claimed dependent on that adult’s tax filings.
Married couples making under $200,000 annually who jointly file their taxes would be eligible for a tax rebate check for $2,000.
Cotton defended sending checks to individuals and couples as indispensable for Americans to be able to afford necessities.
“Giving relief directly to Americans is a better solution than complicated sick-leave policies or payroll tax cuts, and will be more certain to go to the kinds of hourly- or gig-workers who need it most,” he wrote.
“Legislation that provided tax rebates to households most likely to be in need within days would be much more effective and immediate than complicated policies requiring significant time for implementation.”
Mitt Romney was first to suggest a $1,000 check to Americans as we endure the coronavirus pandemic:
“Every American adult should immediately receive $1,000 to help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy,” the Utah Republican wrote in a proposal published Monday.
“Congress took similar action during the 2001 and 2008 recessions. While expansions of paid leave, unemployment insurance, and SNAP benefits are crucial, the check will help fill the gaps for Americans that may not quickly navigate different government options.”
Both Romney and Cotton believe that Congress needs to go beyond what the House coronavirus response package provides.