11 million Americans unemployed.
55 million Americans in poverty this year.
100,000+ small businesses shutdown, permanently.
We are now in the second wave of this pandemic. Major states and cities have already begun to re-enforce lockdowns, and with the incoming Biden administration, whether you support it or not, national lockdowns will be in the forefront of our political conversations.
If We Ask You to Stay Home, We Should Pay You So You Can
With more lockdowns will come immense economic distress. Those who rely on small businesses for income are now between a rock and a hard place, having to choose between following public health guidelines to keep their community safe or opening up their business to bring in money for the family. More than half of Americans could not afford a $500 emergency expense prior to the pandemic. Now, most Americans have had to make numerous unplanned expenses, whether buying technology for their children to accommodate remote learning, investing in safety precautions for their family, or having to cover healthcare costs that come with being a victim of the pandemic.
The bottom line is that if Congress wants the country to get through this pandemic, it must send Americans direct cash relief so that they don’t have to worry about food, rent, and their family’s safety.
Even if lockdowns do not ensue, consumption in our economy is significantly lower than it was one year ago, and few Americans have readily available disposable income to spend at their local small businesses.
Over the next six months, countless disenfranchised workers and former business owners will slip out of the workforce, a loss in our economy’s productivity that the declining unemployment rate won’t capture.
To make matters worse, reports show increasing automation as large corporations replace their disease-prone workers with robots that don’t need sick leave, days off, or employment benefits. Screens and apps are replacing retail and food service workers, warehouses are being filled with the hum of self-driving robots, and we are moments away from automated trucks.
An MIT & Boston joint study found that as many as 200k jobs could be automated in the next year. And that estimate was before COVID happened.
Humanity Forward proposes the United States Congress pass a bill that will expand the stimulus check from the CARES Act into 6 iterations of a monthly check during the economic recession induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Congress Should Take Action Now
In March, Congress worked in a bipartisan fashion to pass a stimulus package to deliver economic relief to Americans. Today, while the distress many families are facing hasn’t gone away, the urgency for Congress to work together to deliver continued relief has.
The single stimulus check we received in April of $1200 had positive impacts for Americans. 66% used the check to keep food on the table, over half used it to cover utility costs and necessary daily expenses. 88% of the money was injected into circulation in local economies.
Today, 56 million American households are facing serious financial hardship.
Why We Need Direct Cash Relief
When the government decides to invoke eminent domain and must occupy some land for public use, the constitution obliges the government to pay the owners in full.
Now, the government is invoking an eminent domain-like policy on our businesses, requiring them to be shut down. Similarly, it is obliged to compensate us for the loss in income we are facing. It’s not a handout, it’s the government’s responsibility.
Elected Democrats & Republicans need to get behind what that the rest of us already know is a good idea. Direct monthly stimulus checks are broadly popular across the political spectrum. Nationally, 67% of Republicans, 65% of Independents, and 89% of Democrats support “regular payments until the economic crisis is over”. In battleground states, 74% of voters support regular direct payments throughout the pandemic. In swing districts, 70% of voters support prioritizing additional relief over debt reduction.
By putting cash in the hands of Americans, we put the country on the pathway for recovery. This policy will put coal in the economic fire; Americans will have disposable income again to spend on coffee, a night out, or a socially-distant trip, translating to income for small business owners and their employees. It’s time to break America out of the ice.
Humanity Forward is working tooth & nail through our National Advocacy Campaign to build a bipartisan coalition in Congress in support of direct cash relief. While the rest of our lawmakers put party over country, we are working with both sides of the aisle to make economic relief a reality for Americans.
There has never been a more important time to step up & take action. Will you join us?
Why direct cash relief?
The single $1200 check Congress dispensed in April proved critical in enabling the American people to cover necessary costs of living, including food, living, and safety expenses for their family. While that money has run dry, our country is still in a deep recession — a recession that is only likely to worsen as more businesses are forced to shut down, more workers are laid off, and the virus surges throughout the country. Every other developed country has supported their people with a $1000+ monthly payment; as a result, they are now on the road to recovery. To have an economy that will be competitive with our allies, get Americans back to work, and enable businesses to survive, we must send out monthly stimulus checks.
Won’t this stop people from going back to work?
To go back to work, you need a job to go back to. Already, 100,000+ businesses have shut down completely, translating to countless employees with no source of income.
The solution is to get money in people’s hands. In the first round of stimulus checks, over 88% of the money was immediately and directly spent into the economy — thereby temporarily staving off economic blight in much of the country. With the pandemic and economic crisis worsening, we need monthly stimulus checks now. This will have the power to revitalize Main Streets across the country and give small businesses the power to recover and re-hire their workers.
Additionally, unlike expanded unemployment insurance, stimulus checks are unconditional. If you need to stay home to stay safe from the virus, you receive the check. If you want to return to work, you are not financially penalized from doing so. In the aggregate, this will enable our country and all its people to have the economic freedom necessary to recover from this crisis and defeat the virus.
Why is direct cash relief so popular among both Republicans and Democrats?
These monthly stimulus checks function as a working-class tax cut for American families and small businesses — dispensed monthly, rather than on April 15th.
Instead of spending critical relief dollars setting up a large bureaucracy or costly new government program, we should ensure that every dollar goes directly to people. This policy would return Americans’ taxpayer dollars to the American people, letting them decide what the best use of their money is for their family and their community.
This zero-bureaucracy, unconditional cash relief policy puts economic power and liberty back into the hands of local economies, rather than keeping it in the hands of Washington DC bureaucrats. As a result, this may be one of the only economic recovery policies that elected Democrats and Republicans can get behind. It’s our job to put it in front of them.
How does direct cash relief help small businesses?
For a business to run, it needs customers. And to be a customer, you need cash. Disposable income is one thing Americans do not have in an economic recession. And with the financial uncertainty that comes with potential lockdowns, inaction from Congress, and possible healthcare costs from the pandemic, families are saving up their money in case of an emergency.
Americans need their money back from the government so that they can spend on their local mom-and-pop shop, which will produce revenue that will go to hard-working small business owners and their employees, all that are dependent on a business-as-normal economy.
How does direct cash relief help Americans recover?
With rising COVID cases, an all-time high death toll, and uncertainty about the rollout timeline of a potential vaccine, Americans are rightfully worried about their elderly and at-risk loved ones. That should be their only priority. But without cash relief, Americans are forced to calculate the health risk to their family in order to work a job to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. This is not a sustainable strategy to withstand the pandemic.
In order to stop this virus, if Americans are forced into lockdowns, they need to be able to feel financially safe to do so. Giving them back their money so they can spend on essential items for their family is the only way to ensure this pandemic is stopped.
What is the strategy to get direct cash relief passed in Congress?
Humanity Forward has started a nationwide advocacy campaign that involves working with members of Congress, partner organizations, and grassroots leaders from all 50 states to build a bipartisan coalition in support of direct cash relief. Together, we can get direct cash relief in the hands of Americans and put this pandemic behind us, coming out stronger — and more unified — than ever.