Friday, January 28, 2022

Are Stimulus Checks No Longer an Option in 2022?


To date, three coronavirus stimulation tests have been given to Americans. According to a petition signed by many people who are struggling, millions believe there should be a fourth.

While some states have taken steps to give additional direct payments into people’s bank accounts, Washington D.C. lawmakers have taken no recent measures to provide another payment.

The major question is whether that will alter next year, or whether another stimulus check-in 2022 is off the table.

This is why a second stimulus check-in 2022 is improbable.

It’s unlikely that a fourth stimulus payment will be made in 2022. For a few basic reasons, extra money is unlikely to be placed into people’s bank accounts or distributed via mail.

1. Because millions of Americans have been vaccinated, more lockdowns are unlikely: As of Dec. 21, 2021, roughly 77.2 percent of Americans aged 5 and above have received at least one vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Further lockdowns are unlikely because of the large number of persons who have been vaccinated. Indeed, the COVID response coordinator at the White House recently stated: “We’re determined not to let Omicron cause problems at work or school for those who have been vaccinated. We’ll get through this because you did the right thing.” There’s no justification for another check if businesses aren’t closing in droves.

2. It is election season: Large-scale legislation is difficult to pass in an election year because many members are focused on re-election rather than challenging legislative battles.

3. There is unlikely to be adequate support from legislators: The American Rescue Plan Act was enacted entirely by Democrats, thanks to a reconciliation mechanism that overcame a Republican filibuster. There are just a few circumstances in that reconciliation can be used to enact legislation, and it requires unanimous agreement from all of the Senate’s Democrats. If reconciliation is employed at all, it will almost certainly be for purposes other than a fourth check. At a time when the case for large-scale relief was much stronger, some conservative Democrats were hesitant to pass it.

For all of these reasons, another stimulus check-in 2022 is unlikely unless conditions drastically alter.

This is why another stimulus check may be necessary.

The truth is that a new virus variety has the potential to transform everything. Omicron has quickly become the most common coronavirus strain in the United States, and while it appears to be more contagious than previous versions, early evidence shows it may be less severe.

It does, however, appear to be immune to certain of the vaccine’s anti-transmission precautions. And, despite widespread immunity, the rapidity with which it spread suggests that another, deadlier variety might swiftly sweep the country, necessitating yet another lockdown.

If that happens, there will almost certainly be bipartisan support for a stimulus payment, as there was for President Donald Trump’s first two checks. So another check isn’t out of the question, but it would be a worst-case situation if one was issued, as it would suggest things had deteriorated significantly.

It’s probable that the enhanced Child Tax Credit may be renewed, allowing at least some families to receive additional funds from the federal government in 2022 – though this isn’t fully certain at this moment.

Because additional payments are unlikely, Americans should prepare for a future in which money from Washington is no longer forthcoming, and alter their budgets and expectations for 2022 appropriately.

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