With the new Omicron variant, government officials are reexamining the relief aid they provide to US residents. As cases grow daily, the $1,400 4th stimulus check is not expected to come anytime soon if at all. With more than 1M new cases reported, the US has attained a new single-day record in this week alone.
According to political analyst Ed Mills, the government has redirected its aid to small businesses, restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues that have been devastated the most. He clarified that talks have still not included financial aid to individuals but rather than something that was off the table, Mills mentioned they will continue to observe the situation.
It must be noted that other measures of federal aid designed to help individuals and families such as unemployment benefits and three sets of stimulus checks are now obsolete.
Lawmakers are unlikely to reoffer the same assistance now that both the pandemic and the US economy have changed. A noted distinction would be that when the pandemic was just in its early days, unemployment rates were high along with layoffs. However, we are now seeing a tight market where workers are willingly resigning to look for better opportunities. With millions of job vacancies still waiting to be filled, business owners have taken the initiative of raising minimum wages to attract and retain workers, especially from the service industry.
While the federal government may have stopped, state governments are still offering financial aid. Both states and localities still have the $90B fund from the American Rescue Plan Act that was approved just last year.
Dave Kamper, the senior state policy coordinator at the Economic Policy Institute, mentioned they are due to get an additional $150M this coming spring while schools would have gotten $120 where the majority is left unspent.
Kamper continued that the best way to fix the effects the pandemic brought to the economy is to not let money keep sitting in a bank account. He emphasized that it is still better to spend and get the money rolling for the economy to gradually recover.