To say that functioning has become more expensive would be an understatement these days. Consumers have been spending significantly more money than usual on groceries, utility bills, and gas for months. And things could still deteriorate further before they improve.
The Consumer Price Index, which tracks changes in the prices of consumer goods, increased 8.5 percent year over year in March. This is the largest increase since 1981.
Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to pay their bills as a result of rampant inflation. This is especially true for those who sustained financial hardship as a result of the pandemic and have not yet recovered.
However, will soaring inflation justify a fourth stimulus check? What you need to know is as follows.
Americans cannot anticipate a windfall.
Legislators have proposed a gas-specific stimulus that would apply during periods of high fuel prices, such as the current one. However, despite the fact that inflation is at an all-time high, there has been no talk of a fourth stimulus check hitting Americans’ bank accounts.
While inflation is on the rise, the US economy is far from dire in terms of job creation. Only 185,000 people applied for unemployment benefits last week. When compared to the millions of new claims filed weekly during the pandemic’s early stages, this is a significant improvement.
Additionally, while new jobless claims increased slightly last week, they recently reached their lowest level since 1968. And on that basis alone, a fourth stimulus check seems highly improbable.
That is not to say the Biden administration will not take steps to alleviate the gas shortage. However, that is only one specific rising expense with which Americans are currently contending. And the fear is that many Americans will inevitably become indebted if relief does not materialise.
Indeed, consumer debt in the United States increased by nearly $42 billion in February. And some of that increase may be due to the fact that more people are being forced to charge expenses on credit cards due to a lack of cash to cover daily expenses.
Adapting to rising living costs
Unfortunately, the likelihood of a fourth stimulus check materialising in the near term is extremely remote, despite the fact that so many consumers require assistance combating inflation. However, those who are struggling to make ends meet should investigate available assistance.
Certain states, for example, continue to have rent relief funds available, which can be used to cover not only past-due housing payments, but also a few months’ worth of future payments in some cases. Additionally, customers who are having difficulty paying their utility bills can contact their providers to see what options they have or to see if their state’s rental assistance programmes cover utility costs as well.
Finally, these are difficult economic times for a large number of people. And, while a stimulus boost could help many households cope with rising living costs, that is an improbable solution.