The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March 2021, and stimulus checks began to arrive in recipients’ bank accounts within weeks of its passage. It’s been more than a year since Americans were entitled to that level of widespread assistance. However, making the case for a follow-up check has proven difficult.
The economy of the United States has improved dramatically in the last year. The national unemployment rate has fallen significantly, and the labour market is so tight that job applicants have more wiggle room to demand higher wages.
Despite this, many Americans are concerned about the direction of the economy. According to a recent CNBC + Acorns Invest in You survey, 81 percent of respondents believe the United States will experience a recession at some point in 2022.
While it’s understandable that these concerns exist, the reality is that our economy is not on the verge of collapsing. As a result, a fourth stimulus check is unlikely to arrive anytime soon.
The situation isn’t all that bad.
It’s understandable that some people are concerned about the economy taking a sharp turn for the worse. Inflation has been soaring to the point where many people’s living expenses are unsustainable. Many people believe that the Ukraine conflict will have a negative impact on the US economy.
Despite these legitimate concerns, many economists believe a recession is not imminent. If anything, the economy is in good shape, at least in terms of unemployment.
The number of new jobless claims for the week ending April 2 totaled 166,000. This is the smallest number of new weekly claims since late 1968.
Last week, 1.72 million people in the United States were receiving unemployment benefits. At first glance, that may appear to be a large number of people. However, for context, that figure was 18.4 million a year ago, indicating that we’ve come a long way in terms of joblessness.
Don’t rely on government assistance.
Lawmakers recognise that many Americans are struggling to make ends meet due to rising living costs. Some have even suggested allocating stimulus funds to combat rising gas prices. A gas-related stimulus, on the other hand, seems unlikely, especially given the Biden administration’s plans to tap into its oil reserves in order to help Americans pay less at the pump.
Should the public, however, anticipate a large round of stimulus checks similar to those distributed under the American Rescue Plan? No. The economic situation has changed dramatically since then, and while inflation is a burden, it is not the same as having millions of Americans out of work with no job prospects or vaccines for protection.
Of course, we can and should all hope that inflation levels will begin to fall over time. However, inflation alone will not justify a fourth stimulus package, nor will recession-related concerns – particularly those that economists are not eager to repeat.