Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, believes Washington needs to pass another coronavirus relief package with a monthly stimulus check. Yang showed his support for the idea by sharing an open letter signed by 156 economists who called a recurring stimulus payment an "essential tool." Congress and the White House have only sent Americans one stimulus check, which many received in April.
On Tuesday, a group of top economists from across the country published an open letter calling on politicians to "use all the tools at their disposal to avoid further preventable harm to people and the economy, including recurring direct stimulus payments, lasting until the economy recovers." They believe the "widespread uncertainty" created by the coronavirus and recession needs a "multifaceted response" with more ongoing programs like direct payments to families, extended and "enhanced" unemployment benefits. Additionally, more relief for state and local government will lead to better funding for child care and more robust SNAP benefits.
"These programs and policies will hasten the economic recovery far more effectively if they stay in place until economic conditions warrant their phaseout," the economists wrote. "Direct cash payments are an essential tool that will boost economic security, drive consumer spending, hasten the recovery, and promote certainty at all levels of government and the economy – for as long as necessary." They added that the economic "pain is widespread," and there must be "immediate, bold action" to help the unemployed.
Economists pointed to research showing how helpful stimulus payments are to boosting consumer spending. They noted that many Americans used the stimulus check from the CARES Act on essentials and consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the GDP. " Regular direct stimulus payments tied to economic indicators will help families stay afloat and drive economic activity," they wrote, adding that recurring relief will promote "a strong recovery and efficient government."
Yang agreed with these ideas. "Yes - Congress please listen to 156 economists that recurring stimulus checks are necessary right now," he tweeted Tuesday, alongside a link to the Business Insider article on the letter. Yang previously called for automatic payments back in May, suggesting Americans should get as much as $2,000 each month.
The CARES Act included a one-time $1,200 payment to eligible Americans who filed taxes for 2018 or 2019. Washington still has not come to an agreement on what a second stimulus check would look like, but Republicans have not considered recurring payments. In fact, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters Friday the next check might be smaller than $1,200.