Mark Cuban suggested Americans should receive a $1,000 stimulus check every two months during the coronavirus pandemic and economic recession in May. Since then, Congress still has not passed another stimulus package with a stimulus payment, and Cuban is still advocating for his radical idea. The Shark Tank star and Dallas Mavericks owner is also sticking with his idea that the checks have to be used within ten days.
Cuban told CNBC Make It Wednesday that the country still needs another stimulus package "as much now as we did back then" at the start of the pandemic. There are "two economies," as Cuban sees it. The economy for those who could weather the recession and one for those who could not. "Those without [help] are struggling badly. We need to get them help," Cuban continued. Cuban went on to say he still believes the idea he tweeted about in May is the way to go.
Back in May, Cuban said the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) did not work as well as hoped. "The only thing that will save businesses is consumer demand. No amount of loans to businesses will save them or jobs if their customers aren't buying," he wrote at the time, suggesting the government try "trickle-up economics." The government could create a "transitional" federal jobs program to help train and hire millions of people for coronavirus testing and tracking programs. In the interim, Cuban said there would need to be a program sending $1,000 checks to households every two months.
The payments would have to be used within ten days or the checks would expire. Cuban estimated the program cost at $500 billion. It would "allow for demand for nonessential products and services to increase, hopefully keeping most businesses alive, as we learn what the impact of re-opening is on the spread and whether or not employment grows organically," Cuban theorized. On Wednesday, Cuban said the expiration would promote spending to keep businesses open.
"The whole goal is to get that money every two weeks into the economy," Cuban told KNX10.70 in May. "It could be candy, it could be rent, it could be their mortgage, it could be anything they deem necessary or that they want."
Cuban suggested the checks go to every American, no matter the income level. Chuck Marr, senior director of federal tax policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, disagreed with that part of the plan, suggesting the program should be targeted towards lower-income Americans. "What’s good about [Cuban’s plan], and what’s important, is he reflects the urgency of the situation," Marr told CNBC. "But I think you target money first for people that are hurting. People who are hurting and don’t have other income, they’re going to spend. I think if you did stimulus payments, they need to be targeted by income."
Congress is not close to passing anything like what Cuban has suggested. The HEROES Act, which the House passed in May, and the Senate's proposed HEALS Act both included a one-time stimulus check, similar to the one in the CARES Act. Senate Republicans did not include a stimulus check at all in the "skinny" relief package, which failed in the Senate.