A concise explanation of the case for another stimulus check hit Twitter this weekend, from actor and director Jim Cummings. The Thunder Road star made a tweet on Saturday afternoon, pointing out that, without reliable financial support, essential workers will inevitably become the main vectors for COVID-19 transmission. Cummings' post picked up a lot of attention for this observation.
"Let's say a guy at your local grocery store has a family," Cummings wrote on Saturday, "let's call him Glen. Let's say he's the sole breadwinner. He's bagging groceries and he starts to feel symptomatic. Does he tell his boss, or does he lie and support his family? This is why we need more stimulus checks."
Let’s say a guy at your local grocery store has a family, let’s call him Glen. Let’s say he’s the sole breadwinner. He’s bagging groceries and he starts to feel symptomatic. Does he tell his boss, or does he lie and support his family? This is why we need more stimulus checks.— Jim Cummings (@jimmycthatsme) June 27, 2020
Cummings point was well-taken by many readers, who agreed that dealing with the coronavirus pandemic requires a fundamental shift away from the mythic American "bootstrapper" attitude. However, many added nuance to this hypothetical scenario, pointing out that a person bagging groceries likely does not make enough to support a family on their own.
That does not negate Cummings' point, however — whether the grocery store worker is supporting people or whether they are living with people who partially support them, the risk of transmission remains. There is also the added complication that if essential workers remove themselves from their jobs they will not be able to collect unemployment checks and other benefits, despite the fact that they are doing the right thing for public health.
Some of Cummings' followers pointed out that a robust unemployment system could be the solution as well. Back in March, the CARES Act provided federal funding to increase unemployment checks by $600 per week for all those collecting during this turbulent time. However, as the pandemic rages on, those payments are currently set to expire on July 31. Right now, many Trump administration officials and Republican legislators are opposed to extending these payments, believing that they dizincentivize working for the average American.
All of this came into the conversation on Twitter over the weekend. Cummings himself is likely on a prolonged break from his work in the entertainment industry, where all film sets are shut down, and only productions that can be done remotely are still in the works.
Cummings is best-known for starring in and directing the film festival darling Thunder Road back in 2018. The tragedy-comedy centers around a police officer facing a personal crisis after his divorce and the death of his mother come around the same time. According to IMDb, Cummings has five other projects in the works right now, but given that none of them are animated, chances are that they are on hold.