Like President Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and NY Times columnist David Brooks, I agree that the best-risk Covid-relief proposal is to pump maximum loaned-money-at-low-interest-rates into the hands of families.
But where’s the income cutoff point and how to do we measure that?
There are two competing viewpoints. Both from Democrats who have the votes to pass one or the other. Do we send those $2800 stimulus checks to couples making up to $150,000 a year, or to those making up to $200,000? Do we base that on the 2019 or the 2020 tax returns?
And should Congress use gross income, adjusted gross income (AGI), or net income? Remember that AGI allows deductions of medical and long term care deductions. Also education expenses, student loan interest, alimony payments and contributions to a retirement account.
You can deduct up to $72,000 for a couple from your gross income in calculations for your AGI.
People maxing out their AGI deductions damn sure do not need those $2800 stimulus checks for couples.
Democrats favoring that plan say it’s stimulus, meaning money you can spend and help stimulate the economy. But it’s also money you can put in the bank or an investment account unless they give it out as a debit card that can only be used to buy things.
Republicans want smaller stimulus checks and a much smaller relief bill. About $600 billion rather than almost 2 trillion dollars.
Where I agree with them is on stripping out all but essential moneys for now, and leaving controversial payments for later discussion. There’s too much “fat” in the Democrats’ “cover everything” bill.
The GOP, for instance, would strip out families which got an earlier stimulus payment. It wants smaller payments of $1,000 to individuals earning less than $40,000 a year and couples earning less than $80,000. The payments would phase out faster, cutting off individuals making more.
All except exempting those earlier-stimulus families makes sense to me. How about you?
In order for the Senate to pass the bill, Democrats would need the vote of Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate West Virginia Democrat who has suggested that the new round of stimulus payments should be more targeted. Not just sent to almost everyone but the well heeled.
There’s a long way to go before a final bill text is agreed upon and the income thresholds could change. Lawmakers hope to pass the legislation by March 14.