Fixing inequities of pandemic assistance

The “American Rescue Plan” — President Biden’s COVID-19 relief package currently under debate — contains stimulus checks of $1,400 for all individuals earning less than $75,000 ($2,800 for joint filers earning less than $150,000). Combined with the $600 stimulus checks last December, it would raise the total to $2,000 each, to the same individuals; an amount, by the way, that was even favored by former President Trump. This is in addition to the first such assistance back in April in the amount of $1,200 per person, with the same income eligibility caps.

Some argue these relief checks are too little, too late. Others say that it goes too far in the case of many who don’t need it. Both are correct, but it would be entirely too cumbersome and untimely to try to determine who needs it and who doesn’t. The need, where it exists, is critical, and needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

I have not heard anyone in political leadership propose that such inequities could be addressed voluntarily by asking those who have not had any decrease in income, perhaps have even had an increase due to their particular job or business, to give their stimulus windfalls to people in need, either directly or through community groups they trust to know where the real needs are.

Many retirees, like myself, could be particularly helpful in this sharing process, given the fact that Social Security and most pensions have not diminished. Income-wise, we’re fine – no change – and given the isolation of the pandemic, we’re actually spending less!

I would, therefore, challenge those of us who fit the bill to help take care of the inequities of the American Rescue Plan by simply loving our neighbors as ourselves!

Jim Graham