Cash is what Americans need now

We must act fast — today — and give our friends and neighbors what they really need now: cash

By

Opinion

March 19, 2020 - 9:40 AM

The coronavirus pandemic is shining a spotlight on what most already knew: There are giant gaps in our economic system and disasters aren’t status levelers. This pandemic is being exacerbated by deeply embedded economic inequities.

We know that only 4 in 10 people have $400 for an emergency and a large percentage of Americans live check to check. With new social distancing measures in place, millions of people will be out of work for extended periods. For these reasons we are demanding bold solutions from our city, state and federal government to stabilize communities. We must act fast —today — and give our friends and neighbors what they really need now: cash.

Cash transfers — a measure the Trump administration indicated Tuesday it would pursue — aren’t a new idea. Each year, over 22 million American families and individuals receive the earned income tax credit, a cash rebate tied to employment. In 2008, President George W. Bush’s Economic Stimulus Act cut $152 billion in checks to everyday Americans to stimulate consumer spending.

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