Stimulus Checks Helped Americans Pay Bills, Reduce Economic Anxiety, Analysis Shows
A new analysis of Census Bureau data revealed that government stimulus checks sent out during the coronavirus pandemic substantially aided Americans in paying basic bills, as well as in reducing economic anxiety.
Researchers from the University of Michigan wrote in the report that “reported hardship drops sharply—across multiple domains—immediately following both the COVID-19 relief bill passed in late December 2020 and [the American Rescue Plan Act] passed in early March 2021,” according to the Hill.
Housing hardship, financial instability, and food insufficiency all fell after the passage of the bills, which included government stimulus payments and unemployment benefits. Food insufficiency decreased by more than 40 percent between December and April and financial instability declined by 45 percent.
The report noted that the decline was “particularly true for adults with children, and adults living in households with annual incomes less than $25,000, though we also see declines in hardship further up the income ladder too.”
Some lawmakers criticized the stimulus checks, arguing that they were going to families that didn’t need them. Others did not want to add to the deficit.
“We believe the success of the federal government’s relief measures may be due to the speed, breadth, and flexibility of its broad-based approach, primarily relying on cash transfers,” the analysis stated.