In this entry, I’ll explain how I calculated the stimulus check and why I included the unemployment benefits as well. However, please note that it is a simplified version and
that some modifications may have to be made to fully implement it.
How it Started
As it is with some of my ideas, they begin to develope when I tweet about it. The same thing happened this time, and the reason for it was the recently passed stimulus check by Congress which included $600 for the people (after 9 months of no stimulus check).
When I looked up the median rent in each state, I saw that $600 aren’t enough. West Virginia, the „cheapest“ state regarding that, is $111 above the sum the US-citizens received. That’s why my first factor included in the state-by-state approach (here I want to thank my Swedish friend for advising me for taking the more specific approach) for the stimulus check was the median rent. No one should be evicted during this massive crisis, which is why the check I designed includes the median rent cost.
However, shelter is not of much use when you starve. That’s why I looked up the average spending on food per month to ensure that every American is able to buy food.
I noticed that, on an individual basis, the highest was among 19-50 year old males ($185.90–$368.30) and among women it was also 19-50 years old ($164.90–$327.30).
I decided to pick $370.00 for male and female, because the basic necessities also clothes and other things that accumulate over the month (especially during a health crisis).
Then families without children, the highest there were also the 19-50 years old ($385.80–$765.20). The 51-70 years old are not that much behind, which is why I choose $600 (nearly twice as much as singles).
Lastly, families with children (age 2-5 years and 6-11 years) need way more money and the $800 aren’t set (as the article points out: „However, there are other factors to consider. We live in an area of the U.S. where grocery costs are low to moderate. If you live in an area where groceries are costlier you will likely be forced to spend more. The East Coast, for example, is one area where grocery costs are higher than in other parts of the U.S.“) and can be adjusted if deemed necessary. Modifications in each state may happen, if it were to be implemented.
The next step was to calculate the stimulus check for each state and the three categories:
On the next day, I added the unemployment benefits of each state:
The benefits remained unchanged, since that is a topic which deserves an article for itself.
Before and during the pandemic, the lower class and working class experience the hardest time, because they don’t really have an option to not go to work (since there’s a severe lack of social security and other measurements to secure jobs while minimizing the spread of SARS-CoV-2). And since millions of US-Americans have been left on their own for 9 months, it is only fair that they get the full benefits if they are unemployed.
After all, both of these classes make up 57% of the US, as lumenlearning explains it:
„The working class (30%) earns $19,000 to $45,000 per year. The lower class (27%) is divided into working poor (13%, earning $9000 to 18,000 per year) and underclass (14%, earning under $9000 per year).“
Meanwhile, the middle class makes up 40% of the US:
„The middle class (40%) is divided into upper-middle class (14%, earning $76,000 or more per year) and the lower-middle class (26%, earning $46,000 to $75,000 per year).“
As mentioned earlier, there should be no cuts to the benefits of the working class and lower class if they get unemployed. So, stimulus check + unemployment benefits (unemployed middle class either receive the same or a similar amount, I don’t know if there exist special rules in the USA though):
The Covid-19 relief checks, as I mentioned in my Tweet, should be funded by taxing the income of the rich who benefited from the crisis – and still benefit from it -. It is only fair that in return for the workforce and risk that the people take each day, they also deserve to live more comfortably without having to fear evictions and/or hunger. The sum mentioned in the article ($637,000,000,000) could be taxed with 10% ($63,700,000,000) or 40% ($254,800,000,000) for instance (which either then funds it completely or helps funding it). Note: The percentages were chosen arbitrary and serve as an example.
In case you want to do something with the data I gathered, here is the Excel chart:
Thank you for reading my article! I hope each step is comprehensible, and if you’ve got any questions just ask me. Constructive criticism is allowed, but remember: I’m aware that it is far from perfect, it merely serves as a reminder what I think should be done.