The House’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan is moving forward, with its proposal of sending $1,400 to every person who got the first two payments, along with some others who were left out of earlier spending packages. It’s still unclear if this new bill will be race conscious for Black and Latinx citizens who have systematically received their checks at a slower rate.
Since racial disparities are primarily produced and maintained by colorblind policies and practices, it’s possible this new bill may not address lingering concerns leftover from the first stimulus CARES Act and the second HEROES Act.
The Breakdown You Need To Know:
CultureBanx reported that centering racial equity in a new stimulus bill is crucial, we need legislation to not overlook marginalized unbanked communities, who are most vulnerable to the pandemic. The Black community makes up 18.2% of the unbanked and 31.1% of the underbanked group in the U.S., according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. It’s also important to clear up the stereotype that Black people use these government benefits more than others, when in fact white Americans have always been the largest share of safety net beneficiaries.
However, policies like these may reflect structural economic and racial inequities that have caused the median Black American household to earn about 59 cents for every dollar earned by the median white household. It’s also why some in the Black community are on the verge of financial destitution.
The new bill would boost weekly unemployment benefits from $300 to $400, including funding for small businesses, schools, and cities and states. “A $1,400 checks would allow nearly 22.6 million adults to pay their expenses for at least four and a half months…assuming that they maintain income from work and unemployment benefits,” according to Morning Consult.
Stimulating The Black Community:
Even though unemployment numbers have fallen in the last month down to 6.3% in January, the economy is still in crisis mode. There are 10.1 million people without jobs. That number is far worse in the Black community as unemployment now stands at 9.2%, and remains the highest among large racial groups. Let’s hope people of color will receive these second checks a lot quicker than they did the first time.
A study by the Urban Institute found discriminatory outcomes with stimulus checks that were delivered faster to wealthy whites than to Black and Hispanic families, as well as to lower-income households. Specifically, three-quarters of White adults received their checks by late May, compared with 69% of Black adults and 63% of Hispanic adults.
During the second round of stimulus checks officials started distributing the second round of checks about two days after then-President Donald Trump signed the bill authorizing the $600 payments. The Internal Revenue Service has said it delivered more than 100 million of them in less than two weeks despite some setbacks.