Stimulus bill will have monumental impact
To the editor:
I don’t think most people understand how monumental the stimulus bill currently headed to the president’s desk really is. List of most of the major provisions below (not comprehensive) .
As a result of Wednesday’s passage and Friday’s signing of the American Rescue Plan Act, over $1 trillion of the $1.9 trillion package will go directly into the pockets/accounts of American citizens; most of the provisions are graded to ensure that the funds go to the people who truly need it the most. Other funds will go to programs and initiatives and institutions that benefit both the disadvantaged the vast majority of the American lower and middle classes. This is not trickle down economics. This is direct help and empowerment of the masses. Some of the provisions like tax credits and claims are to be permanent, others are one time funds to develop or incentive badly needed services such as broadband and Medicaid expansion, and will have long-lasting and permanent effects. Others are one-time, but meaningful funds of money to directly address harms and income/revenue loss caused by the pandemic.
Millions more people will be able to access truly affordable health insurance; the poorest will be able to get it for no out-of-pocket cost, and the lower middle/middle class will pay much much less than current face value of the premiums. In most cases for those who aren’t necessarily “poor” but still can’t afford a decent plan currently on the market place, they will pay approximately 3% to 8.5% of their income, graded up that range as income increases.
It is no misrepresentation to say that massive amounts of the needy and struggling are going to benefit greatly from it and millions of lives will improve — and the vast majority of the middle class will also benefit. It does provide a significant and even sustainable boost up for the little guys. Most of us will also directly benefit, across our entire income ranges.
To explain most of the big components of the bill, now guaranteed to become enacted:
1. Provides immense increased subsidy to the federal insurance marketplace which will allow the poorest to get health insurance at essentially no out-of-pocket cost while drastically reducing existing maximum out-of-pocket premiums costs for lower/middle class families;
2. Provides increased incentives (to the point where states will actually net money if they take the deal) for states who have yet to expand Medicaid;
3. Increases per-child tax credit from a max of $2,000 to $3,000 (and $3,600 for children younger than 6) and allows tax deductions for up to half of annual child-care costs;
4. Gives all necessary funding for education systems (with about 70% going to K-12 schools and the rest to higher education systems) to be able to open and operate as safely as possible while catching up on lost education;
5. Provides billions more for small business and rent/mortgage assistance;
6. Provides billions for rural broadband infrastructure development;
7. Adds $300 in federal funds to a weekly unemployment claim until Sept. 4;
8. Increases funding and individual beneficiary amount for SNAP programs that are currently overwhelmed so they can help feed more hungry people;
9. Increases funds for veterans healthcare through the VA;
10. Gives each American adult $1,400 and $1,400 per child immediately;
11. Provides billions in funding to ramp up production and distribution of vaccines, tests, and personal protective equipment.
Not a single Republican representative or senator voted for this plan.
Joan D. Loewen