Possible fourth stimulus check? Local lawmaker and economist react

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(WETM) — On May 17, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to President Biden calling for a fourth stimulus check. However, a local lawmaker and economist warned of possible negative consequences.

“Families and workers shouldn’t have to worry about whether they’ll have enough money to pay for essentials in the months ahead as the country continues to fight a global pandemic and recession,” reads the letter.

The letter doesn’t mention a dollar amount but lays out the possibility of two additional rounds of relief.

“A fourth and fifth check could keep an additional 12 million out of poverty,” the letter reads. “Combined with the effects of the [American Recovery Plan], direct payments could reduce the number in poverty in 2021 from 44 million to 16 million.”

While Democrats argue for the checks, others play devil’s advocate.

Dr. Martin Cantor, a consulting economist, said the stimulus checks have served its purpose.

“When the economy was poor because of the government shutdown and people were out of work during the height of the COVID resurgence, the money was needed because people couldn’t go to work,” said Dr. Cantor. “Now the economy is starting to pick up and jobs are being created.”

Cantor said a lot of jobs disappeared during the pandemic, but another stimulus check is not needed as it will prolong people not going back to work.

“The reality is people have to go back to work in order for the economy to grow,” said Dr. Cantor. “Right now, all of the economic growth is because of government programs. We have to get back to economic growth through the old fashioned way. Jobs [being] created [through] people buying and selling [and] businesses producing.”

Republican Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, New York’s 132nd District, agrees with Cantor.

“I don’t believe that we should be sending any more stimulus checks to individuals,” said Palmesano. “There has been trillions of dollars that have been spent already as borrowed money over the past year.”

For Palmesano and Cantor, inflation and debt are massive deterrents.

“[That money] is added to the federal debt, which I believe stands at $28 trillion right now,” said Palmesano. “I’m certainly concerned about the impact on our economy, especially long term, and the inflationary concerns. Look at gas prices, grocery bills, and lumber costs just to name a few that have increased significantly over the past year.”

Dr. Cantor said the biggest concern to a growing economy without inflation is called “modern monetary theory”.

“It is basically borrow, spend, and worry about inflation later,” said Dr. Cantor. “The President’s $3 trillion infrastructure package that he is looking to spend would be inflationary. The Republicans have it right. $600 to $700 billion for pure infrastructure, roads, bridges, tunnels, that is where the money should go. That will create jobs.”

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