Can 4 million people online make a difference in government economic policy? The millions of people who signed petitions calling for ongoing stimulus payments through the end of the pandemic are hoping they can.
Toward the middle of the pandemic, as Americans were receiving stimulus money to help make ends meet, there had been discussions of a Universal Basic Income. After all, the stimulus money helped speed economic recovery. The New York Times reported that the federal funds helped curb housing and food insecurity.
However, talks of a UBI fizzled even as the pandemic raged on. By spring 2021 it seemed as if UBI would not come to fruition, and even the chances of a fourth stimulus check were slim. Then, a handful of states such as California began issuing one-time or monthly payments to qualified residents. The government focused its money on issuing advanced Child Tax Credits to help reduce childhood poverty.
But the hope for additional stimulus funds continues.
In March, 21 Democratic lawmakers signed a letter to President Joe Biden asking for recurring stimulus payments for the duration of the pandemic. Meanwhile, seven different petitions calling for $2,000 monthly stimulus checks are gaining traction online. The petitions have collected 4 million signatures so far.
The most recent petition on Change.org, launched by Denver restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin, has amassed nearly 3 million signatures. The petition gained approximately 43,000 signatures in the past 30 days, bringing the total to 2,950,700. It will be one of Change.org’s most-signed petitions if it reaches 3 million signatures, which Newsweek is predicting will happen by early December. Bonin’s petition is calling for monthly checks of $2,000 for all U.S. adults and $1,000 monthly per child.
Several other petitions have reached nearly 1 million signatures, collectively. Most call for $2,000 per month for each taxpayer. Newsweek reports that the seven petitions calling for stimulus funds have amassed 3,913,400 signatures so far and continue to gain support.
In spite of the grassroots effort, Biden and most of Congress remain hesitant to issue another cash stimulus. Instead, they are focusing on the Build Back Better plan to improve infrastructure and stimulate economic recovery. Newsweek reports that there is currently no legislation in the works to institute a UBI or offer a fourth stimulus payment to struggling Americans.
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