“There’s a lot of discussions going on. Probably, we would want to target those folks who lost their jobs and are most in need,” said White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow in a interview with Fox Business Tuesday.
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service worked to send out the money through direct deposits, or as check and debit cards sent in the mail. They started going out in mid-April and have been disbursed to nearly 160 million people for a total of $267 billion.
But some economists say a targeted approach would be more effective.
Giving the upper class more money isn’t going to solve that problem if there is still a public health crisis and some people aren’t comfortable going out to eat and shop.
That’s why, Friedman argues, that new stimulus money should be targeted to both low-income households and to people who saw a major loss of income.
“I’m not a fan of the $1,200 checks. For some people, it was too little if they just lost their job. For other people, who kept their jobs, it wasn’t necessary,” said Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, a professor at Columbia Business School.
“The pandemic isn’t over yet. We can’t shoot all our bullets in the first few months,” Nieuwerburgh said.
Both economists point to extending unemployment insurance benefits, in some form, as a way to target those who are most in need.
Congress boosted unemployment checks by $600 a week and added 13 weeks of pay, beyond what states offer. The additional money will expire on July 31 without Congressional action, but the 13-week extension will remain in place until the end of the year.
Extending unemployment benefits could be another thing Congress considers in July, along with additional support for small businesses and funding for states and cities.
There is now broad agreement something has to be done, but there’s division among Republicans, who control the Senate, about what that should look like — and they’re not unified on whether it should include more direct stimulus payments.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea at this point,” Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania told CNN.
CNN’s Phil Mattingly and Jason Hoffman contributed to this report.