Fourth Stimulus Check Update: Thank You Payments to Educators Approved in Specific States, Additional Money From Federal Government in Question

Last Updated on August 15, 2021

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Is a fourth stimulus check on its way? The unfortunate answer is probably not. But six states have approved “thank you” payments to educators. And a seventh states has approved some additional Covid-19 aid.

The current list of states  that will offer additional financial help to residents because of the pandemic is: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan. And New Mexico. 

The reality, however, is more grim than it sounds. The sums are modest, and this check may mark the last Covid-19 related aid. Here’s what you need to know:

The Sums Involved are Modest

California residents earning between $30,000 and $75,000 are entitled to between $500 and $600, and $500 will be paid to households with dependent children.  

Coloradans who have received at least one unemployment payment during the worst of the Covid crisis’ lock-down period, between March 15, 2020, and October 24 of that year will receive 375 dollars.

Florida’s program is occupationally specific: most teachers and school administrators, viewed by many as heroes of the Covid crisis, have been allocated $1,000 each, although the program is still in development.

In Georgia, too, the aim is at educators, with $1,000 going to full-time teachers and administrators, and $500 for part-time teachers. Pre-K educators will likely also receive something: how much is unclear.   

Maryland has repealed all state and local taxes on unemployment benefits, and it is planning stimulus payments of $500 for families and $300 for individuals for have field for the earned income tax credit. 

Michigan has sent $500 hazard pay bonuses to teachers: again, a payment with a clear link to the Covid crisis. 

Finally, New Mexico has plans to distribute $5 million to residents who didn’t qualify for any of the three rounds of federal stimulus checks. 

Why are They Called Stimulus Checks?

By popular usage, these payments are called “stimulus” checks rather than, say, “relief” checks.  What they are said to stimulate, in short, is an economic recovery.  

In theories associated with John Maynard Keynes, a deep economic crisis is a period in which almost everyone cuts their spending at the same time. One person’s spending is another person’s income, so the fall in everybody’s spending makes the whole nation poorer. The worsening poverty of the Covid-19 crisis could shock people into being even stingier with their spending.

It was the view of the outgoing Trump administration in late 2020-21 and of the incoming Biden administration that Covid-19 had set off a crisis in much this manner. Covid-19 required people to stay at home, which meant fewer opportunities either to make income or to spend it, which sent the country on a downward Keynesian spiral.  

A stimulus check, then, is a payment by government that is meant to stop and reverse such a spiral. Put money into people’s hands (even though it requires going into debt, or creating new money out of thin air), and that money will stimulate the recipients to spend it. Anyone’s spending is someone else’s income. So income levels will rise, and people will feel freer to spend more money, in a happy upward spiral.  

Is the Fourth Stimulus Check Just a Fantasy?

Many Americans feel that more stimulus money is needed. At the end of July, The Wall Street Journal wrote: “The U.S. economy grew rapidly in the second quarter and exceeded its pre-pandemic size, but the outlook has suddenly turned cloudier due to the fast-spreading Delta coronavirus variant.”

The outlook in August 2021 is not as rosy as it was in June 2021. The Administration was hoping that stimulus checks could be put behind us in the last quarter of 2021. And many pundits believe, federal stimulus checks are, in fact, done. But if the Delta variant continues to surge businesses and individuals may be affected once again.