Democrats Need to Make Good on Their Promises

During the Georgia Senate runoff in January, both Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock struggled on a promise secure great stimulus checks for Americans. With the Democrats in control of the Senate, they assured voters that Congress would raise the $ 600 stimulus checks to $ 2,000 per person, a move that was blocked twice by Senate Republicans. But first they had to be sent to the Senate.

The promise worked. Both men were elected and gave the Democrats, along with a Democratic President, tight control of both houses of Congress. The party pledged bold measures: $ 2,000 stimulus checks to help people survive the pandemic, and a minimum wage of $ 15 to raise living standards long after. Democrats need to do both quickly to boost both the economy and their own political fortune.

It will not be easy to keep these promises. Joe Manchin, one of the most conservative Democratic senators, has already poured cold water on the idea of ​​$ 2,000 stimulus checks. He first said he was “absolutely” against them and later made it clear that he would only support the checks if they were aimed closely at those in need and not save those who would use them.

Of course, some people can forget that the most recent stimulus tests have already been means tested and were only sent to people earning up to $ 87,000 a year or couples earning up to $ 174,000 – a lower threshold than the first round of testing in of the EU spring 2020.

We also know that the first stimulus worked as Manchin wanted it to be. People mostly spent the money on household expenses, especially in the worst financial circumstances. Government support, including economic reviews and other key measures such as the expansion of unemployment benefits, made up for Americans’ steep loss of income. These measures temporarily prevented poverty from rising at a time when millions were losing their jobs and ensured far fewer people were in desperate need.

At the end of this dark pandemic tunnel, there is now a distant light: vaccines are being distributed that promise to return us to some semblance of normalcy. But even before the pandemic, millions of people were working full-time and still struggling to make ends meet. Democrats can no longer abandon them after the crisis is over.

President Joe Biden has repeatedly endorsed a minimum wage of $ 15 that would nearly double after more than a decade of stagnation. Like stimulus checks, this is good policy that would make people’s lives better without harming the economy. The $ 15 minimum wage the House passed in 2019 would have directly raised wages for more than 28 million workers, giving them an average increase of $ 4,000 per year, and indirectly raising wages for an additional 11.6 million, who are already making $ 15 an hour. There is ample evidence that increasing the minimum wage increases wages for low-wage workers without costing jobs. This also applies to large wage increases, which economists have found to affect employment rates.statistically indistinguishable from zeroEven in places where wages were previously very low.

Improving people’s financial well-being is also a good policy. over two thirds of the voters In addition to a one-time stimulus check of $ 2,000, support monthly payments of $ 2,000 until the pandemic is over – including an incredible half of Republicans. For example, only 22 percent of Georgian voters thought the aid package, which included $ 600 stimulus checks, went far enough.

A higher wage has a similar attraction. Two-thirds of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour, including over 40 percent of Republicans. The directive is not just voting well. It has an impressive winning streak. When asked at the ballot box whether they would like to raise the minimum wage in their city or state, they said yes every time since 1998.

Biden has already had two years to fend off the election campaigns that the presidential party regularly experiences in the medium term. Democrats have the closest majority in the Senate and run the risk of losing control of the House as well. The best way to convince voters that keeping the Democrats in power is worthwhile is to respond to Americans’ economic needs. It cannot be means tested shyly, piecemeal, or excessively. Voters want significant relief and the Democrats promised to give it to them. Now all they have to do is get through.

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