Americans have saved $1.6 trillion since the pandemic started and it poses little inflation risk, the Fed says

Capital One ATM
A man uses the ATM at a Capital One bank in Midtown Manhattan on July 30, 2019 in New York City.

  • Americans’ savings rose by $1.6 trillion during the pandemic thanks to stimulus and weak spending.
  • Some experts fear households will quickly spend their savings and fuel runaway inflation.
  • Studies suggest most will hold onto the cash even after the US reopens, Fed researchers said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Gradual reopening and widespread vaccination have economists wondering how Americans will spend in a post-pandemic economy. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York see little cause for concern.

Americans enjoyed a savings surge during the pandemic as government stimulus hit households and lockdown measures cut down on spending. Estimates suggest people held on to roughly $1.6 trillion in savings since last March, when the health crisis first slammed the economy.

The sum highlights the scale of the government’s support throughout the coronavirus recession. Yet some experts fear that, if too much of these savings are spent too quickly, the recovery will be disrupted as rampant inflation takes hold.

Such a demand bounce is unlikely, professors and economists at the New York Fed said in a Monday blog post. For one, Americans who kept their jobs still haven’t spent nearly as much as they would in a pre-pandemic economy.

“Increased purchases of furniture, electronics, and other goods have compensated only in part for this reduced spending on services,” the economists said. “As a result, overall consumption has fallen for many households, even if their income is more or less intact.”

The roughly $5 trillion in stimulus passed by President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden over the last year also contributed to the savings boom. Relief doled out in direct payments and expanded unemployment benefits was used to pay down debts and cover living costs, but some was tucked away as savings.

It’s also possible that some households increased their saving habits as a precautionary measure due to uncertainty around how the economy would fare, the researchers said.

NYFed
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The very nature of excess savings suggests they won’t be unwound too quickly. Stimulus recipients spent roughly one-third of the government support, according to Fed estimates. The rest was mostly saved, likely by households that already enjoy a financial buffer. It’s possible that circumstances change and force Americans to tap their savings sooner than expected, but the economy’s steady recovery should lead habitual savers to keep holding on to their funds, the team said.

Even when the economy fully reopens and Americans have more ways to deploy their cash, the researchers don’t expect a sudden rise in spending. Many are sure to dine out more often or take a vacation that wouldn’t have been taken otherwise, but there’s a limit to how much a household can boost its discretionary spending, the team said.

“It is certainly possible that some of these savings will pay for extra travel and entertainment once the COVID-19 nightmare is behind us, but our conclusion is that the resulting boost to expenditures will be limited,” the economists said.

This conclusion – and likely outcome – is a key reason why, as Insider’s Hillary Hoffower reported, a full economic recovery depends on the wealthiest Americans spending much more than they did over the last 12 months of the pandemic.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Millions of Americans have struggled to get access to their stimulus checks. The government needs a better system so getting cash to people isn’t so painfully slow.

Biden stimulus
President Joe Biden speaks about the COVID-19 relief package in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, March 15, 2021, in Washington

With President Biden’s signature now sealing the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, most households nationwide are set to receive their third stimulus check in a year. This relief is urgently needed as new unemployment insurance filings continue to surpass one million on a weekly basis a year into the pandemic. However, for the third time, policymakers will rely on an inefficient, patchwork system to deliver this relief – a system that previously excluded millions, and left others waiting months for support.

The lesson is clear: our policies are only as good as the plumbing that delivers them. To better respond to this crisis and those to come, Congress needs to scrap the current fragmented system and build a direct and seamless infrastructure capable of sending cash quickly and automatically when families – and the economy – need it. In short, Congress needs to create a “cash button.”

Cash flow

Direct cash payments are a time-tested economic relief and recovery strategy. In the 2001 and 2008 recessions, and as economic stimulus tax credits in 2009 and 2011, cash was a standard feature. But despite their demonstrated value as a countercyclical measure, the government has not invested in the infrastructure to ensure that cash payments can be efficiently and equitably distributed. A strong foundation for cash relief will also be necessary for the new income support program provided within the expanded child tax credit.

This first attempt last year to get aid to struggling families suffered a number of setbacks. Despite the CARES Act passing in late March, by October, around 12 million people, disproportionately Black and Latinx households, had yet to receive their Economic Impact Payments. Even state unemployment insurance systems, a longstanding source of income support, were unable to distribute cash quickly. The Century Foundation estimated that by the end of May 2020 less than 60 percent of the 33 million UI claims made since the start of the pandemic had been paid – leaving millions of families experiencing or on the brink of financial hardship.

To be sure, the federal and state governments patched up issues throughout the months-long rollout of CARES Act checks, as well as the December stimulus. They included the creation of systems for low-income families who do not file taxes to receive the payments, and used the federal Direct Express debit cards and state EBT systems to speed disbursement. Yet problems remain: due to the inefficient and incomplete infrastructure, many people in need still haven’t received their benefits.

How to get cash in hands

A more responsive and efficient payment system will require three major steps, as outlined in a recent report by Jain Family Institute experts.

First, using records maintained by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the IRS, the government can build an integrated database of individuals who would receive cash, similar to what was proposed by Rep. Rashida Tlaib in her BOOST Act, to ensure minimal coverage gaps. The SSA could then administer payments automatically to those in need, in particular because the SSA is already tasked with sending out tens of millions of payments through direct deposit and Direct Express debit cards each month.

Second, to reach those not covered by federal records, the government can allow individuals to apply for cash support and qualify through any existing state-administered benefits systems, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

Lastly, the federal government should establish public bank accounts to provide a secure endpoint for cash assistance and ensure that the millions of households currently unbanked and underbanked could receive aid without having to rely on check cashers or paid tax preparers as they currently do. Two options for public banking are postal banking and private federal reserve accounts. A no-cost checking account through the USPS would allow anyone with an address to receive electronic transfers, from the Treasury, the Social Security Administration or the Federal Reserve.

Fed accounts, free, personal, no-cost bank accounts set up through the Federal Reserve system, would allow instantaneous cash transfers to account holders and could be linked to existing accounts at commercial banks or set up as part of postal banking, creating a seamless pipeline for disbursement. Since the USPS operates ubiquitous local branches, including in rural and low-income areas where commercial banks do not maintain a presence, postal banking could serve as a platform for a host of other financial services and help foster financial inclusion.

These three steps will create a safety net for the 21st century. As we saw with the CARES Act, poverty rates decreased nationwide and an estimated 12 million people were saved from falling into poverty. While delays and missteps blunted its impact, we have an opportunity to do better and we must take it.

There is extensive evidence that cash works, and with the federal government now tasked with distributing the American Rescue Plan’s child allowance (which is likely to become a permanent part of the safety net), it is time for policymakers to establish the plumbing required to provide cash relief nimbly and efficiently when crises occur. We need to build a cash button, and legislators have the options at hand to make that a reality.

Stephen Nuñez has over a decade of experience in research and program evaluation related to welfare policies and economic inequality. He holds a PhD in sociology from Stanford University, and in his current role, leads JFI’s research on guaranteed income in the US and internationally.

Rachel Black is an Associate Director of the Aspen Institute’s Financial Security Program (FSP). She previously served as Director of New America’s Family-Centered Policy program. Her work has been featured in a diverse set of outlets, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Slate, and Essence.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The IRS is moving to issue refunds for Americans who paid taxes on $10,200 in unemployment benefits last year

Charles Rettig
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.

  • The IRS is aiming to issue refunds to people who already paid taxes on some unemployment insurance.
  • “We believe we will be able to automatically issue refunds associated with the $10,200,” Rettig told Congress.
  • The IRS recently extended the tax filing deadline from April 15 to May 17 for individuals.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The IRS chief said during a congressional hearing on Thursday that the agency is taking steps to issue refunds for people who paid taxes on the first $10,200 in jobless aid.

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig urged taxpayers to refrain from filing an amended return. Instead, the organization is aiming to distribute refunds soon.

“We believe we will be able to automatically issue refunds associated with the $10,200,” Rettig told the House Ways and Means Committee. He added he expected a formal announcement “in the near future.”

The commissioner is referring to a part of President Joe Biden’s stimulus law that provides tax relief for unemployed workers. The first $10,200 in jobless aid is tax-free for Americans earning below $150,000, but some people may have filed taxes without claiming – or even knowing about – this exemption.

“We’re sensitive to the situation,” Rettig said.

The IRS recently extended the tax filing deadline by a month from April 15 to May 17 for individuals filing 1040 forms, providing some people with additional time to submit their returns. The extension doesn’t apply to corporate or nonprofit tax filings.

The agency is struggling to get through a massive backlog of 24 million unprocessed returns from businesses and individuals stretching back to the 2019 tax filing season – and it’s piling up as Americans continue turning in their taxes. Many stimulus checks from past relief laws have not gone out as a result.

“We would hope to be through this backlog by the summer,” Rettig said.

H&R Block and TurboTax customers, meanwhile, are grappling with other delays as neither company has updated software to apply the new stimulus law’s changes on taxing jobless benefits.

Read the original article on Business Insider

$40 billion of new stimulus money could go to bitcoin and stocks, Mizuho says

bitcoin

A survey conducted by Mizuho found that $40 billion of COVID-19 relief bill funds sent to Americans could go to bitcoin and stocks.

Mizuho analysts, led by Dan Dolev, spoke with approximately 235 people with a household income of $150,000 or less in a survey released on Monday.

The team found that roughly 40% of respondents said they planned on using at least a portion of their stimulus money to invest in bitcoin or stocks.

Mizuho calculated that this means nearly $40 billion of the $380 billion in stimulus checks could go to the assets.

The survey also found that investors are more likely to put their stimulus money into bitcoin than stocks.

Of the respondents who said they plan on investing, 61% said they would be investing in bitcoin versus just 39% who said they would be putting money into stocks.

“The survey predicts that bitcoin will account for 60% of total incremental investment spend,” Dan Dolev, Senior Equity Analyst for Mizuho wrote. “We calculate it could add as much as 2-3% to bitcoin’s current $1.1 trillion market value.”

Bitcoin hit record highs of over $61,000 per coin over the weekend as stimulus hopes and institutional investor demand boosted the digital asset. However, on Monday the cryptocurrency gave back most of those gains.

Dolev highlighted a number of crypto-related firms that he believes could benefit from investors’ stimulus check moves including, Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and Square.

In an interview with CNBC on Monday, Dolev said he was “very surprised” by the survey results, so he had his team spend a lot of time “sanity-checking” the data.

The analyst added that although the survey data was surprising, he believes it is an accurate representation of how consumers might spend their stimulus money.

“It is what it is,” Dolev concluded.

Read the original article on Business Insider

JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo aren’t giving customers their $1,400 stimulus checks until March 17. Other banks have paid out already.

Wells Fargo ATM
A Wells Fargo ATM during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo customers won’t get their $1,400 stimulus checks until at least March 17.
  • Some people with other banks have already got their checks.
  • The banks say they are working off the official IRS payment date.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Customers with JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo aren’t getting their $1,400 stimulus checks until at least March 17, while customers with some smaller banks have them already.

The latest round of stimulus checks arrived in some people’s accounts on Friday, after President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus package on Thursday.

Biden celebrated the fast payment over the weekend, tweeting that the payments had begun and that “help is here.”

But the two major banks told their customers that they won’t be able to access the funds until Wednesday.

Chase says in a statement on its website that “We expect that electronic stimulus payments will be available in eligible Chase accounts as soon as Wednesday, March 17, 2021.”

And Wells Fargo says that it “will process all of the direct deposits according to the effective date provided by the US Treasury” – which is March 17.

It said on Twitter that “Customers who are eligible to receive direct deposit of their stimulus payment may expect it as soon as March 17, 2021.”

The IRS said that the “official payment date” is March 17. However, the agency noted that some payments could arrive sooner.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that banking apps Chime and Current had said they had already started depositing the money into some customers’ accounts.

Chime tweeted on Friday: “These payments will be available at traditional banks on 3/17 but Chime members already have access and more is on the way.”

The Journal noted that in previous rounds of coronavirus stimulus checks the money sometimes took days to show up for people with accounts at larger banks.

Some people were angry at the banks for not putting money in accounts earlier:

Wells Fargo said in a statement to HuffPost that it is following the IRS plans.

“We know the importance of the stimulus funds to our customers, and we are providing the payments to our customers as soon as possible on the date the funds are available – based on IRS direction,” it said.

“Wells Fargo is not holding the funds.”

The IRS also noted that the checks will not arrive to all people at once.

Some of the payments could take weeks, especially for people receiving the money in physical form, either via paper checks or debit cards int he mail.

The IRS also says that that people can track the status of their checks with its “Get my Payment” portal.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Americans can start tracking the status of their $1,400 stimulus checks on Monday

stimulus check eligibility
  • The IRS said people can begin tracking the status of their payments on Monday.
  • The initial batch of $1,400 checks has started landing into people’s bank accounts.
  • The IRS is moving swiftly to send out the checks as part of Biden’s stimulus law.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Americans are starting to see $1,400 stimulus checks land in their bank accounts this weekend under President Joe Biden’s stimulus law. But people who don’t get a direct payment right away won’t be left unaware of its arrival for much longer.

The IRS said on Friday that people can begin tracking the status of their checks using the “Get my Payment” portal on Monday. The agency also said it expects to issue more direct deposits and send payments as a check or debit card over the coming weeks.

The IRS also said a payment date will be announced for beneficiaries of Social Security and other safety net programs.

Singles earning up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income qualify for the full amount, along with couples making up to $150,000. Each adult dependent is eligible for a check, a change from the first two rounds of stimulus payments.

People earning above those thresholds can still receive a smaller direct payment. But eligibility is capped for individuals earning more than $80,000 and joint filers making above $160,000. They’ll get zero.

The swift arrival of the federal payments underscore the IRS’s improving ability to get cash out the door quickly, especially for people with direct deposit information in their systems.

Last year, Congress and former President Donald Trump approved $1,200 stimulus checks for most taxpayers. Those government payouts started going out in two weeks.

Then in December, $600 checks started going out within days of Trump signing an earlier pandemic relief package. It took around a month and a half for the IRS to distribute 147 million payments.

Biden touted the direct payments during his first primetime address on Thursday evening, timed to the first anniversary of the nation’s pandemic lockdowns. He said a family of four earning $110,000 can expect to receive $5,600 in cash benefits.

The federal government estimates this batch of direct payments will cost $411 billion.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The $1,400 stimulus checks are already landing in people’s bank accounts

Joe Biden Stimulus
President Joe Biden speaks before signing the American Rescue Plan Act.

  • President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus package Thursday.
  • By Friday, $1,400 stimulus checks had already landed in people’s bank accounts.
  • More direct deposits, physical checks, and prepaid debit cards will be sent out in the coming weeks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The latest round of stimulus checks has already landed in thousands of people’s bank accounts as of Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The $1,400 checks are the latest round of direct payments delivered to Americans since the coronavirus began about one year ago.

Treasury Department officials said earlier Friday that people should expect checks to start arriving this weekend after President Joe Biden signed the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion stimulus package on Thursday.

Officials said the payments would be delivered over the coming weeks, with most through direct deposit, Politico reported.

The banking app Current told The Journal it had already processed thousands of stimulus deposits. Chime, another banking app, said on Twitter it had already delivered $600 million in stimulus payments to 250,000 accounts.

More rounds of direct deposits are expected to go out in the coming weeks, with the government saying the official payment date is March 17.

The IRS told Politico paper checks and prepaid debit cards will also be sent out by the end of the month to people whose banking information it does not have on file.

The latest round of checks is larger than the two previous rounds, and is worth a total of $411 billion, The Journal reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

US growth prospects may overtake investor risk appetite as the biggest factor driving the dollar, says HSBC

US dollar bill
  • The US dollar surged after Friday’s jobs report that outstripped expectations.
  • The dollar’s jump indicates a “US exceptionalism” theme is growing in influence, says HSBC. 
  • HSBC said its work points to the potential of a floor under dollar selling is being formed. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The US dollar immediately jumped after Friday’s blowout US jobs report for February. HSBC says that the move suggests prospects for US economic growth — or a theme of “US exceptionalism” — rather than risk appetite, are beginning to gain influence over the direction of the greenback.  

Risk appetite, or RORO, — the investment bank’s shorthand for “risk on-risk off” — was the dominant influence over the dollar throughout 2020, leaving the safe-haven greenback down relative to other currencies. But the battle during 2021 has turned “finely balanced” following hints that the US exceptionalism theme that stokes dollar buying and strength appeared to be growing in sway. 

“One of the key aspects of the dollar is normally ‘the trend is your friend’. And, of course, if that trend is ebbing or that momentum is not what it used to be, it’s causing a little bit of head-scratching and maybe an identity crisis for the dollar as to what matters,” Daragh Maher, head of FX strategy at HSBC, told Insider, outlining the bank’s new method of tracking what’s driving the dollar.

“So what we tried to do is say, ‘Let’s be dispassionate and just see how the dollar is actually behaving. What is the FX market telling us?” he said. The new DRIVERS (Dollar Response In Various Economic Release Surprises) signal includes measuring the dollar’s price action for 60 seconds against seven other currencies after an upside data surprise then comparing that with a level recorded a minute before a data release.

“What you’re trying to catch is people’s reflex rather than their more measured assessment,” Maher said before the Labor Department on Friday released its monthly employment report.

Jobs climb, dollar leaps

The report showed the US economy added 379,000 jobs in February, trouncing expectations of 200,000 new jobs. 

“The USD rallied initially after stronger US employment data, suggesting the theme of US exceptionalism is becoming more influential,” HSBC said in a statement to Insider on Friday. 

The rally underscored RORO’s stalled momentum this year in guiding the dollar’s direction. RORO is built on the theme of global reflation and is characterized by broad selling and weakness in the dollar after strong US economic data.

“What’s going on is people are thinking, ‘Hey, the US economy is doing much better, which means the global economy must be doing much better. So I’m going to start buying some riskier assets, which means I don’t need to hold a safe haven like the dollar,'” Maher said.

RORO’s influence last year in weakening the dollar had risen so much that its hold on the greenback tightened to levels not seen since 2013, HSBC said in a March 1 research note. 

Separate from HSBC’s analysis, the widely watched US Dollar Index ended 2020 by sliding 13% from mid-March 2020. That month, the index hit a three-year high on surging demand for dollars as the pandemic accelerated. So far in 2021, the index has gained more than 2%.

But the dollar’s leap after Friday’s jobs reports highlighted that traders were reacting to greater optimism about US growth partly as the US government moves toward unleashing a $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package to combat the economic pain inflicted by the pandemic.

Growth prospects, in turn, can fuel speculation about the Federal Reserve’s next move on monetary policy. That perhaps “brings forward that taper conversation again. It brings forward people’s expectations of when US rates might go up,” said Maher. An interest rate hike by the Fed and tapering, or reducing, of the central bank’s bond purchases, could boost the dollar’s value and appeal.

To aid the economy through the coronavirus crisis, the Fed has kept its benchmark interest rate range at 0%-0.25% and has been buying $120 billion in bonds and mortgage-backed securities each month.

Maher said HSBC is not forecasting outright dollar strength this year. “What we’re suggesting is that this shift in relative influence will put a floor under dollar selling.”

The US exceptionalism theme took a brief hold over the dollar early in 2021 after some Fed officials indicated upside data surprises could lead to bond tapering this year. However, other Fed officials, including Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, pushed back against the taper talk.

“Over the next six months or so, we would expect to see some additional modest dollar weakens,” Maher said. “But as the US economy continues to recover — potentially boosted by additional fiscal stimulus – the narrative of Fed tapering and US exceptionalism is likely to become more influential towards the tail-end of this year.”

The DRIVERS signal tracks the dollar’s performance against the euro, the Japanese yen, the British pound, the Australian dollar, the Canadian dollar, the Swiss franc and the Mexican peso. HSBC tracks 30 data constituents of its US Economic Activity Surprise Index for DRIVERs.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden says Americans will start receiving their $1,400 stimulus checks ‘this month’

joe biden
President Joe Biden speaks from the State Dining Room following the passage of the American Rescue Plan in the U.S. Senate at the White House on March 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • President Joe Biden vowed to start sending out stimulus checks “this month.”
  • Senate Democrats just passed Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package.
  • Individuals earning up to $80,000 will receive $1,400 direct payments.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

President Joe Biden announced Saturday that Americans will start receiving their stimulus checks this month, after Senate Democrats passed his $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

“This plan will get checks out the door, starting this month, to the American people who so desperately need the help, many of whom are lying in bed at night, staring at the ceiling, wondering, ‘Will I lose my job, if I haven’t already? Will I lose my insurance? Will I lose my home?'” Biden said.

In his prepared remarks at the White House, Biden noted that he had promised when he took office in January that “help was on the way” and that the passage of the stimulus package was an effort to deliver on that promise.

The package includes direct payments of $1,400 to individuals earning up to $80,000 a year, or couples earning up to $160,000, as per their most recent tax filings.

Though Democrats had sought to raise the federal minimum wage to $15, they omitted it from the package after a top Senate official said it would violate the rules of the reconciliation process.

Beyond just the checks, the stimulus package also provides $300 per week of jobless aid that will extend through the summer, money for distributing COVID-19 vaccines, a new child tax credit program intended to massively reduce child poverty, and aid for small businesses and schools as well as local and state governments.

“This nation has suffered too much for much too long,” Biden said on Saturday. “And everything in this package is designed to relieve the suffering and to meet the most urgent needs of the nation and put us in a better position to prevail, starting with beating this virus and vaccinating the country.”

The stimulus package must return to the House of Representatives, which is expected to pass the bill early next week before Biden can sign it into law.

Read the original article on Business Insider

65% of Americans want next COVID stimulus check to be at minimum $1400, new Insider poll found

Stimulus Checks
Economic stimulus checks are prepared for printing at the Philadelphia Financial Center May 8, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • 42% of respondents want the next round of COVID stimulus checks to be at least $2,000.
  • The $1,400 currently in Biden’s bill is satisfactory for many, with 65% wanting $1,400 or more.
  • A quarter of respondents specifically wrote $2,000, an amount Biden pledged before his inauguration.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A poll of 1,154 Americans found significant backing for a new round of large stimulus checks, with 19% of respondents supporting the Biden administration’s $1,400 checks but a further 46% of respondents supporting a number higher than that figure.

The poll was conducted February 22, 2021 on SurveyMonkey Audience and has a margin of error of approximately 3 percentage points. 

The House of Representatives is poised to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package later this week. The massive 591-page bill includes $1,400 stimulus checks for eligible Americans, among other economic benefits.

Respondents were asked an open-ended question, “What amount would you support for a new round of stimulus checks paid out to Americans?” While 19% of respondents wrote in $1,400, the amount of Biden’s checks, 26% wrote in $2,000, the direct payments advertised on the campaign trail.

The $1,400 checks are Biden’s approach to delivering on a pledge to provide $20,00 direct payments to Americans. The most recent COVID-19 stimulus package, a $900 billion bill signed by then-President Donald Trump in late December, provided eligible Americans with $600 checks. Biden’s bill adds $1,400 to the $600 to bring the total to $2,000.

Some progressives have criticized Biden over the plan, stating he broke his promise to deliver $2000 payments. 

“$2,000 means $2,000. $2,000 does not mean $1,400,″ Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told the Washington Post last month. 

Roughly a quarter of respondents said the checks should be $2000

The trimmed mean – the average after the 5% of responses at either extremity of the responses were removed – gave an average answer of $1,590 as the desired value of the direct payments.

Here’s a breakdown of how Americans responded to Insider’s poll:

  • 5% said the amount should be $0
  • 11% said some amount less than $500
  • 5% said a number between $500 and $999
  • 13% said a number between $1,000 and $1,399
  • 19% said $1,400 on the money, the amount currently in the plan
  • 5% said some number between $1,401 and $1,999
  • 26% said the checks should be $2,000, an amount Biden pledged in early January
  • 16% said a number more than $2,000

Republicans say Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan is too costly, and are opposed to it. But it’s expected to pass along party lines in the House. The bill will then go to the Senate, where it’s expected to face more obstacles and various provisions could be scrapped – including one providing for a $15 minimum wage increase.

Senate Republicans earlier this month introduced a $618 billion stimulus plan that included $1,000 direct payments, but it was rejected by Democrats. 

Biden on Monday signaled he was still open to compromising and potentially removing certain provisions. 

“I’m prepared to hear ideas about how to make the American Rescue Plan better and cheaper,” Biden said. “But we have to make clear who we’re helping and who it would hurt.”

SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weight its sample based on race or income. Polling data collected 1,154 respondents February 22, 2021 with a 3 percentage point margin of error.

Read the original article on Business Insider