It took a pandemic by the name of COVID-19 to do it but finally, U.S. President Donald J. Trump has announced something that his political rivals can agree with him on. On Tuesday, Trump announced that steps are being taken to send at least $1,000 to every American to help ease the economic stress caused by the coronavirus.

The idea began Monday when Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called for every American adult to receive a $1,000 check “immediately.” Two Democratic representatives, Tim Ryan from Ohio and Ro Khanna from California gave a proposal to give at least $1,000 to everyone making less than $65,000 that they claim about 75% of Americans will qualify for.

Democratic Senators from three states suggested that $4,500 be given to Americans who qualify in three installments: $2,000 for every American adult and child at first, $1,500 in the summer and another $1,000 check in the fall depending on the how the global pandemic continues as a public health emergency.

All parties agree that wealthier Americans of a yet to be determined income level will not get the payment. That income threshold could be as low as $65,000 per year.

There is some precedent in the USA for the government to pass out what seems like “free money” to middle/lower-income people. The Great Recession of 2007-2009 saw a $300 to $600 payment to every American followed by another $300 in 2001.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had a lot to say to reporters at the White House announcement. “We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” he said.

French economist Olivier Blanchard, the former top economist at the International Monetary Fund, tweeted, “The world is de facto at war” and urged that the U.S. Government not to restrain on spending.

He pointed out that during World War 2, the government ran a deficit of about 20% over the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The actual dollar amount of the proposed disbursement will dwarf any WW 2 spending but will result in a deficit of “only” 10% over the GDP for 2020.

Only time will tell what the financial, political and even societal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will be, but a little cash in everyone’s pockets will certainly help Americans cope for the duration of the health crisis.

Analysts say the economic costs of the coronavirus outbreak will become clearer in the coming weeks and months
Analysts say the economic costs of the coronavirus outbreak will become clearer in the coming weeks and months AFP / GREG BAKER