The American Rescue Plan (the “Plan”) has been signed into law, and people are already receiving stimulus checks. According to CBS News, some benefit recipients received additional good news. The Plan built in a law that waives federal income taxes on up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits for people earning less than $150,000 per year. CBS reported that, according to the Wall Street Journal, taxpayers could save up to $25 billion. While this tax savings is great news, it also complicates things. If taxpayers have already paid 2020 taxes, they will likely have to file an amended return to get those taxes back. Taxpayers will also need to check their state rules, as some states are also waiving income taxes on unemployment benefits. It will be worth the extra work, however, to save money. This savings is yet another benefit of the Plan, which Republicans in Congress refused to support.
People overwhelmingly support the Plan. The latest CBS/YouGov poll shows that 3 in 4 Americans approve of the Plan, including half of the Republicans polled. Republicans with lower incomes approve the plan in higher numbers than those with large incomes, which makes sense. The wealthy are who the Congressional Republicans represent, and the question begs to be answered why those with lower incomes continue to vote Republican. It is painfully obvious that they are not being represented. That is a question that may, perhaps, never be answered, but the other good news for President Biden is that his approval rating is through the roof because of his handling of COVID so far.
According to the same poll, Biden currently enjoys a 67% approval rating on the pandemic, which is up 11 points since just last month. He has been incredible so far. He has purchased additional Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is allowing states to increase the eligibility windows for getting the vaccine. In Georgia, that threshold is now 55 and above. President Biden has also directed that eligibility for all Americans be opened by May 1. When you look back at the last “president’s” denial that the virus even existed, allowing over 500,000 Americans to become ill and die, this is the “warp speed” that the former administration crowed about but did not produce.
President Biden promised he would attack the virus head on, and he is doing just that. Interestingly, he is aided by Steve Mnuchin, who had the foresight to build up the treasury for just such an emergency. According to Politico, the Treasury is currently holding over $1 trillion in its “rainy day” fund, which Mnuchin began to amass because of the crisis. Yet, Republicans are crying and whining that we cannot afford the massive debt of the Plan. Apparently, this is more grandstanding by Republicans. Surely, they are aware of these funds, but instead of helping to rush aid to the American people, they would rather whine and complain. People really need to start thinking twice about voting Republican unless they are in that elusive upper income bracket. Otherwise, they continue to vote against their own interests.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years