The coronavirus pandemic is arguably still raging across the world and certainly in America. Small businesses across the nation are still closed or will never open again because they could not survive the stagnant market of quarantine. Many Americans continue to face unemployment as companies, struggling for revenue, are letting their employees go.
It is impossible to deny that Americans have been hit hard financially by the coronavirus. Thankfully in April, Americans saw some light as the U.S. Government rolled out stimulus checks. For many Americans, it was a much needed and much welcomed financial boost. However, for some Americans, it was simply more disappointment.
When I heard that stimulus checks of $1,200 were going out to all adult Americans, I was ecstatic. I would be lying if I said I was not immediately thinking about what I could use the money for, even if some of it was not exactly practical. Regardless, I was just thankful that there was finally some good news. Then I read the words “dependents are excluded” on every news article covering the stimulus check. Individuals that were claimed as a dependent on their parents’ taxes would not receive a stimulus check. I was disappointed, but more so, I was confused and frustrated.
I would like to be transparent. I am extremely fortunate that my parents help me significantly. I live with my sibling and do not pay rent and my parents pay for my groceries. I am aware that because of this, my opinion may come off as spoiled, as just a young person who wants everything for free. That I am just whining because I will not get free money. But that is not it at all.
I am thankful for my parents and for the help I receive, but there are many students who support themselves more than I do but are still claimed as dependents. You could pay several of your own bills and pay for many of your own expenses, but still be claimed a dependent. Officially, according to the IRS Website, a parent can claim their child as a dependent even if a child has a job, as long as that job doesn’t pay for more than half of their living expenses.
To me, this is the biggest issue with the stimulus check. Besides the fact that many dependents’ parents cannot supply their children with everything they need, many of those dependents are tax-paying citizens. I have been a taxpayer since I was 17 and I am now 22. Many other young adults could say the same, that they have worked a part-time job to pay for things they want or things they need that their parents cannot afford to pay for. As tax-paying Americans, we should be included in the stimulus aid regardless of whether we are claimed as dependents. Because many of us are still struggling.
I work a part-time job with a performing company. We portray characters for children’s events and parties. Of course, this job relies heavily on large gatherings of people. An occurrence that has been discouraged or prohibited for the past several months. Please note, I am not saying that I disagree with this ruling, but it does make it extremely difficult for my employer to pay me. But my job is not unique, many jobs have seen a decrease in revenue during these past months.
At restaurants, servers went through a hard time as dining rooms were closed, and customers did not consider leaving tips for carryout. Even now with dining rooms open, people often opt for delivery so as not to expose themselves to the risk of illness. Many kinds of workers are facing these struggles, and the ones who are dependents are facing these struggles without the hope of receiving $1,200 like others.
I have also failed to mention that the stimulus check was not just to provide financial aid to Americans, it was to stimulate the economy—as the name “stimulus check” suggests. When people’s pockets get tighter, they stop spending money on things that are not necessities, causing a sort of economic stagnation as businesses struggle to make ends meet. But if the stimulus check was to stimulate the economy, a large group of people were left out. Let’s be honest, the dependents were probably the group that were most likely to spend their stimulus on frivolous things. Such as eating out, clothes, trips, etc. Things that all stimulate businesses and therefore the economy. If nothing else, the failure to include dependents was a lost opportunity to provide relief to businesses.
Reports are swirling right now that another stimulus check is currently in the works, and currently it is set up just as it was before. Dependents are excluded. It would be ignorant of me to not address that myself and others are fortunate to be dependents in these hard times. I, as I am sure many others are, am extremely thankful for our parents and all they do for us, but that is not really what this is about. The bottom line is that we are still tax-paying citizens and we are struggling just like everybody else. Dependents deserve a stimulus check too.