President Joe Biden released his 2024 budget proposal with a clear focus on creating a more equitable economic system by increasing taxes on the ultra-wealthy and corporations, and increasing investments that help all of us, including the most vulnerable communities, families, and children. This is the responsible vision that can move us forward and leave no one behind.
The shot in the arm edition. More than one in five Americans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination; that number is slowly climbing toward one in four. But it is not just tens of millions of Americans who are receiving a shot in the arm – so is our economy, thanks to the American Rescue Plan.
Already, the IRS has sent out more than 90 million stimulus checks. Unemployment benefits are starting to be paid – that includes weekly payments of $300 that will go into the economy soon after they’re received; they won’t be saved or invested in the stock market. In July, single parents making less than $75,000 and couples making less than $150,000 will start to receive half of their $3,000 – $3,600 per child tax credits, paid in installments (monthly if the IRS can manage it; otherwise at longer intervals), with the rest to be received as a refund payment at tax time.
The American Rescue Plan offers hope for those living on the edge. For example, it provides $5 billion in homelessness assistance, more than $21 billion in emergency rental assistance, $5 billion in emergency housing vouchers for those at risk of homelessness. This aid is urgently needed if we are to avoid a national calamity of evictions and increased homelessness, with the attendant spread of COVID-19 that results from more crowded living conditions.
The pandemic has led to another kind of virulence – acts of hatred against Asian American and Pacific Islander people. Anti-Asian hate crimes rose nearly 150 percent in 2020, according to onereport.
With the arrival of spring this Saturday, and reports of declining COVID-19 caseloads, Americans are anxious to get out and about. But public health officials are urging caution. While it may be true that total U.S. daily infection rates have declined compared with two weeks ago, new reports are popping up about spikes in individual states – Michigan in particular is being hit hard. But it’s not just one state: as of March 18, 18 states plus Puerto Rico were showing increases in their caseloads compared to two weeks before, according to the New York Times.
That is why it is good news that the American Rescue Plan contains billions of dollars to fight the pandemic – everything from facilitating vaccinations to testing and contact tracing to needed PPE and cleaning supplies and new air filtration systems for our schools.
The poet Robert Frost wrote, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”
We are not out of the woods yet.
The numberof incidents of harassment and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the past year, according to a new report released this week by Stop AAPI Hate. The group says the actual number could be much higher. Tweet this.
The number of Americans behind in their rent payments, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More than one in four renters with children were behind. A CDC moratorium on evictions is set to expire on March 31, and experts fear that one million evictions could be filed shortly thereafter.Tweet this.
New York City landlords are seeking evictions nearly four times more often in the very neighborhoods with the highest COVID-19 death rates – neighborhoods predominantly home to Blacks and Latinx residents. About 40,000 residential tenants have been taken to court for eviction proceedings since late March of 2020, with an average claim of $8,150. Tweet this.
The numberof homeless Americans during one night in January 2020, according to figures released Thursday, March 18 by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That number, a 2 percent increase from the previous year, was before the pandemic began, and experts warn the problem has since gotten worse. Tweet this.
More than 20,000
The estimated number of child care centers that have closed in the U.S. since the pandemic began. No one knows how many will re-open. However, the American Rescue Plan’s $24b in funds to stabilize the child care industry plus $15b in new child care assistance funds will likely help a lot. Tweet this.
The average annual cost of child care for a child under 4. It’s pricier in big cities – in Washington, D.C., the average annual cost for an infant is more than $24,000.
The percentof women who are either working or looking for work. This is the lowest percentage of women in the workforce since 1988, or 33 years ago. Of course, a major reason why is the lack of affordable child care during the pandemic.
In California, the state with the largest Latinx population, Latinx people aged 35 to 49 died of COVID-19 at more than 5 and ½ times the rate of white people the same age. Put another way: 35- to 49-year-old Latinx people make up 41.5 percent of people in that age group in California, but account for about 74 percent of deaths.
More than 90%
The percentof households with children under the age of 18 who will benefit from the increased Child Tax Credit.
By Friday, March 19 — President Biden’s 58th day in office — 100 million vaccinations will have been administered in the U.S.; Biden had initially pledged 100 million doses in his first 100 days.