(UnitedVoice.com) – If you were struggling before governors shut down the economy in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions joined you after states re-opened. Too many families still feel the negative economic consequences of the shutdowns despite the government issuing trillions of dollars in stimulus money. While some workers recovered quickly from the shutdowns, others are not enjoying the same experience.
A new study looked at Americans’ economic issues from the end of the Great Recession through January 2020. For millions, the situation was dire. However, as we continue to emerge economically from the pandemic, a sizable portion of citizens continue to experience an unequal recovery despite the government’s attempts to help.
According to a report by the Stanford Center on Longevity and the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, one-third of Americans didn’t have the means to pay for a financial emergency before the pandemic. Approximately 27% of families couldn’t afford an unexpected $2,000 expense within a month. In January 2020, 33% of Americans struggled to make ends meet. Those impacted the most included women, minority groups, those between 30 and 44 years old, and those with only a high school degree.
Post Shutdown Impact
The impact of the shutdowns on lower and middle-class families is profound. According to the Tax Policy Center, over 100 million households paid no federal taxes for 2020. That’s 61% of all taxpayers. That’s an increase of 76 million taxpayers from the previous year.
The number of Americans expected to pay zero dollars in taxes will remain high for 2021, at approximately 57%. However, by 2022 it’s expected to hover around 42%, where economists expect it will flatline through 2025.
From April to December 2020, 8 million Americans joined the ranks of the poor, thanks exclusively to the shutdowns. It was the largest jump in poverty since the federal government started tracking it 60 years ago. No amount of government stimulus or aid could stop the fast rise of Americans in poverty who were once securely in the middle class.
Now the economy is re-opening, so what’s keeping vulnerable Americans from recovering?
One issue is the record-busting rise in inflation. When prices rise quickly, it always hurts the most vulnerable. Higher prices on gasoline, food, rent and other necessities for millions of families reduce one’s ability to save $20, let alone $2,000 for an emergency.
Despite all the talk of the fast-paced recovery, it’s not fast enough for millions of Americans who were left behind due to government overreach. While Democrats talk about taxing the rich to provide for more government aid, most Americans would prefer an opportunity at meaningful work with reasonable pay.
Unfortunately, it could take more time for vulnerable Americans to catch up with the rest of America.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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