U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has just announced two initiatives to help Americans financially weather the coronavirus crisis. The first: Mnuchin says the government is considering sending every American a check to help them financially support themselves during the economic downturn. At a press briefing this afternoon Mnuchin said:
“We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately…Americans need cash now and the president wants to get cash now. And I mean now, in the next two weeks.”
How much cash is Mnuchin and the treasury thinking? PBS NewsHour’s White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reports that Mnuchin is mentioning a figure of $1,000 to GOP senators.
Treasury Sec Steve Mnuchin: "We are looking at sending checks to Americans immediately…Americans need cash now and the president wants to get cash now. And I mean now, in the next two weeks."
Mnuchin: Discussing details w/ GOP senators. We like idea of $1K.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) March 17, 2020
The move, if implemented, would be welcome news not only to Americans worried about an economic meltdown but economists who have said one of the best ways the government could prop up the economy during the coronavirus crisis is by implementing a form of universal basic income.
Mnuchin also announced plans for further economic relief in the form of deferred tax payments to the IRS. Under the plan, Americans who owe or will owe taxes to the IRS will be able to delay payment of said taxes for up to 90 days without incurring interest fees or penalties. Those deferred payments will apply to tax bills of up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for corporations.