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Financial author and radio show host Dave Ramsey recently stopped by Fox News and tore up the idea of stimulus checks — and in the process, disrespected and undermined all of us, including the many fans who subscribe to his financial advice.
Some background: Congress is considering passing a third round of economic relief aid, which may include $1,400 stimulus checks to those who qualify. In response, Ramsey told anchors on Fox News on Feb. 11 that he doesn’t believe in stimulus payments and that “if $600 or $1,400 changes your life, you were pretty much screwed already.” He went on to suggest that those who value a stimulus check might well be suffering from bigger problems like mental health or relationship issues.
Serious question: Does Ramsey know that we are at war with a life-threatening global pandemic? That COVID-19 has killed over 2.4 million people and bankrupted countless households and business owners in the process? That, as a result of this disease, unemployment has swept the country with over 800,000 Americans filing for jobless benefits in the most recent week alone?
I’ll give him this: Stimulus payments aren’t a solution. We need far more than $1,400 checks. For starters, we need more job creation, more vaccinations, a minimum wage that’s actually a livable wage, and schools to safely reopen across the country.
But a stimulus check is the least the government should provide. It can be the Band-Aid many desperately need right now to manage the bleeding. A recent Bankrate survey found that more than 70% of those receiving stimulus payments believe they are somewhat or very important to their near-term financial health.
With the average monthly rent close to $1,400 in the U.S., this next stimulus would be on the money as far as helping people cover their immediate housing costs. It can also put food on the table. When I had $300 worth of groceries delivered to a local family of five a couple months ago, they told me it would last them several weeks.
This proposed stimulus is also a decent windfall to help jumpstart someone’s rainy day reserve, which is something many out-of-work or underpaid Americans struggle to create but desperately need. And Ramsey can’t deny that saving money is a bad thing. He preaches the importance of socking away $1,000 for a rainy day as step one in the journey towards financial freedom. So, why are we frowning upon a $1,400 check that could do precisely that?
Finally, for what it’s worth, my parents immigrated to this country in the late 1970s from Iran with just a few hundred dollars in their pockets, which would be worth roughly $1,400 today.
With that, they were able to slowly but surely save, buy a house, raise two kids and spoil their grandkids. They achieved financial freedom by not taking for granted the little money they started with — regardless of where it came from — and its potential to lead to more prosperity.