Should everyone who makes less than $75,000 per household get $600? I don't think anyone could protest the idea of saving small businesses, and I think the stimulus bill does as much as it possibly can to do so. The money for the airlines? With the new strain of highly-transmissible Covid-19 putting still one more chill on airline traffic, the airlines need a boost. Anything that helps more people get the vaccine is a win, and the bill brings more firepower to that program. Finally, the President and Congress addressed the unique problems facing a decimated restaurant industry. Many will get help but many didn't make it because the parties squabbled so much that the delay was ruinous.
But let's talk about the $600 not to be too confused with The Charge of the Light Brigade, the 600 who road into the Valley of Death. Alfred Lord Tennyson said paean to the brave does have some application. Some, indeed, in this country do have cannon to right of them, cannon to left of them and cannon in front of them. Most, however, don't. Unlike this spring, where the federal government sent $1200 checks to people with the intent, among other uses, to try to get people to stay at home and not work so they wouldn't spread the disease as fast as it had been, this $600 has an odder feeling. Employment was plummeting back then, now 93% of people are employed.
Moreover, for some, this is money they can use to invest. I totally agree with the Treasury Secretary when he says many people made some pretty good investments. Nevertheless, I wonder if the money would have been better spent not on those who had jobs, but on those don't. Many have been laid off through no fault of their own. I like the idea of restaurants getting funds to stay in business. I do not like the idea that the workers in the closed restaurants can't be able to apply for money that goes now to those who have jobs.
Maybe it is just the unintended consequences but there does seem to be something odd about giving a bonus to those who have a job, because if you have a job to this point, and we get a vaccine in, say, three months, the $600 per person seems gratuitous versus a means tested stipend to help put food on the table.
All that said, we should talk about investing for the moment. As part of my job I talk to a lot of young people about stocks. Until the $1200 payments in the spring, only a very small handful of people seemed interested in stocks. The $1200 changed that. The $600 will further change it. Not enough people invest in stocks. They don't seem to understand that stocks can, particularly as a young age, produce wealth that their jobs may not let them make. Young people seem almost shockingly adept at investing, as a recent industry roundtable I hosted for Robin Hood, the foundation, not the brokerage.
With sports in abeyance many turn to the market to augment their salary with the $1200. They have the bug, so to speak, and they do a lot more research and rely far less on brokerage info and more on what they have learned themselves.
So I want to stipulate that I wish the government could have targeted the most in need, the subsistence and the unemployed. They didn't. If those who have low-wage jobs but are still gainfully employed, I have to encourage them to invest the next $600. If you are young, you can take some risk, you have you whole life ahead of you if the stocks you buy are losers. I don't encourage quick trading or options trading unless you are buying deep in the money calls, as a proxy. I'm not against index funds or mutual funds. But if anything, the younger people know more about the Cloudflares (NET) and the Oktas (OKTA) , the Snowflakes (SNOW) and the Airbnbs (ABNB) . It's not the worst thing that could happen.