Monday, March 22, 2021

CoVid Relief Payment Status

You can check on the status of your relief check with the IRS.

Another round of free money is coming out, and of course, you should get yours, even as it decreases the value of your savings by an equal amount, due to inflation.  This is why you should get your check - because it just allows you to stay even-Steven.

By the way, another reason to keep your retirement income as low as possible - not only does it preserve your capital in case you live longer, it means you qualify for more government gimmies - relief checks, Obamacare, and so on and so forth.   Since we keep our annual income very low - which we can do because we have no debts to service - we qualify for the full amount of "relief".

What a relief.

Anyway, you can check the status of your check - or better yet, direct deposit - at this IRS site.  I did today, and it gave me the following feedback:

Payment Status

You are eligible for the payment. Once we have your payment date, we will update this page.

We will deposit your payment to the bank account below.

Bank Account Number: ************

Updates to your payment are made no more than once a day. We will mail you a letter with additional information on this payment.

If you need additional help, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Of course, I had to dick around with the site and enter my data five times.  I can never be sure if they have my address as "N Riverview Dr" or "North Riverview Drive" or "Riverview Dr." or what.  Fifth time was the charm.

Setting up auto deposit wasn't hard to do, and you should have done it by now - before the first checks went out last year.   Unfortunately, it seems that it isn't possible to enter bank information for non-filers anymore, and I cannot find any link for bank information entry in the "Get My Payment" site.  In fact, the FAQ (link above) merely states that if your bank information is wrong, the bank will return the money and you'll be mailed a check.  No word on what to do if your address has changed.  The system doesn't favor the itinerant.   On the other hand, they are probably doing this to prevent fraud.

Am I personally in favor of "relief checks?"  It is hard to say.  Both sides are claiming responsibility for this, even as every member of the GOP caucus voted against this.   The GOP was against these checks back in December, when Trump tried (and failed) to push them through in a last-ditch attempt to boost his popularity.

Like with so much else, this blanket firehose of money isn't really the answer.  It is like "student loan forgiveness" for college students.  To the struggling student who racked up fifty grand in debt and has no job (because they went to a "for-profit" college, for example) ten grand knocked off the top might be helpful, but not solve their problems (and they are the least likely to navigate the byzantine government site to get such aid - if they even qualify).  On the other hand, Buffy and Biff, at the tennis club, order another bottle of champagne, as their loan is now being paid off a little earlier than they thought.

There are some people really hurting in this economy, and this "help" is not directly targeted at them.  In fact, much of this "help" is being stolen by overseas scammers, who are filing unemployment claims in the names of others.  Still others are filing specious claims here in the States - in their own names.  Seems you could get unemployment benefits if you were "self-employed" which is a shame, as I retired two years ago.  If I just had kept my practice going another year, I could have filed for "unemployment" benefits when I retired.

I know folks here on the island who work part-time at the golf course so they can get free golf.  They were laid-off due to CoVid and got unemployment checks with that $600 booster or whatever.  They were making more on unemployment than they were working.

I get it that trying to tailor relief to the recipient would take far too long so it is easier to just throw money out there - and hope that those who don't need it, spend it, and thus stimulate the economy.  I suspect more than a few idiots will spend it on Gamestop stock or Bitcoin or some other get-rich-quick scheme, as money you didn't work for gets spent twice as fast.

Sadly, inflation is already a "thing" now - despite the wild claims by the far-right that the fractional inflation rates of the Obama era were destroying the economy.  Say, remember the Obama era - where the market went up steadily every year for eight years?  When interest rates and unemployment rates dropped every year?  Not very exciting, but it was sure and steady.  Then we have Trump and wild swings in the market, which make a few people rich and then a lot of people poorer.  We can't blame him for the virus, but we can blame him for his lackadaisical response to it.  And no, he did not create the vaccine or do anything to speed it to market.  Warp Speed, Indeed!

I met a nice man the other day here on Pine Island, who apparently spends a lot of time watching Fox News and going on Qanon sites.  He held forth on how the virus was created by Bill Gates and then sold to the Chinese (because you know, Bill Gates needs the money, and he is an expert on biotechnology) and how the virus is mutating (by design - it was manufactured!) and we are all going to die and nothing will ever be the same, ever, ever!   Keep a happy thought.

I don't think his dire predictions are going to come true, mostly because "life as normal" or a  new normal has pretty much gone on.  While unemployment is high, the majority of people still trundle off to work every morning, even if it is in their spare bedroom which is now a home office.  People still flood the bars and restaurants, particularly here in Florida (the Ragged Ass Saloon had an outdoor concert with hundreds of people in close proximity, and of course, no masks).  As vaccinations (at 100M so far, or 1/3 of the country!) increase, life will return to normal faster and faster.

No, I think the real issue is economic.  We were due for a recession when Trump took office.  He goosed the economy with tax cuts and proliferate spending for three years before the virus struck.  It is like pulling back on the stick to gain altitude in an airplane (like they do in the movies - accompanied by the sound of dive sirens from a WWII Stuka).  Yes, you will get a little more altitude that way, but you lose speed as a result, and likely stall the plane.  You need more power and thus speed, to gain altitude.  Pulling back on the stick don't do shit.

And so Trump pulled back on the stick, showing a gain when there should have been a loss, and now we are in a stall and flat-spin.  The economic damage we will be facing will take years to repair, much as it took eight years for Obama to fix the toys that Bush broke.  And like clockwork, the GOP will call it "The Biden Recession" and bring out the "Debt Clock" and deny any further stimulus - provided they can win the Senate back in 2022.  Democrats, the clock is ticking.  You have less than 24 months to pass your programs.

And like clockwork, the Democrats will screw up a wet dream.  Which is a good thing, as we don't need a radical agenda enacted - just a rational one.  Sometimes government gridlock is the best option.