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$400 UI benefits: Downgrade or better than nothing?

Almost 40 million, or 12% of the United States population has applied for unemployment benefits during the current COVID-19 pandemic alone. With the most current number of approved benefits at a whopping 31.3 million citizens, it is obvious that when the $600 a week Pandemic Assistance ended, those same 31.3 million citizens were left vulnerable.

Congress had been fighting and neither the Republicans nor Democrats were able to come to a middle ground on whether to continue the commonly referred to as “a very high payout” for unemployment amongst politicians. A certain number of politicians believe it is discouraging for people receiving ($600 weekly) benefits may be discouraged from going back to work. There is an equal concern many citizens have presented the argument of…what is wrong with the system? The minimum wage is very low that even essential workers are not being able to make ends meet yet are labeled ‘essential’. $600 a week amounts to $28,800 a year. That is still considered lower middle class and for people with families, still is not enough. However, $600 a week is more than many people are making with a normal job (many of which have college degree)! The logic behind that consists of no logic, just bias for lower and middle class. Trump’s recent executive order to implement a (lower than $600 weekly but better than nothing) $400 weekly pandemic assistancewas signed by the President and placed into effect Sunday Morning.

Is this good enough or a downgrade for many families and individuals? As mentioned earlier, a simply $600 a week does not even amount to a livable wage. $400 would amount to $19,200 yearly, almost ten grand lower than already low $600 weekly. Many argue that he is taking measures to pass executive orders to make him favorable amongst the working class amid a pandemic as we are less than four months away from the next Presidential Election. He also put into place a lower tax-cut from the wages of essential workers. Once again, to put him in favor of the working class against his opponent in November, Presidential Candidate Joe Biden. However, these seemingly “huge efforts” should not in any way be confused with what we deserve vs. what is bare minimum as well as what is bare minimum vs. what is considered below bare minimum.

While yes, America is a place to pursue dreams and everyone has an equal right to the pursuit of happiness and anyone can be the next “rags to riches story”, the system has made everything harder over time. Automatically reminded of the Caste System, currently abolished but was once in place by the Indian Subcontinent, was built around the ideology of “you will die with what you are born with” and who you were the offspring of determined what life you lived and there was no way to work your way up. Every day, the American economy (behind the scenes) gets closer and closer to something similar to classist ideologies of the Caste System. The middle-class gap has expanded over the past and will be doing the same in the upcoming years. Reason being, 8/10 times, a citizen born into the middle class will die in that same gap of “middle class” if not lower than middle class.


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