In an interview, President Donald Trump's appointed head of the Treasury suggested one stimulus check was enough for 10 weeks. It didn't go down too well for him.
The United States economy continues to plummet amidst the ongoing pandemic. While Americans patiently wait for their stimulus payments, Secretary of the US Treasury Steve Mnuchin had a lot to say about them. In an interview with CBS's Face the Nation, Mnuchin claimed that the payment would last the average American citizen at least 10 weeks, Business Insider reports. Obviously, the assertion did not sit too well with those who, well, live in the real world and have real bills to pay. The Secretary has since received immense criticism from almost everyone in the country - from the average American on social media, all the way to House Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Steve Mnuchin thinks Americans can live on $1,200 for 10 weeks. pic.twitter.com/GrS0ON4gcm— Brianna Westbrook (@BWestbrookAZ8) April 15, 2020
"I think the entire package provides economic relief overall for about 10 weeks," Secretary Mnuchin stated when discussing the $2 trillion stimulus package that the federal government recently deployed. "Hopefully we will kill this virus quicker and we won't need it, but we have [the] liquidity to put into the American economy to support American workers and American business." Of course, he was referring to the package as a whole, including unemployment benefits, bailouts, and loans to large corporations and small businesses. It's important to note, by the way, that the latter fiscal benefit - the loans to small businesses - ran out of funding on Thursday.
Whether or not he was referring to the entire package or just the stimulus payments, the comment revealed a dangerous truth about Mnuchin: he's completely out of touch with the reality that millions of Americans live through every single day. Through the package, each adult is eligible to receive $1,200. Couples will be eligible for $2,400. Each family will be eligible for an additional $500 per child in a household. However, many individuals have expressed their concerns about whether this will be enough to power through the looming recession. While other countries have offered more in terms of benefits, the United States is, yet again, lagging behind. For example, Denmark has offered to pay 75 percent of all wages, and France has instituted a paid leave system.
Further to this, if you think about the cost of living in the United States, $1,200 is basically peanuts. In cities with skyrocketing rents, like New York, San Francisco, and Boston, $1,200 won't even cover a month of rent. Therefore, Mnuchin has been flanked with criticism. Representative Ocasio-Cortez took a swing at the Secretary with a reference from the TV show called Arrested Development. Channeling her inner Lucille Bluth, she asked, "It's your monthly rent, Michael. What could it cost? $10?" Like the House Democrat, others too took to Twitter in order to criticize Mnuchin.
One user wrote, "The entire administration is tone-deaf. Zero concept of reality." Another added, "It's funny they think we can live on $1,200 without recurring income but millionaires with millions of $1,200s need repeated tax cuts, handouts, and bailouts." Of course, this is not the first time that Secretary Mnuchin has been called out for being out of touch with reality. With an estimated net worth of $400 million, perhaps he doesn't quite understand what the average American goes through. In 2018, for instance, he racked up $1 million worth of flight hours. Someone else in his position would have flown commercial. Then, in 2017, he was slammed for a viral image of him and his celebrity wife Louise Linton showing off freshly printed $1 bills. At a time when millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet, it has become evident that Mnuchin is the last person who should be allowed to be part of deciding fiscal policy.