Close to one-fifth of the $908 billion proposed in Congress’ long-awaited coronavirus relief bill will be sent directly to American taxpayers in the form of “Economic Impact Payments”—checks of up to $600 per person. The $166 billion devoted to these payments is the second-largest line item in the bill, trailing only the $325 billion for loans to help struggling small businesses.

And yet, in the view of some critics, the amount isn’t nearly enough. “$600 is not ‘a lot’ for families,” author Don Winslow said in a tweet that typified the pushback, “and ... the people who said it was ‘a lot’ are detached from the pain of millions of Americans. It will not help them in any real or meaningful way.”


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