The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: In Response to Schulman, editorial about Trump administration stimulus shows ignorance towards working class Americans

Schulman’s article about the ineffectiveness of a stimulus check due to social isolation shows a narrow perspective that ignores the obvious needs of low and middle-class workers.
Emily Gonçalves

On Mar. 18, the Hustler’s Editorial Director, Max Schulman, published an article in response to the Trump administration’s proposal to provide qualifying Americans a check of thousands of dollars, (which, now passed, will be $1,200 for eligible Americans, depending on their citizenship, taxpayer and dependency statuses). The piece highlighted the lack of currently open businesses at which someone might spend these funds, identifying protective measures like quarantining and social isolation for the check’s perceived ineffectiveness. However, the author fails to recognize that this money’s intended use wouldn’t be for someone to, say, buy a video game or new shoes. It would be distributed for people to survive. 

The COVID-19 crisis has placed us at a pivotal moment in history. We are facing a public-health crisis on the heels of a potential economic one. This money would be sent to working class Americans in their time of need. Congress has passed a bipartisan bill expanding our social net by providing paid leave. Yet nearly 48 percent of American workers are still exempt from the new provisions. While we should be increasing our social net in order to mitigate such a crisis, food stamps are not going to pay for rent.

Trusting low and middle-class families to make the right decisions with this stimulus check is the most effective way to equip them with the resources needed to survive the impending recession.

These funds can go towards staggeringly high rent prices, child-care costs or hospital bills if they themselves become ill. 

Whether you agree or not that this check will lessen the impact on the recession, Schulman’s opinion is narrow-minded because it does not take into consideration the greater needs of the working class. The vast majority of Americans don’t even have $1000 in savings, meaning they cannot self-isolate for two weeks and risk the loss of income. These people are not wondering what stocks to invest in; instead, they’re concerned with keeping roofs over their heads and food on the table. The author disregarded the immediate needs of working Americans, instead choosing to focus on closed retail stores as a consequence of social isolation. The Trump administration can do more to help the working class make it through this pandemic. A nation-wide eviction freeze as well as exemption-free paid leave are simply steps in the right direction alongside this stimulus check. However, one man’s inability to determine how to spend his money should not take away from the effort to keep Americans afloat during this crisis. 

If the author finds himself lost on how to spend his money, why doesn’t he donate it to one of the hundreds of charities who will inevitably experience a sudden surge in need? Certainly the live-entertainment industry filled with workers reliant on money from gigs, now canceled due to the virus, will gladly accept his funds. Perhaps he could send his check to one of thousands of college students who were faced with an eviction notice and have nowhere else to go. I would encourage him to expand his global perspective and consider other Americans’ struggles. Better yet, if he is this upset over the check, he can simply not cash it.  


Emily Hugan

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About the Contributor
Emily Gonçalves, Former Multimedia Director
Emily Gonçalves (‘20) was the Multimedia Director of the Vanderbilt Hustler. She majored in Mathematics and Economics and minored in Latin American Studies. When she’s not taking photos, you can catch this Jersey girl making puns, singing, advocating for girls’ education and drinking lots of chocolate milk and espresso!
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Matt Conn
3 years ago

Well-formed response! I too found Mr. Schulman’s article lacking perspective. I’m sure he had no ill-intent and is genuinely interested in effective fiscal policy (he does provide an alternative solution, in the form of increasing social safety nets). However it comes off as out-of-touch to write an article announcing that you don’t need $1200. I hope this response helps him to draw on experiences beyond his own reality.