Let's See How The Free Money Distribution Checks Are Going

Personal income declined in February but only because more free money checks were sent out in January.

Personal Income and Outlays

The BEA's Personal Income and Outlays Report for February tells the story. 

Key Points 

  • Personal Income decreased $1,516.6 billion (7.1 percent).
  • Personal Current Transfer Receipts (PCTR) decreased $1.584 billion (27.4 percent)
  • Disposable Personal Income (DPI) decreased $1,532.3 billion (8.0 percent)
  • Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) decreased $149.0 billion (1.0 percent).
  • Real DPI decreased 8.2 percent in February
  • Real PCE decreased 1.2 percent; goods decreased 3.3 percent and services decreased 0.1 percent.
  • The PCE price index increased 0.2 percent. 
  • Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.1 percent.

Meaning of Real

Real means inflation-adjusted, assuming you believe the reported price index measures.

BEA Statement

The estimate for February personal income and outlays was impacted by the continued government response to COVID-19. Economic impact payments associated with the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act of 2021 (which was enacted on December 27, 2020) declined sharply in February and unemployment benefits continued, but at a lower level. Additionally, restrictions and closures continued in some areas of the United States. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the personal income and outlays estimate because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.

Transfer Payments (PCTR)

Transfer payments are free money or money equivalents from the Federal government.

The category includes food stamps, a relatively stable transfer payment, and Covid stimulus items (one-time and ongoing).

There was a "one time" leap in March of 2020 and another "one time" jump in January of 2021. 

Democrats are angling for another "one time" jump, with some Republicans in agreement. 

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