COVID-19 Rescue Plans Sent Personal Income Spiking Nationally

Two coronavirus relief packages passed by Congress sent personal income skyrocketing across the country, according to government data released Tuesday.

Personal income rose at an annual rate of 59.7% in the first three months of 2021, according to the data from the nonpartisan Bureau of Economic Analysis. Some of the biggest gains came in states whose Republican senators voted against legislation that sent an overwhelming majority of Americans a $1,400 coronavirus relief check. 

Almost all of the growth in personal income during the first three months of the year was a result of the two coronavirus relief packages, which combined to transfer an additional $2.3 trillion into the pockets of Americans. The first, passed in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration on a bipartisan basis, sent $600 checks to most Americans. The second, passed in March and supported exclusively by Democrats, sent $1,400 checks, with additional funds going to parents. 

Democrats are hoping that legislation, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, will remain popular and help win over working-class voters and stave off midterm defeats. Party strategists are planning to paint Republicans as hypocritical for touting the benefits to their states.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) led the GOP effort against the Biden administration’s coronavirus relief package. His state saw an annual 83.4% growth in personal income after its passage.

Indeed, the state-by-state data from the BEA shows many of the states with the largest gains in personal income are represented by GOP senators and representatives who voted against the plan.

Of the 10 states with the largest gains in personal income, six are represented by two GOP senators: Utah (74% growth), Oklahoma (75%), Arkansas (81%), Mississippi (89%), Alabama (79%) and Kentucky (83.4%). Two states have a Republican senator and a Democrat: Maine (75%) and West Virginia (88%). The final two states, New Mexico (77%) and Michigan (80%), have two Democratic senators. 

Most of the states with the smallest personal income gains were solidly blue: California, Washington, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland and Connecticut all have two Democratic senators. The only two states with Republican senators among the 10 states with the smallest gains were North Dakota and South Dakota.

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