Millions of Consumers Feel Overwhelmed and Forget To Pay Their Bills
Hey, let me ask you this. Have you forgotten to pay your bills?
(audio: Steve Martin bit): Two simple words in the English language. I forgot. How many times do we let ourselves get into terrible situations because we don't say, I forgot. Let's say you're on trial for armed robbery. You say to the judge, I forgot armed robbery was illegal.
Ric: Well, that was Steve Martin, of course, and his very famous bit of just forgetting to pay taxes. Well, you know what else people are forgetting to do these days? They're forgetting to pay their bills. JPMorgan Chase says 1% of its credit card customers are now 30 days delinquent. Pacific Gas and Electric says 1.4 million of its customers are past due. That compares to 900,000 prior to the pandemic. AT&T says more of its customers are falling behind on their bills, too. According to surveys of consumers, they say they're just overwhelmed and they're forgetting to pay their bills.
Maybe Steve Martin was onto something. And since people are forgetting to pay bills, maybe they need help in doing so. Not remembering, mind you, but in actual paying. So along comes more stimulus. Do you really think we're going to see a fourth stimulus package from the federal government? Well, maybe via a student loan forgiveness package, although that's not actually money in your pocket. It's merely a bill you don't have to pay at the end of the month. But you weren't paying it anyway for the past two years because there was moratorium on student loan repayments. But other than that, no, don't expect the Federal Government to offer another stimulus package, but you might be able to expect one from your state government. California is going to give as much as $1,000 to 23 million residents of California. Oregon's giving $600 to every household to more than about a quarter of a million of them. Colorado is giving $750 to every taxpayer. In Virginia, a big tax cut is coming to taxpayers there as well. These governors and state legislatures are all saying we're flush with cash. Let's give it back to folks and put money in their pockets.
The question becomes, are consumers going to get addicted to these government bailouts, federal or state? Is it keeping people out of the workforce knowing, hey, all I gotta do is sit back and wait for the check to show up. And what happens when those governments discover they gave to the taxpayers more than they really could afford to give? Is this just accelerating future tax increases? We'll have to wait and see because who knows what the truth is going to hold?