Conservative personal finance guru Dave Ramsey on Thursday shrugged off the need for additional stimulus checks amid a pandemic-induced economic crisis, telling Fox News that “if $600 or $1,400 changes your life, you were pretty much screwed already.”
Ramsey, a radio host and author known for advising his listeners that the key to financial success is reducing personal debt, appeared on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom to discuss the push for loan forgiveness and stimulus checks in Democrats’ current COVID-19 relief package.
After claiming it was “hogwash and “smoke and mirrors” that forgiving student loan debt would stimulate the economy, Ramsey went on to say that the push by Democrats to increase the amount of student loan forgiveness is simply “political gimme by progressives trying to buy votes.”
Ramsey, a former Fox Business Network host and proponent of the “snowball method” of debt control, was then asked his thoughts about the next round of coronavirus stimulus checks currently proposed in President Joe Biden’s relief package.
“What do you believe is the right number or the right answer for the next stimulus check” Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer wondered aloud.
Ramsey, whose first “Baby Step” to financial security is setting aside $1,000 for a “Starter Emergency Fund,” asserted that there was absolutely no need for direct checks to struggling Americans because the money won’t address their larger problems.
“Well, I don’t believe in a stimulus check because if $600 or $1,400 changes your life, you were pretty much screwed already,” the Total Money Makeover author declared. “You got other issues going on. You have a career problem, you have a debt problem, you have a relationship problem, you have a mental health problem.”
“Something else is going on if $600 changes your life,” Ramsey added. “And that’s not talking down to folks. I’ve been bankrupt, I’ve been broke, and I work with people every day who are hurting. I love people, I want people to be lifted up. But this is, again, it is just political rhetoric and it’s just throwing dollars out there. It’s peeing on a forest fire. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Polls show the majority of Americans cannot cover an emergency that would cost $1,000 without borrowing money, something a stimulus check would also help alleviate. (And would help start Ramsey’s proposed “Starter Emergency Fund.”)
Ramsey’s story about going broke, meanwhile, is a tad different than the average American’s experience, which typically revolves around a lost job, personal crisis, or medical emergency. After amassing a multi-million dollar real estate portfolio in the 1980s, he found himself overleveraged as he acquired properties and couldn’t sell them fast enough, eventually filing bankruptcy. A short time later, he became a self-help guru and author, preaching financial advice.