Color me skeptical that the only motivation behind this proposal is to get money into peoples hands now and not, as I suspect, a backdoor way to raid the Social Security Trust Fund well before it is scheduled to run out of money (if nothing is done) in 2034 .
I tend to take things to the extreme when I think about cost, so let's hypothesize that 150 million (roughly half) of Americans wind up taking this hypothetical $5,000. With so many Americans out of work right now, I don't think that is too crazy of a number to put out there. That would instantly deplete the trust fund of $750 billion. That is nearly 1/3 of the entire trust fund vanishing overnight. And if large swaths of the economy continue to stay closed then money won't be flowing back into the trust fund in any meaningful way anytime soon.
Not just that, but this additional $5,000 doesn't address current Social Security recipients, many of whom were struggling to survive on their current Social Security benefits before the global economic shutdown. If this proposal were to become law then their modest benefits would undoubtedly be cut.
I'm not saying I have the right answer and I don't envy our leaders who have to figure out a compromise to get badly needed help to hundreds of millions of people, but raiding the Social Security Trust Fund isn't the answer.