But even as the stimulus makes his renovation possible, Beckett also blames it for the rising cost of the construction materials he needs. “Ever since January 20th, everything has shot up,” Beckett said, referring to the day Biden was inaugurated. “Just look at gas — it’s $3 a gallon, when it had been $1.79.”
Beckett’s ambivalence is echoed across Monroe County, made up of small towns and family farms tucked in the Appalachian region of southeastern Ohio.
In this impoverished pocket of the United States, the most recent round of stimulus payments — $1,400 for Americans who earn up to $75,000 — was the difference between getting a medical treatment and not, enrolling a child in college and not. But political divisions are deep here, and Trump voters, who make up the great majority of residents, are blaming the payments for a range of ills.
Some here say the Biden stimulus checks are keeping people from work, fueling a sense that the undeserving are exploiting the system. As the price of basic goods climbs, others worry that the stimulus will lead to runaway inflation on wood, cars, even milk.