“But unlike stimulus checks passed during the 2001 and 2008 downturns, the 2020-2021 checks were universal at the bottom of the income scale. They had no work requirement or requirement that recipients paid federal taxes in the past. That means that the stimulus checks should have had a profound effect on poverty this past year or so — and that’s exactly what researchers are finding.” Vox: The lesson from the past year: Poverty is a policy choice.