Betting on a Big Bailout

March 20, 2020 Media

As coronavirus wreaks havoc on the economy, President Trump is eyeing bailouts for the airline industry and others – and he’s likely to get them.

Calls for government bailouts are growing louder across industries as the coronavirus pandemic and Americans’ self-isolation response grinds domestic economic activity to a standstill.

Bailouts have traditionally been thorny subjects on Capitol Hill, but President Donald Trump’s administration is pushing lawmakers to prop up industries as the disease wreaks havoc on the economy and looms over his reelection campaign.

“Airlines would be No. 1” for a bailout, Trump said on Wednesday, also acknowledging hotel and cruise industries as “prime candidates” for federal support.

Demand for leisure travel has dried up amid government-mandated travel restrictions and concern about coronavirus exposure. Major U.S. airline companies are requesting roughly $50 billion in financial assistance. Boeing, separately, is calling for a $60 billion bailout.

“They’re going to need to be nationalized,” says Matt Stoller, an author and research director of the American Economic Liberties Project. “The government is going to make a choice to preserve those enterprises.”