Democrats Are Handing Donald Trump the Keys to the Country
By Zach Carter, HuffPost
The Senate coronavirus bill is shocking.
The emergency coronavirus legislation that the Senate agreed to on Tuesday can only be described as an outrage. It is not an economic rescue package, but a sentence of unprecedented economic inequality and corporate control over our politics that will resonate for a generation.
It represents a transfer of wealth and power to the super rich from the rest of us, with the support of both political parties ― a damning statement about the condition of American democracy.
Final text of the bill has not been released, but according to a legislative draft, the new law would establish a $4.5 trillion corporate bailout fund overseen by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, with few substantive constraints. Some outlets are reporting this as a $500 billion fund, but $425 billion of that can be leveraged 10 times over by the Federal Reserve, resulting in a multi-trillion-dollar program.
The bill permits bailed out companies to lay off up to 10% of their workforce over the next six months, with no restrictions thereafter. Mnuchin would have authority to waive any upside for the public in its new investments, and the bill’s restrictions on stock buybacks at bailed-out firms are too temporary to be significant. Bailed out companies could even pay dividends to their shareholders.
Bailout money will flow to the shareholders of large corporations, otherwise known as rich people. The oversight terms that Democrats secured are purely cosmetic, replicating the toothless provisions of the 2008 bank bailout that enabled watchdogs to report abuse but not actually prevent or rectify it.
“It is a panicked and reckless legislative response,” Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project, an anti-monopoly advocacy group, said in a statement on Wednesday. It’s one that “will repeat most of the mistakes made in the 2008-2010 bailouts” and “fundamentally transform the American economy,” she added.