The Senate Corporate Bailout Package Is a "Robbery in Progress""It's not a bailout for the coronavirus. It's a bailout for twelve years of corporate irresponsibility."
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin leaves the offices of Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) after
negotiations on a $2 trillion economic stimulus plan at the U.S. Capitol March 24, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
As details of the Senate's coronavirus stimulus plan slowly trickled in Wednesday, progressive critics characterized the sprawling legislative package as a brazen attempt by both political parties to use trillions of dollars in taxpayer money to bail out and further enrich large corporations while tossing mere crumbs to the most vulnerable.
"This is a robbery in progress," wrote David Dayen, executive editor at The American Prospect. "And it's not a bailout for the coronavirus. It's a bailout for twelve years of corporate irresponsibility that made these companies so fragile that a few weeks of disruption would destroy them."
While progressives applauded some provisions in the massive package—including the significant expansion of unemployment benefits and protections for airline workers—Dayen said the stimulus package as a whole is an "outrageous betrayal" of the U.S. public and "a rubber-stamp on an unequal system that has brought terrible hardship to the majority of America."
"The people get a [one-time] $1,200 means-tested payment and a little wage insurance for four months," Dayen wrote. "Corporations get a transformative amount of play money to sustain their system and wipe out the competition."
A Senate vote on the stimulus plan is expected as early as Wednesday afternoon, even though the full legislative text has not yet been released to the public.
The bill would establish a $500 billion fund designed to bail out large corporations hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. Around $75 billion of the program, which would be controlled by the Trump Treasury Department, is earmarked for the airline industry.
But, Dayen wrote, the "enormity of this bailout is being under-reported."
"The other $425 [billion] helps capitalize a $4.25 trillion, with a T, leveraged lending facility at the Federal Reserve," Dayen said. "So it's not a $2 trillion bill, it's closer to $6 trillion, and $4.3 trillion of it comes in the form of a bazooka aimed at CEOs and shareholders, with almost no conditions attached."
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the stimulus package also includes a little-noticed $17 billion federal loan program that was inserted largely for the benefit of aerospace giant Boeing.
Dayen appeared on HillTV's "The Rising" Wednesday morning to discuss his thoughts on the Senate bill:
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