The United States Is Now Second Worst in Terms of Coronavirus Response

No. It does not seem that the Republican executive branch headed by Donald Trump is acting very competently: David Dayen: Unsanitized: The Ghost of Bailouts Past and Means Testing Presentt 'Here’s a little thing that hasn’t been reported about the Treasury Department’s “term sheet” for the big coronavirus economic response package. If you take a look at the metadata of that document, you’ll see that it has the title “MEMORANDUM FOR SECRETARY PAULSON.” Hank Paulson, of course, was the Republican Treasury Secretary during the last crisis, not this one.... “This cut and paste job is evidence that they are literally working off of the 2008 baseline that led to a bipartisan bailout of the banks and left Main Street and the broader real economy behind,” says David Segal, executive director of the Demand Progress Education Fund.... The Treasury term sheet got adopted in Mitch McConnell’s bill language released yesterday afternoon. The bailouts for the airline industry ($50 billion) and everything else ($150 billion)? Yep, although McConnell added $8 billion for cargo air carriers. There are caps on executive compensation, as Treasury asked for, but also a kind of equity stake with government participation if the value rises. Small businesses get $300 billion in “interruption loans” in both Treasury and McConnell’s imagining; Treasury wanted this to go toward eight weeks of payroll, but McConnell allows rent, mortgage, utilities, or “other debt,” though there are incentives for sustaining employee compensation until the end of June. The temporary use of the Exchange Stabilization Fund to guarantee money markets is also the same. After all that (and a lot more) for businesses, the public gets—a $1,200 check. And they don’t go to everyone, phasing in at half price for those without income tax liability (as many as 75 million people, an unconscionable attack on the poor) and phasing out starting at those earning $75,000 per year, with nothing for those above $99,000. But that threshold doesn’t reflect anyone’s current, real-world status. Indeed, it’s likely to be based on 2018 tax returns.... Nobody in the leadership of either party has internalized that two year-old figures for determining means testing are completely obsolete...

#noted #2020-03-20