Day: March 25, 2020

Background Briefing: March 25, 2020


The Stimulus Bill Emerges as an Obscene Gift to CEO’s With Chump Change for Workers

We begin with an analysis of the $2 trillion stimulus bill that is supposed to emerge from the Senate which the House in expected to vote on tomorrow, Thursday, since representatives are dispersed across the country and will have to return to Washington to vote on the bill. And although Speaker Pelosi expressed reservations about the stimulus deal it is expected to be passed by unanimous consent on a voice vote but since many members are quarantined, only one member who shows up to vote could derail the whole package. Sylvia Allegretto, a labor economist and co-chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley who has co-authored several editions of The State of Working America, joins us to analyze what we know about the bill so far which apparently the president is eager to sign. Already there are indications that the deal struck between Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin and Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is often referred to as the senator for Wall Street, is weighed heavily in favor of big corporations whose CEOs will still receive massive pay bonuses. But on the much less generous workers’ side of the stimulus bill, Republican Senators Graham, Scott and Sasse are already complaining the package’s unemployment insurance provisions incentivize people not to work. It also appears that Mnuchin will be overseeing an unprecedented $4.5 trillion in future handouts to corporations which makes the $700 billion bailout Wall Street got in the 2008 look like chump change. But what seems to be missing is the realization that this economic crisis has nothing to do with economics instead is caused by a virus and that complaints by Republican senators are missing the point which is people should stay home BECAUSE we don’t want them to work, otherwise we will all get the virus. And while the economy will recover once the pandemic is over, for those who die there is no coming back.


Trump Uses Racism to Distract From His Disastrous Handling of the Pandemic

Then we speak with LaFleur Stephens-Dougan, a professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton University whose research includes public opinion, racial attitudes and voting behavior. Her forthcoming book is Race to the Bottom: How Racial Appeals Work in American Politics and we look into how Trump repeats racist remarks like the “Chinese virus” as a strategy to bait the left into a culture war argument in which liberals appear to care more about minorities than real Americans. Furthermore it serves to distract people from Trump’s disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic because he is a sucker who listened to his buddy the Chinese leader, not his own intelligence briefers.

Is Donald Trump Now Running Fox News?

Then finally, we examine how Fox News has almost entirely become the “Pravda” of the Trump White House and speak with Ben Smith, the media columnist for The New York Times where his latest article is “Rupert Murdoch Put His Son in Charge of Fox. It Was a Dangerous Mistake”. We assess whether Trump’s direct contact with the network’s star hosts Hannity, Ingraham and Carlson means that Donald Trump is in effect running Fox as much as it is being run by Lachlan Murdoch the laid-back 48 year-old son of the media empire’s founder Rupert Murdoch whose 89th birthday party was recently cancelled by the family for fear of the coronavirus which at the time Fox viewers were being told was a “Democratic hoax”.