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.