It’s good for the little guy, but it may be even better for CEOs and investors.
For the second time in a dozen years, Congress is giving the Treasury secretary a nearly blank check to rescue imperiled companies in the midst of an economic crisis. This time, there’s little opposition.
In part that’s because lawmakers and President Donald Trump are also set to approve unprecedented support for ordinary Americans in the form of direct payments, the extension and expansion of benefits for the unemployed, and a provision forcing companies to keep 90 percent of their workforce on payroll if they accept government assistance.
The cash infusion will bring badly needed relief to millions of Americans across the country.
But faced with difficult choices about who to help and who to help the most, Congress opted for all of the above on the first question and major corporations on the latter. The result is an emergency coronavirus bill that lawmakers say contains $2.2 trillion in relief, 880 times the size of what Trump said was needed a month ago as he needled Democrats who sought $8 billion.
Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is complaining, for publicity purposes only, that I should be asking for more money than $2.5 Billion to prepare for Coronavirus. If I asked for more he would say it is too much. He didn’t like my early travel closings. I was right. He is incompetent!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2020
“Saving businesses vs aiding individuals is such a bogus choice,” CNBC contributor Ben White, the author of Politico’s influential Morning Money newsletter, wrote on Twitter. “Obviously gotta do both.”
The devil is in the details, which members of Congress are still learning, even after the Senate passed the bill 96-0 on Wednesday night.