The Coronavirus Stimulus Is a Crony Capitalist Dream.

Author:Brown, Elizabeth Nolan
 
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CRONY CAPITALISM TRIUMPHED as members of Congress voted in March on a massive COVID-19 response bill. The $2.3 trillion package was unanimously approved in the Senate before clear ing the U.S. House of Representatives 419 to 6.

Getting the most attention in the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a stipulation that many Americans will be getting $ 1,200 apiece from Uncle Sam. People making less than $75,000 individually or $150,000 as a couple will receive the full amount, with prorated amounts available to single earners making up to $99,0000 and couples up to $198,000. Families with kids will get an additional $500 for every child 16 and under.

But the 880-page bill is also brimming with handouts for government-favored industries.

For airlines, the CARES Act includes a $25 billion grant plus $29 billion in loans and loan guarantees. Grant money is also available for agricultural companies, to the tune of $33.5 billion.

Government institutions--including some far removed from direct COVID-19 relief efforts--will also be getting cash infusions. For instance, the legislation includes $ 150 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The CARES Act also inexplicably provides $10.5 billion for the Department of Defense, though only $1.5 billion of that is directed at coronavirus-related National Guard deployment, and just $415 million is for vaccine and antiviral medicine research and development by the agency.

Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), one of the few in Congress to vote against the CARES Act, rightly called it "corporate welfare" that "reflects government conceit. Only consumers, not politicians, can...

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