The Senate’s COVID-19 Relief Bill Is a Crony Capitalist Dream
Unanimous corporatism in Congress. After a day of performative fussing and fighting over partisan particulars in the COVID-19 relief bill, U.S. senators last night passed—96 to 0—the $2 trillion spending measure largely unchanged.
The part getting the most attention is the direct payments: $1,200 each for single Americans who made under $75,000, dual-income married couples who made under $150,000, or single-income heads of household who made under $112,500 in annual adjusted gross income in 2019. Pro-rated amounts will go to single filers making up to $99,000 and couples making up to $198,000. Families get an additional $500 for each child age 16 and under. (More details here.)
“Do you trust politicians to make investment decisions with your children’s future?” tweeted Libertarian Party Chairman Nicholas Sarwark, who has been fiercely critical of business bailouts. “Each American would be the hook for over $6,000 in debt for these ‘investments,’ but it’s the businesses that will receive the rewards. Say no to socialist bailouts of corporate cronies.”
Libertarian-leaning Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.) has also been hitting this theme. “Neither Congress nor the Treasury secretary should be picking winners and losers,” Amash tweeted on Tuesday. “Corporate welfare is not only unjust but also reflects government conceit. Only consumers, not politicians, can appropriately determine which companies deserve to succeed.”
If Democrats and Republicans are going to spend $2 trillion, “then the best way to do it, by far, is a direct cash transfer that otherwise keeps government out of the way,” he wrote yesterday. “That’s the bottom line for me.”
For $2 trillion, we could double the figures below and give every family of four $7,000 per month for three months.
This would be far more helpful to the people than the Senate bill. It would aid everyone, prevent favoritism, and ensure the economy has the flexibility it needs. https://t.co/CymATWNrGQ
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 25, 2020
After the Senate’s vote last night, this is Amash’s pinned tweet:
And they cheered, because leaders assured them that the corporatism was good and necessary and bipartisan.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 26, 2020
The Libertarian Party has been appealing to the House to fix the Senate’s mess:
We ask all reasonable Reps who plan to vote on the Senate’s #stimulusbill by Friday, from conservatives like @RepThomasMassie, to progressives like @AOC, to independent @justinamash: cut the nonsense in this bill, use it to responsibly help people, and send it back to the Senate.
— Libertarian Party (@LPNational) March 26, 2020
Coronavirus in prisons and jails. As of yesterday morning, “New York City’s Department of Correction reported that 75 people in the city’s jail system have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and that 37 of them are facility personnel,” writes Reason‘s Scott Shackford. “This is a dramatic increase since the weekend, when officials reported 17 workers and 21 prisoners were infected.” But carceral systems across the country continue to drag their feet on recognizing the huge risks posed to prisoners, staff, and c
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