Airlines Are Asking for a Second Bailout. Congress Should Say No.
As the saying goes, “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” This advice applies to the hole Congress leapt into by bailing out the airline industry back in March through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Now, these companies want even more taxpayer money. The federal government should refuse another bailout.
Like many industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines have lost a lot of revenue. But unlike other industries, the coronavirus relief bill authorized up to $32 billion for payroll support for airlines through Sept. 30, for roughly six months. Basically, the way it worked is that every airline that got a loan could furlough its employees, but those that took both a grant and a loan couldn’t. Of course, it’s difficult to tell if the U.S. Treasury Department was ever serious about enforcing these requirements.
Traditional objections to the first bailout were ignored in the name of saving airline workers’ jobs. Unfortunately, that reasoning was mistaken. Many airline employees still lost their jobs, while others suffered severe reductions in employment. For instance, part-time workers only had to be paid for minimum hours. As a result, many airline employees still had to apply for unemployment insurance to cover their lost hours.
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