$75 Billion in Band-Aids Won’t Cure Ailing Airlines
Regal Cinemas announced in early October that it will temporarily close all 536 of its U.S. locations as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep customers away. This move affects about 40,000 employees across the country. Yet nobody in Congress is talking about a bailout for theaters.
Now compare that with the airline industry.
In April, Congress passed a $50 billion bailout for the airlines, including $25 billion in subsidized loans and another $25 billion meant to keep most airline workers employed until the end of September. As predicted, since consumers were not yet ready to fly, this taxpayer-funded band-aid only postponed the inevitable.
American Airlines and United Airlines furloughed 32,000 employees in the fall, claiming they had no choice without another $25 billion. So House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.), President Donald Trump, and many Senate Republicans drew the obvious conclusion: The bailout should be bigger.
Advocates of the additional $25 billion bailout say a new injection of funding will be used to restore 35,000 jobs. But as my colleague Gary Leff and I show in new research published by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, the math doe
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