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Do You Feel $9,000 Richer, Punk? (Reason)

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Do You Feel $9,000 Richer, Punk? – By Matt Welch (Reason) / May 28 2020

The bad policy and worse politics of coronavirus stimulus spending

As Congress squabbles over the next multitrillion-dollar phase of coronavirus relief, it’s worth asking the question: Do you feel $9,000 richer since March?

Unless you were an early investor in the vaccine-chasing Moderna Therapeutics, the answer is likely “no.” And yet the estimated $3 trillion price tag on the first four batches of COVID-19 stimulus, divided by 330 million increasingly underemployed U.S. residents, equals $9,000 per capita, which has ended up where government payouts usually go: to entities with better connections than you.

There was the $50 billion to airline companies—$25 billion in loan guarantees, $25 billion in grants—which promptly slashed worker hours while burning fuel on empty flights at the government’s request. There were the concierge-service clients of banking behemoths Citibank, U.S. Bank, and J.P. Morgan Chase, who got to the front of the line for the feds’ $349 billion loan program for small businesses. And don’t forget the Federal Reserve, which is propping up Wall Street by doing what Fed Chair Jerome Powell recently characterized on 60 Minutes as “a multiple of the programs that were done during the last crisis.”

You would think that politicians and other elites would have learned from their never-popular response to the 2008-2009 financial crisis. Back then, the bailout/stimulus combo averaged out to a little less than $7,000 per U.S. resident, not that normies saw much of it. With few exceptions, the money went toward propping up banks, socializing the losses of private capitalists, and backfilling the fiduciary irresponsibility of states.

If the federal government didn’t pass a huge emergency bailout, then-President George W. Bush warned in September 2008, “More banks could fail, including some in your community. The stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account. The value of your home could plummet. Foreclosures would rise dramatically. And if you own a business or a farm, you would find it harder and more expensive to get credit. More businesses would close their doors, and millions of Americans could lose their jobs.”

Continue to article: https://reason.com/2020/05/28/do-you-feel-9000-richer-punk/

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