Friday, March 27, 2020

The Bailout Package and the Same Old Politics

There is no "right" or "wrong" in this.

The media is at it again - and the political types.  They are reporting breathlessly about the bailout package as if it is already law, when it still has to passed by the House and signed by Trump.  Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

And the political hacks are at it again - each blaming the other party for "delaying" the package, each claiming the other wants a "carve out" for "special interest groups".   Trump wanted a $500 Billion "slush fund" that he would administer personally, to hand out to industries he felt were in need. "I'll be the oversight!" he said, like the fat boy who wants to be in charge of the sweets.  What a nightmare that would be!  Given his track record, this would end up being a giveaway to his friends and revenge time for his enemies.  Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and some oversight was written into the bill.  It remains to be seen how much oversight that is.

Republicans, after ridiculing Andrew Yang's "guaranteed annual income" decided to hand out checks to likely Trump voters.   No, really.  The original proposal was to hand out $1200 checks to people making less than $75,000 a year, but more than $25,000 a year.   So blue-collar middle-class people get a check, but not those poor folks or rich liberals on the coasts.   For some reason, they wanted to hand out money, but not to the very, very poor.   I am not sure why this is - you would think the chump working the minimum-wage job would need it the most.  But I am sure Republicans are looking out for their best interests (literally - their own interests) as these poor people would just blow the money on drugs or tattoos or bling rims.  Sadly, they probably would, but that would help the bottom line of the local drug dealer, tattoo parlor, and bling rim rental company - some of which might be Republicans themselves!

Democrats objected to this poverty cutoff, and there is no word whether any change was made to the bill.  The press is strangely silent about this - publishing fluff articles that really don't go into the nitty-gritty details.   I mean, after all, for the average reader, the main concern is where's my money, bitch?   Who gives a shit whether Boeing gets bailed out.

Speaking of which, Boeing gets bailed out, along with the airlines, which in turn indirectly also bails out Boeing.   Is a bailout of Boeing fair?  If they hadn't mucked-up the 737 Max, all those airplanes sitting on the tarmac would have been delivered to the airlines and Boeing would have been paid for them - it would have been the airline's problem, not Boeing's.  By bailing out Boeing, the government is, in effect, covering their 737 Max losses, not just virus losses.  Maybe that was the intent of this whole "crises" all along - to cover up an inevitable crash in the economy using this virus as an excuse.  But we don't truck in conspiracy theories here.

Unemployment insurance is another issue. The last time around - ten years ago - they extended "unenjoyment" to the point where a lot of people just stopped looking for work.  Oh sure, they went through the motions, but why bother taking a low-wage job when your unemployment paycheck is equal to that or higher?   It was only when these extended benefits ran out that people started going back to work.   Republicans proposed an amendment that would limit unemployment to no more than 100% of the salary of the job you lost.  Seems like a simple thing, but this time around, it is the Democrats who are damning and shaming with the "how dare you?" attitude.   I guess they want to buy the votes of their constituents, just as the GOP is targeting theirs.  Again, no word on whether this amendment was inserted or squelched.  The media isn't interested in telling the story, they are interested in clicks.

Now, it goes over to the House.  And Nancy Pelosi thinks she can get all 435 members (sans those who are in quarantine) to unanimously agree on this by Friday.   Ms. AOC seems to have other ideas.  And if the House passes a different bill, well, it goes back to Committee to work out the differences and then gets voted on again.   But the way the media tells it, it is a done deal.   I guess we'll find out today.

Is stimulus a good idea?  Perhaps.  Sadly though, Trump shot his stimulus wad over the last three years, trying to jerk-off the economy and bring the Dow to orgasm.   The economy - well, at least the stock market, which isn't the same thing - shot up during his tenure, and now we've lost all of those ersatz gains.  The stimulus will prevent serious failures of many businesses and help some individuals.  But it will add to our deficit and national debt, and thus make it even harder, during the recovery, to pay this all back.   Trump had a chance, for three years, to bring down deficits and lower the national debt - something he promised to do, when running for office.  Sadly, he's done the exact opposite, and now that we really need to engage in deficit spending, we are up Shit's Creek.

Who in their right mind would want to be President after Trump?   I mean, he's basically wrecked everything, and whoever has to clean up the mess will get no credit whatsoever.

Just ask Obama!