9 Statistics That Show What a Miserable Failure the CARES Act Is

Major bailouts went to big corporations, giving them lasting security, while the rest of us got a temporary Band-Aid.

Dayton Martindale June 15, 2020

On March 26th, the Trump administration signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, into law—policymakers' first attempt at addressing essential needs during the pandemic. (The White House)

More than two months have passed since the ini­tial $2 tril­lion coro­n­avirus relief bill, the CARES Act, was signed into law, and the Amer­i­can peo­ple des­per­ate­ly need more. The $1,200 stim­u­lus checks have no doubt been spent by those who have seen their oth­er income run dry. Many who need it most, includ­ing the low­est earn­ers and home­less, still haven’t received their checks.

The Pay­check Pro­tec­tion Pro­gram, mean­while, ran out of funds with­in days, with many small busi­ness­es left in the lurch (more fund­ing was autho­rized in April). These loans were only meant to cov­er eight weeks of pay­roll any­way, so even those busi­ness­es that obtained loans are now once more on their own.

By con­trast, the mon­ey set aside for large cor­po­ra­tions through the CARES Act, derid­ed by many pro­gres­sives as an unnec­es­sary bailout, has the poten­tial to cement eco­nom­ic inequal­i­ty long-term, like the 2008 bank bailouts before them. As The Amer­i­can Pros­epects David Dayen put it, the CARES Act treat­ed the wealthy and con­nect­ed to a per­ma­nent change in for­tune, and pro­vid­ed every­one else with a tem­po­rary benefit.”

And while these loans include some con­di­tions meant to pro­tect employ­ees, this hasn’t stopped air­lines like Delta, Jet­Blue and Unit­ed from cut­ting work­er hours after accept­ing funds.

These nine num­bers show how the CARES Act, from top to bot­tom, pri­or­i­tized the com­fort of the wealthy above the basic needs of the rest of us.

Day­ton Mar­tin­dale is a free­lance writer and for­mer asso­ciate edi­tor at In These Times. His work has also appeared in Boston Review, Earth Island Jour­nal, Har­bin­ger and The Next Sys­tem Project. Fol­low him on Twit­ter: @DaytonRMartind.

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