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 Prosepect’s 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.
- $500 Billion from the initial coronavirus relief bill, aka the CARES Act, was dedicated to large corporations
- $300 Billion was allocated to the $1,200 stimulus checks
- $4 Trillion (or more) is actually available to big business, as the Federal Reserve can lend $10 for every $1 it receives from the Treasury
- 70% of the $350 billion earmarked for small businesses went to large corporations
- $10 Billion in fees went to banks for processing the loans
- 10% of workers at any business that takes CARES Act loans can still be laid off
- $17 Billion goes toward businesses “critical to maintaining national security” (believed to be, primarily, Boeing)
- 15 members of Congress (or their spouses) own Boeing stock
- 82% of the CARES Act tax reform benefits those making more than $1 million, saving millionaires $70 billion in 2020