comScore Some on Right Say It’s Not Just Democrats Saying $1,200 Checks for Workers ‘Isn’t Enough’ in Two Trillion Dollar Coronavirus Stimulus Plan,200 Stimulus for Workers Not Enough

It’s Not Just Democrats Saying $1,200 Checks for Workers ‘Isn’t Enough’ in Two Trillion Dollar Coronavirus Stimulus Plan

Sen. Chuck Schumer on CNN Wednesday said that the coronavirus stimulus package (or “bailout” or “rescue plan,” if you prefer) is one that is “worker friendly, workers first.” But not everyone agrees.

Republicans and Democrats finally landed on a deal for the highly anticipated and sorely needed bill in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The details are being reported in general terms, with some basic information available. It reportedly has $1,200 for each adult ($2,400 per couple) and $500 for each child, if those adults earn less than the salary limit per year.

But a lot of people are less than thrilled with regard to how the American workers are being treated in the enormous $2 trillion plan. Workers first is not the buzz.

This tweet is perhaps the most boiled down and representative example of those objections, from New York Magazine’s Yashar Ali:

 

There is also already a trend of tweeting that it just “isn’t enough,” featuring a number of candidates for congress.

 

 

 

Financial reporters and commentators are weighing in, too. Fox Business Network’s Charles Gasparino is not impressed with the expectations, nor with the way they are presenting the total cost to the country and economy.

 

The most detailed response is from Sinclair’s Eric Bolling, formerly of FBN, and a longtime financial commentator.

 

 

Bolling is a conservative commentator, one-time co-host of The Five and former host with BlazeTV. This isn’t like a Democratic politician objecting to a Republican plan for points with their base. Bolling has been a consistent Trump supporter.

He was also a financial journalist before he became a political pundit. Along with the rest of Wall Street, and the nation, he’s been through a few crises in his time, he pointed out when speaking with Mediaite last week.

He has been through them as an investor with his “own money at stake,” and as a reporter and analyst, he says. Which gives him a “different sense” of the impact and consequences of something like we are seeing today. He points the finger at the men advising the White House on the stimulus, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow.

“Steve Mnuchin has only worked at Goldman Sachs,” said Bolling. “Larry Kudlow only reports on it.”

The kind of plan they put together for the coronavirus stimulus, which framework has made it all the way through to a tentative deal with Congress and the White House today, is just them trying again things that have never worked in the past.

Bolling says it’s got to be about stimulus. You can’t fix an economy without consumer spending, and you can’t fix consumer spending without consumer confidence. Which no one has because of the weeks of terrible financial news, the days of quarantines and lock-downs, the unemployment and layoffs, and the fact that everyday American workers are facing a financial crisis separate and apart from Wall Street, small businesses too.

“When people are nervous, you can’t get them to spend unless you give them money to do it. The money in bailouts [for businesses and industries] gets soaked up in corporate balance sheets.”

What the plan does now, when it comes to stimulus, confidence, and spending, is not nearly enough, Bolling said.

 

“You get maybe 10% of that spent” back into the economy via retail purchases, and the rest goes to paying existing bills or debt, Bolling said in our interview. As many have already pointed out, for most families experiencing either temporary lay-off or who have lost their jobs outright, that $1,200 will hardly be a drop. It’s more like 100% of the money would go to paying bills. In other words, right back to “corporate balance sheets” along with the rest of the humongous $2 trillion in stimulus/bailout funds.

And he says that stimulus plans like this haven’t been all that thrilling to the markets in the past, and there’s no reason to think they’ll repair market troubles this time, either.

For his part, Bolling offered a different plan, and he made a big effort to get it in front of the president. It was based on kick-starting spending, with a larger amount per person, and a higher salary cap. But with the unique caveat that it be on an expiring debit card. People would have to spend it right away, putting money back into the economy.

Nevertheless, the days of battle in Congress seem to have rendered any such recommendations moot. The essential skeleton of the bill is the same as what Steven Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow first described over a week ago.

Bolling and Gasparino have issues with the stimulus that go to the heart of not just what Democrats wanted, but the very framework itself, proposed by the Trump administration, and they’re not alone.

Carol Roth, former investment banker and creator of Future File, has written extensively on the subject. She told Mediaite that the proposed bill is “the classic ‘good intentions, poor execution’ scenario.”

“What we need is to preserve the jobs that have been lost due to government causing direct and indirect shutdowns of businesses, particularly small businesses. The most effective way to accomplish that is giving money to impacted businesses- particularly small businesses to cover payroll for those impacted, as well as base operating expenses. This is a superior tactic, because for many $1,200 won’t be enough to bridge the gap and, if their employer isn’t included, they won’t have a job to go back to.”

Talk radio pundit and former editor-in-chief of RedState Erick Erickson also commented, telling Mediaite that the $1,200 is “not enough, but it is a start.” He added:

“We need to get back to realizing that the debt and deficit matter, but this is a crisis and a compromise plan that should help people.Congress should, however, start doing these in smaller bills that are more understandable to more people with more sunlight to root out lobbyist backed gifts to preferred interest groups.”

National Review’s Dan McLaughlin writes:

“It can definitely make a difference, but only gets you so far. Median household income in Mississippi is $43,567 a year, and that’s the lowest in the United States. So, even in Mississippi, that’s less than two weeks’ household income for an individual, about five weeks’ income for a family of four. For a typical working family in New York City, it could cover one month’s rent. So, if the economy is shut down more than a month, just about everyone who actually needs the money will have run through this by then.

Conservative radio and BlazeTV host Steve Deace says that “there is nothing to stimulate.”

“The country is largely shut down, as is the economy,” said Deace. “So it’s not even a stimulus. That doesn’t mean it’s not necessary, but if it is, that’s because of what the government has done in response to coronavirus. Which begs the question of whether the cure is worse than the disease, as the president is rightly asking. For this to be a stimulus, we have to get the economy back up and going again.”

That sentiment, that any necessity of issuing funds is the result of what the government “had done in response” in the first place, is widely accepted. For some, it serves to prove the merits of cutting checks.

It is tempting, after all, for conservatives to fall back on the idea that any spending, and especially anything that trucks with the word “bailout” is bad. Even more so if money is directed to some individual taxpayers from the gov’t budget. But this isn’t a normal spending situation,and these aren’t “redistribution” checks, as libertarian financial commentator and trade lawyer Scott Lincicome has argued for weeks. He reemphasized to Mediaite that issuing these checks is “about the most ‘libertarian’ thing the Feds could do” in this situation.

“Compensating Americans for government takings,” said Lincicome. “Checks are a good idea, but not like they’ve done it.”

There is a school of thought that the only perfect deal is one both sides are unhappy with. But when both sides are unhappy about the same aspect, in essence agreeing on a point of contention, that hardly applies.

This isn’t just some annual spending fight. This is trillions in new and specific government spending, with a specific and belabored emergency relief intention. But on the question of whether the result of congressional deal-making will actually provide that relief, or reimburse the voters for the money they’ve lost at the hands of government, or stimulate the economy, or indeed be that emergency rescue it claims to be… well let’s just say the question is unresolved, to put it mildly.

Or to put it a bit less mildly…

 

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This article has been updated to include the response from Steve Deace.

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