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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/26/20

The Senate's Coronavirus Relief Package Must Be Stopped!

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Reprinted from www.unz.com


Sen. McConnell: Democrats Need to Take 'Yes for an Answer' Mar.24 -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opened Wednesday's session calling on Democrats to end their negotiations and vote for a nearly $2 trillion ...
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The Senate's $2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package is not fiscal stimulus and it's not a lifeline for the tens of millions of working people who have suddenly lost their jobs. It's a fundamental restructuring of the US economy designed to strengthen the grip of the corrupt corporate-banking oligarchy while creating a permanent underclass that will be forced to work for slave wages. This isn't stimulus, it's shock therapy.

Who can survive on $1,200 for one, two or three months time? And what happens to the millions of people who paid no taxes last year? Are they supposed to scrape by on nothing? Congress knows that most households live paycheck to paycheck. With no savings how will they pay the rent, the electric bill, the phone and the cable? Congress is quibbling over an extra $600 per month unemployment for those who are lucky enough to get it, when most people are just trying to figure out how they're going to survive, how they're going to pay the mortgage, when they'll be able to go back to work, and whether their job will still be there when this nightmare is finally over?

Did you know that "if you don't already have direct-deposit information on file with the IRS from previous tax returns, you won't get the emergency funds for up to 4 months"? That means millions of people will have zero income for 4 months! What will become of them? Where will they go? Who will provide them with shelter and food? Shouldn't congress be asking these questions?

And what happens to the 50% of the American people who had less than $400 saved before the crisis hit? What happens to them when they fall between the cracks and lose their apartments, lose their jobs, and lose their ability to maintain their tenuous standard of living? These people will never regain their financial footing. Never. It's a death sentence. We're going to see an explosion of homelessness, drug addiction, depression, alcoholism, suicide and crime unlike anything this country has ever seen before. Are the imbeciles in congress so blind that they can't see that they're condemning a large part of the population to permanent, inescapable, grinding poverty and desperation? Can't they see that?

Do you understand why this bill is being rushed through congress?

It has alot to do with the falling stock market but more precisely with the hundreds of corporations that have been hawking bonds to gullible investors who thought they were buying the debt of responsible, well-managed companies that used the money to improve their product-line, train workers, or build new factories. But instead, greedy CEOs have been using the money to buy shares in their own companies to boost executive compensation and reward shareholders. It's a multi-trillion dollar scam that blew up in their faces causing a complete freeze-over in the corporate bond market. That's what's really going on, there's a massive credit crunch that has a stranglehold on the bond market and there are only two ways to fix the problem:

  1. Let the failing corporations default and pick up the pieces after the dust settles or"
  2. Launch a major $4.5 trillion bailout for busted corporations that drove their companies off a cliff.

Those are the two choices. Naturally Treasury Secretary Mnuchin chose the latter which suggests that the real motive for giving working people the $1,200 checks was simply to divert attention from the massive trillion dollar bailout to teetering corporations. That's the real objective of the so-called fiscal stimulus bill. It's another giant welfare check for the plutocrats.

The centerpiece of the new legislation is a provision for $425 billion giveaway to big business. The New York Times explains what is going on in a recent article. Here's an excerpt:

"Republican senators have suggested creating a fund of $425 billion at the Treasury Department that the Fed could use to back emergency lending facilities - which would enable such programs to grow far beyond that scale.

Because the Fed cannot take on substantial credit risk itself, the Treasury Department backs its emergency lending, using money from a fund that contains just $95 billion. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday suggested that the new money in the Republican bill could be leveraged by the Fed to back some $4 trillion in financing.

"We do have limited amounts of money we're using before Congress passes this bill, so we're not waiting on Congress," Mr. Mnuchin said in an interview on CNBC on Monday. "As Congress gives us the authority, we'll be increasing the facilities substantially." ("The Fed Goes All In With Unlimited Bond-Buying Plan", New York Times)

What does it mean?

It means that Mnuchin is transforming the US Treasury into a hedge fund. That's what it means. It means that the Treasury is going to use the $450 billion that is obliquely allocated in the emergency bill, to create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)-which is a sleazy, off-balance sheet operation that is used to conceal underhanded bookkeeping, that will leverage up by 10x (which means that the Fed will use the $450 billion to borrow tens times more than the original amount or $4.5 trillion) that will be stealthily used to bail out underwater corporations, financial institutions and, yes, banks. (Note-The fairy-tale about "well capitalized banks" is pure bunkum. These guys have serious exposure through "sponsored repo" which is lending to hedge funds via the repo market.) The Fed has already created one SPV for the Commercial Paper market under the Treasury's Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) which is supposed to be used to mitigate volatility in global currency markets, not for bailing out failing corporations. It's a complete misuse of funds. Unfortunately, targeted suspension of the Sunshine Act will prevent the public from figuring out who is getting money in what amount and for what purpose. This whole scam has been carefully worked out right down to legal provisions preventing transparency.

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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4 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments  Post Comment


shad williams

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I don't think our asses have been kicked hard enough for us to stop anything.

Submitted on Thursday, Mar 26, 2020 at 11:50:41 PM

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Dennis Kaiser

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Congress is a total disgrace as they appear to welcome this pandemic so they can openly give their donors cash showing once again their actual disdain for the average citizen who has yet to receive anything but the huge debate of what amounts to pocket change. While the debate among these grifters revolves around how little they can get away with giving the people, in contrast, they quibble over how much they can give their donors/lobbyists. At this point, they have come up with approximately $20 Trillion for the lobbyists and approximately $500 Billion for the 330,000,000 population, most of whom pay taxes while many of those corporations who have their hand out have paid zero in recent years.

Meanwhile, these same servants of the corporations have done little to keep Americans safe. Presently, it has been exposed our nation is short-handed in ventilators as this pandemic has similar symptoms of pneumonia. In reality, there should be no shortage as pneumonia has shown an average of 250,000 cases annually with 50,000 deaths. These numbers far exceed those of what Covid-19 is showing us to be short. How many of those 50,000 deaths could have been saved if ventilators were available? Just another failure of for-profit healthcare who are huge bribers of the legislators.

Submitted on Friday, Mar 27, 2020 at 12:42:33 PM

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Dennis Kaiser

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One Sure way of slowing down the give away program to corporations is to receive stock in the corporation for the money they receive. In most cases they are asking for far more than what the corporation is worth. Hence the CEO would willfully pull back his hand out otherwise the citizens would become shareholders in the corporation thus receiving dividends plus having a say in voting as to who the directors are. Socialism you say? Simply getting something back rather than seeing it go to CEO and top executive bonuses. That is Socialism for a select few.

Submitted on Friday, Mar 27, 2020 at 4:29:56 PM

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kappie

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i am looking at the long range effect of this giveaway by republicans and Democrats.this bill will create a hugh debt from which the US can never recover.this will result in calls to cut all social programs like social security,medicare,medicaide,foodstamps or worse yet a call to totlly get rid of them.A virtual death sentence for the elderly and poor.inflation will go through the roof as the value of the dollar becomes toilet paper. Instead of a decent human being as President and helping to provide the medical needs of doctors and nurses with masks,equipment,tests and providing medical care for everyone who can't afford the cost of the virus and hospital stay,we have a greedy bastar* who is only concerned with the stock market and as the article so deftly points out we get peanuts while the companies get big profits from this disaster

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 28, 2020 at 1:58:56 AM

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Raechel Gwyn

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McConnell's hideous giddiness over the coronavirus relief package is, incredibly, telling. And he's as carefree about showing it as someone prancing naked down Broadway when they're as confident as a person can be that no one is watching.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 28, 2020 at 4:32:11 AM

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