This from The Washington Post….
That seems so long ago. Now airlines, as well as hotels, cruise lines, coal-mining companies and others strangled by the coronavirusshutdowns, are lining up to receive slices of a $2 trillion aid package funded by taxpayers.
Yet many of these companies behaved in ways before the current economic crisis that are making a bailout tough to swallow, labor advocates and some economists say.
The hotel giant Hilton, for instance, announced a $2 billion stock buyback on March 3, weeks after coronavirus cases began affecting the industry. Cruise lines for years have avoided taxes and U.S. safety regulations by registering their vessels abroad. Coal companies put some of their workers in harms way and are now asking to get out of tax that generates money to compensate former miners who have black lung disease.
As Congress debated the details of the bailout this week, lawmakers wrestled with how far Congress should go to help another set of American corporate titans two years after tax reform and less than a dozen years after the bank and auto industry bailouts of the Great Recession.
The choice is between two options unsavory to many: bail out some of the country’s largest corporations or watch as they put more people out of work.
Among those seeking assistance from a pot of at least $500 billion in the rescue package are companies employing hundreds of thousands of servers, flight attendants, housekeepers, janitors, security guards and other workers. With unemployment already expected to reach as high as 20 percent this year, no one wants to see so many people lose their jobs.
“You don’t want to reward companies for doing shortsighted, short-term things the past 11 years. You don’t want to reward them for stock buybacks and excessive CEO compensation,” said Greg LeRoy of Good Jobs First, an advocacy groups that tracks corporate subsidies. “The trouble is a lot of the companies that are in trouble right now are the ones that have been doing that.”
Indeed writing checks to some of the companies in need of help may require some Americans to swallow hard and look away….