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 headquarters 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.
Just to be clear, if we get a Democratic president and Congress after November, there’s no reason we couldn’t go back and impose some new standards on the companies that got bailouts.
* Matt Viser and Annie Linskey report on the new efforts from Team Biden to get their candidate out there:
Joe Biden is attempting to significantly escalate his public presence, following two weeks in which he has been confined to his home, a limitation that left some Democrats worried their party had lost a prominent national voice to counter President Trump.After the March 17 primaries, Biden gave an election night speech from his home, but the poorly lit backdrop and grainy footage made even some of his supporters wince and compare it to a hostage video. He tried a virtual town hall, which was riddled with technical glitches.Democrats urged Biden’s campaign to try to wrestle a place onstage to better compete with Trump, and on Tuesday, Biden abruptly changed course.
I suggest a guest spot on “Bob’s Burgers.”
* George Conway and Carrie Cordero offer an important piece arguing that we need to know exactly what Trump and members of Congress knew about the coronavirus early on and when they knew it.
* Josh Bivens and Heidi Shierholz have a useful overview of the good and the bad in the economic rescue bill.
* Jesse Eisinger and James Bandler report that federal prosecutors were ready to deliver criminal charges against Walmart for its actions in distributing opioids, but they were stopped by high-ranking officials in Trump’s Justice Department.