2020 Coronavirus Pandemic

July 23, 2020  |  

ANALYSIS & TALKING POINTS ON THE MCCONNELL CORONAVIRUS AID PACKAGE

America needs a massive spending and investment plan to recover from the pandemic recession, not this anemic proposal from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

  • McConnell’s $1 trillion plan doesn’t come close to meeting the challenge posed by tens of millions who are unemployed, hundreds of thousands who are sick or have died, and state and local government budgets that are cratering causing cuts to critical services. 
  • The Senate needs to model its plan on the $3 trillion House-passed Heroes Act that will provide immediate relief to families while laying the groundwork for a much more robust economic recovery. That plan will continue the lifeline of $600 in extra unemployment benefits to the 30 million who are being cut off at the end of the month. It will provide direct payments of up to $6,000 to struggling families. It will pump $1 trillion into state and local public services like education, healthcare and public safety, saving millions of jobs
  • McConnell is saying he will provide no new funding for state and local governments hemorrhaging cash due to the pandemic. He’s focused instead on protecting corporations from being sued if they make their workers sick.

McConnell’s plan favors 43,000 millionaires over every other American.

 

 

McConnell’s plan reflects America’s skewed priorities: unemployed workers and struggling communities must suffer as the nation’s billionaires get even richer. 

  • McConnell and his fellow Republicans are short-changing America with a $1 trillion aid package that fails to measure up to the emergency because they claim the country can’t afford to spend more.
  • Meanwhile, the wealth of the country’s 600-plus billionaires has grown by nearly as much—more than $700 billion—over the four months since the pandemic began in mid-March. Under America’s rigged tax system, much of that increase in wealth will never be taxed
  • McConnell should stop protecting billionaires and start protecting families and communities. 

Under McConnell’s plan, billionaires in nearly every state will continue to gain as all of us who rely on local public services feel the pain.

 

  • The wealth of the country’s 640 billionaires was up $713 billion, or 24%, between March 18 and July 16 (data is updated weekly).

 

    • California’s 154 billionaires saw their collective wealth leap $175 billion between March 18 and June 17. That’s almost double the Golden State’s budget gap over the next two years, estimated to be somewhere between $89 billion and $95 billion.
    • New York’s billionaire class grew $77 billion wealthier during the “pandemic spring,” a bonanza almost six times the size of the state’s $13.3 billion revenue gap. 
    • Jeff Bezos’ wealth has skyrocketed by two-thirds or $76 billion since March 18, almost as much as the $105 billion McConnell is promising schools will receive in new assistance.
    • Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune blew up by $36 billion or two-thirds over the last four months.

 

  • Elon Musk’s wealth has tripled to $74 billion since March—a nearly $50 billion increase.

 

Unlike the McConnell plan, the Heroes Act offers the shot in the arm the economy needs to power out of the recession, including $1 trillion in federal assistance to states, cities, and towns. That assistance is critical to fight the coronavirus, safeguard vital services, and help re-open our economy. The Heroes Act provides: 

All of the above data for each state is available in one table here

The Heroes Act would also offer working families direct aid in the form of:

  • Extension through the end of the year of the $600 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits that currently expire at the end of July.
  • New and improved assistance checks for individuals and families: $1,200 per each adult and child, up to $6,000 per household.
  • $175 billion to protect renters and homeowners from evictions and foreclosures.