Now that the Republican version of a coronavirus rescue bill is out, we can compare it with the Democratic bill passed several weeks ago. I may dive into things in more detail later, but for now let’s look at how things break down in two broad categories: aid to individuals and aid to business.
- Democrats maintain the $600 unemployment bonus. Republicans slash it to $200.
- Stimulus checks: About the same in both bills.
- Democrats allocate $430 billion for schools. Republicans are offering only $100 billion.
- Democrats want $1 trillion in aid to cities and states. Republicans want nothing.
- Republicans want to immunize businesses from COVID-related lawsuits.
- Republicans want more money for emergency business loans.
- Republicans want a new round of funding for the PPP program.
- Republicans want a 100 percent deduction for business meals through the end of 2020.
A 100 percent deduction for business meals! In the middle of a pandemic where we’re trying to persuade people to stay apart! It’s hard to think of anything more slavishly and stupidly business friendly.
The Democratic bill includes plenty of money for businesses, but the Republican bill is targeted almost exclusively at them. When it comes to money that helps individuals, either directly (UI benefits) or indirectly (schools and cities), Republicans just want to slash, slash, slash.