I think Andrew Yang just did a backflip over this…

https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-recession-direct-payments-americans-ubi-c3393d14-33ad-47c2-a739-f2fec150b212.html

Yes, I know Yang’s plan was for universal income, but this falls under that umbrella, does it not?

I’m not really sure if this is a good idea or not. Yes, money in pockets is ALWAYS a good idea. But the last time I recall something like this was when George W. Bush gave us all $600 because there was a budget surplus and he felt we, the people, should get some of our money back. (Of course, we were in an unfunded war a couple of years later and that money would have come in handy…)

So the possibility exists that 1) we are going to get a check for $1000 for each taxpayer. 2) The Fed is going to start buying bonds (quantitative easing). 3) The government is going to start buying oil from American companies to keep them from going bust (A quick thank you to Russia and Saudi Arabia for that little purchase) 4) the airline and cruise industries are going to get a government bailout and 5) We still don’t know how many people have actually contracted COVID-19 (but that is improving now).

How does the Libertarian leaners on this forum feel about all of this government intervention? And where were their thoughts in 2009 when Obama took similar actions in the face of the Great Recession? And how is this time different?

9 thoughts on “I think Andrew Yang just did a backflip over this…

  1. I see this as a vote getter. Just like the payroll tax cut. An effort to increase spending that does little because it’s the virus, not economics, that prevents it.

    The 50 percentile makes about $40k. It might very well be helpful. But the 75th makes around 80k. Does another grand do anything to offset financial ruin or deprivation. Never mind the top 10%.

    And these numbers are not total household figures. Just individuals.

    The cost to give everyone regardless of need is huge. Better to relieve businesses of paid leave costs, buffer food banks, create mortgage holidays, enlarge Medicaid.

    Thanks to already insane deficits and a debt that rose by trillions to cover a tax cut, we should really be careful.

    Concentrate on stimuli that encourage quarantine, protect assets, ensure medical care, help vulnerable businesses and low wage workers.

    If this is protracted, major industries, and their employees will suffer big time. Save bailouts as a last ditch once we get a handle on the pandemic.

    .

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    1. “I see this as a vote getter. ” Didn’t work out so great for Yang. 😉

      “Thanks to already insane deficits and a debt that rose by trillions to cover a tax cut, we should really be careful.” That was kind of the point of the list I provided.

      It will be interesting to see what the third plan pending in, apparently the Senate, will do along the lines you suggest, to “concentrate on stimuli that encourage quarantine, protect assets, ensure medical care, help vulnerable businesses and low wage workers.

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  2. RE: “How does the Libertarian leaners on this forum feel about all of this government intervention?”

    I’m in favor of limited intervention. The government should focus on the disease, not the economy. Frankly, I am somewhat alarmed that Washington D.C. is rushing to build and build out up economic safety nets even before there is much evidence that we will need them.

    RE: “And where were their thoughts in 2009 when Obama took similar actions in the face of the Great Recession?”

    My thoughts at the time revolved around letting the bankers fail and allowing standard bankruptcy procedures to proceed elsewhere as needed.

    RE: “And how is this time different?”

    Infectious disease is an element we didn’t have before. Nevertheless, hands off the economy was the better approach back in 2009, and remains the better approach now.

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    1. Thank you for your honest answer.

      I agree that the focus should be on slowing the spread of the virus as much as possible. But the economic impacts to accomplish that are too severe, IMO, to have limited intervention. I am not personally affected so much as I receive my VA and retired pay. I am concerned about the impacts on my children and their families.

      I am not sure the $1,000 per tax payer is a good idea, I just recall the Bush tax rebate and where the economy ended up after that.

      I disagree with hands off was right in 2009. The auto industry AND Fannie and Freddie were bailed out and then paid back, with interest, the funding they received. Not sure if that can happen this time for the airline, cruise and oil industries. I recall there were a lot of folks in ’09 who said the money was long gone, and that turned out to be wrong.

      The big banks, on the other hand… well. Let’s just say “too big to fail” was maybe not so true. And more than a few bank officials should have been indicted.

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    2. “… hands off the economy was the better approach back in 2009…”

      Don has held a similar view. My answer is that we will never know. In theory it sounds good, but the banks, and equally important, the insurance/reinsurance industry was about to collapse. And at the same time 900,000 people/month were getting laid and losing their homes,savings, retirements as well as access to healthcare because of that.

      People do have to have food and shelter daily no matter the long term haggling over collapses, lawsuits, bankruptcies, etc. Runs on banks would just be the beginning. The “to big to fail” was a real problem.

      Civil and social order come first. And salvaging the financial structure, not just here but worldwide, was a big part of that.

      It was not perfect. Too many bankers escaped whole when few others did. The fraudsters survived, even thrived. But Obama had to work fast and I think he did very well with what he had and had to do.

      We have since boosted regulatory powers over the financial system. Greenspan famously admitted it could not self-regulate. Now, however, there are moves to go back to those conditions. Not prudent. Downright criminal actually.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When we draft soldiers, we pay them. If we’re going to draft people to hunker down and not spread the virus, I see no reason to not provide them with ‘combat pay’ as well. Not a lot, but enough to cover food and utilities and such while they are shut in.

    There was a Tom Clancy novel in which a deranged pilot flew a 747 into the capitol dome during the State iof The Union address, coordinated with a massive cyber attack on banks and markets to simultaneously decapitate the government and crash the economy.

    The solution, after a period of chaos, the designated survivor, Jack Ryan, called the bankers and brokers together and got them to simply restore their backups from the day before the attack, and pick up where they left off as though it were the next day. No stock market crash, no foreclosures, no failed businesses.

    I’m sure it’s not quite that simple but…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been a Clancy fan since Hunt for Red October, and I have often thought of the book to which you are referring when it came time for new Presidents to select their cabinets.

      I agree that it is probably NOT that simple, but this time we are staring at a long term economic slow, if not partial shut down and hitting the reset button to, January 28th (random date) won’t work so much.

      Sometimes fiction is SO much better than truth.

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    2. RE: “If we’re going to draft people to hunker down and not spread the virus, I see no reason to not provide them with ‘combat pay’ as well.”

      No argument with the logic. My question is, How much hunkering down and not spreading the virus do we need?

      Eighty percent who become infected will suffer only mild symptoms by some estimates. To protect the 20% for whom infection brings grave risk, is it really necessay for the whole population to stay home, or would some minimal fraction be enough?

      The UK apparently is opting to let the virus spread at its natural rate, without imposing quarantines or harsh social distancing measures. Their gamble is to opt for building “herd immunity” in the general population sooner rather than later. I don’t know enough about infectuous diseases to recommend we follow the UK’s example, but I imagine there are some features of their medical assessment that we might consider before resorting to overly ambitious and expensive social insurance programs.

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      1. Sounds to me like the UK has opted for a “Final Solution” to its pension and health care solubility problems.

        Certainly, if you’re willing to let 15 to 20% of your elderly population die it is cheaper to get it over with.

        But British socialists have always said you have to break a few eggs.

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