Night Owls, a themed open thread, appears at Daily Kos seven days a week
Kenny Stancil at Common Dreams writes—Fed Program Meant to Help Workers Amid Pandemic Prioritized Wall Street Investors Instead. Analysis:
A new analysis out Wednesday reveals that the Federal Reserve bond purchasing program meant to prevent workers from losing their jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic instead bolstered companies who laid off more than one million workers while paying massive dividends to shareholders—a finding escalating concerns that the central bank’s behavior is “contributing to an economic recovery that benefits wealthy executives and investors but leaves behind American workers.”
The report put forth by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis —titled “Prioritizing Wall Street” (pdf)—examines individual corporate bonds purchased through the Fed’s Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF), a lending system supported by funds from the CARES Act but which lacks taxpayer and worker protections included in other programs backed by the legislation passed earlier this year.
For corporations hoping to become eligible to issue bonds purchased by the Fed, the SMCCF “imposes no conditions requiring companies to save jobs or limit payments to executives or shareholders,” the report notes.
The central bank has purchased corporate bonds issued by approximately 500 large companies since June. Subcommittee staff compared those transactions to public data on layoffs, dividend payouts, and illegal conduct.
“Fed Chair Jerome Powell testified in June that ‘the intended beneficiaries of all of our programs are workers,'” the report states. “In May, he justified purchasing corporate bonds that had been downgraded to junk status since the start of the coronavirus crisis by stating that, because of the Fed’s intervention, ‘those companies have been able to go out and finance themselves. They’ve been able to avoid big layoffs. That is the point of all this.'”
However, the analysis shows that several of the companies whose bonds were purchased by the Fed conducted substantial layoffs, “suggesting that the primary beneficiaries of the program have been corporate executives and investors, not workers.”
According to the report, nearly 140 of the companies that issued bonds purchased by the Fed have carried out furloughs or layoffs since March, affecting over one million workers. […]
“The president is a nationalist, which is not at all the same thing as a patriot. A nationalist encourages us to be our worst, and then tells us that we are the best. A nationalist, ‘although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge,’ wrote Orwell, tends to be ‘uninterested in what happens in the real world.’ Nationalism is relativist, since the only truth is the resentment we feel when we contemplate others. As the novelist Danilo Kiš put it, nationalism ‘has no universal values, aesthetic or ethical.’ A patriot, by contrast, wants the nation to live up to its ideals, which means asking us to be our best selves. A patriot must be concerned with the real world, which is the only place where his country can be loved and sustained. A patriot has universal values, standards by which he judges his nation, always wishing it well—and wishing that it would do better.”
~~Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
At Daily Kos on this date in 2011—Republican debate reaction: It was bad. Really, really bad:
The more pressing issue for Republicans might just be that their own conservative viewers are watching the debate and firing off emails lamenting, as above, “WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!” Well, yes. Yes you do. The tea party wing of the party has such tight control over the agenda that, as usual, any deviance from the hardest of hardline positions is tantamount to apostasy. That’s why the most applauded attacks on Perry were over him being insufficiently pro-cancer, or not being sufficiently punishing of the children of illegal immigrants, and why the most rebroadcast snippets of each of the last three debates were the moments when the conservative audience (1) applauded the death penalty, (2) demanded that a hypothetical uninsured American be left to die rather than be treated, and (3) booed an active-duty soldier because he was gay.
It looks like the general GOP reactions are going to go in two different directions. A great number of Republican leaders and pundits (e.g. Mitch Daniels and the like) are still seeking an imaginary “better” candidate, someone who will save them from the current crop of ridiculous figures. Another large segment (Fox News and allies) seems to be heavily pressing for Romney to be accepted as that non-ridiculous candidate, hopefully before these debates damage his credibility beyond repair. Indeed, even the tea party seems to be begrudgingly willing to give Romney a chance, ironically because Perry is, of all things, being too moderate for them.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Threat Level: Benghazi Anarchy Tuna! Greg Dworkin reviews post-RBG polls, SCOTUS plays, upcoming debates, etc. Voting by mail? FOLLOW THOSE INSTRUCTIONS! Chad Wolf’s wife cashes in on DHS contracts. Pentagon diverts Covid prep funds.