Coronavirus News Asia

America, as usual – Asia Times

The fiasco of the Coronavirus Rescue Package shows that in the US, all’s business as usual.  As American leadership finally awakens to the gripping reality that the world they hold so dear may collapse in front of their eyes, Covid-19 is wrecking its way through the economy all the way to the Senate floor, where policymakers continue to debate the specifics of the much-anticipated stimulus package.  

On the rainy morning of March 23, lawmakers in DC failed to reach an agreement on the specifics of the US$2 trillion bill when Democrats again voted against its christening. The result: pandemonium on Capitol Hill. As a nice reminder, while these elected officials may “care” about the majority of Americans who now must struggle with financial uncertainty amid institutional collapse, it wouldn’t be American politics without the rich and powerful making a nice buck from the crisis.  

The current deadlock follows the “Phase 2” coronavirus bill passed by the House of Representatives last week. At that time, policymakers anticipated that “Phase 3” would give $50 billion in aid to the airline industry, roughly $150 billion for other hard-hit sectors of the economy, and two rounds of direct payments on April 6 and May 18 to affected individuals totaling $250 billion. Five days of coronavirus hell taught policymakers that their numbers were too low. 

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