Bailouts Are Coming. Here’s How to Make Them Fair.

A masked employee walks through an almost empty check-in area at Logan International Airport in Boston. (David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

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The bailouts are coming. While the corona virus brings economic activity to a standstill, industries flock to the federal government with outstretched palms. An aviation industry trade organization already has one asked for almost $ 60 billion. These companies will likely get something: President Trump has already said“We don’t want airlines to stop doing business.” But the last time we saved her after September 11th, we saved her gave billions of dollars to industry in loans and grants, while very little consideration is required.

This time we have to ask for concessions for our money. Companies receiving tax relief should be required to keep employees and contractors on their payrolls and to keep union contracts and benefits intact. In the early 2000s, airlines fired tens of thousands of workers Many of them were never hired again. Now we can orient ourselves to the UK, where the conservative government offers grants that would cover up to 80 percent of salaries to employers who avoid layoffs.

But that’s not all we should ask for. State aid should be provided that airlines reform their way of working. Contracted airport workers earn a minimum wage of at least $ 15 an hour and benefits such as paid sick leave and affordable healthcare. And instead of leaving airlines Increase customer fees while reducing seating and services Even in boom times, we should set cap limits and demand better flight experiences. Once we have overcome this crisis, airlines will almost certainly be able to afford it. You almost had Operating income of $ 13 billion last year, but major airlines have spent 96 percent of their money in the past decade buy back own shares. This enriched their shareholders, but left little for investment in better service or treatment of employees. We cannot only hope that airlines end share buybacks in favor of investments. We have to prevent them from passing all their money on to shareholders.

Other industries are also likely to receive government support. Hotels tumble; A union representative in the industry predicted this 95 percent of its members could lose their jobs. But hotels also have to keep their employees on their payrolls when they receive tax dollars – and hotel employees also earn a minimum hourly wage of $ 15, benefits, and humane schedules. Meanwhile, Casinos and Cruise ships are looking for their own pots of taxpayers’ money. All redundant workers should no doubt receive financial support. However, as a leisure industry, these companies are not indispensable for the functioning of the larger economy. Not all industries deserve bailouts.

Public transport, on the other hand, has barely been mentioned, yet is fundamental to the economy in many cities and states. Social distance orders rightly prevent people from driving trains, buses and subways. Has drivers in New York City and New Jersey already dropped by more than half. In addition to the loss of tariffs, transit agencies will also face the loss of state and local tax revenues. Unions representing transit workers have told Congress that public transport systems immediately need $ 16 billion to keep their operations going. The federal government has to step in here.

Then there are the institutions that make a society what it is. Libraries could face local funding cuts, and Museums lose ticket sales. Small restaurants and corner shops will struggle to reopen due to their razor-thin edges. The National Restaurant Association has estimated that The entire industry will lose up to 7 million jobs. These local businesses and cultural institutions should all be included in a rescue package, even if they have no impact on lobbying.

Instead of showering politically affiliated companies with money – our President, of course once owned casinos and still owns hotels – the federal government has to seriously consider which sectors are of crucial importance for the further functioning of our economy. It could be in our national interest to save some massive, previously profitable sectors. But this money shouldn’t be free.

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