Nouriel Roubini, an NYU professor and former White House economist under Clinton, came out swinging against the stimulus bill dragging through Congress Monday.
Roubini bashed the $2 trillion stimulus plan for being somehow “more Socialist than Bernie Sanders,” while also a big money grab for the corporate elites.
He argued the stimulus bill is yet another example of Washington privatizing profits while socializing losses.
Is Nouriel Roubini right?
$500 billion of the stimulus bill will be distributed by the U.S. Treasury Department. To a large degree, it will be disbursed at Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s discretion. Democrats are calling it a White House slush fund.
The Bush Administration and Pelosi Congress faced stiff opposition on main street to the TARP bailout in 2008. The establishment in Washington joined hands across the partisan divide to pass it.
Bush and Pelosi worked together closely with the Treasury Department to design the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. Congress passed it with 74-25 votes in the Senate, and 263-171 votes in the House.
On the far left, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) voted against the bailout, arguing:
If a bailout is needed, if taxpayer money must be placed at risk, if we are going to bail out Wall Street, it should be those people who have caused the problem… who should pick up the tab, not ordinary working people.
On the far right, after Bush requested $350 billion in more bailout money on top of the $700 billion TARP bill, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) quipped:
I smell the same stale air of good ol’ boy, pork-laden, lobbyist politics.
Neither Wall Street nor main street were happy with the bill. In February 2009, Rick Santelli called for a modern day Tea Party from the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. CNBC’s audience could hear loud cheers from the traders as he bashed the bailout of banks that invested in toxic mortgages.
The conservative Tea Party launched that year and swept several incumbents from office in the following midterm election. Then in 2011 progressives protested the bailouts with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Ten years later history seems to be repeating itself.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted the stimulus package:
The bill still includes something that most Americans don’t want to see: Large corporate bailouts with almost no strings attached. Maybe the Majority Leader thinks it’s unfair to ask protections for workers and labor to companies that are getting hundreds of billions of dollars.
He says it needs more oversight:
And so we are looking for protection. We’re looking for oversight. If this federal government’s making a big loan to someone, to a big company, we ought to know… the details immediately.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Democrats are playing politics with the bill.
He listed unrelated amendments that are holding up passage.
Here are some of the items on the Democratic wish list over which they choose to block this legislation… Tax credits for solar energy and wind energy. Provisions to force employers to give special new treatment to big labor. And listen to this– new emission standards for the airlines. Are you kidding me? This is the moment to debate new regulations that have nothing to do with this crisis?
As America waits and watches, the stock market continues to plummet, and the coronavirus containment efforts continue to close down vast swaths of American commerce and industry.