Progressive critics characterized the Senate's coronavirus stimulus plan as an attempt by both Republican and Democratic political parties to use trillions of dollars in taxpayer money to bail out and further enrich large corporations while tossing mere crumbs to the most vulnerable.
"This is a robbery in progress," wrote David Dayen, executive editor at The American Prospect. "And it's not a bailout for the coronavirus. It's a bailout for twelve years of corporate irresponsibility that made these companies so fragile that a few weeks of disruption would destroy them."
While progressives applauded some provisions in the massive package—including the significant expansion of unemployment benefits and protections for airline workers—Dayen said the stimulus package as a whole is an "outrageous betrayal" of the U.S. public and "a rubber-stamp on an unequal system that has brought terrible hardship to the majority of America."
"The people get a one-time $1,200 means-tested payment and a little wage insurance for four months," Dayen wrote. "Corporations get a transformative amount of play money to sustain their system and wipe out the competition."
Dayen wrote, the "enormity of this bailout is being under-reported."
"The other $425 billion helps capitalize a $4.25 trillion, with a T, leveraged lending facility at the Federal Reserve," Dayen said. "So it's not a $2 trillion bill, it's closer to $6 trillion, and $4.3 trillion of it comes in the form of a bazooka aimed at CEOs and shareholders, with almost no conditions attached."
Zephyr Teachout, a professor at the Fordham University School of Law and an anti-corruption expert, tweeted Wednesday that "it is super hard to speak up against this because of the big great things in the bill."
"But it is irresponsible not to," Teachout said. "We are talking about something so huge and radical and lacking in oversight that we cannot cheer it on. Truly outrageous."