The groaning Christmas tree that is the virus economic response bill

Omnibus legislation laying out a federal response to the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has been stalled because of demands to add a variety of provisions including pro-union revisions to labor law, relief for owners of cruise lines, clean energy subsidies, and much more. Ted Frank has screenshots on “pay equity” and corporate board quotas provisions and also discusses the anti-stock-buyback campaign, while Rachel Bovard has screenshots on provisions on same-day voter registration, airline greenhouse gases, wider use of minority-owned banks and credit unions, a Post Office bailout, and requirements that beneficiary companies incorporate diversity offices into their management. David Boaz of Cato writes: “This is emergency legislation to deal with an extraordinary and unprecedented situation. …Congress should insist on a bill narrowly tailored to address the current crisis, not another sprawling lobbyists’ spectacular.”

Also related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts, here is a very fine new piece by Arnold Kling, an economist who understands both cost-benefit analysis and exponential contagious spread. And Alex Tabarrok argues that despite demands that the President invoke the Defense Production Act, the best course is to work with markets to meet medical supply needs rather than attempt a switch to command and control.

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