For two thoughtful critiques, see e.g. Stop the coronavirus corporate coup by Matt Stoller, or, from around when the bill had just emerged, this interview of AOC and Stephany Kelton.
To raise but one quibble raised in the first piece:
Take Boeing. The aerospace giant of course wants a $60 billion bailout. Financial problems for this corporation predated the crisis, with the mismanagement that led to the 737 Max as well as defense and space products that don't work (I noted last July a bailout was coming). The corporation paid out $65 billion in stock buybacks and dividends over the last ten years, and it was drawing down credit lines before this crisis hit. It is highly politically connected; the board of the corporation includes Caroline Kennedy, Ronald Reagan’s Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein, three Fortune 100 CEOs, a former US Trade Representative, and two Admirals, one of whom is the board’s only engineer. Using the excuse of the coronavirus, Boeing is trying to get the taxpayer to foot the bill for its errors, so it can go back to making more of them.
Matt Stoller followed up in a second piece yesterday:
On Saturday, I went over the Christmas wish list of corporate lobbyists in this process, everything from Adidas letting people deduct gym costs to candymakers seeking a $500 million loan to Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk seeking $5B in loans for their space corporations. Of course what Wall Street sought, and got, dwarfed all of these requests.
Here’s how you can tell. A lot of reporters have been talking about how this is a $2 trillion deal, with a bunch of spending for hospitals and whatnot. But last night White House advisor Larry Kudlow announced it is actually a $6 trillion deal. And business reporter Charlie Gasparino said he’s hearing chatter that the total will be $10 trillion! Say what?!? [...]
Temporary Distressed Positions
Numbers like $6 trillion or even $10 trillion of government-backed credit to Wall Street are so large they don’t mean anything Fortunately, a major law major firm with a big mergers and acquisitions practice put it into context for us, with a memo to clients about how to prepare for this moment.
As stock prices decrease in response to market uncertainty, directors of public companies should be prepared to respond to increasing levels of shareholder activism and unsolicited takeover offers, as opportunistic parties with strong balance sheets look to take advantage of companies in temporary distressed positions.
In other words, millions of small and medium sized businesses are going to have no access to cash and revenue freezes, because of the pandemic and economic restrictions. And while there are provisions in the bill to get these businesses money, the reality is that neither our government nor our banks have the operational competence to write and direct checks quickly enough to avoid distress. Much of the cash out the door provisions for small businesses will actually be stolen by the payday lender-style ‘fintech’ operators authorized in the bill to make loans, a provision stuck in there by Senator Mark Warner.
The cash freeze to small business is already causing a crisis. FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra made these points on Tucker Carlson last night. First, he noted, small business loan sharks are “crippling cash-strapped companies” with onerous contracts. Second, powerful corporations are using their position to cut off small businesses from supply chains. And third, corporate raiders are planning to buy up these businesses cheap. “Corporate raiders and PE firms are already sharpening their knives,” said one Goldman Sachs associate.
And that’s where this legislation comes in. Wall Street, with this bill, will now have $4-6T of government guaranteed low cost credit to go shopping for businesses in trouble. We could see the mother of all roll-ups, as small and medium sized businesses desperately try to get whatever they can from deep-pocketed private equity investors and monopolists. If that happens, America could look like a very different country after this pandemic is over.
(In case anyone worries about the amount of quoting, both articles end with "P.S. I am releasing all copyright claims on this essay. Take it! It’s yours!".)