As Seattle battles the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the city's newspaper is calling for a major stimulus package for newspapers.
"As the coronavirus keeps spreading, Congress must keep moving quickly to assist households, small businesses and sectors of the economy," The Seattle Times wrote in an editorial published Friday afternoon. "The nation must be united in its battle to slow the infection rate, assist those suffering from this public-health crisis and prevent devastating economic hardship."
"Dollars required are staggering and will exacerbate the national debt, increasing the burden on future taxpayers," the newspaper noted. "At the same time, this crisis demands enormous federal spending to confront the immediate danger, provide basic needs for potentially millions losing wages and jobs, maintain economic stability and prevent an economic depression. Federal aid packages this month are likely just the beginning of what’s needed to supplement existing safety net programs such as unemployment insurance."
The editorial board offered a bold idea.
"Newspapers should receive $1 billion of the support. Local media especially has proved its worth during the crisis. The Seattle Times has dropped its paywall on all coronavirus coverage, ensuring nonsubscribers can get the information they need," the editorial board wrote.