According to Politico, President Donald Trump and his aides are getting sold on the idea of orchestrating a package of industry bailouts to try to stabilize the economy as the spread of coronavirus shuts down business everywhere. In particular, they are looking at the government's responses to 9/11 and to the financial crisis for guidance.
However, there is tension within the White House, and among President Donald Trump's allies, about the ideological inconsistency of passing such a measure, and how it would be perceived among the GOP at large.
“I don’t want to use the b-word,” said a senior White House official, but "If what the airline industry says is true, then Congress really will have little choice to act or face a significant extinction moment for the airline industry." He added that Trump is considering both direct stimulus and a tax holiday.
Trump has expressed interest in targeting industries like airlines and hotels — the latter notable because he still has significant holdings in that industry.
Some Republicans are skeptical, however — like Heritage Foundation strategist and failed Trump Federal Reserve pick Stephen Moore.
"The problem I have with this is every industry is negatively impacted," said Moore said. "Is it going to be hotels, movie theaters, airlines? I have a problem with singling out certain industries at this point. I don’t like the idea of picking winners and losers. If you do it for some, then how could you not do it for everyone?"
“The worry is very straightforward: Anything that looks like a bailout will divide the Republican Party," said a GOP official near the White House. "Hardcore conservatives believe bailouts are antithetical to the way risk should be managed in the economy. They want it to look like relief — but not a bailout."
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