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Joe Nocera

Coronavirus Aid Should Go to Citizens, Not Corporations

The airline, hotel and cruise-ship industries don’t need the help.

No bailout for you.

No bailout for you.

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The most infuriating aspect of the government’s response to the 2008 financial crisis was the contrast between its generosity to companies and its lack of generosity to citizens.

Congress passed a $700 billion bailout for the banking industry. AIG Inc. received $180 billion worth of loans from the Federal Reserve. The auto industry received nearly $81 billion in taxpayer funds. Yet people who either lost their jobs or were in danger of losing their homes received little or nothing in the way of federal assistance. The result was a great deal of avoidable suffering.