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Bailout Biden coronavirus bill Federal workers Intelwars Paid leave school closures

Biden’s COVID bill offers up to $21K in paid leave to federal workers whose kids are at home due to school closures

A paid leave perk buried deep in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package offers to pay federal government employees to stay home if at least one of their children is in attendance at a school that has not returned to full-time in-person operation.

The provision, exclusive to federal workers, is sure to draw ire from conservatives as the albatross 591-page document known as the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021” advances through Congress. The bill has been roundly criticized by Republicans as wasteful and filled with “bailouts, pork, and unrelated policy changes” since its introduction in the House last Friday.

The measure is supported by the “Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund,” which is outlined on page 305 of the House version of the bill. Under the new legislation, $570 million set to be deposited into the fund is designed to assist federal workers caring for themselves or others “unable to work” due of the pandemic.

Among those eligible for the enhanced paid leave are those federal workers who are “caring for a son or daughter” out of school due to COVID-19 precautions.

What’s more is that the school doesn’t need to be completely closed to in-person instruction in order for the worker to receive the paid leave benefit. Rather, the school merely needs to “make optional” any type of instruction other than full-time, in person instruction. Here’s what the bill’s text says, specifically:

Amounts in the Fund shall be available for payment to an agency for the use of paid leave by any employee of the agency who is unable to work because the employee … is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, if the school of such son or daughter requires or makes optional a virtual learning instruction model or requires or makes optional a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning instruction models, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID–19 precautions.

Forbes senior contributor Adam Andrzejewski noted that critics are calling the measure “a personal bailout for bureaucrats.”

He added that “under the bill as currently drafted, full-time federal employees can take up to 600 hours in paid leave until September 30, up to $35 an hour and $1,400 a week. That’s 15 weeks for a 40-hour employee. Part-time and ‘seasonal’ employees are eligible, too, with equivalent hours established by their agency.”

A quick calculation shows that federal employees can collect up to $21,000 in paid leave under the proposed measure. Not bad for sitting at home in your pajamas.

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airlines Bailout Coronavirus Intelwars

Weeks after getting a $5 billion bailout from the government, United Airlines is cutting worker schedules and threatening layoffs

United Airlines is facing criticism after a leaked memo from Chief Operating Officer Greg Hart encouraged employees to take voluntary severance packages and warned that layoffs were coming as soon as Oct. 1. The airline also rankled employees and the public by cutting around 15,000 employees from full-time to part-time schedules.

According to the memo, which was first published by CNN, Hart warned United employees that the company would need to “right size” its workforce as soon as Oct. 1. In light of that, he encouraged employees to consider if they wanted to take a “voluntary separation” from the company, that would presumably include some measure of severance pay.

The memo stated, “We recognize that this is painful news, but it provides what we believe is the most accurate assessment of what lies ahead for our company.” The memo also claimed that the company’s high-level corporate officers are taking pay cuts or foregoing their pay entirely at present.

Under the terms of the CARES Act, the company is precluded from laying off employees for at least six months, but United was clear with its employees that layoffs would likely begin on October 1. The memo stated that at least 3,400 management and administrative positions would be cut, and that potentially as many as 30% of all pilots could face layoffs.

United posted a net loss last quarter of $1.7 billion.

Airlines have been hit particularly hard from the lockdowns imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, as the market for air travel has essentially evaporated. United has announced that it will cancel 90% of its travel schedule for May and June.

Also, according to an email obtained by the Daily Beast, United told some 15,000 employees on Friday that they would have their status reduced to part-time. The company claims that the hourly cuts are in full compliance with the provisions of the [Collective Bargaining Agreement] and the CARES Act.” However, some of the unions whose members comprise United’s workforce have stated their belief that these cuts are, in fact, a violation of the law.

United, of course, is not alone. Delta Air Lines and JetBlue also announced schedule cuts last week after having received government bailout funds.

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airlines Bailout Coronavirus Intelwars

Airlines received $25B in coronavirus aid — and are asking for more. But most of them are refusing to refund $10B in ticket purchases to customers, senators say.

Domestic airlines received a $25 billion bailout in Congress’ “Phase 3” coronavirus relief package — and they’re asking for more. To be sure, airlines have taken a serious hit during these times of social distancing and lockdowns. But what about their customers?

A group of senators revealed Friday that most major U.S. airlines that received coronavirus aid “still refuse” to refund about $10 billion to customers whose travel plans changed or were canceled due to the pandemic. Instead, those airlines are holding on to customers’ cash and issuing credits instead, Nextgov reported.

What are the details?

Federal law requires that airlines offer full refunds if the company cancels a flight, but travelers who cancel their own flights receive airline credits.

That includes customers who cancel because of the coronavirus crisis.

Democratic Sens. Ed Markey (Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), and Kamala Harris (Calif.) sent letters on March 31 to 11 major domestic airlines and demanded that those companies issue cash refunds to all customers who cancel their flights during the pandemic.

The letters were sent to Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, and United Airlines, and asked the airlines to respond to the following questions:

  • What is the estimated total value of all travel vouchers and credits you have issued during the coronavirus pandemic?
  • What is the estimated total number of flights that your airline cancelled during the COVID-19 crisis, including flights cancelled due to travel restrictions implemented by countries globally?
  • Will your airline commit to providing full cash refunds to travelers who cancel their flights during the coronavirus outbreak, including refunds in lieu of travel credits to those who have already received but not used those credits during this pandemic?
  • Will your airline commit to providing full cash refunds to any travelers who experienced flight cancellations due to COVID-19 travel restrictions implemented globally?
  • Will your airline commit to working with the State Department to expedite commercial flights – at an affordable price – for all Americans who remain stranded abroad?

According to the senators, only two airlines — Allegiant and Spirit — said they were offering refunds to customers who canceled their own flights due to the coronavirus.

Of the other nine airlines, only JetBlue revealed the total value of travel credits and vouchers it had issued during the pandemic. The airline said that it issued more than $20 million per day of travel credits during the early weeks of March.

Nextgov reported:

In their response letters to the lawmakers, most companies outlined how the pandemic is depleting their funds. JetBlue, for example, said in March 2019 a typical day would have meant about $22 million made from booking and fees, but this March the company was “taking in an average of less than $4 million per day while also issuing over $20 million per day of credits to customers.” The company called it a “stunning shift and clearly insufficient revenue to come anywhere close to covering [its] daily expenses.”

Using the data from JetBlue and “[b]ased on JetBlue’s 5.5 percent share of the domestic market, and assuming a similar trend throughout the industry over the last month,” the senators extrapolated that “this figure could mean that the airlines are sitting on more than $10 billion in customer cash.”

“If airlines dispute this exact figure, the Senators welcome more information from each company, which know exactly how much of their customers’ money they are currently holding onto in the form of travel vouchers. Most airlines have refused to share this information to date,” the lawmakers said.

‘Bogus’ claim by the airlines

Consumer Reports’ aviation adviser Bill McGee said airlines’ claim that they don’t have the funds to issue cash refunds is “bogus,” Nextgov reported, adding that the domestic airline industry has scored “record profits” in recent years.

McGee told the outlet:

We’re not ignoring the fact that the airlines are, you know, in bad financial shape right now because so many people are not flying. We get that. But the fact is, the answer to their financial problems is not to withhold funds from consumers who should be getting refunds. They need to find another way.

McGee also said it’s “unacceptable” that the airlines are taking tax dollars for the crisis but refusing to offer refunds and noted that the airlines could have purchased pandemic insurance but none of them did so. More from Nextgov (emphasis added):

McGee said that the current voucher vs. cash refund debacle has been an issue for years now, but it’s become “chronic” in the national emergency over the last six or so weeks. “We were not happy with airline refund policies before, but this is just unacceptable,” he said. Regarding the companies’ recent bailout, he also called it unacceptable that airlines are “accepting money from taxpayers and on the other hand, they’re withholding refunds.” Further, McGee also made it a point to note that before the latest health crisis, “none of the U.S. airlines invested in” pandemic insurance, though such products have been on the market.

Consumer Reports launched a petition urging airlines to give cash refunds “to any customer who had a flight cancelled, or elected to cancel a flight, due to COVID-19. Vouchers for future flights are insufficient since no one knows when regular travel will resume, and some consumers will not be flying at all.”

The petition currently has more than 43,000 signatures.

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Bailout Coronavirus Intelwars Kennedy Center

Kennedy Center abruptly lays off entire orchestra hours after receiving $25 million taxpayer bailout

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts informed musicians with the National Symphony Orchestra on Friday that they would be laid off next week, just hours after the Kennedy Center received a $25 million bailout from the federal government on the taxpayer dime.

The nearly 100 member symphony will no longer receive paychecks after April 3, an email obtained by the Washington Free Beacon said.

“The Covid-19 Advisory Committee was broadsided today during our conversation with [Kennedy Center president] Deborah Rutter,” the email said. “Ms. Rutter abruptly informed us today that the last paycheck for all musicians and librarians will be April 3 and that we will not be paid again until the Center reopens.”

“Everyone should proceed as if their last paycheck will be April 3,” the email continued. “We understand this will come [as a] shock to all of you, as it did to us.”

More from the Free Beacon:

The email went out to members on Friday evening, shortly after President Trump signed the $2 trillion CARES Act, a stimulus package intended to provide relief to people left unemployed by the coronavirus pandemic. Congress included $25 million in taxpayer funding for the Kennedy Center, a provision that raised eyebrows from both Democrats and Republicans, but ultimately won support from President Trump.

The bailout was designed to “cover operating expenses required to ensure the continuity of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and its affiliates, including for employee compensation and benefits, grants, contracts, payments for rent or utilities, fees for artists or performers,” according to the law’s text. The arts organization decided that the relief did not extend to members of the National Symphony Orchestra, its house orchestra.

The Kennedy Center is currently scheduled to re-open on May 10. But that may not happen given COVID-19 projections. If the center is closed beyond May, the musicians would also lose their health insurance.

Ed Malaga, the union leader who represents the musicians, blasted the move as possibly illegal.

“This decision, from an organization with an endowment of nearly $100 million, is not only outrageous — coming after the musicians had expressed their willingness to discuss ways to accommodate the Kennedy Center during this challenging time — it is also blatantly illegal under the parties’ collective bargaining agreement. That agreement specifically requires that the Center provide six weeks’ notice before it can stop paying musicians for economic reasons,” he said, the Washington Post reported.

Rutter defended her decision, saying the “layoffs may seem drastic, however, we know the only way through this is for all union and non-union employees to participate in the solution.”

According to the Post, Rutter said the taxpayer bailout would “provide long-term cash flow for essential personnel to ensure that we can reopen the Center and re-employ our staff and musicians.”

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Bailout communism Coronavirus COVID-19 CRISIS Economy fiscal relief package GOP proposal Headline News Intelwars liberal agenda money Nancy Pelosi pandemic political elitists Politicians Rahm Emanuel Socialists

Democrats Try To Use COVID-19 To Push Their Socialist Agenda

In a bit of not-so-surprising news, democrat politicians have decided that during the coronavirus pandemic, they should push a liberal agenda.  In the words of infamous socialist Rahm Emanuel, Democrats will “never allow a crisis to go to waste.”

Democrats used their stimulus bill, which was a response to the GOP’s proposal, to pack it with funding to advance a liberal communist agenda.

Both Republican and Democratic senators had spent several days negotiating a nearly $2 trillion package that would provide financial assistance to workers, small businesses, large corporations, and certain industries hit particularly hard by the economic shutdown in response to the public health crisis.

Then Pelosi showed up and declared the package not good enough while touting a number of demands that, at best, were only tangentially related to the coronavirus issue, which prompted Senate Democrats to essentially scuttle the whole thing on Sunday afternoon. –Western Journal

This is really unsurprising news considering that according to The Hill on Thursday, House Democrats held a conference call to discuss both the efforts in the Senate to construct a coronavirus fiscal relief package as well as ideas for a package of their own for the same alleged purpose. And Emanuel was quick to bring back his infamous line:

Amid negotiations over how lawmakers should respond to the coronavirus pandemic, Rahm Emanuel has reprised his famous rallying cry from his 2008 financial crash: Never let a crisis go to waste.

Speaking during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, the former Chicago mayor and chief of staff to President Barack Obama brought back his infamous quote from the 2008 financial collapse in an attempt to highlight that the government can learn from its mistakes when dealing crises.

“Never allow a crisis to go to waste,” Emanuel said Sunday. “Start planning for the future. This has to be the last pandemic that creates an economic depression. We’re going to have more pandemics, but this has to be the last economic depression.” –Fox News

Simple Prepper Hacks To AVOID Getting The Flu

According to Fox News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is accusing Democrats of trying to extract concessions from airlines over their “carbon footprint,” with the economy hanging in the balance. “They ought to be embarrassed,” he said. “This is no time for this nonsense.”

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Bailout CURRENT EVENTS Economy Government Intelwars

Government Economic “Help” is Going to “Hurt like Hell”

Many people have likened the battle against coronavirus to a war and invoked imagery of the US fighting World War II. President Trump has even deemed himself a “wartime president.”

The president told reporters at a White House briefing that fighting the virus would require a sacrificial national effort just like it took to defeat the Axis in the Second World War.

Every generation of Americans has been called to make shared sacrifices for the good of the nation. To this day, nobody has ever seen like it, what they were able to do during World War II. Now it’s our time. We must sacrifice together, because we are all in this together, and we will come through together. It’s the invisible enemy. That’s always the toughest enemy, the invisible enemy.”

But listening to all the rhetoric coming from politicians and pundits, one has to ask, where exactly is the sacrifice?

The government is promising bailouts for everybody. We’re just weeks into the crisis and there is already an expectation that the government will be sending everybody checks. Peter Schiff called it “bailout nation.”

Apparently, the government wants “sacrifice” with no pain.

Unfortunately, that’s not a thing.

Americans didn’t get checks from the government in World War II. They got higher taxes. Schiff summed it up in a tweet.

During WWII middle-class Americas sacrificed to support the US government’s war effort. They paid much higher taxes, substantially reduced their consumption, and loaned their savings to the government. The people support the government. The government can’t support the people.”

Therein lies the ugly truth. There is no sacrifice without pain. The government can bail out the airlines. It can bail out the hotels. It can helicopter money in and drop it on your head. You’re still going to pay, either through higher taxes in the future or through inflation.

In the end, economics always wins. And math is still undefeated.

Trump is right. You are going to sacrifice for the government actions surrounding the coronavirus. What he’s not telling you is it’s going to hurt.

The government and central bank response to the economic crisis precipitated by coronavirus are creating the perfect storm for price inflation. The problem isn’t a lack of money. It’s a lack of stuff. We’re all sitting at home and a lot of us aren’t producing anything. Uncle Sam can stuff our mailboxes with checks. That money doesn’t do us a damn bit of good if there is nothing to buy.

The end result will be a lot more dollars chasing a lot fewer goods. That means prices will go up.

When inflation heats up, interest rates rise. That’s the proper response. How exactly is that going to work in a world up to its eyeballs in debt?

This is why Schiff keeps saying we’re on the path to a dollar crisis.

All the money the Fed is printing isn’t going to have value. It isn’t going to buy anything. Prices are going to skyrocket. And in fact, this coronavirus is accelerating that process because the coronavirus is reducing the supply of goods available to buy.”

I’ve always held to the theory that when the doctor tells you “this won’t hurt a bit,” it’s going to hurt like hell. You would be wise to treat politicians the same way. When they tell you the sacrifice won’t hurt because they will make it all OK, you had better hold on to your wallet. Because you will sacrifice. And it will hurt like hell.

This article was originally published at SchiffGold.com.

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Bailout Boeing Intelwars Nikki Haley resigns taxpayer

Nikki Haley resigns from Boeing board, citing opposition to firm’s bailout request

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley stepped down from the board of aircraft manufacturer Boeing on Thursday, saying in her resignation letter that she “cannot in good faith support” the company’s pursuit of a taxpayer bailout amid the COVID-19 crisis.

What are the details?

“While I know cash is tight, that is equally true for numerous other industries and for millions of small businesses,” Haley wrote in a letter to the board. “I cannot support a move to lean on the federal government for a stimulus or bailout that prioritizes our company over others and relies on taxpayers to guarantee our financial position.”

Haley, the Republican former governor of South Carolina, added, “I have long held strong convictions that this is not the role of government.”

CNBC reported that earlier in the week, Boeing had announced “it is seeking $60 billion in government aid for itself and its massive supply chain because of the virus,” and noted that President Donald Trump stated this week, “We have to protect Boeing.”

Haley’s departure comes less than a year after she joined the aerospace giant’s board of directors. However, she noted in her letter that she has “had the pleasure of working with Boeing for almost ten years now,” saying she “came to know the quality of the company” when she was a governor.

Boeing responded to Haley’s resignation with a statement saying, “We appreciate her service on the board and wish her well,” Axios reported.

Anything else?

The Washington Post pointed out that “the aerospace industry was not mentioned in a massive economic stimulus bill introduced by Senate Republicans on Thursday.”

The newspaper also noted that “Boeing’s request for government help comes as global air traffic is expected to decline and airline customers plan to push off new orders of jets” amid widespread travel restrictions over the coronavirus pandemic.

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