WASHINGTON, March 26, 2020 – Last night, the Senate voted unanimously to pass a $2 trillion economic stimulus package in response to the rapidly escalating COVID-19 crisis. This package includes a provision for a nearly $500 billion fund for stimulus distributions to corporations at the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Steven Mnuchin with sharply limited oversight and weak enforcement mechanisms for holding the Secretary accountable. The House has yet to vote on this version of the package. 

In response, Morris Pearl, Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires and a former managing director at BlackRock, Inc., issued the following statement:

Though Senate Democrats have said that they successfully negotiated adequate oversight for this money, I have a different definition of adequate. Under the bill as it stands, Secretary Mnuchin would have nearly free rein to use that $500 billion to bail out any corporation he pleases, with almost no conditions, and would merely have to “make himself available” to testify before Congress on those decisions after the fact. The most absurd part is that there is nothing that would require these companies to retain their workers in exchange for a bailout.

Anyone familiar with Secretary Mnuchin’s record of padding the pockets of his rich friends, and the Trump administration’s long and storied history of self-enrichment, should know this is nowhere even in the realm of adequate oversight. In what world does it seem like good economic practice to hand half a trillion dollars in taxpayer money to Secretary Mnuchin, a man whose only previous political achievement was helping pass a nearly $2 trillion tax cut for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations?

Instead of forcing American taxpayers to spend $500 billion subsidizing a fund for Secretary Mnuchin, that money would be far better spent going directly back to the people, by ensuring financial security for poor and middle-class Americans in the months it will take to be rid of this disease. Our economy can survive without a few more corporate bailouts at the whims of the Trump administration, but it cannot survive millions of people who need to work for a living becoming destitute. We need to do more for working people right now, not waste time and taxpayer money on a slush fund for rich business owners.

Proud “traitors to their class,” members of the Patriotic Millionaires are high-net worth Americans, business leaders, and investors who are united in their concern about the destabilizing concentration of wealth and power in America. The mission of The Patriotic Millionaires organization is to build a more stable, prosperous, and inclusive nation by promoting public policies based on the “first principles” of equal political representation, a guaranteed living wage for all working citizens, and a fair tax system. www.patrioticmillionaires.org