Debates 2020

Biden Promises 'Major, Major, Major Bailouts' in Response to Coronavirus

Not to be outdone, Bernie Sanders promises that every single American will "be made whole" despite economic losses due to the outbreak. That's totally impossible.


During the opening moments of Sunday's one-on-one Democratic primary debate, both former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) promised massive coronavirus bailouts that would cover a huge range of potential economic losses.

"We are going to have to have a major, major, major bailout package that—we do not reward corporations, we reward individuals who, in fact, are really put to the test here," Biden said. Moments later, he offered a few specifics: The funding would include everything from covering missed rent and mortgage payments, child care costs, medical bills, and more. "We are going to have to go beyond that," he said. "Like we did during the financial crisis."

Sanders made an even more far-fetched promise. "Our job right now is to tell every working person in this country, 'no matter what your income is, you are not going to suffer as a result of this crisis,'" he said, before adding that all Americans would "be made whole" for losses suffered because of the coronavirus.

A few points here.

First, yes, the country appears to be teetering on the edge of a crisis unlike any that it has faced in a long time. Many are facing or will face illness. Millions of people are likely to be at least temporarily out of work as a result of the measures being taken to slow the spread of COVID-19. It is understandable—and maybe even electorally prudent—for these two men to promise that they will do everything they can to fix this mess.

Second, there is an absolute limit to what the government is able to do in response to a pandemic. Biden says this is "like what we did during the financial crisis," but what he's proposing goes far beyond what was done to bail out banks, automobile manufacturers, and other businesses affected by the mortgage crisis and the subsequent economic downturn. And those bailouts were bad deals for taxpayers. A bailout that prioritizes individuals might be marginally better than a cronyist deal, but until Biden puts a price tag on his proposal, it's simply unbelievable.

What Sanders is proposing is more difficult to ascertain, but seems more unhinged. How, exactly, would the federal government go about the process of determining how much money is owed to every person who suffers some kind of financial loss due to the coronavirus? Would he extend that same protection to investors—perhaps even to his much-reviled class of "millionaires and billionaires"—who have surely lost a lot in the stock market over the past week?

Third, it's easy for both Biden and Sanders to promise all kinds of things in response to the coronavirus when they both know that they won't be president until January, nearly a year from now. They may have to address the long-term consequences of whatever happens over the next few months, but they will not have to confront the issue directly. Indeed, they get to spend the next few months promising that, no matter what the Trump administration does, they would have done "more" or "better."

And that's true despite the fact that Trump is currently pushing for a massive spending package (perhaps as much as $50 billion) that is likely to include paid sick leave for workers, expanded welfare programs, and a bailout for travel industries.

In that regard, it makes perfect sense that both spent tonight's debate promising vague and wide-reaching fixes. They both know they won't have to implement them.

NEXT: Social Distancing Dramatically Improved the Democratic Debate

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Yawn. Socialists make impossible promises, ignorant people believe them.

    1. Luckily, no Democrat will be President in 2020.

  2. Any excuse is a good excuse to conjure up a trillion bucks to hand to your friends.

  3. I am making a good MONEY (500$ to 700$ / hr )online on my Ipad .Do not go to office.I do not claim to be others,I yoy will call yourself after doing this JOB,It’s a REAL job.Will be very lucky to refer to this…… Read more  

    1. This seems plausible by comparison.

      1. You should click the link and give them all your info.

        1. I already did, and I’m making $30-5500p dollars yen per hr as my mother’s aunt told me and Ferrari

      2. Also, it’s nice to see you learned what a bot is, liar.

        1. Lol Vince is so stupid

  4. The debate should feature a contest of whoever licks the most handrails on the metro wins


  5. There’s never a shortage of other people’s money until there is. Honestly, though, the American left can no longer call Trump a liar at this point. The asinine proposals tonight by Biden and Bernie are not possible and they both know it. Just 2 more geriatric career organized criminals.

  6. “Our job right now is to tell every working person in this country, ‘no matter what your income is, you are not going to suffer as a result of this crisis,'”

    “and our job tomorrow is to tell every resident in this country, ‘no matter what your face looks like, you are not going to be any less attractive than—wait, what was the question?”

  7. How many articles did Reason publish after the last debate?

  8. This just like the last recession would have been over sooner if the government hadn’t proped up everyone With handouts

  9. Well, the media finally did it. They found the secret button to ruin the economy in order to get more advertising revenue and also damage Orange Man Bad.
    People have lost their damn minds.

    1. Big toilet paper is behind all of it.

      1. Big TP for Big Asses.

      2. It was Koch!

        1. Also, we can’t close the popup vids now???

    2. So when this all blows over without major fatalities, they have two choices: Donald Trump led the way and saved us, or this was no big deal after all. I bet I know which you’re leaning to.

      1. It was, and is, a fucking cold. Jesus, people get a fucking grip.

  10. Poor Hunter’s gonna need a bailout. He’s broke and has another mouth to feed.

  11. “Not to be outdone, Bernie Sanders promises that every single American will “be made whole” despite economic losses due to the outbreak. That’s totally impossible.”

    Not actually a hard circle to square for a communist: Kill half the people, and give their stuff to the other half. The people who are dead no longer count as “Americans”, the people who are alive magically have twice as much stuff. Problem solved!

    OK, seriously: Like every communist who wasn’t a useful idiot, Sanders is a con man. He’ll say anything, ANYTHING, that he thinks will give him a chance of getting power. And if he gets the power, he will use it for his own benefit, and to keep the power.

    Bottom line: After WWII, we should have thoroughly purged the communists, the way we did the fascists. We had two competing cancers, and didn’t bother treating one. And now we’re stage 4.

  12. Sanders says idiotic things because he thinks his constituency too stupid to believe otherwise. Boehm hears it and thinks Sanders really means it.

  13. I think the bigger issue is that Biden also promised to do everything he could to destroy American petroleum production.

    We are sitting on tens of trillions of dollars in wealth and the Democrats are doing everything they can to keep the country from exploiting it and in the process keep it as poor and dependent on foreign nations as possible. That is a bigger deal than number 99 in the endless line of government bailouts.

    1. Not just petroleum…. every single aspect of America’s last completely independent system, the energy sector. Don’t forget that Big Coal is also bad like Big Oil. If they can kill off these two while not building any more nuclear [cuz that bad too]… and don’t build dams cuz fishes, then we can just be dependent on Chinese solar cells. That should complete the transformation of America like Obama promised.

  14. Biden Promises ‘Major, Major, Major Bailouts’ in Response to Coronavirus

    Sounds like Biden’s got a real Catch-22 there.

  15. Biden would not provide needed, helpful assistance. He opposes universal health care, which is really all one needs to know regarding where his loyalties lie. Bernie, while far better, would go beyond what is necessary. We are very likely to see “socialism” as seen by Trump supporters under Trump. Of course, they will not call it that. And universal health care is *far* more likely to come under Trump, and possibly sooner than some may expect.

    1. You could have stopped at “Bernie, while far better”. That sets your entire context and proposes that an even higher level of stupidity will follow.

  16. I purposely watched the debate to see who was “Dumb” and who was “Dumber”. I have my answer. Plus, they are both pandering for votes by using money as a lubricant.

  17. This is very Amazing when i saw in my Acount 8000$ par month .Just do work online at home on laptop with my best freinds . So u can always make Dollar Easily at home on laptop…… Read more

  18. I am making a good MONEY (500$ to 700$ / hr )online on my Ipad .Do not go to office.I do not claim to be others,I yoy will call yourself after doing this JOB,It’s a REAL job.Will be very lucky to refer to this…………………..HERE══════►     Read More

  19. Biden and Sanders used to be able to buy votes at a reasonable price. Now, each vote costs double, maybe triple, the original price. Maybe we should prosecute the Joe and Bernie voters for price gouging.

  20. I am making 7 to 6 dollar par hour at home on laptop ,, This is make happy But now i am Working 4 hour Dailly and make 40 dollar Easily .. This is enough for me to happy my ?? i am making this so u can do it Easily…. Read more  

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.