Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are at loggerheads again over delivering hundreds of billions of dollars in new COVID-19 relief aid to struggling Americans.
But while Republicans and Democrats are wrangling over who gets what — and right now, $1,200 stimulus checks like the ones millions of Americans received last spring are not part of the package — Kevin O’Leary has come along with some sensible advice.
O’Leary, an investor and entrepreneur who stars on “Shark Tank,” says giving more money to big businesses is not the solution.
“I’m not worried about business in America, I’m worried about people in America,” O’Leary told Yahoo Finance Live. “I’d much rather have a stimulus package that gives individual checks or extends unemployment benefits for the next 14 months. The idea that the government can pick winners and losers in business has clearly been demonstrated to be false.”
O’Leary said the government should “stop funding companies” and deliver much needed cash to Americans. He added that federal payments via the Payment Protection Program (PPP) was “wasted” due to to fraud and abuse.
“Why do I want to bail out the shareholders of an airline when really it should go bankrupt?” O’Leary said. “The middle name of airlines is bankruptcy. They do it well, every seven to 10 years. Let them do it again, to downsize because I don’t need them, the S&P doesn’t need them. We don’t need to fly everywhere anymore. We can do it on a Zoom call. I want to take care of the flight attendants and the people that used to work at those airlines, but that’s just one sector of the economy.”
O’Leary’s proposal comes after John Delaney, a former Democratic congressman for Maryland who also ran for president in 2020, revealed another interesting plan.
The politician turned entrepreneur is calling for the federal government to give every American a $1,500 stimulus checks in exchange for getting immunized against COVID-19.
“The faster we get 75 percent of this country vaccinated, the faster we end Covid and the sooner everything returns to normal,” Delaney said in an interview with CNBC.com.
While vaccines will be free once approved by the federal government, a recent Gallup poll found that just 58% of Americans plan to get immunized while 42% said they would not.
“We have to create, in my judgment, an incentive for people to really accelerate their thinking about taking the vaccine,” Delaney said. “If you’re still afraid of the vaccine and don’t want to take it, that’s your right You won’t participate in this program.”
“But guess what?” he added. “You’re going to benefit anyhow, because we’ll get the country to herd immunity faster, which benefits you. So I think everyone wins.”
Sending Americans $1,500 in exchange for vaccinations would cost $380 billion, Delaney said, more than the first stimulus checks sent by the government in March, which cost $270 billion. Lawmakers are currently debating another stimulus package, but so far, there is no additional $1,200 for individual Americans in the proposal.