Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) walks to the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol on December 17, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) walks to the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol on December 17, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

How the Richest 1 Percent Came Out Big Winners in the Covid Relief Bill

Republicans didn't blink twice when they handed out $6.3 billion in tax breaks to their wealthy corporate backers, but when it came to getting direct relief to struggling Americans $600 was the best they could do.

Robert Reich

 by RobertReich.org

Hidden in the bill combining Covid relief and government spending is a cool $200 billion in tax breaks. An estimated $120 billion of those tax breaks will go to the richest 1 percent of Americans.

Those giveaways include:

—A $2.5 billion break for racecar tracks

—A $6.3 billion write-off for business meals, i.e. the “three-martini lunch” deduction

—A new provision under the Paycheck Protection Program that allows forgiven loans to also be tax deductible, giving businesses the ability to “double dip” into the program

The bill also creates an independent commission to oversee horse racing, at the behest of Mitch McConnell.

There’s no question about it: This pandemic has both revealed and exacerbated our already staggering economic inequality.

Republicans didn’t blink twice when they handed out $6.3 billion in tax breaks to their wealthy corporate backers, but when it came to getting direct relief to struggling Americans $600 was the best they could do. Their priorities couldn’t be clearer.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert Reich, is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. His book include:  "Aftershock" (2011), "The Work of Nations" (1992), "Beyond Outrage" (2012) and, "Saving Capitalism" (2016). He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, former chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." Reich's newest book is "The Common Good" (2019). He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Rights Groups Rip NYC Mayor Over Forced Hospitalizations for Mental Illness

"Forcing people into treatment is a failed strategy," said the head of the NYCLU. "With no real plan for housing, services, or supports, the administration is choosing handcuffs and coercion."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Put Up or Shut Up,' Says Sanders as Progressives Move to Add 7 Sick Days to Railway Deal

"If you can't vote for this," said the independent Vermont senator, "don't tell anybody that you stand with working families."

Jon Queally ·


'Love Wins Again': Senate Passes Bill to Protect Same-Sex and Interracial Marriage

"While Congress has taken an important step," said the head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, "it is incumbent on all of us to continue to push for passage of the comprehensive Equality Act."

Jessica Corbett ·


Groups Blast Biden for 'Siding With Billionaires Over Rail Workers'

As criticism of the president's position mounts, some members of Congress are speaking out in support of including at least seven days of paid sick leave in any measure they pass.

Jessica Corbett ·


'A Very Good Day for Our Republic' as Key Jan. 6 Insurrectionist Convicted of Seditious Conspiracy

"Now the only remaining question is how much higher did those plans go, and who else might be held criminally responsible," said one former federal prosecutor after Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers militia, was found guilty.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo