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It’s getting pretty clear that, even if the various anti-CCP Virus vaccines started getting stuck into Americans’ arms right away, many in the United States would be facing major financial hardships for many months because Congress and the administration still can’t get their act together to pass a meaningful relief bill.

My own hunch is that pretty full normality will return for most of the country by the end of next year. Through then, however, and afterwards, the personal service-oriented businesses big and small in particular that employ so many Americans in relatively low paying jobs will struggle to return to business- and employment-as usual. Moreover, continued budget crises in many states and localities could result in both significant, lasting layoffs of government workers, and big and equally lasting cuts in the social services needed by the needy.

Luckily, thanks to the work of the progressive organizations Americans for Tax Fairness (AFT) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) a very promising bandaid has come into view: stimulus checks written voluntarily by America’s billionaires.

These two groups want the funds to be generated by an “emergency wealth tax on billionaire profiteers,” but there’s no reason to believe that such a measure would pass the Senate, assuming it turned Democratic. And even the House might balk, given that the Democrats’ majority will be so narrow.

There’s nothing, however, stopping the billionaires – who AFT and IPS say number 651 – getting together and furnishing such assistance on their own. Distribution could be handled just as official Washington handled the previous $1,200 checks.  Or the billionaires could set up their own system. (Maybe through Amazon and Fedex and other delivery companies?)

These funds won’t cure everything that will keep ailing Americans and their economy for the foreseeable future. But the effects would be considerable.

Specifically, if the 651 came up with the $3,000 per check recommended by the two organizations for every inhabitant of the country, the total 330 million U.S. population would receive a total of just under $1 trillion. That sum would represent a big fraction of the $3.5 trillion in federal budget resources and tax relief signed into law this year so far. And it’s somewhat bigger than the $908 billion framework for a compromise package put forward by a bipartisan group of Senators earlier this month.

Moreover, the uber-rich themselves could clearly afford this spending. AFT and IPS estimate that the billionaire class has increased its net worth by $1 trillion since the pandemic reached the United States. And its members would still be left with $3 trillion in assets.

In addition, unlike a big emergency wealth tax increase – a cash cow that government would be reluctant to repeal, at least in full, once normality returns – the billionaires’ check-writing would be a one-off measure, intended to help Americans keep their heads above water while the economy remains in extreme distress.

At the same time, if the pandemic emergency lasts longer than expected (e.g., because vaccine immunity doesn’t last as long as widely assumed), nothing would prevent the billionaires from coming to the (partial) rescue again, at whatever scale they chose. Even better – the 651 could also reach out to the somewhat less super-rich and urge them to lend a hand as well. It’s not like they’re without influence, and are unfamiliar with peer pressure – or outright arm-twisting.

Further, not only would the general politics of tax increases be avoided by privatizing virus relief. All the other conflicting priorities and legislative shenanigans that have held up progress on this particular package would be bypassed altogether, too – like CCP Virus liability insurance for business and bailouts for allegedly spendthrift state and local governments. And of course, no deficit hawks (phony or genuine) inside or outside government could object, since no public funds would be spent.

The one important objection I can think of is that billionaire action on this scale could convince politicians that they’re off the virus-relief hook for good. But it’s also possible that a privately financed aid package could shame collective Washington into subsequent needed action. In fact, this would be a great lobbying cause for the billionaires – along with threats to withhold campaign contributions from lawmakers or Presidents they’ve identified as obstacles.

The American super-rich haven’t blown off their fellow compatriots entirely during the pandemic. And of course, they’re major contributors to many non-CCP Virus-related good causes as well. But from what’s publicly known, their pandemic-related donations has been astonishingly meager, and their records seem Scrooge-ier still given how they’ve greatly they’ve become enriched collectively during the crisis.

Given the rise of “woke capitalism” in recent years, and the corporate world’s embrace – at least rhetorically – of social responsibility, it’s obvious that America’s super-rich fear they have a serious image problem. It’s hard to think of a better way to improve their standing than by springing to their compatriots’ rescue at a time of such dire need.