We are burying our heads in the sand about the coronavirus. While I am not in favor of creating unnecessary panic, I do think we need to allocate government resources towards virus testing, PPEs, ventilators, and medical personnel.
One glaring example is that Carnival Cruise Lines earned $3.152 billion and $2.990 billion for 2018 and 2019, respectively. Now they are facing financial misfortunate and immediately they want government financial assistance. Carnival has $518 million in cash on its balance sheet at 12/31/19 and $25.365 billion in shareholders' equity. Carnival distributes a dividend of $.50/share each quarter which equates to $355 million per quarter in the dividend distribution. Why not suspend dividend distribution and use these funds to support the company during these difficult times?
About the Coronavirus Response
The United States remains dangerously limited in its capacity to test people for the coronavirus. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, only 2,935,000 have been tested as of April 13th, 2020. That is less than 1% of the U.S. population, which is not enough because many people who have coronavirus are asymptomatic.
The lack of testing means that it is almost possible to know how many Americans are infected with the coronavirus and are infecting other people. The lack of tests is one of the government's main failures in responding to the epidemic.
While the tourism industries are facing their worst crisis since the 2001 terrorist attacks, government officials to consider deferring taxes for the cruise, travel and airline industries to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus.
This is unfortunate. All of the United States Government's resources should be spent getting more tests, funding important public health programs, creating a vaccine, and responding to the crisis. Our resources and time should not be spent bailing out companies that should have planned for these types of scenarios beforehand and prepared accordingly.
What will your lobbyist do?
Lobbyists for this issue will meet with lawmakers and their staff and urge them to focus all available resources to respond to the coronavirus and not focus their attention on bailing out corporations that do not need the government's help. At least, they should wait until the crisis is over before devoting resources and time to helping corporations over people.
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