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Biden says federal government should subsidize some salaries as part of coronavirus recovery

Former Vice President Joe Biden called for the federal government to cover half of some workers' salaries to help keep people employed during the coronavirus outbreak. By Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden called for the federal government to cover half of some workers' salaries to help keep people employed during the coronavirus outbreak.

"If these little guys go out of business, they're out of business. I mean they're not coming back, likely," Biden said of small businesses during a CNN town hall Thursday night on the coronavirus. "So I think we should think about how we deal with the economy in a different way."

"I think we should do a situation like we did in the Recovery Act," he said, adding that "Employers, if they're able to stay open, instead of ... having to lay off employees -- bring on everybody, keep them working, they may have one person doing 50% of the job, another person doing the other 50%. I think the federal government should just come in and make up the difference in the salaries, just make up the difference to keep people employed."

Biden appeared to be referring to a $5 billion fund set up as a part of the 2009 stimulus that helped subsidize low-income workers. The federal government helped pay for the salaries of some workers in exchange for employers not laying people off.

"Keep people on the payrolls and just have straight flat payment, a flat payment where the government pays half the salary of everybody on there," Biden later added. "You can keep everybody doing half the work they were doing but everybody stays employed."

Biden's comments come as economic slide triggered by the coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen. Twenty-two million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the last four weeks, according to the Department of Labor, while the Treasury Department races to get coronavirus stimulus checks to tens of millions of taxpayers.

The recent $2 trillion stimulus package includes some impetus for businesses to retain employees. It offers assistance to those who have had their hours reduced by providing incentives to states to adopt work-sharing programs, which allow employers to cut workers' hours but not lay them off. Those workers are then eligible for some unemployment benefits.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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Rommel 43 days ago
So according to Groper Joe...the feds should make "investments" whenever there is a recession. Let capitalism run it's course instead of utilizing the liberal plan of printed money is so easy to give away.
Lawrence 43 days ago
This is exactly right. There are a great many Americans working in sections of this economy who through no fault of their own have lost their incomes due to the spread of the virus. They need temporary incomes. This is not a handout. This is an investment. And what is needed to pay for this is a wealth tax. Loyal American billionaires and multimillionaires can step up and give back to the country that bailed them out not so long ago.
Rommel Lawrence 43 days ago
What color is the sky in your world......those that have will not give to those who don't,that's how they attained their wealth.
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