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Bailout Talk Creeps Into Democratic Debate

By Bram Berkowitz - Mar 16, 2020 at 11:28AM

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Biden wants major bailout; Sanders is unclear.

The remaining Democratic presidential candidates have thus far largely sidestepped the financial sector in their campaign pitches and debates, choosing to largely focus on industries such as healthcare.

But with the world possibly on the brink of recession and the Federal Reserve taking drastic measures to combat an economic slowdown, talk of a potential bailout and financial crisis crept its way into the Democratic presidential debate Sunday night.

Former vice president and now front-runner Joe Biden was asked by moderators how he would respond to a crisis now that the Fed has exhausted many of its monetary tools by dropping rates to near zero and resuming its quantitative easing program.

"What I would do is make it clear to the world and make it clear to the United States that we are going to have to have a major, major, major, major bailout package [and] that we do not reward corporations," said Biden. "We reward individuals who in fact are really put to the test here." He added that he thinks the Fed will be of "little consequence" now.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who voted against a bailout during the financial crisis, agreed that the government needs to stabilize the economy, but also said he did not want a repeat of 2008, and was not immediately clear if he would support another bailout.

"Here's the point here, is that in terms of that bailout [2008], there are ways that you can bail out," Sanders said. "When you have a handful of people who have incredible wealth who have prospered off of the illegal behavior of individuals, in this case on Wall Street, you know what you say to them? And I did. I said this to the secretary of treasury. You want a bailout? That's fine. Have your friends pay for it, not working people."

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