I keep seeing people mention the CARES act without, apparently, a full of understanding of what it actually is or how it actually works. Yes, Southwest received about $3 billion in government assistance, but all of that money went towards paying employees salaries. It's essentially a form of unemployment assistance, but with the payments going to keep the employees of a vital service (air transportation) working, instead of paying them for not working (while they're on unemployment). Plus Southwest will have to pay back about one third of that $3 billion. It's no more of a "handout" than is unemployment programs. Airlines receive government assistance in times of crisis because they are a vital part of the transportation infrastructure. If the government allowed these companies to go out of business, the US would face significant difficulties across many industries.
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