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September 29, 2020

Why are airlines asking Congress for more relief money?

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. For a transcript of the video, click here.

Summary: U.S. airlines are facing a challenging deadline. A dramatic decrease in travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic has many struggling to avoid bankruptcy, and several airlines say they’ll soon be forced to furlough (mandatory unpaid time away from work, or a temporary layoff) employees unless they receive more federal aid.

  • In the spring, Congress passed a massive stimulus that granted $25 billion to the airlines to keep them afloat during quarantines and an economic slowdown. That relief has been used up, and Congress has failed to come to an agreement on additional relief.
  • While the economy has shown some signs of recovery, including a rebounding stock market, unemployment is still high and business has not recovered for many industries, such as dining and entertainment.
  • Other sectors of the economy, including agriculture, may require additional bailouts as well.

Discussion: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who is requesting federal relief, and for what stated purpose?
  • What are airlines threatening will happen without relief?
  • When and where might the broader economy be affected by airline cuts?
  • Why would Congress prioritize airlines relief over other economic relief?
  • How might furloughs or layoffs in the airline industry affect more than just the airlines?

Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS).

Focus questions:

  1. What do you think are the advantages and the drawbacks of the federal government bailing out industries like the airline industry?
  2. Who do you think besides airlines and their employees might be affected if airlines fail?

Media literacy: 

  1. The airline industry is just one of many that have struggled since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Why do you think the report focuses on this one sector of the economy?
    • Who else would you want to hear from to help decide whether or not the airlines should receive more money from the federal government?

Dig Deeper: With just over a month left before the presidential election, candidates are staking out their positions on economic issues, with the first presidential debate scheduled for today. First, watch the video below on the current state of the race and then ask your students, how do they think each candidate would be likely to handle the question of economic relief such as industry bailouts? Where do their positions differ, and where can students go to learn about the candidates’ economic platforms? If you are interested in additional lessons on the elections and presidential debates, click here.

 

 


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