The notion of the federal government handing out free money used to be a liberal dream and a conservative nightmare. No more.
The coronavirus outbreak, which plunged the nation into an economic free fall, has created an opening for governments and nonprofits to experiment with giving money directly to Americans, with no strings attached.
In Los Angeles, thousands have been handed “Angeleno cards” — no-fee debit cards loaded with $700 to $1,500. Across the nation, food stamp recipients are getting a $1,000 check from a private effort whose leaders include former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
The federal government, with near-unanimous support from Democrats and Republicans, is sending up to $1,200 to most people to blunt unprecedented job losses. Democrats in the Senate and the House have proposed even larger monthly payments.
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