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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Uncle Sam today will become Corporate America's lender of last resort, but it's still unclear if it also will become its activist shareholder.

Driving the news: We're still awaiting full text of the bipartisan deal struck last night between the White House and Senate leaders, including if there will be any straight equity or warrants tied to financial help for affected industries and companies.

  • Airlines and big companies like Boeing have fought hard against such a move, arguing that interest payments would be adequate financial upside for taxpayers.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, a former private equity executive, yesterday told Fox Business that his company would refuse government assistance if it came with equity strings attached: "If they force it we just look at all the other options, and we’ve got plenty of them."

  • Boeing declined to tell Axios what any of those other options were. Weird, since there are "plenty" of them. It also couldn't reconcile the existence of such options with Calhoun claiming the government needs to support credit markets.

Ben Baldanza, former Spirit Airlines CEO and current JetBlue director, yesterday rejected proposals for Treasury taking equity in airlines during a CNBC interview, but repeatedly dodged when asked why.

  • We do know there will be stock buyback and CEO bonus prohibitions on the airline package. Plus added oversight, transparency, and worker protection provisions.

The bottom line: Corporate America is right that it didn't directly cause this problem, as Wall Street caused the 2008 crisis, so there is no need to be punitive. But neither did taxpayers, and they're the ones footing the bill after years of corporate stock buybacks and mediocre wage increases. It will be interesting to see where the Senate sided.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

How the tech stock selloff is hurting average Americans

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Investors holding the ultra-popular Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 index funds have been hard hit over the last two weeks as tech shares have been roiled by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

Why it matters: Even though the economy is growing and many U.S. stocks are performing well, most investors are seeing their wealth decline because major indexes no longer reflect the overall economy or even a broad swath of public companies — they reflect the performance of a few of the country's biggest companies.

2 hours ago - World

UN rights chief: At least 54 killed, 1,700 detained since Myanmar coup

A Feb. 7 protest in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

Police and military officers in Myanmar have killed at least 54 people during anti-coup protests, while "arbitrarily" detaining over 1,700 people, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said Thursday.

Why it matters: Protesters have demonstrating across Myanmar for nearly a month, demanding the restoration of democracy after the country's military leaders overthrew its democratically elected government on Feb. 1.

3 hours ago - Health

The danger of a fourth wave

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Anomalous Arkansas case data from Feb. 28 was not included in the calculated change; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. may be on the verge of another surge in coronavirus cases, despite weeks of good news.

The big picture: Nationwide, progress against the virus has stalled. And some states are ditching their most important public safety measures even as their outbreaks are getting worse.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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