Everyone wants schools to open but Congress and the Trump administration don’t want to pay for it. That cost includes reduced class sizes for social distancing, additional teachers, cleaning services, nurses, ventilation improvements, personal protective equipment, and whatever is recommended by CDC.

In places where the disease is out of control, reopening will not be possible. First control the disease, then reopen schools. Trump could start the process by wearing a mask in public, whenever he is in public. His refusal to do so has spread the virus by encouraging his admirers to do as he does, which violates the strong advice of medical professionals.

Where reopening is possible, Congress must foot the bill because the stayes’s coffers have been depleted by the economic toll of the pandemic.

Thus far, Congress has been generous to high-income individuals and employers, but stingy with the nation’s schools, as David Dayen of “The American Prospect” explains here. To see the links and open them, go to his post here.

Dayen writes:

As we head into crunch time on coronavirus relief, the demands coming from the White House threaten to upset the entire deal. Donald Trump remains obsessed with a payroll tax cut, which nobody in Congress, really, wants. Any payroll tax cut with any real impact on people—a three-month holiday would run around $300 billion—would cut deeply into the other White House demand for a relief bill topping out at no more than $1 trillion.

The proper amount of spending for this bill is “whatever it takes.” If you don’t like the cost, maybe you shouldn’t have completely botched the policy response such that major regions of the country have to shut down again. The same people whining about expense are the ones who drove the country into despair. The cost of a continued runaway virus is much higher than the cost of emergency measures to ensure millions of people have adequate food and shelter during this crisis.

But if you really, really must constrain the response, and you really, really must have this payroll tax cut, then I have an idea: get rid of all the other long-term tax cuts mostly targeted toward the rich, many of them passed in the very last coronavirus relief bill.

They don’t get much discussion but there were a host of tax provisions in the CARES Act, passed in March. In fact there was a payroll tax holiday, but for the employer side, not the employee. Not only can employers delay payroll taxes to next year, they can eliminate them if they retain employees. The two measures are estimated at about $66 billion, and the savings falls on the business.

A bigger tax break has been termed the “Millionaire’s Giveaway” by Americans for Tax Fairness. This $135 billion tax break allows people with partnerships or other structures to carry forward losses from previous years and offset gains in their taxes in future years. It only affects people making half a million dollars in income from the partnership or more. The same type of deduction for businesses costs another $25 billion; the oil and gas industry in particular has been using that one, converting their losses in recent years into corporate welfare checks. There’s also an interest deduction available to larger corporations ($13 billion). Certain aviation taxes were suspended ($4 billion); see if that shows up in a lower ticket fare.

Add it up and that’s $243 billion in tax giveaways to rich people and corporations in the CARES Act. If the White House wants a payroll tax cut it can come out of that. Most of the benefits from those changes don’t hit until next year and the payment of 2020 taxes, and beyond. It makes sense to pull up spending (tax breaks are spending through the tax code) to when it’s needed now.

The Heroes Act, the House Democratic bill, actually accomplished a form of this, by cancelling the Millionaire’s Giveaway permanently, as it was due under the Trump tax cuts to come back in 2026 anyway. That brings in $246 billion overall, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, enough for a decent-sized payroll tax holiday.

And as long as we’re talking about the Trump tax cuts, we could eliminate the measures most tilted to the rich and powerful—the corporate tax cut, the S-corporation pass through for rich people who set up partnerships, the deducations for dividends on foreign earnings, and the inheritance tax cuts—and take in about $3 trillion. If the next relief bill simply has to be capped at $1 trillion, then you could do $4 trillion in spending and add these measures in and hit that number.

Again, I think it’d be ridiculous to offset anything for emergency relief. But playing by the rules set up by the White House isn’t an obstacle, thanks to the trillions of dollars in offsets Trump created with his tax law. There is also a case to be made that rebalancing the inequality baked into the tax code is good public policy anyway, and if it can facilitate critical crisis spending under the stupid strictures of straitjacket budget politics, all the better.

Unfortunately, Chuck Schumer is trying to leverage the new bill to get a tax cut for well-off people, particularly in his own state, by removing the cap on the state and local tax deduction imposed in the Trump tax cuts. That was also in the Heroes Act (albeit just a two-year suspension). There’s no need whatsoever for this kind of long-term help for people who itemize when the unemployed and the poor are in desperate trouble right now. Wealthy people don’t need another champion to engage in special pleading for them.