I was talking to my 94 year old mom yesterday on the Coronavirus. She said, “I’ve never seen anything like this,” and she has seen a lot in her years. I acknowledged this was different with everything closing and things coming to a halt, but I reiterated that this was “temporary,” and I thought by June we would be back to just about normal. Then I reminded her that she had lived through the Great Depression, and as a child of a widowed immigrant mother she had to wonder where the next meal was coming from. I reminded her she had lived through WWII and the uncertain outcome and time frame. No, she had been through worse, and this was just another challenge in her lifetime.
Now later when I spoke to my 15 year old grandson who was relaxed and jovial, I told him this was the most monumental world event of his lifetime, and he will be asked about it forever. He understood, and his questions were more focused on if school would start back up and if spring track would be allowed.
So with the full spectrum available to me, let me provide some thoughts on where we are and plans to address things.
The unemployment claims this AM rose to 281,000. It will be big news in the media today, but that number will pale to next week’s. The furloughs and layoffs have just begun.
Remember when all the negative news hits and the media hypes it, that this is all because of a virus, not our economy. There is a difference.
That’s why the plan the President and Congress put forward is key. There should be two objectives. First to help people pay their bills. Second to help companies survive the virus period.
If people can pay their bills for a month, and their jobs are there in a month or six weeks, our economy will recover quickly (by the third quarter).
If this persists longer and jobs do not come back, then we have a problem. So the timing is key.
Are dollars to the people the right approach? I would argue the best program might be to work with companies to keep people employed and paid. That protects the job when we are cleared to function again. The other area to fund is unemployment to assure those losing jobs are getting income.
To send money to everyone will do what? In an economic crisis this is good, because people go out and spend it. Today they cannot go out, so how are they going to spend it? This crisis is different. Thus I would favor supporting businesses keeping jobs and payroll functioning and then over funding unemployment to support those losing jobs. Let people be able to pay their bills for the next month. We want them to hit the ground running when they are let back out.
Here’s a thought not discussed yet. We just enjoyed a true economic boom the past few years. (In fact the argument from the left was that this began under Obama in 2008.) Okay so we had a boom. Now, did your local and state government take advantage of those increased revenues to save for a rainy day, or did they spend the money?
What free spending governments do is just add programs assuming the money will always be there, never anticipating a rainy day.
So what happens now? They have no reserve to call upon, cry about shortfalls and look to raise state and local taxes. Watch your areas and see what happens. Next time vote for those who know the economy goes up and down and in good times you prepare for the down time.
Some good news from China, no new cases to report yesterday, which shows this does end.
In fact, the virus has now infected and killed more people in Europe (over 82,000 cases and more than 3,400 dead), than it has in China.
Here in the U.S. new C.D.C. data showed that nearly 40 percent of hospitalized patients were 20-54. However, the risk of dying was significantly higher in older people.
A question, how come there are no cases or news of them from Russia?
By the way, there was a more impactful virus 102 years ago.
The 1918 Spanish flu roared across the U.S. for 20 plus months, from April 1918 into 1920, and killed 675,000 Americans. The economic devastation from it ranks second only to that of the Great Depression.
One final virus thought. The fascination by the media with calling the President racist because he called this the China virus is sickening.
First of all, he did not do so until they accused the U.S. military of bringing it into China. An outrageous lie to try and protect their image and trade. This President, when attacked or his country attacked, hits back.
Second, why is that wrong? We call the other diseases by where they began. Was it racist to say I had the German Measles? Is it racist to say someone has Lyme Disease? Was it racist for the last administration to call it Ebola Disease? There are dozens of examples.
No, what it is is the personal animosity some of the media have to this President, and that is a shame.
Quick Political Thoughts
The Democratic Primary is over. Bernie Sanders proved to have no depth beyond the three issues he talked about over and over and is done.
It’s Trump versus Biden in November. Buckle up.
Not much coverage yesterday because of the virus, but interesting story on Joe Biden issuing a demand yesterday that President Trump invoke the Defense Production Act. The problem? Just minutes prior to his release the President did exactly that.
One quiet result from Tuesday’s primary was the defeat of one of the last Democratic Congressman with a lean right of center.
Rep. Dan Lipinski, a Chicago congressman known for his staunch opposition to abortion and his votes against Obamacare and same-sex marriage, lost to to a liberal challenger backed by the AOC progressive wing in the primary. Lipinski had served eight terms.
In Alabama, due to the virus the governor has moved the run off between Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville from March 30th until July 24th.
HAVE A GREAT DAY AND STAY SAFE.