Patterico's Pontifications


Trump Looking To Open Up The Economy With A “Big Bang” By May 1

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:15 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The Trump administration is moving toward opening up as much of the economy as they can by May 1 (excluding “hot spots” like New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans):

The Trump administration is pushing to reopen much of the country next month, raising concerns among health experts and economists of a possible covid-19 resurgence if Americans return to their normal lives before the virus is truly stamped out.

Behind closed doors, President Trump — concerned with the sagging economy — has sought a strategy for resuming business activity by May 1, according to people familiar with the discussions.

In phone calls with outside advisers, Trump has even floated trying to reopen much of the country before the end of this month, when the current federal recommendations to avoid social gatherings and work from home expire, the people said. Trump regularly looks at unemployment and stock market numbers, complaining that they are hurting his presidency and reelection prospects, the people said.

Note: “The administration sees rapid and widespread testing as a crucial step, [and] allowing public health authorities to better identify infected people, including those who don’t show symptoms, and isolate them from healthy people who could go about their businesses.”

The assistant secretary for Health spoke to the issue of testing with regard to reopening the country:

…the administration aims to have “millions” of tests on the market by May that can tell if healthy people have been exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it.

“A combination of that kind of test with the current kind of test we have now is how America opens back up again.”…

On Tuesday, Trump told Sean Hannity that he wanted to open the economy with a “big bang”:

I’d love to open with a big bang, one beautiful country, but it’s very possible.

So we are looking at two concepts, we are looking at the concept we open up sections and also looking at the concept where you open up everything. I think New York is getting ready if not already, but getting ready to peak and once it peaks, it will start coming down and it’s going to come down fast.

The report notes that the CDC guidelines expire April 30, and, as they did when establishing stay-at-home restrictions, states will be able to decide how they want to proceed with easing up on the restrictions. Because the White House cannot unilaterally reopen the country, it is the states that have “put the force of law behind those suggestions”.

While Dr. Fauci agreed that it made sense to develop a plan to reopen the country, he warned against taking a universal approach:

We have a very large country with very different patterns of disease and outbreaks in different parts of the country, so it’s not gonna be one size fits all.”

“I don’t think there are going to be benchmarks consistent” throughout the U.S., Fauci said, noting public health officials would pay close attention to data everywhere. Some places, including smaller towns and cities in the midwest, could see a quicker reopening, Fauci said.

He added that in New York, where more than 7,000 have died, he would “not pull back … at all” on mitigation including social distancing until there was a “steep decline” in cases and better systems in place to contain the virus should a resurgence occur.

When Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was asked whether he thought there was the likelihood that the U.S. might be ready for business next month, he said, “I do.”

Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, estimates it will happen within the next four to eight weeks:

We are coming down, I think, the home stretch, that’s what the health experts are telling us. Once we can reopen this thing, I think it’s going to be very successful.

Again, it’s an issue of competing interests. And both interests are vital. I’m just hoping that Trump can use some restraint, and take the time to carefully listen to his health care experts as much as he does his economic advisers.

Perhaps a good question to ask is: Will the American people be ready to return to their regular routines and activities, as well as return to work after the social distancing guidelines expire on April 30?


New York Times Editorial: The America We Need Want

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:23 am

[guest post by Dana]

The editorial is here. Snippets here:

From some of its darkest hours, the United States has emerged stronger and more resilient.

We have that chance again.

The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the incomplete nature of the American project — the great distance between the realities of life and death in the United States and the values enunciated in its founding documents.

Las Vegas painted rectangles on an asphalt parking lot to remind homeless residents to sleep six feet apart — an act that might as well have been a grim piece of performance art titled “The Least We Can Do.”

The magnitude of a crisis is determined not just by the impact of the precipitating events but also by the fragility of the system it attacks. We were vulnerable because so many Americans lack the essential liberty to protect their own lives and the lives of their families.

We need a broad and muscular conception of liberty: that government should provide all Americans with the freedom that comes from a stable and prosperous life.

Advocates of a minimalist conception of government claim they too are defenders of liberty. But theirs is a narrow and negative definition of freedom: the freedom from civic duty, from mutual obligation, from taxation….

This impoverished view of freedom has in practice protected wealth and privilege. It has perpetuated the nation’s defining racial inequalities and kept the poor trapped in poverty, and their children, and their children’s children.

The nation’s hierarchies are starkly visible during periods of crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has necessitated extraordinary sacrifices, but the distribution is profoundly unequal. Less affluent Americans will bear the brunt in health and wealth.

The crucible of a crisis provides the opportunity to forge a better society, but the crisis itself does not do the work. Crises expose problems, but they do not supply alternatives, let alone political will. Change requires ideas and leadership.

This moment demands a restoration of the national commitment to a richer conception of freedom: economic security and equality of opportunity.

To give Americans a fair chance in the race of life, the government must begin from birth. The U.S. must reclaim the core truth of the Supreme Court’s seminal decision in Brown v. Board of Education: So long as Americans are segregated, their opportunities can never be equal.

Over the course of this project, we also will examine other ways to equalize opportunity early in life, and also to restore a healthier balance of power between employers and workers.

The United States has a chance to emerge from this latest crisis as a stronger nation, more just, more free and more resilient. We must seize the opportunity.

Sigh. Again we are reminded that there really is nothing new under the sun. The tedious belief of The New York Times that bigger government produces better results never changes. And clearly, their belief in goverment, and advocacy for even more government results in a belief that supporters of less government *must* have an impoverished view of freedom, and thus, they can only *claim* to be supporters of it. And obviously, obviously, individual liberty can’t possibly be the imptetus for civic duty because only the government can compel that, don’tcha know… And so it goes.


Another 6.6 Million Jobless Claims Filed Last Week

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:17 am

Not good:

Jobless rolls continued to swell due to the coronavirus shutdown, with 6.6 million Americans filing first-time unemployment claims last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

That brings the total claims over the past three weeks to more than 16 million. If you compare those claims to the 151 million people on payrolls in the last monthly employment report, that means the U.S. has lost 10% of the workforce in three weeks.

Moments after the jobless claims report was released, the Federal Reserve announced plans to inject another $2.3 billion into businesses and revenue-pinched governments. Stock futures jumped after the Fed’s announcement.

Yeah, we’ve lost more than 10% of the workforce.

The good news is that the reason for all of this is not intrinsic to the economy, and it will pass.

The bad news is that it will not pass as quickly as Mr. Optimistic wants people to hope it will. And the dislocation caused by the massive disruption cannot be cured with a snap of the fingers once we have a vaccine and COVID-19 is no longer the health threat it still is today.

That said, people who seize on bad news like this to declare that we need to OPEN EVERYTHING UP come hell or highwater are gravely irresponsible. (Don’t be that guy.) What we need — and what we don’t seem to have — is a plan. I read somewhere that “[a]ny plan for gradual lifting of social distancing requires a massive testing effort to identify (hopefully) immune people with antibodies, as well as a Manhattan Project to develop therapies and eventually a vaccine.” I’m not watching the Daily Free Media for Trump Show any longer, and of course you can’t trust the Fake News to report on all the great things that our leader Donald Trump does. Therefore, I must rely on you folks to fill me in. If you are still watching the clown show every day, please tell me: do you have a sense that such a plan is in the works?

I’d love some good news, preferably before Sunday night when John Krasinski gives me some.

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