Principles for relief, recovery, and rebuilding the U.S. economy

This memo explains why policymakers need to pass roughly $3 trillion in debt-financed fiscal support now, with the first $2 trillion hitting the economy between now and mid-2022. This amount of upfront stimulus, combined with investments that ensure a very slow phaseout of this fiscal support, are needed to ensure a return to a high-pressure, low-unemployment labor market by mid-2022. Specifically, the memo calls on policymakers to take the following actions:

  • Finance fiscal support with debt […] 
  • Aim for a high-pressure labor market by picking an ambitious unemployment rate target that constitutes labor market health. […]
  • Refuse to accept the self-defeating notion that the COVID-19 shock will leave (or has already left) permanent and unfixable economic scars.[…]
  • Avoid the premature and precipitous withdrawal of fiscal support by ramping up public investments in public goods that are appropriate to debt-finance even during times of full economic health. For the sake of future crises, we should also start building automatic triggers in things like unemployment insurance and aid to state and local governments. […] 
  • Finally, note that this $3 trillion in needed fiscal support is for hitting economic targets. Money is still clearly needed for virus containment and will be needed for rapid vaccine deployment in coming months. Public health measures are the most important part of the response to the pandemic, so whatever money can usefully help on this front should be added on top of this economic package of relief and recovery. […]




“The good hand of God favored our beginnings [by] sweeping away great multitudes of the Natives … that he might make room for us.” ~~William Bradford, a founder and governor of the Plymouth Colony.



At Daily Kos on this date in 2012—There was no ‘war on coal,’ but there should be. Just not on the backs of miners. Delay is denial:

Coal is a disaster for the climate and, although it provides good-paying jobs in areas where there often are no others, it also is a disaster for coal communities and miners themselves. For those reasons, with his last election campaign a success, President Obama should push hard to get regulations in place that work to force an end to most coal mining—a ban on mountain-top removal, regulations that control CO2 emissions of existing plants, more funding for enforcing health and safety regulations while coal is still mined, installing every obstacle the executive branch can come up in the path of soaring U.S. coal exports and negotiating a no-exports pact with the world’s other leading exporters (Russia, Australia, Indonesia). He should also find various innovative means to support and invest in the future of coal miners and other coal-company employees who will lose their livelihood as coal production is cut back.

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Breaking New

Biden Covid advisor says U.S. lockdown of 4 to 6 weeks could control pandemic and revive economy

Dr. Michael Osterholm, Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, announced advances for COVID-19 testing in Minnesota, Wednesday, April 22, 2020 in St. Paul, MN.

Glen Stubbe | Star Tribune | Getty Images

Shutting down businesses and paying people for lost wages for four to six weeks could help keep the coronavirus pandemic in check and get the economy on track until a vaccine is approved and distributed, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to President-elect Joe Biden.

Osterholm, who serves as director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said earlier this week that the country is headed toward “Covid hell.” Cases are rising as more people grow tired of wearing masks and social distancing, suffering from so-called “pandemic fatigue,” he said Wednesday. Colder weather is also driving people indoors where the virus can spread more easily.

A nationwide lockdown would drive the number of new cases and hospitalizations down to manageable levels while the world awaits a vaccine, he told Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that,” he said. “If we did that, then we could lockdown for four-to-six weeks.”

Osterholm was appointed to Biden’s 12-member Covid “advisory board” on Monday. The panel of advisors is co-chaired by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith of Yale University. Other task force members include Dr. Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery and health policy at Harvard, and Dr. Rick Bright, the vaccine expert and whistleblower who resigned his post with the Trump administration last month.

A representative for Biden did not return CNBC’s request for comment.

Osterholm on Wednesday referenced an August op-ed he wrote with Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari in which the two argued for more restrictive and uniform lockdowns across the nation.

“The problem with the March-to-May lockdown was that it was not uniformly stringent across the country. For example, Minnesota deemed 78 percent of its workers essential,” they wrote in the New York Times. “To be effective, the lockdown has to be as comprehensive and strict as possible.”

On Wednesday, Osterholm said such a lockdown would help the country bring the virus under control, “like they did in New Zealand and Australia.” Epidemiologists have repeatedly pointed to New Zealand, Australia and other parts of Asia that have brought the number of daily new cases to under 10 as an example of how to contain the virus.

“We could really watch ourselves cruising into the vaccine availability in the first and second quarter of next year while bringing back the economy long before that,” he said Wednesday.

On the current trajectory, Osterholm said the U.S. is headed for dark days before a vaccine becomes available. He said health-care systems across the country are already overwhelmed in places like El Paso, Texas, where local officials have already closed businesses and the federal government is sending resources to handle a surge in deaths caused by Covid-19.

Osterholm said the country needs leadership. The president-elect is up to the task of providing that leadership, Osterholm said, adding that it could also come from local and state officials or those in the medical community. He referenced the fireside chats broadcast over radio during former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s terms, through which Roosevelt addressed the country on issues ranging from the Great Depression to World War II.

“People don’t want to hear that El Paso isn’t an isolated event. El Paso, in many instances, will become the norm,” he said. “I think that the message is how do we get through this. We need FDR moments right now. We need fireside chats. We need somebody to tell America, ‘this is what in the hell is going to happen.'”

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As the coronavirus continues to spread, covid-19 trails the economy as top issue for voters, exit polling shows

But about one-third said they were primarily motivated by the economy, including 6 in 10 of the voters who supported President Trump.

A slight majority of voters said it is more important to contain the coronavirus now, even if the necessary measures hurt the economy. About 4 in 10 said the economy is more important, even if restoring the nation’s economic health hamstrings efforts to limit the spread of the virus.

Amid the resurgence of the coronavirus in much of the United States, preliminary exit polling showed that voters are closely divided on whether U.S. efforts to contain the virus are going “well” or “badly.” But roughly twice as many voters say efforts to control the pandemic have gone “very badly” than say they have gone “very well.”

Millions of voters who cast ballots in person Tuesday were braving the worst stretch of the pandemic to do so. Nearly 88,000 new infections were reported Tuesday, bringing the U.S. total to more than 9.3 million cases. The virus continued its surge through the Midwest and Plains states. Seven states set records for hospitalizations of patients with covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, including Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Control of the White House and the Senate was up for grabs Tuesday, circumstances not lost on voters whose families and finances have been battered by the coronavirus.

“It’s very personal to me, because it’s right in my immediate family,” said Betty Sullivan, 59, as she stood in line to vote in Jackson, Miss., on Tuesday morning.

Two of Sullivan’s sons and three of her grandchildren have contracted the coronavirus. Her oldest son, who is 36 and lives in Atlanta, tested positive after going to a bar. Her youngest son, 32, apparently was infected by a co-worker. Her grandchildren, ages 6, 8 and 14, contracted the virus after being in day care and school within the past three weeks, she said.

“I think in the past, we’ve not really thought too much about voting; we’ve kind of been really, really casual about it sometimes, but, just with everything with the virus, with the pandemic, with the political climate, everybody now really realizes how important it is to get out, to come out and vote,” Sullivan said.

Regardless of the election outcome, the recent staggering increase in coronavirus cases has set the country on a difficult course for the next several weeks. A sharp rise in hospitalizations, already underway, follows the jump in infections, and a subsequent surge in deaths is expected in the weeks after that.

“The trajectory that we’re on is one that we should expect to be on for the coming weeks,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “We should expect to be hunkered down for the coming weeks.”

Stopping a surge in the pandemic, experts said, isn’t like throwing a switch. It’s more like trying to turn around an oil tanker at sea.

“The virus doesn’t know elections, doesn’t know borders, doesn’t know demographics,” said Ali Mokdad, a University of Washington epidemiologist. “Unfortunately, the virus is taking its course irrespective of what happens today.

“The election is not going to change the virus,” Mokdad added. “Our behavior, our response to the virus, hopefully will change.”

Barring a major change in behavior, meaning much more widespread adoption of masks, social distancing and other mitigation measures, Mokdad believes that “some states, a large number of states, will have to do a hard stop, lockdown” by December or January.

Although mortality rates have improved thanks to better medical techniques and drugs, the key driver of the pandemic is rampant community spread in much the country.

“Even a vaccine won’t flick any switch. There will be the hard work of actually vaccinating people,” William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in an email Tuesday.

Columbia University epidemiologist Jeffrey Shaman said part of the problem is that human behavior is not easily changed. There is “huge inertia,” he said, and that will make it difficult for officials to slow outbreaks in many parts of the country.

And if the United States follows Europe and enters a new phase of restrictions, there will probably be growing pressure for another large relief package, something Congress has been unable to agree on since the first one expired.

“There’s growing evidence about the need for providing resources to help people comply with public health recommendations,” Nuzzo said. “I fear we have focused on increasing number and type of tests, but have not eliminated the disincentives that people may experience about getting tested. Lost income, in particular.”

Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said he hopes that after the election, “we can come together as a country and collectively fight the virus and not each other. There are no longer red and blue states, counties or cities. They are all covid-colored.”

Sarah Fowler in Jackson, Miss., and Scott Clement and Emily Guskin in Washington contributed to this report.

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Trump’s lost his edge on the economy and trails Biden on every other major issue

Overall, the poll gives Biden a 9-point lead among likely voters nationally, 50%-41%, but the strength of Biden’s position is built upon the issues voters care about. 

Likely voter preferences on the issues
Unifying America55%36%
law and order50%44%
Choosing a Scotus justice49%43%

Trump has been effectively neutralized on the two issues he has deliberately pushed most over the closing months of the election: the economy and law and order. The poll also found that voters broadly support passage of a new $2 trillion stimulus deal to boost the economy, 72%-21%, but Trump hasn’t had the juice to get that done amid a revolt by Senate Republicans (who would sooner die than do anything to help struggling Americans).  

But Trump’s fall on the economy could be an indication that at least half of voters now view the national economic outlook as inherently linked to how well the country is handling the pandemic. Michael Zemaitis, an independent voter in Minnesota who is supporting Biden, said he clearly believed a Democratic administration would better tackle the coronavirus than Trump has. “Once that is dealt with, the economy will fall back into line,” he said. 

Additionally, most voters reject Trump’s assertion that we’ve “turned the corner” on the pandemic, with 51% saying the worst is yet to come while just 37% believe the worst is behind us.

Trump is also losing important demographics in the poll, with 56% of women holding a “very unfavorable” view of him along with 53% of white college-educated voters. In 2016, Trump lost women by 13 points while the Times poll shows him losing them by 23 points, 35%-58%. Likewise, Trump won white college-educated voters by 3 points last cycle while he is losing them by 19 points now, 37%-56%. 

Trump won his strongest demographic—non-college whites—by 37 points in ’16. The Times poll shows him winning that bloc by just 23 points now, 36%-59%.

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Trump And Biden On Health Care, Economy, Immigration And More : NPR

Caroline Amenabar/NPR; CDC, Scott Andress, Mitchell Shaprio Photography, Wil Taylor, Joe Hall, Rey Perezoso, U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Russell Gilchrest, The U.S. Army/Flickr

Compare President Trump's and Democratic nominee Joe Biden's policy positions.

Caroline Amenabar/NPR; CDC, Scott Andress, Mitchell Shaprio Photography, Wil Taylor, Joe Hall, Rey Perezoso, U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Russell Gilchrest, The U.S. Army/Flickr

President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden have very different views on how to tackle America’s pressing issues.

That much is clear. But what specifically are they proposing?

NPR Politics has sifted through Trump’s and Biden’s plans, as released by their campaigns, and narrowed in on a few key issues to show what they’re promising and how each man’s priorities differ from his opponent’s.

Read all of the plans here.

The Biden campaign has released an extensive set of policy proposals, prioritizing efforts to deal with the coronavirus, the economic recession and racial justice. The Democrat also has plans for major issues like climate, education, health care, criminal justice and immigration.

Biden came into the planned debates with a larger proposed agenda than Trump. And while incumbent presidents often run for reelection with fewer proposals compared with their opponent, Trump’s campaign is noticeably light on policy.

The Trump campaign has released a bulleted list of second-term agenda items, hammering home similar messages heard in 2016. Trump has also set an ambitious goal of distributing a coronavirus vaccine by January 2021 — a timeline largely disputed by health experts.

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Fed’s Powell Presses Congress For More Action On Economy : NPR

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies last month during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing. Powell continues to warn the U.S. economy needs more stimulus to recover from the pandemic.

Kevin Dietsch/AP

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Kevin Dietsch/AP

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies last month during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing. Powell continues to warn the U.S. economy needs more stimulus to recover from the pandemic.

Kevin Dietsch/AP

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell urged Congress to provide another round of pandemic relief Tuesday, saying it’s better to do too much than too little.

However, hours later, President Trump dashed hopes for any quick deal with lawmakers, saying he’d called a halt to negotiations until after the November election.

In an earlier speech Tuesday, Powell had noted the economy was bouncing back more quickly from the pandemic recession than many forecasters expected. But he added that the recovery is far from complete – echoing comments he made to NPR during an interview last month.

“Even if policy actions ultimately prove to be greater than needed, they will not go to waste,” Powell said Tuesday in a speech to the National Association for Business Economics. “The recovery will be stronger and move faster if monetary policy and fiscal policy continue to work side by side to provide support to the economy until it is clearly out of the woods.”

He also warned the group that without additional support, the economy could slip into a downward spiral “as weakness feeds on weakness.”

“A long period of unnecessarily slow progress could continue to exacerbate existing disparities in our economy,” Powell said. “That would be tragic, especially in light of our country’s progress on these issues in the years leading up to the pandemic.”

Congress passed several stimulus bills earlier in the pandemic, including the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which provided for additional unemployment benefits of up to $600 a week for many individuals.

However, most of the aid provided by Congress has expired.

Over the weekend, Trump seemed eager for additional relief, tweeting, “OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS.”

But by Tuesday afternoon, the president had changed course, rejecting Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s call for an additional $2.4 trillion dollars in aid.

“I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” Trump tweeted.

The president’s move sent the stock market tumbling.

Powell credited the “extraordinary” relief measures passed early in the pandemic with helping to avoid a deeper recession and setting the stage for a partial rebound.

But recent indicators have shown the economic recovery is starting to slow as infections continue to spread. The labor market also remains under stress: Almost half the 22 million jobs lost in the spring have not been replaced.

Powell said Tuesday it may be some time before people whose jobs require a lot of in-person contact can safely return to work.

“While the combined effects of fiscal and monetary policy have aided the solid recovery of the labor market so far, there is still a long way to go,” the Fed chairman said.

“The right thing to do and the smart thing to do is to continue to support those people as they return to their old jobs or find new jobs in different sectors of the economy,” Powell added.

Unemployment, which peaked at 14.7% in April, fell to 7.9% last month. But Powell cautioned the jobless rate would be closer to 11% were it not for misclassification of idle workers and for people leaving the workforce.

Powell noted that job losses in the service sector have fallen particularly hard on women and minorities. And women with children are disproportionately affected by the demands of home schooling.

As the new school year began last month, four times as many women dropped out of the workforce as men.

“The longer it goes on, the more likely there is some lasting damage,” Powell said. “For many people, and it’s a lot of women, it’s winding up being in the home with young children who really should be in school and you would much prefer to be working. So it’s a real issue.”

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Breaking New

Europe’s Economy, German Police, China: Your Thursday Briefing

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

Good morning.

We’re covering the challenges facing Europe’s economic recovery, a domestic abuse case in China that drew outrage and the German police officers suspended for sharing neo-Nazi propaganda.

Over the summer, European countries seemed poised for an economic revival after a historic plunge. The coronavirus seemed to have been successfully contained in many countries, while the promises of the European Central Bank, which vowed to do whatever it took to stabilize the economy and support lending, helped to inspire confidence.

But wider political concerns and the resurgence of the virus could undo much of that progress. The British government’s threats to abandon Europe without a deal governing future commercial relations would imperil its own economy, as well as those of its major European trading partners like the Netherlands, France and Spain.

At the same time, the virus is regaining strength, yielding an alarming increase of cases in Spain, France and Britain. In turn, consumers have scrapped holidays, limited their exposure to shopping areas and opted to economize in the face of threats to businesses and jobs, further imperiling recovery.

Quotable: “It’s hard to imagine a recovery that’s going to be strong and sustained given the current situation,” said one eurozone economist. “There’s not a lot of engines of growth.”

Here are our live updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other coronavirus developments:

  • An experimental drug, a manufactured copy of an antibody produced by a patient who recovered from Covid-19, markedly reduced levels of the virus in newly infected patients and lowered the chances that they would need hospitalization, the drug’s maker, Eli Lilly, announced on Wednesday.

  • For the first time since it opened its doors in 1958, the Jerusalem Great Synagogue will remain shuttered over the Jewish High Holy Days due to a nationwide lockdown in Israel.

  • The coronavirus is the “No. 1 global security threat in our world today,” the U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, said Wednesday.

  • The U.S. says it plans to start distributing a vaccine within 24 hours of approval. The goal, according to federal officials, is that no American “has to pay a single dime” out of their own pocket.

The 126 images shared included swastikas, a fabricated picture of a refugee in a gas chamber and the shooting of a Black man, officials said. At a news conference on Wednesday, Herbert Reul, the interior minister of the western state of North-Rhine Westphalia, described the images as “far-right extremist propaganda” and the “ugliest, most despicable, neo-Nazi immigrant-baiting.”

German politicians and security chiefs have long rejected the notion of far-right infiltration of the security services, speaking only of “individual cases.” But after the government disbanded an entire company of German special forces this summer because it was deemed to be infested with far-right extremists, the authorities have acknowledged the scale of the problem.

Footage of a man beating his wife so severely that she jumped from a second-floor window to escape failed to persuade a court in Henan Province to grant the woman, Liu Zengyan, a divorce. The court said that her husband had not agreed to the divorce and that the couple should seek mediation.

After Ms. Liu uploaded the video to WeChat, China’s dominant social media platform, thousands rallied to her defense, and a hashtag about her case was viewed more than a billion times on the microblogging site Weibo. News media interviews soon followed. Before long, a judge called Ms. Liu to say there was no need for mediation and the court would issue a verdict soon. In July, three weeks after she released the video, the divorce was granted.

The numbers: Two of the biggest issues for women in China are the prevalence of domestic violence and a legal system stacked against them. About one in four women has suffered physical or verbal abuse, or had her freedom restricted by her partner, according to a survey by the All-China Women’s Federation in 2011. Activists say the numbers are far higher.

To believe the legends, the giant stinging trees in the rainforests of eastern Australia drive men to madness and have even prompted horses to hurl themselves off cliffs. It’s not totally unfounded: The hypodermic-needle-like hairs of their leaves inject a toxin that can cause waves of pain for hours or days.

Years of experiments and countless stings later, a team of scientists has identified at least some of the ingredients that give the plants their extraordinarily painful punch — and they have a connection to spiders, among other stinging organisms.

Wildfires: Almost every continent has experienced its worst wildfires in decades this year. The common factor? Hotter, drier seasons, driven by the burning of fossil fuels.

Refugee camp fires: Four Afghan migrants were charged with arson on Wednesday for what the authorities said was their role in fires that destroyed most of a large migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.

Torture in Venezuela: U.N. investigators have implicated President Nicolás Maduro and other high-ranking officials in human rights abuses amounting to crimes against humanity, including killings, torture and sexual violence. The panel identified 45 officials in two intelligence agencies who should be investigated and prosecuted.

Snapshot: Above, floods in downtown Pensacola, Fla., after Hurricane Sally made landfall on Wednesday. The Category 2 storm brought heavy winds and flooding. Scientists say that climate change, which has also contributed to the wildfires on the West Coast, helped intensify the storm.

Melania Trump: A life-size wooden statue of the first lady, erected last year near her hometown in Slovenia, was set on fire in July. It has been replaced with a bronze replica intended to last a little longer.

Lives lived: The critic and essayist Stanley Crouch, who elevated the invention of jazz into a metaphor for the indelible contributions that Black people have made to American democracy, died at 74 on Wednesday at a hospital in New York City.

What we’re reading: The essay “Empire and Degradation” in The Baffler. “The world looks different to me after reading Isabel Wilkerson’s book ‘Caste,’ about how social hierarchies can use and enable viciousness,” writes Andrea Kannapell, the Briefings editor. “This examination of the colonial British abasement of Indian women fits right in.”

Listen: Among our collection of new and noteworthy audiobooks are several read by their authors, including Dan Rather’s “Stories of a Lifetime” and “Eat a Peach: A Memoir,” by David Chang.

Watch: “Goodfellas” and the other gangster movies of 1990 left unmistakable fingerprints on some of the most important films and television shows that followed.

There’s so much to read, cook, watch and do while staying at home. Our At Home section has many ideas on how to stay safe and have fun.

The Japanese Parliament on Wednesday officially elected Yoshihide Suga to be the prime minister, replacing Shinzo Abe, who led the country for nearly eight years. I talked to Motoko Rich, our Tokyo bureau chief, about the man taking the helm of the world’s third biggest economy.

Was Yoshihide Suga a well-known figure in Japan before becoming prime minister?

Motoko: Mr. Suga was the chief cabinet secretary, effectively the chief of staff, to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In that role, Mr. Suga gave two daily news conferences, so he is a familiar face on the news. He also gained prominence last year when he unveiled a calligraphic rendering of “Reiwa,” the name chosen for the incoming era of Emperor Naruhito, earning him the nickname Uncle Reiwa. There are spoofs all over the internet.

Do you sense any trepidation among the Japanese?

Mr. Abe resigned because of ill health, and he and the Liberal Democratic Party kingmakers effectively handed the reins to his right-hand man. Mr. Suga has said he will keep all of Mr. Abe’s signature policies in place. He has retained the majority of Mr. Abe’s cabinet. So in that sense, it is very much the status quo.

What will be his toughest challenge?

Like virtually every other leader in the world, he has to get the coronavirus under control and help a battered economy. But he also faces rising security threats from North Korea and China, Japan’s largest trading partner.

Then there are the long-term structural issues: a low birthrate, an aging population, climate change and women who had been promised empowerment under Mr. Abe but are still waiting on many fronts.

And his first order of business?

To try to get the economy back on its feet. And to decide whether to call a snap election that could consolidate his power and give him a chance at being more than a caretaker leader.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Have a wonderful Thursday.

— Natasha

Thank you
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about coronavirus quarantines on U.S. college campuses.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: “Apples and oranges” (Five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The word “gympietides” — a tiny, pain-causing molecule — appeared in The Times for the first time on Tuesday, according to the Twitter account @NYT_first_said.
• Marc Lacey, our National editor, and Shreeya Sinha, our outgoing national operations director for audience growth, wrote about the mission statement shared by the team of 45 journalists covering U.S. news.

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A Full View of the Economy Reveals Trump’s Betrayal of Americans

Polling indicates that Americans still give Donald Trump an edge over Joe Biden when it comes to their faith in either candidate to manage the economy.

While it’s true that, according to a late-August Reuters/Ipsos poll, Trump’s approval rating on the economy has dipped 14% since March, putting him in negative territory with 47% approving and 48% disapproving of his management of the economy, voters nonetheless see Trump as a better bet when it comes to serving their economic interests—despite the fact that the same poll revealed that 58% of respondents believed the economy was on the wrong track.

So why do Americans then view Trump as more capable than Biden when it comes to managing the economy? 

After all, despite Trump’s false claims that he has created the greatest economy in U.S. history, we know that the recovery Biden helped orchestrate under Barack Obama’s presidency led to a record of consecutive months of positive job creation, performing on a par with Trump’s economy, even though Obama inherited the Great Recession while Trump had a record-setting economy laid in his lap.

Is it the stock market highs? Is it Trump’s rhetoric of tax cuts, which belie the fact that his previous tax cut benefited the wealthy, did nothing to stem corporations laying off workers, and ballooned the deficit?

Trying to figure out exactly Americans understand “the economy” is something of a puzzle; it is not at all intuitive.

So, before we can even say, “It’s the economy, stupid,” we have to ask, “What is the economy?”

And it may be that having a new and more accurate language to talk about and understand all the features of American life that are part of the economy might alter the collective evaluation of Trump’s performance when it comes to the economy.

Take health care, for example. Health spending accounts for roughly 18% of our gross domestic product; it’s a substantial element of our economy, and health care consistently appears as a top, if not the top, issue concerning Americans this election.  And key issue for voters regarding health care, is cost.

Yet, the language we use to talk about issues of “the economy” and of “health care,” tends to separate them into distinct rather than inextricably intertwined, indeed inseparable, issues.

A more accurate and precise political language would talk about health care in the same breath it talks about the economy. 

Multiple polls indicate that voters have much more confidence in Joe Biden’s ability to implement healthcare policy that protects access and controls costs. A Kaiser Family Foundation Poll conducted last June revealed that 53% of Americans trust Biden when it comes to healthcare policy while only 38% trust Trump.

That’s a fairly substantial margin by which Americans trust Biden over Trump with this rather enormous element of the economic well-being of American families.  Yet health care doesn’t seem to be approached in polling as an economic issue.  It is cordoned off, so to speak, as a discrete concern.

Obamacare is really called the “Affordable Care Act” for a reason. The Obama administration recognized precisely that access to affordable health care is indeed a chief economic challenge stressing America’s families.  No doubt part of the reason Republicans refer to this historic healthcare legislation as “Obamacare” is to obscure the legislation’s economic benefits by rhetorically transforming the legislation into a matter of political personality,

Indeed, Public Policy Polling found in a survey conducted in early September widespread dissatisfaction with Trump’s persistent assault on the Affordable Care Act, particularly during the recent pandemic.

Likewise, this survey indicated Americans possess greater confidence in Biden to address the coronavirus pandemic, re-open schools safely, and develop a reliable and safe vaccine.  All of these tasks, it is not hard to see, are parts of the foundational work, necessary premises, of re-opening the economy fully.

Again, these issues seem to be polled and talked about as issues separate from the economy.

Indeed, most key issues that concern Americans have a significant economic component to them.

Take education policy.  Trump’s proposed 2020 budget called for massive cuts to education, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has repeatedly attempted to divert public tax money to private schools, which would translate into a cut for the public schools upon which the majority of tax-paying Americans rely to educate their children. We know, of course, that investing in education promises to serve the health of the economy overall as well as helping individuals increase their earnings over the course of their lives, thus also creating more tax revenue. In short, cuts to public education are harmful to ordinary citizens as well as the overall health of the economy.

So, while Trump’s assault on public education promises to damage the economy and further undermine the economic well-being of American families, again education issues seem to be treated and talked about independently of economic issues.

And let’s not get started on the economic devastation that is resulting and will continue to result from not addressing climate change, which Trump views as yet another hoax, even though a study from his own scientists determined in 2018:

“Extreme weather and climate-related impacts on one system can result in increased risks or failures in other critical systems, including water resources, food production and distribution, energy and transportation, public health, international trade, and national security.”

Access to clean water, food, and energy are perhaps the most fundamental elements of our economic lives.

Recognizing what constitutes “the economy” in all its multi-faceted dimensions and developing a language to talk more precisely and fully about Americans’ economic lives and interests are vital and urgent necessities for communicating and helping us determine our political interests and, frankly, for crafting sound economic policies that truly encompass and comprehend all the necessary elements that ensure the well-being of our families.

So, let’s be smart in talking about and understanding the economy before just mindlessly repeating, ‘It’s the economy, stupid.”




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Biden Puts Face Mask On, Hurries Away From Podium Before He Has to Answer Questions on the Economy (VIDEO)

77-year-old Sleepy Joe left his Delaware basement bunker on Wednesday and traveled to Michigan.

Biden spoke to a handful of media sycophants sitting in social distancing circles.

Biden never takes tough questions from real reporters.

The left-wing reporters obsessed over Bob Woodward’s latest book of lies attacking President Trump’s Coronavirus response.

TRENDING: Critics Believe Next Phase of the ‘Rolling Coup’ Against President Trump may Involve the US Military

Woodward claims he captured President Trump admitting he ‘knowingly downplayed’ Covid-19 from January to March (even though Trump imposed a moratorium on incoming flights from China in January).

“He knew how deadly it was. It was more deadly than the flu. He knew and purposely played it down. Worse, he lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country for months,” said Biden.

After attacking President Trump with lies, Biden quickly put his face mask on and hurried away from the podium before he had to answer any questions on the economy.

His campaign blared music to drown out reporters who may have wanted to ask questions about his laughable “Buy American” policy proposal.

Biden then meandered over to a blue truck and appeared to sniff it.



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Why The Coronavirus Is Not An Excuse For Trump’s Failing Economy

The narrative Trump and his Republican allies have been weaving about his managing of the U.S. economy is that he had presided over, if not himself built, the strongest economy in the nation’s history and that it was only slowed by the coronavirus outbreak, which was not his fault.

He can’t be held responsible for the collapse of the economy, for the current depression, because how could anyone have predicted, much less be held responsible for, the pandemic, before which, he tells the story, “we were going in a direction like we had never seen — the most successful economy in the history of our country, the best unemployment numbers in history.”

Trump’s self-serving trumpeting is questionable from many angles, and often outright erroneous. First, in terms of job creation, wage growth, and growth in the inflation-adjusted gross domestic product, and even stock performance, the economy under Obama slightly out-performed Trump’s. And, second, we have to remember, Trump inherited an economy from Obama that had already set a record for the number of consecutive months of job growth.  Despite his repeated claims, Trump did not fix a broken and stagnant economy left by Obama.

Third, Trump did in fact have ample forewarning about the threat of the coronavirus and had plenty of notice to implement measures to protect American lives, and hence the economy, from the pandemic. Of course, Trump has yet to grasp the need—not to mention the humanity—of prioritizing saving and protecting American lives as a necessary condition for saving the economy. And he had ample opportunity to address and manage the pandemic responsibly and carefully, coordinating a national effort, such that the U.S. economy and overall society could be opening and returning toward a greater state of normalcy, as many other nations are doing or have done.

But all of these facts aside, the most salient, if largely unrecognized, reason the coronavirus pandemic does not hold water as an excuse for the depression he has overseen is that quite clearly Trump had not developed a strong economy, at least not one strong and resilient enough to withstand a crisis.  Wouldn’t a strong and successful economy be defined precisely by its ability to keep working for people—which means sustaining its ability to produce and distribute goods and services to meet our people’s needs—even during a challenging crisis? Shouldn’t a strong economy be able to weather a storm and shelter and protect its people?

Imagining someone saying during the last Great Recession, for example, “Well, the economy was really successful, if it weren’t for that banking meltdown and all those toxic derivatives being bundled in mortgage-backed securities.”

An economy that collapses is by definition one that has weaknesses, that is not strong enough.

We need leaders to recognize this point if we are going to have any hope of building an economy that works for people as opposed to accepting economic orders that routinely collapse during crisis, thrusting Americans into periodic and extended eras of misery. Instead, we need an economy featuring stabilizing and protective mechanisms designed precisely to hold up and continue to function to meet people’s needs even during times of crisis or stress.

Let’s be clear: Trump is one of those proverbial little pigs who preferred to play rather than do diligent work and thus carelessly built an economy out of sticks and straw instead of putting in the time, effort, and care to build a genuinely strong economy out of brick that would have been able to withstand the huffing and puffing of the big bad wolf.

The big bad wolf could come in many forms—a bank meltdown, a hurricane, a pandemic, a war, who knows?

Good leadership and sound economic policy plan and prepare for such emergencies, especially if those leaders and policies prioritize people’s lives and not just profits.

Trump promises he will re-build the economy as he did before. Let me go out on a limb and suggest that such a prospect, given what we are collectively experiencing, should not bring us comfort.

The “K-shaped recovery” we are seeing only highlights the pre-COVID economy Trump oversaw.  Economists call this so-called recovery “K-shaped” because of its two distinct dimensions: the sideways “V’ that is part of the “K” represents the chart of the recovery for the wealthiest of Americans; those already rich are bouncing back quite well, accumulating wealth hand over fist. The straight line of the “K” represents the flat-lining chart for the other 99% of us.

Once again, the redistribution of wealth from the top to the bottom under Trump continues, as we saw with his tax cuts.

Poverty and homelessness had been increasing under Trump’s reign pre-COVID, and many of the jobs created were low-wage ones without benefits, leaving those who worked them still unable to support themselves or a family.

And worse, Trump has never recognized is need to practice the discipline the political economy, which means recognizing the way governmental structures and policies, the public sector, have always been necessary to support and govern the healthy functioning of the economy.

Had we had a robust public health infrastructure—or had Trump not destroyed the public health infrastructure—American society as a whole, and hence the economy, would have been able to respond to the pandemic much more extensively and comprehensively.  Or, if we had a more robust unemployment insurance system, a healthcare system in which so many people’s insurance was not tied to employment, and so on, we would have had the ability, we would have a political economy with the ability, to meet people’s needs.

But having no skill at governing and no respect for government, Trump has failed at building a strong political economy.

Unfortunately, when the big bad wolf blows the economy down, it is we 99% who suffer, not Trump and his class.



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