☕ Cover Shot: Capitol Hill
Good Morning. Here’s what you need to know to start the day, along with perspective from both sides for calmer coffee conversations with your family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers. Plus, a bit of good news: On Saturday Chicagoans under stay-at-home orders spread hope with a city-wide sing-along of Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’.
📰 TOP STORY
Fiscal Therapy: Senate Democrats blocked a coronavirus rescue package after a dispute with Republicans over corporate bailout provisions and aid to dislocated workers. Officials still hope to reach an agreement on a deal worth as much as $1.3 trillion as soon as today. Why it matters: The package will likely be the largest federal intervention in US history.
A Link From the Left: Narayana Kocherlakota writes for Bloomberg that Trump’s $1.2 Trillion Won’t Do It. Try $2.5 Trillion: “The government should pay $10,000 to every adult and child younger than 40. They are more likely to go out and spend this money, partly because Covid-19 presents much less of a health risk to them. Second, the government should pay a bonus to each person who gets tested for the coronavirus (as long as they haven’t been tested in the prior week). Finally, as was done in the Great Recession, the government should both increase and extend unemployment-insurance benefits beyond the normal 26 weeks.”
A Read From the Right: Adam Brandon contends for Fox News that the $1 trillion coronavirus economic aid bill adds dangerously to the deficit – there is a better way: “We need to make an important distinction between spending to fight the disease COVID-19 that is spread by the coronavirus and spending on economic assistance programs. We can’t limit spending to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. This is, quite literally, a matter of life and death…But the debt and deficit will remain an existential threat to our nation. Will the $1 trillion economic assistance bill be followed by $1 trillion more in a few weeks or months? And then more and more spending, virtually without limit? It is foolhardy to keep running up the national credit card without worrying about how to pay it off.”
Flag This: The Wall Street Journal noted that “negotiators appeared to overcome one major hurdle after the Trump administration endorsed an expansion of unemployment insurance that many Senate Democrats had been seeking.” Both sides also seem to agree on giving cash payments directly to many Americans. Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that, “We’re going to plus-up unemployment benefits significantly, we’re expanding eligibility for unemployment and we’re sending direct checks to all middle and low-income workers, substantial amounts of money.” Big Picture from Edward Morrissey of The Week: “Fiscal conservatives, like the Tea Partiers of the Obama presidency, would consider [statements like] that anathema in normal circumstances, but clearly these are not normal circumstances.”
🦅 US NEWS
When Will This End?
As Americans enter their second full week of state and/or self-imposed isolation, many are wondering how long this will last. Why it Matters: Businesses are reeling and cabin fever is already setting in.
- Link from the Left: Juliette Kayyem of the Atlantic says The Crisis Could Last 18 Months. Be Prepared: “From a public-health standard, the pandemic will not end for another 18 months. The only complete resolution—a vaccine—could be at least that far away.” That being said, “the disruptions that the country is now experiencing would be easier to manage if we knew they would end soon.”
- Read from the Right: To that, Mark Penn writes for Fox News that In this coronavirus fight, America needs a 60-day plan to battle the virus and save our economy: “Right now we are led by a group of health care experts who have little understanding of the economy, and a group of economists with little understanding of health care. We have turned our country over to the health care experts, but we need a balance. We need our leaders to come together and bridge these disciplines to chart a clear path forward.”
Rand Paul Tests Positive
Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus —the first U.S. senator diagnosed with the illness. Two members of the House tested positive last week. Why it matters: Paul, a deficit hawk, was among eight Senate Republicans who voted against a House-passed bill last week that provided more than $100 billion to boost testing for the coronavirus and guarantee paid sick leave. He also was the only Republican senator who opposed an earlier bill authorizing $8.3 billion for initial response to the coronavirus.
- Link from the Left: Internet rages at government that has a test for ‘asymptomatic’ Rand Paul while hospitals are waiting
- Read from the Right: Sen. Thune Says Anyone In Contact With Sen. Paul Will Need To Consult Doctors
🌎 US NEWS
The UK Misses Mother’s Day
Sunday was Mother’s Day in Britain and the government had a stark message for millions of citizens: Visiting your mom could kill her. Across the channel, Italy saw its death toll from the coronavirus surpass 5,400, while the number of fatalities in Spain rose by 30 percent in its largest single-day increase. Meanwhile, Germany barred groups of more than two people from gathering, except for families and Chancellor Angela Merkel is in quarantine after a doctor who gave her a vaccine tested positive for coronavirus. Why it Matters: Europe is the new epicenter but experts worry the US may soon take on the mantel.
- Link from the Left: Italy’s hardest-hit city wants you to see how COVID-19 is affecting its hospitals, Stuart Ramsey, Sky News
- Link from the Right: In Britain, Coronavirus Will Be a Test of Trust James Forsyth, Spectator
What’s Going On in Russia?
While the rest of the world is frantically dealing with the global coronavirus pandemic, one country has a suspiciously low infection rate: Russia. As of Sunday, the country has only confirmed 367 cases. Why it matters: The rest of the world isn’t buying what Russia is selling. Of Note: Doctors in Russia are accusing the government of covering up its coronavirus outbreak by classifying coronavirus deaths as pneumonia deaths.
- Link from the Left: Why does Russia, population 146 million, have fewer coronavirus cases than Luxembourg? Mary Ilyushina, CNN
- Link from the Right: Russian ‘pneumonia’ cases raise doubts about official coronavirus numbers Jon Levine, NY Post
🗞️ BIZ, SPORTS, & TECH
More Market Meyhem In The Week Ahead
Shortly after the Senate’s procedural vote failed last night, Dow futures fell 5%. Markets will likely drop after the opening bell this morning as Wall Street was counting on a completed stimulus package to inject trillion(s) of dollars into the economy. The Week Ahead on Wall Street.
The IOC Budges
The IOC announced that it will make a decision whether to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Games at some point in the next four weeks. Why it matters: Everyone except for Japan thinks the games should be canceled. Speaking of Japan: A Coronavirus Explosion Was Expected in Japan. Where Is It?
Google Launches Coronavirus Website
Tech giant Google on Saturday rolled out an anticipated website aimed at educating the public about the coronavirus outbreak. People can find state-based information, safety and prevention tips, search trends related to COVID-19, and further resources for individuals, educators, and businesses.
📢 PRESENTED BY: THE STREET SHEET
Did you know that Goldman Sachs is projecting jobless claims could surpass 2 million this week? Or that “Zoom” is now worth more than airlines like United and American? If you missed these tidbits in the Street Sheet this past weekend be sure to sign up here. In these volatile times, the Sunday newsletter cuts through the noise to bring you only what you need to know about the world of business and finance. Click here to get started.
🗳️ FLAG POLLS
2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination 3/11 – 3/19
Biden 55.5, Sanders 36.2, Spread: Biden +19.3
Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden 2/13 – 3/19
Biden 51, Trump 43.8, Spread: Biden +7.4
Donald Trump vs. Bernie Sanders 2/13 – 3/19
Sanders 50.1, Trump 44.7, Spread: Sanders +5.4
Weekly Flag Poll from Tag The Flag
Is the United States doing a better or worse job than other countries of handling the coronavirus pandemic? Click to vote
On This Day: “OK” enters national vernacular: On March 23, 1839, the initials “O.K.” are first published in The Boston Morning Post.
IAFF Guide to Managing Coronavirus Anxiety (sent in from a Tag The Flag Subscriber)
Open-Minded People Have a Different Visual Perception of Reality (Quartz)
The Deep Metaphorical Power of a Good Cup of Coffee (LitHub)
We are entering a recession – but what did we learn from the last one? (Answer)