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The pandemic economy

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The next few months could be very unpleasant for the US economy.

Many states are reimposing restrictions on coronaviruses, which will likely lead to further cuts in consumer spending and layoffs of workers. As Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, recently said: “We have new cases at an all time high, we have seen a number of states start to reimpose limited activity restrictions, and people may lose the confidence that he is safe to leave. outside.”

In addition to the economic risks, several of the government’s biggest virus rescue programs are set to expire next month. It’s unclear whether Congress will renew them, as Democrats and Republicans in Congress disagree on how to do it. Democrats prefer a bigger bailout than Republicans.

Without a new stimulus package, a double dip recession is possible. In an analysis circulating among the aides of President-elect Joe Biden, research firm Moody’s Analytics predicted that the economy would contract in the first and second quarters of 2021 and that the unemployment rate would approach 10% next summer, against 6.9% last month. .

Many Americans would cut back on their savings or find it difficult to pay their medical bills. Some would lose their homes and go bankrupt. Recessions cause permanent damage to people’s lives, which is why Fed officials and many economists are backing further stimulus.

A lack of government support, Powell said, can lead to “tragic” results with “unnecessary hardship.” Loretta Mester, chairman of the Cleveland Fed, called the lack of another stimulus package “very concerning.”

The longer-term picture is more encouraging, however. There is reason to hope that the next economic recovery, when it does occur, will be stronger than the woefully weak recovery from the financial crisis of 2007-2009.

Why? After this crisis, many households were facing large debts. Today, household balance sheets are in better shape. And once a vaccine arrives, many Americans will feel a pent-up urge to spend – on vacations, business trips, dining out, clothing, elective medical procedures, concert and sports tickets, and more.

“It is assumed that we will get this pandemic under control at some point next year,” writes Paul Krugman, Times columnist (and Nobel Prize-winning economist). “It’s also a good bet that when we do, the economy will come back strong.”

The bottom line: Predictions for the virus and the economy have a lot in common. The country is heading into a dark period – one that will bring widespread disease, death and financial suffering (and this government policy has a chance to improve). Still, the second half of 2021 promises better times.

  • Biden plans to appoint longtime foreign policy adviser Antony Blinken as secretary of state. Biden will announce Blinken and other cabinet candidates tomorrow. (Here’s Blinken in an episode of the Ax Files podcast from 2017.)

  • Biden’s inauguration will feature “scaled-down versions of existing lore” due to the virus, his new chief of staff, Ron Klain, said. It can also involve virtual elements.

  • President Trump’s campaign disowned Sidney Powell, one of the president’s attorneys who pushed bogus allegations of voter fraud, after he brought out fierce accusations that Republican officials were involved in a voter fraud scheme.

  • More Republicans – including Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and former Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey – have called on Trump to back down.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia held their first known meeting last night in Saudi Arabia, according to Israeli media. This could signal an accelerating warming of relations.

  • French police officers questioned at least 14 children and adolescents on charges of inappropriate behavior during a minute of silence for a teacher who was beheaded last month. Some children are accused of “defending terrorism”.

  • Florida officials are investigating the fatal shooting of two black teens during a meeting with a sheriff’s deputy this month.

  • Guitar Center, the largest retailer of musical instruments in the United States, has filed for bankruptcy.

  • Archaeologists have found the nearly 2,000-year-old remains of two people frozen in time by the volcanic eruption that buried the ancient Roman city of Pompeii.

A close shave: For ski patrollers providing emergency medical care, a beard has long been the norm. But not this year: As the face masks continue, the beards are coming off.

From books: Barack Obama took nearly four years to publish his memoir in the White House – longer than any president of the last century. One factor: he wrote the book himself.

From the review: After years of passively watching the nationalist governments of Hungary and Poland undermine democracy, the European Union is finally fighting back, writes the Times editorial board.

Lives lived: Pat Quinn learned he had ALS a month after his 30th birthday. In 2014, he helped make the Ice Bucket Challenge a viral sensation, raising hundreds of millions to fight the disease. He died at the age of 37.

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Last month Netflix released “Emily in Paris,” a show about – you guessed it – an American woman living in Paris. It attracted a large following, although critics criticized it and many regular viewers complained about it while watching it. As Kevin Fallon wrote in The Daily Beast: “’Emily in Paris’ was so annoying. I can’t wait to see more episodes. “

The show is an example of a growing genre on streaming services – what Kyle Chayka in The New Yorker called “ambient television.” Think of it as the TV equivalent of background music, something you can mindlessly watch while scrolling through your phone or doing household chores. “Emily in Paris,” Chayka added, “is calming, slow and relatively monotonous.” Netflix has already renewed it for a second season.

Other examples include interior design shows like “Dream Home Makeover” and food programs like “Taco Chronicles”. They’re in part a response to high-profile shows like “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones,” both of which feature complex narratives that demand attention. Ambient television, on the other hand, allows viewers to relax. It makes sense that in a year marked by a pandemic and political anxiety, people will turn to something that is entirely simple for entertainment. It draws on what Kathryn VanArendonk of the New York magazine calls “the desire for comfort”.

Served on hot tortillas with a simple salsa, these fish tacos are a tasty throwback to summer.

Oxford has announced its Word of the Year 2020, and… there is no winner. Instead of just one word, Oxford highlights how the pandemic has changed the way we talk.

Desire to escape? Scrolling through real estate listings in remote locations on the Zillow website offers a way to visualize an alternate life whether you’re trying to relocate or not.

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