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March 18, 2020

Mnuchin Warns of 20% Unemployment Without Government Stimulus

This Day in History | 1942


The War Relocation Authority is created to “Take all people of Japanese descent into custody, surround them with troops, prevent them from buying land, and return them to their former homes at the close of the war.”

Good morning Middle Americans, 

If you need any more evidence of just how serious this coronavirus situation is, look no further than the voice of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.  During a news conference yesterday Mnuchin told Americans that the administration is asking congress to shell out about $1 trillion of our tax dollars to help keep the economy afloat. But now’s when we need to buckle up because the powers that be in Washington D.C. are fighting over how that money should be allocated.  And it’s about to get ugly. 

Meanwhile, China is expelling U.S. journalist over their honest coverage of the conronavirus. That should tell you a lot about the escalation of tension between the countries. And how China, a totalitarian country, is much different from where we live. 

Also, former Vice President Joe Biden swept the latest round of primaries last night. And Bernie Sanders is still refusing to drop out. Democrats are pushing back primaries, and many of us are wondering – why even continue. We know who’s going to be on the top of the ballot for both parties. 

We also have a sidebar story to last night’s election, one of the last remaining pro-life Democrats in the House of Representatives lost his race last night. What does this tell us about the future of the Democratic party. 

Finally – what happens when the country runs low on hand sanitizer, American distilleries get to work. Something to brighten your day, while you hunker down. 

Read all about it!

-Fraser Dixon

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin warns Virus Could Yield 20% Jobless Rate Without Action

(Bloomberg) – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin raised the possibility with Republican senators that U.S. unemployment could rise to 20% without government intervention because of the impact of the coronavirus, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mnuchin discussed the scenario with the lawmakers on Tuesday as he proposed an economic stimulus of $1 trillion or more.

He told the senators that he believes the economic fallout from the coronavirus is potentially worse than the 2008 financial crisis.

Extraordinarily high unemployment, he said, is a possibility if lawmakers don’t swiftly provide financial assistance to wage workers and small- and medium-sized businesses.

“During the meeting with Senate Republicans today, Secretary Mnuchin used several mathematical examples for illustrative purposes, but he never implied this would be the case,” Treasury Department spokeswoman Monica Crowley said.

For many lawmakers, plunging stock prices and an abrupt drop-off of consumer spending during a time of social distancing has crystallized the need for Congress to act quickly and boldly. The U.S. Federal Reserve has already used much of its toolbox to shore up the economy — bringing rates close to zero and announcing crisis-era lending programs — leaving policymakers to ease the extent of the damage with fiscal stimulus.

Read more here

China Announces That It Will Expel American Journalists

(New York Times) – In a sharp escalation of tensions between the two superpowers, China announced on Tuesday that it would expel American journalists working for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. It also demanded that those outlets, as well as the Voice of America and Time magazine, provide the Chinese government with detailed information about their operations.

The announcement, made by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, came weeks after the Trump administration limited to 100 the number of Chinese citizens who can work in the United States for five state-run Chinese news organizations that are widely considered propaganda outlets.

China instructed American journalists for the three news organizations whose press credentials are due to expire this year to “notify the Department of Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within four calendar days starting from today and hand back their press cards within ten calendar days.” Almost all the China-based journalists for the three organizations have press cards that expire this year.

Learn more here

Joe Biden Wins Florida primary, Nearly Sealing the Democratic Nomination

(CNBC) – Joe Biden will win Florida’s Democratic primary, NBC News projected Tuesday, taking another huge step toward the 2020 Democratic nomination in the shadow of the coronavirus.

The former vice president looked headed for a blowout, setting him up for a trove of delegates as he pushes to take on President Donald Trump in November. With more than 90% of results in Tuesday, he had about 62% of the vote, compared to about 23% for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Florida’s primary allocates 219 pledged delegates, making it one of the biggest prizes on the calendar. Biden will win at least 133 delegates, while Sanders will come away with at least 23. 

Speaking from his home in Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday night, Biden said “tackling this pandemic is a national emergency akin to fighting a war.” He seemed to endorse the states moving ahead with their elections with precautions, saying “it’s important for us to get through this crisis protecting both the public health and our democracy.”

Find out more here

A Progressive Challenger Has Beaten One Of The Last Anti-Abortion Democrats In Congress

(Buzzfeed) – In an election marked by low turnout and lack of basic voting supplies because of coronavirus concerns, Marie Newman, a progressive, pro-abortion rights challenger to incumbent Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski has won the Democratic primary in Illinois’ third congressional district.

It’s a major victory for the progressive movement, and an especially welcome one after a disappointing loss in Texas earlier this month, where Jessica Cisneros fell short in her primary challenge against incumbent Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar, another anti-abortion moderate Democrat.

Read more here

Distilleries Using High-Proof Alcohol to Make Hand Sanitizer

(ABC News) – A Pennsylvania distillery owner who grew increasingly angry as he saw the skyrocketing price of hand sanitizer has decided to do something about it: He’s temporarily converting his operation into a production line for the suddenly hard-to-find, gooey, alcohol-based disinfectant.

Eight Oaks Farm Distillery filled its first 20 bottles on Monday, a batch destined for charitable groups that need hand sanitizer but haven’t been able to get it due to the coronavirus pandemic. The family-owned distillery plans to dramatically boost production this week and distribute the bottles to charities as well as offer them at farmers’ markets where it sells its spirits and through its website.

The price: whatever people decide to donate.

“We are in a national emergency,” said brewery founder Chad Butters. “What’s the right thing to do? The right thing to do is support this community by providing something that is in desperate need. We’ll flood the valley with hand sanitizer and drive that price right down.”

Other distilleries are also putting their spirits to work to help fill the shortage of hand sanitizers. Green Mountain Distillers in Morrisville, Vermont, is giving away a hand sanitizing solution and Durham Distillery in Durham, North Carolina, is donating one to hospitality colleagues, using high-proof alcohol and other ingredients. Patrons must bring their own containers.

“We wanted to do something that would be as positive as possible,” said Harold Faircloth, an owner of Green Mountain Distillers.

Smugglers’ Notch Distillery, also in Vermont, plans to launch a hand sanitizer later this week at its Waterbury and Jeffersonville sites. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Vermont’s efforts to respond to the virus outbreak.

Learn more here


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