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COVID-19

Trump closes, then reopens, the door on coronavirus relief negotiations

David Brancaccio, Candace Manriquez Wrenn, and Alex Schroeder Oct 7, 2020
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Win McNamee/Getty Images
COVID-19

Trump closes, then reopens, the door on coronavirus relief negotiations

David Brancaccio, Candace Manriquez Wrenn, and Alex Schroeder Oct 7, 2020
Heard on:
Win McNamee/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

After President Donald Trump tweeted he’s cutting off negotiations on big pandemic relief funding, saying that will have to wait until after the election, the stock market fell with the Dow dropping 375 points, 1.3%.

This morning stock index futures were up modestly after new tweets last evening find the president calling for piecemeal stimulus, including $1,200 pandemic checks for families to be signed by the president and arrive before election day. So, some whiplash here.

Karen Petrou, managing partner of the Washington-based economic consulting firm Federal Financial Analytics, spoke with “Marketplace Morning Report” David Brancaccio about this. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

David Brancaccio: All right, so with the latest set of tweets in which the president is calling for more aid to small businesses from Congress, $25 billion for airline payrolls support — did the president blink? Is he now negotiating again?

Karen Petrou: I think the president is always negotiating. Even with COVID, even in the fortress of a White House, he’s running the country like building a casino. I mean, he’s just trying to make a deal. That’s the only way I can explain this.

Brancaccio: The promise, at least yesterday, was that if the president wins, he tweeted, we’ll have big stimulus right after the election. Is that how you see it? I mean, if he wins, or if Biden wins, we’re going to get some stimulus soon after the election?

Petrou: If either he or Vice President Biden wins, after the election, the country will be where it is due to the economy and the pandemic — things neither of them controls. And that’s what’s going to determine what happens in the lame duck. Even in Washington, reality matters. And I think we’re going to be facing a very, very difficult reality in November and December of this year.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

So what’s up with “Zoom fatigue”?

It’s a real thing. The science backs it up — there’s new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining? Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab puts it this way: “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up.” Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing.

How are Americans spending their money these days?

Economists are predicting that pent-up demand for certain goods and services is going to burst out all over as more people get vaccinated. A lot of people had to drastically change their spending in the pandemic because they lost jobs or had their hours cut. But at the same time, most consumers “are still feeling secure or optimistic about their finances,” according to Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, which regularly surveys shoppers. A lot of people enjoy browsing in stores, especially after months of forced online shopping. And another area expecting a post-pandemic boost: travel.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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