Updated Feb 9, 2019

A brief list of better questions for billionaire presidential candidates

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Howard Schultz sounded stumped last week when asked the price of a staple that wasn’t coffee — a reminder of the campaign-trail hazards for billionaires trying to project a common touch.

What happened: Mika Brzezinski asked Schultz on MSNBC's "Morning Joe": “How much does an 18 ounce box of Cheerios cost?" Schultz responded: "An 18 ounce box of Cheerios? I don’t eat Cheerios." Spoiler: They're about 4 bucks at Walmart.

Flashbacks:

The big picture: Billionaires may be unlikely to know what a grocery item costs, and their actions as president would have limited effects on prices.

But they should know the broader trends in the costs that most Americans face.

  1. Health care: How much has the average health insurance deductible for a family of four changed over the past 5 years? How about copays?
  2. Education: What's the average price of tuition at a public 4-year university? How much has this outpaced inflation over the past few decades?
  3. Kids: What's the average cost of child care in your home state? Is this a greater share of take-home income than it was 10 years ago? 20?
  4. The youths: What percentage of 25-year-olds have more than $50,000 in student debt? What percentage of 25-year-olds have purchased a home? How do these compare to 10 years ago?
  5. Housing: How much of the average American's monthly paycheck goes to rent or a mortgage?
  6. Rainy day funds: How many months of living expenses does the average American have in liquid savings?

Why it matters: “[T]he next president will have to demonstrate not only that he or she understands the day-to-day struggles that people are facing, but they also have to lay out a clear plan to address those problems," Center for American Progress SVP Daniella Gibbs Léger told Axios.

Go deeper: Livid liberals try to bully Schultz out of 2020

Go deeper

Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers sue CVS, alleging drug pricing fraud

Photo: John Lamparski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Six Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers have sued CVS Health, alleging the pharmacy chain overcharged them based on "artificially inflated prices" for generic drugs and concealed the true cash prices of those drugs.

The big picture: CVS has faced legal scrutiny over its cash discount programs since 2015, and this lawsuit adds big names to a mounting problem.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has only eight active novel coronavirus cases and no COVID-19 patients in hospital after another day of zero new infections. However, the death toll rose to 22.

Zoom in: A top health official told a briefing a 96-year-old woman "was regarded to having recovered from COVID-19 at the time of her death, and COVID-19 is not recorded as the primary cause of her death on her death certificate." But it was decided to include her in the overall tally of deaths related to the virus.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,690,951 — Total deaths: 355,575 — Total recoveries — 2,350,071Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,699,073 — Total deaths: 100,396 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: CDC issues guidelines for reopening officesFauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
  5. Business: MGM plans to reopen major Las Vegas resorts in June — African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs says.
  6. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  7. World: EU proposes a massive pandemic rescue package.
  8. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  9. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  10. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy