Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It can be distasteful to see government bailout funds going to companies that have harmed workers, evaded taxes, degraded the environment and enriched their executives with socially useless financial engineering. But it's still necessary.

Why it matters: Vacations work in capitalist countries because employees remain on the payroll throughout and can seamlessly rejoin their employer upon their return. As millions of Americans embark on an involuntary vacation, the same principle applies.

What they're saying: It is always preferable to redeploy workers rather than lay them off. That's a key lesson we can learn from the Chinese experience of weathering the crisis, as Boston Consulting Group's chief economist Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak told Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian.

The bottom line: Giving laid-off Americans generous unemployment checks is necessary and humane — but it's always second-best to keeping them employed in the first place. It's much more economically efficient for the government to pay companies to keep workers employed than it is to pay workers only after they've been fired.

  • Unless people remain in their jobs, even if they can't produce much right now, America will lose billions or even trillions of dollars' worth of institutional knowledge and organizational capital.

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13 mins ago - Health

U.S., Canada and U.K. accuse Russia of trying to steal coronavirus vaccine research

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin\TASS via Getty Images

Hackers associated with Russian intelligence services are trying to steal information from researchers involved in coronavirus vaccine development, according to a joint advisory by U.K., U.S. and Canadian authorities published Thursday.

The big picture: This isn't the first time a foreign adversary has been accused of attempting to steal COVID-19-related research. U.S. officials in May announced an uptick in Chinese-government affiliated hackers targeting medical research and other facilities in the U.S. for data on a potential cure or effective treatments to combat the virus.

M&A activity falls despite early coronavirus fears

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In April, several prominent Democrats proposed a moratorium on large mergers and acquisitions. Their argument was that the pandemic would embolden the strong to pounce on the weak, thus reducing competition.

Fast forward: The moratorium never materialized. Nor did the M&A feeding frenzy.

More than 32 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits

Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

More than 32 million Americans are receiving some form of unemployment benefits, according to data released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

Why it matters: Tens of millions of jobless Americans will soon have a smaller cash cushion — as coronavirus cases surge and certain parts of the country re-enter pandemic lockdowns — barring an extension of the more generous unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of the month.