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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

While you might be tired of all of the doom and gloom that's been written about the economy over the past two weeks amid the coronavirus outbreak, there's an even more depressing fact to consider: there is nothing bright and hopeful to say right now.

The state of play: Congress' failure Sunday night to pass a major stimulus program illustrates once again how dysfunctional our government has become and how at risk the world is for catastrophe.

Threat level: Lawmakers weren't able to get the trillion-dollar proposal passed despite St. Louis Fed president James Bullard warning that U.S. unemployment could rise to 30% and GDP (overall, not growth) could decline by 50% in the second quarter.

  • "Millions of people are going to lose their jobs," Minneapolis Fed president Neel Kashkari said on "60 Minutes."

What's happening: Wall Street traders and money managers are scrambling for cash like nothing I have ever seen before, fire selling even safe assets like U.S. and German government bonds, and economists are throwing out and rewriting their economic projections on a near daily basis.

  • The National Association for Business Economics even scrapped its first quarter projection altogether, noting that "the effects of the pandemic are currently making a timely and accurate forecast impossible."

Between the lines: "The bigger concern here is that you have all these small- and medium-sized businesses which will be under extreme stress and forced to shut down, and we don’t have a benchmark for how to recapitalize them or to keep them in business," Matt Luzzetti, Chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, tells Axios.

Small business owners seem more scared than the stock traders.

  • I've spent the past week talking to restaurant and bar owners who are literally in tears because they are certain that the businesses they've spent their lives building are about to be torn apart.
  • As a result, we are in the midst of the worst wave of job losses in U.S. history — and a majority of Americans have no savings and nearly half were making just enough to survive before.

The big picture: Over the past few years, I have written about a lot of things that could go wrong:

What it means: I have feared for some time that all of those chickens were due home to roost, but thanks to coronavirus they could now all hit home at once.

The bottom line: From a Slack conversation I had with Axios Pro Rata editor Dan Primack on Wednesday:

  • Me: "You know this is gonna be way worse than everyone realizes, right? That's the thing I realized today. Way worse."
  • Dan: "oh yeah. worst of my lifetime. by a lot."

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
51 mins ago - Sports

MLB falls out favor with Republicans

Expand chart
Data: Morning Consult; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

MLB is the latest sports league to fall out of favor with Republicans following its decision to pull the All-Star Game out of Atlanta.

By the numbers: In mid-March, MLB's net favorability rating among Republicans was 47%, the highest of the four major U.S. sports leagues. Since then, it has plummeted to 12%, dropping the league below the NFL and NHL, according to new data from Morning Consult.

1 hour ago - World

Blinken makes unannounced trip to Afghanistan to sell troop withdrawal

Photo: CARLOS BARRIA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan on Thursday to meet with the nation's president, Ashraf Ghani, and Abdullah Abdullah, who is representing the Taliban in negotiations, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Blinken sought to reassure the pair that the U.S. will maintain support for the country, despite President Biden's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan starting May 1 and concluding in full by Sept. 11.

Women rise to the top at major media companies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several women have been tapped to lead some of the country's largest newsrooms over the past year — a promising sign of progress for an industry that's typically been slow to accept change and embrace diversity.

Driving the news: CBS News executive Kimberly Godwin was named president of ABC News on Wednesday. Godwin will be the first Black woman to lead a major broadcast news division when she takes the helm in May.