Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.