Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The best way to avoid a W-shaped double-dip recession is to ensure that fiscal stimulus continues past July. Many members of Congress, however, worry about the effect of multi-trillion-dollar deficits on the national debt.

What they're saying: The solution, per Stony Brook economics professor Stephanie Kelton: Run deficits without issuing any debt at all. Kelton suggests we should just monetize the deficit instead — fund it by printing dollars rather than issuing Treasury bonds.

Between the lines: Economically speaking, there's not a lot of difference between paying for the deficit with money or paying for it with bonds carrying a near-zero interest rate. As former IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard writes, "it just replaces a zero interest rate asset, called debt, by another one, called money."

  • Printing money does not cause inflation — quite the opposite. If you issue debt instead of money, then any interest on the debt is excess money entering the financial system. Take away the interest, and you take away inflationary pressure.

The big picture: There's still enormous demand for risk-free assets, and Treasury bonds serve a very important role in the financial system. No one's suggesting that we stop issuing them entirely. But insofar as rhetoric around the national debt is acting as a brake on necessary economic stimulus, it might make sense to have deficits without debt.

My thought bubble: There's a paradox here. The people who want to print money to avoid adding to the national debt are also the people who say that the size of the national debt doesn't matter. The hope is that monetization would placate the deficit hawks, but that seems unlikely.

Go deeper: Kelton was a guest on my podcast last week, and went into detail on how Modern Monetary Theory views sovereign finance.

Go deeper

Global debt now expected to surpass global GDP due to coronavirus stimulus measures

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Coronavirus infections are rising in emerging countries like Brazil, Russia and India, which are now three of the five countries with the highest number of confirmed cases.

Why it matters: To offset some of the negative economic impact from the pandemic, governments have announced massive fiscal packages and new borrowing that threatens their credit ratings and the sustainability of their budgets, the IMF warned in its latest World Economic Outlook.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 12,772,755 — Total deaths: 566,036 — Total recoveries — 7,030,749Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 3,269,531 — Total deaths: 134,898 — Total recoveries: 995,576 — Total tested: 39,553,395Map.
  3. Politics: Trump wears face mask in public for first time.
  4. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000.
  5. Public health: Trump's coronavirus testing czar says lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table" — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  6. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."
2 hours ago - Health

Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases

Data: Covid Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

Florida reported 15,299 confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday — a new single-day record for any state, according to its health department.

The big picture: The figure shatters both Florida's previous record of 11,458 new cases and the single-state record of 11,694 set by California last week, according to AP. It also surpasses New York's daily peak of 11,571 new cases in April, and comes just a day after Disney World reopened in Orlando.