Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

"Try to remember how you felt in September 2008, right when you learned Lehman collapsed. Were you more scared then, or are you more scared now?"

The intrigue: That's a question I've been asking investors and other sources since late February. When I began, the responses were pretty evenly split.

  • This week, all but two people said they are more scared now — and that majority includes several big names who were previously siding with 2008.

The argument in favor of 2008 being scarier is that no one knew if the pit had a bottom, or if we'd just spiral endlessly — vacuuming up Main Street after Wall Street.

  • Our present slide, while horrific, will eventually end — if not because of social distancing, then because scientists discover treatments and/or vaccines.

The argument for 2020 is that Main Street and much of Corporate America are being eviscerated simultaneously.

  • Wall Street may be relatively immune so far, outside of plunging equity prices and M&A fee interruptions, but Wall Street is just a lubricant for the American economy — it's not the pistons. And if we begin to see a large wave of corporate defaults, both Wall Street and private equity will feel a suffocating squeeze of their own.
  • Add to this the fear of sickness and death, particularly for older Americans, neither of which we experienced in 2008.

The bottom line: While we are always captive to the present, it is objectively reasonable to call this the most fraught moment of our collective lives. Decisions that get made over the next several days and weeks, including the White House's $1 trillion stimulus proposal that many think is too small, will be consequential for most everything ever again covered in this newsletter, or in media like it.

Go deeper

How retail investors are beating the pros at their own game

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Call it the Robinhood effect. In a tectonic shift that shows how the coronavirus pandemic has upended seemingly every part of our reality, millennials and Gen Z have started to abandon video games and sports betting in favor of a new craze: the stock market.

Why it matters: While many have wagged their fingers at what they see as overconfident and underprepared youngsters day trading on their smartphones, the stock market's new school — a collection of sports bettors, the newly unemployed, Reddit aficionados and eager young investors — is growing into a force on Wall Street.

Jun 22, 2020 - Health

Kudlow: "There is no second wave coming"

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC Monday that "there is no second wave coming" for the coronavirus pandemic, despite record daily case increases in multiple states around the country.

Why it matters: The U.S. reported more than 33,000 new coronavirus cases on Saturday — the highest total since May 1 — while the surge of infections in several states is outpacing growth in coronavirus testing.

Google expected to lose ad revenue in 2020 due to coronavirus pandemic

Reproduced from eMarketer; Table: Axios Visuals

Google, the world's largest advertising company, is expected to lose ad revenue compared to last year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to new figures from eMarketer.

Why it matters: It's the first time it's expected to see advertising declines year-over-year since eMarketer began tracking the company over a decade ago.