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Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Billionaire Mark Cuban tweeted a thread on Sunday calling for the federal government to train and hire millions of Americans as coronavirus contact tracers in order to "dent unemployment with stable jobs."

What he's saying: "It's time to face the fact that [the Paycheck Protection Program] didn't work. Great plan, difficult execution. No one's fault. The only thing that will save businesses is consumer demand. No amount of loans to businesses will save them or jobs if their customers aren't buying."

  • "It's time for trickle up economics. We need a transitional fed jobs program that trains and hires millions for a federal tracking/tracing/testing program as well as for support for at risk populations including long term care. We need to dent unemployment with stable jobs."

Cuban also called for an interim stimulus program that would give every American household a $1,000 check every two weeks for the next two months that must be spent within 10 days of receipt.

  • "This 'use it or lose it' [program] will cost about $500b, but it will allow for demand for non essential products and services to increase, hopefully keeping most businesses alive, as we learn what the impact of re-opening is on the spread and whether or not employment grows organically," Cuban tweeted.

The big picture: The House on Friday passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that has already been deemed dead on arrival by Senate Republicans and the Trump administration.

  • As Congress remains at an impasse, more than 36 million Americans have filed jobless claims over the past two months.
  • Goldman Sachs estimates the unemployment rate will hit 25%, matching the peak level of joblessness during the Great Depression.

Go deeper

Former GOP Rep. Charlie Dent endorses Joe Biden

Former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Penn.) said on Wednesday that he will be voting for Joe Biden over President Trump in November, telling CNN: "At the end of the day, this really isn't about right or left. It's not about ideology. ... For me, it's about right or wrong."

Why it matters: Dent, who represented the key swing state of Pennsylvania in Congress before retiring in 2018, is one of a number of former Republican officials who have come out against Trump during the week of the Democratic National Convention.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired general Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star general Lloyd Austin as his nominee for Defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.