What do you have planned this weekend? I've got a bike ride and then an exhilarating nap scheduled for Saturday afternoon. What about you? Let's chat - Dion@Axios.com.
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🎙"I'm always making a comeback but nobody ever tells me where I've been." - See who said it and why it matters at the bottom.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The growing throng of critics who have assailed the Senate's $2.2 trillion spending bill as avarice, insufficient and disappointing have an alternative.
Enter Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and the Automatic BOOST to Communities Act, a bill so audacious and unparalleled in scope that one of its primary authors asserts "there is no number that would be meaningful to estimate" its cost.
Details: Tlaib proposes sending a debit card to every single person in the U.S. loaded with $2,000, then reloading that card every month with $1,000 "until one year after the end of the Coronavirus crisis."
Why it matters: There is rising opposition to the idea that government debt is harmful, and more support for programs that dedicate government stimulus money to people rather than business. Tlaib's bill currently has very limited support in Congress, but that could change.
Between the lines: It would be a "money-financed fiscal program," Rohan Grey, a J.S.D. candidate at Cornell Law School who worked with Tlaib's office to draft the bill, tells Axios.
Yes, but: Potential harms include runaway inflation, destabilizing the U.S. financial system, displacing the dollar as the world's funding currency, and undermining institutional confidence in the Fed, market analysts say.
Yes, but, but: Grey foresees a situation now that could be far worse than the Great Recession — unemployment as high as 20%, wide-ranging and permanent destruction of businesses, mass bankruptcies and more.
The last word: Like many advocates of the Modern Monetary Theory, Grey points to World War II when the U.S. ran up tremendous deficits but also utilized much of the country's available resources, including the lion's share of its human capital, remaking the American economy.
The #MintTheCoin plan proposes to account for the direct payments — a back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests $6.5 trillion is a conservative cost estimate — by having the U.S. Treasury mint a series of "$1 trillion platinum coins."
The intrigue: "The goal is to prevent fear mongering," Grey, who is also president of the Modern Money Network, tells Axios.
Be smart: The plan is legal, as U.S. law gives the Treasury secretary the power to mint new coins "in qualities and quantities that the Secretary determines are sufficient to meet public demand."
G20 finance ministers and central bankers pledged to inject over $5 trillion into the global economy and “do whatever it takes to overcome the [COVID-19] pandemic.” (Reuters)
Assets on the Fed's balance sheet rose by $586 billion in the week ending March 25, bringing total holdings to more than $5 trillion for the first time. (Reuters)
The U.S. has taken the lead in the global number of coronavirus cases, while fatalities have surpassed 1,100, giving it the sixth highest death toll in the world (The Washington Post).
This is a picture of what happens when a huge swath of the economy comes to a very sudden stop, Axios' Felix Salmon writes.
The big picture: In a recession, millions of people become unemployed. But in a normal recession, that process can take months or even years. This time around, the layoffs are being squeezed into a matter of weeks.
The Dow rose from a bear market on Thursday, officially beginning a new bull market thanks to a 6.4% gain, and the S&P 500 recorded its largest three-day gain in close to 90 years.
What's happening: The impressive climb happened despite the blowout in initial jobless claims that was announced before the market opened and shortly after Fed chair Jerome Powell went on national television and said the United States “may well be in recession.”
By the numbers: The Dow gained 1,352 points, ending a bear market that lasted 11 trading days — the shortest in history for the blue-chip index. It reached its bear-market low three days ago.
More numbers: WSJ points out, "Dow industrials are still down 21% for the year, despite climbing 21% in the past three days — the largest three-day percentage gain for the index since 1931."
Thursday's stock market jubilation came in stark contrast to the general malaise that has gripped investors for much of this month.
Driving the news: Money market funds, which are effectively savings accounts, saw their two largest weeks of inflows in history, as investors flooded into the safety of cash, data from the Investment Company Institute shows.
Details: A total of $286 billion was pushed into money market funds in the week ending March 25 — a 7.3% increase over the previous week's total and the largest inflow ever in terms of amount and percentage gain.
The stock market's rough ride in recent weeks has many Americans losing significant confidence in their retirement accounts, new data from CivicScience shows.
Quote: "I'm always making a comeback but nobody ever tells me where I've been."
Why it matters: On March 27, 1948, inimitable jazz singer Billie Holiday played in front of a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall for which 2,700 tickets were sold in advance (a record number at the time) even though she didn't have a current hit record.