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Data: Alignable; Chart: Axios Visuals

Small business owners and employees have been less sanguine about a delay in fiscal spending than stock traders.

Driving the news: A new survey from Alignable finds that many small businesses are growing more worried about "a severe cash crunch," with 42% saying they could collapse by the end of the fourth quarter.

  • Small business owners' top concern was that they would completely run out of financial reserves. 
  • 45% of all small businesses have earned 50% or less of their pre-pandemic revenue — eight months into the pandemic.
  • When asked what would help them the most right now, 35% said reducing the COVID-19 case levels to increase consumer confidence.

Heads up: Goldman Sachs economists estimate that winter weather will reduce total restaurant spending by 3%–4% and consumption by 0.2 percentage points.

  • This translates to a 0.3 percentage point hit to real GDP growth in Q4 and a 0.1 percentage point hit in Q1 next year, followed by a rebound as temperatures rise.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Dec 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The record-breaking stimulus

Data: Axios Research; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The latest COVID-19 relief package is much smaller than most Democrats wanted, and is less than half the size of the CARES Act that was passed earlier this year.

Yes, but: Put the two together, and the amount of stimulus passed by Congress in 2020 would dwarf any previous U.S. government spending program — even the New Deal.

22 mins ago - World

Army to award Purple Hearts to troops injured in Iran missile attack

Damage at Ain al-Asad military airbase housing U.S. and other foreign troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar in January 2020. Photo: Ayman Henna/AFP via Getty Images

The Army has approved 39 more Purple Hearts for U.S. soldiers wounded in an Iranian military ballistic missile attack on an Iraq base in January 2020, the Army Times first reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: Most of these soldiers sustained brain injuries, per the Army Times. Then-President Trump dismissed their injuries at the time as "headaches" and "not very serious," sparking backlash from some veterans groups.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

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