Apr 7, 2019

The upside of printing money

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Is the deficit too small? A growing consensus is forming that the answer might be yes — despite the fact that it hit an all-time high in February.

What's happening: Warren Buffett has learned to stop worrying about the deficit, as have many economists on both sides of the political spectrum.

What we're reading: The NYT's Patricia Cohen reports on how a long list of Wall Street heavyweights is embracing Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT. Quoted in her article: Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs; Paul McCulley, former chief economist at Pimco; Mohamed El-Erian, former Pimco CEO; Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates; Richard C. Koo, chief economist at Nomura; and Dan Alpert, managing partner at Westwood Capital.

While none of the Wall Streeters can be considered doctrinaire adherents of MMT, they all find it useful in terms of understanding the point at which government spending stops being a productive investment in the economy and starts risking harmful levels of inflation. None of them think we're anywhere near that point today.

  • Their message: For the time being, the government should keep on spending, even it doesn't raise taxes. The economy — and the market — will only benefit as a result.
"For me an economic approach must help me understand the world, and provide me with some useful insights (preferably about my day job — investing). On those measures let me assure you that MMT thrashes neoclassical economics, hands down."
James Montier, strategist at GMO

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 838,061 — Total deaths: 41,261 — Total recoveries: 174,115.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 177,452 — Total deaths: 3,440 — Total recoveries: 6,038.
  3. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with other health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  4. Federal government latest: The White House and other institutions are observing several models to better understand and prepare cities for when the coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S.
  5. In Congress: New York Rep. Max Rose deploys to National Guard to help coronavirus response.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Misinformation in the coronavirus age.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: White House studies models projecting virus peak

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The White House and other institutions are observing several models to better understand and prepare cities for when the coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S.

The state of play: The coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S. in two weeks, but many states like Virginia and Maryland will see their individual peaks well after that, according to a model by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes two-minute antibody testing kit to detect coronavirus

Currently, it takes days to produce results from testing kits. Photo: Sergei Malgavko\TASS via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency approval Tuesday for a serological testing kit produced by Bodysphere Inc. that can detect a positive or negative result for COVID-19 in two minutes.

Why it matters: Access to testing has improved in the U.S. thanks to commercial labs, but the average wait time for a patient's results is four to five days — with some reports of it taking more than a week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health