Happy New Year “Angry Bears” run75441 | December 31, 2020 11:55 pm Healthcare Politics Wear Your Masks Around Others, Socially Distance If You Are Out and About, And Stay Home As Much As You Can! Eric, Dan, and Me Comments (9) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
Happy New Year Bill. And hats off to readers!
And a better health and prosperous year for all of us!
New Year’s Day for me is January 20th.
Things Will Get Better. Seriously
NY Times – Paul Krugman – December 31
The next few months will be hell in terms of politics, epidemiology and economics. But at some point in 2021 things will start getting better. And there’s good reason to believe that once the good news starts, the improvement in our condition will be much faster and continue much longer than many people expect.
OK, one thing that probably won’t get better is the political scene. Day after day, Republicans — it’s not just Donald Trump — keep demonstrating that they’re worse than you could possibly have imagined, even when you tried to take into account the fact that they’re worse than you could possibly have imagined. One of our two major political parties no longer accepts the legitimacy of elections it loses, which bodes ill for the fate of the Republic.
But on other fronts there’s a clear case for optimism. Science has come to our rescue, big time, with the miraculously fast development of vaccines against the coronavirus. True, the United States is botching the initial rollout, which should surprise nobody. But this is probably just a temporary hitch, especially because in less than three weeks we’ll have a president actually interested in doing his job.
And once we’ve achieved widespread vaccination, the economy will bounce back. The question is, how big will the bounce be?
Our last economic crisis was followed by a sluggish recovery. Employment didn’t return to 2007 levels until 2014; real median household income didn’t regain the lost ground until 2016. And many observers expect a replay of that story, especially if Republicans retain control of the Senate and engage, once again, in economic sabotage under the pretense of being fiscally responsible.
But the crisis of 2020 was very different from the crisis of 2008, in ways that make our prospects look much better this time around.
The U.S. enters 2021 playing catch-up with its vaccine distribution.
The last economic crisis involved a Wile E. Coyote moment: The private sector suddenly looked down, realized that there was nothing supporting extravagant housing prices and extremely high levels of household debt, and plunged. The result was an extended period of depressed spending. The only way to have avoided multiple years of high unemployment would have been sustained, large-scale fiscal stimulus — and the G.O.P. prevented that.
This 2020 crisis, by contrast, was brought on by a headwind out of nowhere, in the form of the coronavirus. The private sector doesn’t seem to have been particularly overextended before the pandemic. And while we shouldn’t minimize the hardships faced by millions of families, on average Americans have been saving like crazy, and will emerge from the pandemic with stronger balance sheets than they had before.
So I’m in the camp that expects rapid growth once people feel safe going out and spending money. Mitch McConnell and company will, no doubt, do what they always do when a Democrat occupies the White House, and try to sabotage the recovery. But this time the economy won’t need support as badly as it did during the Obama years.
And I suspect, although with less confidence, that the boom will go on for a long time. Why? Because like a number of other people, I’m getting optimistic about the future of technology. …
Thanks. PK the bright-eyed liberal is a welcome site nowadays even if puns are still the lowest form of humor.
… The Republican embrace of deficit spending hit a wall with the party’s leadership this past week, as Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, rebuffed Mr. Trump’s demand to quickly increase the size of stimulus checks to $2,000 from $600. That decision drew scorn from some in his own party, with Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri upbraiding Republicans for denying struggling workers additional relief
“I hear a lot of talking about how we can’t afford it,” Mr. Hawley said on the Senate floor on Friday. “I do notice, however, that we seem to be able to afford all kinds of other stuff. We can afford to send lots of money to other governments. We can afford to send all kinds of tax breaks and bailouts to big corporations. But we can’t seem to find the money for relief for working people that the president and the House and the Senate all support.”
The split in the party offers a hint of the landscape that awaits President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., whose agenda will require Congress to agree to more spending. Mr. Biden is expected to push for another stimulus package once he takes office and has listed other priorities, including investments in infrastructure, health care and climate change, all of which require government money.
Come Jan. 20, Republican lawmakers are all but certain to cast themselves as the nation’s fiscal stewards and resurrect their deficit concerns to oppose policies backed by Democrats. For months, they have pointed to worries over government debt to argue against Democrats’ demands for a second trillion-dollar-plus stimulus package, ultimately aligning on a $900 billion bill.