The White House isn’t interested in any more economic stimulus because the hydroxychloroquined menace in the Oval Office has declared victory. All the economic damage from the novel coronavirus pandemic is now being reversed, Trump’s officials now say they believe, so the HEROES Act is going to be stalled indefinitely. “It almost feels like today is the first day,” Trump said Monday in the White House. “People are starting to go out. They’re opening. They get it.”
A good portion of them certainly will get it. Some of them will die. But they’ll load up their credit cards first, so no worries. The happy talk started with White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett, creator of the “beyond stupid” mathematical model showing of coronavirus deaths would plummet to zero by now, mid-May. Apparently they’re still operating on that model. On Monday, Hassett said “I’ve been really positively impressed by how quickly things are turning around.” He added later at a White House event, “I was pretty depressed about how bad it looked a few weeks ago, but you can really see it turning on faster than I thought.” That means, he says, “I think it’s possible that we’ll see a strong enough economy that we don’t need a Phase Four” of economic stimulus.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking with reporters on the Hill where he’s meeting with Republican leaders Tuesday, wouldn’t say whether he thinks more federal aid is needed. He probably thinks more federal aid is needed. Pretty much everybody does. The Congressional Budget Office projects unemployment to be above 10% into next year. Goldman Sachs projects the same for the remainder of the year, even if there’s a fourth round of economic stimulus. So does Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan. “What matters to people is not GDP rates, seasonally adjusted at an annual growth rate,” he told The Washington Post. “It is the labor market and unemployment and jobs. And it’s very likely that, by the end of the year, the unemployment rate could still be north of 10 percent.”
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says it’s going to take more federal support. “If we let people be out of work for long periods of time, if we let businesses fail unnecessarily, waves of them, there’ll be longer term damage to the economy. The recovery will be slower,” he said in a 60 Minutes interview Sunday. “The good news is we can avoid that by providing more support now.” That is the good news.
The bad news is that Trump doesn’t want it to happen because that would mean that he’s not winning. He’s lunching with Republican senators Tuesday. A buffet lunch. Because there’s no such thing as coronavirus anymore.