- U.S. economy: We are looking at an economic meltdown that will be "sharper and more painful" than the 2008 financial crisis, writes the WaPo. Goldman Sachs estimates the economy will shrink at an annualized 24% rate over the next three months before picking up again.
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Lawmakers Disagree to Disagree Over Stimulus Package
We're guessing D.C.'s pizza delivery biz is doing okay. U.S. lawmakers spent the weekend negotiating over an economic stimulus bill that may wrap a $1+ trillion gauze pad over an economy that's bleeding profusely.
It's still in flux. After a summit of top congressional leaders yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she wouldn't support a bill the Senate had drafted. Then, the same bill failed a procedural vote in the Senate. Don't draft these folks for your escape room team.
So what are the sticking points?
- Corporate infusions. Democrats reportedly balked at $500 billion earmarked for corporations, including $58 billion just for airlines. They called it a "slush fund" because the Treasury Department would determine who received support. And...Dems also thought the bill didn't do enough to restrict companies that received federal aid from buying back stock. President Trump agrees with that.
- Exec knuckle raps. The bill would have imposed executive pay caps that lasted two years, which wasn't long enough for the c-suite hawks.
- Jobless aid. Republicans offered three months of unemployment insurance--not long enough for Dems, who want to spend $250 billion expanding that safety net.
Healthcare. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are advocating for an additional $200 billion for hospitals and other providers.
- Student debt. Pelosi is reportedly trying to erase $10,000 in loans for anyone with federal student debt.
- Loans for small businesses. The bill included $350 billion in small business loans that would be forgiven as long as the firms used them to retain staff. While that's pretty popular, Democrats objected because certain nonprofits would not be eligible.
Zoom out: Small businesses, workers stuck without incomes, and high-powered traders are all watching the details of this package closely. How it develops over the next few days will chart the U.S. economy's path forward.
Global Economy Enters Sleep Mode
While we wait for the official economic stats to arrive, the Financial Times put together an unofficial "first glimpse" at the impact on business activity. The tl;dr: There is very little business activity.
- Global restaurant demand has "ground to a halt" and so have brick-and-mortar retail sales. Foot traffic in the U.S. and Italy dropped more than 70% annually on March 18 (Springboard).
- Public entertainment has ceased to exist. In most of the countries where data was available, movie theater bookings dropped by more than 66% on the weekend of March 15. China and Italy reported "no data" that weekend (Box Office Mojo).
- The travel industry is fighting for survival. Last week, global flights were down over 20% month-over-month while road traffic has also dipped in major cities (Flightradar24).
- Energy consumption, a proxy for economic activity, is significantly lower across Europe and China (the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity).
Coronavirus Around the World
India: The government imposed a curfew (called the "Janata Curfew") that requires people to quarantine themselves from 7am to 9pm. India has over 1.3 billion people and a severely strained healthcare system.
Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is quarantined after meeting with an infected doctor, banned all meetings of more than two people.
Spain: After a spike in deaths on Sunday, the country now has the second-worst outbreak in Europe after Italy.
U.K.: The government said it would pay up to 80% of furloughed workers' salaries. PM Boris Johnson also ordered pubs, restaurants, theaters, and more to close.
Italy: Doctors and nurses account for more than 8% of total coronavirus cases in the country. All nonessential factories were ordered to close on Saturday.
Hong Kong: The financial secretary said its economy "is in deep water."
Israel: The government has tapped the country's famous intelligence agencies to help with the outbreak. Israelis cannot leave their homes outside of grocery shopping, medical treatment, or trips to the pharmacy.
No Cover Charge in Your Living Room
As the coronavirus quarantine drags on, we're all getting hungry for human interaction. You could start asking the AT&T customer service rep about her day...or you could join a star-studded virtual dance party.
For the past several days, DJ D-Nice has been making that happen. The LA-based DJ has been throwing a series of parties on Instagram Live he's calling "Homeschool."
- Saturday night's party would have filled Madison Square Garden five times over. More than 100,000 viewers joined, including Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Ellen DeGeneres, and even Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
- D-Nice told the NYT he missed the energy of a crowd after gigs at SXSW and Coachella were nixed.
- Users said they really felt like they were popping bottles with celebrities. Either cabin fever is getting to us or it was a pretty great party.
Zoom out: The coronavirus pandemic is rehabbing social media companies' reputations from data-guzzling monopolists to humanity's only connection to social events. Instagram Live viewership in Italy has doubled in the last two weeks, according to an Instagram spokesperson.
The Quarantined Week Ahead
This week's weather report: Who cares?
Monday: Financial Stability Oversight Council meeting to discuss the coronavirus; National Puppy Day
Tuesday: New home sales; G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting begins via video teleconference; Nike earnings
Wednesday: Presumably a lot of stuff that was canceled
Thursday: Initial weekly unemployment claims; final Q4 GDP estimate; Lululemon earnings; would have been Opening Day for MLB
Friday: Consumer sentiment; PCE price index inflation data; new Pearl Jam album
WHAT ELSE IS BREWING
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote "my own time and thinking is now wholly focused on COVID-19 and on how Amazon can best play its role" in a memo to employees.
- The FAA briefly halted flights to NYC-area airports and Philly's international airport on Saturday because a trainee at the New York air traffic-control center tested positive for COVID-19.
- Starbucks has closed most of its company-operated stores in North America, going drive-thru only.
- Emirates Airline is temporarily suspending all flights starting March 25.
- The International Olympic Committee said it would consider postponing, but not canceling, the Tokyo Games.
Your Daily Quarantine Planner: March 23
Viral vids to send to your group chat
- An Israeli woman goes off about being locked down with her four kids.
- Steve Martin plays the banjo and it's nice.
- Kenny Rogers, who died Friday night
- Six hours of soothing music from the NPR Music staff
Lunch break, but make it productive
- Level up: Definitely worth poking around YouTube's learning hub.
- Do good: We made a list of the different ways you can donate your time and money to help those most affected.
- Stay up-to-date: NYC put out a guide to safe sex in the age of coronavirus.
Can't go wrong with one-pot Mexican rice, beans, and corn. While that cooks, read the rice and beans Wikipedia page.
No screen: Do a jigsaw puzzle. And by "do" we mean "start." They take awhile...that's kind of the point. Here's a list of 21 puzzles for you to begin your puzzle journey.
Screen: Morning Brew writer Eliza Carter watches a lot of TV--but absolutely no sports. So she's exactly the type of person we need to turn to right now. Read Eliza's epic guide to non-sports TV from someone who's never watched sports.
Last week, our weekly news quiz went interactive on our website, and today, so is Beyond Crossword. They're growing up so fast...
3. E-reader model
5. A Tempranillo, say
6. JPMorgan's Jamie _______
8. Pizza Hut's home state
1. Minneapolis-based retailer
2. Pre-Series A funding
4. Oprah TV channel
7. NASA destination
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BEYOND CROSSWORD ANSWER
3. E-reader model = Nook
5. A Tempranillo, say = grape
6. JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon
8. Pizza Hut's home state = Texas
1. Minneapolis-based retailer = Target
2. Pre-Series A funding = Seed
4. Oprah TV channel = OWN
7. NASA destination = ISS (International Space Station)