☀️ Dither – August 10 2020



Happy Monday. Grover and I hope you had a great weekend. He successfully chewed through a hairbrush that he was destroying on our live morning show last week. Why do I even buy him bones?

credit: miles morris

In Case You Missed It. Before his visit to Mount Rushmore last month, President Trump’s aides asked the Governor of South Dakota to add his face to mountain carving alongside Lincoln. The New York Times broke the story. And Trump tweeted over the weekend that it ‘sounds like a good idea‘.

Coronavirus Update: Total confirmed U.S. cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,044,864 — Total deaths: 162,938 — Total recoveries:  1,656,864

America hit a new milestone over the weekend. 5 million confirmed coronavirus cases. Europe is scared of us.

In Today’s Newsletter:

  • Democrats fire back at Trump’s executive orders
  • Millennials are hurting
  • Work from Vegas


Program Rate Change APR Change
30 year 3.06%  0.08% 3.14% 0.08%
15 year 2.77% 0.01% 2.94% 0.04%

The Lead: Trump’s Stimulus Actions Are Not Enough

credit: susan walsh, associated press

President Trump announced a stimulus plan of his own over the weekend by executive order. You can’t blame him for not wanting to wait for Congress to come to an agreement. But the orders, which he continues to call a bill, even though it is not a bill, could fall far short of providing the help the country so badly needs.

What’s in the bill act?

The orders call for additional funds for the unemployed to the tune of $400. It is not the $600 we had grown accustomed to from the Cares Act but it is also not the $200 that Republicans had wanted. But it is something and since the Cares Act expired in July, families have had nothing.

The orders also suspend the collection of payroll taxes from September 1 through December 31. This will save employers the 6.2% Social Security tax on wages for employees making less than $100,000 per year.


There is also a moratorium on evictions but only for homes that are financed with federally-backed loans. This is an odd stipulation. How is a tenant to know what kind of loan is on their landlord’s property? And what of those that do not qualify? Most of my investments do not have loans on them so can I evict with wild abandon now? That’s not right. Why not just keep in place the Cares Act moratorium that has seemed to be working just fine?

Recall that several states still have in place their own eviction moratoriums, which will hopefully safeguard some tenants for the time being.

Student loans

Lastly, there is a furlough of student loans for a future 6 months. Democrat’s Heroes act would forgive up to $10,000 but there is no loan forgiveness in the President’s orders. It is simply a pause on payments.

So where is all of this money to come from if the country will not make income through payroll taxes and will dole out more for unemployment? Much of this will come from the Disaster Relief Fund, the government’s in-case-of-emergency stores. This fund currently has approximately $70 million but after these orders, it will be depleted by almost two thirds. Of course, what we are in qualifies as an emergency but keep in mind that hurricane season is upon us and experts are saying that it could be a doozy. If you were not a prayer before, now is the time!

So look, before this weekend we had nothing and people were hurting. Now we have something but many people will still be hurting.

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Economy: Millennials Getting Hit Hardest

credit: wsj

Millennials are suffering terribly from the pandemic and not necessarily for health reasons. Sure, they know how to use the Internet better than most generations but that does not help much if you have no job to use it with.

Millennials are the generation that was born between 1981 and 1996. They entered the workforce during the 2008 housing crisis and have not had time to fully recover in between.

Research shows that generations that enter the workforce during an economic crisis suffer for the duration of their careers. That seems to be holding true right now for Millennials with the highest unemployment rate of any other working generation, including Baby Boomers and Generation X, according to the Pew Research Center.

Makes sense. If you are going to have to lay off, you would not start with senior management or less-skilled laborers. You’d start in the middle, which is exactly where Millennials might find themselves in their careers.

News By The Numbers

credit: mario tama / getty images

97,000. That’s how many children tested positive for Covid-19 in the final two weeks of July. This comes as schools reopen to chaos from coast to coast. Many students are already coming home from school infected with the virus and teachers are threatening strikes. Districts that spent all summer planning hybrid systems, in which children would be in school part of the week, ditched them as coronavirus cases surged.

100. That’s how many days New Zealand has gone without a community transmission of Covid-19. That’s a new milestone for the island nation which has only 23 total cases under quarantine.

1/3. That’s how many renters are expected to miss their August rent payment. A new census survey finds that with the lapse of the federal moratorium on evictions and the end of the $600 per week boost to unemployment benefits, millions of American renters will be left homeless in the coming weeks.

Mall of America Amazon


credit: getty

What will happen to all of those malls and department stores that go out of business during the pandemic? Well, either the zombies could occupy them in the pending apocalypse or Amazon could turn them into fulfillment centers. Lucky for us, the second option seems more likely!

Amazon has expressed interest in these locations and is reportedly in talks with Simon Property Group, one of the biggest mall owners in the US. This would give Amazon not only more space for warehouses but also better urban locations to speed up delivery.

Meet Tesla’s Chinese Competition

credit: Xpeng Motors

Xpeng Motors has filed for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. This is a Chinese company that makes electric cars to compete with Tesla.

Xpeng has two EV models in production. The G3 is an SUV and the P7 is a sedan that competes with Tesla’s lower-priced Model 3. Neither is available for sale in the U.S. but both have been given approval for road tests by the Department of Transportation so that may happen sooner than later.

The Xpeng IPO comes at a time when relations between the US and China are not simpatico and the President has threatened to block Chinese companies from doing business on Wall Street. So far, that has not stopped Xpeng’s filing.

Just Another Day At The Casino Office

credit: giphy

Can’t work in your office? Why not work from Vegas? What could go wrong?

MGM resorts have been hard hit by the pandemic and have launched a “Work from Vegas” business package for its resorts. It encourages workers to get a hotel room since they are not reporting to the office. The cheapest package includes 5-day stays at about $100 per night, well below the going rate pre-pandemic. It also includes food and beverage discounts and discounted flights from surrounding cities in California, Texas, and Washington.

What is not included is child care so if you have kids, you would have to work pool-side in between sun screening and try to keep an eye on them. Is that your idea of fun? And sure, you get maid service so you don’t have to clean your own workspace but is it wise to be around gambling in a down economy? Our bet is that this would be a bust but if you give it a try, let us know how it goes!

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