☀️ What a Mess – July 29 2020



Happy Wednesday. The election is only 97 days away but you can actually start voting in 43 days. Register for your absentee ballots right here.

In Case You Missed It. The Miami Marlins paused their season after half the team tested positive for COVID-19. This puts the entire MLB season at risk of ending. Go Phillies!

Coronavirus Update: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 4,352,083 — Total deaths: 149,258 — Total recoveries:  1,355,363

New York Governor Cuomo is keeping a list and checking it twice. The number of states banned from sending people to The Empire State has grown to 34. Puerto Rico is also on the naughty list.

In Today’s Newsletter:

  • Republicans can’t agree on their own stimulus plan
  • 2021’s Consumer Electronics Show goes virtual
  • The Fed on interest rates


Program Rate Change APR Change
30 year 3.16% 0.01% 3.23% 0.02%
15 year 2.75% 0.01% 2.90% 0.00%

The Lead: Stimulus Mess

credit: Getty

So it is the HEALS vs the HEROES Act currently being debated in congress. Republicans are trying to rally behind their recently released HEALS Act, while Democrats are still using the HEROES Act, which passed in the House of Representatives.

Both bills call for more payments to individuals with very different stipulations. Both parties want different amounts for families based on different qualifications. The definition of a dependent will change to remove age limits. Both parties agree on this.

Where the parties disagree is on the fringe. It is not so much what the American families receive but what else is in the bill that either will or will not help families directly, such as money for the FBI or money for schools to reopen.

Unemployment benefits

Another key sticking point is the $600 per week unemployment benefits that expired last week. Republicans want to slash that amount to $200 per week. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Democrats are holding firm on the $600 number.

Meadows said he believes the negotiations are in the “second inning.” If you’ve ever watched a baseball game you don’t get excited until the seventh inning stretch. We’re no where near it as Republicans continue to argue.

“I think it would be fair to say at this juncture that we have unity in disagreement,” joked Sen. John Kennedy (R., La.). “It’s a mess,” said Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.), who added that he wasn’t inclined to vote for it.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking this week and if no deal is reached, lawmakers could pick up stakes and go home with no deal at all. We are on a cliff here, friends.

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Vaccine Price Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

credit: getty images

Biotech company Moderna is hard at work on a COVID vaccine that could come at a cost of $50-$60 per person. This price tag is not sitting well with folks, as you can imagine.

Moderna has received close to $1 billion from the US government to develop this vaccine. Do they have a right to make a profit? Sure. But do they have the right to price gouge something that is clearly needed to heal the world? Well…

The $60 price tag is three times the amount agreed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, which was $19.50 per dose. AstraZeneca has signed a deal to release its potential vaccine in Europe for $3-4 per dose. Both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have said that they will not seek to make a profit on the vaccine, at least in initial rollouts to end the pandemic.

So do we chalk this up to corporate greed? We leave that to you to think about while people are dying from COVID in increasing numbers globally.

News By The Numbers

credit: bloomberg

78. That’s the percentage of people that contract COVID-19 who may suffer permanent heart problems. A recent study of 100 recovered coronavirus patients reveals 78 of them now have lasting cardiovascular damage even though a vast majority of them had mild cases of COVID-19 in the first place.

12. Americans are trying to get out of dodge and other countries are taking advantage of the exodus. Here are 12 countries where you can buy citizenship.

186. Florida just hit a new Coronavirus record, although not a good one. The Sunshine State hit 186 deaths in one day pushing their number to 6,000 statewide. The 186 deaths mark the highest single-day death toll announced by the Florida Department of Health since the pandemic began

The Fed is Not Reserved


credit: business insider

The Federal Reserve had a meeting this week to discuss what it can do to stimulate a faltering economy. The agency will release a report today but it is not expected to be a real shocker. They have not agreed on any major changes just yet.

The Fed may be considering raising its short-term interest rate, which is now nearing 0. It could also provide more guidance on the conditions it would account for if it makes such a move.

The Fed is notoriously conservative on these types of moves. It was slow to react to the pandemic with low rates in the first place. Most likely we won’t see any real moves until the September meeting.

How Confident Do You Feel?

credit: giphy

You probably don’t need a study to prove that consumer confidence is down but there is one and it is.

New York research firm The Conference Board reported that the Consumer Confidence Index fell precipitously in June. This index is a predictor of consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of economic activity. The research company notes that this drop in confidence is directly related to continual COVID outbreaks.

Again, something that you did not need a researcher to tell you but the proof is there nevertheless.

Note to Self: Don’t Be This Guy

credit: shutterstock

If you think the government is not organized enough to keep employers honest on their PPP loans, think again. A man in Florida was arrested this week because he fraudulently obtained $3.9 million from the Paycheck Protection Program and used it to buy a $320,000 Lamborghini.

Recall that the Paycheck Protection Program was created to help employers keep their employees employed during the pandemic. The Florida man falsified his payroll, showing 70 employees and over $4 million in monthly payroll. He collected that money from the federal government and used it to buy the luxury car, a vacation, clothes, and jewelry.

Of course, this program was not seamless. It took several weeks for companies to qualify and receive funds and the federal government has yet to set repayment guidelines. But clearly the federal government is not looking the other way. This is money for people to feed their children. Not for jerks like that to ride with the top down in the sun.

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