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January 1, Stock Markets Eye Experts’ Warning of Wobbly Fiscal Response, Deep Recession



This Day in History | 1974

Hank Aaron hits his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s record. Aaron would go on to hit 755 homers. His record would later be broken by Barry Bonds on August 7th, 2007. Bonds still holds the all time home run record with 762.  

Good morning Middle Americans,

We hope you are hanging in there. There’s an estimated 10-15 million Americans who are dealing with a significant loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic. Are you one of them? Are you getting any relief? So far “the check is not in the mail”.  But that hasn’t stopped the president from talking about another pandemic relief bill. Meanwhile the inspector general who oversaw the Obama Administration’s TARP money allocation, which was about $500 billion dollars says we’re going to flush a lot this relief money down the toilet. TARP was a less than a quarter of the size of the CARES act just signed by President Trump.  Some experts say the waste could amount to $200,000,000,000 – or about 40% of TARP.

Remember “Pharmabro” Martin Shkreli? He’s asking a judge to release him from prison so he can work on drugs to treat COVID-19. This is the same guy who jacked up the price on other drugs so he could get rich. He also did some other shady stuff that landed him in prison.  It sounds like a movie plot.

Meanwhile in Kentucky, we now know that a man, who had his 15 year sexual assault prison sentence commuted by former governor Matt Bevin is back in jail. Federal investigators arrested Dayton Jones this week on child porn charges.

Also, you may have heard a lot about voting by mail these days, especially in Wisconsin, where there Supreme Court had to get involved in the state’s ill-advised primary.  SCOTUS said the governor couldn’t unilaterally delay the election. He had dillyed with his decision for a while, and that left the courts no choice. Still, will we all be forced to vote by mail in November? Most Americans support the idea, but we should be leery.  It’s not the process of voting by mail. It’s what happens after those ballots are filled out, that’s the problem. And no on is addressing it.

Read all about it.

-Fraser Dixon

U.S. Fiscal Response Could Deepen Coronavirus Recession

(Reuters) – The U.S. government’s massive effort to nurse the economy through the coronavirus crisis was billed as a send-money-and-don’t-sweat-the-details flood of cash to people and businesses in a $22 trillion system that has ground to a halt.

So far, the checks are not in the mail.

From technological glitches to confusion over the fine points of policy, the delays are mounting. The federal government’s muddled response risks deepening and lengthening a recession already historic for the speed of its onset.

States are struggling to process a historic mountain of unemployment claims on outdated technology. Large corporations, including companies slammed by the “social distancing” edicts keeping people at home, remain in the dark on the details of promised loans. Small businesses by the millions are desperately seeking cash, while banks still lack the right paperwork days into a lending program.

Read more here

‘Pharma Bro’ Seeks Prison Release to Research Coronavirus

(Market Watch) – Convicted former drug company CEO Martin Shkreli, known as “Pharma Bro,” wants to get out of prison so he can help research a treatment for the coronavirus, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Defense attorney Ben Brafman said that he will file court papers asking federal authorities to release Shkreli for three months so he can do laboratory work “under strict supervision.”

His client — best known before his arrest for drug price-gouging and his snarky online persona — is housed at a low-security prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania.

“I have always said that if focused and left in a lab, Martin could help cure cancer,” Brafman said in a statement. “Maybe he can help the scientific community better understand this terrible virus.”

In a research proposal posted online, Shkreli called the pharmaceutical industry’s response to the pandemic “inadequate” and said researchers at every drug company “should be put to work until COVID-19 is no more.”

Shkreli wrote that his background “as a successful two-time biopharma entrepreneur, having purchased multiple companies, invented multiple new drug candidates” would make him a valuable asset.

Learn more here

Kentucky Man Released from Prison by Ex-Governor Matt Bevin Arrested on Federal Child Porn Charges

(NBC News) – A Kentucky man whose state prison sentence for a 2014 sexual assault was commuted last year by former Gov. Matt Bevin has been arrested on federal child pornography charges, authorities said Tuesday.

In a statement, federal prosecutors in the Western District of Kentucky said Dayton Jones, 24, faces one charge of producing child sex abuse material. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Jones had been serving 15 years for the state charges.

Find out more here

Poll: Most Americans, unlike Trump, Want Mail-In Ballots for November if Coronavirus Threatens

(Reuters) – Most Americans, including a majority of Republicans, want the government to require mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 presidential election if the coronavirus outbreak still threatens the public this autumn, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

See the results here

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