Josh Barro Profile picture
15 Oct, 4 tweets, 1 min read
Yes. This isn't 2009, household balance sheets on average got stronger during the crisis, banks are in good shape, and the *macroeconomic* risks from delay or reduction in the stimulus aren't as large as people think. The primary case for relief is helping individuals in need.
The crisis has put many households in a stronger position to spend -- people who kept their income, cut spending, and got relief funds -- even as others struggle to make ends meet. At a macro level, that can sort of come out in the wash. But there's a lot of individual pain.
These are both important issues and people sort of conflate them. Cutting off unemployment checks will put a lot of people in dire economic positions -- true. Cutting off unemployment checks will cripple economic growth as a Biden admin starts -- eh, probably not true.
The stock market is looking at the latter thing -- which matters a lot, because a too-slow recovery also causes lots of individual pain -- but it doesn't really measure the former at all.

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More from @jbarro

16 Oct
I've been thinking more about the president's still-pretty-strong poll numbers on the economy, and they make even more sense to me than they did already just from the usual observation that the economy was good pre-COVID and voters think he's a business guy.
I suggest you think about it this way: Are there aspects of the president's economic performance you approve of? I can make a pretty long list of economic choices Trump has made that I approve of -- big ones, not just little ones.
What has Trump done right? He made good appointments to the Fed, including Jay Powell. (He then started making bad choices but Congress blocked those.) He also has been right about monetary policy, pushing for lower rates at a time when lower rates were appropriate.
Read 7 tweets
16 Oct
She is remarkably successful at interrupting the president. She cuts in and he yields. I don't know what the secret is.
well, sometimes he yields. more than usual.
I think one thing is that her follow-up questions are short.
Read 4 tweets
14 Oct
“Oh no, the president will gloat about his ratings.”
The idea that two extra channel positions will drive the “crushing” viewership here also strikes me as wrong as an empirical matter — we all know how much habitual prime-time MSNBC viewers love to look at Trump’s face, right? — but again, who gives a shit.
Read 5 tweets
11 Oct
Being "pot committed" is a useful poker concept that should be used more in non-poker contexts. It's especially useful at times like this, when we approach an election where one candidate is strongly favored to win.
You are pot committed when you are highly unlikely to win, but there is such a large number of chips in the pot relative to the number of chips you have left in front of you that you might as well keep betting and hope for the best.
How does this relate to our current situation? Suppose you're a commentator who's made some large bets on a hand that isn't looking so great. Maybe the cards you're holding say "Joe Biden is senile." Or they say "Joe Biden can't win because of enthusiasm." Sucks to be you. But!
Read 5 tweets
4 Oct
In some instances, the president being a moron has mitigated the effect of him being a very immoral person. In this instance, the effect has been exacerbating.
Also, I’m not sure I can recall an instance where the president’s supporters have been harder on the wrong end of public opinion as when they describe shit like this as brave and COVID mitigation as cowardly.
The public has a bias toward being fearful of threats — something the president demonstrates he understands when he talks about crime. But here, he commits to a position that is both ridiculous and very unpopular.
Read 4 tweets
3 Oct
If the president’s testing timeline was exculpatory, would his Conley have refused to describe the testing timeline? He said he wouldn’t get into that when asked when the president’s last negative test had been.
It seems obvious what happened here: The president knew or had good reason to believe he had COVID, he didn’t want to admit it, and he just hoped it would be a mild enough case that he could just muddle through without disclosing it, superspreading all the way along.
He’s like COVID Corey, all the way down to the obnoxious social media presence.
Read 4 tweets

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