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03.12.2021 by David M. Smith

Is the Latest Stimulus Bill a Sign We Are Moving to Larger Government Programs?

The President is expected to sign the stimulus bill on Friday putting $1.9T of government support in motion. The headline feature is the $1400 stimulus checks for individuals making less than $75,000 and couples earning less than $150,000. But there is plenty more including increased child tax credits, earned income tax credits, housing assistance, Paycheck Protection Program for businesses, and grants to states to bolster or increase childcare, pensions, subway, and bus transportation, Medicaid, and the list goes on. It is a massive stimulus intended to address the effects of the economic fallout from the pandemic. WSJ The Hill

Over the last year, legislators have passed stimulus bills totaling an eye-popping $4.6T. Some are comparing the massive government support to LBJ’s Great Society or even Roosevelt’s New Deal. So, does that mean the big spending is over with the end of the pandemic seemingly in sight? Hardly. Some think the popular sentiment on social programs has shifted and this is the beginning of big government spending and possibly the start of universal basic income (UBI). Democrats emboldened by the popularity of the $1.9T bill may try to make some of the bill’s provisions permanent. Also, President Biden is said to be eyeing a huge bill to address old infrastructure and climate change. Greg Valliere   Christian Science Monitor Definition of UBI - Investopedia

The biggest concern of investors is that the huge government stimulus will stoke inflation higher than expected. If that happens, the Federal Reserve could reverse course on their accommodative policies. But this week, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February came in at 0.4% and was 1.7% for the last twelve months which was in line with expectations. This is good news as most of the recent stock and bond market volatility was a reaction to higher potential inflation with bond yields rising abruptly. Stock markets reacted positively to the CPI data and bond yields remained steady or even moved moderately lower. Still, investors will be laser-focused on inflation data as the economy reopens. CNBC Reuters

Finding a Leftover Vaccine: Some vaccination sites have leftover vaccine doses at the end of the day. After coming out of cold storage, they must be used within hours before being thrown out. Each state has its methodology on how to handle leftover doses, but it can be confusing and difficult for those interested in signing up. One entrepreneur created a website to try to solve this problem by trying to match a standby list of willing recipients and vaccinators. NYT Dr. B

Quick Hits for the Week:

  • Eli Lily’s antibody cocktail phase three trial showed an 87% effectiveness in reducing death and hospitalizations in high-risk patients with COVID-19: UPI CNBC
  • What is one of the first things vaccinated seniors do? Book airline tickets: Yahoo Finance
  • Speaking of travel here’s how to think about booking a summer trip to Europe: Bloomberg
  • China is on course to become the largest economy, but a low birth rate may get in the way: WSJ
  • An author believes now that science is finally focusing on aging, it will be cured: The Economist Amazon

Searching for Italy: Who can resist beautiful pictures of Italy and its fantastic food, culture, and history? That’s what drew me to Stanley Tucci’s new CNN series “Searching for Italy.” The host visits different regions of Italy to discover how regional food tells the story about the people and their history. But the problem is that after watching an episode, you’ll want to eat! I can’t wait to try my hand at Cacio e Pepe or Spaghetti alla Nerano which were highlighted in a couple of the early episodes. Mangia! CNN

Handling Zoom Fatigue is Different for Extroverts and Introverts: One year into the pandemic and our calendars are still filled with video calls. While moderation is key to managing video call fatigue, extroverts may benefit by adding more stimuli such as larger screens, louder audio, and different backgrounds. Introverts can try using phone calls instead of video calls, use the “raise hand” feature in larger calls, and set a time limit to avoid an awkward exit. WSJ

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