Four storylines rival each other in importance. The faltering US economy needs fiscal oxygen quickly, keeping the stimulus negotiations in the headlines. Since the development and distribution of an effective Covid-19 vaccine is the key to ending our public health, social, and economic quagmire, we monitor vaccine developments daily. Family life in the US may be most impacted immediately by the reopening of schools. Not only is the well-being of our country’s students and children at stake, but many parents will be unable to return to normal work schedules until their children are back safely in school. Then the November elections loom ever closer, bringing major policy implications and potential challenges to the functioning of our democratic institutions and national sovereignty.
- Stimulus Negotiations: The most recent stimulus negotiation news has been positive. Washington Post Talks between the White House and the Democratic leadership are progressing. Senator McConnell is signaling a willingness to accept the agreements reached by the White House and Democratic leadership. CNBC It is not a done deal, but we believe that there is a good chance of an agreement being finalized by the end of next week. As I mentioned in the last Coffee Notes, I take heart that compromise between those who fundamentally disagree is still possible. How else does a democracy function?
- Covid-19 Vaccine: We now have close to 200 vaccine candidates. Twenty-seven are being tested on humans with several in advanced trials. It will happen, but we need to be realistic about the time frame. The first vaccines may not be completely effective, even if a large percentage of the population can receive them. We do not fully understand Covid-19, and it is better understood as a war than a one-time battle. I see this going well into 2021. Axios
- Reopening Schools: The reopening of all educational institutions is a deeply complex issue in my view, best addressed on a state and local level, if not school by school, by those leaders with the best on the ground knowledge of their students and the risks. There are numerous health and policy considerations, but frankly, the choices are unenviable. CNBC New York Times CNN
- Presidential Election: History professor Allan Lichtman has a sterling record for successfully predicting the outcome of elections, going back to 1980, including getting 2016 right. Professor Lichtman ignores polls and instead refreshingly focuses on 13 variables, including the economy and foreign policy successes and failures. Not wanting to spoil the punchline, I encourage you to watch the linked video. If you are unable to watch the video, email me, and I will summarize it for you. Allan Lichtman Calls 2020
- America’s Two Coronavirus Realities: It is increasingly clear that the virus is having a massively disproportionate impact on different segments of the economy and those whose livelihoods depend on those sectors. All of us are suffering the pain of social separation and threats to our health, but it is those at the bottom of the economic ladder who are incurring the most financial pain. Axios
- Travel During the Coronavirus: Itching to take a long road trip to see family? CNN Airlines are spending massive time and resources on making air travel safer. Reading this NYT article made me more likely to fly. New York Times
- The “60/40” Portfolio and the Pandemic: It is not uncommon for investors to own portfolios with approximately 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds. It is the classic balanced investment strategy. A Vanguard study notes that this strategy has held up well during the pandemic. MarketWatch
- Why It is Good to be Old: While there is an undeniable biological reality to aging, there is also the subjective experience of getting “older”. Many would tell you, myself included, that they have generally grown happier through the years, as our level of contentment and life acceptance increase. The linked article is to an essay, not a scientific study, but the author probably speaks for a surprising number of folks. New York Times
A Quote I Like: On the many virtues of friendship, Kevin Kelly notes that…” In so many ways a friend with a boat is better than owning a boat.”
- Houseplants Rise to the Occasion: Washington Post
- Flu Shot May Lower Odds of Alzheimer’s: CNN
- Best US Beaches (Siesta Key #1): Boston Globe
- Maine Native Actor and Handyman to the Stars: Press Herald
- Twelve Summer Sparkling Wines: New York Times
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As always, thank you for reading. Stay safe and be well. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in time.