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    • He has an interesting idea that’s not completely insane and could gain bipartisan support if introduced.

      Hmm ...


      It's time to face the fact that PPP didn't work. Great plan, difficult execution. No one's fault. The only thing that will save businesses is consumer demand. No amount of loans to businesses will save them or jobs if their customers aren't buying.

      It's time for trickle up economics. We need a transitional fed jobs program that trains and hires millions for a federal tracking/tracing/testing program as well as for support for at risk populations including long term care. We need to dent unemployment with stable jobs.

      In addition, because this will take time, we need to consider an interim spending stimulus program. All 128m households could get a $1k check every 2 weeks for the next 2 months that MUST BE SPENT WITHIN 10 DAYS OF RECEIPT OR IT EXPIRES. This "use it or lose it" program will Cost about $500b, but it will allow for demand for non essential products and services to increase, hopefully keeping most businesses alive, as we learn what the impact of re-opening is on the spread and whether or not employment grows organically.

      There is certainly a lot of risk in this use it or lose it approach. A lot to be considered.

      Mark Cuban


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    • That was a provocative Tweet of Cuban's that PPP didn't work. I wanted some more context, so I watched this interview of him with Walter Isaacson:

      Ever since Gates said he doesn't think the economy will come back until people feel safe, I have thought that makes sense. So, he says, put the government's effort into getting people feeling like they can go to a restaurant. It seems like Cuban is agreeing.

    • I think the Cuban plan has something going for it, since it directs bail out funds to precisely the place they are designed to go - consumers.

      In the past - the Global Financial Crisis, for example - governments and central banks made the mistake of putting emergency funds in the hands of commercial banks, and trusting them to trickle down the money to consumers. This patently did not happen - a large proportion of funds fed to banks at this time were used to pay senior bank bonuses etc. Not enough reached the real economy. Quite why governments gave enormous amounts of funding to banks in this way without any conditions on how it should be deployed remains a mystery.

      Cutting the banks out of any current bail out funding, and directing benefits squarely at consumers, is possibly the only way to ensure the maximum real economy effect. Banks have proven themselves poor administrators.

    • Just as we've seen in previous recessions, folks tend to hunker down, the savings rate skyrockets and discretionary spending plummets. People are unwilling to spend when they don't know what's around the corner.

      While Mark Cuban's idea of use-it-or-lose-it stimulus checks have a lot of merit, my fear is people would simply spend the stimulus checks as a replacement for essential expenses they
      would buy anyway, such as food, rent and mortgage payments, leaving their savings untouched and banking their paychecks if they were still on payroll.  I.e., net spending would not increase beyond what it would have been.

      I'm kind of with Bill Gates on this.  People won't resume discretionary spending
      until they feel their financial reserves have been replenished.

      I've long been a fan of a federally supported, modern day version of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the successful public works jobs program of the Great Depression years. 
      I have friends with grandparents who participated in the CCC and found it a lifesaver, in one case re-enlisting for a second 2-year stint.

      In my view, a modern CCC-like program could be operated continuously and dialed up quickly in a crisis like COVID-19.  During normal operation, it could provide public service jobs for those in desperate economic need and those transitioning out of drug rehabilitation programs or even prison who could benefit from a structured work environment.

    • I wonder to what extent the $1,000 spend every two weeks could end up going towards deferred essentials.

      For example, your washer and dryer are barely still working but a replacement costs $1,500 and you only have $600.

      Or, you don’t need to buy a new car for at least six months, but the $1,000 “use it or lose it” cash accelerates your purchase to now.