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This is Not Pretty, Not Rich— a newsletter meant to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the markets and economy, and what you can do about it — if anything.
It’s Tuesday, April 14.
The states are taking things into their own hands — and it looks like the nation’s governors are going to be the ones that lead the U.S. as a whole out of this mess. Eventually.
A handful of states in the northeast (NY, NJ, PA, CT, DE, and RI and maybe MA) and on the west coast (WA, OR, and CA) have banded together in what looks like a precursor to secession. But is more of a “working group” to figure out when and how to ease social distancing and business restrictions. That’s because the majority of coronavirus cases are occurring in these states, and if they don’t work together, we’ll be back to square one.
It’s probably for the best, too. If New York were to suddenly decide to rescind any and all restrictions, for example, you’d have people pouring out of the state and into other states, spreading the virus and starting the whole damn cycle over again.
It’s going to be interesting to see how these states work to pull it off, especially since some in the federal government has opted to let others take charge.
The markets have calmed down — sort of
The stock market has been relatively calm over the past several days, which is good. It seems as though people are calming down, accepting the reality that we’re living in a less-deadly version of “The Stand,” and getting on with it.
While less all-out panic on Wall Street is a good thing, we’re still a long way from the end. In fact, we still don’t have a really good idea of how many people are unemployed, we’ve yet to get most company’s earnings reports, etc. In other words, the cumulative impact of the coronavirus is still unknown.
I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but I think it’ll be a stretch to think we’ll be going back to work or eating in restaurants in the next couple of months. I also think it’s unlikely we’ll be going to concerts or sporting events this year — sports may come back, but few people are itching to pile into stadiums right now.
So, go forth with tempered optimism.
Stimulus checks are starting to arrive
Those $1,200 stimulus checks are starting to be deposited in people’s accounts. Again, if you want to get your stimulus money sooner, there are two things to do ASAP: File your 2019 tax return and sign up with direct deposit through the IRS.
And it’s important to be careful with that money. It’s likely that there will be more stimulus payments in the future, but with the way Congress functions, it could be a while. Also, I suggest you read through this primer on stimulus check myths written by one of my CNBC colleagues over at Make It. I’m hearing a lot of confusion about these payments — and this can clear a few things up.
Finally, we should all keep the big picture in mind. Policymakers are trying to decide when to open up the country, and that is a life and death decision. Basically, people are going to die when and if they do it. This article goes into that discussion in detail and is worth a read.