Good morning! The US may soon have a second COVID-19 vaccine as the Moderna drug nears approval. Moderna’s vaccine is 94-percent effective and may be better at stopping transmission of the virus better than the Pfizer product. Moderna’s vaccine also has a longer shelf-life and does not require extremely cold temperatures. Emergency approval is expected as early as Friday.
Congress is still working on a COVID relief bill as well. After nine months, the second bill is starting to come together, but there is little time left to pass it. A bipartisan group of congressmen introduced two bills earlier this week, but the two parties are wrangling over details. Democrats want more aid for state and local governments while Republicans want liability protection for businesses. McConnell has said that he would forgo the liability protections if Democrats give something up.
The COVID relief bill will be attached to a spending bill to authorize funds for federal agencies that must pass by midnight Friday. If the spending bill doesn’t pass, it will trigger another government shutdown.
Although I’m a fiscal conservative and budget hawk, I have long supported Coronavirus relief. The bill is often referred to as stimulus, but that is not accurate. This legislation is not meant to stimulate the economy but to preserve it and prevent a collapse. The federal money will shore up businesses - the same ones the Republicans have been talking about wanting to open up the economy to save for months - that are nearing insolvency. It will also ensure that Americans have enough money to keep eating and paying for shelter through the upcoming winter months.
Often, the government has a tendency to throw money at problems. Usually, that is not the best solution, but this time is different. Coronavirus is spiking around the country and to slow the spread of infections, Americans need to stay home, especially when they have been exposed and/or display symptoms. But Americans also need to be compensated for staying home because even sick people have bills to pay. That’s where the relief bill comes in. The deficit is a problem, but it is a problem that will have to be addressed after the pandemic when the economy is not in danger of collapse.
This situation is a great example of why your mom always told you to save your money for a rainy day. Well, in 2020 it’s freaking pouring, but the US has been spending like mad for decades in both good times in bad. Now, when we need the ability to use deficit spending, our national debt is so high that further borrowing is dangerous to not only our economy but the world’s as well.
In other news…
President-elect Joe Biden made a campaign trip to Georgia. Biden stumped in Georgia in the fall before winning the state and now hopes his coattails will carry Jon Ossoff and/or Raphael Warnock across the finish line.
In what may be a warning sign for the GOP, a new Fox News poll shows that Democrats are more motivated to vote than Republicans. FiveThirtyEight’s polling average shows the Georgia Democrats with a slight lead over the two Republican incumbents, but the race will almost certainly hinge on which side does better at turning out its base.
Mitch McConnell congratulated Biden on his victory for the first time. This has started to clear the log-jam of Republicans who have not acknowledged Trump’s election loss. One Republican not following Cocaine Mitch’s lead is Kelly Loeffler, who vowed on Twitter to '“never stop fighting” for Trump. I discussed why Mitch’s statement is important in “Was the 59th time the charm?”
Vladimir Putin also congratulated Joe Biden on his win. That one has to sting for the current occupant of the White House.
Speaking of Putin’s Russia, the US government just found out that it was the victim of a major hack that has been going on for months. Read about it in “Make information security great again.”
On a lighter note, The Racket started its Christmas carol countdown last night. Click here to see what was the #10 song on our list and then check in every evening around 8 pm eastern to see that night’s addition to the list.
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Have a great day and remember that Trump will be gone in 35 days! Soon we’ll have a whole new president to complain about!
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