sexta-feira, 29 de maio de 2020

Version 2.025

I am continuously amazed at how quickly things can happen in the U.S. We started our lockdown on March 16 and on March 25 the CARES act was passed in the Senate and two days later it was signed into law by the President. The stimulus checks started to roll out in April and today, May 28, the Chicago Federal Reserve released a working paper analysing the marginal propensity to consume of a sample of individuals who received those checks.

One can see how closely the Federal Reserve tracks the economy, no doubt this speed was informed by the long and subdued recovery of the Great Recession and by Congress' timidity in spending enough on fiscal policy to respond to that challenge. This time, the Federal Reserve Chairman does his PR rounds and takes every chance he gets to encourage Congress to not slack off.

Europe is still debating what to do. Monetary policy is not an obstacle, but governments not only drag their feet, but show complete lack of solidarity. Each country followed their own response to the medical crisis, even though the failure in one country would end up seeping into other countries. Even now, there is not a single entity in the EU guiding the medical response.

I am a bit disgusted with the Portuguese obsession of pointing out the failures of the U.S. dealing with Covid-19. New York became a focus point because Italy was a focus point: 75% of the cases in the U.S. came from Italy and most ended up in New York. And if one adds up all the data for the European Union, does it put the U.S. to shame? I think not. Europeans claim that their healthcare is so much better than what Americans have and yet, not only did they fail to contain the pandemic in their own countries, but they also ended up being the cause of much of the problem for America.

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