news·3 min read

Daily Skimm: Warnings from the Fed, California Updates, and Mannequins at Restaurants

Fed Chair Jerome Powell
Getty Images
May 14, 2020


The Story

The Fed chair is seriously worried about the economy.

We all are.

Right. COVID-19 has led to mass unemployment and is now threatening entire industries. But yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell sounded the alarm louder by calling on Congress to provide more aid for the economy. It's a big deal, since the Fed typically stays far away from telling lawmakers what to do.

So why's Powell weighing in now?

Because he says the downturn is "worse than any recession since World War II." The Fed's already slashed interest ratesbought government bonds, and started new lending programs. Now, Powell says it's on Congress to help further. That's because the Federal Reserve doesn't have the power to give Americans direct aid like grants. But Congress does.

And Congress's response is?

On it...sort of. House Democrats are planning to vote on a new $3 trillion aid package tomorrow – but it doesn't include money for grants and isn't expected to pass in the Senate. Powell says he knows more aid comes with a hefty price tag, but that it'll be "worth it" if it means avoiding long-term damage to the economy. He pointed out that unemployment numbers are at record highs and low-income families seem to be hit the hardest, with 40% of people in households making less than $40,000 a year losing their jobs in March.


The financial crisis brought on by COVID-19 is already creating a domino effect in the country. Now, the Fed's chairman is making a rare appeal for Congress, showing that desperate times call for desperate measures.

Psst...Powell also said the Fed has dropped interest rates as low as they're gonna go. See what that means for your wallet here.


What's apparently saying 'open for business'...

Wisconsin. Yesterday, the state's Supreme Court overturned Gov. Tony Evers' (D) stay-at-home order. Evers had issued the order in March, and extended it last month as cases and deaths there continue to mount. But Republican lawmakers pushed back, saying his admin had overstepped its authority, including by not getting their input. The ruling isn't the first bit of tension between Evers and GOP lawmakers: it comes weeks after an in-person vote that health officials say led to dozens of new infections. Now, businesses like bars can apparently hang back their 'open' signs. Evers said the ruling has thrown the state "into chaos."

What's driving attention to California…

Tesla. The electric car company has the green light to go back to business. Last week, California said manufacturers can start reopening. But the county Tesla's plant is in has a stricter order in place. So Elon Musk said 'my bad, I totally respect that' and backed off his plans to reopen. Just kidding, he sued the county, threatened to pull Tesla's plant out of California, and reopened the plant anyway, daring police to arrest him. Now, county officials are saying 'you win' and letting Tesla employees take down their OOOs. But they're asking that Musk at least set up safety precautions for the plant's 10,000 workers.

...Oh and speaking of things on CA's mind, Cal State University. It's planning to stay closed for the fall semester with just a few in-person classes (think: labs). Yes, all 23 campuses.

What's the mutter…

Dog puberty. New research has found that our four-legged friends also go through the angsty teen phase. Think: acting up and breaking the rules (cue: teenage flashbacks). The study looked at dozens of dogs and found the change starts at around eight months old – around the same time some owners take their dogs to shelters. So before barking orders at your dog, you may want to cut them some slack. Growing up can be ruff.

Why Justice Clarence Thomas maybe doesn't talk so much...

He's apparently busy reading "Lord of the Rings.

What's bringing Inn more than an arm and a leg...

This restaurant.

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