Jordan Weissmann
Jordan Weissmann
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Grover Norquist’s Anti-Tax Group Took Money From the Paycheck Protection Program

Grover Norquist’s Anti-Tax Group Took Money From the Paycheck Protection Program

Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, a loud of government spending, notoriously : “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” But his libertarian ideological commitments don’t seem to have stopped the group he leads from accepting government aid to weather the coronavirus crisis.On Monday, the Feds released a giant trove of data on borrowers who received money through the Paycheck Protection Program, the rescue effort for small and midsize businesses that offered forgivable loans to employers...

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Jordan Weissmann
Jul 6
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Expanding Medicaid Makes Financial Sense. Plus, Voters Love It.

Expanding Medicaid Makes Financial Sense. Plus, Voters Love It.

Voters in Oklahoma a ballot measure to finally expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday night, making lower-income residents eligible for health coverage through the program. The initiative, which passed with a slim, 50.5 percent majority, writes the change into the state’s constitution, which its Republican-controlled Legislature from undoing it, and plans by its GOP governor to cap the program’s spending by turning it into a fixed block grant.Politically, this is above all a reminder that Medicaid is very popular, and that even in conservative parts of the country,...

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Jordan Weissmann
Jul 1
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The GOP’s One Big Excuse for Cutting Off Unemployment Benefits Isn’t Even True

The GOP’s One Big Excuse for Cutting Off Unemployment Benefits Isn’t Even True

Republicans in Congress have a simple excuse for why they don’t want to extend the $600-per-week federal unemployment benefits that are scheduled to expire at the end of July: The money, they say, will discourage Americans from going back to work, and slow down the country’s reopening, since businesses won’t be able to rehire staff.On a moral level, this position is mean-spirited at best, since it implies that we should be forcing low-wage service workers back onto the job and risk lung death in the midst of a pandemic that is presently exploding out of control across the entire Sun Belt...

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Jordan Weissmann
Jun 26
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It Looks Like Congress Got One Big Thing Right in Its Coronavirus Response

It Looks Like Congress Got One Big Thing Right in Its Coronavirus Response

When Congress passed the CARES Act in March, it had a straightforward strategy to help families make it through the economic nightmare of the coronavirus crisis: Give them money. It sent adults cash payments of up to $1,200, plus an extra $500 for each of their kids, and tacked $600 a week onto unemployment benefits so the jobless could keep paying their bills. (Higher-income households got less, and in some cases, nada.)Some criticized the plan for being too stingy; among left-wing activists and politicians, the phrase “$1,200 is not enough” . Others——worried about the execution, and...

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Jordan Weissmann
Jun 18
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The Actual Problem With Saying “Human Capital Stock”

The Actual Problem With Saying “Human Capital Stock”

The phrase “human capital stock” is a dry bit of academic jargon that economists have leaned on for decades, usually without generating a lot of controversy. It’s , used to describe the overall level of education and skills across a country’s workforce. But thanks to an awkward TV flub by White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett, the term unexpectedly became the subject of an this week, during which Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed that it was “racialized” and had its “roots in slavery.”It doesn’t, really. There are lots of legitimate reasons to complain about the concept of human...

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Jordan Weissmann
May 28
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Restaurants Are Facing a Rotten Future, Even in States That Have Reopened

Restaurants Are Facing a Rotten Future, Even in States That Have Reopened

Slate is making its essential coronavirus coverage free for all readers. Subscribe to support our journalism.If you’ve read any recent dispatches from states that have begun to reopen their economies, you might be under the impression that restaurants are quickly filling back up as diners cast away concerns about the coronavirus for the sake of a meal out. Here’s how the Washington Post, , recently described the packed scene at a luxury development in Alpharetta, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. “Along Avalon Boulevard, people were clustering at restaurants for their first dinners out, and at...

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Jordan Weissmann
May 19
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The South’s Restaurant Reopening Is Going About As Well As You’d Expect

The South’s Restaurant Reopening Is Going About As Well As You’d Expect

At this point, have begun lifting stay-at-home orders and allowing nonessential businesses to reopen, with the hope that they can start unthawing their economies even if the coronavirus hasn’t been fully contained.But the defrosting process seems to be going slowly—at least if you judge by the number of people brave enough to eat out. At restaurants that use , the number of diners in every state where the company tracks data was still down by 82 percent or more through Sunday, compared to a year before. That includes early reopeners like Georgia (down 92 percent), Utah (down 91 percent),...

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Jordan Weissmann
May 12
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Why Private Equity Keeps Wrecking Retail Chains Like Fairway

Why Private Equity Keeps Wrecking Retail Chains Like Fairway

The list of retailers that have been bought and wrecked by private equity firms keeps on growing. This week, the beloved New York grocery chain Fairway for its second bankruptcy in less than four years and announced plans to sell off its stores, thanks to a run of mismanagement by a series of buyout shops. It’s on a list of casualties that now includes Toys R Us, Payless ShoeSource, and Sports Authority, among many others. That’s on top of financially troubled names like that have managed to avoid Chapter 11 or liquidation (so far).Last year, a group of progressive nonprofits that of the 14...

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Jordan Weissmann
Jan 26
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The Coronavirus Bailout Is Really Going to Screw Over Mom and Pop Shops

The Coronavirus Bailout Is Really Going to Screw Over Mom and Pop Shops

Slate is making its coronavirus coverage free for all readers. Subscribe to support our journalism. .Right now, financially battered small businesses are relying on two different government rescue programs in order to survive the coronavirus crisis. Both are experiencing serious problems. But Congress only appears to be interested in fixing one of them. As a result, truly small businesses might be about to get an extremely raw deal.The first of these programs is the ever-chaotic Paycheck Protection Program, the $349 billion rescue effort that has commanded most of the public’s attention on...

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Jordan Weissmann
Apr 7
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Sending People Back to Work Now Will Not Save the Economy. It Will Doom It.

Sending People Back to Work Now Will Not Save the Economy. It Will Doom It.

President Donald Trump is already having about telling Americans to stay at home in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, because he is worried about how badly it will hurt the economy (and, presumably, the Dow). The president reportedly began about “reopening” the country as early as last week. He’s also being nudged in that direction by conservative pundits, advisers within his own administration, and Wall Street figures who have to normalcy, in order to limit the blow to businesses and workers. And so we got this all-caps pronouncement on Sunday:WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE...

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Jordan Weissmann
Mar 23
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So, It’s Bad

So, It’s Bad

I don’t think anybody’s really ready for the shock that’s coursing through the United States economy right now, thanks to the coronavirus. , 281,000 Americans filed for unemployment, an increase of 33 percent. On Thursday morning, the New York Times that more than 629,000 had done so this week in just 15 states. Now, Goldman Sachs that more than 2.25 million people will apply for jobless benefits this week.It’s hard to process that number. Economically, it feels a little bit like the tidal wave that swallows New York in Deep Impact, which I guess is doubly appropriate given that the city...

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Jordan Weissmann
Mar 20
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Republicans Think Basic Public Health Measures Are Part of a Radical Left-Wing Agenda

Republicans Think Basic Public Health Measures Are Part of a Radical Left-Wing Agenda

For a brief, relieving moment on Wednesday, it appeared that Republicans in Congress might get on board with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to combat the coronavirus pandemic. “I think the things that will be put forth will not be controversial and I think they could become very bipartisan,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy .The hopeful mood didn’t last. After Democrats unveiled late Wednesday night, GOP lawmakers whipped around and announced they would not in fact support the proposal, which they characterized as a sneaky plot to use a public health crisis to pass some long-standing...

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Jordan Weissmann
Mar 12
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Why the Financial Markets Are Melting Into Goo

Why the Financial Markets Are Melting Into Goo

Did you check your 401(k) today? If not, spare yourself the agony. Maybe for a while. The financial world resumed melting into goo on Monday thanks to the global coronavirus outbreak, with stocks falling in the morning that it triggered a rare 15-minute timeout on trading. By day’s end the S&P 500 collapsed by —its worst showing . The sell-off followed after Saudi Arabia’s leaders decided that now would be a good time to purposely crash the price of oil, a shocking and risky move likely to further destabilize a world economy that’s already wobbly thanks to the incipient pandemic.How we got...

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Jordan Weissmann
Mar 10
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Bill Gates Was Right. Sort Of.

Bill Gates Was Right. Sort Of.

Bill Gates became the latest billionaire to get into a dust-up with Elizabeth Warren this week, after making some jokey comments onstage about his concerns over her wealth tax proposal, and what it might cost him personally. “I’ve paid more than $10 billion in taxes. I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes,” he told financial journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, earning some laughs from the crowd. “But I’m glad to have. If I’d had to have paid $20 billion, it’s fine. But when you say I should pay $100 billion, OK, then I’m starting to do a little math about what I have left over. Sorry. I’m just...

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Jordan Weissmann
Nov 15
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