Another day, another crazy Trump MAGA-lite presser at the White House. Yesterday Trump threatened to adjourn Congress so he could use recess appointments to seat judges and cabinet members that Congress has been holding up. The president has the power to adjourn Congress if the two houses cannot agree on a common adjournment but no president has ever used that power–perhaps because the two houses have always agreed. So it’s not clear how Trump could try to adjourn Congress when both sides remain in agreement on adjournment but Trump is so desperate for a distraction from his failed coronavirus response and so eager to stoke his base that he may just try to adjourn Congress anyway. “I, Donald Joffrey Trump, hereby decree Congress adjourned!”
Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland said yesterday that Trump’s threat of “dissolving an assembly comes out of a dictator’s handbook. That’s banana republic stuff.”
I can’t wait for the day we say to Trump, “You are adjourned!”
In an altogether different presser, Governor Cuomo detailed what it will take for New York to emerge from the shutdown, and the short answer is, “tests, tests, and more tests.” And contact tracing. But the Governor pointed out that we are nowhere near the testing capability we will need, in part because all fifty states are now competing against each other for tests, just like they did for medical PPE. Amid a stunning and outrageous lack of Federal coordination, states have been left to their own devices to put testing in place. Six weeks ago Trump and Pence promised all the tests we could want, a test on every street corner, but they utterly failed, abandoned the playing field, and now, here we are. Senate Democrats are putting together a plan to increase our testing capability including $30-billion in emergency funding, but who knows how Moscow Mitch McConnell will respond. If the bill makes Trump “look bad” it may never make it to a vote no matter how many lives are lost or ruined. When you think about it, this testing situation is truly bizarre. Trump’s only way out of this mess is to open the economy up. And that won’t happen without widespread testing. So testing should be his furious objective. Test test test! But instead, Trump has backed away and left testing to the states. Why? Does he know he and his team are too incompetent to organize a national response? Does he think it will open the door for this question: “You’re organizing testing now–why didn’t you do it sooner, and why didn’t you organize other things like PPE months ago?” Does he think it will sour his federalist voters who don’t believe the federal government should do anything other than soldiers and bombs? WTF?
Governor Cuomo also announced a new executive order requiring NYS citizens to use cloth or medical masks whenever they are in a public place where physical distancing is not possible, like a grocery story or a crowded sidewalk or a train. The policy goes into effect this Saturday, the 18th. As of late last night, Covid-19 had claimed 30,844 lives in the US – a shocking number that is going to continue to climb. New York accounted for 10,899 of those deaths.
We also learned yesterday the US Retail Sales suffered its largest monthly drop ever, plunging 8.7% for March, which was only a partial shutdown month, so investors are already bracing for a much worse April number. Bank earnings also plunged year-to-year, as Goldman, BOA and Citigroup were down 40% while JP Morgan Chase was down 69% and Wells Fargo down 89%. Crude oil prices hit an 18-year low yesterday which is bad news for countries like Russia and Venezuela. How the Dow Jones Industrial Average remains in the 23,000 range is a mystery to me. This economy has a long way to sink before it starts to find its footing, so market makers are buying and selling on dreams and delusions, not on any real sense of the value of future cash flows.
Antonio Delgado will hold his fifth telephone town hall tomorrow night, Friday April 17th, at 4:30pm. You can dial this number to participate: 855-905-3295
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”