LIBERATE some states but not others?

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Protesters against the state's extended stay-at-home order to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) demonstrate at the Capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. April 24, 2020. Photo credit: Daniel Acker/Reuters.

Congress agreed this week to replenish money for the Paycheck Protection Program, which makes loans to certain kinds of businesses that are hurt by the pandemic and then forgives those loans if businesses keep their workers on payroll. But there are some problems. There wasn’t enough money, smaller businesses without really deep banking relationships have been left behind, and some bigger “small” businesses have gotten the money while mom-and-pop businesses haven’t gotten any.

Even with new money, the PPP is likely to run out of money again, and the dispute at the center of the next bailout package will be assistance to state and local governments. Mitch McConnell says states should be able to file for bankruptcy. Does that make sense?

Then Samuel Brannen gives us a check up on the US coronavirus response. Sam was part of a pandemic simulation just a few months ago — how is the real-life response tracking with that simulation? Unfortunately: he doesn’t have good news. The panel points to President Trump’s increasingly unhelpful and absurd coronavirus briefings. Is he intentionally weakening his presidency so he can’t be blamed for anything? Should the response to a crisis like this be centered in the federal government or the states? Or does it make more sense for states and localities to decide certain measures while the federal government concentrates on the bigger picture issues, like testing and sharing of resources? Sam says government and governments have never mattered more than our lifetime than right now.

Credits

Guest:
Samuel Brannen - Senior fellow and director of the Risk and Foresight Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies - @SamWashDC

Hosts:
Josh Barro, Christine Emba, Tim Carney

Producer:
Sara Fay