Total authority? Not really

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President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House COVID-19 Coronavirus task force, delivers remarks and answers questions from members of the press during a coronavirus update briefing Thursday, April 16, 2020, in the James S. Brady White House Press Briefing Room. Photo credit: Joyce N. Boghosian/White House

Regardless of who has the ‘total authority,’ the Left, Right & Center panel agrees we need a lot more to actually reopen the country: more testing, more hospital capacity, and other things that will inspire confidence in the public. And isn’t all this reopening talk a little premature? No public official can reopen the economy if the public is afraid to leave their homes. (Though some Michiganders protested Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders this week.)

Another announcement President Trump made this week is that he’s withdrawing funding for the World Health Organization, which has been widely criticized for its handling of the pandemic and being too solicitous of the concerns of the Chinese government. In defunding the WHO, will the US have more influence and leverage, or will the WHO just turn more toward China, strengthening China’s hand? Dan Drezner talks about the threat to defund the organization and what can be done to counter China’s influence in international organizations.

Then: the program to support small business payrolls has already run out of money. Economist Jason Furman joins the panel to talk about how the operation to keep the American economy on ice is going.




Sara Fay