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Donald Trump said yesterday he'll be telling Congress exactly what he wants it do to to prevent the coronavirus outbreak from harming the US economy. Probably a good idea, what with the Dow having dropped over 2000 points Monday. And as with all else the Great Leader does, it will be a huge success, and Americans will come together inside his head to praise him for his brilliant plan.

It's a plan that, according to White House insiders, doesn't actually exist yet, but let's remember that Trump still has whole hours to go before meeting congressional leaders and unveiling his "plan" at a press conference this afternoon. All he needs to do is nail down a few details, like what the plan will be exactly, and whether to call it "tremendous," "amazing," or "we'll see what happens." One way or another, the proposal just might include tax cuts.


Here's Trump talking up his great big plans yesterday:

"We are going to be asking tomorrow, we're seeing the Senate. We're going to be meeting with House Republicans, Mitch McConnell, everybody discussing a possible payroll tax cut or relief, substantial relief," Trump said, surrounded by officials he'd tasked to respond to the issue.

"We're also going to be talking about hourly wage earners getting help so that they can be in a position where they're not going to ever miss a paycheck," he added.

How exactly would that work? Is he talking about providing paid leave for low-wage workers who might otherwise decide they have no choice but to show up to work sick? Democrats have been talking about making paid leave available, and even some in the White House think that's a good idea.

Good on whoever's floating that, and congratulations on getting the concept to come out of Trump's mouth. But there's no reason at all to think Trump will formally propose it, or if he does, that he'll stay with it for even five minutes. Remember how he was going to pass bipartisan immigration reform to help the Dreamers, until John Kelly and Stephen Miller got him worked up about people from shithole countries? Or how Trump was willing to take on the NRA, until the NRA reminded him he actually wanted to arm teachers?

And as CNBC reports this morning, there's no plan anyway.

However, inside the administration, some officials were stunned by Trump's claim Monday that he would hold a press conference Tuesday to announce an economic plan. "That was news to everyone on the inside," one official said.

The actual details of any plan remain up in the air. "It's not there right now," an official said. "A lot of details need to be worked out."

In addition to maybe doing something nice for workers (which they don't deserve, but could help prevent spread of the virus), other ideas out there include "targeted" tax cuts that would help out airlines, cruise lines, and hotel chains being hit by cancellations. We bet Trump is very, very sympathetic to the plight of those hoteliers, especially the ones that won't be able to host the G-7 summit even though their Florida trash palace is the perfect place in the summer.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, says "everything is on the table" as far as proposals to stimulate the economy out of a public health crisis, and he wouldn't even rule out paid sick leave — not that he'd rule it in, either. Don't look to Senate Rs to support anything but tax cuts, probably for businesses, not workers, because let's not forget, that's the One True Religion for them.

Democrats have some crazy notions about maybe helping out the people who'd be hit hardest by business slowdowns due to the outbreak. Weird, huh?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) released a statement Sunday with a list of priorities for government action to deal with the economic effects of the coronavirus, including paid sick leave for workers affected, enhanced food assistance, free testing for the virus, reimbursements for uncovered medical care related to the virus, and protections from price gouging.

Those all sound like they'd be especially helpful for families if schools have to shut down, especially since lots of families rely on free school lunches for the kids to get fed regularly. (Once school closures become more widespread, look for some asshole on Fox News to proclaim it a great opportunity for poor people to become more self-sufficient by getting a job during the economic slowdown.)

This seems like a good place to remind you that there are already some good proposals out there that would really help people get through an economic crisis, regardless of the cause. In her paid family and medical leave proposal, Sen. Elizabeth Warren pointed out some options that we could try — well before a pandemic had arrived.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been a tireless advocate for national paid leave. Elizabeth is committed to adopting and building on Senator Gillibrand's work by fighting to make paid family and medical leave available to all workers. Elizabeth will fight for up to 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave in a one year period to care for a newborn or newly adopted child; to act as caregiver to a spouse, child, parent, domestic partner, or chosen family member with a serious health condition; to deal with the worker's own serious medical condition; or address specific military caregiving needs.

Workers would receive 66% of their salary, capped at $4,000 per month, with a minimum payment of $580 per month. Unlike our current unpaid federal leave system, which is limited to businesses with over 50 employees, paid family and medical leave would be available to anyone who meets the work history requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance.

That sounds like a pretty good idea to protect people from this mess. But wait, what about the airline executives? Or the poor frequent flyers?

Trump will hold a presser on his great plan at 5:30 Eastern today, and it should be a real winner. Especially if you're a CEO.

[CNN / CNBC / WaPo / Team Warren]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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