As Jim says, this week has been a very long year. But it is Friday, and while so much is closed, the Three Martini Lunch is open! Join Jim and Greg as they praise the innovation in the private sector (and at universities) to produce new coronavirus tests that are accurate, can be produced in mass quantities, and can deliver results much more quickly. They also love the entrepreneurial instinct in a British teenager who sold his classmates squirts of hand sanitizer. They also unload on communist China for brazen lies like the U.S. military launched the coronavirus in China and for threatening to cut off supplies of much needed medications to the U.S. at our time of need. And they hammer House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for trying to cram a billion dollars for taxpayer-funded abortions into the coronavirus relief legislation.
It’s all-crazy and all coronavirus today on the Three Martini Lunch. Join Jim and Greg as they go through the three key points from President Trump’s Oval Office address that were not consistent with administration policy and needed later clarification. They also dive into the rapidly growing list of college and professional sports events being cancelled or radically altered, most prominently the NBA suspending its season after Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tests positive for coronavirus. Finally, they comment on movie star Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson testing positive in Australia while feeling slightly under the weather and wonder how much patience Americans will have for a long-term quarantine when many patients don’t feel that crummy and a lot of economic livelihoods are on the line.
After a brief discussion of the media and the markets and convenient coronavirus excuses, we dive into Wednesday’s Three Martini Lunch. Join Jim and Greg as they are gratified to see convicted rapist and former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison. They also discuss what this episode says about our justice system. They also have different reactions to South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn suggesting Joe Biden’s big wins on Tuesday suggest the Democratic National Committee should “shut this primary down” and “cancel the rest of these debates.” And they get a kick out of the writer for “The Atlantic” who feels betrayed because her husband voted for Bernie Sanders for strategic reasons in the California primary while she stuck with Elizabeth Warren.
For the past couple of weeks, Wall Street has looked like a roller coaster. And while there have been days of big gains, the Dow Jones has dropped more than 4,000 points as of Tuesday’s close. Monday witnessed the worst losses since the 2008 financial crisis.
Concerns over coronavirus are attracting the most attention but upheaval in the oil market and record-low yields in the bond market also have investors jittery.
Wall Street hates uncertainty but a top economist says the wild fluctuations we’ve seen recently are a major overreaction.
“I just believe that the markets have panicked,” said Brian Wesbury, chief economist at First Trust Advisors in Wheaton, Illinois. He is also a former chief economist for the Joint Economic Committee of Congress.
“Our models suggest right now that investors…are pricing in a 50-80 percent drop in corporate profits in America. I think that’s a panic. That’s too much.
“That doesn’t mean we can’t go down from here, but it does mean that once this passes, we will snap back, I think, very quickly,” said Wesbury, noting that all previous outbreaks ran out of steam when the weather turned warmer.
Wesbury does think the volatility could last until May or perhaps longer and that oil prices and the bond market add to the uncertainty.
But while acknowledging that plummeting oil prices are a nightmare for debt-ridden fracking companies, Wesbury explains why he thinks this could lead to a much more stable industry in the long run.
Finally, Wesbury tells Greg Corombos whether the government ought to intervene to ease the economic pain of the coronavirus or whether the markets should sort themselves out.
Things are a bit more subdued Tuesday after Monday’s Wall Street carnage. So join Jim and Greg as they get a kick out experts having to spend time telling people not to snort cocaine or drink bleach to prevent coronavirus, no matter what they see on social media. As for the actual martinis, they actually applaud California Gov. Gavin Newsom for being one of the few Democratic governors to discuss the extensive cooperation he’s getting from the Trump administration and refusing to entertain media efforts to get him to slam Trump. Jim and Greg also assess Joe Biden’s dust up with an auto worker over the second amendment – from the facts to his verbal flubs to his insults. And they marvel that less than two weeks after Joe Biden was a political afterthought, few people are glued to today’s six presidential contests because a Biden nomination is a foregone conclusion.
There’s not a lot of good news Monday, so let’s just tackle the bad stuff on Three Martini Lunch. Join Jim and Greg as they react to the massive Wall Street sell-off as investors are spooked by coronavirus, oil prices, and the bond market, and once again they call out irresponsible figures either whipping up panic or openly cheering for the virus to spell Donald Trump’s political doom. They also wince a bit as Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock launches a challenge to GOP Sen. Steve Daines, adding another race where Republicans will have to work hard to keep a seat. And they react to the news that a CPAC attendee has tested positive for coronavirus, prompting Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar to self-quarantine themselves after interacting with that person.
The U.S. economy keeps humming along, boosted on Friday by much stronger February job growth than expected, but with the markets in turmoil over the coronavirus, what will the economic impact be in the weeks and months to come?
On Friday, the Labor Department released the February jobs report, showing 273,000 new hires, nearly 100,000 more than Wall Street analysts anticipated. Hiring was strong across most sectors and the unemployment rate once again dipped to a roughly 50-year low of 3.5 percent.
What is driving this continued hiring and economic growth? Supporters of President Trump or his policies point to tax cuts and regulatory reductions as spurring business owners to add personnel or expand operations, but how exactly do those policies do that?
Heritage Foundation economist Joel Griffith shares those answers with Radio America’s Greg Corombos. Griffith also explains why the markets are wildly fluctuating in response to the coronavoirus threat, which policies make the most sense in response, and why the Federal Reserve was wrong to institute an unscheduled interest rate cut this week.
Listen here for the full podcast.
Join us for some end of the week fun on the Friday Three Martini Lunch. Today, Jim and Greg cheer a really strong February jobs report and are hopeful the strong economy can ward off any coronavirus-related slump. Speaking of which, they also vent about the media’s inability to cover the coronavirus story in a non-hysterical manner, which may be helping to fuel the Wall Street volatility. And they get a lot of laughs from MSNBC anchor Brian Williams and New York Times Editorial Board member Mara Gay concluding that Mike Bloomberg spent enough money in his failed campaign to give each person in America a million dollars.
The Three Martini Lunch has you covered as the presidential race narrows yet again. Join Jim and Greg as they react to Elizabeth Warren dropping out of the 2020 field and chronicling how this top-tier candidate turned into an electoral dud. They also dissect Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s bizarre threats against Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday and his pathetic response to the rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts. And they sigh as the coronavirus panic leads the National College Players Association to suggest the NCAA play its March Madness games with no audiences in the arenas.
Coronavirus is making its way around the world. It has government officials in the U.S. warning there might be disruptions in school calendars and work schedules due to its highly contagious nature. Markets around the world spent most of the week in panic mode, as investors lost trillions in value in the U.S. alone.
But is coronavirus, or COVID-19, really a menace that could kill thousands of Americans? Is the media egregiously overhyping the threat? Or is the truth somewhere in the middle?
Dr. Roger Klein has advised a wide variety of government agencies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Department of Health and Human Services. Also a former medical director of molecular oncology at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Klein is now with the Regulatory Transparency Project’s FDA and Health Working Group.
In this interview with Radio America’s Greg Corombos, Dr. Klein walks us through how well the government has prepared for this threat, whether the media reports are responsible or hyperbolic, and he explains why China’s response to COVID-19 seems so inadequate.