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Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek

March 30, 2020

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Get the digital magazine subscription today and draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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United States
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English
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Bloomberg Finance LP
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3
in brief

The U.S. government agreed on an economic stimulus package valued at more than $2t The plan includes assistance to companies including airlines, aid for hospitals, and direct payments to lower-income Americans. ▷ 8, 12 Meanwhile, Rand Paul of Kentucky became the first senator to test positive for Covid-19; two other Republican senators he exposed went into self-quarantine. Autoworkers in Wuhan, the city where the novel coronavirus first emerged in December, take their lunch break on March 23. China said it would end the mass quarantine of the city on April 8. Its province, Hubei, has reported no new infections. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son unveiled a $41b plan to sell off assets and shore up the business’s crumbling market value. The fire sale includes the disposal of about $14 billion of shares in Chinese e-commerce…

1
editor’s letter

This is a difficult moment. Maybe you know someone with Covid-19 or others who have struggled to get tested. If you’re healthy, I hope you’re socially distancing to help flatten the curve. ¶ Meanwhile, we’ve all watched the markets tank, businesses come to a screeching halt, our daily routines get upended. Working from home always sounded great, until it became the new normal. Just months ago, an historic yet unloved bull market lulled us into thinking that stocks only went up. How distant and quaint that time already seems. For so many, the future looks far from certain—dire even, especially for small businesses. ¶ Here at Bloomberg Businessweek, not even our prescient coverage of the coronavirus (“We are so not ready for this,” we wrote on our Feb. 10 cover)…

9
$o$ how to keep busine ss from going bust

In economics, there is no Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm. If there were, world leaders would be in serious violation of it. With the noble purpose of saving lives, they are deliberately throttling the global economy. The plan is to put economic activity in a state of suspended animation for weeks or months, get past the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and then resuscitate the patient. Necessary? Probably. Dangerous? Undoubtedly. Because this has never been done before at this scale, there are no white-haired elders to guide us. We are going to have to invent the plan as we go, recalibrating as facts emerge. Just as overwhelmed doctors must choose which patients to save and which to let go, we will need to decide which sectors, which companies, and which…

5
wheel of bailouts

With stock markets cratering and the world’s airlines tumbling into their deepest crisis ever amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, Boeing Co. got right to the point last week: The U.S. aerospace industry would need a $60 billion bailout. It was quite a comedown for a plane maker used to calling the shots as one-half of a lucrative duopoly with Europe’s Airbus SE. Little more than a year ago, Boeing was the most valuable U.S. industrial company, with a market capitalization of about $249 billion. By March 24 about $175 billion of that had been wiped out, with Boeing ranking last in stock returns on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. That stunning loss in value notwithstanding, not all at Boeing were happy about its appeal to Washington. On March 16 board member…

1
glenn hubbard on small business grants

If you shut down an economy in a pandemic, you need to replace private business demand. Think about all the small and midsize firms who have to turn off a switch and just not operate for eight weeks, 12 weeks, whatever it is, and lay off all their employees. That’s a cataclysmic event. The health part is unavoidable. What’s avoidable is the demand doom loop, and to do that you’d have to fill in private demand. It doesn’t mean mailing $1,000 checks to everybody, though I have nothing against that. It means doing something for businesses. If I were doing it, it’s replacing a significant fraction of revenue for small and midsize firms, the small-business owner. [His plan is to replace 80% of a business’s revenue loss for as long…

2
robert reich on bad bailouts

We’re trying to stimulate the economy in the traditional way, but this is not your typical recession, not like after 2008. This economic crisis is entirely because we have an unprecedented public-health crisis. We need to shut the economy down so people can be home and safe, rather than spreading the virus if they’re not. The public needs to understand that this is kind of a giant extortion game: Businesses saying if you don’t pay me off, I’m going to fire all my workers and shut the economy down. But in this game the real cards are being hidden. In this game the economy has to be shut down—that’s the way to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. It’s important that members of Congress and the administration understand that…