Fed chair warns of ‘heartbreaking’ scenario as U.S. economy suffers worst first quarter since Great Recession - While the economy contracted at a 4.8% rate in the quarter, the second quarter is likely to show a decline of 30% — or more (The Washington Post link): The U.S. economy suffered its sharpest decline since the Great Recession — a 4.8 percent drop — from January through March, and the head of the Federal Reserve warned the second quarter would be even uglier as many Americans continued to stay home to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
There is widespread agreement that the U.S. economy is in the midst of its worst crisis since the Great Depression, and Commerce Department data released Wednesday revealed just how severe it is becoming. Consumer and business spending nosedived in the first quarter, even with the economy shuttered for only half of March. Household spending tumbled 7.6 percent, and business investment sank 8.6 percent. Although Americans flooded grocery stores to buy food and supplies, it was not nearly enough to offset lost spending on dining out, car sales, entertainment and other purchases.
Mod: If we have turned the corner on the pandemic as Jared Kushner claims, why are the Feds buying so many body bags?
The order for 100,000 body bags, costing $5.1 million, was placed April 21 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, federal contracting databases show. The supplier, a small California company, is supposed to deliver the bags by May 4, according to the contracting data.
A FEMA spokeswoman said the agency has been focused on a “worst possible case national scenario” from the start of the response effort. “In order to meet the worst-case demand models, FEMA initiated a broad range of acquisition contracts to augment available stocks and produce more human-remains pouches for future requirements should they be needed,” she said.
The Defense Department earlier this month said that FEMA asked it to provide 100,000 body bags for civilian use, Bloomberg News reported. The latest purchase is separate from that request.