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Why This Contentious Transition Is So Perilous for the Economy

first_imgAnd so the nation is, once more, counting down the months before a new administration changes the country’s direction, wondering what policy the federal government will pursue in the interim, and watching a pre-existing problem that may easily spiral out of control while we wait.The good news is that there is a strong possibility that we could have an effective vaccine widely available sometime next year. Even in that circumstance, though, there were still significant disagreements in how to respond to the crisis: how the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) rescue money should be spent, what conditions should be put on banks that received the money, how auto companies should be treated, and much more. People knew a change was coming but not what would happen in the interim, and they worried that no one was really in charge. The crisis escalated.I’ve focused on economic crises, but the issue is even bigger than that. Some of the biggest political crises in the country also happened in transition. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln won the election, promising a sharp break from Democrats and the incumbent, President James Buchanan. Lincoln’s election brought tensions to a boil. States talked openly of seceding.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img President Buchanan, a lame duck, announced that he did not believe the federal government had the authority to stop states from leaving. Within weeks, South Carolina voted to secede, followed by six other states, all before the inauguration. Soon after Lincoln took office, the Civil War began.Which brings us to 2020. Even before the election, the coronavirus had surged and was raging through much of the country. The United States has had more than 140,000 cases in a day,rising numbers of hospitalizations and has even witnessed multiple super-spreader events in the White House that infected the president, his chief of staff, cabinet members and senior advisers.Economists have emphasized from the beginning that controlling the spread of the virus is crucial to fixing the economy. The CARES Act, the rescue package passed in March, provided temporary relief in the hope that the virus would rapidly diminish. But as that money has run out, a wide gulf has opened between the approach of the outgoing Trump administration (which has variously argued for doing less and minimized the seriousness of the problem) and the incoming Biden administration, whose first action after the election was to appoint a board of medical advisers and push an aggressive agenda to get the coronavirus under control.- Advertisement –last_img read more

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‘Star Wars’ fans celebrate

first_img• Photo Gallery: Star Wars Celebration • Video: Star Wars Celebration A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY – Jedi Master Bob Vitas had spent a long Thursday engaging fellow knights in conversation and found himself peckish. He made his way through the packed room, looping around galactic senators and Imperial troops. Lightsaber at his side in case of trouble, he stepped up to the bar and spoke. There was no need for Jedi mind tricks. It made for a scene of unimaginable strangeness, where French Jedis lunched not far from a group of Imperial stormtroopers speaking Portuguese. A chef in a Darth Vader getup, black helmet protruding from beneath a white toque, toted the head of Jar-Jar Binks on a silver platter. The crowd ate that one up. In a cluster of several Princess Leias, Marie Prestin stood out as the Princess Leia. While most opted for the tried-and-true white robe and double cinnamon-bun hairstyle combination, Prestin, a 26-year-old Orange County housewife, chose the provocative slave-to-Jabba-the-Hutt outfit from “Return of the Jedi.” She smiled her way through countless pictures as her more primly attired counterparts chatted in anonymity. Don Bedwell, an Orlando Web designer dressed in the robes of an evil Jedi, captured the scene on his digital camera. “OK,” he said as Prestin posed. “On `three.’ And… three!” He snapped the picture early as his associate, Charles Silver, wearing a Jedi master outfit, sneered. “What happened to one and two?” sniffed Silver, described as “an international man of leisure” and also from Orlando. “Oh, I forgot. You’re Sith. You can’t count.” Bedwell, like so many servants of the Dark Side, did not deal well with criticism. “Sure, I can,” he responded. “One, two, then I cut your head off.” Ultimately, he did not feel the need to resort to such violence. Friendly insults sufficed. The two bickering Jedi, with their carefully constructed outfits and weapons, had definitely delved deep into the “Star Wars” spirit, but they had nothing on Bill Deacon, 57, of Fontana. The dairy warehouseman sat through the 17-hour showing of all six films the day before, then slept in before donning his Han Solo pilot’s uniform. Then, with his wife, he drove to the show – in a ’74 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Classic redesigned to resemble the Millennium Falcon. With the license plate reading “HANCHWY,” he roared down Interstate 10 and pulled into his spot on the show floor. Then he affixed the radar dish, made from a vegetable steamer, to the hood and the cannon, constructed out of a cup-holder and part of a kitty litter can, to the roof. “My wife was looking out the window at it and said, `What a piece of junk!”‘ said Deacon, who’s seen the original film 50 times. “So we called her the Millennium Falcon. I’ve heard of other Millennium Falcon cars, but this is the only one like this.” And that was pure gold to fans such as John Wilson, a 38-year-old printer from Orange. Wearing a Hawaiian-print shirt, shorts and a Darth Vader helmet, he represented himself as a vacationing Sith Lord. Wilson was hooked when he saw the original movie in 1977. When he took his kid to see “The Phantom Menace,” he wept. They share a personal affinity for Yoda, who’s small, yet tough. The show exceeded his lofty expectations. “It’s pure awesomeness,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. There’s just so much stuff with `Star Wars’: samurai crap, Shakespeare, tragedy. And look at all these nutbars, man …” [email protected] (818) 713-3738160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “Can I get a large drip and one of those macadamia nut cookies?” he asked. The barista, not missing a beat, handed him his coffee and change. Master Vitas folded the money and slipped it beneath his custom-made Jedi tunic, into the pocket of some khakis bought at Target. Energized with some Starbucks brew, the Force was with him. Nearly 30 years to the day after “Star Wars” first appeared on theater screens, the universe of George Lucas loomed as large as ever throughout the Los Angeles Convention Center. Vitas and thousands of other fans of the fantastical franchise, some diehards from the start like him, others newly minted, turned out Thursday for a preview of Star Wars Celebration IV. The four-day exposition, officially open to the public today, serves as a clearinghouse for all things Star Warsian. Vendors hawk still-in-the-package Lando Calrissian figures and Darth Maul T-shirts and fans pose for pictures and get autographs from luminaries such as Kenny “R2-D2” Baker and Temuera “Jango Fett” Morrison. Everyone likes to kick it with Jango. last_img
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