Paradoxes pile up

Beating virus hurts economy

 No one knows how long it will last or how much it will hurt. But the U.S. economy is either sliding into a recession for the first time since 2009 or is already in one — a sudden victim of the coronavirus outbreak.

The vast changes deemed necessary to defeat the virus — people and companies no longer engaging with each other — are bringing everyday business to a halt and likely delivering a death blow to the longest economic expansion on record.

IRS gives Americans 3-month break to file taxes

The IRS is giving Americans a three-month reprieve on paying their taxes this year as the Trump administration tries to shield the country’s economy from the ravages of the coronavirus.

Taxpayers will have until July 15 to pay their 2019 bills instead of the usual April 15.

The administration, working through the president’s national emergency declaration, will also waive interest and penalties during that time.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking at a White House briefing on the virus, said individuals who owe up to $1 million and companies that owe $10 million or less will be eligible.

Mnuchin also encouraged Americans who are expecting a refund to file as usual.

HUD to suspend evictions and foreclosures

President Trump on Wednesday directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to suspend evictions and foreclosures through April as Americans grapple with the fallout of the coronavirus.

The moratorium will apply only to homeowners with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a HUD agency that backs affordable home loans issued through private firms. 

Applications for unemployment benefits surge

Applications for unemployment benefits surged by 70,000 last week as impact of virus begins to be felt in the labor market.

Causing frustration to many applying, some state unemployment websites crashed because of high traffic. Some states are responding by staggering the days on which people apply for unemployment benefits based on the first letter of applicants’ last names.

Target, Stop & Shop fix senior-only hours

Major retailers are changing their opening hours in order to allow elderly people who are most at risk of contracting COVID-19  to shop more comfortably.

Starting, March 19, Stop & Shop stores will open 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m, daily for senior customers.  

Target has said its stores would reserve the first hour after they’ve opened for vulnerable customers, like senior citizens and people with underlying health issues.

Globalism not good?:

In an era before air travel, the virus would not have travelled from China to other parts of the world. And without the internet and social media, the scare – panic over the pandemic would not have been so severe.   

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