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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” and viewers would be excused if they thought the name of the show had been changed to “Chris Wallace’s World of Doom and Gloom.”
In one loaded, skewed question after another, Wallace focused on the negative when it comes to the coronavirus outbreak, stripping viewers of every bit of hope that they may be trying to muster.
The Fox News host opened the segment by stressing just how many Americans are out of work, throwing in those who are underemployed, as if those watching are not already well aware of this.
(Source: Fox News)
Mnuchin responded to stress the ongoing effort to “safely reopen the economy so we can safely get people back to work.”
“These are not large numbers because of the economy wasn’t doing well,” he added. “These are large numbers because we checked on the economy and I’d just highlight the biggest component of this was in travel and retail and leisure and not a surprise, we closed down major parts of the economy.”
Saying it’s “important that we face with the real numbers,” Wallace pressed to suggest that the number may be close to “Great Depression levels?”
Mnuchin reminded the Fox News host the Great Depression was due to economic conditions, while conditions today are a result of closing down the economy.
“This is no fault of American businesses, this is no fault of American workers, this is the result of the virus and that’s where the president and I, we are determined to put together the largest economic program ever to help American workers get through this,” he said.
As for Mnuchin’s projection that the economy is going to come roaring back, Wallace doused that idea by saying unemployment is more widespread and that the recovery may be “much lower” than he thinks.
He then asked, “Question, are your rosy predictions based on economic reality or the November election?”
Mnuchin explained what his projections are based on and added that there’s real hope for a vaccine by the end of the year.
“I’ve personally heard from many of the doctors that have vaccines and virals in trials and their expectations of being able to get a vaccine by the end of this year and having real viral treatments, the advent of testing, all these things are going to help give American business and American workers the confidence to reopen in a careful and deliberate way,” he added.
Ignoring this hopeful analogy, Wallace pivoted to farmers and processors reportedly saying the food supply chain is broken — as if he’s eager to initiate another wave of panic buying to empty grocery shelves.
“I see the glass as half-full and not half-empty,” Mnuchin replied, clearly growing tired of the negativity. He talked about how the White House task force is “figuring out how to fix” these issues and praised how “Americans are pulling together to get through this.”
Wallace’s answer was to highlight a quote from Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker about reopening the economy too soon, as he pivoted to ask about the “considerable risk of reopening.”
Harker said, “Not only would this be a health catastrophe, but it would reverse the recovery as well.”
“I think there’s a considerable risk of not reopening,” Mnuchin replied. “You’re talking about what would be permanent economic damage to the American public and we are going to reopen in a very thoughtful way that gets people back to work safely.”
The focus then shifted to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying that she may introduce a phase 4 coronavirus relief bill this week — the bill would be more about bailing out the states than delivering additional money to the American people, which Wallace doesn’t explain.
(Source: Fox News)
He then played a clip of President Trump saying, “We are in no rush.”
“The Democrats have to do what they have to do, but I would say we are not looking — we want to see what they have, but I can’t say that we are in a rush. We were in a rush to get the money out to people. We have gotten the money out.”
“With 33 million people unemployed, with the paycheck protection program money running out by the end of this month, with state budgets cratering, this administration is in no rush?” Wallace asked.
After explaining that a lot of the money that has already been paid out has “is not even into the economy yet,” Mnuchin talked about a careful approach to future efforts.
“We just want to make sure that before we jump back in and spent another few trillion of taxpayers money that we do it carefully,” he said.
“We’re there to help the American people,” Mnuchin continued. “We’re going to be considerate and if we need to help the American people in every aspect of this, as I said before, we’re willing to spend whatever it takes, but whatever it takes need to be done carefully.”
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