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March 20, 2020 - Guest: Tom Malinowski

Topics: Targeted Aid for Economic Recovery in Era of Covid-19, and how Good Leaders make us feel safe

Show Details

Our lead story on this episode of Solutions News explores areas of public intervention that might be most effective, and asks how smart, targeted moves at the federal level, in coordination with various business sectors might give this nation a head start in reimaging an economy that works BETTER for MORE of us for when we can all get back to work. Our guest is Congressman Tom Malinowski, who represents New Jersey’s 7th district. We will be talking with him about what actions are being taken at the federal level in the face of both the public health emergency we are already in, and about the economic crisis that’s just beginning to be felt. After our conversation with the Congressman, we will finish with a few words on how critical to our collective well-being is that we have good leadership. 


Story One: Greasing the Gears of the Economy through a Smart Rescue Package

The United States is JUST starting to get its act together, but to date, our collective response to COVID-19, the Coronavirus, at the Federal level has been extraordinarily ineffective. Efforts to mitigate Covid-19 in South Korea have already proven successful in “flattening out their infection curve” through the use of aggressive testing—something only at the first stages in this country 4 months after we learned what was happening in China. Taiwan and Singapore, which are located next to China avoided any major disruption because their respective central governments took strong action quickly. China itself has begun to return to normalcy with no new cases reported as of March 19th, and is now ready to re-open its factories.   

Public Health issues justifies “the shelter in place” order that Governor Newsom just announced as the best thing to do at this time. It must, however, be accompanied by exhaustive testing so we can isolate the asymptomatic infected carriers so we can concentrate our meager public health resources where the contagion is most virulent. 

Doing the right thing by public health standards carries the burden of basically shutting down 40% of the civilian economy. Based on data available at Open Table, Year over Year restaurant sales have dropped 91% as of 3/18/20. In several cities - Boston, Seattle, San Francisco - which have been on full lockdown, the Year over Year drop is even higher. That’s massive folks. Just think about it, there are 15 million people involved in the restaurant business alone, and many of those restaurants are small mom & pop businesses.

First time unemployment claims rose last week by 34% - and this is really JUST THE BEGINNING. As of today, for the foreseeable future, those jobs and many, many more are furloughed in California. All those workers will soon be lining up for unemployment, and wow, that’s literally millions of people.   

So where is the “Solution” in all of this? Starting today, the US Congress will begin marking up the 3rd emergency aid package which will likely total at least $1 Trillion. The package will likely include at least $2000 in direct payments for each U.S. adult. And, you can count on it, that won’t be the last Trillion of government money flowing before the economy is capable of standing on its own.   This lead story explores some ideas on how best to utilize federal government aid to reach the most people and keep the economy off life-support.  Listen to our discussion of how the federal government might help soften these blows.

Story Two:  Why good leaders are the ones who make us feel safe. 

In one of his massively watched ted talks, management guru Simon Sinek explains why good leaders inspire confidence, and why we feel safe when we have someone in charge of an organization who doesn’t DEMAND trust, but inspires it. 

He takes it back to the nature of humanity as a social species.  How when we evolved, we had to trust our fellow to watch out for lions in one direction while we hunted or gathered facing the other way.  That trust that our fellow has our back is the basis of human society. As our civilization has gotten more complex and expanded, we still need this basic trust to make sure we can come together in the face of danger, and that we have each other’s backs.  The truth is there are always dangers to be faced, threats to be addressed - whether its market competition, an economic downturn, or a novel unseen virus.  But if we come together, and work cohesively, we humans can do amazing things. 

But THE KEY variable of a cohesive organization - whether we are talking about a whole society, a city, or a single company - is a good leader.  It is the leader who sets the tone and trajectory of the entire organization.  Listen hear more about good leaders, including General George C. Marshall. 


General George C. Marshall, architect of the Marshall Plan

U.S. Representative Tom Malinowski

U.S. Representative Tom Malinowski was born in Communist Poland during the height of the Cold War. When he was six, he and his mother fled to the United States, and grew up in Central Jersey.

Malinowski served as a Senior Director on President Clinton’s National Security Council where he worked to end conflicts around the globe. He then served as the chief advocate for Human Rights Watch, where he led the bipartisan campaign to end the use of torture by the Bush Administration. Later he served the Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor where he helped lead America’s fight for human rights around the world.


Congressman Tom Malinowski, our guest on March 20, 2020