Headlines for March 19, 2020

President Trump has invoked the Korean War-era Defense Production Act to allow the government to direct industrial production. The White House’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said Wednesday he was consulting with General Motors’s CEO to use idled factories to produce ventilators, which will be critical to keeping patients alive when a surge of coronavirus cases reaches hospitals.

Kudlow also said the Trump administration is considering taking an equity stake in companies bailed out by taxpayers. In 2008, Kudlow blasted a similar move by the Obama administration to take a stake in General Motors after a bailout as “an attack on free-market capitalism.”

On Wednesday, billionaire hedge fund investor Bill Ackman called on President Trump to shut down the country for the next 30 days and close the borders. Ackman tweeted, “With exponential compounding, every day we postpone the shutdown costs thousands, and soon hundreds of thousands, and then millions of lives, and destroys the economy.” He was writing from self-isolation. 

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