Nothing would please me more than to write about business and estate planning, but the virus is still governing our lives. It has changed how we do everything – work, exercise, travel, entertain ourselves, shop, eat, see family, visit doctors – everything. So, are we doomed? Is this “On The Beach” – my reference in the March newsletter to a 1957 novel about the end of civilization caused by a nuclear detonation? The answer was no then and it’s still no. The problem for us today isn’t personal, pervasive or permanent. But the problem is still with us, with many questioning whether we reopened the country too soon in light of increasing infection rates.
- Health perspective – although people are still getting sick and tragically dying and our lives have been turned upside down, this will end. As we speak, there are reports of several vaccines with sufficiently positive results that there is already talk of large scale testing, fast-track approvals, mass production and distribution. The timing is the unknown – current projections saying late 2020 or early 2021. In the meantime, most medical offices have reopened (with appropriate safeguards) and for those who prefer to be even more careful, telemedicine can be a good solution and is here to stay.
- Financial perspective – as we continue to digest the multi-trillion dollar economic stimulus package, yet another one is being debated and will soon be introduced. The first one made some mistakes, but the benefits far outweighed the negatives. It was enacted, by necessity, so quickly that the government can be excused for lack of perfection. Even though there have been great strides in reopening businesses and people getting back to work, much remains to be done. There is bipartisan support for blanket foregiveness of PPP loans of less than $150,000. Current legislative proposals include lawsuit protection, extended unemployment benefits, payroll tax cut (just withdrawn), aid for struggling small businesses, additional funding for testing, tracing and vaccine distribution, aid to states and cities, and funding for schools and universities to cover the cost of reopening. There is and will be the usual bickering and shameless jockeying for political gain – putting politics ahead of public wellbeing, but eventually there will be a new bill.