Bill Ackman says coronavirus should push Trump to shut down country
'Tell Americans you are putting us on an extended Spring Break'
Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman is calling on President Trump to shut down the country to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Mr. President, the only answer is to shut down the country for the next 30 days and close the borders,” Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, tweeted Wednesday.
“Tell all Americans that you are putting us on an extended Spring Break at home with family,” he added. “Keep only essential services open. The government pays wages until we reopen.”
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COVID-19 has infected 6,496 people in the U.S. and killed 114, according to the latest update from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.
Ackman expressed his concern that with exponential compounding, every day Trump delays shutting down the country “costs thousands, and soon hundreds of thousands, and then millions of lives, and destroys the economy.”
The pandemic has brought the U.S. and global economy to a standstill by prompting “shelter in place” orders, social distancing between people and the cancellation of non-essential travel.
In an effort to prop up the economy, the Trump administration is working with Congress on a $1 trillion stimulus package aimed at supporting the sectors of the economy most heavily impacted by the pandemic, including airlines, cruise operators, hotels and restaurants, as well as giving checks to individuals to keep money flowing through the economy.
The economic fallout from the pandemic is going to be significant, according to economists at Goldman Sachs. They see U.S. gross domestic product shrinking by 5 percent in the second quarter before rebounding with 3 percent and 4 percent growth in the final two quarters of the year.
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“Please send everyone home now,” Ackman tweeted. “With your leadership, we can end this now. The rest of the world will follow your lead. A global Spring Break will save us all.”