STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Thank you for being with us, and don`t go anywhere, "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes is up next.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Let`s begin tonight amidst a national conversation about reopening with two principles I think everyone can agree on across the political spectrum. The first principle is that total shelter in place lockdown is not a sustainable, open-ended way to run American society.
For any number of reasons, there is only so long we can do this. I say that as a journalist who`s in contact all day, every day with many sources, and also as a parent with school-aged children who has been trying along with my wife to homeschool them every day.
The current status quo cannot exist forever, OK. I think we agree on that. That`s principle one. Principle two is we`re not going back to the pre- coronavirus normal anytime soon. Huge parties with thousands of people packed into a frat house on a college campus or crowded rock concerts in giant arenas, sold-out Broadway shows, football stadiums filled with 100,000 people just packed next to each other. I think it`s pretty unlikely any of those things are going to look how they looked before.
We`re going to stand further away from each other. We`re not going to crowd into spaces. We`re going to wear masks. Workplaces that can do it are going to have different people in on different shifts and try to stay basically as empty as possible so everyone is not sitting in the same bullpen breathing each other`s air.
And that principle two, that we`re not going back to normal, that is something even acknowledged by people on the leading edge of opening up. Even in places like Texas where restaurants will open on Friday, those restaurants are only allowed to have 25 percent capacity. In Georgia, right, Georgia, famously the most sort of out front on this, some barbers are only allowing one customer in the store at a time, others wait outside, six feet apart. So most people will I would say almost everyone understand that thing needs to change.
So those are the two principles we all seem to agree on. And the question is, what is in between those two principles, right? What is a safe responsible way of reopening? But we like to call on this show door number three, right? That the option that is neither an uncontrolled horrific pandemic or an economic depression.
And I got to say, this should not be some weird culture war question despite the effort of some to make it one in order to detract from the manifest failures of the President or the march people out to sacrifice themselves to the Dow. It is a difficult complicated question that the world every world leader, every state in the union is dealing with. And there`s actually a specific goal every society is trying to accomplish and that is this, to keep the rate of transmission of the coronavirus down so that each infected person infects on average, less than one other person.
OK, this is the key benchmark. If the transmission rate is less than one, the disease is declining. If the transmission rate is more than one, the disease is spreading. That is literally the threshold to create a society and an economy that are working.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who happens to be a doctor of quantum chemistry, explained just two weeks ago as that country was gearing up to reopen parts of its economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY: (TEXT) It needs to be like this so it doesn`t overtax our health system. We have made model observations. We`re now at about reproduction factor 1, so one person is infecting another one. I can only say that for one chain of infection, if one person will infect another person, that is an average of one person infecting another one.
If we get to the point where everybody infects 1.1 people, then by October we will reach the capacity level of our health system with the assumed number of intensive care beds. If we get to 1.2 people, so everyone is infecting 20 percent more, out of five people, one infects two and the rest one, then we will reach the limit of our healthcare system in July.
And if it`s 1.3 people, then in June we will reach the limits of our health system. So that`s where we can see how little the margin is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So, first of all, just imagine for a second having a leader that thought of the question of how to reopen society with that level of nuance. But that`s what`s necessary. So when Germany started open up, they had the infection transmission rate down 0.8 right, below that one threshold, but the coronavirus started creeping back up to an infection rate of one because this virus is so contagious, so few people have immunity.
In Singapore, which we have covered on this show, many have covered as a success story because it has been, they are now dealing there with a second outbreak which is essentially forcing them to enter back into shelter in place, and the reason is because they ignored a marginal community, migrant workers who live packed in dormitories on the outskirts of the city.
But the margins don`t stay the margins for long with this virus. Other places like Taiwan and South Korea have been able to keep the virus suppressed. They`ve been going through door number three, through lots of testing and contact tracing. Our own American city Seattle, one of the first places near an outbreak with its huge Shelter in Place Order. They moved early. They`ve gotten their infection rate down to where they started to lift some restrictions on things like farmers markets, outdoors, people can buy food.
That is what is so important about what Angela Merkel was saying. The margin of error is so small because of the way exponential growth works, what we have seen happen, right? You can find yourself back where we were two months ago, two months ago, two months ago, February 29th, when there was literally one confirmed death, before it spins out of control, and we lose 60,000 lies in 60 days. There are so many deaths that one funeral home is moving bodies in U-Haul trucks because they don`t have enough room.
The question of how and when to reopen society is a hard problem to solve. But a worst-case scenario would be after we have lost many tens of thousands of lives and knowingly pushed our economy to the brink of a depression, and seen the sacrifice that the unbelievable national sacrifice Americans have made in so many ways, after we`ve done all that, to squander all that on some blind hope and culture war propaganda, and end up right back in the same place a few months from now.
Joining me now as Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Columbia University`s Center of Sustainable Development, author of the forthcoming book, The Ages of Globalization, also has been writing about this topic, as well. Dr. Sachs, this sort of technical question, it seems one of those moments we`re looking out into the sort of comparative world and in some ways trying to take it outside of the hot stove of American culture war politics seems crucial.
JEFFREY SACHS, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Chris, thank you so much for the clearest explanation that I have heard on television or the media since this epidemic began. We`ve heard nothing but nonsense for weeks and weeks from the White House and we have 60,000 deaths.
And the fact of the matter is many countries have suppressed the epidemic. China did after its initial outbreak, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan, you have New Zealand, Australia. So it`s not purely hypothetical, and it has nothing to do with the culture wars, as you pointed out. It has to do with one simple idea exactly what you said, which is that each infected person must be stopped from infecting more than one other person.
That means several things. It means early detection of every case. It means early quarantining, or early isolation. You ask, can you be safely at home or will you spread it to family members? If it`s too crowded at home, you have to go to a public quarantine, which could be a hotel room, for example.
It means that in public, people wear face masks and respect the physical distancing. It means that any place that does open up is monitoring temperature, screening for symptoms. It means that we have a public health system that contacts each case every day. How`s your temperature, Mrs. Smith? And are there other people you know close by, your family members, your children, your parents who you think symptoms, we need to contact them.
SACHS: Are there people at work that we should be contacting? What`s contact tracing? This is straightforward. What is unbelievable in America is we have reached 60,000 deaths and not done the basics. And those countries that I mentioned, Chris, have death rates that are a 50th of ours or 100 of ours. So this is not hypothetical. Our country got -- well, we have a leader who was the worst president in our history, such an idiot, I`m sorry to say, but Americans are dying by the tens of thousands because we`re not doing the basics.
And today, incidentally, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial about arms zero, exactly this, but they don`t even look at their own news stories which have the Asian successes. Let`s look at how other countries are doing it. We`re not so stupid in America that we can learn from the others.
HAYES: You know, I thought that the Vice President visit at the Mayo Clinic the other day which got some controversy because he`s the only person not wearing a mask in violation of Mayo Clinic`s rules and protocols, that you can see there. And I thought, you know, his response was, which was not a crazy response. He basically says I`m tested on the coronavirus on a regular basis, everyone who has around me is tested for it. So, OK, so you test for it. And then Matt Yglesias said, what if we made it our policy goal to do this, but for you know, everyone.
Like it was such a great illustration of the problem, right? Yes, if you devote policy priorities the vice president so he can live a semi-normal life, what if we just expanded out that idea, not just for Mike Pence, but we cut it down for all of us so that we were in a similar boat?
SACHS: Chris, you know, there`s been a problem with testing because our sentinel system, our Centers for Disease Control failed. This is another story. America`s breaking down in so many ways because we don`t take care of basic government functions anymore. So the testing got way behind because our main institution for this failed.
But if you look at those other success story countries, Korea has several private companies that immediately got successful testing going. Many other countries even without much testing, went on the symptom basis. People isolated, they went for quarantine, and they had public health officials that were tracing the contacts. This is so basic, I can`t even tell you it`s every -- the first page of epidemic control is trace the contacts.
When did President Trump say one word about tracing the contacts? Not till now, 60,000 deaths later. This is what we`re facing. It`s like it`s a madhouse that we`re having this in this country when there is so much knowledge and experience of what to do. But it`s true also, by the way, cities across this country and governors, they`re debating the day to open, not preparing the contact tracing, not following confirm cases, not preparing the quarantine.
This is the tragedy or wasting our time because as you said, completely correct, you can get the case slowed down very far. But if you just open up again, because of exponential growth, everything shoots up again. So it`s not a matter of the date of opening. It`s a matter of preparing the alternative to the lockdown. The alternate is what`s called public health. You isolate cases, you quarantine you test them, you trace contacts. Can we do this in America still? Do we have any sense of learning the most basic things when our lives depend on it? That`s the real issue.
HAYES: Jeffrey Sachs, thank you so much for sharing your expertise tonight.
SACHS: Well, thank you, thank you for what you`re doing. It`s so vital. We need to get the basics out.
HAYES: I want to bring in now the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress Neera Tanden. She was appointed to New Jersey`s Restart and Recovery Commission yesterday by Governor Phil Murphy.
And Neera, you guys -- one thing I`ve noted here that`s interesting to me is you look at Center for American Progress, the think thank you work at worked on a sort of reopening plan. And AEI which is a right-wing think tank, they did their plan. The plans are not that different. Like there`s nothing -- it`s not like there`s some -- we`ve got some big, you know, abortion rights level cultural war happening among the people that know what they`re talking about this question. There`s actually consensus, and yet that seems so far from what the political debate has been.
NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Yes, no, I mean, absolutely. And, you know, Jeffrey Sachs talked about the consensus. And it`s not just a Center for American Progress and AEI, it`s really every major university, every institution, economists have all said, we need to do content tracing and testing and separation.
And I think the real problem is in the country that we have a leadership people don`t trust and we have a national leadership that hasn`t been clear and obvious about what to do. And I think the original sin here was that, for whatever reason, we didn`t do testing right, but the president can`t admit to that failure. He can`t admit for numerous reasons. And so he has really moved to try to reopen at a time where people are just not prepared.
I mean, as I think you so eloquently said, and it`s so clear, you can`t -- you risk so much by reopening when you don`t have caseloads down enough and when you don`t have the infrastructure to actually even be able to contain the virus. And that is -- that is the real danger of Texas, Georgia, and Florida, their actions, which is, you know, it`s a gamble. That is the problem. It is a big gamble. And that`s why I think everyone should be working on tracing and testing. And it`s unfortunate that they`re not.
HAYES: Yes. The testing, we should just note that one of the things that the countries that do have in common dealing with this is they test a lot so they have low positivity rates, right? So like if you`re testing a lot, you want to be in a situation where you`re not getting like half positives or 30 percent positive.
Right now the U.S., we`re getting like 18 percent positive, that`s way too high. When you look at countries like South Korea, they`re like down at three percent. It`s just -- again, that`s sort of just numerical technocratic capacity issue that we can do. It`s America. We should be able to figure it out.
TANDEN: Right. I mean, the most important thing, actually, is to be able to test everyone who`s sick and really test community tests. Meaning, you`re testing places that you haven`t seen a virus, you don`t know that there`s a virus, and then you know, the virus isn`t there.
The problem with the United States is that our testing capacity has been so low that people are sick can`t get tested, but we`re not testing anyone on the frontlines who aren`t sick. And that the thing that`s incredible is that these states are considering mandating people come back to work and not giving them testing. I mean, that is the moral and public health failure because that is where you get the outbreaks.
People come back to work, and then they spread it and then you`re just dealing with it at the -- at the end when we don`t even have an ability to contain it. It is like completely shooting in the dark and hoping no one dies. It`s really -- it`s scary and no country is handling like this.
HAYES: I`m glad you`re putting -- I`ve gotten e-mails from viewers in both Iowa and Georgia who have said similar things which is basically -- and the Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds made this clear I think yesterday that look, if you`re just scared of your health, and you don`t go to work because of it, then you`ve left your job. You`re not -- you don`t get unemployment, right.
The way that unemployment works in America, you get laid off and fired, you can get unemployment. If you quit, you can`t, right? So you`ve now got a situation quite perverse in Georgia and Iowa where if you feel like my workplace isn`t safe, like you`re out of luck. And that`s not good for epidemic -- like that`s not good for epidemiological purposes, whatever you think about the moral aspect of it.
TANDEN: I mean, the big problem with this virus is that essentially, everybody -- every single person is at risk, right? So when individuals are forced to make decisions, if a person who`s not feeling well is forced to make the decision to go to work for their livelihood, then any single person can be a super spreader.
So when you`re telling people that they should go to work when they feel sick, or that they`re going to be at work with other people who could be sick, then you`re inviting, yeah, a real possibility of contagion. And you know, it`s really almost the opposite of what we should be doing from a public health perspective.
HAYES: All right, Neera Tanden, thank you so much for making time tonight.
TANDEN: And from an economic recovery perspective. I mean, just to make this point -- thank you.
HAYES: Sorry. Thank you, Neera. I appreciate it.
TANDEN: Sorry. It`s the miracle of Skype that I thought I was good.
HAYES: We`ll talk to you soon. Thank you very much. Coming up, new data from the CDC suggests that we are significantly undercounting the deaths from Coronavirus. Our ongoing debunking of Coronavirus truthers, next.
HAYES: The Coronavirus truthers, as we call them, have taken up this line about the virus that oh, actually, you know, I know that the obituary pages are full and no one could buy a sympathy card but it`s not that definitely dangerous. Even as the death toll in America continues to climb past 60,000, 2,000 new deaths a day and day after day after day. And every day brings new evidence of how absurd those very claims are.
So the New York Times citing CDC data now reports that the U.S. death toll is actually far higher than what`s been reported. Now, people of course, in America and everywhere they die of all sorts of things every day in this country. Flue, to cancer, or heart attacks, homicides, driving accidents, suicide, and states and cities collect all that data called all-cause mortality, right, to calculate the total number of deaths.
So one way is -- one way we can get a sense of how hard states have been hit by deaths from the Coronavirus is just by looking at those current overall mortality tolls and comparing it to the same period of time, say last year. That`s exactly what the Times did. And lo and behold, they found excess deaths everywhere they looked.
Now some of them were positively reported Coronavirus deaths and others, many others were not, though they were likely due to the virus, but each state they looked at has a huge spike. And crucially, it is even bigger than what you would see if you just took into account the reported Coronavirus deaths, right.
So look at New York City, those gray lines at the bottom are total deaths in the previous five years. The red line is this year, the overall death rate just shot up so dramatically. If you were looking at that chart, and it wasn`t even labeled, you`d say what happened there in March. And just about every chart shows the same thing. Here`s New Jersey, and Michigan, and Massachusetts, and Illinois. They all have this huge spike that red line in deaths, again, represented there when you compare this year to previous years.
And guess what, the evidence from across the world tells the exact same story. The Financial Times using the same approach right, all-cause mortality found that global Coronavirus deaths could be 60 percent higher than reported. The death rate in Belgium for instance, is 60 percent higher than the historical average this time of year. In Spain, it is more than 50 percent higher than average this time of the year. In hard-hit Italy, the death rate is 90 percent higher than in years past.
We are seeing this everywhere and it`s good illustration of why Coronavirus truther-ism is not just so dangerous but also so deranged. I`m joined now by Dr. George Q. Daley, the Dean of Harvard Medical School who co-wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post urging Americans to beware of studies claiming COVID-19 death rates are smaller than expected.
And maybe we can start, Doctor, sort of in the broadest possible way, which is in terms of two months ago, how scientists were dealing with this new virus and how deadly they thought this was, and two months later, after the ravages, how do those sort of expectations and the data lineup?
GEORGE Q. DALEY, DEAN, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Well, I think based on what we knew two months ago, we knew that this was a highly contagious virus. And the early results out of China suggested that a shockingly large percentage of infected patients were dying, maybe as much as three percent, maybe six percent. And now, two months later, we realize that some of the hotspots, Italy, New York City, and beyond, have suffered just astounding burden of death.
Now, we don`t know the underlying complete percentage of individuals who`ve seen the virus. And that`s why these recent surveys, these antibody surveys are allowing us to reassess the actual case mortality rate. But even as we`ve reassessed it down, because we appreciate that many more people are actually have seen the virus that are being counted, the rates are still quite staggering. The burden is very great.
HAYES: This point is a really crucial one. So this sort of sets up this debate right now, and it sort of mixes together a good-faith debate among experts and the data and sort of bad faith attempt, I think, to do some sort of bait and switch.
So, the good faith version of this is, we know how many cases there are that are confirmed. We don`t know how many people have been infected, which is a much larger number. And if the multiple is big enough, if it`s actually 100 times what we know of the actual case is, then actually the disease is not as deadly as we thought.
You`re arguing that the idea, the bullish case that like everybody`s had it, and it`s 100 times, it`s just not really being borne out by what we know. Is that sort of the argument here?
DALEY: Yes. This is what I am deeply, deeply and profoundly concerned about, is the over-interpretation that some of these early studies that suggest that maybe tenfold or even in some -- in some reports, at fold as many people have actually seen the virus, that this is being used to suggest, oh, this is not a devastatingly fatal or virulent disease.
But let`s, let`s anchor it on what we see. In the major cities that have been hit, whether it`s in the north of Italy, or Wuhan, China, or New York City, our intensive care units has been overwhelmed with virus. Even in the worst flu years, we don`t see this rapidity of death. We don`t see the bodies piling up in morgues that can`t handle them.
This is far worse than flu. And we have to be careful as we interpret these early assessments of the percent of people in our communities that have seen the virus. We have to be careful that we don`t reopen the economy too early because we will provoke a second wave of epidemic. We will provoke an increased number of infections. And behind it, we will see that deaths start to mount.
HAYES: Yes. That is the big fear, the one that we`re all trying to avoid. Dr. George Q. Daley, thank you so much for making time tonight and explaining that. I really appreciate it. Still ahead in the midst of a pandemic, how is it that the healthcare industry is crashing? We`ll talk about what`s breaking our healthcare systems economics and why right after this.
HAYES: Nothing quite captures the perverse business incentives of the American health care system like the fact that in the midst of this pandemic, right, as we all celebrate front line health care workers in hospitals, that some of those same hospitals are hemorrhaging money and teetering on bankruptcy, and more broadly that the health care sector of the economy, again, amidst the worst pandemic in 100 years, is the leading source of economic contraction in the first quarter of the year, knocking 2.3 percentage points domestic product.
How is this possible? To help answer that question I`m joined by Ron Berwick, former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services under President Barack Obama, president emeritus and senior fellow of the Institute for Health Care Improvement, who knows this field as well as anyone.
So, let`s just start with the basics here. I talked to someone I know at a New York City hospital that`s been doing a ton of COVID patients who talked about them losing half a billion a month, and this is hospitals all over the country hemorrhaging money. Why are they losing so much money?
RON BERWICK, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT: Well, they`re getting squeezed two ways. Their costs have gone up. They have to invest capital, hire more staff. They`re converting bed spaces that have not beds before, all of that takes a lot of money, and meanwhile their revenues are down, because the normal businesses they depend on for revenue -- the elective surgeries, the work of their own emergency rooms for non- COVID conditions, that`s how hospitals get by financially, and that revenue is gone.
The other part of the problem is under-insurance. We have a frail and chaotic insurance system in this country. We`re trying to put patches on it in the COVID epidemic, but it`s coming home to roost that we -- a lot of people don`t have coverage. All of that means that they are losing tons of money.
And I`ve talked to hospital leaders that gave me the same numbers you just quoted, Chris.
HAYES: I want to talk about what we call elective surgery, because it sounds like you`re talking about like cosmetic surgery, right, but this is a huge category of things. And my understanding is that when we say that they are a big part of the bottom line of hospitals, it`s like elective surgeries are like alcohol in a restaurant, like they are the margin, basically. Is that -- I mean, they`re a huge part of how the finances of a hospital work.
BERWICK: Yeah, elective doesn`t mean cosmetic. it means non-emergency. A lot of surgery that`s needed, even cancer surgery you don`t have to do the day it occurs as you do for a trauma victim. Hospitals call that elective procedures; they can be scheduled. But we are in a fee for service based health care system where the way hospitals or doctors make money is to do more things. The more they do, the more they make and that`s what pays the bills.
Right now those patients aren`t coming in. And so the normal business models of the hospitals are simply in shambles. They are not working. And we`ll see whether they`re able to dig out after the COVID epidemic, god willing, and get back to something like square one.
HAYES: So I feel like I have two twin contradictory impulses here, so I`ll talk about the first and then the second. So, the first is this makes no sense and we have to deal with the situation as it exists, the system that we have, the hospitals we have. These hospitals really have done remarkable work on the front lines of this and how do we -- basically, what should we be doing at a first order triage, if you will, policy to make sure that we`re not seeing huge bankruptcies or layoffs of essential personnel like nurses and others in hospitals?
BERWICK: You`re exactly right. There is a short-term issue, which is they just don`t have the money. They are running out of money and we need something like a bailout like we`re doing with airlines and other industries. The hospitals just need the cash, and that`s the short term solution. I don`t know of another possible one.
In the long term, this does reflect a basic set of defects in the way we`re funding health care in America. One is that it`s all fee for service, or most of it is now. We`re trying to move towards paying hospitals just to kind of be there to take about populations instead of getting paid for everything they do. That would have helped if we were there sooner. The second is the problem of a broken American health care insurance system in which essentially everyone has to run ragged in order to stay in place and the payment is all chaotic and it drives costs up and really leaves to a lot of vulnerability for hospitals.
So, there is a short term fix, bail them out, and a long-term fix to think differently how to fund health care in the first place.
HAYES: Yeah, it`s the second one. So, the first one there has been money for hospitals in the last two bills. The Democrats had to push for it. Originally, Mitch McConnell did not want it in the last bill. Democrats have pushed for that. But my conflict here is a little bit of this, which is that hospitals have been as a kind of lobbying force, often quite reactionary force in the politics of American health care, because they want to keep the fees flowing in. And the fees are their bottom line sources of revenue and when you try to talk about creating a country that isn`t going to have 17 percent of its GPD spent on health care, the hospitals are one of the big obstacle. There is something a little perverse about this moment of, well, here`s money to bail you out. Here`s money to make you whole, and then I guess next year you`re going to go back to like stopping up to trying to keep health care costs down.
BERWICK: Yeah, until the next pandemic.
Of course, they`re scared of change. We`ve hooked ourselves on this gerbil cage of do more, get paid more; do more, get paid more. Now, people aren`t plotting to do unnecessary things, but the dynamics, the economics are just -- they`re not favorable. That`s how we set it up. If we want to switch to something it would be far smarter, global payments for hospitals to take care of populations, for heath systems to take care of populations, everyone has to face those changes.
I think the changes are warranted. I think they`re needed. I think we`re going to go bankrupt as a country if we`re not careful in the longer run, because of health care costs. But we can have all the care we want and need, we just can`t have it the way we`re paying for it right now, and that is going to involve changes, and which means political dialog here. We`re going to have to fight our way through to a better health care payment system.
HAYES: Don Berwick, who is humble enough not to mention that he is one of the sort of foremost leaders in precisely how to think about that and implementing it both at IHI and when he was at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services. Thank you, Don. I really appreciate it.
BERWICK: My pleasure.
HAYES: Up next, why the government rescue of America`s businesses should never be a jump ball between your local dry cleaner and the L.A. Lakers. The way to fix the PPP program next.
HAYES: Do you remember the food stamps surfer dude who ate lobster? Back in 2013, Fox News tried to make him a government grifting star.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have ah, salmon, eel, yellow tail with rice and avocado. And then they had lobster on special. $200 a month and you just, like, boom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for shopping with us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just like that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please remove your bags.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All paid for by our wonderful tax dollars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was part of a whole gross war that Fox waged against food stamps and food stamp recipients, and motivated by the idea that someone, somewhere, was getting over and buying food they shouldn`t be. It`s one of the most animating reactionary forces in all of American life regarding the welfare state that when we try to have the government do something, in this case feed people, someone must be taking advantage, someone is getting over, the wrong people are getting the money.
And we are seeing that right now with the Payroll Protection Program designed for small businesses and their workers. There have been a lot of surfer on food stamps eating lobster eating headlines from that program, and I will admit they`ve made me mad, too.
The L.A. Lakers an NBA franchise worth over $4 billion, was given a PPP loan before they gave it back. The massive restaurant chain, Shake Shack, got $10 million before giving it back. The Ritz Carlton of Atlanta, one of several luxury hotels using the Paycheck Protection Program to stay afloat.
Now, it is outrageous that it appears to be a choice between, say, the beloved grocery store or laundromat on the block and those folks at the Ritz Carlton. And that they are the ones benefiting -- but, but, but, I think that`s a false way to thinking about it, and it`s created by the flawed design and appropriations for this program, PPP.
The point of the program is not to choose which are the best and more worthy and deserving businesses, the point is to offer a blanket protection for all small businesses under a certain size who meet the criteria to retain their workers with pay and basically put the economy on ice so it doesn`t die while we`re fighting the pandemic.
The problem is there`s way more demand than there is money appropriated, and so because of the funds are claimed almost within minutes every time they open it up, the architects of PPP have unleashed a Hobbsian war of all against all for deservingness leaving mom and pop businesses squeezed out, which is unjust.
So here is the solution: make the criteria clear and make the appropriation open-ended, like unemployment insurance: if you qualify, you get the amount of money you qualify for and that`s it. That way there is no rush or fight over who is deserving. Because if you`re asking me should we bailout the Ritz Charlton of Atlanta during normal times I would say no, we should not, but right now they don`t have customers, and they`re a business with employees that we should probably keep from getting laid off.
And the best part of this, the most classic American reactionary politics bait and switch is that while we are all focused on who is getting the $1 million or $2 million loans, the big boys program for the major, large corporations worth $500 billion is being run through the Fed with far less transparency and zero, zero strings attached in terms of whether they have to retain workers.
So how about small businesses and their employees all get rescued, and we put some requirements on the nearly unlimited credit spigot that`s been opened up for the largest corporations.
HAYES: How humans respond to disasters and catastrophe brings out this incredible solidarity and compassion and ingenuity in people amidst all the sorrow and tragedy. We`ve seen examples of that all around us during this pandemic. In the midst of this national trauma. So many of our fellow Americans are rising to the occasion, their words and their deeds serving as a crucial reminder that in this time of stress, and catastrophe, we really are all in this together.
Throughout the entire #metoo era there have been moments I think for many of us, all of us, when we have heard about accusations against someone that we find ourselves desperately wanting not to believe, whether that is because we have some personal admiration for the individual or their work, or political admiration, someone on our quote, unquote side, part of the difficult lesson of the #metoo era is not that every accusation is true, and everything should be believed on its face, but that you do have to fight yourself when you feel that impulse. You have to do that in order to take seriously what is being alleged and what the evidence is, and to evaluate it.
And that is the case with the accusations by a woman names Tara Reade against Joe Biden. Reade briefly worked as a Senate aide in Biden`s office in the early 90s. Last year, she told a California newspaper that in 1993 Joe Biden, quote, "touched her several times making her feel uncomfortable."
Now at that time, Reade was one of several women who came forward around that moment with accusations against the former vice president of inappropriate sort of over-physicalness -- touching, kissing or hugging -- that they say made them feel uncomfortable.
Then last month, she made a much more serious allegation, telling first a podcast and later The New York Times that in 1993, Joe Biden pinned her to a wall in the Senate building, reached under the clothing and penetrated her with his fingers. And Reade told The Times that she filed a complaint with the Senate that same year about what happened with Biden, quote, "she said she did not have a copy of it, and such paperwork has not been located."
Now Reade also said she complained to Biden`s executive assistant as well as to two top aides about harassment by Mr. Biden not mentioning the alleged assault.
All three of those people who were interviewed by The Times deny having memory of a complaint. A spokeswoman for Joe Biden says the allegation is false. And they have strongly denied it.
This week, there was also a new development in the story, and that is that Tara Reade`s former neighbor at the time went on the record, with her name, telling Business Insider, that in 1995, or 1996, a few years after this, that Reade, told her she had been assaulted by Biden.
NBC News reached out to Reade`s neighbor who later confirmed by text message the story. And this, on the record reporting, from a neighbor, roughly contemporaneous, relaying of the story, has rightly occasioned a new round of scrutiny, while also creating some serious tension within the progressive coalition about how the Biden camp should or is responding.
For more on that, I`m joined by Rebecca Traister, writer at-large from the New York magazine who just published this piece about the allegations titled the Biden trap.
Rebecca, first maybe take me through how you have tracked this story over its development, and your sort of evaluation of it.
REBECCA TRAISTER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Well, I`ve been watching it and reading about it with, I mean obviously intense interest. It had sort of a reverse course from some of the #metoo reporting that broke through in the fall of 2017, the reporting done by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey and Ronan Farrow, on Harvey Weinstein, in that it didn`t start out as a massive investigative report. It actually, Tara Reade first made the full accusation of assault in a podcast interview with Katie Halper.
So initially, it didn`t have the sort of full, we`ve talked to 100 people. We`ve gone through these documents, and that sort happened in reverse in this case.
And so I have been reading with great interest as sort of different portions of the story have either been denied, or seemingly confirmed. And I it`s one of those cases where there`s going to be more reporting and we`re going to learn more about what we think of these claims with every story that`s done. And I bet there are a lot of reporters -- I know there are a lot of reporters out there working on it right now.
HAYES: In terms of the sort of, you know, I think one of the things that happened in the #metoo era was thinking about how to evaluate claims like this, and what evidence is sort of corroborative and what`s dispositive. And the fact that in almost all cases it is extremely difficult to arrive at some definitive accounting, in the sort of evidentiary record.
I will say that in following, this one of the things that happened in #metoo, and a piece of evidence that has risen in how I evaluate these stories is a somewhat contemporaneous disclosure to a trusted person who then tells a reporter about it. That is what has happened here. And to me, that has been, in terms of what the evidentiary record is, has raised it a bit in terms of my own view of this.
TRAISTER: I feel the same way. I actually thought that the Times reporting, which was very inconclusive on the assault claim, made -- corroborated for me something, which was her claim that she had claimed, that she had complained about harassment, and then suffered a professional consequence while working in Biden`s office.
The New York Times on this story actually backed that up for me, a couple of weeks ago, because it found a couple of interns who she had supervised, who remembered her suddenly being taken off of -- you know, having suddenly and without explanation no longer supervising them. That was pretty persuasive for me on that count.
The assault claim -- you know, obviously, I`m waiting for more reporting on it. But as reporters, and as readers, this is what we look for, you know, for a journalistic corroboration, as you say, a contemporaneous -- somebody who is willing to go on the record. The other thing about the neighbor, Lynda LaCasse, who was Reade`s former neighbor, is that she says she is a Biden supporter and she makes -- and that she still intends to vote for Joe Biden.
TRAISTER: So that sort of addresses the question of, is there a political motivation here, for her, making, for her recalling this. And yes, I think it`s a very strong piece of corroborating evidence. And you know, it was persuasive for me, too.
HAYES: This point about, obviously, what hangs over this, is that Joe Biden appears to be presumptively the nominee for the Democratic Party, that he will be running against a president who has been -- who has bragged about sexual assault, who has been accused of sexual assault by a dozen and a half women. He is -- right now there is a woman, E Jean Carroll, who has accused him on the record of raping her in Bergdorf Goodman, and has two people on the record contemporaneously saying she told them the story at the time, one urged her to go to the police.
She`s currently suing him, because he dismissed the story. And of course, that is not exculpatory for whatever the facts may be with Joe Biden, but in the political context of how progressive and feminist and liberals think about this, it is inescapable and also sort of impossible. Your thoughts, Rebecca?
TRAISTER: And in addition to the claims made against Donald Trump, the person, there is also Donald Trump`s record of, and promises around governance. He is going to be in a position, if he is re-elected, to appoint people to the Supreme Court. He already has -- that is a generations worth of law making in this country that is going to, if Donald Trump makes those appointments going to be terrible for women, and especially women, particularly in vulnerable communities.
What he is -- you know, his record on the environment, enfranchisement, you know, the democracy is imperiled and women, and particularly vulnerable women, are especially imperiled, so progressive feminist women have every reason to support his opponent; however, what this is creating is a kind of a perfect storm where the women who are being asked to support his opponent are now being asked to answer for these charges, in part because of the vacuum created by Joe Biden who is not yet really directly answering these questions. And certainly not doing what I wish he would, which is to say, please direct your questions about these allegations to me, and not the women that are out there offering their support to my candidacy.
HAYES: Yeah, the man in question, the nominee, the former vice president, is going to have to address them, and not have Stacey Abrams or anyone else, or Kirsten Gillibrand be the ones to do that.
Rebecca Traister, your piece was fantastic. And thank you so much for making some time tonight.
TRAISTER: Thanks so much.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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