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The Wall Street Journal and many other news outlets have reported that the U.S. economy grew at a record pace in the third quarter of 2020. The WSJ reported “The economy grew at a record pace in the third quarter—increasing 7.4% over the prior quarter and at a 33.1% annual rate—recovering about two-thirds of the ground it lost earlier in the coronavirus pandemic.” This is so different from the doom and gloom predictions last spring and summer of a depression. Something that I have noticed in the last few years, is that the so-called experts have often been very wrong in their economic predictions. For example, Nicholas A. Bloom, a Stanford University economist was quoted in an April 8, 2020 article as saying: “People may end up calling this the Greater Depression,” Bloom says. “I think the drop will be comparable to the Depression. The only question is about the rate of recovery.” The article goes on to state that “Indeed, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis have warned that 47 million people could be thrown out of work and that the unemployment rate could hit 32% by this summer or fall.” In fact the national unemployment rate was 7.9% in September. Iowa’s unemployment rate was 4.7%.

Remember that in 2016, many so-called experts predicted that if Trump won the election, the U.S. would suffer a serious recession, if not a depression. In fact, until the virus hit, the U.S. economy was at an all-time high, and unemployment was near an all-time low.

Students Vote in Iowa Straw Poll

Iowa students have voted for President, U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress, in the Secretary of State’s straw poll. I was surprised to learn that the students gave President Trump 54.6% of their votes to 32.6% for Joe Biden, a margin of just over 23%. Kanye West received 8.7% with the rest scattered among other candidates. Joni Ernst won the Senate race with 52.6% of the vote to Teresa Greenfield’s 38.2%. David Young received 48.3% of the vote for U.S. Congress to 45.2% for Cindy Axne. The Republican candidates won the congressional races in the other 3 districts also, by even bigger margins. President Trump’s margin is substantially larger than his margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Secretary of State’s office tells me that a few more results could trickle in so the results could change a little.

In 2016 President Trump received 46.1% of the vote and Hillary Clinton received 35.4%. President Trump won the actual Iowa vote by just over 9%. It is hard to think he would win this year’s vote by anything close to the 22% margin of the youth poll. The polls I have seen are predicting a close race.

COVID-19 Death Rates Drop

More and more reports are coming out stating that the death rates from the COVID-19 disease are dropping. Apparently doctors are learning how to better treat victims. It could also be that all the testing is finding victims sooner than last spring. A study from the University of New York says that: “Patients in the study had a 25.6% chance of dying at the start of the pandemic; they now have a 7.6% chance.” These are hospitalized patients. Keep in mind that many victims have mild or no symptoms and are not hospitalized. Another study in England reported similar results. It will take a vaccine, or vaccines, to really reduce the infection rate. We do not know how effective vaccines may be, but they will surely make a significant difference. Keep in mind that flu vaccines do not prevent all cases of the flu.

Author: Julian Garrett