There’s a bleak interpretation, a hopeful one and something in-between. There’s merit in all of them.

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What to make of it? Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

By Jonathan Bernstein

I still don’t really know how to make sense of the events of Jan. 6. Instead of one interpretation, I see three different ways of thinking about what happened, and which probably need to be combined for full understanding. I’m not ready to do that combining right now, so instead I’ll give you the three perspectives.

I’ll start with the most pessimistic one. From this point of view, it’s a story of the continued deterioration of the Republican Party as it moves closer to becoming nothing more than an anti-democratic cabal intent on one-party rule and, to…


Could the most consequential member of the Biden cabinet be the secretary of Transportation?

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The future secretary of Transportation and his preferred mode of transportation (as of November 2019). Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America

By Matthew Yglesias

When President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet takes office later this month, all eyes will be on the public-health officials coping with Covid-19. But one of the most difficult and important post-pandemic tasks — restoring America’s deteriorating mass-transit systems — will rest with the secretary of Transportation.

The question is not so much whether Pete Buttigieg is ambitious enough to try to do something big with what’s traditionally been a small job. (He is.) It’s whether he’s willing to take on the Democratic Party interests necessary to bring about true reform.

The size of the challenge can hardly be…


Stimulus payments of $2,000 will be a big boost to those that need it, and won’t do any harm to the economy. Most of all, it’s politically savvy.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a vote on a proposal for $2,000 stimulus checks, but it’s not dead yet. Photo: Bloomberg

By Conor Sen

Let’s get down to brass tacks: Sending $2,000 in direct payments to Americans is a politically effective but economically inefficient way to provide needed relief to workers and families.

When Congress recently approved a new stimulus package, it included $600 cash payments to Americans. But that struck many people as a measly gesture compared to the $1,200 checks issued in the previous stimulus, and considering the economic damage done by the pandemic over the nine months since the Cares Act. …


The iPhone maker has more than enough capital and R&D to make a splash in the auto business

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Tim Cook, soldiering on. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images North America

By Liam Denning

Tim Cook must be gutted.


It would be hard on the company’s managers, but not on consumers or society

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Photo: Brett Jordan

By Cathy O’Neil

What would happen if Facebook disappeared tomorrow? Would people suddenly be unable to communicate online? Would the economy screech to a halt? Would anyone be deprived of a good, service or piece of information that was somehow crucial to their existence?

Of course not. Which is why the one of the company’s main arguments against a breakup — that it’s too big and complex to dismember — makes no sense.

Some companies play such an important role in the economy or in people’s lives that their failure or disintegration could be disastrous. This allows them to drive…


Before Trump, outgoing presidents — and even an incoming one — mainly acted out with remarkably personal slights

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John Adams. Image: Library of Congress

By Stephen Mihm

In 1797, President George Washington was determined to unambiguously hand over the nation’s reins for the first time. He attended the inauguration ceremony of John Adams, his vice president, to show his support. At its conclusion, he offered a symbolic gesture of subservience, dutifully waiting for Adams to exit the room before he did.

Unfortunately, Adams struggled to follow Washington’s patriotic lead, turning the peaceful transition of power into a stage for his own insecurities and pettiness. He wouldn’t be the last leader to act out during these critical moments for American democracy.

On his first full…


Think about fees, security and customer service access

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Photo: Bloomberg

By Erin Lowry

Last month my husband asked me about the trading app Robinhood and whether I’d seen reports of its users getting hacked and having their money stolen. Apparently, the victims had trouble getting in touch with company representatives.

The situation led to a larger conversation about investing apps and whether one should use them in lieu of traditional brokerages. There are a few things investors should consider before deciding that an app is right for them.

Apps like Acorns, Robinhood and Stash — which were founded in 2012, 2013 and 2015 respectively — have grown in popularity recently…


Beat the pandemic blues by investing in exercise, experiences and other people’s well-being

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Photo: Christophe Maertens

By Sarah Green Carmichael

As the saying goes, money can’t buy happiness. That certainly seems to be true in 2020 — rates of depression and anxiety are up, even though many households have more cash on hand than usual. Savings rates in the U.S. spiked to a previously unfathomable 34% in April and sat at a still-high 14% in September. Savings in the U.K. have also hit record highs, with households saving 29% of their disposable income.

There must be some way to use this extra cash to brighten our spirits. Even if gyms, cafes, hotels and restaurants aren’t safe…


How much the U.S. economy would be helped by forgiving college debt is a matter for debate

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Photo: Charles DeLoye

By Noah Smith and Michael R. Strain

A tantalizing possibility has been dangled in front of millions of Americans who took on crippling debt to acquire a college education: What if that financial burden was lifted? The Democratic Party endorses the idea of the government forgiving at least a portion of the nation’s $1.6 trillion in student loans, but opponents in both political parties see it as the wrong move for the economy. Bloomberg Opinion columnists Noah Smith and Michael Strain, both of whom have written about the proposal, recently got together online to debate.

Noah Smith: With the Senate…


Hindsight shows that the Cares Act saved the U.S. economy, and how badly the country needs another round of bipartisan statesmanship

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Photo: Once more with feeling. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

By Michael R. Strain

There is widespread agreement that the $1.8-trillion economic recovery package that went into effect in March — the Cares Act — averted economic disaster after the coronavirus pandemic began. But even that conventional view understates its true success.

With each passing month, the evidence mounts that the Cares Act performed better than even its strongest advocates thought it would. Perversely, its success is undermining the perceived need for Congress to provide additional support. Households, workers and small businesses will bear the brunt of the lethargy among both Democratic and Republican congressional leaders.

One way to see…

Bloomberg Opinion

Opinions on business, economics and much more from the editors and columnists at Bloomberg Opinion.

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