Three virus-related thoughts for Sunday
Three virus-related thoughts for Sunday
There are a few posts I have been working on, but haven’t had the energy to complete. But since I wanted to make the point, let me use this opportunity to quickly set forth a few thoughts.
1. I suspect that the virus has been “burning through the dry tinder” in March and April. At least 1/3, and possibly 1/2, of all deaths from the disease have been at nursing homes. When you consider this disease thrives on indoor spaces, recirculated air, repeated dosing with the virus, compromised immune systems, and those who already have cardiovascular disease, that ought to be no surprise.
What I suspect, but don’t have good sourcing for yet, is that a huge percentage of all residents at such facilities have already been infected. Since the turnover at these facilities is on average about every 2.5 years, once the disease has “burned through” this population, that source of fatalities immediately vanishes. Which means that the number of infections and fatalities would presumably decrease.
How much of the decrease in infections and fatalities we have seen in the past month is due to coronavirus burning through this dry timber? I suspect it plays a significant role. Which would mean that the next phase would be determined by how much community spread can occur without these facilities being part of the outbreak.
2. I have read dozens of reports since March of wages being cut. This trend was overwhelmed in the April jobs report by the fact that low wage workers were those who took the brunt of the virus-related shutdowns. Professional workers and other higher-wage employees who could work from home were much less affected.
It appears that somewhere over 10% of all of these workers have had to deal with cuts in pay. In States that are “reopening,” are these wage cuts going to be reversed? Frankly, I doubt it.
Since the monthly mortgage, rent, and vehicle and other installment loan payments for these workers remain the same, many of them are going to be in deep trouble. That is a recipe for a wage/price deflationary spiral, just as was set off in 1929.
3. The appearance of armed “brownshirts” in this pandemic is alarming. At first they only appeared for gun-related issues, but things like business closures and mask-wearing are totally unrelated to that. This is the use of armed force for intimidation, plain and simple.
At some point it is going to have to be confronted. And there will probably be violence. The appearance of such brownshirts has been a flashing-red warning sign for republics going all the way back to Rome, and not coincidentally the Weimar Republic of Germany. Levitsky and Ziblatt pointed to this as one signpost in “How Democracies Die.” Joanne Freeman wrote about this as to the 1830s-50s as to the Congressional chambers themselves in “The Field of Blood.”
This is not a good sign for the health of the American Republic at all.
“What I suspect, but don’t have good sourcing for yet, is that a huge percentage of all residents at such facilities have already been infected.”
If you are saying that facilities that have not kept the virus out have probably not kept it from spreading within, I think that is quite different from saying that most facilities have not been able to keep it out. I am not sure which you are saying.
The deflationary spiral in #2 is going to lead to a glut of repossessed vehicles and housing by financial interests. If you think that owning a lot of used cars and unaffordable housing is going to keep Wells Fargo, Citigroup, B of A etc healthy and going concerns I’d like for you to consider one of the lovely bridges I have for sale.
And if you think that the “health of the American Republic” can be somehow isolated and partitioned off from the health of the domestic economy you haven’t been watching the same country I’ve lived in for almost 60 years.
Sweden has a much higher death rate than its lock down neighbors, now — meaning it could just going through the infection faster — just not flattening the curve. Meantime everybody over there will have the same country to come back to when it’s over.
The bottom 40% of our workforce, small business owners, even landlords are going to end up out on the street. Back to 1946 on the good side of town (starting from scratch); children out in the street with empty bowls begging for food on the poor side of town — Calcutta!
Peggy Noonan has written the most knowing piece on the blindness of the powerful classes on this tragedy. I’m 76 — if some of us oldies got to go, we got to go (only a matter of time anyway); I just want the same America to be there for everybody else when it’s over.
On a completely different angle: wouldn’t we be much more likely to go out and participate in the consumer market place again (department stores, etc.) if everybody else were wearing n95 masks?
What would the US transmission rate drop to if we all wore n95s everywhere we went? Would we feel safer on airliners if everybody was wearing n95s? (An MSNBC doctor/analyst thinks he caught the bug on the airplane even though he was wearing the best breathing protection because he got the virus in his eyes. Of course if the rest of the flight were wearing his level of protection he would have been very unlikely to have been infected).
Can America be saved economically/socially/medically (almost forgot the latter) by $1 a piece masks? If so, when are we going to start producing tens of billions of them?
2. I have read dozens of reports since ….
….Since the monthly mortgage, rent, and vehicle and other installment loan payments for these workers remain the same, many of them are going to be in deep trouble. ….
It always seems to fall hardest on those least able to fend it off. For the landlord of the $10 million+ Apt complex, a year’s rent might amount to … $400,000; 4% of his assets. For the low wage earner the loss of one-month wages will likely cost them their apt, any car, and maybe their marriage. These two are not the same.
Similarly, those hit so hard in 2008 are getting hit again; a generation that will never get a foothold in their lifetimes.
This time, what if the rentiers and bankers had to take the hit instead?
Don’t forget that the consumed “dry timber” is in a limited number of metropolitan areas. There is plenty of dry timber yet to burn, as demonstrate by the fact that the NY metro area is well into the downward slope of new infections; while the rest of the country is still in the upward slope.
Pray tell, Ken what political leadership might inspire curbing the interests of rentiers and bankers?
As far as I can tell, Madame speaker is carefully exerting her influence protecting those interests. As one would reasonably expect she might, after all she is in fact a multimillionaire investor and property owner.
And if the apparent nominee of the Democratic Party for president is ready to take on rentiers and bankers he is keeping it an extremely closely held secret.
Last time you and yours indirectly put The Vainglorious Bastard in the Whitehouse. Going for 2?
There are still a lot of uninfected people in nursing homes, even now. When the virus gets in, it cuts a broad swath. Infections can be hidden to some extent, not deaths. There is still plenty of fuel there, but nursing homes have been closed to visitors for a while now. The infection is still out there, but more diffuse.
When the COVID-19 crisis ends, one way or another, Americans are going to go back to the same old America unless there are big political changes. The plague may have sped up some things, retail bankruptcies, wage cuts, falling living standards and so on, but those were already happening, just more slowly.
The brownshirts have been out there all along. The danger is that they work for one of the major parties now. The Republicans think they can control them. We’ll have to see how they handle their night of the long knives.
Ahem. You asked “what if”. I merely asked the very reasonable question “Okay yes, but how?” I don’t understand how one question doesn’t imply the other.
And if me and mine are expected to take the weight of the disastrously highly rated Trump Show I can’t help thinking that burden should at least afford the opportunity to ask uncomfortable questions about how best he could be defeated.
If you and yours expect to advocate for better policies without clearly articulating a path forward and who might champion that path, I will further observe that the DNC tried that. It failed. Miserably. In the hands of the same people who failed 4 years ago. But hey anything’s possible.
Sorry meant to type “it’s in the hands of the same people who failed 4 years ago”. Apologies.
I am not as concerned about the armed boobs as you are.
They are a tiny number.
They are not well organized.
I believe that their antics will result in stricter gun control measures down the road.
What do you think?
Better to confront them or let it peter out?
All that is important
Trump Death Clock
Estimated U.S. COVID-19 Deaths Due To POTUS Inaction
In January 2020, the Trump administration was advised that immediate action was required to stop the spread of COVID-19. According to NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, “there was a lot of pushback” to this advice. President Trump declined to act until March 16th. Epidemiologists now estimate that, had mitigation measures been implemented one week earlier, 60% of American COVID-19 deaths would have been avoided.
Just a comment here on Finance 101.
Investors lose money on repossessions and foreclosures.
Yes, he is going to go for 2. He will attack Biden and every single Dem he can for not doing everything his candidate said he or she was going to do which resulted in them both getting swamped in the primary.
Somehow he believes this helps the people he seeks to help, when it clearly hurts them badly.
I would arrest them when they violate laws.
You cannot walk across the street without breaking the law as we have way too many.
Don’t arrest them for waving their guns.
Don’t arrest all of them.
Arrest a few each time for some unrelated infraction.
Hey while were on what ifs try this one on. What if Democrats actually engaged their critics in terms of actual popular policy initiatives? What if that actually created enthusiasm and dare I say passionate intense support for those democrats?
But attacking those critics might work too. This time.
Seems Biden has put many Warren and Sanders supporters onto his task force.
But that’s not what you really care about.
You will bitch that the House bill doesn’t do enough of what you want without a care in the world that the House Dems have almost no leverage at this point.
And then you will attack them when they end of giving up something to get something, and think you are helping.
Brownshirts they ain’t either. Killing them wouldn’t take much. I mean, the whole movement would be liquidated in a sec. They take foreign money. They peaked in 1984. Too many contradictions. It’s just another wing of the global elites money trough.
The economy was struggling. The decisions to delay b/m liquidation and reamp oil extraction was really dumb. With the subprime commercial debt boom over, the run was about to begin.