Saturday, April 04, 2020

This is a story of America in decline

It’s going to be a hard transition for Americans, going from “we’re the sole superpower and the most powerful country evah!” to “we live in a second-rate country with a government that can’t perform the basic functions that other rich countries do.” It’s going to be a rough ride psychologically when Americans start to come to terms with this.

Friday, April 03, 2020

How's it gonna end?

I've been trying to figure out how exactly it will work when all the quarantine/stay-at-home orders end. Will there just be a day that we can suddenly all go to crowded bars? Will it be phased in gradually? But how will that work? What will open first? And how will we know the initial forays into social non-distancing won't trigger a renewed outbreak?

The only scenario I can imagine that I can play out in my head in a plausible and safe manner is if we have a vaccine. The remain at home order would only apply to the unvaccinated and as people get the vaccine (or get a test showing they have the antibodies to fight off COVID-19) they are allowed to leave home. But a vaccine could be 18 months away. How the hell will we keep this up that long?

What if we can't keep it up that long? What is the other scenario for the end?

Monday, March 30, 2020

Orban's gambit might mean the end of the EU as we currently know it

I am sure that Hungary will get a pass during the current COVID-19 crisis, but if Orban doesn't give up his dictatorial powers when the crisis is over (and I expect he won't), the EU could sanction Hungary by suspending its voting rights in the EU parliament or reducing or eliminating EU subsidies. I think they could even expel Hungary from the EU for failing to meet the Copenhagen criteria for membership.

But I don't think they will. There might be some symbolic slap-on-the-risk style sanction, but that will be it. Which will only encourage several other Eastern European states to follow Hungary's lead. That will change the EU and what it stands for forever. It is a bigger threat to the Union IMHO than Brexit ever was.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Last week

This is staggering:
More than three million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, sending a collective shudder throughout the economy that is unlike anything Americans have experienced.
The article later clarified the actual number is “nearly 3.3 million”, which is 1% of the United States’ total population. Not an additional 1% to the official unemployment rate. Not an additional 1% of only the slice of the population we expect to be employed (excluding children, retirees, etc), 1% of everyone. And that’s just this week. No one expects next week to be anything but worse.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Friday, March 20, 2020

not per capita

This is astounding. China has about 230 times the population of Italy. Italy’s death toll exceeding China’s doesn’t mean that Italy is now a little worse than China. Italy is much much worse.

And they would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling... oh wait, they got away with it

I predict that none of the Senators who used their insider knowledge to dump stocks before the crash will resign or otherwise face any civil or criminal consequences for their actions.

If it was only one insider trading Senator, he or she might have resigned. If we had a different President who wasn’t even more corrupt, maybe there could be some pressure from the top. If the public wasn’t completely (and understandable) focused on a global pandemic and the related economic collapse, maybe. But we’re not living in the world of maybe. So they will get away with it.

I hope I’m wrong.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

And also, incidentally, people in peril

This is terrible, think of everyone’s portfolio!

Another example of what I was talking about yesterday: the headline asks “How Ugly Could It Get?” but it’s not referring to the projected thousands or even millions of deaths.