The Garden Gnome Gambit

Everyone is familiar with the garden gnome, the little ornamental figurines that look the dwarfs from children’s stories. Most people assume they originated in Germany, but they have their roots in ancient Rome. Small stone statues depicting the Greco-Roman fertility god Priapus were placed in the garden of Roman citizens. Like many Roman customs, the use of garden statues spread throughout the empire and eventually we got what we now call the garden gnome.

Of course, we use garden gnomes to keep the giraffes out of the garden. Not just any giraffes either. Normal giraffes are not a problem obviously. It is the albino miniature giraffes that attack the suburban garden. The liberal use of the garden gnomes has kept the miniature albino giraffes from terrorizing gardeners for generations. The proof of this, of course, is that we have no problem with miniature albino giraffes. In fact, it has worked so well no one has even seen one of these giraffes.

That may strike you as ridiculous, but it is something to keep in mind over the next few weeks as our leaders figure out how to unwind this virus panic. You see, a month ago they had two possible outcomes. One was the virus spread and killed a bunch of people, which would be very bad for the ruling class. The other possible outcome was a mild spread that got little notice and then it petered out. Heads they got blamed for ignoring a pandemic and tails they get no credit remaining calm about it.

That’s a bad gamble for a politician, which is probably why Tucker Carlson talked Trump into declaring total war on the virus. If all efforts were made to stop the virus, even if it craters the economy, the possibilities get much better. If the virus runs its course without much trouble and goes away like every other virus, Trump can declare war and throw himself a triumph. If the virus turns out to be the Antonine Plague, then Trump can fairly say it would have been much worse if not for his efforts.

What just happened is Trump has flipped the odds on what happens after the panic subsides this summer. In the do-nothing scenario, one outcome was neutral and one outcome was terrible. In the do-everything scenario, the outcomes are reversed. There one great outcome and one mostly neutral one. If it is the Antonine Plague, civilization collapses and none of this matters. Since the most likely outcome under all scenarios was closer to the Honk Kong Flu, this is a neutral result.

This is where the garden gnomes come into the picture. Just as we know that garden gnomes keep miniature albino giraffes from attacking our gardens, we know flattening the curb keeps this virus from becoming the Yellow Death. Anyone questioning these assertions is on the side of the miniature albino giraffes or the virus. The fact that these assertions are nonsense is beside the point. If people can be made to believe it, then these claims are true, as far anyone needs to know or care.

Now, the only way this works is if they can plausibly say they pulled out all the stops to prevent the worst pandemic in human history. If it was a bunch of talk and half-measures, they could get blamed for not doing enough. If the virus was a dud, then they would be accused of over-reacting to a minor event in order to politicize it. The only way to make the garden gnome gambit work is to go heavy on the response, regardless of the consequences. There can be no moderation.

The extreme measures also have the added benefit of swaying the public that the virus is Godzilla attacking Tokyo. This unprecedented shutdown of civic life, which is really just getting started, is the real monster of the story. At this point, you have a better chance to be struck by lightning than to know a virus victim. Even the girls on social media have not started faking infection yet. People look at the massive disruption of daily life and just assume the threat must be genuine.

Now there is one flaw with this approach. The shuttering of the country is going to come with a massive price tag. Current estimates, for example, suggest the rosy scenario for the economy is a 5% contraction in quarter one followed by a 25% contraction in quarter number two. It’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen in the second half of the year, but those are numbers that dwarf the first year of the Great Depression. Maybe after the quarantine is lifted, a massive recovery starts in the summer.

Of course, as soon as the coast is clear and the virus has been defeated, Trump throws himself a triumph and launches a new war on the depression. The people in the breadlines will not be impressed, but if the economy starts to recover in the summer, he can plausibly say the sacrifice was worth it. He can do a bunch of campaign stops at retirement homes to pose with octogenarians spared by the virus. That all sounds terribly cynical, but politics is a cynical business.

Another side benefit of this is the alarmist can claim to be vindicated. Like the people claiming their garden gnomes keep the giraffes away, the alarmists will say these extreme measures headed off an extinction event. By the end of the summer, they will be telling tales about an anthropomorphized virus that was eating men whole. Even if they hate Trump, they will celebrate him for taking their advice. The garden gnome gambit lets everyone be a hero, no matter the results.

Finally, Trump came to Washington as a chaos agent. He created chaos in the primary and the general election. His arrival in Washington set off panic among the establishment that has never subsided. This response to the virus and the ensuing panic it has caused is best suited for someone, who thrives in chaos. The garden gnome gambit is also best employed by someone, who relentlessly boasts about his achievements. Trump is now fully in control of Washington.

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277 thoughts on “The Garden Gnome Gambit

  1. “At this point, you have a better chance to be struck by lightning than to know a virus victim.”

    The CDC says that Americans have about a 1 in 500,000 chance of being struck by lightning each year. So about 650 Americans are struck by lightning each year.

    Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson are famous, wealthy, and have been around a long time. Between just these two coronavirus victims, common sense says that they know more than 650 people.

    Only someone who is exceedingly lazy and smug would make the claim that “you have a better chance to be struck by lightning than to know” one of the 26,000+ U.S. virus victims. It really undermines what is otherwise an interesting and thought-provoking argument.

  2. Z Man said: ” This response to the virus and the ensuing panic it has caused is best suited for someone, who thrives in chaos. The garden gnome gambit is also best employed by someone, who relentlessly boasts about his achievements. Trump is now fully in control of Washington.”

    I don’t know, maybe not so much. Sundance over at the
    The Last Refuge seems to think Attorney General Barr is trying to do President Trump some dirt by asking congress to give the justice department extra draconian powers during times of crisis, in order to make it look like the President is trying to be our first American dictator. Who the hell knows what’s going on with those people?

    • The Treehouse guys have been trusting the plan too long to be trusted. As scary as it sounds, remember that the media lies about everything all the time. That and government plans for everything. We regularly update our plans for waging war with Canada, for example.

      • Z Man said: ” We regularly update our plans for waging war with Canada, for example.”
        Hahahahhaha! 😂 Our tax dollars at work.

        • It’s all fun and games until those frost backs are pouring over the border, demanding we replace our bacon with that weird round ham.

    • Morbius – How many people died in 24 hours in Italy pre corona virus? What ages? How many of those who died these last 24 hours had numerous preexisting conditions and/or were over 80? Numbers without context are pure propaganda and designed to trigger an emotional response. I’m all about the logic and rationality, so try harder.

    • That doesn’t mean COVID has a high mortality rate, though; it’s just a number floating in the air until you apply it to something.

      That’s not to say COVID won’t kill a lot of people. It’s definitely a serious threat. That said, heed this: a *lot* of people are going to die due to the resulting economic depression. I know it’s hard to picture right now, but the Depression will suck more than COVID. Famine and/or indefinite unemployment is a horrible consequence for those of us who survive.

      The media’s approach is to use a metric of death. Big scary numbers zipping onto screens, narrated by microphoned bimbos. None of that matters because our system of testing is inherently crap. Clinics will flat out refuse to test you if you’re not at least more than moderately ill. Therefore, the data is fudged from the start. It’s already happened to several of my friends. “Oh, you’re 26? Yeah, just go home and sleep it off.”

      Cases like these fly under the radar all of the time. And If they were accurately recorded, the statistical death rate of COVID would be much lower.

      Nevertheless, the mortality of COVID will be high. Maybe it kills 3% of those infected. Can we honestly say that the possibility of slowing the spread of COVID is worth the guaranteed economic losses? I believe that because the virus has weakened us, we must remain strong however we can.

      And that means letting me go to the goddamn barber.

  3. My ‘Everything is a conspiracy’ brain wants to know what our Globalist Overlords are up to while the bulk of humanity are ‘sheltering in place’.

  4. I actually have a company issued document now that I can show to police in the different jurisdictions, authorizing me to be out and about.

    When they ask, I can show them my papers.

  5. Declaring war on cold viruses is rather like invading Afghanistan, just like the Taliban, the viruses don’t know when they’re beaten, they never surrender, and the moment you start trying to relax your war effort against them they will rebound and start attacking you again. At any given time there are any number of cold and flu strains going around making people ill and killing some of those who are vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions or age. The measures taken to suppress covid 19 will presumably suppress these other respiratory tract infection virus as well. When these measures are relaxed we can expect to see a rebound in the number of people suffering from colds and flu as all the people who didn’t catch them due to social distancing start meeting up with the viruses that they still don’t have any acquired immunity too. Just as no sane rulers would invade Afghanistan, no sane rulers would declare war on colds and flu.

  6. I’m a chef. Had a big money jobs in CA and was rolling. Ran smack dab into a horrible illness that to date has required four surgeries. Due to the insane cost of living in the Bay Area, and because we had more surgeries to deal with in CA with Kaiser, my wife and I have been out of work since last July, living off the 401k funds and traveling/using family home in New England. I have been very grateful for a year of recuperation, intense travel (have gone cross country three times, spent three months van camping in the PacNW and went to Malta, Sicily and Rome). We were about to jump in the car last weekend to head back to CA to complete the last phase of medical stuff which takes three weeks and also to help a buddy run his restaurant while he went to Europe. Check that, cancelled.

    We feel lucky to have dodged a big bullet but I’m itching to put all this behind me. We are down to our last $10k and need to get back to work as $800 month Cobra and cost of living continues to eat up the savings. Cerveza Bug Shutdown has decimated my industry. I don’t know a single hospitality professional working right now. It’s going to be very interesting crawling out of this hole, for me, my friends and family and as a country. I still need to spend three weeks near a Kaiser in the Bay Area, so that should be interesting once the dust clears.

    It’s funny how priorities change. I now just want a better camper van when I get back on my feet. More preps and much simpler and more stress free life. A year of almost nonstop travel has shown us how amazing our American people are, what a gorgeous country this is and how much we were taking for granted while we worked ourselves raw serving the rich in California. I’m thinking of making a seasonal business now in Maine and selling some Gucci soups, salads and sandwiches at Farmers Markets and teaching some tourists how to lobster bake at the beach then taking off in the Van for the winter.

    Let’s hope stuff settles down enough that we can return to some semblance of normalcy. Good luck to all of you out there affected by this.

  7. Every strategy that relies on Trump taking action, following through and executing has failed so far. The Trump Train only makes it to stations where the rails are pre-greased rather than rusty or vandalized – Jerusalem, tax cuts. hunting 14 and 98 year old “Nazis.” The will to get something done seems lacking outside those low-hanging achievements.

    No reason to assume that’s going to change in the waning months of his first term. Still, I’d put the odds of him winning at this point at 75% and improving. It’s debatable whether Sleepy Joe can physically make it to election night, much less win.

    Skeptical as to whether Trump would wreck his big beautiful stock market to play 3d chess. Skeptical of 3d chess in general. As a POTUS, he seems to operate on guts, instinct and emotion more than deliberation and calculation. Hard to say from where we’re standing.

    Hindsight will be the only reliable judge.

    • I feel like it’s really hard to lose to Biden. As for Trump, I think he’s a sharp guy, but he lost control of this fiasco long ago. Shit is obviously getting ridiculous with rampant paranoia dominating the public narrative.

      I think our economy is going to take a massive dive. Hell, it has already. The assuaging concepts of “keeping the econ in suspended animation” and “bouncing back” are retarded. You don’t just “bounce back” from two months of economic stagnation and public discontent. Now, our most gayest governor is “putting his foot down.” Yeah? Well I’m “putting my foot up.”

      • The “bounce back” is a sort of denial of the reality around us. It’s like the “I will rebuild” the day your home burns in the big brushfire. Yes, perhaps so, but it is a slog and it takes perseverance and single-mindedness, not a simple declaration. I suppose we are going to find out what our culture is made of. I hope I am pleasantly surprised.

    • Stock market’s already wrecked. It’s like a car crash. When you are in the middle of it, animation, time, and consciousness are sort of suspended. Only when it is all over and all the motion and noise is done, your brain goes “oh, i was just in a car crash”. Stock markets, same thing, but with your money. We are in the middle of the crash, but no one is willing to accept it yet.

      • I went around my neighborhood today with a paper about the economic crash we’re experiencing. Only put out about 50. People seemed receptive, though, and lots of people do think we’re going too far.

        Why don’t we get a say in how our lives are to be lived?

  8. I just think the economic depression will be catastrophic. Like, really bad.

    A 25% contraction in the economy, and that’s a rosy number? Well, it certainly sounds like shit to me. That’s absolutely horrible. If we continue with this policy of economic stoppage because of whateverthefuckachoo, we’re possibly headed for a dead-end.

    I’ve already lost my work, and more and more of my family and friends are suffering. It seems like many of you may know some people, too. And I think it’s completely unacceptable. All of these producing men and women, many of them energetic and wise, sitting at home with their gloved thumbs up their sanitized asses. What a waste. What a miserable excuse to stop our livelihood. Yes, there should be quarantines; yes we should practice social distancing; yes, we should be caring for our sick. But to paralyze our economy? That is going too far.

    I hope you all have prepared yourselves. If you have a voice, now’s the time to use it.

  9. By chance I’m listening to an album by the Chameleons titled “What Does Anything Actually Mean?” Corny and overly literal for an album name. But after a second thought, it’s pretty apropos right now with all the dizzying variety of opinions, mindsets, rhetoric and statistics.

  10. What you’re seeing is the gentrification cycle, I call it “fallow fields”. You make one field fallow, unplanted, while you plant other fields in rotation.

    Offshoring left us fallow, as Civil Rights did a generation before.
    They’re bringing in urban tanks while the prison is in lockdown.

    We’ll be reduced to begging. Then healthcare is corporate-nationalized and the factories come back.
    The gentrification at a steep discount will begin again. The Owners, of course, can outlast us as they hoover up even more.

    Trump is in charge for now; the question is, who’s side will he be forced to play on?

    • This is why I agree with Horst’s report on the disruption strategy of China. As a critical supplier emphasizing physical supply infrastructure and B2B coordination, they can and will be able to afford the cost and casualties.

      We won’t have enough time or cash to turn anywhere else for now, and will have to pay the market price, putting them ahead for a long time.

      Their ruling class are about getting rich, not investing capital fighting albino giraffes.
      Our current ruling class’s economy, instead, is based on albino giraffes.

      • PS- remember Venezuela?
        Betcha that Orinoco Basin is looking really cheap right now, as our Permian and Marcellus, and Alberta’s tar sands, are soon to be.

        Before you gentrify, you want to knock the price down to where you can get it all.

        (China, instead, is offering to build a customer base of other local rulers.
        We’re rich, they’re poor, that’s why the different strategies.)

  11. The suffering created by the shutdown of our economy will quickly eclipse the suffering caused by the virus.

    And there is scant evidence that our economy will simply “bounce back” after government intervention — as though it were attached to a magical bungee cord. Do you trust the likes of Trump and Pelosi to handle it?

    Yes, measures should be taken to stop this virus. Yes, it is a serious threat. But abruptly halting an economic superpower is historically unprecedented, and will likely have dire consequences. As we can see, the consequences have been dire already.

    Imagine what a 30-day mandatory lockdown would do to your business. To every business. To every employee.

    Some of the worry about the virus should be redistributed to the worry about our economy.

  12. You nailed it, ZMan. You abso-FEKKING-lutely NAILED it! Not an angstrom unit deviation from dead center in any direction. DAMN!!! But I hope you’re right about the post-pandemic recovery part as well. Otherwise we’re gonna see a depression like never before seen. And I’m sure you’re fully aware of how well all of FDR’s “New Deal” policies worked WRT ending the Great Depression. I recall reading that the U.S. was the last of the developed nations to come out of said depression. If things don’t turn around tout suite you can bet your last penny that come January Trump’s gonna be hammered with cries to institute a new version of FDR’s “New Deal” – green or otherwise.

  13. People below mention the libertarian clown show.

    Hmmmm….the ACLU sure is on board with martial law and forcing people to stay home, aren’t they?

  14. The economy isn’t something you can shut down and restart like your car Z. The longer he and the big states like NY and CA are shuttered the worse the damage becomes and the longer it takes to restore and worse many small businesses will not come back since many of them don’t have the resources to weather a multi-month shut down.

    At the very least we get a nasty recession, more likely another depression.

    I know we like to think of the ruling class can fix everything by throwing unlimited fiat money at it. But won’t work this time if we break the economy.

    • Even the ruling class knows throwing money at it won’t fix it. But like the rich, absent dad and the wayward son, what else have they got?

  15. The Germans have managed to find 50-million Euros to fly home stranded tourists around the world. Switzerland is following suit.

    I wonder if they’re testing them all before they get on the plane?

    On the upside, with the nice spring weather upon us, the homeless, who we obviously have no money to house and feed, will be able to die under bridges and drain culverts warm and comfy. I mean if this was January, people would be REALLY upset.

    • At which juncture the zika virus will rampage and attack the covid 19 victims to end this mess.

  16. It’s kinda cute, the flakes are now starting to call those of us that don’t quite believe that the only way to save our lives is to give up living, science deniers.

    • Scientism is our new State religion. Its anointed acolytes are called “scientists”. They brook no dissent. Those occasional scientists who do dissent are called heretics. They are defrocked and cast into the void whenever discovered.

    • “Flattening the Curve” refers to a hypothetical graph of the projected number of infections. One theory being that it’s less strain on the health care system if the number of cases (y-axis) are spread out over a longer period of time (x-axis) rather than overwhelming the system for a shorter period.

  17. This morning at 1am when I picked one of my sons up from his warehouse job he showed me the purple plaque I am supposed to put on my car if driving after midnight. It shows that I am picking up someone from an essential business so I don’t get arrested.

    This in the same state where the Gov said that criminals breaking into houses (where by the way we are all supposed to sit quietly 24/7) would face no jail time as long as they did not assault anyone.
    Draw your own conclusions.

    • Anarchotyranny – simultaneous suffocation by pointless regulations, combined with lack of real law enforcement/protection. The worst of both worlds.

      There were some YouTuber journalists who went to Venezuela a few years ago, when it started to get real bad, and they said that there were prominent no smoking and no gun advisories in all public buildings. As if smoking is the biggest problem facing Venezuelans!

  18. —-If the virus was a dud, then they would be accused of over-reacting to a minor event in order to politicize it. The only way to make the garden gnome gambit work is to go heavy on the response, regardless of the consequences. There can be no moderation.—-

    I have to strongly disagree here.

    We don’t live in a bubble and there are many countries for which a strong response is impossible.

    If this virus is a dud it will be obvious to everyone if there are no mass die-offs throughout the third world.

    There will be no way to hide an overreaction that causes a 2nd great depression.

    • That’s just the thing, isn’t it? How is, say, India doing? The Himalayas aren’t much of a barrier anymore. If Kung Flu is what they say it is, India is fubar. Any cases there yet? What’s the death rate?

    • Such observation wrt the “great plague” will be apparent within the next two weeks. The exponential growth pattern will either follow the predictions, or be mild and linear—with the exception of the few national hot spots, like WA and NYC. At that point, the people need to scream “fraud” and break quarantine. Hopefully with local government rescinding their most extreme reg’s.

  19. Re the hidden damange of halting the economy. In normal times the effect that stress causes to the body, heart, and mind is about as hyped an idea as an idea can get. Both in the popular imagination, media, and the medical community. Funny how when considering whether to shut everthing down, the Stress Kills craze was pushed under the rug. How many addicts are going take up smoking, drinking, meth and marijuana again because of money worries and having to sit in a small room with people you can’t stand? How many men wearing wife-beaters are going to start wearing them for there intended purpose again? One hopes that this shut-down is just a massive PR signal from our leaders to show they’re going “all-out”, and only lasts another 10 days.

    When living in Little Rock shortly after a devastating tornado, I was part of a group that had to decide to shut down 2 big factories, (at great loss of revenue because of our time-sensitive product), due to ongoing seasonal tornado threats. PR, legal and revenue-loss considerations were definitely an unspoken factor in our decision making. And being “in charge” of lives, there was a strong moral imperative to overreact and overprotect. The group became a mother. And just as irrational at times.

    Life is tricky. This country is way too big and complex for this kind of thing to have ever run harmoniously. (Granted Progs are still scum of the earth.)

  20. “Trump can declare war and throw himself a triumph.”

    OT– a belated ‘thank you’ for introducing us to the concept of abduction.

    I think both Trump and the Zman are abductive thinkers.

    The Z strikes those mystic chords daily, making his readers stretch and think beyond the bromides. His readers, to their great credit, respond in fine fashion, birds of a feather.

    Update: reading the comments now. You good people are certainly impressive. I wish like hades the Z-readers were running the country.

  21. You are talking about the means by which this crisis is possible. The reason for it may be more important. The wheels were falling off the world economies, what with all the bubbles and zero interest and whatnot. Politicians in power at the time of the inevitable crash are ruined. So, why not let some bad virus out and respond to it in such a way that the economic crash is a cost of virus fighting. Now the politicians in power look good.
    Besides, the crash is a great way to strip the remaining wealth from the lower 99% and reduce them to servants.

    • The lower 90% don’t have any wealth, really. Just about 20%. It’s the upper 10% that has 80%. Go ahead and reduce the lower percent of the population to zero percent of the wealth, then things get interesting. Go ahead, I dare you.

  22. An update from the hospital I work at. (major west coast VA medical center. The patient population is overwhelmingly male and over 60, so should be way worse than a typical community type med center) As of yesterday, out of 80 tests returned so far still only 3 positive . Unchanged from thursday.
    They are only testing patients with clovid-19 type symptoms. Yesterday I was on 2 of the nursing floors just for a minute and they both had about 6 or 7 patients. These are units with about 40 patient capacity which are usually very close to full, so obviously they have cleared things out waiting for the onslaught. I think another week or so should tell us whether this thing is really gonna be as bad as we’re being led to believe or mostly hype.

    • Last week my boss told me that in a normal week the hospital uses about 3000 surgical masks. 2 weeks ago they went through 17000 masks in one week. I told him yea, everyone is taking them home. It hadn’t even occured to him that people were stealing them.

  23. Ah, the dreaded miniature albino giraffe. A wonderful demonstration of the post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy (after the use of gnomes no scourge of giraffes therefore because of the gnomes) used perennially to gull the stupid. The total war on Wuflu also reminds me of the old Vietnam War chestnut that “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” One thing that will never be lacking is abundant proof of human folly.

  24. As usual, Z, a unique (and much-needed) perspective on this situation. I thought that Trump was going to get re-elected anyway, but I hadn’t worked out the mechanics of it the way you just did, very clearly, in this post.

  25. Yesterday was interesting. I reached out to a CEO of a small company, needed his autograph on something semi-important, and he snapped at me, “don’t you understand that I’m trying to save my company right now??!! This can wait!!!” The customer is always right of course and he was right. Right now thousands of CEOs across the country are saying the same thing. And many won’t make it. I’m not sure that this one will. I know that the last company I dealt with won’t. The economy is a bundle of hopes and dreams. When politicians barge in, treading on something so fragile, you get a dump truck full of consequences.

    These politicians think that the economy will just snap back after they’ve run their social experiments. The economy has been a confidence game for a long time. It takes years to build confidence in an artificial consumer economy. They’ll get the picture in the fall and early next year when they find out that the economy isn’t coming back, is far from coming back, and is mired in a debt laden depression. We let these little pikers with egos cause trillions in damage over some flu with an extra kick. Shame on us.

    • They’ll need to do something radically new. The entire economy is a house of cards built upon debt. In the late Obama/Early Trump years the financial mavens hit upon the correct short term formula to keep the party going without killing the guests. That started to fall apart in September with the Feds repo issues and the virus actions took what was already an awful situation and pored gasoline on it.

      At this point there’s way too much debt, government, corporate, private, you name it. Trying to build up more debt for economic growth when there is no base to pay the existing load is a non-starter. With the central bank already underwater any debt jubilee of any sort will make it worse. I don’t know, the flow through my head I don’t see how they’re going to avoid an extended bank holiday, resetting the financial sector, and issuing new currency if they stay on the current path. It kind of scares m that the set out with the intent to do just that, but the possibility that they don’t even see it coming terrifies me.

    • The blow out in credit spreads and the dollar is disconcerting. If this thing starts messing with the plumbing of the system, things will get very bad.

      According to JP Morgan, the average small business has a cash buffer of 27 days. The average restaurant is 16 days. The longest small business sector – real estate firms – only have a cash buffer of 47 days. About a quarter of small business have a cash buffer of 62 days or longer, probably ~90 days max.

      These companies will need bridge loans to get them through, but who’s going to provide it? Not the banks. The govt should step in.

      Regardless, even if they get interest-free loans, these companies will still need to pay back those loans, which will hinder hiring and new projects once all of this is done. Imagine if you lost your income for a year but got a loan to keep going. That’s nice because you don’t have to sell your house and can continue to consume, but you long-term income will be diminished as you pay back the loan.

      But with credit spreads, you could have the same issue on a much larger scale. Big corporations are seriously levered. A mass reduction in earnings is a major problem for that debt service. Adding to the debt via govt loans may get them through this, but they’ll be hobbled for years.

      Internationally, a huge amount of loans are in dollars. The dollar is blowing out as liquidity is drying up. There aren’t enough dollars out there. The fed is trying to fill the gap, which is why it established dollar swap lines with a bunch of central banks, but it may not be enough.

      Now the fed is sending liquidity into the muni bond market which is also drying up.

      My point is that the demand and supply shocks from the shutdown/panic are starting to stress the whole damn system – and that’s a very serious problem. It’s one thing if your alternator breaks; it’s pretty quick and fairly cheap fix. But drain the oil out of your engine while driving 60 mph and see what happens.

      This is insane.

      • They wouldn’t be bridge loans they would be pier loans. Just adding more debt to the pile. The sad thing is that they Fed will directly intervene in the stock market before PE ratios hit 9 or 10, the place in which I personally would jump back into the market. From here on out it’s more intervention to correct the last intervention. This is why smart people many decades ago had gold on safe deposit. And still a hand full of throwbacks today. Too bad my bullion dealer won’t be replenished until April. I would buy more. Silver and platinum are a bargain right now by the way. We’ll end up with some version of AOC in 2024 and be out of this by 2029. The 2030s are looking up.

        • Company I buy precious metals from is simply out of all silver and gold, and that which they offer is not today priced to market. $12 silver, they ask $20 for. OK, price as whatever the market will bare, that’s capitalism. But before the great plague, price flux followed the spot market. JR, you are not the only one out there concerned.

          • Metal on the barrelhead versus paper on the barrelhead. Two different things, and the price differential is widening quickly.

          • Which is why one needs a bit of metal in reserve. When the economy gets weird, metal will get you farther than paper. When metal is no longer good, then you best have a firearm.

    • These politicians think that the economy will just snap back after they’ve run their social experiments.

      Politicians think? Shirley, you jest! Especially progressive politicians! Nope. “Feelings; nothing more than feelings” is the rule.

  26. Hannity and Gov Cuomo got all warm and fuzzy on the radio show yesterday: Cuomo comes out on top and we get The New Deal 2.0.

    The overwhelming existence of socialists in the main stream media and in government has forced Trump to play FDR. China and its American allies, who recoil even at the use of the term Wuhan virus or Chinese virus, have everything to gain by this so-called accident in a country that was getting its ass kicked by Trump.

    • Trump was just fitted with a FDR cape. He’s about to start smoking cigarettes from a holder. He knows that FDR was the last President (monster) elected during a depression, and only by keeping the country in perpetual crisis in which the President is seen as a father figure guiding us through with a lantern. In a nation of bastard children it has even more resonance today. I’m going find some tracts of land to park my money in while this decade long fiasco unfolds.

      • so, he’ll get re-elected to 4 terms in office?

        that would make a lot of heads explode.

        • He won’t, too old for those shenanigans.

          However the ham handedness of so many State officials is going to make the flaming twenties a lot worse than it was already going to be.

          2024 will be a rather memorable year I think, one of those years that makes me glad I have no children.

          IMO there a is rather narrow window to get the economy into some kind of functioning as any kind of lock down that lasts for more than a few months will destroy the entire edifice beyond any kind of repair.

          It could basically end the US if things go wrong since the main bits of duct tape holding this fake nation together are money and inertia and money, both of which will be shaken seriously by the chaos

      • JR, for a lot of you, no matter the event, it must always lead to a depressing extreme. Perhaps it’s just the congenital brain chemistry of the Dissident and you can’t help it. It can get tiresome though.

        • It’s called life you stupid idiot. The pendulum keeps swinging. It goes to the logical extreme and then starts swinging back. Happy mediums are fleeting.

          • The pendulum analogy is mostly inaccurate. If there is a swinging pendulum it is on a train going full speed towards the progressive left.

  27. Parasites feed. They have no natural defense against rejection by the host, so they require a jackboot force to protect them. And a phony induced panic creates a pseudo-justification for keeping the Little Hitler politicians in power and protected by their palace guard. This insanity will continue until natural selection once again rids us of the stupid gene.

  28. Trump is now fully in control of Washington. Maybe that’s why I have such a hard time taking any of this seriously. It’s hallucinatory, watching every hardcore Leftist I know — which, since I live in a college town, is pretty much every single person I know — screaming and moaning about how the government didn’t do enough, isn’t doing enough, can’t do enough. Ummmm…. y’all realize that you’re begging Donald Trump to do all that, right? Orange Man Bad, and yet you can’t wait for him to call out the Army and impose martial law. I know, I know, they’re shrieking ninnies and cognitive dissonance should’ve exploded their tiny little heads a long time ago, but that really is a bridge too far. My eyes must be flashing “Tilt,” like in those old cartoons. “Bizarre” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

    • Sev;
      Seriously, if Trump is in full control of DC, where are the heads of his enemies on pikes_? The profiteering Senators would make a nice start.

      At least now we know why Sen Burr suddenly got a lot more accommodating about confirming Trump’s choice for DNI that he blocked previously.

      And, this *is* an interesting swamp rat intelligence test. Coumo (NY) and Newsem (CA) have figured out that the bar is now open so they ought to be nice to the bartender (for now). DeBlasio (NYC) and Pritzger (IL) aren’t even that smart.

      • There it is. For those of y’all worried that Trump *won’t* go full Pinochet, well, there will never be a better opportunity. I’m pretty sure Trump could publicly execute 3/4 of the Senate at the foot of the Washington Monument if he said they had COVID-19, all with the breathless approval of every shrieking ninny Leftist in the land (I know, I know, BIRM at least twice). And yet, when I point out that there is an exact historical parallel to this situation — that “government shutting down businesses and suppressing civil liberties, all with the screaming approval of the masses, for the sake of national hygiene” has been done before, with suboptimal results — both Left **and** Right accuse me of cheering on the pandemic, because OMG germs!!! So this is what gleichschaltung feels like — a three-week spring break, spent indoors.

  29. I disagree w the take on this crisis here, I also think there are important epidemiological misunderstandings here (e.g. ‘flatten the curve’ is containment, not suppression. That doesn’t seem to be clear here). But I read it to get the other argument compared to the rising chorus.

    • Moran, can you provide a link that best summarizes your outlook? Like you, I want to hear from smart people who see things differently.

    • I’ve heard both analyses, containment and suppression, discussed. What seems consistent though is a dragging out of economic restrictions and pain. I don’t know who to believe here.

    • There is no single source that forms the basis of my views. I don’t want to pull rank but I am a physician as well as an applied mathematician. While epidemiology is not my usual focus I have done models on epidemics. But this is a black swan; I don’t believe in experts in black swans. There may be experts in the field that has the black swan but not in black swans themselves.

      So briefly here are my views. There’s a lot we still don’t know about this virus but so far it has shown a combined infectivity and seriousness not seen since the Spanish flu and possibly surpassing that. It is this combination that puts it on a different level from anything seen in the last 100 years.

      The Italian situation is particularly instructive and terrifying. Some of the arguments put forward on this blog and other places do not hold up. It is not an epidemic among Chinese in Italy, it is not only old Italians that are struck, although most dying are elderly. But not all. Lombardy in Northern Italy does not have a ‘third world’ health care system, it is one of the most developed regions in Europe. The virus does spread exponetially and very fast and can overwhelm 1st world health care systems.

      South Korea also has a first rate health care system and a lot of old people. It successfully contained the spread with aggressive, pro-active measures and above all, massive testing and tracking down carrier contacts. I think this is exactly what needs to be done.

      The argument over the economy is extremely important. I agree that shutting down everything is a disaster and may well bring a depression. I agree that a depression brings untold misery, from insulin production and distribution to suicide and homicide rates and a million things inbetween.
      Where I think Z is wrong is this; the economy WILL be nuked, also with his strategy. From what we have seen in Italy, avoiding panic and a collapsing economy is NOT an option, given the nature of this thing. If the economy were a plane, that plane WILL crash. In such a situation the options are an uncontrolled crash and a controlled crash. I think the latter is the better bet. IF the epidemic can be contained we will sooner be able to put the economy back together. But if this thing runs wild, based on what happened in Italy and various models of the epidemic, government may lose all control over not just the epidemic but society. Insulin distribution would be VERY far down on the list of priorities if that happened. Trying to avoid a crashed economy now is last month’s realistic goal, it’s too late now. The objective now has to be to contain this virus, so that the economy can be the next patient in the ICU. B/c w/o that virus contained, the economy is a goner anyway. The countries that were the most aggressive seem to have fared best. South Korea can now start thinking about its economy, I think we should get to their position ASAP.

      I also totally agree about the points made that this could enhance totalitarian state control of all sorts of things. I have two takes on that; it is sh*tty to have an elite one doesn’t trust, which is why ppl don’t want to give it the tools to fight this crisis. The other is that if this virus runs like an unchecked wildfire through society, there will probably be even stronger calls for ‘more state power’ in its wake. Better to let the state do too much, so that ppl also get annoyed w overbearing state power than let them conclude that ‘the state needs MORE power for next time b/c it didn’t have enough this time.’

      Of course, I don’t know how this will play out. I have no patience for ppl who ‘know’ right now. But from what I’ve read, seen and heard, I think aggression in suppression is the way to go here, not ‘letting it run its course.’

      I tend to agree with this guy, ‘Peak Prosperity’, on youtube.

      Study w a math model that suggests 2 million US dead w a ‘containment’ strategy, far fewer w a ‘suppression’ strategy.

      Death rate in Lombardy up 80%

      Young patients–terrifying-lung-failure-from-covid19-even-in-his-young-patients?fbclid=IwAR19mwOs7wjTa8jUCUrZI0mFU9LF-W_GZS_ptifVxf8q7ESTFJO18gDhDRg

      More than a person an hour dead in NYC

      • Thanks for that overview, MYS. This is largely my take as well.

        I recognize the painful economic walloping we’re about to take, but I’m optimistic about our respective countries’ hopes of coming out of this wiser and stronger. I anticipate a massive bout of economic growth as the west rebuilds essential manufacturing.

        Side note: I’ve long said that the Chinese have an amazing capacity for self-destruction. Didn’t think their run would come unstuck in this particular way, yet here we are all the same.

        After this, we won’t be more free. Every city dogcatcher’s become a pocket dictator, and people in general are OK with it. That’s why it’s essential to get more of Our Guys into positions of power. Of course, talking about ideas and principles is critical. But now that normies are struggling to pay the rent, they’re going to be very receptive to a message of ‘more jobs for our people’.

        Every one of us now has an opportunity to be a corona virus of political incorrectness.

        It feels to me like it’s the right time for this movement to start moving. Granted, we’ve got some long-run organizing to do, but this crisis could help accelerate that.

  30. Z, what’s up with the European commas? You use them to separate clauses. This is an annoying habit of the Continentals, and perhaps you picked this nasty virus up from one of your European trips? For example: “The garden gnome gambit is also best employed by someone, who relentlessly boasts…”.

    • I re-read the article and found the comma placement appropriate. I have caught spelling errors in Z’s Gab postings, though.

      Secretarial impulse kicking in.

      • I take solace in knowing that people were shocked to see the volume of spelling and grammar errors in the writing of Richard Feynman.

        • English spelling (like French pronunciation) is a crapshoot: what rules there are are mostly balanced by the exceptions. Then add in “auto correct.” I once was prevented from posting on another site because of a their/there/they’re conflict (I was right BTW, but I gave in in the end.)

        • Probably nothing compared to my boss’ errors. I need to check over everything he writes and rewrite it.

          I had to look up who Richard Feynman was.

        • Feynman… I was told that as a science nerd I would totally love his “Surely you Must Be Joking Mr. Feynman”. I got the audiobook and listened to it while driving around on one of my miserable part time jobs at night. It’s basically all about Feynman trying to get his rocks off with every woman he meets. Not quite the masterpiece I was led to expect.

          • I’m always reading stuff about Feynman’s brilliance, especially his ability to explain high-falutin’ concepts to a layman. (“Any intellectual fool can make things more complicated…”) I’ve seen some of those videos, I didn’t find him any more or less enlightening than any other scientist.

            Feynman tells a story of when he was a young physics expert brought in to wherever to work on whatever. All the eggheads were crowded round a table, looking at some schematics, and Feynman didn’t know what the fuck they were talking about. Maybe he just didn’t know how to read the schematics.

            But he didn’t want to admit that, so when they asked him what he thought, he confidently pointed to something on the drawings and bullshitted his way through with some questions of his own.

            By sheer dumb luck, when they checked the thing he pointed at – and he had no idea what he’d pointed at – it turned out there was something wrong with it. All the eggheads therefore believed that Feynman was so smart he could detect minute engineering mistakes from schematics only.

            Something to keep in mind when you hear about Feynman’s extraordinary genius, as well as this: you never hear about the bullshitters that get found out.

      • I lived in Estonia for a few years and this is where I noticed the comma thing. I used to X all those commas out when I was grading papers. It never helped. I couldn’t stop the onslaught of commas.

        • Lothrop Stoddard wrote a prophetic book in 1920 called “The Rising Tide of Commas.”

        • You will, never again, witness, the deluge of commas, invading the writing of 18th century Americans. Which also explains all the bullshit arising from one single misunderstood comma in the 2nd Amendment. Here’s a single sentence from the man himself, Al Hamilton–“To judge from the history of mankind, we shall be compelled to conclude, that the fiery and destructive passions of war, reign in the human breasts, with much more powerful sway, than the mild and beneficent sentiments of peace; and, that to model our political systems upon speculations of lasting tranquility, is to calculate on the weaker springs of human character.” Spelling was optional in those days as well. Good times.

    • Why would you put a comma after ‘and’ in your third sentence? That’s just wrong. I can’t even. You need your hand spanked with a ruler, young man!

  31. Der Fuhrer NJ Gov. Murphy’s Law says: “This is going to be ‘our way or the highway’ time” as we head into some lock down. The brazen arrogance of the political class takes my breath away. I, a mild mannered normie, am rapidly turning from being a sceptic into a complete cynic. All this is happening way too quickly.

    • Did you see this article from this morning?

      They arrested some guy in NJ for having a wedding party at his home.

      Here in Philly, they’ve told criminals that they are free to rob and steal and deal drugs with impunity as long as they don’t leave a dead body lying around that somebody needs to come collect. Woe betide you though for not slavishly “distancing” to the degree our betters have so decreed.

      • This is from only 11 confirmed virus related deaths in NJ! Neighbors spying on neighbors. This is something that no twisted sci-fi writer could dream of. Imagine a story where the whole human race has a huge nervous breakdown and dies.

      • Maybe we just need to roll with the times and adapt our behavior. Instead of a wedding party at the house, why not take advantage of the new attitude towards crime and have the guests go out in small group looting bands around town. The wedding organizers could hand out the addresses of local politicians as suggested “party sites”. Everyone brings whatever they can steal back to the groom’s house and those become the wedding gifts! Think of the savings!!

      • “Land of the free and home of the brave.”
        Yup. Yup. Says so right here on the label.

  32. I went to a Publix in Orlando at opening time last Saterday. There were about 7 of us waiting there 5 minutes before the doors opened and the store was ok and well stocked except for paper products and cleaning wipes. No hand sanitizer of course.

    Today I went to the same store and got there about 10 minutes early. There were about 75 people with empty carts lined up to get in. There were about 15 of us who were standing and looking on in awe and not going to try it. I joke with an old guy (he abut 80 and me about 70), and neither one of us could believe the madness. A 30 something black girl passed us and heard us; she exclaimed that she could not believe it. Madness.

    We are living in a dystopian novel. Well, except most dystopian novels don’t have the collapse of civilization due to a few old and sick people dying of a bad cold.

    The political leaders have lied to us and caused panic on purpose. May they rot in hell.

    • Yeah I think we all thought “giant asteroid” or “nuclear war”. It does remind me of 1984 though where Winston starts to wonder if the war that has them on perpetual lockdown even exists; “we have always been at war with Coronachan!”

  33. “Trump is fully in control”? Maybe. But maybe this event has torpedoed what slim chance he had of re-election.

  34. As of this morning in NJ, can’t even get a self-pouring soft drink, only bottled. Even fresh donuts are wrapped in plastic now. I remarked to the young man at the checkout counter that this was ridiculous and he agreed. Might be further shutdowns of “non-essential businesses,” so better do my errands today.

    • Some of this stuff I wonder about long-term. I go to the gas station and use their cups that have been pawed through and resting it on the soda release that’s seen many a take-a-sip-and-refill touches. My wife said they now require that you bring in your own cup, that would seem to make things even worse.

  35. As usual, great observations. But, in the end, I care little about gambits. There is some level of societal disruption coming. Will it be severe? Only time will tell.

    I started preparing a long time ago. I am as ready as I can be and can protect me and my charges relatively well. As for the rest, it is not important. Good luck to all of you. I hope you fare well.

  36. John Hinderaker at Powerline is reading the Z blog. His last post was a recapitulation of Zs post. Getting influential.

  37. The media is reelecting Trump. Their sensationalism is giving him a bigger dragon to slay. And by “slay” I mean the virus takes its natural course and Trump takes the credit.

  38. When this first started to escalate outside of China and hit the U.S., I thought it would be terrible for Trump. People were saying it will be his Hurricane Katrina. Now? It kind of looks like it is going to maybe help get him re-elected. Who is talking about the Democrat primary right now? And who wants a dementia patient in charge during a pandemic? I figured until recently that Trump loses because of demographics but now he might pull it out. Of course the economy will be in the toilet but it is better than the economy in the toilet with Biden as President and corpulent wahmen of colour Stacy Abrams as his VP.

    • Joe is trying to figure out how to campaign. Apparently was going to do a daily briefing to point out everything that Trump was doing wrong. Until somebody realized that meant lots of unscripted questions from the press…not a good idea. Expect to see him forget to show up wearing pants at some event that’s all she wrote.

  39. Went to the shooting range, packed with Chinese restaurant workers practicing. My demographics is similar to Lagos, I suspect these Chinese think some sort of South African situation is coming.

    • I hope that they keep going to the range and run out of ammo for when they need it. Since the 1980s, I have met a few of what we would call Chinese-Americans.

    • Asians are all acting real squirrelly. Between this and Yang’s “Implement UBI before the round eyes kill us all” freakout during this campaign I’m starting to wonder why they are all freaking out. It ain’t becuase of the Blacks.

      • Yeah it is very weird. I noticed that about a year ago the Asians attitude changed. They went from friendly and normal to extremely anger and hostile towards whites. Even 2nd and 3rd generation Asian ‘Canadians’.

        Now they’re in full blown panic mode, and seem terrified of YT. Despite 99% of the “hate crime” incidents being done by blacks…

        The CCP does text them. Hard to tell if their attitude is just reflective of what the CCP says it should be. They are hive mind, insect-like people after all. Maybe they know something we don’t… about the origins or purpose of the virus, for instance.

        Anyways. My position is the same as always – no non-whites are welcome in my country. Using this as an opportunity to point out foreign 5th columns and discuss tribalism with other whites, though.

        • UFO, notice what they are afraid of about you, and then you will know exactly what they would do to you, given similar circumstances in the other direction.

      • At least in my area Latinos in general loathe Chinese and other Asian people. Whites are staring to get to that idea as well.

        Its bad enough that the city in my Red part of So Cal will legally make the life of any Chinese landlord a living hell by comparison treating renters poorly and homeowners White and Latino pretty well.

        Its been building up for some years. As an aside I had a Filipino of my acquaintance sell his property owned and rental and move to L.A as the felt like a place that someone of his ethnicity shouldn’t live. This was eight years ago mind you, its gotten worse in the last couple years and the Kung Flu is going to make things much worse,

  40. I live in a state with 56 confirmed cases of infection. 56. This weekend the state police will be coordinating with local police departments in crowd control exercises. Towns with high concentrations of college kids (off campus housing) have hired lots of temp cops to make sure house parties and other gatherings keep their numbers under 12.

    Meanwhile, the state prison is releasing non violent inmates so the violent ones can better engage in social distancing. Social distancing seems to have also become the latest in policing tactics because arrests have tanked.

    The US-Canada border in the East is backed up for hours. Mostly elderly snowbirds trying to return to Ottawa and Quebec. They’ve had to setup triage centers to treat all of their health issues made worse by the long wait and the harsh weather. Last I heard they did rack up an impressive 6 covid cases.

    The triumph over the albino giraffes is certainly a feather in their cap…but the other vermin ripping up the gardens may turnout to be a problem.

  41. I think there will be push back sooner rather than later. Millions of people are laid off, had their hours reduced, or loss their job completely, and many of them were living paycheck to paycheck.

    My brother is a nurse and says this is blown out of proportion, there is no propionate responses going on right now. They just extended restrictions for another 20 days in my area, so now I’m helping laid off neighbors and friends. If we help others, people are more apt to listen.

    This may be a good thing for dissidents as people see there are people speaking out.

    People can see the forest from the trees, but they’re too afraid to stick their necks out right now. i started posting opinion pieces by doctors that push against the narrative of FB. 1. It give an appeal to authority (I know it’s a logical fallacy, but it’s harder to knock an expert). 2. It shows people that there are dissenting voices asking for calm and reason from a medical stand point, that’s harder to dismiss than some rando looking at some data.

    • My hospital called yesterday. Canceling all non-essential/emergency appointments.

      My physical therapy got punted “indefinitely”. They were super nice about it and are offering telephone appointments, looking at video options, emailing pamphlets etc.

      I planned to cancel anyhow. That place is like a Tijuana flea market on the best of days, but they are clearing the decks.

      The question will be how many smoking planes will actually land.

  42. I really really hope you’re right here at least as it pertains to Trump coming out at least a little bit on top since we’re completely cooked if he doesn’t, but I really can’t see anymore how he gets off the tiger. Governors all across the country are willing to utterly destroy the economies in their states just so they have another excuse to shout “Orange Man Bad!”. I don’t see how Trump can ever say he’s gotten the virus under control when half the governors in the country will just turn around to claim that he hasn’t and the virus is worse than ever because of his incompetence. I can even predict Cuomo’s and Newsom’s and Wolf’s and Pritzger’s and Hogan’s next move. They’re letting people go the grocery store and pharmacy now, but after a few more weeks of lockdown they’ll claim that “social distancing” requires only allowing 10 people in the store at one time. That’ll mean standing in line for hours and hours just to get in to buy food or medicine. Of course standing in line will hit women and minorities the hardest, so I’m sure a couple of those same governors will be itching to close stores entirely and have the state take over the distribution of staples. Even if they stop short of that, this Stalin-esque level of deprivation will still be the fault of Orange Man of course and what’s he going to do about it? He can’t send the national guard into Illinois to order people to leave their homes and go back to work or shop at the grocery store.

    I just don’t see what he can do at this point to keep the Cloud People from tearing it all down. Maybe if The Man on Horseback were on the scene he would take advantage of this hysteria to seize power and use it to route his enemies, but we know for certain that Trump is not that man.

    • It’s far too early to draw any political conclusions. The Cloud People do see this as their opportunity to implement the Green New Deal, and therefore have latched onto a brain dead puppet with dementia.

      But Z is exactly right about how this is being played, and while I have no faith in the (non-)American people any longer, even they will notice the lack of dead bodies as they stand in bread lines.

      • No way Al. Our bread will be gluten free. Sawdust and reclaimed carpet glue have a lower carbon footprint than wheat.

    • I’d need to add that here, some of the worse and extreme measures have been implemented at the City and County level. It seems to this naive individual, that one only needs to declare a “State of Emergency” to assume dictatorial power. However, we’ve seen only compliance at this time (1 week). It remains to be seen what enforcement actions will be taken when folks catch wise and ignore such edicts.

  43. The authorities will claim they saved the world again, proving we should all be slaves to the ‘smart’ people. The bleating sheep will agree. Idiocracy.

  44. I’d write something longer, but have to make a quick emergency run to the dentist—the number of lightning zaps this week has melted a couple of fillings. But I’m at the epicenter. Had properly socially distanced cocktails last night with a banker friend—8 feet apart, brought own bottles and there was a fire pit between us. If this does not get resolved quickly, the Great Depression is going to look like child’s play. Way too many financial dominos will start to kick over and once over no way back. You’ve got oil field services companies that have taken 600mm draws against 750mm lines of credit—when the back revamps the line in light of current oil price the cash flows and assets are only worth $350mm. 150mm in the hole overnight. That’s how fast things have telescoped in a single week. But until the last couple days this week, we agreed the masters of universe around here did not fully comprehend the gravity of their situation. The machine is too complicated. We spent most of the conversation talking about 2nd and 3rd order effects. For example college endowments will get hit at the same time parents (like me) are asking why I just wrote that 30k check—for teleclasses—and btw I want the room and board portion back. And many people won’t be able to pay. Darwin will be brutal.

    • For reference, Friday the 13th marked the end of week 1 of the virus panic. Friday, March 20th marked the end of week 2 of the virus panic.

      I am amazed at how fast the 2d and 3d order effects are moving. I spoke with someone in real estate development, and already tenants are saying “no money for rent.” This includes individuals and businesses. Even if the panic ends tomorrow, April 1st rent will not be there.

      The cascade has started.

      • I just laughed at the recollection of people posting #twoweeks when Hannity was claiming nightly the Deep State coup plotters would be prosecuted. It is totally unrelated but inexplicably funny to me.

      • Yes it has. I’m in the process of a side project on real estate requirements for my operating division. Have two major leases up and looking to retrade the prior negotiations. Our real estate guy is ex-Goldman so knows how to pinch a nickel till the buffalo shits.

      • My state governor already asking landlords to “defer collecting rent payments” for a month or two.

        No call for banks to “defer mortgage payments” from landlords who are renting their properties out. Funny how that works.

        • No call for banks to “defer mortgage payments” from landlords who are renting their properties out.

          Nor for them to defer collecting from people who are paying for the homes they LIVE IN either.

    • Lay off the doom porn dude. I miss the days of the Cold War when a post-nuke apocalypse future was feasible and more interesting.

      • I’ll always admit my biases–and in my profession have to look at ranges of outcomes, everything from current year to 1 in 500 year outcomes–so it comes from the territory. But also enjoyed ringside seats to the .com crash, 9/11 (nearly in the ring there), 2008 and now. Getting right up the edge of the abyss a couple times leaves a mark.

      • Agreed. Raised on nuclear war, aliens, and zombies, apocalypse-by-mild-cold just isn’t cutting it. Well, one can dream.

    • Yeah Sam the write-downs and subsequent cascade of hurt is gonna be epic. Short of freezing the entire market and economy like in a war, the reality of kicking the credit can from the last “great recession” will reveal quickly. Turned that beer can into a 55gal barrel of crude.

      Last time it was mortgage, this time corporate bonds and derivatives that turned junk bonds into “leveraged loans” and investment grade paper.

      Hell Deutsch Bank still has bad asset-backed derivatives squirreled away from last time that probably approach Germany’s GDP when added up.

      Speaking of RE. A useful microcosm of our sacred market is WeWork. A ponzi within a ponzi that actually resulted in real physical space with buildings all over yet no actual assets. Just an “idea” with lotsa charisma. So many paper cuts.

      I hope it goes well for you. Retrades are already the norm. I was in the middle of house shopping when this hit. Three houses I liked were snatched up presumably full-ask, one even all cash, within a couple days of listing. All three are back on the market this week.

      By midweek, all those lawyers will be speaking French: force majeure bitches!

      • Couldn’t figure out WeWork. We used one as a project overflow space for a while since it was across the street. Offices were basically cleaned up Class B space. But the business model was no different than a guy selling “loosie” cigarettes. You can make a nice margin piecing out the space. But not “fuck you” money. Plus no real barriers to others doing the same. There is a ton of former Class A space in NYC that has been repurposed to apartments and incubators of different stripes.

    • Two words: Counterparty risk. When this is done, everyone will know what that means.

      Also, the compounding of returns via leverage, and how leverage screws you when values are unwinding. The math is skewed against you on the downside, and forced liquidations and margin calls in the system move things along at lightning speed, in a way that doesn’t happen on the upside.

      As Mandelbrot’s fractals will tell you, nothing much happens for a long time, and then everything happens at once, in chaotic fashion.

  45. The smartest Doktor-Doktors at Robert Koch (yes, Germans really do these multiple titles) are saying that this thing will probably hit in waves over the course of the next two years or so. Anything zoonotic that can jump from species to species can easily mutate to jump from one age cohort to another. So if this thing does hit again (knock on wood) and instead it gloms on to healthy people in the prime of their lives, some of the more extreme measures taken now for the “Boomer Remover” (as someone callously called it) might be justified; but even then, if you’ve read any civil defense manual worth its salt, you know some people just have to accept exceptional exposure to rads (or germs, or whatever the danger) if the other people hope to eat and survive. As for Trump, the last few weeks seem to have aged him more than the rest of his presidency, but unlike Biden he’s not on the verge of eating soap or forming a search party to look for his grandmother’s horse.

    • If/when Armageddon doesn’t happen and particularly if the coming New Green Deal power grab fails, expect a lot of claims the next time will be worse. The most amusing part will be the simultaneous claims we have to continue to outsource our livelihoods to China.

      • That’s the thing I beat into people when discussing this: this disease, like the flu, is something we chose to import, and we can also choose to not import it. No one in our country has to die from the flu again, if we so desire.

      • I think even pathologically altruistic whites got a wake-up call with this thing. I could almost read the thoughts of the normies I’m seeing in the grocery stores: “Hmm, if there’s not an unlimited amount of toilet paper, and there aren’t an unlimited number of face masks, maybe letting the whole world into America isn’t as good an idea as the smart people think, and maybe the dumb racists might be right about some things.” Ditto for the Bernie/Ocasio-Cortez sell of some horn of plenty just over the horizon. People who’ve had to think about scarcity (even if they’re focused on the wrong items) will be less inclined to believe someone like Bernie when he claims he can multiply loaves, or that he has access to some Cockaigne-like Land of Plenty where all your medical needs will be free because he found a tree where kidneys and hearts grow from the branches. Every person we “save” from a 3rd World country at this point is one more body in a crowded lifeboat.

        • I hope that you are right that normies are thinking about limited resources and lifeboat ethics. Our future depends on that kind of thinking.

    • Side note– the series “Charite” was a fascinating look at Herr Doktor Koch and the evolution of public health and surprisingly accurate. Recommend it for anyone stuck binge watching during the Great Plague.

  46. Life carries on normally out here in the distant provinces. Most everyone is laughing at all the urban neurosis coming out of the NY-based media outlets. At some point, we’re going to start getting fairly accurate reports of how powerful this virus actually was. Once people you know come down with it and start reporting their symptoms, the media will not be able to hide the truth. If this doesn’t turn out to be the Black Death, then it’s just going to be the flu. And that will be one more nail in the coffin of the media/politico alliance we suffer with. And just for laughs, it would be great if Senator Richard Burr came down with a really nasty case of the flu.

    • What is putting a fine point on the panic around here is not the fatality rate, but rather the fear that if you get sick there will be no one able to treat you. Here in NY people have become so inured to “on demand” everything that the thought that might not happen puts them in full freakout. This is not the land of . Just monitoring FB, you have people now in full freakout about Amazon not guaranteeing Prime and being out of many products. One thing I learned in the Fire/EMS business working during disasters is that once you take most of these folks out of the fully industrial engineered environment they live in the ability of improvise is very limited.

          • Following a boozy night out, I woke up next to a miniature albino giraffe. True, the long neck did have benefits. But it just kept calling me and calling me with nothing interesting to discuss. Some of you gnome what I’m talking about.

        • You have to have spent 25 years among “high maintenance” types here to fully appreciate a)what is considered a “crisis”. I’m waiting for the first report that someone in town has spontaneously combusted.

    • Please explain insider trading to me. Who would not sell off stocks on the advent of this news? Human nature at work, a cause and then an effect. The public doesn’t get the news as fast or first, but once you get a report you follow with a rational act. Feinstein, OTH, is a different kind of criminal, the kind who uses position to leverage personal wealth.

      • Burr took advantage of his office by obtaining information before anyone else had it. After he sold his position, he went around fanning the flames of hysteria. Prior to that, he was urging caution. Oh, yeah…did I mention his stock positions were in the hotel/travel industry? Burr is an asshole.

        • I agree that Burr is an A-hole. Still, I don’t understand how one should react against one’s own interests. Is he legally obligated to not transact and if so, when does he get the go-ahead to buy/sell?

          • If Burr is not prohibited from acting in him own interest under those conditions, he should be. Most people don’t want to live in a county that is each-against-all.

            The fundamental mistake of the individualist is to believe that he can survive outside of a tribe. The tribe is the basic unit of survival and thus the first law of tribe members should be not put one’s own interests above the tribe’s.

            (I’m not suggesting the USA is a tribe, of course. It is a snake pit of competing tribes and only conservative white men don’t realize this.)

          • Pro;
            Prohibition of insider trading is a key part of US Securities Law. The overarching idea is that all investors should be in the same position re information about any publicly traded firm. So corporate insiders (officers and directors) are prohibited from trading on undisclosed-to-the-public information relevant to the price of their firm’s securities. Once said information is disclosed, the prohibition ends. Tl/Dr: Sounds nice, hard to prove in court.

            Senators are not technically ‘corporate insiders’ but they do routinely come into possession of information relevant to securities’ market prices unavailable to the public, like a possible pandemic and possible plans for dealing with it. Some selfishly act on it, just like the Fab 4 + 1*.

            This is but one of the ways that they come to DC middle class and leave millionaires. To that end, I believe that they have collectively exempted themselves by law from any sort of legal penalty for any such ‘insider trading’.

            But it is deeply morally offensive to any but the most doctrinaire Libertarian. Hell, the *Bible* is full of admonitions against the powerful taking advantage of the weak through information asymmetry: False weights and measures in those days.
            *R’s = Burr (NC), Inhoff (OK), Perdue (GA), Loeffler (GA). D = Feinstein (CA). They accuse Johnson (WI) too, but I think that’s wrong. He was selling his own plastics firm, that he headed before he went to DC, and the transaction had been in the works for 2 years.

          • Legal has nothing to do with it (yeah, I know in a sense it does). It’s the ethics one might be concerned about. In theory, he is a servant of the people, not there to serve himself. Of course ethics are for the little people as they would say.

          • Comp;
            Just explaining a bit in case the question was sincere.

            Couldn’t agree more. A truly ancient human value is the rulers being expected to be ‘protectors of the poor’. Also it is a ruler intelligence test. You can’t last long as chief if you favor the clan heads over the hoi polloi: Every one of them thinks *he* should be chief, not you.

          • The equivalent of “insider trading” was somewhat explicitly legal for Senators and Congresscritters until recently. Once it was pointed out, the laws were changed so that no one understands what is legal for them anymore, but no one can point to where it is deemed illegal. DC protecting its own.

            As to the ethical element of the thing, that says a lot and speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

          • I really am trying to understand the nuances, if that is the correct term, for insider trading. For example, if I am just a lowly civilian and I hear a tip that something is about to happen, then I would react immediately rather than suffer the consequences financially or otherwise. So I really don’t understand the definition of insider trading in this case. Am I correct to think that Burr should have told himself not to sell off his stocks? And if so, at what point after he is tipped off does he have permission to sell stocks? It’s kind of like undoing a pregnancy if that’s the right metaphor. I’m just asking questions, not trying to do defend anyone.

    • Any chance we can still sign up for Senator Burr’s Investment Newsletter? He sounds like a world-class market timer that could make Bernie Madoff blush and my advisor told me to stay put.

      • Burr is more like a snake oil salesman. He had access to highly sensitive information about a possible pandemic and acted on it while everyone else was serenely unaware. Once he had divested himself of his positions, he turned around and tried to panic the market. What a guy!

        • Burr has done a lot more than that. The last three plus years he has stuck the knife into Trump on the Mueller Russia business, and schemed behind the scenes with the Dems. Let him burn.

          • MH is exactly right about this . If he goes down it would be great. an anti trump GOP is a traitor and worse than an openly disagreeing democrat

  47. I defended the idea that the illness will get more serious and touch more people yesterday. I did not defend the reaction, this re-structuring of human relations and behavior, which is absurd.

    Your breath is second-hand smoke now. Your touch is radon.

    And you – virus dissident – you are breeding miniature albino giraffes!

    • We know several doctors here in NYC, one of them is an emergency room physician, and there is no massive spike. The guy in the emergency room says he has seen coronavirus cases, but not an overwhelming wave. They are running out of ventilators and masks, though, and that is making many of the doctors in the ER panic, despite no wild increase in hospitalizations.

      The media continues to paint each new increase in cases as an increase in deaths, the two are indistinguishable to them, and they are intentionally skewing peoples perception of the real numbers of serious hospitalizations.

      The media, as always, is behaving execrably in this crisis. Complete shamelessness.

          • I’m thinking of organizing an NYC get-together. We’re all here together, yet we’re all so isolated. I don’t care what Dave’s real name is, or yours. I can hardly remember my own.
            Build community, even if it’s an anonymous community. We’ll need it soon.

    • Wife told me today she heard on the news that one of the epicenters of the COVID-19 outbreak in NYC was in Elmhurst, Queens. She knew I was there last in NYC. I stopped and immediately asked, did they say anything else about the population there? Yes, “poor and immigrant”. Interesting I said, last I was there it was a Chinese enclave. Milan, here we come.

    • I saw your post yesterday and read the thread. I was wondering what you think about this Italian situation. The media is screaming about all the Italians dropping dead and as usual providing no context. I’m sure people watching this stuff are picturing poor Mario and Luigi on respirators and no longer able to battle Bowser and Bullet Bill. It’s my understanding though that a lot of these “Italians” are actually Chinese brought in to provide cheap labor and so the Italian cases should be mostly classed as a direct branch of the Wuhan cluster.

      A nice infographic to construct would be one showing case clusters color coded by “Chinese-ness”. I still suspect that in the end it will come out that the virus binds with greater affinity to cell surface receptors whose proteins are coded by alleles of those genes that are much more common in the Han.

      • Yeah so weird that ages and sex is being released but not names or race.

        I REALLY want to see this data.

        So far, anywhere with a significant Chinese population is having the most deaths. Except Iran. But maybe they have some secret thing going on right now.

      • The median age of the alleged coronavirus victims in Italy is still over 80. I doubt they are Chinese.
        That being said, 99% of them have other conditions. I wonder if the total daily deaths are any higher than the usual for this time of the year.

      • The Italians seem to have caught a bigger ‘load’, injected into one particular area, to be crass. I’ve seen figures of 300,000 Chinese living in that part of Italy working in textiles and learning to make better knock-offs of the Milan houses. Some ten of thousands of them went home for New Year – late January – and came back with undeclared biologics.

        The population in Italy skews like Miami Beach: God’s Waiting Room.

        And, they were caught unawares, certainly relative to us.

  48. “Now there is one flaw with this approach. The shuttering of the country is going to come with a massive price tag.”

    This. Finally people are raising this point, even the supine cucks at National Review. Looking at the CDC website daily, we see negligible numbers of deaths even as confirmed cases escalate sharply; even the WORLDWIDE death toll (obviously unreliable due to China, but still…) thus far would not justify the more draconian domestic actions. There was no cost/benefit analysis by the sincere doom-mongers. Reasonable people are coming to this conclusion.

    I have no idea how this will play out politically. Events in the days and weeks ahead will determine that. One thing is for certain. Biden cannot break with the doom-mongers, either, and blame Trump for over-reaction for the “just in case” reason you cited. Blue State and Blue City governors and mayors are praising Trump and playing the just-in-case game because they know huge swaths of their economically devastated constituents will be enraged if/when mass casualties fail to materialize. Trump is likely to lead a long overdue crusade to end globalism after a few weeks pass. Affiliation with China is about to become actually lethal.

    My main concern is still the likely exploitation of this manufactured crisis to implement the statist goals of the climate change cult. It’s the most likely outcome yet, but we also are starting to see panic among the Imperial City’s praetorian guard. Stories have started to appear, obviously leaked from the CIA and other intelligence sources, about how Trump and by implication the House and Senate were warned about the pending plague and failed to act. Of course, these stories are a CYA by bureaucrats who once again either failed to see a Black Swan event or escalated the panic intentionally, or probably both. So the power grab may not go as planned. Here’s to hoping.

    Excellent analysis as usual, Z, maybe your best.

    • The Leftists and Nervous Nellies have persuaded President Trump to destroy whatever chance he had of re-election. And do it eyes-wide-open. There’s n-dimensional chess for you.

      • From up here in the country, where people are already fed up with downstate politicians wrecking things, it looked to me like a virtue signaling cycle among politicians, each meeting and raising the bid of the other.

        People are scared. Got a hair cut three days ago. Figured I’d better. Woman who runs the shop, started her business, very down to earth and level headed, not a urban liberal bird brain, was close to panic about losing all her customers and business. I told things would work out, we will get through it, and to run her business like a speakeasy. Knock three times for a trim.

        Not good, though.

      • Election. Hmm. Most likely. Still. What other contingencies are hiding in the Stafford Act?

    • I’m thinking that the testing will have to roll out quickly, including bulk releases of the backlog of actual test results, to then create more “outbreaks”. Of course the media is providing zero context to the data. Its just “facts” repeated on the usual rags and twits.

      The challenge being, as with most of this process, is the seesaw effect of increased data visibility. More testing means more positives but also means a lower death rate.

      As of now they can still toss around the 1% to 3% or whatever keeps the climate change I mean epidemiology models in the big red bars of millions dead.

      Like the economic realities coming into light, the PR angle is capable of turning on them quite quickly as well.

      The heavy handedness works on the left half of the curve but there are a lot of people who drive a lot of commerce and influence that occupy the right side and are suspect of things like the johns hopkins “official” National outbreak tracking map that looks just like the map from war games as the nuke exchange simulations eclipsed every city with a massive red ball. So much for scale lol.

      Then there is the population who don’t really like anyone telling them what they can’t do. They behave like a toddler on a long car trip. Are we gonna have to turn this car around?

      The other day Trunp walked back the chatter on a national-level closure but I don’t see how this doesn’t move that way. He would have to thread the needle.

      I did notice how Newsom’s pressers on the Cal closure could all be summed up as demands for federal money for what amounts to a Bernie bro wet dream. Convenient.

      Oh and it turns out the payroll loan forgiveness program is supposed to be administered thru existing SBA underwriting infrastructure. This means actual capital is months out. So it won’t matter for most. Another PR stunt to buy a few more days? Or just regular gov’t ineptitude. These are too close to call.

      • I see Newsom and Cuomo positioning themselves as “Trump but more civil” alternatives at the DNC convention.

  49. To put a little more information behind it. My wife’s company started lay-offs yesterday. My company is reducing hours for certain employees.

    I’ll call this the end of Week 2 of the panic.

  50. Not getting my hopes up that chaos and panic would do anything to reverse four decades of stripping out domestic manufacturing capability and sending it to China, but maybe this is the event that could do it. Not since the last Buchanan campaign do I remember as many people talking about the subject.

    • Honestly – I don’t think so.

      Our elites hate us and want us dead. They only react out of fear: they’re dealing with the virus because otherwise they fear an uprising. They don’t care about the dead dirt people (of all races) and take special pleasure in the deaths of white people.

      It will go back to business as usual. It’s raycis to oppose outsourcing to China and that’s not who we are.

      However, I hope we start noticing the Chinese 5th column in this country. ALL chinamen are subversives and the chicom gov has massive media and political influence. Our side is obsessed with the joos but there are more than 1 subversive tribes in our midst.

      • This reminds me of another reason to hate the libertarians. They talk about the hollowing out of America as lifting 300 million people out of poverty in China and how wonderful it is. Their love of “humanity” makes them indifferent to the suffering of their neighbors. Disgusting.

        • Tars, it is like how in the patriotic glow of post-9/11 they had them convinced that the way to spread freedom and democracy over there was to destroy it over here.

          And now we have “social-distancing”, house arrest, and bankrupting of the healthy and able to save the most feeble.

          Like the corona witch trials test: 50% of the time, it works every time!

          • Yep, this Boomer thanks all who self sacrificed to keep me living high on the hog for another dozen years. Sarcasm off.

        • Tars, I’m a lower case “L” “libertarian” and I think the hollowing out of America was a terrible thing. I just don’t happen to believe that more government interference in private business is the way to keep such things from happening. I have no problem in protecting domestic businesses to the same degree other nations protect theirs. I suspect that the reason so much manufacturing went overseas was due to the confiscatory tax system so beloved of DemonKKKRats and RINOs. That and the terrible burden imposed by mindless and capricious federal regulators clearly made it more profitable to do business in Asia and Oceania.

          I believe in maximal liberty. Like Jefferson,

          “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.”

          • Billionaires or bureaucrats, thats who’re gonna be the corrupt people in charge in either of those systems. I prefer a third position.Our beloved uncle would have forced those industries to remain, passed beneficial regulations, pulled the economy out a recession and taken on the rest of the world outnumbered 10 to 1 and almost succeeded. But alas, *almost* is about as good as never. But that belies the point, a strong polis is what creates prosperity and strength. Our main weakness is a spiritual one. People don’t believe in anything, because multiculti pantheism provides nothing for them to believe in. The post wiemar germans had industriousness, optimism, unity and pride. We have none of those things, and the weakness engendered by their loss is about to be made excruciatingly apparent.

      • That worked while everyone could pay the bills, flip the channel off the nooz and watch sportzball and snooze on the couch.

        With people losing jobs, facing unpaid bills and possibly full blown economic depression…they’ll be a lot more likely to put their feet down. Hell, yesterday even Prime Minister Pink Socks – Turdo La Doo – put an end to the refugee scam when he learned that the Canadian public was liable to lynch him given the current circumstances. They are getting sent back to their chit holes of origin.

        The new virtue signal will be “made in America”. Harley Davidson used to make long haired stinky beardos and rebels stand up and salute when the claimed their bikes were Built by Americans, For Americans. Trump has been trying to channel that into all the spaces he can and this virus will elevate him to the status of a modern day visionary.

        Life is going to get much, much harder for The Usual Suspects now that we don’t have time or money for them, and even (((those))) that enable them are gonna feel the heat.

        It’s going to hurt, but good things will come of this.

        • Again, the ban on refugees is just temporary.

          As soon as the panic over the virus dies down the border will be wide open again.

          The gov will give out billions in cash to make people happy. Things will just quietly return back to normal in a few months.

          • “””…temporary….”” Don.t know about US but in Russia and Eastern Europe temporary things tend to be most long lasting.

          • The 2nd great depression that may well result from the panic will not however, be temporary. The gov’t is already deeply in debt, printing a shitton of money is only going to lead to rampant inflation which, coupled with the financial losses already sustained and likely to continue to be sustained… yeah. I wouldn’t pin my hopes on things going back to normal. We have already seen the fastest one month drop in the stock market ever, and the slide has likely only just begun. Over half of americnas are living paycheck to paycheck with the average amount of credit card debt being $5,700, 1.5 trillion in student loans and 1.3 in car loans. We are a nation that has been living beyond our means for a long time now, and it seems as if the bill has just come due.

          • “Temporary”. Per the Washington Examiner, while we sit in lockdown, the local Border Patrol agents on the border in Arizona decided to swing open the gates and let everyone drive north. Likely they are earning a few sheckels as a side hustle, but the galling thing is how our noses are getting rubbed in it now.

        • “To world leaders we are all economic units”

          Correction: To gullible white leaders, we are economic units. The Chinese leaders see it in terms of ethnic conquest. So do the Jews.

          Read your article about Italy, btw. Never noticed the Chinamen there but holy shit are there alot of Africans! I don’t know how any white person can visit there and not become racist! Italy is a just a museum of a formerly great civilization, being viewed by curious Chinese tourists. The great architecture there is 800+ years old.

          In 800 years, what will Italy be like? 50 years from now is more than far enough to extrapolate what’s in store.

          Makes me sick to my stomach.

          • It’s gonna be awfully hard to support a parasitic third world population if we enter a 2nd great depression.

          • How much of Africa – for that matter how many Muslim nations – feeds itself? In a world depression, how much food do you figure is going to be raised in the U.S. for export?

        • TuNe, I have a vision of Chairman Xi and his people generating the “Italians hug the Chinese guy” video, and getting a good laugh at how stupid people can be. A version of “let’s try this and see if people are stupid enough to fall for it”. Yup. The Eye-talians fell for it.

      • UFO. Along the old line…maybe they don’t care about the “dirt” people, but after this farce maybe the “dirt” people will care about “them”. We can only hope.

      • The military/DoD was well aware for the last 40 years we could not trust even American born Chinese in sensitive positions. They are tribal as can be. And for as long they have also had one of the most extensive intel networks in the U.S. even surpassing that of the Jews and Russians during the Cold War.

        it was why we kept them out of sensitive positions for so long.

        That said don’t expect the economy to come roaring back. It’s pretty much been fried We’ll be lucky if we don’t end up in a Depression and a collapse of the state pension funds. The Ruling Class could easily find themselves facing millions of really pissed off dirt people because of this.

    • I read some center-center think tank publications and “decoupling” is not only being mentioned, but openly advocated. I don’t know if the jobs or factories will move (probably not) but the Window just did.

  51. I have yet to hear of a friend of a friend that has the virus. I have heard of a friend of a friend that lost a job.

    • Yep. Lost mine yesterday. First coronavirus victim in my neighborhood. Perfectly healthy, mind you. The stupid tax.

      • Very sorry to hear. Good luck, and God Bless. Is there a chance that when things stop being crazy you can go back? Wish we anonymous internet people could do more to help.

        • Thanks. It’ll all work out for the better.

          My company wants to bring back everyone asap. They didn’t buy the panic and fought shutting down. The problem is customers taking their business elsewhere in the meantime.

          • Thanks, I’ll be fine. Just being my usual sarcastic self. First in the tank, first out.

          • In many areas of the economy it is not a “slow-down” in sales, but a dead stop. The two projects I have been working on for the past six months are dead in the water. That means no sales from our vendors, no commissions for the salespeople, no consulting hours, no infrastructure spend, etc. To compound the problem, no one is restarting anything until a bottom has been reached, whenever that is . . .

          • CFred, same goes for me. Full stop. Retrench. No transactions in the pipeline. The knife is falling and even the capital-flush distress guys I know are a bit queasy. Most are looking at rent and payroll, not bizdev. This may take a while.

            I am going to spend the next week looking for a government job.

            Being 1099 means I’m unemployed without the unemployment checks. Luckily this also means I am well practiced in the art of income volatility smoothing.

            In fact I just bought a real nice used ninja blender for $10 to make my smoothies. Next up is DYI weights. Might as well use the time to get prison ripped in my back yard I guess.

          • Yes, the virus is only the catalyst that reveals the fragility of the system, and the system is very, very fragile.

          • Hopefully your governor isn’t brave enough to shut it down. There was no economic reason for this to happen now, no public health reason either imo. And no legal reason for anyone to comply (imo), but this is the land of the sheep, home of the slave.

          • This is what I don’t get about all the “shelter in place” orders being issued by all these local Grand Imperial Dogcatchers. Why is anyone listening to them? Is anyone listening to them? Are local police actually listening to them?

            I do hope that one thing that comes out of this are measures to define (and strictly limit) the powers of governors, mayors (and dogcatchers). I’d also like to see guys on Our Side doing some lawfare. Those of you whose businesses were paralyzed and suffered losses or even failed because of this need to start suing people like Gov. Nuisance in CA. Let’s see some class action action!

            I’d also like to see lawfare from Our Side institutionalized in some form so that the lawsuits can be prepared before Gov McStalin issues any grand edicts. I know there’s the ACLJ but they have a definite Evangelical Christian focus. Leftists have gotten used to the fact that every power grab, every overreach of authority they make is exactly the kind of consequence-free gambit Z is talking about here. In the best case scenario they claim some outrageous new power, no one challenges it, and it becomes de facto part of their toolset from then on. The worst case scenario is people laugh at them and ignore them and they live on until the next crisis when they get to try again. Z has pointed out that this is how the global elite does everything and even applies to things like Brexit. They don’t get their way the first time, they just try again. It’s part of the one-way ratchet of elite power and it’s got to stop.

          • Two weeks is a lifetime for some of the hospitality businesses. Coffee shop down the street had 10 employees to serve coffee, make breakfast and lunch. Immediately after mandatory shutdown of dine in facilities, they switched to take out coffee and danish. That required only 3 employees and the walk in trade is dismal. So 7 employees are laid off right there. I come in and grab a coffee, but I can see the hand writing on the wall—a once thriving business (I was there at the start 20 years ago), employing a dozen or more low skilled (but wonderful folk), at $12 (or better) jobs gone.

      • Don’t worry, the Fed’s will send you a check for a few bucks. Save you from selling apples on the corner. Seriously however, it’s upsetting to me. I’m in that age group we all point to as in danger, when it’s really you and a few million like you that are in danger. Best of luck, keep posting. People here need to hear from you and others bearing the brunt of this farce.

        • This will boomerang on the panickers like you won’t believe. Reading your posts, you sound right, but anybody out there reading— get right for your own sake. Panicking will only make it worse for everybody.

          What a mess!

          • It is a mess! Just try balancing the potential virus spread rate, the potential final death count, the potential economy lockup, the market crash and the potential to overwhelm the entire healthcare system if we can’t ‘flatten the curve’, all while dealing with a corrupt media and the Democrats blathering reedited CCP talking points. We are truly blessed having President Trump at the helm.

          • Trump wasn’t going to get his way trying to calm everybody down. I hope nobody is putting all the blame on him.

          • Somebody throws a match on some tinder, another tries to put the fire out with gasoline. Who’s responsible for the resulting conflagration?

          • I hope nobody is putting all the blame on him.

            Somebody will. You can bet your left nut on it. Some never-to-be-sufficiently-damned DemonKKKRat or RINO-Never-Trump-er is going to blame any/everything bad on the Prez. Mark. My. Words.

      • Paintersforms, I know you have a brain, or you wouldn’t be on this site. Are you in a highly specialized field? Do you have leadership experience in manufacturing? Live anywhere near Wichita, KS? If you answered no to the first question and yes to the second and third I’d be interested in talking to you about a job.

        • Midwest native, idled while managing a manufacturing restructuring in NY. (BTW, Upstate, in a county w/0 cases). About 6 hrs from Wichita. Extensive leadership in manufacturing.

        • Listen to this guy… ha! This is what you get Zman when you try to boost readershiip with pro Orange Clown BS… Sad.

          The Clown is done. He slaughtered the economy and bowed down to the liberal fear mongers like the King if Isreal he is.

          You’re better than this pandering…

        • Thank you very much, Connectwme. Yes, yes, and no. At any rate, I’m rooted in PA. Family land going back to the 19th century and all of that. Won’t abandon until I’m forced to, which, at this point, doesn’t seem likely. But thank you, genuinely.

    • Dear friend’s private business is down about 30%. Her husband is working from home and afraid he’ll be among the first to be laid off (older White man). Her brother is working from home and has been told, despite stellar reviews, he’ll be among the first because he was only hired about a year ago. My husband mentioned AMC laying off 26k and a customer told him about Textron furloughing 7k. Tip of the iceberg.

      • Same with my oldest child. Whole plant shut down. He’s busy basically sorting odds and ends for a closure. Then he expects to be gone. Companies are “firing” their staff due to unemployment insurance laws so their former employees can immediately apply. Of course they claim it is their intention to rehire all after this farce subsides, but you know that won’t happen as business takes time to ramp up—if it ever does. Just keeps folks idle and hoping. This is gonna be as cruel as any recession/depression ever recorded.

        • And yet the gov is still “streamlining” H-1B and H-2A visas. Why isn’t there ever a program to help willing citizen workers re-locate to where the jobs are?

        • I get that feeling too and that’s why I’ve been practically freaking out to people. Not panicking btw 🙂 just getting very frustrated.

          Older generations might have the money but younger generations have the power of life and death. If this turns into a matter of survival for everybody (and national bankruptcy would do that) it could get tragic. I just can’t see people taking fiat handouts for long when practically everybody is aware of how that works and the inevitable consequences. It’s like giving someone a free meal voucher to a restaurant that’s going out of business.

          I don’t want that and I’m sure nobody else does either. Couldn’t imagine being a parent and having to cut my parents off to feed my kids. And yeah that sounds impossible but so did shutting the economy down a month ago. We’re in a time when impossible things will happen.

          I think the odds are better at this point to take reasonable precautions with the virus and hope for the best.

      • Local burrito chain (very woke!) was the first to voluntarily close “for the safety of our customers and employees”. Made a big deal in the local smut rag about it.

        Barely two weeks later and they laid off everyone outside the corporate office. No press release this time around and the local woke smut rag hasn’t touched the story. I learned from a friend who manages some of the owners money.

        Illustration of our current year.

    • Well, I supposedly have it. I’m a Gen-Xer. A bit overweight but generally very healthy. I got pretty sick lately and went in to get looked at. I was reluctant to go because I knew they didn’t have the test kits and didn’t really want to expose people to what I had or take the chance the I just had the flu and could then get Wu-tang fever on top of it from the people in the waiting area. Then tested me for flu – negative. The conclusion was that, based on symptoms and that negative flu result, I probably had Wu-tang. They gave me meds for the cough and antibiotics for a secondary sinus infection and sent me home and told me to self-quarantine. I took the pills, I stayed home. I’m getting better. At my sickest I’d say it was like a bad flu. I only ever had a mild fever and the worst thing was a headache caused by the sinus problem.


    • The wife is a school bus driver. She’s out until the 6th of April (i.e. including spring break the week before this past week a total of FOURweeks) – SO FAR! I’ve been doing food deliveries and so am our only source of income (social security aside). At least they are letting the grocery stores and carry-out/drive-thru restaurants operate so I can run. Damn good thing I have my wife’s Prius to drive. No idea how we’ll meet expenses if school doesn’t start back.

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