It is becoming increasingly clear that the great zombie apocalypse of 2020 is not going to live up to the hype. At this stage, the models and their experts said we would have bodies in the streets and chaos at the hospitals. Instead, what we have is a shuttered country and hospitals furloughing staff due to a lack of sick people. The curve benders keep changing their forecasts, but the virus keeps letting them down. The big question now is how will everyone retreat from this debacle.
To his credit, President Trump has sensed the end game from the very beginning and has been talking about “reopening the country” for a while. He knows this cannot go on much longer and his job will soon shift from battling dingbats in the press room over the virus to battling dingbats in the press room over the economy. If he is to continue in his role, he will need the promised V-shape recession. If it is a depression, then he will be replaced with the first Alzheimer-American to run for president.
This may turn out to be what saves his presidency. He will have six months to go around the country talking up the economy. He will also be able to blame Congress for a whole host of things in the process. Running against Congress is a good way for a President with soft support to win over skeptics. If the economy is quickly recovering by the fall, with employers hiring back furloughed workers, Trump can run as the guy who not only saved us from the invisible death but also saved the economy.
A lot of that will depend on the local politicians. They have suddenly found their spines in this panic and are now claiming to control our destiny regarding the lock down. They are coordinating their plans to re-open, which is smart politics. They don’t want to give Trump credit, but they don’t want to risk being the first to open up. They will pretend to be operating as a team in order to not risk getting blamed if the media does not follow orders and continues to report on the virus.
That’s the big part of the coming retreat from this panic. The media will have to be coached carefully so they don’t screw up and accidentally report the truth. A whole new gaggle of experts and actors playing experts is being prepped to explain why it is now okay to go outside. At the same time, they still have to blame Orange Man for the deaths that never materialized. In the end, they may just drop the whole thing and pretend it never happened, like the impeachment fiasco.
Perhaps the hardest hit by the great virus flop has been the curve benders. They will have the task of explaining why they are still smarter than the rest of us, but were ridiculously wrong about the biggest event in their lives. As RamZPaul pointed out the other day, in most professions, being this wrong gets you fired. Being an internet expert, however, means never having to be right, so maybe they just follow the lead of the media and forget the whole thing happened.
The problem with that plan is the curve benders personalized this from the start, calling the skeptics all sorts of names. It is unlikely that the skeptics will forget how Nicky Taleb threw his dress over his head and ran around squealing like a girl. Many of the curve benders will be able to recover their reputations, but some will not. In a better age, the curve benders would be packing their stuff and heading out of town right now, but in this age, they will probably be rehabilitated without much effort.
Then there are the people who fell for the hype and then piously lectured the rest of us about how the virus was more important than the economy. Many of these people claimed to be on this side of the great divide. They had lectured for years about how the media can never be trusted. Then they swallowed the official line on the virus like good little boys and girls. The internet never forgets, so they will be reminded of this for the remainder of their days, especially on this side of the divide.
It’s not so much that they were wrong or acted like smug bleeps. It’s that they revealed themselves to be every bit as out of touch as the mass media. This was just another game for them to play on-line, like their politics. Their clapping for the lay-offs and business closures revealed that they have no skin in the game. It is a good reminder to never take business advice from someone who has never signed the front of a paycheck and never take political advice from people without jobs.
As far as timing, we are getting close to the point where the lines of the alarmists and curve benders break. The one guy consistently right about this thinks the great retreat is coming soon. Governors are now preparing to declare victory, so they will be scurrying away from this in the next couple of weeks. Local business is already showing signs of rebellion, so they may set the pace for the governors. Trump now has a task force to re-open the economy. It even has his dingbat daughter on it.
What all this suggests is that in a couple of weeks, everyone will be talking about the economy and going back to work and school. In another month, the only people talking about the virus will be conspiracy nuts and the remaining curve benders who refuse to let it go. If the summer is a great recovery in the economy, this whole sorry episode will be sent down the memory hole. The great retreat from the panic that will change everything will be complete and no one will remember any of it.
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