Wednesday, February 26, 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic Could Well Prove The End Of Trump's Economy - And Trump's Re-Election Bid

"We're moving closer to the day when it is China's increasingly hefty economy, not America's, that's most to blame for a global recession."  - Ian Bremmer, TIME essay, 'The Economic Cost Of The Outbreak'.

"We're not prepared for this at all. Especially if we have a Chinese-scale outbreak."  
-   Health Policy Analyst and author of the book, 'The Coming Plague', Laurie Garrett.- on Rachel Maddow last night.

“Anyone who has a better idea for what lies ahead please let us know because right now the direction ahead for the economy is straight down.” -  Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank

The pundit class and scribes have been working overtime trying to figure out what if anything might put an end to the Trump administration, at least in terms of its revival after the general election.  The answer - as we saw the stock market tank a second day with nearly $1.7 trillion lost already, is the COVID-19 virus.  It would be particularly karmic to see this virus end the ongoing virus of Donald Trump given he's dismissed its effects, as have his lackeys and toadies.  As we learned from Business Insider:

"Trump spent much of Tuesday reassuring the public that the coronavirus is under control.
"China is working very, very hard," Trump told reporters at a business roundtable at the US embassy in New Delhi. "I have spoken to President Xi, and they are working very hard. If you know anything about him, I think he will be in pretty good shape. They have had a rough patch, but now it looks like they are getting it more and more under control. I think that is a problem that is going to go away."

Trump's comments are at odds with reality

The coronavirus, or the COVID-19 virus, originated in Wuhan, China, and has killed 2,700 people and spread to 30 countries. There are at least 36 confirmed cases in the US, including repatriated citizens.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it expected the virus to spread further within the U.S."
 These insights have arrived even as the markets themselves clearly aren't taking seriously a single word uttered by Trump or his lackey stooge Larry Kudlow (same crackpot who said there was no housing crisis before the 2008 calamity) .

Perhaps the worst crime, even as an incompetent media still fulminates over  Bernie's offhand Castro remarks, is that this vile president - whose first job is to protect the American people-    is doing nothing of the kind.    After all, what to make of a bunch which is told flat out - by the CDC-  not to put 14 Americans who tested positive for COVID-19 on a plane with healthy passengers to AL, but does it anyway?  Oh, yeah, Trump was supposedly "furious" this happened, but later was caught in a presser saying "We brought those Americans in from that ship because it was the right thing to do".  The right thing to possibly start an outbreak that can't be contained, from an ignoramus who's gutted the CDC pandemic response.  As Rachel Maddow put it last night:

"This is the leader of the federal government in the midst of a response to what is looking like a global pandemic.  This is not how it's supposed to work.  This is not how the response to a global health crisis is supposed to look like. A leader is not supposed to say 'I think it will go away in April because the heat will kill it, we don't need to do anything'."
Apart from his pathological lies about the virus, over  successive years this orange garbage of a so-called leader  has cut the CDC budget to combat pandemics.    Now, grasping the "reaper" nearing the door,  his Health & Human Services chief (Alex Azar) is asking for "emergency funding" of $2.5 billion-  a lot less than what's been allocated to fight previous pandemics. 

Meanwhile, Trump is more concerned with how the virus is affecting the markets and his re-election chances.    Hence, his insistence all is under control and things will stabilize when warmer weather comes in and the daffodils emerge in the Spring.  Which is BS, as many health specialists (e.g. Dr. Nancy Messonnier) have pointed out.  

The markets themselves, including the bond market, aren't buying Trump's codswallop.  For reference, the yield on the Treasury 10-year note fell to an all time low Tuesday as "stocks swooned" (WSJ, today, p. A1).  According to Tradeweb, the yield fell as low as 1.310% on an intraday basis. before settling at 1.328% (ibid.).  This may not mean much to the average reader, but Treasury yields are key economic gauge, and when they get depressed it generally portends slow economic growth. In this case, if the COVID-19 virus spreads in the states, it could signify a recession and the end to this Bull Market.

In the wake of the news, James Athey - a senior investment manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments- was quoted in the WSJ piece thusly:

"The size of this economic shock is looking increasingly large on a global scale."


"What we're just seeing here is the crack in that sentiment driven equity rally."

In other words, investors are starting to awaken from their trance of irrational exuberance and face reality about the potential havoc of COVID-19.  But is our illustrious prez? Hell no.

Perhaps it is true, as a recent TIME essay pointed out ('The Economic Cost Of The Outbreak', Feb. 24, p. 39)  that most Americans have zero clue how Chinese product supply lines affect the global economy.    Or that China now accounts for nearly a third of world GDP growth - up from around 3% in 2000 (WSJ,   'Epidemic Takes Toll On Growth',  p. A5, Feb. 25).   Already many electronics producers that depend on Chinese parts "have suspended output because of the outbreak".

All this is germane in relation to the dissembling of Trump and his retinue of clueless clowns like Larry Kudlow, e.g. claiming "the economy is holding up nicely" because the virus is completely contained.    Whereas the cold hard fact is that economic disruption could be "severe", as CDC officials have noted.   In the end,  WHO are you going to trust with your lives and risk management?  A cabal of clowns and authoritarian poppets who only care about perpetuating their grifter circus via their lying leader, Trump?  Or the health systems and agencies for which they've cut funding to fight the damned thing?

Given only 4 states even possess the materials to test for COVID-19, you know you cannot trust the Trumpites when they insist they have it "contained".  You have to know, given their serial mendacity and history they are feeding you BS merely to keep themselves in power and destroy what is left of our constitutional democracy.

The key thing now is not to panic but rather to act in a rational and responsible way for your families, while taking anything Trump says (or Kudlow) with a grain of salt.  If you're told 'X' by Trump, and 'Y' by the CDC, it stands to reason you accept 'Y', not 'X'.  Thus, be prepared when schools slam their doors shut even as Trump says they're open,  especially as outbreaks pop up in many local communities. Also be prepared for possible supply shortages, for example in respirators and face masks - because our glorious government did not adequately prepare.  Why? Because these inveterate asswipes believe the "media and Democrats" are deliberately trying to tank the markets with fear.   (If you require an emergency antidote to this shit, please see the last link and Laurie Garrett's article, 'Trump Has Sabotaged America's Coronavirus Response'.)

Further down the line, look out for business shutdowns if the virus spreads further, and employees in different businesses are either laid off or told to work from home.   Universities should already be implementing remote (online) modes of learning to eliminate spread of infection. The scale of the U.S. outbreak may also affect whether - and to what extent- supermarkets remain open, and even if supply lines are affected. Hence, don't rush to prematurely stock the larders as so many did with the Year 2000 scare, but do keep your ears to the ground regarding the virus' effects in your own state or community.   If then it looks like it's ramping up, stock up on canned goods and non-perishables before the store shelves run bare. Also, it may be a good idea to stock drinking water if the worse comes to the worst (utility companies no longer able to function because of illness of critical workers.).

Extreme measures like this in a nation with a functional gov't  shouldn't be needed, but we can't bank on that with the likes of the ineffectual, lying Trumpites.  Do we even know if this government, or even local governments, have  a system in place using essential personnel to keep the sewer systems pumping? Or the water systems pumping water, and the electrical grid going?  What about the food supply chain, what if that is disrupted?  As health policy analyst Laurie Garrett asked last night (MSNBC): "Look at the Chinese and convoys as far as the eye can see,  bringing food into Wuhan. Could we do that?"

See another Laurie Garrett interview (on 'Democracy Now') here:

Referencing how we my soon see a shortage of critical drugs, including for heart disease, diabetes etc. because of the virus- spawned shutdown of Chinese pharmaceutical factories.  This is why it's also a good idea to get a supplemental supply of the meds you may need (for a prolonged quarantine) now.

Whole cities soon shut down by quarantine and no food or fuel coming in, or medicines? Excessive?   Exaggeration?  Not really, not when one considers the fatality rate of COVID-19 is at least at 2 % (some Chinese provinces are reporting 6%) while the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic reached 1.9 % and we know historically how bad that was. See e.g.

Amidst all of this, it is tragic that we - the citizens of this nation- are saddled with perhaps the most self-aggrandizing, useless, and most dangerously misguided president in our history.  And that, incredibly, our pathetic media believes it more important to bray about a Dem candidate extolling the literacy program of a long deceased  dictator than what the current dictator is failing to do.

Trump, I understand, is to take to the airwaves tonight - to try to lie his way out of all the heat and scrutiny he's taking.  This is one American, in fact two (with Janice),  who won't be wasting time watching the performance of "Mr. Reality TV" Liar-in-Chief.   Put the head of CDC on and we'll watch but not the orange fungal maggot. 

Meanwhile, we have the likes of the Wall Street Journal's editorial reactionaries claiming today the congressional appeal for more resources to fight COVID-19 is merely "political opportunism" to enable more government spending (e.g. 'The Spending Virus')  p. A16.    These nabobs would do better to pay attention to the market's own reaction - a 1900 pt. drop and 6.6% retreat - that it doesn't trust the Bozo the WSJ seeks to protect.

The rest of us need to have the sense to grasp that neither Trump or his media defenders have our welfare at stake, but holding onto their own power.  Perhaps, as they seek to brazenly consolidate that power with lies, the one factor they can't control will ultimately put it an end to it.

See also:


The outbreak is exposing the problems with President Trump’s boasts about the stock market.



" In 2018, the Trump administration fired the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure. In numerous phone calls and emails with key agencies across the U.S. government, the only consistent response I encountered was distressed confusion."

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