"This will be a deus ex machina test of Trump’s authoritarian behavior. Epidemics are not well suited to authoritarian regimes and propaganda...Trump’s history in business — he makes people feel good for a while and then it ends badly — could presage a stock market crash before he exits.," - Maureen Dowd, NY Times, 'Trump Makes Us Ill'
"Trump’s lies, his disparagement of science and scientists, his claim that non-political civil servants are part of the deep state, his lack of credibility, his penchant for political opportunism over the needs of the nation, his pathological embrace of hyperbole, his delight in creating confusion, and his mistaking loyalty for public service puts the nation in grave danger in light of the growing pandemic. He has gutted the health services, slashed much needed revenue for public goods through tax giveaways to the ultra-rich, ousted, Tim Ziemer, one of the most trusted leaders in public health, and appointed a religious fanatic Mike Pence, to head the attack on the corona virus crisis....This is what neo fascism looks like when it ignores social needs for the demands of cravenly loyalty and the accumulation of power and profits. Trump is a menace and danger to the world not just the United States" - Henry Giroux, 'Cultlike Ignorance Is Death: Trump And The Coronavirus',
What do you do with a bombastic buffoon of a "leader" who - when faced with his first genuine exogenous crisis - tries to fob it off as a "hoax"? Exactly like he tried to do with his impeachment and the Mueller Report. Well, you recognize first you can't believe a single damned word this deranged, narcissistic mutt with delusions of grandeur, says. Also, if you're going to protect you and yours you're best served going to the CDC website as the Covid-19 virus approaches pandemic status, or seek professional advice on how to prepare.
You will get no real help from the Turd-in -Chief who, again, sees his re-election and the stock market's continued rise as more critical than protecting Americans' welfare. Hence, his constant stream of lies, exaggerations and the lack of his administration to prepare - evidenced by access to barely a few hundred testing kits - while China and South Korea have been testing thousands. In line with this it was incredible to me that at Trump's presser Saturday, not a single member of the illustrious press corp asked him, or the CDC's experts, about the availability of testing kits to actually confirm Covid--19 infections. Without such testing it's pure pie in the sky to be claiming the average American is at low risk, because we've really no idea how many infected folks are walking around with no symptoms. And yet that is all we heard from the CDC's Pooh Bahs, "the average American is at low risk".
Meanwhile, in response to another question, Trump again obfuscated and lied. He was asked about his rally in North Charleston, SC, where he barked: "This is their new hoax" - meaning the virus at large. But Trump denied that he called the coronavirus a hoax, and said he really meant that the way the Democrats were portraying it- raising "panic"- was a hoax. Well, excuse the hell out of me and them. As far as I recall this hasn't devolved to an authoritarian dictatorship yet - when concerned media and the opposition party can't criticize a president for lax preparation and lying about it! To fix ideas, in a number of instances last week I saw and heard - along with wifey- the following expulsions from Dotard:
- First denying then admitting that 14 infected Americans were brought back from China and dispatched on transport with non-infected citizens.
- Claiming with a straight face the disease will "go away in April' because the "heat will kill it"
- Last Tuesday trying to reassure Americans the virus was "under control" when there wasn't even testing done to confirm that. (As Business Insider noted)
- Blathering last Wednesday "It's gonna disappear, like a miracle"
- Claiming only 15 cases were in the U.S. when it's actually 69, at last count. (At Saturday's press meet only 22 cases were claimed)
The differences show there's no real agreement, and how can there be without actual testing using proper test kits? Which was another thing: none of the press asked why there were no test kits available, especially after the first U.S. death, of a male nursing home victim in Washington state. This also marked the 2nd case of "community spread" i.e. with no known chain to any travel out of the state etc. See also:
Cult-Like Ignorance is Death: Trump and the Coronavirus
What was also really choice is Trump imposing new travel restrictions when incoming passengers from many already affected countries aren't even being tested on entry into U.S. airports. Hell, Dr. Jen Ashton - appearing on ABC News Saturday night said: "I really don't understand why none of these arriving passengers aren't being tested." Well, maybe, Dr. Jen, it's because there aren't enough testing kits available in the first place. So these Trump asswits are imposing travel restrictions while people from Covid-19 nations are pouring into dozens of our main airports and no tests are done. Not even simple temperature checks, i.e. for fever. Anyone leading this charge with an IQ over zero?
All of this shows Trump's claims of calling out Dems and media for pushing a hoax or panic are bare balderdash. Meanwhile, Friday at the CPAC fiasco Mick Mulvaney told a cheering crowd that impeachment was the “hoax of the day” and now the press thinks the coronavirus “is going to be what brings down the president.”. Don't those turkeys assembled there grasp they could well be the next victims if the Trump clowns don't get their asses in gear? Or, are they too damned dumb to figure that out?
This tells me the Trump cretins aren't even prepared should mass quarantines be necessary and people in those isolated zones will be left to suck salt or pound sand instead of seeing convoys arriving with food and meds. Hence, this traitor is betraying the citizens and sabotaging any useful effort to reckon with the virus, e.g.
I mean, think about it. At a rally on Friday night this asswit actually came out with saying the coronavirus concerns expressed by the rest of the sane universe is a "hoax". That's all this stupid maggot lives by, it's his mantra for everything he feels threatened by, hoax, hoax, hoax. But see, this Covid-19 is a genuine existential threat that has now struck 60 nations and counting - and no attempted misdirection by Trump or his cohort will alter that reality.
The proof in the pudding will arrive this week as the stock market may well tank again, especially on seeing the virus community spreading in the U.S. and even desperate sound bites from central banks unable to alter the virus' spread. Oh, and Trump with no serious plan to deal with it. Last Friday, Fed Chair Lewis Powell managed to fend off a looming 1100 point swoon by playing cutesy and manipulating the markets by saying he was "prepared to cut interest rates". Earlier, Dotard tried the stock manipulation gambit by promising new tax cuts, i.e. if re-elected. See e,g.
Having burped that little effort at market manipulation (to appease Herr Trump?) Powell managed to limit the last hour's dive, so the DOW rallied by 600 points to end at 357 odd points down. A big loss but not as big as it would have been without his intervention. Meanwhile, the NASDAQ Composite fell as much as 3.5% before bouncing higher to narrowly close in + territory. (The first time that index "has fallen that much and notched a gain for the day" - according to the WSJ, Feb. 29, p. A1)
But this can't last and can't keep happening. Powell, no matter how desperate to appease Trump and keep the great Bull rolling on, has exhausted virtually all his ammo and hasn't much left in case an actual recession hits. As it well may by the fall. Even the WSJ editorial writers on Saturday ('The Virus and the Economy' p. A14) observed:
"We've been skeptical that rate cuts can address a classic supply side shock like the coronavirus. Fed funds are already low at 1.5- 1.75% ....If the Fed does cut rates as an insurance policy it should be prepared to raise them again quickly if the virus turns out to be less damaging."
The editors also observed how "stocks pared their losses"after Powell's little trick, noting "the Fed's psychological clout". Or hey, maybe it's the markets' yen and eagerness for more 'crack' in the form of rate cuts to keep their Bull going on. But even in an earlier 'Heard on the Street' piece (Feb. 28, p. B12) it was noted 'Fed Can't Inoculate The Economy') that:
"Using monetary policy to counteract the economic effects of the coronavirus would be a bit like using a hammer to unscrew a bolt"
"Investors only began waking up to the coronavirus threat this week, and the actual fallout could prove worse than they expect."
Given that short lead time of awareness, we will now be in the 2nd week when the clear economic shutdowns, adjustments begin to sink in - as numerous companies lay off staff, businesses retrench and airline travel is all but halted. With more economic impacts and the awareness of the hits from them - fewer people going out shopping, eating out, many businesses shuttered, schools closed - forcing parents to take their guaranteed unpaid leave- things will get much worse. I expect the DOW then, to sink another 8-10 % in the next few weeks, possibly ending up in Bear market territory.
I also expect any more tricks or efforts at manipulation of the markets by Powell - or Trump using happy talk- will not work. Stocks will remain volatile even if some minor recovery 'burps' manifest. But it is nothing to be permanently embraced. The same WSJ piece goes on to note:
"The Fed's aim when it eases policies - both cutting overnight rates and in the extraordinary measures implemented in response to the financial crisis - is to induce businesses and households to borrow and spend more, and save less ."
But this is a fool's errand given both households and businesses will pull in their spending in an extended quarantine scenario. You can be sure no member of any sensible household will go out dining to run the risk of possible infection, or bowling or going to the cinema, or concerts. Meanwhile, afflicted with many sick workers - or workers whose kids are home from school because schools are closed, they will have to adapt. That means less productivity, fewer profits, larger inventories piling up as factories and warehouses close. Never mind, as the economic pain threatens even more, some central banks will try to tweak reality any which way they think they can. And yeah, some subset of investors will bite, and maybe most for a time.
In a separate Heard on the Street' piece (Feb. 26, p. B12, 'There Isn't Any Playbook For This Virus Epidemic') we find the core of the problem on why those investors who remain deluded are in for a shock. That is:
"Many on Wall Street are still adhering to the SARS analogy, even as evidence mounts that the coronavirus outbreak will last longer and spread much further.."
Once the 'Street' grasps this, Katie bar the door, because it will be every investor for himself. We also know the big institutional and corporate investors will be first to bolt as they have most to lose- or so they reckon. As pointed out in the same piece:
"The epidemic's upshot may be far steeper market drops and at least local recessions."
But I suspect the recession will be global, as the supply chains close almost completely by the fall, and people have no where to go to spend money - and without consumers, businesses will have no choice but to exact layoffs or close. Again, the same piece observes:
"Already the interruption of the supply chain from China and now South Korea is more significant than many appreciate and could worsen even if the virus is contained.."
Up to now, I doubt even 1 in 10 Americans has a full appreciation of this supply chain network vulnerability and the consequences of collapse, and difficulties in reinstatement. The only media person I see even remotely paying any attention to this aspect is Rachel Maddow.
Of course, it is possible there may be a slight 'bump' in stocks early in the week, as investors try to pin their hopes on central banks (like the Fed) to provide a "stimulus" to counteract the worst effects of COVID-19; But this is myopic, magical thinking and even if the markets let collective hearts rule their heads it won't last long. By the end of the week I predict the DOW and S&P 500 will still be in negative territory. (Ok, let me put it this way: If that doesn't materialize I will have to re-evaluate investors' grounding in reality, or whether they are snorting too much coke, or ingesting excess MJ candies to steady nerves.)
As for Trump, we can be sure he will keep beating his "hoax" drum even as the cases and deaths mount and more and more citizens see he's incapable of performing the most basic presidential duty: protecting American citizens. This orange-hued pestilence will have to learn the hard way that viruses, pandemics are not influenced or managed by autocratic idiots who think they can control the world with tweets, or subverted sycophants.
A Message for Trump: Coronavirus Threat Is About Public Health—Not the Stock Market or Your Reelection
"The threat of a global pandemic is not only troubling from a health and safety standpoint, but also, from a business standpoint. Joe Pinsker, a staff writer for The Atlantic, examines coronavirus’ effect on the stock market in an article published this week, and he sheds some light on why investors react as they do.