Switching gears here slightly to provide my views on COVID-19 as well as the macroeconomic outlook for the US..
As it turns out, ‘Nothing Has To Be Done’ may prove to be the most effective method for dealing with global pandemics, not just our illusory self/ego. If I were to offer some guidance on COVID, which I guess is what I’m doing here, then we only need to look at one chart:
This is what happens when you ‘do nothing’. All the noise, all the headlines, all the fear-mongering, all the “spikes”, “outbreaks”, etc., effectively silenced in one chart.
Sweden, whose response to COVID was essentially just letting the virus run its course in order to build herd immunity while advising the at-risk population to stay home, will IMO become the model for “combating” this virus and others like it going forward. A clear initial rise back in March/April, then the steady decline to present day, with literally zero new deaths.
Ta-da! Let nature take its course. The novelty and simplicity of it. Good heavens.
But this is where things take a more sinister and Machiavellian turn. Why all the insanity, in the US especially? If the solution is this simple, who gains from the paranoia? Why would we allow more people to die from suicides than from COVID? Why would we allow millions to lose their livelihoods, businesses, and be forced into isolation and misery for an indefinite period? Especially when those who are most at risk (above age 75-ish) can easily be allowed to self-quarantine?
Again, I believe the answer is quite simple:
If you can remember back to the pre-COVID days (not easy, I know), you may recall that Trump was basically going with the Sweden model at the outset. No lock-down, no masks, just let the virus happen. In response, Democratic governors decided to force his hand, mandating their own state-wide lock-downs. And if states with an enormous economic footprint like California and New York shut down, then the whole US economy is essentially shut down.
So we were all taken along for this ride, whether we wanted to or not, with a quadrennial presidential election looming in the background. A lukewarm Joe Biden against the most polarizing man on the planet. The Donald is worth his own psychological profile/article in his own right so maybe I’ll get to that next time, but here I just want to focus on what is at stake politically and economically.
The Democrats have basically pinned their hopes at ousting Trump to the COVID response. To that end, the more fear and havoc and economic damage that occurs between now and November the better. Would any Democrat ever admit to this? No, of course not. But whether they want to hide behind a convoluted political sabotage or gross medical negligence in this failed response to COVID, the results are the same.
To be totally up-front, I am not a supporter of Trump or Biden. I’ve got no horse in this race. I have this crazy idea that people can come together as one and govern themselves. But if the Dems truly want to supplant Trump, they need to provide a vision, a workable alternative that people can get behind. Biden is many things, but he is not a visionary, he is not a dreamer. There is utterly zero excitement behind his campaign and the DNC knows it.
So, in such a circumstance, lacking the tidal wave of public support that someone like Obama carried, sabotage does seem to be the only other path to victory. Can the news suck long enough to get Trump pushed out of office, is basically the question here. Absent COVID paranoia and nebulous protests/riots, both of which are quickly losing enthusiasm, what other ammunition does the DNC have? November is still quite a ways away, and the economy is flooded with more money than ever before.
Whoever wins this election is going to be in good shape. The US economy is basically self-regulating, a fact still unbeknownst to most voters unfortunately. Higher unemployment and lower tax revenues actually increase the money supply, somewhat paradoxically. This is one of the reasons the stock market has recovered so easily. If the first half of this year has been any indication, we are in for a wild ride for the next several months. Whether the Donald can hang on and withstand this onslaught until November remains to be seen, but one thing is certain – this is dirty, dirty politics. Even for the U.S.