Thursday, December 10, 2020

2020 Year Of Living Dangerously

This year the U.S. finalized its long sought transformation into de facto Third World nation, complete with a tinpot dictator who won't leave office. Amid the worst health crisis in modern U.S. history, we are led by a death cult leader who makes Jim Jones seem benevolent by comparison...

We now know who "won" this year, and it wasn't Democrats or Republicans, it was Mother Nature who monkey hammered denialists with biblical wrath. And her worst punishment is still to come.

"Global greenhouse gas emissions plunged by roughly 2.4 billion tons this year, a 7% drop from 2019 and the largest decline on record"

Extreme wealth inequality, exploding poverty, oblivious elites, rampant fraud, debased currency, moral collapse, mass brainwashing, what's not to like? 2020 accelerated America's inexorable decline into Third World status. The election revealed that almost half the country is an illiterate Idiocracy that now believes Faux News is too liberal. They're moving full time to the Conspiracy Channel.

Trump is now a full fledged death cult leader. In the two weeks since Thanksgiving, the death rate has risen 200%. For the past two days, the U.S. daily death count has exceeded 3,000, which is a 9/11 of COVID death each day. 

In the Third World tradition, the U.S. response to this pandemic has been the least competent in the entire developed world. And the incompetence keeps on coming. This week we learned that the U.S. didn't order nearly enough doses:

"Before Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine was proved highly successful in clinical trials last month, the company offered the Trump administration the chance to lock in supplies beyond the 100 million doses the pharmaceutical maker agreed to sell months ago. But the administration, never made the deal, a choice that now raises questions about whether the United States allowed other countries to take its place in line."

Yes, they did allow other countries to take their place in line. One hundred million doses is only enough for 50 million people which is a mere 15% of the U.S. population. 

Throughout this crisis, the general response among Republican leaders has been to ignore the pandemic, while Democrat leaders have generally ignored the economy. This uniquely incompetent approach was the worst of all possible outcomes - an out of control pandemic and a blighted economy. For their part, Republicans merely confirmed that they don't give a damn about the rest of society. And Democrat leaders confirmed that they have zero understanding of economics. And why should they understand economics, when today's economists are of the belief that the economy consists of a Fed balance sheet and serial asset bubbles? 

This week, the wife of the (second) richest man in the world admitted that their pandemic strategy didn't include any consideration for economic dislocation:

"In a wide-ranging interview in the New York Times, Melinda Gates made the following remarkable statement: “What did surprise us is we hadn’t really thought through the economic impacts.” 

" if economics is somehow a peripheral concern to the rest of human life and public health"

The economic benefits of the pandemic are crystal clear, the Technology billionaires got FAR richer, at the expense of everyone else. Merely accelerating a four decade trend. However, I don't consider greed to be a conspiracy per se. It's more of a fundamental American value, and I find it rich that a right wing think tank such as the American Institute of Economic Research would question Gates' motives, when they have been advocates of opportunism for decades.

This most lethal phase of the pandemic promises to showcase all of this incompetence at the same time, both on the economy and the health crisis. Not only is the virus exploding out of control, but Federal policy-makers have held back stimulus even as individual state and localities now go back into self-imposed lockdown mode. In the spring where there was the $2.2t Cares act, paycheck protection loans, and several other small business supports, now there is nothing. This is suicidal for small business and the newly re-unemployed. 

"McConnell’s refusal to authorize further government spending in the midst of this crisis has had — and will continue to have — deadly consequences. 

To quote veteran activist Ralph Nader, McConnell is “a corporation masquerading as a human being.”

Clearly the U.S. can scarcely manage itself much less pretend to be the "leader of the free world". Trump's four year reality TV show made that clear in spades. Therefore, it's long overdue to bring the troops back from 140 countries and deploy the freed up resources to save THIS country while there is still something left to save. 

Amid all of this Third World mismanagement, the stock market merely functions as an exorbitant casino to preoccupy the masses while they get bilked out of their life savings. 

"Both strategists attributed some of that euphoria to the near-zero interest rates expected to stay put over the next three years. The Federal Reserve's plan to hold rates at record lows leaves investors with fewer places to put their money"

Ironically, it's depressionary interest rates that has lulled investors into the false belief that valuations no longer matter. Which is how this was always going to end. The sheeple have been told to buy stocks in anticipation of the recovery, so they are buying stocks at the apex of human history's largest bubble going into a massive depression.

In 1929, it took 25 years to break even. In COVID country, not everyone has that kind of time.