20A012 Some As to Qs by Jim Davies, 3/24/2020
This bogus crisis is largely explained in last week's ZGBlog, but some important loose ends remain. This offers a few tentative opinions about them.
First, the baseline: the stock market has plunged, the streets and shelves have emptied (of essential foods as well as toilet rolls, as I found last Saturday) - not because Covid-19 is as dangerous as the Black Death, but because Democrats have exploited a much milder disease - such as may cause a bad cold - to try to destabilize Trump and displace him in November. A rag-bag collection of other Pols, mostly with a D label, are busy grabbing extra powers to control the panic they are themselves creating. That's the only actual crisis, and unfortunately it's bringing real problems by impacting business and devastating stock prices.
Okay, so let's try to go beyond that.
1. Was Corona planted? - that is, did some malefactor wage bio-war from a pig sty or two in Wuhan? A1: No, I doubt it. Feasible, yes; but where is the motive; who benefits? Here, the Dems are reaping benefit now, but the timing is wrong. By November, all being well Americans will have latched on to their game and will hand them a huge, richly deserved defeat. In addition, the bug has triggered a panic world wide, not just in this country; that would be massive overkill. Why bother?
2. But what about the Bilderbergers? - conspiracy buffs might answer #1 by suggesting that the fat cats who meet in Davos and elsewhere and supposedly dangle all the world's governments on puppet strings, are the real instigators of this panic. A2: Yes, that is just credible, though I'd like to see a whole heap of hard evidence first. It does have this going for it: the fat cats are those running very large business empires, which are always vulnerable, in the market, to smaller, nimbler rivals. If in one stroke they could drive a bunch of those rivals out of business, it would leave them with even more power. So I'll not discard that possibility but will keep it in mind.
3. What's up in Italy? Refer please to this useful table of cases and deaths by country, and notice that Italy is an outlier. China (as the virus' origin) is the handiest entry because it indicates the probable future elsewhere, namely that deaths have tailed off to noise level after reaching about 2.24 per million; but Italy, alone, is quite different with 56.3 deaths per million already. A3: Sorry, I've no idea. Perhaps the statisticians have slipped a decimal point. Or, much more ominously, perhaps they are including in the Corona figures some of the much larger set of deaths from influenza. When the death rate here too tails off next month, watch out for such manipulation of the US statistics.
4. Whither the Dow? In a mere few weeks, the DJI has plunged from almost 30,000 to under 20,000, which is where it was when the Obama era reached its well deserved termination; the 50% gain under Trump has been zapped by a 33% loss to the bad-cold panic. Will it recover? A4: Yes, for despite all the obstacles government strews in their way, American businesses are resilient and will rebuild. When, is harder to tell; but because investors tend to be more intelligent than most, and so will come sooner to see how artificial is the crisis, tentatively I think the Dow will turn around by the end of March. It may well take a further year, or even two, to get back to 30,000. But now is a great time to buy, for any with money.
5. Cui Bono? - who else benefits, aside from Dems in the very short term? A5: Government does, unfortunately. With every violation of rights its storm troopers get away with in the name of "emergency controls" including compelled quarantines, comes a precedent for future action when the emergency is even less real. Additionally, as hard-hit firms face bankruptcy, many will appeal for taxpayer bailouts; and when those are given, they will be attached to strings that give government even tighter control. Airlines, perhaps the hardest hit of all, have already begun. They may be headed for a kind of flying Amtrack.
6. Is this like the Black Death? Or the Flu? The great plague of Europe in and around 1350 killed a third of its inhabitants: You caught the plague, you died within a week. A6: Nowhere close:
Note: in the present event, reported figures relate only to in-hospital cases; so mild ones are not recorded. Hence in total the infection rate is higher than .0054% and the death rate lower than 4%. But the total of those killed is still o.0002% of the population, or 1 in 463,000. The Flu figures are the mid-points of the CDC estimates here; they show one death in 7,800 or 59 times more lethal.
7. Could this happen in the coming ZGS? - "this" being the grotesque exaggeration of the dangers of a new virus, for political purposes. A7: No, of course not. There will be no politics, for starters. Then, should a virus appear without warning, news of its actual nature will be spread by publishers independent of each other (and of course of government, since there won't be one.) Anyone will be free to propose cures, such as Vitamin C in the present case, and to be given such publicity as that competitive news industry thinks it warrants. Individuals will take such common-sense precautions to avoid infection as they too see fit. So bring it on; the method awaits you.