Worst Case Scenarios

So, here we are at the end of October. Facing some worst case scenarios that we weren’t necessarily expecting to face just a few short weeks ago.

First, there is no stimulus package coming out of the Congress before the election. Trump said so yesterday. And it’s hard to imagine Trump losing and then making a mad dash to sign something while battling over the election in the Supreme Court. So it is unlikely that there will be a stimulus package anytime before February, in my estimation. I hope to be wrong, because the growth in jobs has been decelerating and people are hurting all over America. The longer a period of time someone spends unemployed, the harder it is for that person to regain employment.

Second, the virus is completely out of control. We just crossed 9 million cases in the United States since the pandemic began and are headed toward a quarter million dead in the near future. In September and through most of October, people were eating in restaurants again in large cities and planning trips. Forget that. Chicago just closed indoor dining. I have a feeling Cuomo won’t be far behind if there’s a resurgence in New York. And, of course, there will be, because there is absolutely no national, cross-border strategy to test, trace, mandate masks, reduce travel, etc. The President doesn’t even want to talk about it. Yesterday the United States reported over 70,000 new cases of Covid-19. In one day. And it’s not even cold out yet.

There’s one very good piece of news – at the start of the pandemic, you had a 1 in 4 chance of dying of coronavirus if you ended up in the hospital. Now it’s less than an 8 percent chance. Our doctors and nurses gotten better at treating people and we should be thankful for them. Remdesivir has been approved for hospitalized patients and the techniques have improved to keep people off of ventilators. But that’s a very slim silver lining on a gigantic, dark gray cloud headed our way. In Europe they’re going back to the lockdowns. What’s going to happen here?

Third, people are talking about a Blue Wave and getting encouraged by the massive early voter turnout, but it’s still unclear to me why you would expect there to be a decisive election outcome. As I debated with Barry on this week’s podcast, on what planet would any result be decisive enough for the current resident of the White House to calmly concede and walk away? No result would be decisive enough. Because he knows what awaits him once he relinquishes the presidency. So the lawsuits, the allegations, the threats, the protests that hopefully remain peaceful – it’s all still ahead of us.

Perhaps this is why we’re seeing companies report good results during the current earnings season and then their stocks get sold off anyway. Because people recognize the ground shifting. And the environment these companies produced these third quarter results in – an environment in which the recovery was working, the curve had been flattened and stimulus money was circulating – may not be the environment we’re forced to contend with this winter.

Instead, we’re back to worst case scenarios – a pandemic reasserting itself, millions of unemployed without hope of government assistance and a national political battle the likes of which this country hasn’t seen in decades.

Right now I’m just hoping for a vaccine before they send my kids back home for another round of Zoom School. Dr. Fauci really doesn’t have anything new to say. I watched him give an interview where he spent 15 minutes talking about washing your hands. It’s an embarrassment. Eight months of this s*** and counting. And now this is where we are. Again.

 

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