Normal warning: These posts are not to entertain. They’re to put a pin in my sanity. If you want funny, please head off to reddit.
I can’t give many details but my life has been an insane roller coaster this past week. I’m not sure when the roller coaster stops. Maybe end of next week. But it’s been hard and crazy and stressful and my blood pressure is all over the place.
I’ve never had a harder week in my life.
I’ve spent an insane amount of time on iMessage this week with my Mom. She has a direct view into the medical side of the crisis and it is insane. Which means I, too, have a direct view into the medical side of the crisis. The media isn’t covering things very well but medical shortages are a real thing.
I have close friends. I feel lucky. Look, in this time, value your friends and family. Take a look around and hit them up on slack or discord chat. Do it now. Your friends make a difference.
Also, don’t be alone.
On the Economy:
I am super irritated at the media comparing what is going on right now to what happened in the Great Depression. So many things wrong here… that was a liquidity trap. There was a run on the stock market and that spooked people. Then people stopped buying bonds, banks stopped lending, people hoarded cash, and the dollar stopped moving. Do the double tap of the Great Dust Bowl and no recovery for farmers in the heartland and that’s a crash. It’s hard to dig out of liquidity trap but today, we have the tool to escape it: raising interest rates. Higher interest rates force people to go back to bonds which jump starts the banks again.
Right? Today the dollar floats. In the Great Depression, the dollar was pinned to the value of gold, which kept the fed from producing more cash or mucking around with interest rates much. (And, in the Great Depression, they refused to hike interest rates until WWII.) FDR did one of the right things, though. He put people back to work, which generated income, which generated dollar velocity, which went to businesses.
What we have here is a demand crash. The dollar (and every other currency worldwide) has simply stopped moving. People have started hoarding cash. Entire industries are shut down. There’s nothing wrong with the banks (yet) or lending or basic financial stability. It’s more like everyone on earth vanished all at once.
The infrastructure of 21st century life is there but everyone on earth has been kidnapped by aliens. Or Captain Tripps ripped through. Remember the Stand?
I see tons of economists predicting everything from V shaped recoveries (when people emerge they will start buying again) to U shaped recoveries to this low L where we’re crappy forever. The reality is that no one knows.
Because this has never happened with modern financial systems and modern financial engineering, we have no idea what things are going to look like. Making predictions now is dumb.
The bond market looks shaky, and the T-Bill keeps falling. That’s not great. But the banks are still capitalized and I believe, as long as that’s true, they’ll be able to lend once people can come out again. Lending == businesses.
Anywho. What the Media is saying is not helpful and just clickbait.