Friday, March 20: Trump Slump
The financial market “Trump Bump” is gone. The DJIA closed at 19,174 an implosion of 35% from its all-time high last month and erasing all the market gains since he took office. Yesterday I read that some economists expect a 12 percent decline Q2 (which would be the biggest quarterly contraction on record), yet today Goldman Sachs estimate a 24 percent drop in Q2. It’s becoming clear this will devastate the economy.
And even worse, the Trump Bump-on-a-Log is not gone. Yesterday he asked states not to report exact jobless claim figures since they are expected to be crushingly high. Goldman Sachs predicts unemployment filings to rise to 2.25 million next week. While the “Fake News” president tries to suppress the facts, no one will be able to hide from those if true.
Congress still is scrambling to cobble together a $1 trillion economic stabilization package. Already the federal aid is well over $2 trillion. By comparison, Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus package was $787 billion ($948 billion in today’s dollars). Not a single Republican in the House voted for it and only three in the Senate. That’s not Fake News.
And it was the Republican’s reckless stewardship that led to the Great Recession. The Recovery Act then was major catalyst for the fiscally conservative (and socially nutty) Tea Party movement and the retaking of the House in 2010 after winning 63 Republican seats, the largest mid-term loss of any party since 1938. The 2020 election is right around the corner and right now it’s anybody’s guess how that will turn out but I’d be sweating if I were a Republican.
We started the day with 10,000 confirmed cases in the United States, and at bedtime it’s well over 19,000. Nearly doubled in a day. Today more states issued “stay at home” orders (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois) which affects about 1 in 4 Americans.
Meanwhile on the home front (i.e. my apartment), we’re settling into the routines of confinement. I doing YouTube yoga almost daily and most lunch hours I get outside for either a run or bike ride, which is not only allowed but encouraged.
Today I rode around Mount Soledad on the Rose Canyon bike path, through UC San Diego campus (pretty vacant) and along the La Jolla coast. 18 miles at nearly 18 m.p.h. I worked up a good sweat, cleared my mind and relished the outdoors. And absolutely beautiful weather with sunshine dancing upon the wavy Pacific Ocean.
I was surprised to see so many cars out on the roads since most of the stores and offices are closed; I suspect many are just tired of being cooped up at home and need to go for a drive. And a good number of cyclists and runners, too. We’re Southern Californians so fitness is part of our DNA. Yet everyone seems to be taking social distancing seriously with wide berth as we pass on sidewalks and fairly empty beaches.
It’s alarming how different it is in Florida with reports of large beach gatherings and packed bars for Spring Break. Paul’s mom Liz says that life has been normal all week — the pool is full of kids on break, her friends are playing cards daily, and yesterday 30 went to a restaurant for a “Ladies Luncheon”. Paul has been trying to talk serious sense into her and stay home unless absolutely necessary (she’s 84). He did the math and estimates that 75 people in her park could die from this based on current trends.
I’ve been trying to get a good night’s sleep but lately I’ve been more restless as this continues to weigh mentally. We’re eating healthfully, with lots of home-cooked meals, vegetables and natural snack foods. I’m definitely eating better than before the virus (I’m doing a weekly weigh-in to see how my weight trends during the pandemic). Yet our large dinner salads may end soon as it’s getting riskier to go out and buy fresh produce.
At work we finished our week with a virtual happy hour — four of us on a video conference, beers, and no office talk. A poor substitute to actually being together in a bar but a start. It’s good we did this, and we’ll need to make more efforts in coming weeks.
Continue reading “Corona-rama Diaries: Week 2”