Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > USA Will Likely Suffer the Most Damage from Coronavirus Pandemic: 2

USA Will Likely Suffer the Most Damage from Coronavirus Pandemic: 2

In my previous post, I wrote about how structural characteristics of the american economy and long-standing institutional decay will likely result in USA suffering the maximum damage from the Coronavirus pandemic. In it, I also promised to talk about other related issues which make USA especially vulnerable to the direct and indirect damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These include the lack of a usable social safety net, staffing of nursing homes and elder care in general by precariat workers, ideological unwillingness of government to directly workers for lost earnings especially if they are temporary and part-time, the risk of shortages of medicines, chemicals, electronic stuff etc caused by temporary disruption of supply chains in China. So let us dive right in by starting with the issue of a social safety net, or more precisely its lack, in USA.

1] Even the most delusional ‘murican would agree that the social safety net in this country is very meager compared to what exists in other developed countries. While most west-European countries once had similar attitudes towards social safety nets, things changed a lot after WW2. There is a reason why the average European after 1945 decided that working under conditions similar to those found in USA today was unacceptable. And let us be honest about something, the European rich were (and are) not better human beings than their American counterparts. They just had to go along with what the majority in those countries wanted after WW2, or risk losing it all. However, since the USA experienced a long-boom in the aftermath of WW2 (1945-1975) most of its workers never experienced the socio-economic pressures which led to creation of the modern welfare state in European countries.

To make a long story short, socialism never took root in post-WW2 USA because the median american worker in the first three to four decades did not live through prolonged bad times. And this is also why all this current talk of socialism in USA only began after the majority experienced a full decade of stagnation and decline in aftermath of 2008 global financial crisis. So what does all of this portend for the public reaction to the fallout of this ongoing crisis. Well.. let me put it this way. Unemployment rates of over 20% (maybe even north of 30%), even if short-lived, are unworkable in a system without a decent social safety net and where the median person cannot afford to miss even a single paycheck because they have less than 500 dollars in the bank. Things will get very ugly in this country if the government cannot drop a couple of grand of ‘helicopter money‘ per household within the next two-three weeks.

2] To Trump’s credit, he is clever enough to see that this problem and seems to have embraced the idea of ‘helicopter money’. As I have mentioned many times in the past, He may not be a genius (to out it mildly) but the guy is pretty street-smart and is very ideologically flexible when he feels the need to save his behind. Mark my words, he will even channel FDR if necessary to keep the angry mob way from him. Ironically, it is loser establishment democrats such as Pelosi, Schumer etc who are talking about fiscal restraint, “deficits” and “means testing”. To be quite blunt- if Trump is successful with getting the ‘helicopter money’ thing done, along with massive stimulus for especially affected sectors of economy, democrats can forget winning anything let alone the presidency in 2020. Also, let me remind you that Obama did nothing along those lines in 2009 or 2010. And that is why he barely scraped by to win in 2012.

It does not help that between trying to nominate a used-car salesman with dementia (Joe Biden) as their candidate and shouting about Russia, Putin and Ukraine for over three years, they have not done anything big to actually convince potential new voters to vote for them in 2020. Their so-called “victory in the 2018 mid-terms was only possible because Trump was stupid enough to try repealing ‘Obamacare’ without replacing it with a better system. And in case you didn’t notice it, he has learned from that mistake. In my opinion, what happens in USA in the next few months depends on whether Trump can deliver somewhere between 2-4 k to most american households by mid April- at the latest. If he can do that + properly bailout major sectors hit by indirect effects of this pandemic- he will win in 2020. If not, he will be reviled for a long time.

3] Regardless of what he does within next 2-3 weeks, the american economy will enter a steep recession with economic contraction of somewhere between 15-20% in next few months. And no.. these are not the feverish dreams of somebody who wants to see USA fall, but conservative figures floated by people working in supposedly “respectable” banking institutions. I would not be surprised if the economic contraction (and unemployment rate) reached 30% for almost a year. This is great depression territory and much more deeper as well systemic than the GFC of 2008. You know something else, mass unemployment in a country with a functional social safety net at that time was a very important factor for the rise of Hitler to power. And not just him, since almost every strongman of the 1920s-30s (from Mussolini and Franco to many others in East-European countries came to power in the aftermath of mass unemployment and disillusionment with existing institutions and the status quo.

Since we are already close to a thousand words, I will write about the other issues raised in this post in a subsequent part of this unintentional series.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. P Ray
    March 18, 2020 at 11:38 pm

    The real surprise will be in 9 months’ time.
    Because that is when the coronababies will be born.

    We’ll discover if Santa has “slipped them something extra” then.

    In that same vein, I wonder how “male Zika babies” are doing.

    When they grow up, I’m sure they will hear about how “personality is more important than looks” to get romantic and sexual relationships.

    And I’m also sure they’ll hear about “you have to make something of yourself to earn a woman’s love”
    “Women are not property” despite you “having to earn them” 🙂

    • P Ray
      March 19, 2020 at 12:42 am

      Oh ya, we do have a grown up Zika male baby … Daryle Koltay (should be 21 this year) … would any woman getting interested in him get investigated for pedophilic tendencies (he has a mental age of 7)?

    March 19, 2020 at 9:08 am

  4. Gern Blanderson
    March 19, 2020 at 9:31 am

    On item #3 above, hopefully the government and political parties help out the ordinary Americans and avoid the fiasco of the 2008 meltdown where the government only bailed out the financial institutions and rich people and then let the ordinary people get foreclosures and lose their homes.

    So far I see some promising things. Maryland is suspending forclosures and evictions. Other places are delaying debt payments. Hopefully the banks and lenders get forced to halt interest accruing and suspend debt payments for all loans for the next few months. The government should give out extra money to all unemployed and hourly workers right now.

    If the government fumbles this, then we can assume something more radical than the tea party and occupy wall street movements will be created. Something aweful.

  5. March 19, 2020 at 10:27 pm

    here’s the “real” test to see if AD thinks this is “serious.” Did he put himself in lockdown or is he still visiting prostitutes?

  6. MikeCA
    March 20, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    As I see things in the USA, there are now two kinds of people, those that still have jobs (working from home, essential jobs, ….), and those that have been laid off, had hours cut to zero or equivalent.

    People who still have jobs don’t need ‘helicopter money’ and they are not going to spend it in anyway that will help create jobs for the unemployed. People without jobs desperately need something to replace their lost wages so they can pay the rent, make mortgage payments, buy food, pay their bills. I think the helicopter money needs to be targeted at the unemployed and needs to cover most or all of their lost wages. One or two thousand dollars of helicopter money would certainly help, but it would not get many of those that have lost their jobs through this crisis.

    The current Republican proposal is a joke. It gives $1200 to middle class, $600 to low wage workers and $0 to the lowest wage groups that are the most desperate.

      March 20, 2020 at 11:36 pm

      I endorse this candidate:

  7. Yusef
    March 20, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    “if Trump is successful with getting the ‘helicopter money’ thing done, along with massive stimulus for especially affected sectors of economy, democrats can forget winning anything let alone the presidency in 2020. Also, let me remind you that Obama did nothing along those lines in 2009 or 2010. And that is why he barely scraped by to win in 2012.”

    That’s a big “if” you got there, AD.

    I agree with you Trump is flexible and smart enough to see he must get that helicopter money a’ droppin’, but what is difficult to discern is whether or not he has the power and pull “to get those helicopters into the air.” The way I see it, what’s important now is to size up how the plutocrats want this to go down. They of course could care less if it is Trump in the White House or Joe Biden. They could care less if it is dummy brand A or dummy brand B.

    It matters how much the plutocrats want people to suffer. It is relevant how hard the plutocrats want to squeeze the average Joe. Do they want him to get a good scare? Or do they want him to taste real destitution, hunger, and the fear of starvation, and maybe even starvation itself? (Starvation and death by starvation are not at all out of the question.) They may want to use this as an opportunity for both depopulation and tighter grips on everything anyone anywhere does or thinks.

    It seems obvious to me they are in complete control. The only uncertainty is what they want to achieve. If you know that, or guess that, you might be able to play this thing to personal advantage. (Personal advantage is the only advantage available now, deplorable and immoral as it is.)

  8. doldrom
    March 20, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    The whole financial edifice will come tumbling down. It’s simple. All bonds, stocks, securities, financial constructions, loans, derivatives, whatever, are predicated on an underlying cash flow, even if it is an assumed, pretend, or expected cash flow. Once you cut off the cash flow, financial instruments have no meaning, they lose their reference. It’s like taking Kazakh tenge to America to spend. Since we’ve turned it all into an incomprehensible house of cards, where the cash flow underlying some debt is turned into an asset which is then rehypothecated to serve as collateral for a completely different (margin) debt, all layered hundreds of levels deep, all the assets and liabilities will dissolve leaving only the actual physical assets (including skills). There is no replacing that underlying cash flow, no amount of balance sheet expansion or money printing will suffice.

    The authorities have it wrong, thinking there is a strong economy which can take some abuse. It’s a house of cards. In the end there is just what exists physically, what you can produce, and services for those with a pay check. Banking is just a little intermediation and a pyramid of skimming riding on the turtle’s back.

    When this first broke early 2020, everybody should have instituted quarantine upon crossing borders, all the vulnerable (old) people put under lock down, and stocked up on anti-biotics and supplies. Then we could have slowly let the virus burn through the population, giving medical aid to those who get it severely. It’s way too late to halt this epidemic, even if we slow the spread it will burn out only if there is a vaccine or a cure. It’s great to stop the clock while the infirm flood the infirmaries, but as soon as you start her up again, we’re back to square one. Those who are healthy seldom need ICU, and there’s little evidence that infirm people eating up the ICU capacity are being saved. What can they do? Besides common sense measures for all fevers, all you got is anti-biotics and anti-fungicides for opportunistic secondary infections, and viral inhibitors. Everybody will be exposed to it in the end anyways.

    Next to the financial myth, there is the hospital myth, that as long as you get to a hospital, you will be saved. No. The hospital will make little difference to the outcome, as long as you receive some common sense care and anti-biotics.

    • Yusef
      March 21, 2020 at 8:56 am

      In a way, the whole financial system had already fallen down back in August of 2007. It went for a little more than a year before the general public got a glimpse something was wrong, in September of 2008, with the publicity surrounding the TARP bailout.

      It was just smoke and mirrors after that… There was no market, no Wall Street, no capitalism. No one who knew anything thought there was, either, but what the Central Banks and the Obama Administration contrived appeared to be designed to keep those who knew nothing, a rather large group of American people, from understanding the TARP 50% DOW dip and the “great recession” were not merely hiccups, things did not go back to normal some time after 2009 or so, and the DOW’s ascent to historic highs was not a sign of triumph.

      It is hilarious to recall Trump’s recent State of the Union address. I find it hard to believe even a megalomaniac like Trump doesn’t feel he has egg on his face when he thinks of his remarks then.

      I think what’s happening now is the dawning of a new era of exploitation and oppression of a severity unprecedented in American history. Most people will be directly dependent on the government for their incomes and the government will extract concessions from them in return. People will take direct orders from the government as to what they will and will not do. Or else. If they’ve had a taste of starvation and deprivation, they will not be complaining. They will likely be grateful. They never knew what was going on anyway.

      We don’t have a consensus here as to the severity of Covid-19. You seem to think it is more dangerous than any we’ve experienced prior to this. Whatever the case as to the virus itself, the “response” to the virus, the chaos and collapse, is where the real danger is, even if the virus is killer. If there’s no food on the shelves of grocery stores, what good is helicopter money going to do, anyway? There are real questions no one seems to be asking or answering. What is happening right now in the matters of food production, processing, and distribution? To what degree are these being safeguarded? Congress needs to address this immediately. It might make more sense to have safeguarded systems and free food at grocery stores than to mete out infusions of cash. Unless you want people to taste deprivation because you want the opportunity to “save” them from a crisis you yourself created.

      • doldrom
        March 22, 2020 at 5:58 am

        Extract concessions or confessions?
        If the current mentality survives, it will be both.

        The problem with what is going on is that there was absolutely no plan heading in, and there is no plan for an exit either. As this continues, the social and political structure will become increasingly volatile.

      • Jay Fink
        March 22, 2020 at 6:52 am

        I have a friend who lost $200,000 in the stock market the past couple of weeks. Yet he is not pulling anything out. He thinks this will be a repeat of the 2008 crash and subsequent recovery and that he’ll get it all back and then some. He has no concept that the past decade was a huge bubble that will not be blown again as hard as they might try.

      • P Ray
        March 22, 2020 at 7:35 am

        He would probably have made more money putting that $200,000 into a food venture. Or property then leverage into rent-for-sex.

        That’s going to explode with the number of people losing earning ability. And the introverts are the ones who will benefit finally.

        Easy money is also easily lost now.

      • P Ray
        March 22, 2020 at 8:31 am

        Here’s one to start you guys off:
        $1 / 12m^2 – Room available for young quiet shy lady (city/suburb here)
        Have spare double bedroom for young quiet, shy lady, any nationality, who keeps to herself, who is willing to have casual times with xxyo quiet straight guy who doesn’t have visitors.
        Attached ok.
        Age 18+.
        Very cheap rent, short or long term, part week/days ok, xx min walk to station.
        Country ladies welcome.

        notice none of the guys offering the sex-for-rent exchange, ever got Weinstein-ed. Maybe that’s where he went wrong.

  9. P Ray
    March 21, 2020 at 1:37 pm

    Ah well, at least we have this amazing picture by Shakespeare (representing the Australian crisis, we shall see how well the lucky c(o)unt(ry) fares soon enough):

    Also remember the words of Milford graduate AND basketball representative Brady Sluder: “If I get corona, I get corona,”

    • P Ray
      December 25, 2020 at 9:40 pm

      Follow up: After a tiring year of running around the world, death takes a break.
      Everyone needs to take a break.

  10. Salty Nutz
    March 21, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    Why is the government trying to bail out the hotel/tourism economies? As of now theres no cure for that HT economy. We are we bailing out an ecomonmy that does not exist because we are in quarantine. They should find a cure before they bail out those economies. Does the Pres. Trump have a conflict of interest?

    • doldrom
      March 22, 2020 at 5:49 am

      Why are we worried about getting everybody on a ventilator in the ICU?
      What is the 1 year survival rate for the 2.5% of cases that go so critical that they cannot breathe by themselves?

      It’s less than 5% for Covid-19, and it isn’t all that great normally either. Going to the hospital does not mean you will be okay, so we should think about where we are going when we put heroic medical intervention above collective survival.

      • P Ray
        March 22, 2020 at 8:35 am

        The heroic medical intervention, transfers a lot of dollars to the hospital (the doctors get a pittance in comparison).
        Maybe that’s what’s really important in a capitalist society – that the money goes to those who need it most.

  11. Yusef
    March 22, 2020 at 9:34 am

    “The problem with what is going on is that there was absolutely no plan heading in, and there is no plan for an exit either. As this continues, the social and political structure will become increasingly volatile.”

    There was no plan heading in and there is no plan for an exit, and yet this was by design, just as it was evident there had been some kind of hidden design following 9/11 when the enormous Patriot Act document was suddenly produced from somewhere, by someone, presented to Congress, and enacted immediately.

    You sure are right about confessions and concessions. Our friends of a certain ethnic persuasion are likely facing some frightening public humiliations in the coming days. We’ll need the display of their torture and suffering to take attention away from our own ruined lives. As we march off in lockstep…

  12. Yusef
    March 22, 2020 at 9:59 am

    “I have a friend who lost $200,000 in the stock market the past couple of weeks. Yet he is not pulling anything out. He thinks this will be a repeat of the 2008 crash and subsequent recovery and that he’ll get it all back and then some. He has no concept that the past decade was a huge bubble that will not be blown again as hard as they might try.”

    They can’t blow it back up again using the methods the plutocracy used since 2008, but part of what’s happening now is the plutocracy is opening up an entirely new box of new tools previously not at their disposal. You see, when capitalism blew up, they shifted to a system of command and control operated through the Central Banks. It was obvious to anyone looking and thinking what was happening, and it was ludicrous. But hey! Here we are. Everyone also knew sooner or later it was going to hit a wall because the Central Banks couldn’t command and control everything under the previous regime. (The previous regime had its good points, and they will seem as sunny summer to those who will remember them from this, our descent into a winter of discontent.) They still can’t control everything but be sure they will now command and control much more efficiently and extensively.

    What I am getting at is I don’t find it far fetched to think the plutocrats may choose to hold onto the illusions of Wall Street, stocks and bonds. It is part of the psych-op which has had multiple advantages for them. Under the delusions provided in the theater of Wall Street, people actually believe they own things, that they control things, that they have initiative, that they are shrewd businessmen, that they are, in two words: smart and free. My hunch is these illusions are as valuable to the plutocrats now as they have been in the past and they will keep them. Therefore, your friend may be okay. Assuming I have any idea what the plutocrats want out of this, which even I doubt, this may be passed off as “just the virus” and “just a hiccup.”

    Excuse me here, but if you look at the chart of the Dow over the years since 2009, it goes straight up,like a slope of Mt. McKinley. No corrections, not a one. Capitalism didn’t look like that. Recoveries didn’t look like that. For eleven years the world stood by and pretended they did. Whoever orchestrated that has the power of a Titan.

    March 22, 2020 at 10:50 am

  14. P Ray
    November 20, 2020 at 5:06 am

    Sex for rent update in New Zealand (another neoliberal hell-hole like the US, Australia, UK) …
    The women are now offering it upfront.

    Remember, when the chips are down, the pussy opens up like a flower.

    As a regular/ugly guy you must always hold something costly or hard to replace over a woman, because that is the only way to have parity over someone who gets things for free while they are fertile and attractive

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