Economics

Economic devastation from shutdown spreads. Signs showing of deteriorating health and increased deaths caused by shutdown.

Door of a bankrupt business locked with chain and padlock. Global recession due to coronavirus lockdown by Ivan Radic is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Indications of damage caused by the shutdown are getting stronger. First articles are appearing to describe the harm to health from the shutdown.

Comments today:

  • Estimated 35 deaths from not getting cardiac care in Ontario, Canada
  • Indications people are not seeing doctors and not getting meds they need
  • Harsh impact on Jewish owned businesses
  • New vehicle sales collapsing
  • Temp layoffs transition to permanent
  • More students suing more universities, now claiming discount on tuition for missing out on the on-campus experience

Damage to health from shutdown

5/5/20 – Daily Wire – Dozens Dead After Lockdown Measures Delayed Their Heart Surgeries; Health Official: “Certainly Was Not Intended” – Count this as the first in what I predict will be an exquisitely long list of unintended consequences from putting the economy into an induced coma. The sad part is these unintended consequences were predictable and expected.

Thousands upon thousands of needed health procedures were canceled in Ontario, Canada in order to make room for the massive surge of coronavirus patients which never arrived.

New study in Ontario estimates that 35 people are dead because their heart surgeries were postponed. There were 12,200 surgeries and other procedures postponed each week.

California starts first few steps to start opening up the stalled economy.

Economic doors will start to open on Friday – Opening or closing? by Paolo Gamba is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Friday of this week, 5/8, California will take the first baby steps to revive the state’s economy. Some retail stores will be able to provide curb-side delivery of products.

I don’t quite know how many people will order clothes online in order to pick them up at a store’s curb, but that is a first step.

At least half the value of a bookstore is browsing the shelves to see what book you really have to read right but that you previously didn’t even know existed.

Well, it’s a baby step.

Several articles describe the beginning here in the state. First article describes that government officials better start opening up quick or they will find the everyone already has done so.

5/1/20 – Forbes – Apple Data Shows Shelter-In-Place Is Ending, Whether Governments Want It To Or Not – Apple and Foursquare are tracking data that show people are getting out more.

Three states tighten the shutdown while others start to revive their economy.

Green line is the unemployment rate in every state of the country. Red line is the financial health of universities, restaurants, airlines, and every small business.  Sinkender roter und steigender grüner Pfeil symbolisieren das Auf und Ab des Aktienmarktes by Marco Verch is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

With extremely short notice, governors of Arizona and Tennessee extended the lockdown and economic shutdown in their states. California governor orders beaches closed in the county with lowest infection rate, leaving open beaches in county with three times higher rate.

Meanwhile, many other states are trying to allow their economies to re-start.

Arizona extends lockdown

4/29/20 – Fox 10 Phoenix – Gov. Doug Ducey extends Arizona’s stay-at-home order to May 15 – The shutdown and lock-in for Arizona was scheduled to expire in one day as the governor extended the economic catastrophe by 15 more days.

Economic stats show rapid disintegration of economy. Collapse in physical and emotional health won’t be this easy to calculate.

Unemployment office by Bytemarks is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The economic statistics are rolling out to show the initial impact of the shutdown of the economy.

The collateral effect the shutdown and isolation will have on deteriorating emotional and mental health along with increased mortality due to postponed or canceled medical treatment will take years to quantify.

New stats in last few days:

  • 3.8 million new unemployment claims this week
  • New unemployment claims in six weeks are now equal to 18% of the people who were working in February
  • CBO expects unemployment rate to average 11% for 2020
  • 4.8% annualized drop in GDP for first quarter

New claims for unemployment

4/30/20 – Department of Labor – Unemployment insurance weekly claims – Another 3,839,000 people filed an initial claim for unemployment in the week ending April 25.

Massive hit to the aviation industry from the pandemic.

Pictures in February 2016 at Minneapolis airport. Photo by James Ulvog.

The entire aviation industry, including airlines, plane manufacturers, engine producers, and maintenance, will be devastated from the pandemic and shutting down the economy.

4/27/20 – Wall Street Journal – ‘Welcome to Your Flight, Nathan.’ Traveling During a Pandemic Means Having the Plane to Yourself – My first, second, and third reaction was to chuckle when reading an article describing multiple commercial flights with only one passenger. The description of pilots making the standard welcoming announcement that greets the sole passenger by name is funny.

Then I shuddered in fear at the absolute devastation to the entire economy from most fights being almost empty. The financial destruction will require years of recovery.

Untold numbers of airline, ground transportation, hotel, restaurant, and food vendor companies are being shattered. Incalculable numbers of companies will not survive.

A lovely sight not many of us will get to see in the near future. Photo by James Ulvog.

Work that collapse back to the airplane manufacturers…

Plans for California economy to slowly, gradually revive over the next year or more.

It will be months before you can visit one of these places in California. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The California governor has laid out some general plans on how the state eventually will be taken off lockdown. There are four overall phases stretched over the next year or more. Highlights include:

  • Curb side pickup from retail stores will be allowed perhaps in weeks.
  • In-person worship services and getting a haircut will be allowed months from now.
  • Stay-at-home orders will not be lifted for a year or more.

Schools may start early, perhaps even in July. That will be conditioned upon schools having the ability to maintain safe distances between students.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

The graphic provided by the state describes the four stages:

The shutdown will be relaxed, one way or another.

Time to use the other side of those signs. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

If the politicians don’t start relaxing the lockdown and letting people pay their rapidly accumulating bills, bunches of people are going to take the initiative and do so on their own.

I sense there is a limited time for those in power to start loosening the extreme restrictions or people are going to start ignoring parts of the rules.

At a deeper level, the concern I have is what’s referred to as the “social contract.” Government gets its authority from consent of the governed.

If a large number of people get to the point of concluding the rules in places like California and Virginia are unnecessarily severe and are causing more health, mental, social, and economic damage than they prevent, people will conclude our leaders have broken the contract.

If we get to that point, respect for law and respect for public officials will decline. That is not a good place to go.

 

Next two articles point out a small number of people who have already reached that conclusion:

4/20/20 – Daily Wire – “Social Shredding”: Defiant Residents Grab Shovels, Dirt Bikes After Cali Authorities Dump Tons of Sand In Skateparks For ‘Social Distancing’ – Officials in San Clemente California noticed teenagers were committing the grave sin of skating in the city’s skate park. Well, that is patently unacceptable, so the city dumped 37 tons of sand into the skate park in an effort to shut down the skating. Since the park is at the beach, sand was readily available.

Well, the city officials did not take into consideration the incredible level of creativity present in humans, especially Americans.

Damage from the shutdown is growing day by day.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Damage from the shutdown is getting more visible; it is growing, spreading every day.

Hospitals and surgeons have been devastated by stopping what is considered ‘non-essential’ care. Many hospitals may go under. Going under is what farmers are starting to do with their crops. After a panic like we are in, who has liability if anyone gets sick and thinks they caught the bug in a store, restaurant, or business?

Devastation in health care industry

4/23/20 – The Federalist – Instead Of “Flattening The Curve,” We Flattened Hospitals, Doctors, And The US Health Care System – Outside of New York city, hospitals have not been overwhelmed. That means it is time to open up the medical system to allow “non-essential” services.

Example cited include Florida which was projected to have 465,000 hospitalized patients by April 24 only having 2,000 on April 22.

It is time to end the physical, emotional, and financial destruction caused by the lockdown.

With the ongoing shutdown we are getting way out there onto dangerously thin ice. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

We are past the point where the damage caused by the lockdown is greater than the damage caused by the coronavirus.  The damage could start compounding.  Here are just a few of the recent articles making this point:

4/22/20 – The Hill – The data is in – stop the panic and end the total isolation – A medical doctor says it is time for our leaders to examine the evidence instead of hypothetical guesses and then carefully let the country start operating again. He cites five factors ignored by people who want to keep the country in ongoing lockdown:

Fact 1: The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19.

Fact 2: Protecting older, at-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding.

Fact 3: Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem.

Fact 4: People are dying because other medical care is not getting done due to hypothetical projections.

Fact 5: We have a clearly defined population at risk who can be protected with targeted measures.

Keep in mind California will probably be on lockdown until August and Virginia may be locked down until a vaccine is in use.

Two severe medical problems are being caused by and will be prolonged by the severe lockdown.

Good news in some states for people who like to pay their rent and put food on the table. Bad news for California and Virginia.

A deep freezer, used for keeping large volumes of meat and vegetables frozen. That’s where the economies of California and Virginia are going to be stored for a long time. Image (but not commentary) courtesy of Adobe Stock

Many states are starting to open up their economy.

Virginia may be closed down tight for up to 24 more months.

California may not open up until August.

August.

There will be incalculable medical, emotional, and financial damage in California and Virginia from the lockdown. More on that momentarily.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Good news

On the bright side, getting most attention for opening are:

  • Texas
  • Georgia

Other states are thawing because they also don’t want to bankrupt everyone, destroy all the hospitals, further tear down overall health levels, and permanently cripple their economy. List includes:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Mississippi
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

And then there is Virginia and California.

More entries on the list of economic sectors devastated by the shutdown.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Hat tip to Behind the Black for the legwork identifying additional sectors of the economy that are collapsing. Large segments of the economy I haven’t mentioned before:

  • Home sales
  • Housing construction
  • Apartment rentals
  • Clothing production
  • Flower trade

Damage to these sectors won’t immediately heal the moment state governors decide they will allow the economy to come back to life out of its induced coma.

Home sales

4/21/20 – Fox Business – US home sales plunge 8.5% in March, and it may grow worse – Sales of existing homes dropped 8.5% in March. Article use the word “cratered.”

Economic news: Surge in new unemployment claims; unemployment rate starting to rise.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Another huge jump in new unemployment claims. The rise in count of people without work is barely starting to show in the unemployment rate.

It would be wise to start watching the economic stats more closely than usual.

4/9/20 – CNBC – US weekly jobless claims jump by 6.6 million and we’ve now lost 10% of workforce in three weeks – Another surge in new unemployment claims announced today. Here is a recap:

Economic damage from pandemic is severe and will continue to be severe.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

We are starting to see some guesses about the economic damage from the shutdowns driven by the pandemic.

When you read about the 10 million people who have filed for unemployment in the last two weeks and consider there will be millions more and the unemployment will continue for another month or two, ponder the ripple effects.

That shock of unemployment translates into cars not purchased, summer & Christmas vacations not taken, conferences not attended, college enrollment delayed a year, fancy wedding receptions never planned, and house renovations postponed by a decade.

4/5/20 – Wall Street Journal – State Shutdowns Have Taken at Least a Quarter of U.S. Economy Offline – Study by Moody’s Analytics estimates that 29% of the U.S. economy has shut down. That is the estimated drop in output we have already seen.

Some of the staggeringly dangerous hits to U.S. output and wealth:

Permanent injunction halts proposed overtime rule

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The proposed new overtime rules that would have required overtime pay for anyone earning less than $47,476 a year will not go into effect. I do not know if any parties will try to file an appeal, but doesn’t seem to me that is very likely.

The federal judge who issued a temporary injunction last fall has issued a final ruling that the proposed rules violate federal law. The reasoning (if I understand a condensed explanation correctly) is federal law includes a duties test which the proposed rules would essentially make irrelevant.

For more details, check out a Wall Street Journal article on 8/31/17: Texas Judge Quashes Obama-Era Overtime-Pay Rule.

Article says the current administration is working on a new rule, which would likely set a new dollar threshold, but which would be lower than in the previously proposed rules.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

Total cost of Alexander’s rampage

Tetradrachm from era of Alexander the Great. Image courtesy Adobe Stock.
Tetradrachm from era of Alexander the Great. Image courtesy Adobe Stock.

This will be my final post on the finances of Alexander the Great.

Professor Frank Holt’s book The Treasures of Alexander the Great: How One Man’s Wealth Shaped the World explains the ancient record does not give us enough details to estimate the total expenses paid by Alexander as he rampaged around the world.

The total expenses based on identifiable items in historical narratives is aggregated by the professor in a formula as:

  • 189( X) + 69,176 talents