A Word About the Horrid Spike in Unemployment Claims and Why it’s Even More Horrid Than it Appears

No one has ever seen anything like this.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET:

This morning, the US Dept. of Labor announced that 3.283 million people had filed initial unemployment claims in the week ended March 21. We were warned yesterday that today’s initial claims would be horrid. In his press conference yesterday concerning the coronavirus, California Governor Gavin Newsom said that California by itself had “just passed the 1 million mark” in unemployment claims since March 13 — and this might include claims to be reflected in the next reporting week.

And it’s going to get worse. The five largest counties of the San Francisco Bay Area were the first major region in the US to go into lockdown on March 17. The State of California followed on March 20, toward the end of the unemployment-claims reporting week (through March 21), and many other states followed within days – and many of those claims were filed after this reporting week had ended.

This is the mind-blowing effect what started to happen in the week ended March 21:

The report by the Department of Labor this morning listed some sectors that were particularly hard hit by “COVID-19 virus impacts”:

  • Services industries broadly, particularly accommodation and food services;
  • health care and social assistance services;
  • arts, entertainment and recreation;
  • transportation and warehousing;
  • manufacturing industries.

However, this horrid spike in claims only shows a partial picture.

Since the end of that reporting week, lockdowns have spread to many other states, and companies in those states are now struggling with how to cope. Many companies had already laid off people before the lockdowns – and this is reflected in today’s unemployment claims. But much of the fallout from those lockdowns and their secondary effects will be reflected in future reports.

The gig economy, as the US economy has been called due to the growth of business models that shift labor from employees to contract workers, is unprepared for this. Under current rules, gig workers cannot file for unemployment claims – though the stimulus package will change this. And for now, they have not filed for unemployment claims. But their hours of many have been cut, and others lost their gigs entirely.

This includes musicians whose gigs were eliminated when bars, restaurants, and clubs shut down. It includers actors and singers and artists. It includes Uber and Lyft drivers whose business has dwindled. It includes self-employed vacation-rental entrepreneurs with some units on Airbnb that no one is booking because the travel industry has shut down. It includes tech workers whose projects have been put on hold. It includes instructors and coaches of all kinds – such as figure skating coaches, language coaches, and corporate coaches. And so on. Many millions of people.

Those who are self-employed and the rug suddenly got pulled out from under them could not file for unemployment, and they’re not included in these unemployment claims.

But these gig workers, freelancers, and the self-employed may find new help: Under provisions in the stimulus bill, some of them (not all) may become eligible to file for unemployment compensation. If this comes to pass, it will be a form of life-support for those that qualify, and it will produce an additional tsunami of unemployment claims over the next few weeks.

Then there is this: this unprecedented and sudden explosion of unemployment claims caused a number of state websites for unemployment claims to crash intermittently, delaying the claims. The difficulties people had getting through the system at the end of the reporting week likely pushed a number of claims into the next reporting week. States that had intermittent crashes of their sites reportedly included New York, Oregon, Colorado, Kentucky, and other states.

The stimulus plan in Congress and various efforts by states and municipalities have provisions that would encourage and pay companies to not lay off their employees if the company is under lockdown. If a company, such as a restaurant or a manufacturer retains its employees or hires them back, it would pull these people off the unemployment rolls and back into the universe of the “employed” – even though they’re not working.

The details of these programs will become clearer over the next few days, and it will be interesting to see how many companies follow through in not laying off people or hiring them back.

A side effect is that there will be many ways for companies to game these programs as the rules are being cobbled together at breakneck speed, under heavy influence of lobbyists, and smart folks are already trying to figure out how companies can benefit from it without retaining those jobs.

Nevertheless, and despite the gaming to be expected, those efforts will be immensely welcome by companies and will soothe the pain of some of the employees, and if and when eligible, of gig workers, freelancers, and the self-employed.

Here is the first inkling of what’s in store for home sales. Read…  How Will Coronavirus Lockdowns Impact the US Housing Market? First Data Points Are Out. They’re Ugly

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  274 comments for “A Word About the Horrid Spike in Unemployment Claims and Why it’s Even More Horrid Than it Appears

  1. Phoenix_Ikki
    Mar 26, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    No doubt this will be bad short and long term but apparently it’s irrelevant for the market for the pass 3 times, given the 2T sugar high they just got. Either that or our population has short of a attention span, this news of COVID19 is already behind us from a fear perspective…

    • Mar 26, 2020 at 2:31 pm

      $2T going on $6T. We have a short attention span because our consolidated, beholden media outlets do, who would have us continue with toilet-paper hoarding based on a “pandemic” with a fatality rate converging to the same level of H1N1 (WHO report on China). An illness for which the median age for fatal cases is the exact same as the national life expectancy (Italy’s Instituto Superior di Salut). The AVERAGE age of Italian fatalities is OLDER than our overall lifespan in the USA on a good day. So people are moving on? Good. Unemployment and financial hardship raises suicides (already our #9 killer in the US), overdoses and you name it, for DECADES, not just one cold season. #I’mOverCV19

      • Mar 26, 2020 at 2:35 pm

        Correction: Istituto Superiore di Sanita

      • joe saba
        Mar 26, 2020 at 9:46 pm

        fed hitting $6 T tomorrow going to $12 T(that’s just to get the everything bubble going again – see they lost lot of air)
        peasants will get $1,200

    • Thomas Roberts
      Mar 26, 2020 at 3:27 pm

      Phoenix_Ikki,

      We are only in the beginning stages of the CCP Coronavirus outbreak, at some point in the coming months, there will be single days where 1000+ die in America alone, that will cause some panic.

      • Phoenix_Ikki
        Mar 26, 2020 at 3:39 pm

        Let’s see how it will turn out. I certainly do not hope more death but being realistic I agree that’s likely the case. What I do want to see is the market finally sticking closer to reality and fundamental, the last 3 days four digit gain is freaking nuts especially with dire forecast and really bad news such as unemployment coming out. Probably wishful thinking that it will revert back to more sane level with more drops to come and retest the bottom. Can you imagine though, if Dow end up melting back up close 29k in a short time before this whole pandemic plays out…what are they gonna say now? Ooopsy? We spent 2T plus more from Fed so we can re-inflated the bubble and prevent real price discovery while not addressing the real impact and fallout of lower and middle class? Actually scratch that, these people have no shame and wouldn’t admit that kind of calculation error if it slaps them in the face.

        • Thomas Roberts
          Mar 26, 2020 at 6:17 pm

          The coronavirus situation will end eventually, and hopefully the world, will prepare for future pandemics. If everything goes to plan the actual percentage of people that die will be very small under 1%, but sensational it will be.

          As for the markets, a recession was widely predicted to hit this year already before coronavirus, the coronavirus has basically kicked off the recession and that will be what effects the markets long term. It’s not what people want to hear but, stock market is hugely overvalued, my guess is that if the Dow Jones industrial average reflected the entire stock market, the Dow would be actually worth 5 to 10 thousand.

        • Mar 26, 2020 at 7:36 pm

          The answer for the market is on your beer mug: “Nothing goes to heck in a straight line”

        • intosh
          Mar 26, 2020 at 10:42 pm

          @ Thomas Roberts

          The “very small” 1% is about 3million people in the US. You realize this right? Even 0.1% is 300,000 people. About 3000 were killed by 9/11 attacks.

      • SteveK9
        Mar 27, 2020 at 6:57 pm

        7,500 people die in the US … every day, without a virus. You have to put numbers in context. Not to sound harsh, but when people are shrieking about 100 deaths in the US, they simply don’t know what that means in a non-personal sense.

        • Mar 27, 2020 at 8:36 pm

          SteveK9,

          No one is shrieking about 100 deaths. But this is just the beginning. If you let it go for too long, you’ll end up with what happened in Wuhan. I don’t think we’ll ever know how many people died there because of the virus, and then also because their healthcare system was totally overburdened, and people died of other things that couldn’t get treated (strokes, heart attacks, injuries, etc.). There are now stories coming out about families being allowed to pick up the urns of their deceased loved ones — and there are apparently a lot of urns to be picked up. This thing is not a joke.

    • Mike
      Mar 26, 2020 at 3:51 pm

      Fear will increase. The NY governor’s clear, cogent, truthful analysis must inspire confidence. Unfortunately, too many have been deceived by others (not Cuomo) into believing that the consequences will be minor (1% or less of infected dead) and falling again into the normalcy bias: believing that normality will soon resume and our former, financial bubbles will soon be blown into ever larger sizes.

      Panic may resume when the death rate and number of infected rise more. The unemployed will wisely be reluctant to take risky jobs so the rate will stay high. However, many will not have a choice.

      Truth will eventually come out. This will be an important moment of American history, like after Pearl Harbor’s dead were counted.

    • Cruiser
      Mar 26, 2020 at 5:06 pm

      DC, already wildly balance sheet insolvent, is blowing its “budget” to pieces in dramatic fashion and the Fed is blowing up the US dollar. Care to guess where such behavior always leads? If in doubt just look at human history…there are many examples.

    • max
      Mar 26, 2020 at 5:45 pm

      Total assets held by the Fed rose by $586 billion to $5.25 trillion in the week through May 25, according to data published Thursday on its website.

    • sierra7
      Mar 27, 2020 at 6:42 pm

      Phoenix_Ikki:
      “….this news of COVID19 is already behind us from a fear perspective…”
      Oh, I don’t think so!
      I believe the “fear” is still building not only of the virus and it’s spread but what comes with it, the horrible discombobulation of the (global) local workforces. And it is now building to a crescendo!
      One positive slant is that many small/medium size businesses (my info from Silicon Valley) as competitors are actually communicating to share how they are coping with this disaster from customers to workforces. Some are actually making deals with those competitors from other parts of the greater Bay Area to cover for each other in servicing their customers with or without re-reimbursements.
      The greatest fear is that the downside will last so long that their businesses will just collapse from want of patient customers or just plain lack of incoming capital.
      No, the fear is still there and rising.

  2. Jon
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    The stock market is climbing up n up for last 3 days.
    It’d be interesting to see when and if people have no money or little money with lots of financial insecurity, then if they’d spend money on discretionary items.

    • Martin
      Mar 26, 2020 at 1:29 pm

      It is not about small investors anyways. These were huge institutional investors withdrawing their funds from the stock market in fear of mass bond defaults. Now that the stimulus hit and the FED is buying all BBB junk bonds, they feel safe and that’s why ‘re falling all over themselves in an attempt to reenter the stock market sufficiently early. At least that’s my theory of the case. If the FED is successful with their plan we shall all be reliefed even if it means we missed the best moment to go all in. We don’t know though.

    • Mar 26, 2020 at 2:38 pm

      But is that REALLY what drives the stock market? Regardless, the Fed will now buy stocks on our behalf, so all is well. Maybe someday the Fed will start buying discretionary items for us. ;)

      • Mike
        Mar 26, 2020 at 4:14 pm

        I wouldn’t be surprised if the Fed bank cartel paid its banksters to buy stocks to inflate the market. However, given the level of lack of preparation at the federal level, and refusal to take emergency action, such manipulation has no chance of success over the long term.

        We are in an airplane that is diving toward a big mountain and the pilot refuses to even try hard to pull up unless we praise him and say he never made any mistakes. Things will not turn out well ultimately.

      • Martin
        Mar 26, 2020 at 5:58 pm

        The Fed does not buy stocks

        • FromKS
          Mar 26, 2020 at 7:01 pm

          Yet. LOL.

        • timbers
          Mar 26, 2020 at 7:02 pm

          Wasn’t there something about the Fed to start accepting stocks as collateral, for one of it’s new free money policies to the massively over indebted investor/gambler types?

        • TownNorth
          Mar 26, 2020 at 9:17 pm

          Aren’t they taking equity stakes in airlines?

        • Mar 26, 2020 at 9:31 pm

          The Fed lends money to entities that can buy stocks and put those stocks up for collateral at the Fed:

          https://wolfstreet.com/2020/03/23/what-are-all-the-feds-corporate-investor-bailout-programs-and-spvs/

        • cb
          Mar 27, 2020 at 10:57 am

          How much difference is there between the fact that the FED “can’t” buy stocks, and the fact that the FED can, as Wolf points out, loan money to third parties who can buy stocks?

      • polecat
        Mar 26, 2020 at 6:35 pm

        You already have some ‘discretionary’ TP, stashed in that thing one calls a wallet, or a purse … it’s called a federal reserve note !
        But it appears that those government sanctioned butt wipes are going to be sorely lacking for the plebs – and soon !

      • Peter
        Mar 26, 2020 at 9:47 pm

        What if the Fed buys all the toilet paper?

    • Memento mori
      Mar 26, 2020 at 5:07 pm

      The Fed is destroying capitalism in this country and has been at it since Greenspan put.
      I cook my own bread and used to buy at Costco 25lbs baking flour bags for $6.47. I challenge anyone to find this item anywhere in the US currently. The only place is ebay where it is selling for $70 a bag. Unbelievable!
      Reminds me of the collapsing days of the Soviet Union where as the government started printing, products started disappearing only to resurface later at the black market which eventually became the free market, at much higher prices. I suspect we will get a shock price adjustment on most things.

      • RT
        Mar 26, 2020 at 10:23 pm

        We got a bag of 50 lb bread flour in our local Costco business center for about $13. But they were running out as of this Tuesday.

        We got the 25 lb all purpose flour for $6 to $7 at another local Costco recently as well. Haven’t check on if they still have it. Maybe will check on it during the weekend. It was out for a long time until we finally got a shipment. Not sure how long will be the next shippment for the flour when this batch is gone.

    • timbers
      Mar 26, 2020 at 5:26 pm

      We better hurry up and bailout the health insurance companies. We need them. Who cares if people can’t afford health insurance. That’s not what’s important.

    • timbers
      Mar 26, 2020 at 7:14 pm

      Maybe the rising stocks are due in part to quarter end rebalancing? With stocks having fallen so, some funds have to buy equities to get back required level.

    • sunny129
      Mar 26, 2020 at 7:51 pm

      “We Are Underwhelmed By This Low Participation Rally” Morgan Stanley

      The rally of the past three days is certainly in line with what traders had grown accustomed to because as Morgan Stanley’s quants describe the move in the market in recent days, it has been a “low participation rally.” Lack of Volume on the upside rally! As the market was in free fall from 21st Feb, SX5E futures have been printing $100-$160bn a day (vs. normal volumes of $40-60bn). In contrast, “the rally in the last week has taken place on very low volumes comparison”Shockingly, only $1.4bn traded net @ offer during the rally, which is incredibly low relative to spot move —–
      More volume on DOWN days than during UP days. Doesn’t bode well(retail investors) for those who bought into this mkt with horrendous unemployment numbers which will get worse by every week, here after! will know by the end of next week! It defies all the logic even if it is for ‘balancing’ the portfolio!

  3. Seneca's cliff
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    I think there will also be some opportunistic layoffs that were coming for other reasons but can now happen and be blamed on Covid-19. A classic example is one that Wolf has been talking about for a year or more now, class 8 trucks. Yesterday Daimler layed off most of their factory workers from the Western Star plant in Portland ( as well as other Daimler truck plants). They blamed it on not being able to keep social distance on the assembly line, but I am sure running out of backlog had something to do with it.

    • Thomas Roberts
      Mar 26, 2020 at 6:35 pm

      A theory floating around online is that “diversity hiring” and “SJW culture” will be strongly hit. Another theory is that it will also lead to alot of firing of older higher paid people to be replaced with younger cheaper people. And finally, alot more automaton will be rolled out.

      To go with what you said, I do think alot of big “and medium sized” companies put off firing lots of redundant people, because, it will look bad, lower stock price, and make it harder to hire new people they do need, “people would be put off from applying to companies that just fired a bunch of people and good people that work for that company might think they could be next and jump ship”, recessions and lockdowns give a good opportunity to do the layoffs with less repercussions.

      • Lisa_Hooker
        Mar 27, 2020 at 1:53 am

        This is precisely what happened to employees in 2008-2009.

      • Canadian
        Mar 27, 2020 at 11:54 am

        Diversity hiring is a thing because the composition of the customer base is changing. You need to have the customer represented in the company in order to sell to them.

        Companies made up of old white straight men are going to find it almost impossible to compete in the economy of Gen Z, which is majority non-white and exceptionally diverse in every other way.

        So-called “SJWs,” taken to an extreme, can be annoying. But this conservative delusion of a return to overconfident white straight men returning to a position of unquestioned power and privilege in business and commerce is pure fantasy.

        • sierra7
          Mar 27, 2020 at 6:52 pm

          Canadian (and others)
          “SJW’s”????
          “Social Justice Warriors”?
          (Some of us are not in the “in” crowd”)

          Mr. Richter:
          Your response about the Fed “….buying all the TP”…..”Maybe they did” brought a welcome giggle to the fray!

        • Mar 27, 2020 at 8:30 pm

          sierra7,

          Yes, “SJW’s” = “Social Justice Warriors”

  4. Jackson
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Our “elected” Federal House and Senate members failed once again. A single $1200 payment obviously is not enough. Every individual with an SSN should be given $2500 a month and an emphasis on small business grants until COVED-19 is under control. The bill should have been split with big corporation issues deferred. Since a realistic time frame for a vaccine is 12-18 months, this will allow for functional oversight provisions to be put in place so we don’t go through another 2008.

    • IdahoPotato
      Mar 26, 2020 at 1:30 pm

      According to the Swamptastic provisions of the bailout bill, small businesses aren’t just those with under 500 employees (as is the traditional definition). A specific exception has been made for some specific grifters in government who own hotels and restaurants:

      Per NYT:

      “… on Page 15 of the bill, there is a section with the title “Business Concerns With More Than 1 Physical Location.” It says this change in federal law will apply to companies that fit “a North American Industry Classification System code beginning with 72” — a reference that turns out to mean the hotel and restaurant industry.

      The provision says that if a company owns multiple hotels, even if the overall hotel or restaurant chain has more than 500 employees — the limit to qualify for treatment as a small business — it will still be able to take advantage of the small-business benefits offered in the rescue package.

      That means loans from the federal government worth up to 2.5 times the firm’s monthly payroll that will not have to be repaid if the company uses them to keep paying employees during any coronavirus shutdowns.”

      • Mar 26, 2020 at 2:41 pm

        So… they’re bailing out Trump?

        • Seen it all before, Bob
          Mar 26, 2020 at 5:29 pm

          It looks like it.

          Does payroll include executive bonuses for the management who thought this up?

        • Steve
          Mar 27, 2020 at 1:21 pm

          There is specific language in the bill that exempts all Trump property from any bailout money. If you’re going to spin the data, spin it correctly.

          The man may be an idiot but he didn’t cause global climate change, WWI or WWII, poverty, hunger or the numerous other BS that have been attributed to him and he will not benefit from the aide package.

      • polecat
        Mar 26, 2020 at 6:48 pm

        Great! Recourse for All … of the FEW !!!

        FUCK THIS SHIT!

        apologies to Wolf for my cursedness .. but I mean Really !!
        This is blatant, in ‘the mope’s face’ piracy for the $ole benefit powerfully avaricious !!

        It Has Got To STOP !

        • polecat
          Mar 26, 2020 at 6:50 pm

          ‘of the” powerfully ..

      • IdahoPotato
        Mar 27, 2020 at 3:40 pm

        @Steve

        Sorry to disappoint you.
        https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/us/politics/virus-fineprint-stimulus-bill.html

        “Democrats proudly announced that they had won agreement on language to block President Trump, other government officials and their families from receiving assistance from a $500 billion fund to be administered by the Treasury Department.

        But it turns out that the provision might not preclude funds from going to companies owned by the family of Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, while Mr. Trump’s companies would not be barred from benefiting from other elements of the bill intended to help broad swaths of American business.”

  5. jo6pac
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Sadly only the beginning.

    Jackson
    I agree except corp. Amerika should have to take out loans and small business should given money to stay in business and pay employees with no repay on their part.

    I know it will be done just the opposite by are so-called leaders.

    • polecat
      Mar 26, 2020 at 1:46 pm

      Bu bu but sMALL business is the economic rock of Murica …. right ?? That’s what all your Mayors, your Governors, your Congrease folk, and your President .. Any president, say !!

      Yeah, a rock all right … tied to the plebs, and free for the sinking !

  6. kk
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Today the UK has announced £2500 per month grant (i.e non-repayable) to every self-employed person who can continue to work during Covid 19!

    • Paulo
      Mar 26, 2020 at 2:16 pm

      KK,

      Canada has implemented $2,000 per month for this 4 month emergency 1st package, and it goes to all Canadians, employees, small business owner or gig worker, provided they made at least $4,000 gross in 2019. I guess the assumption is any lower they are probably on social assistance, anyway. There are other loan packages for large corps etc. Plus, more is on the way.

      It isn’t just for a household if there are two or more employed adults in residence.

      My Province of BC has also made it illegal to fire someone who gets sick or laid off from Covid 19, and all landlords get an immediate check and for the next 4 months of $400 per month. Also, now illegal to evict for someone sick or unemployed from the virus. Mortgages are deferred, and banks are getting a talking to about CC rates and debts. More news coming.

      Industries will be getting support, including the oil industry. Strings attached to corporate help.

      Our Province has also taken over the supply chain to ensure adeqaute groceries and medical needs are met. Needed ventilators and PPE supplied by the Federal Govt.

      • Paulo
        Mar 26, 2020 at 2:31 pm

        Forgot: You have to apply for it and actually need the funds. I won’t apply and don’t need so won’t get.

        I also believe most people want to work and prefer to work rather than get a stipend. I also believe that most people want to do a good job when they do work. I ran crews and have always believed this while accept that many don’t in our society.

        • polistra
          Mar 26, 2020 at 3:01 pm

          Sounds like BC is doing it right, and your wisdom is also welcome.

          Politicians of both parties assume falsely that people would rather have welfare. Conservatives hate it and talk about Tocqueville and Largesse; Liberals love it and talk about UBI. Both are wrong, and the history of elections proves it. People want to work, not to live on welfare.

  7. IdahoPotato
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    Don’t break the fragile hearts of the deficit hawks. What will they do if any money goes to the unwashed masses?

    Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) after the $1.5 T tax cut bill for the billionaires in 2017:

    “tax cuts are a net positive for his constituents back home…. He said he had some reservations about the bill adding to the debt, but added that he’d want to just cut spending to make up for it.”

    Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) after the 2020 stimulus bill:

    “If it were just about helping people to get more unemployment (benefits) to get through this calamity . . . then I could be for it,” he explained. “But this is $2 trillion. Divide $2 trillion by 350 million people — it’s almost $6,000 for every man, woman and child. I’m talking about spending. This won’t go to the men, women and children. So if you have a family of five, this spending bill represents $30,000 of additional U.S. national debt because there is no plan to pay for it.”

    • Gordian knot
      Mar 26, 2020 at 1:27 pm

      Free money to the masses can not happen it informs the slaves that they are slaves. That message can not be allowed.

      • Mar 26, 2020 at 1:44 pm

        and KY is one of the poorest states in the union

        • IdahoPotato
          Mar 26, 2020 at 1:49 pm

          People deserve who they elect.

        • MF
          Mar 26, 2020 at 2:32 pm

          IdahoPotato: That’s only true when they’re given actual choices. When there are 2 candidates offered, both from different wings of what is essentially the same party of the status quo, it’s not a real choice.

        • IdahoPotato
          Mar 26, 2020 at 2:37 pm

          Enough with the “bothsiderism”. If you think “both sides are the same”, you aren’t paying attention. I am female and brown and I am so tired of this useless meme spread by armchair intellectuals who don’t need to worry about people mansplaining to them about reproductive rights and everything else under the sun.

        • MF
          Mar 26, 2020 at 2:56 pm

          So your position is that we’ve been offered a non-neoliberal, pro-worker choice lately?

          Bernie came close, but somehow Biden rode in from the back of the pack. It was truly a miraculous recovery. Speaking of Biden, is he the candidate that most reflects your interests? There rest of the field didn’t measure up in their reproductive-rights stances?

        • timbers
          Mar 26, 2020 at 5:32 pm

          IdahoPotato, MF is exactly correct. Each side agrees on most/all of the big policies and seek to marginally differenate themselves with social identity issues that don’t impact their rich donors, the purpetuate an illusion of choice.

        • VintageVNvet
          Mar 26, 2020 at 7:18 pm

          Gotta agree that both sides are socialists: R are socialists for the Rich, hence the R, eh; D are socialists for the downed and out, hence the D.
          Is that enough to call them all (OK, almost all) just paid puppet politician slaves of the oligarchy? Works for me…
          While back, when I said I did not vote for either pres candidate in 16 because I considered both crooks, comment here was that I just had to vote for the lesser of two evils; no way. (BTW, I did vote for all the down ticket list.)

        • IdahoPotato
          Mar 26, 2020 at 7:58 pm

          @MF,
          No, Biden does not best represent my interests. Neither does Bernie. I will leave it at that.

    • Canadian
      Mar 27, 2020 at 11:57 am

      Selective hatred for deficits is a uniquely partisan disease. :)

  8. TimTimNiceButEverSoDim
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    At some point the general pain may get to the stage where somone has to take a fall, the blame.

    On the scale of this sort of pain, that may mean countries pointing the finger at other countries. We know to what that may lead.

    Perhaps it’s time to buy shares in arms manufacturers and not the sort that just make sidearms.

  9. George W
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    As tax revenue dries up how will it be replaced?

    No matter how much debt the treasury sells there always seems to be somebody their to buy it up.

    When will supply outstrip demand?

    With a 2 trillion stimulus package combined with the loss of tax revenue, US debt could easily climb by another 3 Trillion to around 26 Trillion. The drop in US treasury yields should also make US debt less attractive.

    The Coronavirus is accelerating the US charge, into the abyss.

    • jyl
      Mar 26, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Treasury issues bonds, primary dealers buy them, Fed buys them from primary dealers with digitally created money. Not the way it’s supposed to work but how it’s going to work in the short term. Next year, who knows.

    • cb
      Mar 26, 2020 at 1:42 pm

      Many keep asking: Where will the money come form?

      It is no mystery. They will create it, as they have been doing for a long time. Add a zero or two or three; instant digitaized money.

    • Social Nationalist
      Mar 26, 2020 at 1:42 pm

      Stimulus is not what I would call it. More like paying rent during the shutdowns.

    • John Marks
      Mar 26, 2020 at 1:44 pm

      No worries. The Fed will buy everything!

  10. michael
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Wolf there is another example that invalidates your thesis of your “nothing goes to heck in a straight line.” :-)

  11. cb
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    Wof says: “It includes self-employed vacation-rental entrepreneurs with some units on Airbnb that no one is booking because the travel industry has shut down.”

    That is an interesting description. Are they not just landlords? Are landlords self employed? How about bondholders? If those Airbnb owners are not leveraged, they can weather the storm. If they are leveraged, trouble is at hand. A big issue in the fragility these emergencies expose is debt. Debt is the Devil’s work. It drives asset prices. It puts pressure on housing for families, when families have to compete with Airbnb buyers. The larcenous FED, their banksters and their bought politicians, and all the apologists for the FED, have done this country a dis-service.

    • Social Nationalist
      Mar 26, 2020 at 1:45 pm

      Debt is the foundation of capitalism. Without it, capitalism simply isn’t attractive enough.

      • a citizen
        Mar 26, 2020 at 5:19 pm

        Covetousness is the foundation of socialism. Without it socialism isn’t any fun.

      • Lisa_Hooker
        Mar 27, 2020 at 2:11 am

        The foundation of Capitalism is building using cash flow, and accumulation of profits. In the US that foundation was almost completely replaced in the 1970’s by debt financing.

        • cb
          Mar 27, 2020 at 11:06 am

          The foundation of Capitalism is ownership of capital. Capitalism can be great, if you own a good amount of capital. If you don’t, perhaps not so much.

      • Heff
        Mar 27, 2020 at 5:57 am

        Huh? And Socialist style countries don’t use debt?

      • Canadian
        Mar 27, 2020 at 12:00 pm

        Debt is the antithesis of capital. It reduces the ROI of capital and creates enormous overhangs.

        Employed cleverly, it can result in the generation of new capital by putting someone else’s money to work.

        However, most debt issued today isn’t to build capital — it is to fuel consumption beyond one’s means, and to fuel speculation in real estate, securities (including insane buyback schemes), etc.

    • Mar 26, 2020 at 3:45 pm

      Are hotel/motel owners landlords?

      • exiter
        Mar 27, 2020 at 1:55 am

        All rentiers are self-employed to the extent they are rentiers or other forms of coupon clippers or skimmers or dynasty recipients.

    • Mar 26, 2020 at 3:56 pm

      cb,

      Vacation rentals are lumped into the hotel and lodging sector. Apartments or houses for lease are lumped into the housing sector. So Jenifer who bought two condos that she put on Airbnb as vacation rentals is an entrepreneur in the hotel and lodging business. John, who bought two condos and rents them out via a lease is a landlord.

  12. Endeavor
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Why buy Treasuries now with no yields for probably many years to come?
    I would rather buy oil stocks knowing that ‘the cure for low oil prices are low oil prices’. May take a while, but prices will rise eventually from this level due to producers deciding to cut production or a weakening dollar. Can anyone say the same about Treasuries or even the FANG stocks?

    • Keepcalmeverythingisfine
      Mar 26, 2020 at 1:58 pm

      Spot on correct. Treasuries are dead money going forward. I have been buying Big Oil and the S&P 500 Index since last week. This bear market happened so fast one barely had time to start dollar cost averaging in on the down slope. We may not be at the true bottom of this one, but it is time to start looking over the valley to the other side. Buy American Made.

      • Doctor Moriarty
        Mar 26, 2020 at 6:32 pm

        We’re not even close to ‘peak death’ for the virus in USA, the homeless have not even been hit in the major city’s.

        This week is the dead-cat bounce, once people read the 800+ page ‘Trump Hotel Bailout” plan, they’ll realize that $2.5T will not do it, they need $10T/week, then the Congress fights&fights ( like Rome burning )

        Go ahead ‘invest’ in the stock market casino.

        We’re not out of the woods. Just because Trump ordered the virus out of the USA by Easter, doesn’t mean it will listen.

        • Canadian
          Mar 27, 2020 at 12:02 pm

          “$10T/week”

          That’s silliness. The entire US economy produces $21.4 trillion in a year. There is no need to spend half of a year’s economic output per week… literally no case for it.

          Silly hyperbole is the enemy of reason.

        • Steve
          Mar 27, 2020 at 3:15 pm

          “Silly hyperbole is the enemy of reason” along with ‘Trump Hotel Bailout’ plan. Good god does nobody actual read…

          Trump establishments are all exempt from any bailout money.

          Stick to facts or label as opinion or lose all credibility.

    • a citizen
      Mar 26, 2020 at 5:21 pm

      Think of them as you would zero-coupon bonds.

  13. bebe rebozo
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    Wolf, almost every cent the US Government spends ends up in the hands of a financial or non-financial corporation. Have you ever seen a figure that would quantify that number ?

  14. Joe
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Oh, no, Joe…

  15. JFP
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    @Endeavor

    F and G will be fine. If anything, they will benefit from the ongoing implosion of internet advertising on a lot of publishers, and the increasing privacy crackdown. I’m less confident about the A and N. I second your opinion on oil stocks. Banks also look really cheap.

  16. Ed C
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Stimulus might keep people from going hungry and homeless but how does it help a shut-down economy that will remain shut down for how long? Why is the stock market rebounding like it is? Fed/Gov’t has the market’s back? Really?

    • Social Nationalist
      Mar 26, 2020 at 1:52 pm

      Short squeeze. Then comes the next decline

  17. FinePrintGuy
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    The reason gig workers can’t file a claim is because they didn’t pay the tax/ premium during the good times. So now gig workers, who never paid UI tax premiums via payrolls, will now get to file a claim. I paid the tax all my working life and now they are gonna swamp my insurance pool dry before I may need it. Great…

    Not that this whole thing is gig workers fault, but since they didn’t pay in they really should be the first to go out and “hustle” a new job delivering stuff or stocking shelves or whatever is out there. Amazon is paying OT right now.

    • Petunia
      Mar 26, 2020 at 2:48 pm

      Gig workers get 1099’s from their employers, the employers have to issue the 1099 to get the deduction. Even if the gig worker didn’t file a return, the IRS will catch up with them eventually, if their income is high enough. BTW, all this unemployment money is fully taxable, as is the helicopter money, so everybody will have to account for it as well. This govt money is going to bring more people into the system.

      • Mar 26, 2020 at 4:16 pm

        Petunia,

        The way I read FinePrintGuy’s comment is that gig workers, though they pay income taxes and SS, do not pay into the state unemployment fund; and the companies that hire gig workers don’t pay their portion into the state unemployment fund either.

        And that’s correct. In other words, no one pays into that unemployment fund for the gig workers. And the reason is gig workers are not eligible to receive unemployment compensation.

        • Petunia
          Mar 26, 2020 at 4:54 pm

          Now that gig workers are eligible for unemployment, it is bound to change and it should. Gig work is real work.

          My father-in-law had a seasonal summer job in retirement and he got to collect unemployment in the winter months. It wasn’t much but he got something.

      • FinePrintGuy
        Mar 26, 2020 at 7:33 pm

        I hope Gavin Newsom and company go after these gig startups and get reimbursed for their employee’s and contractor’s UI claims. Claw back the bonuses, IPO money, options, whatever it takes to make the California tax payer whole.

    • neplusultra
      Mar 26, 2020 at 3:27 pm

      Yeah, your attitude is the reason we’re in the mess we’re in right now. Try punching up sometime, buddy. Gig workers aren’t your enemy smh

      • run home run
        Mar 26, 2020 at 10:16 pm

        In virtually old states, self-employed are required to pay into un-employment insurance, even small business.

        So there is nothing stopping the ‘gig worker’ from paying into the fund.

        Ok, now is a pandemic, so all will be taken care of.

        I remember years ago, when I shutdown my biz, I got a letter from un-employment that said “Dear Sir, we understand your business is closed, would you please sign this document to release us from future obligation to pay you un-employment”. Of course I ignored the letter, I have never filed un-employment in my life.

        But I did pay into the un-employment fund for me&my employees for 25+ years. Funny that the first thing they did when I shut the biz down, was ask me to exempt my self from claims.

        Funny

        But even 40+ years ago, all small biz, and self employed people ( that be you gig worker ) are required to pay into the fund.

        Go to love it, they never pay in, but then when everybody gets to go on un-employment all of a sudden they love the gov, but the entire point of the ‘gig’ in the first place was to be ‘outside of the grid’, now all of a sudden with no work they want to be “In the grid”.

        • Canadian
          Mar 27, 2020 at 1:44 pm

          Most gig workers don’t make a living wage the way people who “pay in” (sic) do, but I guess in contemporary America the working class and working poor can just starve… while the wealthy and powerful get an endless flow of free cash via bailouts, bail-ins, and subsidies.

          You’d think Americans would study history and see what happens to unbalanced societies with extreme wealth gaps and an enormous group of marginalized people with no income and no opportunity, and value a bit of smart investment in societal welfare over revolution.

        • VintageVNvet
          Mar 27, 2020 at 2:09 pm

          Depends on the US state as to if ‘gig’ or self employed pay into the unemployment. Some states do not require any income or any other taxes, some have both/all you can imagine, including state, county, and city income taxes.
          As to the gig workers not making ‘living wage’, I guess that too is dependent on the state or area: Last time I was ”gigging” I almost made the CA living wage, outside of SF or LA, approximately only $120K per year will do it… IDK about SF these days, likely double that, eh?

    • cb
      Mar 27, 2020 at 11:15 am

      Only in America, would we focus on the injustice of gig workers getting something for free, while the corporatists and bankers are stealing our breakfast, lunch and dinner.

      • Canadian
        Mar 27, 2020 at 1:46 pm

        A quick perusal of conservative web sites shows more outrage over a few billion dollars of food stamps going to the working poor than over a trillion bucks a day in free money being made available to the powerful and connected by the Federal Reserve.

        The Republicans have trained their lapdogs exceedingly well.

  18. Mar 26, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    It could be that our economy has gotten a tad fluffy? Even middle class people keep a retinue of service providers, yoga instructors, personal trainers, therapists. Growing up we had pretty much none of this. People did their own plumbing, their own carpentry, and their own auto repairs. Landscapers? Haha. I can imagine a 1960’s world with a much smaller economy, based on production not service. It took fifty years to get from there to here, but maybe only fifty days to go back?

    • Social Nationalist
      Mar 26, 2020 at 1:54 pm

      Own plumbing and carpentry??? Nope. What a dumb post.

      • Ed C
        Mar 26, 2020 at 2:25 pm

        My father did his own plumbing and electrical. He was an electrician but he had no problem joining copper pipes. I call in the pro when I need help.

        • Harrold
          Mar 26, 2020 at 3:54 pm

          I bought a house like that once.

          Self taught electrician and plumber who did all his own work. It was a nightmare every time I had to open up a wall.

        • RD Blakeslee
          Mar 26, 2020 at 4:37 pm

          After I got done building my house, which included plumbing and all, I’ve maintained it for 42 years.

          Social Nationalist: I wouldn’t call your post stupid – more like perverted.

      • A/C in SD
        Mar 26, 2020 at 3:08 pm

        SN,

        Don’t slight Mr Ambrose, it’s not a dumb post at all. As anyone that does their own work as much as possible knows, it’s better to pay yourself than pay someone else that has to charge a significant overhead. I’ve done it for years and have saved thousands as a result. How about you, Hummmmm………….

      • Dan Romig
        Mar 26, 2020 at 4:31 pm

        There are a lot of people who can fix and build. I am one of them. Go to a Home Depot and you’ll see a lot of us.

        My trademark is combining 4130 Chrome Moly tubing that’s coped and TIG welded with 1″ by 4″ maple boards. Strong, simple, and all designed to fit me and my home.

      • economicminor
        Mar 26, 2020 at 5:05 pm

        I built the house I live in. Did the framing, sheeting, electrical, plumbing, drywall, tile work, real hardwood floors and even roofed it. I am getting old now and often hire people to do the repair and maintenance now but I have a very nice home that is totally paid for.. Most of that payment was sweat equity. Today it is even easier as there are many Youtube videos showing you how to do most everything.

        I also have the security of knowing that there is little I can’t fix. Which has always been a huge asset. Don’t belittle the craftsmen/women.. Your life wouldn’t be what it is without them. And almost anyone can do most anything if they put their mind and back into it.

      • VintageVNvet
        Mar 26, 2020 at 5:09 pm

        Not so fast SN: Lots of folks, including me and my two sons, do own PB, EL, carpentry, painting, etc., etc. Both boys also still maintain and fix their own vehicles, boats, as I used to do when I knew the name of each item under the hood.
        My grandfather did the same, and also built himself a 45′ sailboat as his retirement home, wouldn’t let anyone else touch it in the 7 years it took him to build it, ”only in spare time,” not on vacay time IOW… Lived on it in the Bahamas 15 years with the goal of doing so on only the $100/month income from SS and not touching his capital.
        Lots of folks do all their own skilled manual labor.

      • The Original Colorado Kid
        Mar 26, 2020 at 7:22 pm

        Social Nationalist: I suspect you’re young and urban if you’ve never heard of anyone doing their own plumbing etc. Very common out here in Colorado.

      • Lisa_Hooker
        Mar 27, 2020 at 2:24 am

        SN – what a moronic comment. I do my electrical, plumbing, carpentry, HVAC, etc. I hire for well and septic as they require heavy equipment I do not wish to rent. I hired for a new roof as I’m getting to old for that size project. There are still a lot of folks like me.

      • Heff
        Mar 27, 2020 at 6:10 am

        Wrong. You’re projecting your inadequacies. Just because you’re incapable of doing any sort of trade type work does not mean everyone else is the same. I do every type of trade at my homes and have been for years. I’ve never had an issue and the work is better than what I could have payed for because I take my time and do it right.

        • Canadian
          Mar 27, 2020 at 1:49 pm

          I once made the mistake of buying a home from someone who boasted of his ability to do HVAC, plumbing, electrical wiring, etc. himself.

          $30K in repairs to pipes and wiring later, I learned my lesson.

          Most “do it yourself” work is deeply sub-par, and I refuse to purchase any home these days without an agreement mandating that all DIY work be disclosed — and insisting on a price adjustment should any of the DIY work involve major repairs.

    • Paulo
      Mar 26, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      I saw my Dad build a fence once, thankfully he never built the house or plumbed it. (I’m a carpenter and do my own plumbing, wiring, roofing etc).

      But what Ambrose said, in general, I totally agree. Yoga, trainers, therapists, spas, etc are all unnecessary, imho. Add to that most tourist related work, including airlines.

      We need to build things again and buy from our communities.

      • Frederick
        Mar 26, 2020 at 2:56 pm

        Paulo Same here carpenter but over the years I’ve become a mason, tile installer, electrician, concrete finisher, plumber and hvac man I also hung entire houses of drywall, shackled them and painted I also did my own foundation work for many years I actually enjoyed expanding my skills Never got boring doing the same thing everyday One thing I refused to do was hardwood floor finishing Those machines and the dust was just too much

        • Mar 26, 2020 at 3:29 pm

          an aside, the economy then was biased in favor of tradesmen. There were two prices at the lumber store, or the auto parts dealer. I call Harbor Freight a preppers best friend, and the home improvement stores, one price for everyone. DIY on Youtube, there are two worlds here. The shady tree mechanic now has a code reader. We are ready for the barter economy, we just don’t know it.

        • Bet
          Mar 26, 2020 at 4:37 pm

          I learned how to lay tile , sheet rock I can tape and float smooth walls. Perfectionist. I learned how to frame. Put up siding. Put in windows. Doors. Refinish. I am re trimming my entire house in craftsman style . Now I am collecting wood working tools. Took a hand tool joinery class from boat builders in port Townsend last June. I can sew clothes. Do leather work. Bought me a light industrial sewing machine last year. Skills. That’s where it’s going to be at. Working with your hands will make a comeback I think and I want to be useful
          And I a chick. Baboom!

        • Canadian
          Mar 27, 2020 at 1:53 pm

          If you’re a DIYer who is competent, you’re in the fortunate minority.

          Those unlucky enough to purchase a home that has been “fixed” by the typical DIYer know the enormous costs in fixing slapdash and subpar “repairs and enhancements.”

          I now demand a full disclosure of all DIY work as a contractual requirement before settling on a home purchase. The “savings” from slapdash repairs and work end up costing tens of thousands of dollars later.

    • TimTimNiceButEverSoDim
      Mar 26, 2020 at 2:47 pm

      There is a photo you can find on the BBC of the Prime Minister’s weekly catch-up with the Queen.

      Look at the phone she’s using :)

    • Clete
      Mar 26, 2020 at 4:11 pm

      Ambrose — In the last three weeks I’ve done minor auto repair, carpentry, and plumbing…none of which I’m remotely qualified to do. YouTube and the guys at the hardware store are full of good info if you want to learn.

      • VintageVNvet
        Mar 26, 2020 at 5:20 pm

        Agreed Clete: my fave was watching a u-tub video re unclogging the front loading washing machine a couple of times, then, when following directions, finding exactly the same items, including the very same coins and bra wire, and similar buttons as was shown in the video. Blew what’s left of my mind!
        BTW, never had any ”appliance” experience before then, now fix some things, but still call in the shade tree guy down the block when I get stumped.

        • Canadian
          Mar 27, 2020 at 1:55 pm

          The washer clogged because you didn’t read the manual and remove those sundry items from pockets. You also skipped the chapter calling for the filter to be cleaned on a weekly basis.

          Do that, and the washer will work well for years to come.

    • Iamafan
      Mar 26, 2020 at 5:33 pm

      My garage still has all my carpentry equipment. Some of my cabinets at home were built by me. I repair and restore what I did not make.

      Plumbing? A few benzomatic torches and wrenches since that’s all it takes + resin.

      I still own 4 snowblowers, 2 lawn mowers, and a ton of landscape equipment. I do my own landscaping and snow removal.

      Sometimes my kids help me clear snow for which I am thankful.
      I volunteered to teach kids carpentry when the city was building a park.
      It was the first time they help a screw driver and learned to use a square. Pathetic.

      • WES
        Mar 26, 2020 at 6:53 pm

        Iamafan:_

        Oh, hell I got all you diy guys and gals beat!

        I cut my own hair too!

        • Iamafan
          Mar 26, 2020 at 7:58 pm

          You beat me. My wife doesn’t want to cut my hair. Sides are bulging now. All shops are closed here.

        • Mar 26, 2020 at 9:43 pm

          My wife doesn’t want ME to cut my hair.

          I had a big long pony tail twice in my life (at 15 and at 35). I guess, if this drags out, it’ll be time again, only this time, it’ll be mostly gray, GRRRR

        • VintageVNvet
          Mar 27, 2020 at 2:18 pm

          I am truly envious of you Wes. I bought a new hair clipper three weeks ago, the day I first saw the likely effects of this virus and decided I didn’t want anyone putting their hands near my head and face; tried and failed to do it myself, so now have to make an appointment for my wife to do it. Already paid for clipper.
          Still think we should all consider bright red mo hawks until we ”clean house, Senate too.”

      • Massbytes
        Mar 26, 2020 at 7:54 pm

        What is nice about plumbing these days is you really don’t need to solder copper pipe like in the past. PEX and push on connections have really simplified it all.

  19. seb
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    In the Senate bill, there is a provision that anyone receiving unemployment will receive an extra $600/week on top of the state. This equates to a $15/hour wage rate/week. If you are a business owner in the midwest and are paying $10/hour – why not just lay off your folks so that they can receive the $15/hour from the Gov and then hire them back when the four-month period is over? Doesn’t that create a perverse incentive to lay workers off? Many of the folks who my wife manages would make more money if they were laid off for the next 4 months and the organization would save the money.

    • Petunia
      Mar 26, 2020 at 2:51 pm

      No business that can continue to function would layoff workers for the workers benefit. You know better than that.

    • Mar 26, 2020 at 4:21 pm

      Yes, but it also says that if a small business doesn’t lay off it’s employees, they don’t have to pay back the loans the bill is offering.

      “The “Paycheck Protection Program” would provide 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If the employer maintains payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to recover quickly from this crisis. This proposal would be retroactive to February 15, 2020, to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls.”

      • Lisa_Hooker
        Mar 27, 2020 at 2:37 am

        So I guess we get the loan, hire back, then sit around and play pinochle? Always wanted to learn pinochle. The country will need good pinochle players when/if the economy grows.

  20. The Original Colorado Kid
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Our local FB pages are filled with people begging for work – any kind of work, even just a few hours. But nobody can go anywhere unless essential, as we’re under a lockdown. The ski areas nearby laid everyone off and now everything else is closed, too, except essentials and take out. This is the view from the bottom of the economic ladder, where people live paycheck to paycheck because they literally have no choice. Things are looking grim.

    • Petunia
      Mar 26, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      Things are so bad we have been able to buy toilet paper two days in a row. It’s one per customer and the store is not busy.

      • Rowen
        Mar 26, 2020 at 5:51 pm

        all the grocery stores now start the day with senior hour. They’re taking all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer. I had to get my mother into Publix to purchase that stuff for me.

        • Lisa_Hooker
          Mar 27, 2020 at 2:39 am

          Ah, the benefits of a top-down planned economy.

  21. Deanna Johnston Clark
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    My daughter is the bookkeeper/manager of a very popular Greek restaurant on the river…tourists, hotels, every sort of employee a port city can hire to wash dishes, cook, wait tables. Cops eat free for gossip…
    She’s in the middle of this insanity at her computer right now with her phone jammed with calls to get them unemployment comp.
    Ports have so many off grid people, stowaways, even kids running from the bad guys.
    Never a dull moment !!
    Nobody’s reporting, but on St. Joseph’s Day the swallows returned to San Juan Capistrano and the UK govt. downgraded the Covid virus to lees serious. Neither miracle interests our news.

    • Frederick
      Mar 26, 2020 at 3:01 pm

      I got laid off in 1981 newly wed with a baby at home Never even bothered to file even though I could have Just went door to door getting any kind of work I could Roofing, tree work whatever Turned into a pretty lucrative business within a few years and I graduated to buying lots and building spec houses later Government handouts wasn’t for me but it was touch and go till I got on my feet

      • Harrold
        Mar 26, 2020 at 3:58 pm

        I assume you didn’t use any of those low interest rates to finance any of those houses?

        • RD Blakeslee
          Mar 26, 2020 at 4:44 pm

          Don’t know about Frederick, but my son built his “fortune” by building some and restoring other houses, which he rents.

          His construction loans were 6-month no interest credit cards, paid off with the proceeds of a mortgage when the house was finished.

      • a citizen
        Mar 26, 2020 at 5:02 pm

        Well done!

  22. Social Nationalist
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    A production based economy is impossible because not enough labor can be generated to make it viable. This was the big change that occurred after WWI

    • Petunia
      Mar 26, 2020 at 2:58 pm

      If it is produced, it can be produced here. I know it will be more expensive but so be it.

    • Mar 26, 2020 at 3:22 pm

      Greenspan addressed these issues a couple decades back. One think he asked for was more natural gas development, (fracking, check) and for more open immigration, which where we went retro. I tell my friends who retired early, their pensions are going to break (check) and they will have to go back to work, and they will be $10hr manufacturing jobs, and you will need one to survive.

      • cb
        Mar 26, 2020 at 7:12 pm

        Greenspan is a self important maggot. Scum of the first degree.

        • Lisa_Hooker
          Mar 27, 2020 at 2:44 am

          Greenspan was a hard gold bug. Look it up. Read his paper. Attitudes change when you get a well paid government job.

        • Mar 27, 2020 at 9:34 am

          Yes but then there was Fed policy. The devolution of their role in economic development duly noted.

  23. seb
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    I work at a church and churches are not required by law to pay into state unemployment. Some churches do voluntarily because they recognize the obvious benefit during difficult times but most do not.

    Does anyone know if – like gig workers and self-employed – churches may be thrown into the mix?

  24. Shawn
    Mar 26, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    Holly Molly! OMG! A picture is worth a 1000 words and you will only see a picture like that on wolfstreet. The financial media is so sanitized they will never tell us what is actually happening form a broader historical perspective.

  25. Michael Engel
    Mar 26, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    1) Bad news day, but SPX is up on short covering and falling volume.
    2) SPX will build a cause. For how long and where it will go, nobody know. SPX > Feb 2018(L), the TR support line that became resistance.
    3) QQQ weekly was stopped by the 3/12 & 3/19/2018 gap and
    bounced back up, above Oct 2018(H). QQQ have entered the 4/29 & 5/6/2019 gap, that started the Apr to Oct 2019 6M TR.
    4) Today QQQ(H) might be an UT > 8/27/2018. Time will tell.
    5) QQQ weekly tumbled under the cloud and bounced above. Chikou, the lagging price is > the cloud, T+K and the lagging closing price. That’s very positive,
    but its only Thurs afternoon, not Fri close.
    6) QQQ weekly 12/24/2018 to 3/23/2020 is a support line trending up..
    IF price breach the cloud and support, chikou will be in negative territory, at least for a while.
    7) Since the cloud base is a flatbed, QQQ might osc around the cloud
    bottom, up and down.

  26. George W
    Mar 26, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    A service economy is a fragile economy.

    When does everyone get called back to work?
    No timetable is being offered on the end of the Coronavirus just
    feel good talk about unfunded stimulus packages.

    The US economy may be able to survive a few weeks being put on hold but not months.

    • Social Nationalist
      Mar 26, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      A service economy????? Lol, all economies are with “living standards” are service economies. Since 1924, service economy is all you got.

      • RD Blakeslee
        Mar 26, 2020 at 4:48 pm

        Social Nationalist: Are you totally unaware of that part of the economy which does not operate according to your cynical dicta?

    • Petunia
      Mar 26, 2020 at 3:01 pm

      This crisis will allow companies to fire older workers and replace them with younger cheaper labor. They can hire anybody they want now.

      • Lisa_Hooker
        Mar 27, 2020 at 2:53 am

        Same as 2008-2009.

      • Mar 27, 2020 at 9:31 am

        Anecdote my grandfather was forty when the first depression hit, and he went looking for work, and he came home, sat down and cried. He said ” I am too old,” to my grandmother. He lost his bus company and went to work for Greyhound. Larger corporate franchises grew and thrived. Not sure if the SB programs they are doing is going to level the playing field.

  27. Eferg
    Mar 26, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    I agree with others here that our elected swamp dwellers have failed us. They have produced a pork barrel of epic proportions. However, many, like myself, have not been economically impacted. I do not believe the government should be sending checks to people who have not been hurt economically. The inconvenience of not eating out on occasion is unworthy of a $1,200 payment.

    What percentage of the workforce is out of work? I do not think it is a majority. Relief really needs to go to those who have lost income and the ability to sustain themselves as a result of government actions. This applies to businesses as well as individuals. This would be more difficult to administer, but doing the right thing seldom is the easy thing.

    I think the swamp is laser focused on maintaining themselves, not supporting the nation. The few that want to do the right thing have to go along with tons of pork to get some relief to those in need. This is a sad time for what was once the great United States of America.

    • Social Nationalist
      Mar 26, 2020 at 2:25 pm

      It’s the majority

      • Frederick
        Mar 26, 2020 at 3:07 pm

        Majority? What you smokin there Nationalist? Not if you believe the gubmint numbers it’s not and I agree with Eferg people who aren’t effected shouldn’t be getting money But how do they decide who to give the money to I’m sure there would be a ton of fraud

        • neplusultra
          Mar 26, 2020 at 3:37 pm

          Impossible to administer. Good luck rolling out a timely stimulus package that is so targeted. We’d be months and months in to this thing before the money starts flowing. And anyway, that’s not the point of a stimulus injection like this. You give it to only folks who desperately need it and it goes towards debt or rentiers. Everyone gets it and maybe you get some actual productive economic activity going

        • Lisa_Hooker
          Mar 27, 2020 at 2:58 am

          Frederick – We should let Social Nationalist decide who gets the money, although probably won’t be satisfied with only that. I am sure that there is much more that could be improved.

    • Bobby Dents
      Mar 26, 2020 at 2:45 pm

      What your talking about is reimbursing people for the shutdowns. That is simply impossible and a “inefficient” package is all your going to get. For many people, most of the rebates will be spent on rent, mortgages, food, supplies during April/May. It will be gone by July.

      It sounds large, but in many ways, it is not.

    • Petunia
      Mar 26, 2020 at 3:04 pm

      The cheapest part of this package will be all the $1200 payments. It’s a cover for the real money being spent.

      • Endeavor
        Mar 26, 2020 at 3:16 pm

        So true. The $1200 will be recycled into the corporate world because most people will pay debts owed to same corps.

        • neplusultra
          Mar 26, 2020 at 3:39 pm

          bingo. they’ll do anything to ignore the debt elephant in the room. consumer, student, etc. it would be the most effective action but they lose their control over the populace

        • RD Blakeslee
          Mar 26, 2020 at 4:51 pm

          And some of us off-beat folks will stack it in PMs.

        • Frederick
          Mar 27, 2020 at 12:09 am

          RD Blakeslee You WV guys sure have a lot of common sense I like that

      • FinePrintGuy
        Mar 26, 2020 at 7:52 pm

        Bingo! Look at the text of these bills. Its hundreds of millions to various existing departments and for items that seem to have no bearing on Corona Virus related problems. With 5 Rep senators out, Dems saw their opportunity took it. Well played.

    • cb
      Mar 26, 2020 at 7:17 pm

      The government would have done fine helping individuals and families just by enhancing unemployment and welfare.

  28. Les Brod
    Mar 26, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    Does anyone know the number of states that did not report their
    claims today?

  29. Bobby Dents
    Mar 26, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Sadly Wolf, not many posters on here understand how bad things are. The contraction in growth will be sharp. It won’t be until Memorial Day things start returning to normal. Will take years for the economy to re reach debt bubble highs though. May be another recession in a couple of years as well. The 1957-58 virus/recession was met with a sharp reversal 58-59 then another recession in 1960.

    • Iamafan
      Mar 26, 2020 at 5:39 pm

      That’s because most people never OPERATED a business (be it small or not).

      I did since the 90’s but I am retired now. I don’t know how a small business (collectively, the ones that hire most of the workers) can survive weeks or a few months of no business income. I am not even sure if big ones can make it.

      This hand out is to make people forget about a depression.

  30. timbers
    Mar 26, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    Instead of encouraging more debt, the Fed should discourage it and encourage more savings. And stock buy backs should be banned.

    There. I said it.

    When do I get my Nobel Prize?

    • Social Nationalist
      Mar 26, 2020 at 2:52 pm

      Not possible in a capitalist economy. You can’t save in a contraction without public debt. Ignorance like this posts represents elitist thinking in a nutshell.

      • timbers
        Mar 26, 2020 at 3:03 pm

        With you on public debt. MMT works and has been working since the Dawn of Man – funding Wall Street bailouts, tax cuts, and military. It’s only why we suggest MMT for The Little People, folks come out of the wood work to laugh at it.

        Am referring to Fed encouraged private, Fed subsidized/bailed out debt.

      • Wisdom Seeker
        Mar 26, 2020 at 3:40 pm

        @Social –

        I believe Timbers was lamenting the sad situation we were in that made us so vulnerable. The time for the savings was BEFORE the contraction. So you can weather it. Elitists running debt at > 300% of GDP have destroyed the economy’s resilience against adversity. Many businesses with no cash, decimated revenues, and mountains of debt due to buying back overpriced shares are going to be destroyed – even with the stimpack.

        • timbers
          Mar 26, 2020 at 3:43 pm

          Yes. Thanks. My similar response…hung up in mods…

      • timbers
        Mar 26, 2020 at 3:42 pm

        Was referring to private debt encouraged by Fed QE & rate suppression…not govt debt which I agree is needed now.

      • RD Blakeslee
        Mar 26, 2020 at 4:55 pm

        I save, contraction or not, the things I produce for myself, like timber, Social Nationalist. Your doctrines are incredibly fanatical.

        Talk about “elitist thinking”. How about fanatically doctrinaire thinking?

      • cb
        Mar 26, 2020 at 7:22 pm

        What capitalist economy are you talking about?

        You can save in a contraction without public debt. Anytime you spend less than you earn, whether your earnings are expanding or contracting, you save.

    • TimTimNiceButEverSoDim
      Mar 26, 2020 at 3:00 pm

      timbers,

      If the ambitions and aspirations of several generations could have been met with that approach, savings as opposed to debt, there wouldn’t be such a mess.

      But… what will be the point of saving fiat currencies so laden with debt if belief in their value fades away….and there is subsequent hyperinflation?

      What does anyone think of the possibility of their being at some stage, like in Germany in 1925, a Revaluation?

      • Social Nationalist
        Mar 26, 2020 at 3:40 pm

        Again, I don’t get this post?? Fiat currencies, bub all currencies. The Metal currency era was full of currency collapses including the US in the 1840’s.

        You won’t get hyper inflation because not enough dollars are being created that move into the economy aka peoples hands. This is what you do not get.

        • Bobby Dents
          Mar 26, 2020 at 3:56 pm

          Good call. I don’t know why more people can’t get this. The economy was close to 21 trillion nominal dollars. In the post-war era US treasury printed more money to keep deficits low and it eventually caused a overload by the late 60’s. Alot of money in this era is asset and prone to massive destruction. This causes deflation as the real money base has been strangled since the mid-70’s. 1-2 trillion of debt doesn’t come close to expanding the money supply, to the levels people on here expect to cause “hyperinflation”.

          Being the reserve currency demands debt to fill in dollar shortages. When you have a shortage, you are FAR away from inflation.

          You have to understand Social, Wolf markets to the rentier class and they are generally older people with asset savings. They need higher rates to hit higher levels of income and its hows they aren’t getting them. So they whine a lot, say how great the gold standard was despite persistent bread and supply lines from 1873-1939 on and off(I got letters by my great grandfather standing in one during the 1908 downturn, it sucked). The mass poverty, malnutrition, consistent currency crisis, and generally ill healthy is why anti-capitalism was such a “thing” during this time. But these posters are bourgeois state pampered by government oversight that stopped financial panics and partially nationalized investment during the post-war era when the US was needed to rebuild. It was a bubble into itself, but provided these people with a long “benefit” of the reserve currency and inflated incomes to be rentiers.

          If you want higher rates people, you have to print the money until the need for dollars is simply satisfied. I mean, that is what you want.

        • Rowen
          Mar 26, 2020 at 5:55 pm

          And you won’t get any inflation at all with 1-2M fewer people…

      • EchoDelta
        Mar 26, 2020 at 3:59 pm

        Keynes addressed this at the time-the hyperinflation was due to the fact that the Treaty of Versaille ending WWI demanded reparations in gold and foreign currencies that could not be repaid in marks or in manufactures, etc. Clemenceau wanted paybacks for losses France suffered in 1871 and for hosting WWI.

        Right wingers frequently gripe about Keynes and his economics, often because his work has better predictive value than theirs.

        see The Economic Consequences of the Peace for background on that.

        • Jonas Grimm
          Mar 26, 2020 at 7:39 pm

          On that note, Milton Friedman is a clown and anyone who quotes him at me might as well be honking their red nose.

    • FinePrintGuy
      Mar 26, 2020 at 7:55 pm

      I like stock buy backs. But they should be reversed before any bail out money is given. Sure- they’ll sell those shares back to the market at a lower price than purchased, but the existing shareholders need to feel that pain before the tax payer takes it in the neck.

  31. "We have met the enemy..."
    Mar 26, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Went to get necessities… and beer, but brand and size were limited. Distrubutors supplying once a week. Ok, but stores not accepting redemptions, though they’re still charging the deposit here in CT. Ok, so that fell through the state emergency regs. Then is struck me, all the unemployed people I see wheeling huge carts of redeemables. I heard one person made $10k in one year on returnables! But, if that is your entire income and earned by walking and picking up 5 cents, that’s 200,000 stoops and straightens or 548 per day! Not one of our party politicians could or would do that! NOW, these homeless people have NO income and probably no address to which Congress’ can send all those fat cheques. $1200 won’t cover my monthly. Too many people will fall between our gummits derriere cracks!

  32. TimTimNiceButEverSoDim
    Mar 26, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    correction, there being!

  33. Thomas
    Mar 26, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    It is your patriotic duty to drop dead to help save Wall Street.
    Oh, and if you fail to drop dead as requested, we’ll stick you with the bill for the Trillions of dollars the government is now pumping out to save corporations and banks.

    Under capitalism, businesses that fail to properly access and account for risks end up as failures. This pandemic has been predicted as coming for a long time. Its like the California Big One. Everyone has known this was coming, but nobody could predict exactly when it would strike. We’ve known viruses erupt into human populations. We’ve had lots of warnings …. Ebola, SARS, MERS, Swine Flu just in this century. Anyone who was paying attention knew this was coming.

    But, in this new Socialism for the Rich and Corporations, they are now immune from paying the costs of their own risks. That gets pushed off onto the public. So, get ready for what comes next for those who survive this thing. Suddenly ‘The Deficit” will be important again. Taxes on ordinary people will skyrocket. The rich and corporations who own Congress will of course be spared this. The price will fall on ordinary people. We’ll be told that their is no money for any program that helps ordinary people. Spending on wars and weapons and prisons will of course be spared this, and the cuts will only fall on programs that actually help ordinary people.

    • WES
      Mar 26, 2020 at 7:13 pm

      Thomas:

      Sounds about right!

      The Captain gets to decide which lowly sailor gets keel hauled!

    • Jonas Grimm
      Mar 26, 2020 at 7:43 pm

      You know, we could all stop this if we just banded together. But we won’t, will we? We’d rather live as neo-serfs than fight for one another.

    • Petunia
      Mar 27, 2020 at 7:36 am

      Keep reelecting the same bunch of octogenarians. The ones that parrot the same phrases during every election cycle, then disappear, until the next cycle.

  34. tommy runner
    Mar 26, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    allow me to lash a few thoughts together. whether you view the senate bill as your cut, hush money or chin music, depends on your perception of the chalk outline of the country. feigning wonderment w/ ‘when we come out the other side of this’, conjures the recollection of the night gallery earwig episode.. the fig leaf is ‘irrelevant’? get dressed and go home. we don’t need a bigger boat, we need shark’nardo.

  35. TrojanMan
    Mar 26, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    I think the market will likely take another step up if the House passes the stimulus bill tomorrow since people are focused on legislation instead of the public health threat. It will be interesting, however, to see what happens on April 1 when virtually every restaurant and B&M retailer in the country does not pay its rent and there is no more legislation to spread around the media, only the continued closure of businesses and the creeping death of this disease.

  36. Trailer Trash
    Mar 26, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    During the last crisis, the wages for many people were cut in half. I expect to see that happen again.

    Maybe someday we will figure out that one can’t build an economy on working people giving each other haircuts while rich people give each other pieces of paper. Somebody, someplace, has to plant seeds, dig stuff from the ground, and make stuff out of it.

    Instead of prison for dear leaders that have caused the crisis, I would like to see them forced to sell pencils and apples on the street corner, if they want to eat.

    • neplusultra
      Mar 26, 2020 at 3:41 pm

      you’re far too generous. I’d like to see them forced to dig their own graves but I guess we all have to compromise these days

  37. brent
    Mar 26, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    My question is if the economic fallout is not as extreme as predicted, will the government and FED still be on the hook for bailing out all of these fat cats? Is this crisis being used as an opportunity to paper over distortions already in place?

  38. John
    Mar 26, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    Wolf,
    Suprised to see the market up with the jobs numbers. I guess the fiscal stimulus helps and the bad news is good news. BP dipped half a buck, later found out tesla batteries cracking on fast charging! Stay safe out there in Frisco and everywhere else people.

  39. Wisdom Seeker
    Mar 26, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    I don’t see Unamused here so I’m going to put his hat on my head for a moment:

    I get that we’re in the “nothing goes to heck” dead-cat bounce today, but I wonder:

    How long will it take before people realize that a $2T stimpack plus a few $T in Fed printing is still only a drop in the bucket against the loss in value of what used to be over $120T in national assets?

    Unless the virus magically goes away, we’re looking at a long period of economic adaptation, in which large chunks of the old economy are simply not viable and not worth preserving. Cruises, crowded restaurants and jam-packed airliners are out for at least a year.

    And, in the less-likely but not-impossible case where the virus mutates into various forms (like influenza has), and becomes an endemic super-deadly flu against which vaccines have limited powers, the world will be totally different.

    • Harrold
      Mar 26, 2020 at 4:07 pm

      Virus only mutate into more deadly forms in movies.

      • Wolfbay
        Mar 26, 2020 at 4:40 pm

        I think the Spanish flu virus mutated after the summer and in the fall Re-emerged in a more deadly form.

        • A
          Mar 26, 2020 at 9:29 pm

          This is true about the Spanish flu.

          A genius geneticist wrote he thinks it’ll take 3-5 years for Coronavirus to mutate enough to evade natural immunity. And by then we better have a vaccine! His logic is that the genetic variation of the Coronavirus since it was discovered in December until now is remarkably low. The reason? It’s so incredibly good at infecting people already that it’s under practically no selection pressure to mutate at all.

        • Lisa_Hooker
          Mar 27, 2020 at 3:17 am

          @A You should check the 5 major clades that have branched from covid already and continue to branch.

          No reason we can’t get a completely different deadly virus in the next year or two. Or next week. It’s just an odds game.

  40. Nick
    Mar 26, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    If it weren’t against the rules, what do you think unemployment claims would be if companies could lay people off for two weeks during christmas? 20 or 30 million? Wouldn’t matter because in January they’d be back. I’d wager that most of the new unemployment claims are temporary and thanks to DC those people will be taken care of with plenty of time to spend money. Ignore unemployment numbers until enough people have recovered and they start testing for antibodies and then you can gauge how much of the economy is coming back online.

    • Tinky
      Mar 26, 2020 at 4:28 pm

      Is it April 1st already?

      • Nick
        Mar 26, 2020 at 5:16 pm

        March 26th. Got some fat options to sell tomorrow so I’m keeping my eye on the calendar.

      • Unamused
        Mar 26, 2020 at 5:34 pm

        Is it April 1st already?

        Must be. ‘Wisdom Seeker’ thinks he can fill my hat. Either he’s got the date wrong or has decided to make a week of it.

        When I take on a new student I guarantee results or return the student.

        Let me give you Yanks some advice. Listen to your public health officials and ignore the Chosen One. He’s ready to call the crisis over and sent you all back to work in a few days. Meanwhile the US health care system, so called, is already overwhelmed and you’re just getting started.

        In the future, if somebody wants to emulate me, start by setting your hair on fire. That should start you off with the proper sense of urgency.

        • VintageVNvet
          Mar 26, 2020 at 5:54 pm

          How about we all get bright red mo hawks, about 33 mm tall, instead of the classical ”hair on fire” routine, best used w. icepick for lice down there??
          Very funny Una!

    • FinePrintGuy
      Mar 26, 2020 at 8:06 pm

      Assuming its the 450 + 600 per week of unemployment: That’s a nice weekly check, free of those pesky payroll taxes. Though, you’ll owe income tax on it, next year…

      4k a month! Not much incentive to go back to work until that runs dry…When the all clear is given, I wouldn’t be surprised to start hearing of labor shortages…

  41. Iamafan
    Mar 26, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    The Fed planned to buy $50 billion per day this week of March 23 to 27.
    That’s about $250 billion total or one-half of the estimated size of the mReit market. If the Fed continues, the whole mortgage reit is history.

    • Unamused
      Mar 26, 2020 at 5:37 pm

      If the Fed continues, the whole mortgage reit is history.

      If the Fed continues they’re going to mortgage the entire US economy, what’s left of it, and sell it off piecemeal to the banking cartel.

      You could warn me not to give them any ideas, but I’m sure it’s already occurred to them.

  42. Largo
    Mar 26, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Why aren’t all civil servants taking a mandatory 20% cut in pay , with the cut portion going to the unemployed?

    Or how about all those six figure academics and administrators at UC schools? They should donate 30% of their pay. Or do you think we’ll be teaching classes on the rubble piles?

    California will not survive without sacrifices from all.

    • Unamused
      Mar 27, 2020 at 3:34 am

      Why don’t the tycoons pay their taxes? Wouldn’t even be a sacrifice.

  43. Bernadette
    Mar 26, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    No has commented about a parallel to the intentional hurt created by Paul Volcker during the Reagan Administration. ‘Volcker was an honest man, in many ways a great man, but one whose actions nonetheless helped shatter the American middle class. This wasn’t his intent, but it was what he accidentally wrought. Volcker’s life is a tragedy, not for him, but for the rest of us.’https://mattstoller.substack.com/p/on-the-tragedy-of-paul-volcker

    It makes one wonder — who was truly ‘behind this’ in the USA (not China) and achieved the same consequential effects of demoralizing the citizens into becoming ‘compliant subservience’.

    • A
      Mar 26, 2020 at 5:43 pm

      Wait, you think people are becoming more compliant?

      Amazon employees are organizing and winning concessions.
      https://medium.com/@dch1united/amazonians-united-wins-pto-for-all-amazon-workers-f17e6ffbb192

      Wages for the front line (aka employees in grocery stores) are going up. People are learning hey, they’re pretty damn vital!

      People are furious about the stock market being placed above human health (oh sorry “old people”). God help us useless eaters, right? (#EasterMassacre is trending.

      Brittney Spears is calling for a general strike!

      This isn’t just Eat the Rich memes anymore. This is a whole lot of people talking about the state of the world, what the gov’t values, the unfairness of certain things…and how money is somehow available for some thing all that sudden that were impossible before. It’s a whole lot of people waking up. The scorn for politicians (never low) is growing into something bigger, something stronger, something that wants to self-organize.

      We’re not there yet. We’ll see if it makes any difference for this election or if it’s all talk.

      But I don’t think it’s all talk. I think the working class and the poor (and possibly that’s a much larger number than a few months ago!!) are realizing they have power, and / or will have to find a way to GET IT.

      Psychopaths have been running the show for too long. More and more people are realizing that as they become desperate and no longer can hide from facts. I don’t call that compliant subservience. I think we’re nearing a big tipping point. And I don’t think the gov’t would send any worker a single penny if they didn’t realize it, too.

      There’s blood in the waters, chum. I, frankly, hope it won’t be literal. Much as I’d like Bezos made an example of, I’d prefer a peaceful change into a more equitable society where nobody goes hungry or homeless.

      The unsustainable cannot go on forever. And this system has been very unsustainable for some time. Whether it improves, crashes, or changes utterly — time will tell.

      Complaint? No. Interesting times for sure, though….

      • Lisa_Hooker
        Mar 27, 2020 at 3:24 am

        If we can just get people together and demand and get “fair” wages and decent treatment we will have the price inflation the rich have been calling for for years.

    • VintageVNvet
      Mar 26, 2020 at 5:48 pm

      Wondering who right from the first words on daily read SCMP re initial reports from Wuhan, then subsequently reports from there on that and other Asia news outlets, guv mint and private, trying to figure out who was spinning what.
      My opinion at this point is that it was an accident, not intentional. However, if it does eventually become clear, (likely after this virus been around the world at least a couple of time,) that there is one particular nation/state that does NOT follow clear protocols of testing, isolation, treatment, etc., and still does not have anywhere near ”average” cases and/or deaths during any rounds, that will certainly raise considerations of the source/intent, eh?

    • Unamused
      Mar 26, 2020 at 5:57 pm

      It makes one wonder — who was truly ‘behind this’ in the USA (not China) and achieved the same consequential effects of demoralizing the citizens into becoming ‘compliant subservience’.

      That’s been the corporatist program since the New Deal. It’s taken them all these years to reverse it and weasel the sheeple into screwing themselves.

      Democracy, which has grown up in the last three hundred years, represents, with its emphasis upon individual responsibility and individual actions, the most difficult societal system, requiring a definite human maturity. Totalitarianism and especially corporate totalitarianism can in many ways be regarded as an escape from this difficulty into the irresponsibility of following a leader who deprives the people of their liberty and their maturity but promises them ‘security’ and ‘economic progress’. To that end, personal immaturity and self-gratification are therefore celebrated and promoted by corporate America in particular, and in U.S. culture in general, because it prepares the electorate to give up its responsibility to maintain democracy in favor of totalitarian leadership.

      The primary weakness of democracy has always been the possibility of electing to office persons who are prepared to subvert that democracy . . . corporate totalitarianism has no such weakness.

      Between The Plague, the Greater Depression, and your unfortunate electoral choices, you guys are really going to have your work cut out for you. Hope you’re up for it, because after that, you’re still going to have catastrophic climate change, ecological destruction, and a horrific populaton crash to deal with. But that is another story and shall be told another time, depending on how things go in the next few weeks.

    • Gandalf
      Mar 26, 2020 at 9:52 pm

      Bernadette

      Wow, lot of misguided Volcker hate there, blaming everything on the one honest man to run the Fed in the last 50 years

      Try reading some world history, about how horrible the Happy Days of the post war period of the 1950s and 1960s were for the rest of the world. Britain was so poor it had food rationing until 1954

      By the 1970s, the rest of the world recovered, and began to compete vigorously with the US again economically. The two Oil Crises of the 1970s happened Nixon took the US off the gold standard and floated the USD. Hyperinflation followed.

      Unions? Reagan crushed PATCO. Republican dominated states passed right to work laws. Unions didn’t help themselves with all their efforts to fight automation and globalization and continuing to try to featherbed the jobs of their declining members. Republicans learned to play off resentment of low wage non union workers against unionized workers, and to use non economic issues such as racial resentment issues, Christian faith, abortion, second amendment rights, to overcome the economic concerns of ordinary Americans

      Small family farms? They still exist in some countries like France, Austria, and Japan because of their cultural significance and so they get SUBSIDIZED by taxpayers.

      Corporate agribusiness get subsidies too in the US, but not small family farms. Not enough lobbyists and lobbying power

      Did Volcker do any of that? No. Seriously need to do some reading of history

    • cb
      Mar 27, 2020 at 11:30 am

      Would you please support this? If true, I would like to know. The read you linked sounds interesting, but the link doesn’t work.

    • cb
      Mar 27, 2020 at 11:33 am

      Bernadette says:

      “Volcker was an honest man, in many ways a great man, but one whose actions nonetheless helped shatter the American middle class. ”

      Would you please support this? If true, I would like to know. The read you linked sounds interesting, but the link doesn’t work.

      • Root Farmer
        Mar 27, 2020 at 8:11 pm

        cb,

        Try https://mattstoller.substack.com/ and then search the archives for Volcker and you’ll find the article. Essentially, Stoller makes the argument that Volcker crushed workers, particularly unions, during the Reagan administration. By raising interest rates so high, so long, that also crushed were small farms, small businesses, …, who would have been natural allies in Volcker’s efforts to fight the corporate corruption he was witnessing all around him. Once gone, Volcker stood alone against wall street and lost.

        There is more, but this is the cliff notes version. With the link, you can assess for your self.

        • cb
          Mar 27, 2020 at 11:22 pm

          Thank you.

        • Mar 28, 2020 at 10:14 am

          I don’t know about you but Paul Volcker made me a large fortune.
          R.I.P. Paul Volcker. Anyone with an ounce of brains would have bought the longest term strip bonds available back in 1981/1982.

  44. Willy Winky
    Mar 26, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    For those who may be concerned about this latest development, remember, this is just a recession.

    We have been here before. We’ll be back to normal in a few short months.

    Stay Calm and Don’t Panic.

  45. lisa
    Mar 26, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    Now may be a very good time to take more than a cursory glance at the following: https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/large_carousel.asp?slide=7

    and click on the other pages.

    What do certain of the “solvency” comparisons imply to you?

    • lisa
      Mar 26, 2020 at 5:15 pm

      The ones to really notice are:
      State Trust Fund Solvency
      Benefit,Contributions and Trust Fund RESERVES (my caps)
      and
      Average Employee tax amount per COVERED employee (again my caps)

  46. TrojanMan
    Mar 26, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    The Fed is planning to bailout the entire mortgage lending industry as long as this goes on. They will call it a loan to servicers and insist it’s not a bailout, but the chances it will be paid back are about as good as the chances that I will crap gold.

    I really am not sure how to preserve cash in this environment. Ackman reinvested his hedge gains which everyone talks about, but how much value did his equity holdings lose? I think he’s trying to support his existing investments.

    What wins the virus or the Fed? Dollar going to trash when this resolves.

  47. Marc
    Mar 26, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    The unemployment numbers for last week reflect the unemployment applications that were processed by unemployment office staff last week. Many applications filed last week were processed this week, and will appear in next Thursday’s numbers.

    • Mar 26, 2020 at 9:28 pm

      Marc,

      These unemployment claims here are the ones that were processed in the 7-day week through March 21, as I pointed out. Anything that was processed after March 21, shows up later. I even gave some reasons why some claims were delayed and got pushed in the next reporting week.

  48. Iamafan
    Mar 26, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Reverse Repo today is an eye-popping $138.48 billion.

    Total Repo (3 auctions) totaled only $31.80 billion.

    Loose Change. Just stop it already.

    • Iamafan
      Mar 26, 2020 at 5:51 pm

      To put this in perspective, 35 Participating and Accepted Counterparties had so much cash, they lent the Fed $138.48 billion at 0.00* interest.

      QE4++ just bought $73.680 B in Treasuries and about $50 B in MBS.

      The system is bursting in the seams with CASH. No wonder the market is higher.

      • Unamused
        Mar 26, 2020 at 6:08 pm

        The system is bursting in the seams with CASH.

        Interpol counted up $66 trillion on the sidelines, according to the account records they ferreted out. That was over twenty years ago. It took years to bury the evidence, but the tip of the iceberg is still there.

  49. Hassan Bin Sober
    Mar 26, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    A few years from now you will read in some obscure journal that this lengthy corona virus stimulus act was written up and finished a year ago just like the Patriot Act was written long before 9/11. If you’re lucky you can get a job running the x-ray machine at the entrance to the supermarket and help with patting people down. I think this is all the work of Osama bin Laden, we are just going to have to kill him again. I was amused the other day watching Bill Ackman on TV declaring he closed his “hedge” with a $2.6 Billion profit and was going 100% long Just before the market shot up. I never short anything anymore. Should have listened to Bill, not Cramer. George Carlin was right, it’s a big club and you ain’t in it.

    • TrojanMan
      Mar 26, 2020 at 6:53 pm

      I keep wondering though how much Ackman lost on his equity holdings. The hedge obviously mitigated or made up that loss, but I’m not sure where he is net in this market. Still a great call but he probably sees more value in using the cash from the hedge to support his equity positions on the basis that the benefit is greater than the remaining potential downside for equities/upside for the hedge. He even said he could have to go defensive again. I think he is betting Trump will have no option other than to close the economy for a month, in which case we can truly suppress the virus to protect the economy. In the meantime Fed will back stop everything and once the virus is suppressed the upside will explode. I’m looking for an opportunity to put cash in the market for businesses that can be conducted in the cloud.

  50. Gandalf
    Mar 26, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Reply to Bernadette

    • Mar 26, 2020 at 9:33 pm

      Gandalf,

      Can you repost this as reply to Bernadette? And after you do this, I will delete the original. This is very confusing. Thanks.

  51. lisa
    Mar 26, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    In an effort to compare the data of the Corona Virus and the plain old flu cases, and impact on the economy, here’s the flu stats from the CDC to compare with the numbers that are causing the shutdown of the US economy.

    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/

    The numbers of cases of the flu, people hospitalized etc. sure seem to tally to larger totals, without causing a national shutdown.

    • RoseN
      Mar 26, 2020 at 11:44 pm

      The national shutdown is in anticipation for the much greater numbers of coronavirus cases in the coming weeks. Moreover, COVID-19 infections have a much higher fatality rate than the seasonal flu. Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitchon stated on the PBS Newshour (see link below) 50% of a population can be infected, and the death rate is roughly 10 times more than with the flu. We are starting to see the numbers increase markedly, and I suspect they will explode soon.

      https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/2-views-on-balancing-medical-risk-and-economic-pain

  52. Michael Engel
    Mar 26, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    1) High student debt, but the students are home, with diminishing prospect for finding a good paying jobs.
    2) The locker room guys are practicing in their communities.
    College stadiums are empty. Athletes, comedians and artists power surge is over. They are beyond peak, on a steep downhill slope.
    3) Alumni apartments next to colleges, – elderly and drunk teenagers – a failed business model, worse than empty fancy dorms.
    4) In the next decade college shrinkage will exceed the decline
    of small community banks.

  53. c1ue
    Mar 26, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    Uber driver in New York died Tuesday. Got nCOV from a passenger in the first week of March on a JFK pickup.
    Nepalese immigrant in his 40s.
    Entered hospital 2 weeks ago.
    R.I.P.

  54. Abomb
    Mar 26, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    I like how Airbnb hosts see themselves as entrepreneurs. Like they’re really delivering something unique and beneficial to society rather than being leaches on the housing market and forcing up housing costs for families. Just read a CNBC article including reference to a guy who owns 24 properties in Nashville. As a potential first home buyer this just pisses me off. And they’re asking for a bailout. Screw them for taking the risk!

    • FinePrintGuy
      Mar 26, 2020 at 8:11 pm

      “Means Test”: A means test is a determination of whether an individual or family is eligible for government assistance or welfare, based upon whether the individual or family possesses the means to do without that help.

      The gov should be insisting they sell the portfolio of houses first. But they wont.

    • Mar 28, 2020 at 10:03 am

      A little different in Alberta, Canada where Trudeau threw nothing to the oil industry. Landlords in Alberta even with no mortgage run negative cash-flows due to no renters or renters that don’t pay. With this Coronavirus and 5 dollar Canadian oil hundreds of thousands of residences will go “for sale as is where is” through no fault of the landlord. No one has ever heard of Airbnb in Alberta it doesn’t exist.

  55. Unamused
    Mar 26, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    Stock futures are up.

    They lost the patient, but the operation was a success.

    • Mar 26, 2020 at 9:36 pm

      You jinxed them. Now they’re down 1.5%

  56. Pdxmtb
    Mar 26, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    Why are the markets soaring? Envisioning limitless bubbles from the Fed?

    • Ed
      Mar 26, 2020 at 7:45 pm

      I’d say you’re right. Endangered companies will be getting cash straight from the U.S. Treasury borrowing, too.

      Bankruptcies much less likely (for big companies who are getting bailed) and lots of cash looking for a home.

      It’s extraordinary.

    • A
      Mar 26, 2020 at 9:22 pm

      David Tepper had a quote today that said something like “we just got a stimulus that’s 10% of GDP and you can bet there’s going to be another one coming in a few months”

  57. Bobber
    Mar 26, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    It’s a good thing the Fed’s stimulus plans were well planned out in advance, and the transmission mechanisms or “pipes” to accomplish the stimulus were tested and ready. Otherwise, we’d have to worry about lousy execution and pervasive fraud.

  58. Ted Carmichael
    Mar 26, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    US claims number not that surprising to us up here in Canada. Our claims data is published with a huge lag, but PM Trudeau has said there were 1 Million new claims last week. Canada is 1 tenth the size of US, so US claims could rise to 5-10 million next week.

    • Mar 28, 2020 at 9:56 am

      They have to under-report things in America so the stock market doesn’t crash.

  59. A
    Mar 26, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Am I the only one more than a little nervous about the inflationary implications of dumping 6 Trillion into a closed system with nowhere for it to go? Cities are on lockdown so what else can you buy except a hyper-inflated $6 Trillion dollar loaf of bread?

    • Unamused
      Mar 26, 2020 at 9:37 pm

      Am I the only one more than a little nervous about the inflationary implications of dumping 6 Trillion into a closed system with nowhere for it to go?

      It’s almost as if they created a problem that would cost six trillion to fix.

      Enjoy your 1200 bucks. They can take that off your hands later.

    • Jdog
      Mar 27, 2020 at 1:14 am

      Inflation? Are you kidding? Believe me when I tell you inflation is the last thing you have to worry about. It is deflation which is going to reek havoc on the global economy. People have never experienced deflation, so they really do not understand it. Deflation is the result of massive money destruction and money destruction is exactly what is happening. In another couple of months you will see people running out of money, and beginning to dump assets at whatever price they can get. Smart people will go to cash as soon as they can, because the value of your so called “assets” is a fantasy, and one which is about to be debunked.

  60. Unamused
    Mar 26, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    More please.

  61. Jdog
    Mar 27, 2020 at 1:05 am

    This is the beginning of a depression the likes of which none of us have ever seen. Neither the government of the Fed can stop the domino’s from falling. We have already passed the unemployment rates of the great depression, and we are just at the beginning. Life as you once knew it is now over. Nothing will return to the way it was in our lifetimes…

  62. QE
    Mar 27, 2020 at 1:14 am

    It intriguing as to why the death rate in Germany is lower than other countries, I would like to know what’s the treatment plan in Germany.

    • Lisa_Hooker
      Mar 27, 2020 at 3:38 am

      Well, you could compare the fortitude of the Germans versus the Italians and Spanish. Think WWII. Just a comparison. For what it’s worth I love Italy and Italian people.

      • QE
        Mar 27, 2020 at 6:53 am

        For what Its worth, we all love them.

    • Mar 27, 2020 at 9:24 am

      I think the Germans practice social distancing every day. They are not warm fuzzy people.

      • QE
        Mar 27, 2020 at 10:14 am

        LOL, that’s hilarious.

    • Mar 28, 2020 at 9:51 am

      Germans are in peak physical shape and very, very few tend to be overweight.

      • Mar 28, 2020 at 11:43 am

        The Real Tony,

        “Germans are in peak physical shape and very, very few tend to be overweight.”

        That’s one of the stupidest statements I have read all day.

    • fajensen
      Mar 28, 2020 at 10:27 am

      1) They have a well-resourced, effective and comprehensive public health care system. More beds per person than everyone else in the EU. A very wide selection of treatments are available for all, cheaply. If one is, f.ex., stressed the doctor can write a prescription for 2 weeks of spa.

      2) Testing. Testing finds patients that are not ill enough to show up at hospitals and adds them to ‘confirmed cases’. This push the statistics in a better direction than when one only measure on who crawls into the emergency room.

      The present model is that there is a large ‘blob’ of infected with not many problems and only a fraction of those get sick enough to seek treatment. The ‘20% hospitalisation rate’ is drawn from the ‘pretty sick pool’ so drawing also from the ‘not too many symptoms pool’ will make the numbers better.

      PS:

      I think that the ‘not many symptoms’ Covid-19 variant can go on for up to a month, maybe even more. Wife and I have been low-grade ill, like having an ominous cold, since a bout of ‘flu’ 3 weeks ago. Right now we feel like we have inhaled talcum powder, no fever, some not-dry coughing, stuffy nose, always rather OK in the morning and then getting worse in the evening. Pretty scary, actually.

      That would explain why the lockdowns are not bending the curve so much yet: The reservoir of infected is much larger than what would fit into the assumed 14 days incubation period.

      • QE
        Mar 28, 2020 at 10:39 am

        Reasonable explanation, I appreciate the effort.

  63. Unamused
    Mar 27, 2020 at 9:24 am

    A Word About the Horrid Spike in Unemployment Claims and Why it’s Even More Horrid Than it Appears

    “To be honest with you, I just think these numbers right now are not relevant, and whether they’re bigger or smaller in the short term,” said the Secretary of the Treasury.

    It’s getting crowded under that bus.

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