This address had major errors, but also led to the market in free fall. It was so bad that we saw the trade on the floor stop for the second time in less than a week. The top issue was the travel restriction to the free trade European zone. Not surprisingly he did not include the United Kingdom. In effect, his properties should not be affected. Or I guess this is the president’s hope.
The travel order was later partially reversed and clarified by the Department of Homeland Security and Donald Trump over Twitter. It was also a gift to the nationalist far-right and a poor attempt to blame all this on foreigners. It’s an ignorant and dangerous language. Then there were other errors, but here is what was absent from the speech.
* An acknowledgment that we are not testing as we should.
* The travel ban was nothing more than a denial that the virus is already in community spread. In fact, there was no mention of that.
* There was nothing on testing, which we are way behind, except for low numbers. Of course, they are low. No testing. We need proactive testing, even with a low index of suspicion. This is what South Korea has done. Some places are starting to do this though, with no guidance from the Feds.
* Nothing on how people are supposed to survive with two weeks quarantine and no income.
* Tax cuts were the usual hammer in the republican toolbox. It seems the president (and his advisors) cannot think outside the trickle-down economics model
* The fact that we may have to do far more to enforce social distancing. Though this I suspect Trump will do with gusto.
This is why the markets reacted the way they did. The White House is doing everything wrong. They show zero leadership in this mess, and at this point, they have almost no credibility. It has a lot of implications, both social and economic. In fact, the United States is headed for a recession, perhaps worse than it should be given the lack of leadership at the helm.
Democrats are trying to pass legislation that will ensure paid leave across the board. They are also attempting to mandate free testing and treatment. Both are solid policy prescriptions. Republicans are telling a big lie, trying to paint this as an attack on the president’s ability to close borders. This is base politics, with a lot of propaganda. While at the same time they are telling the nation that Democrats are the ones playing politics.
This is nothing short of war-like, and soon we will be in quasi-war time conditions. I have been writing for some time that it’s time to buy food, medicines and other supplies to stay at home. We will all have to. And at some point, even the post office will be affected.
By the way, this address to the nation opened the way for Joe Biden to show leadership. He not only hit the president hard for dismantling the pandemic team, and hollowing up institutions…his speech addressed every issue Trump avoided. He also embraced the testing, free vaccines when they come, and the healthcare that is needed. He also mentioned the economics of this, including economic support for workers.
He was critical of how the president is isolating the nation from the world. And he did show that he will lead from day one. That kind of contrast will help during the general election. Americans are desperate for guidance and leadership. We are not getting it from the White House.
Bernie Sanders took to the microphone as well. His policy prescriptions included meassures to keep people paid. He is asking for an expansion of community health centers, and testing capacity. He is demanding a bipartisan response, and to leave the politics behind.
He is also acting like a leader, which is what we need. The contrast with the White House is stark.
One more thing, the President has been around people who already have COVID-19. It’s just a matter of time when we learn this hoax infected him.
So here are things to prepare for, because this White House is incompetent. And no, this is not more benign than the flu. And even at this late hour, get your flu shot. It will not protect you against this virus, but it may lessen your chances of getting the flu. That is good.
Get ready for at least 14 days of quarantine. It’s a matter of time. Plan for food. Get books, and other things to keep yourself from going stir crazy from cabin fever.
Avoid attending big meetings, conventions, and other events. Sports have pretty much been canceled.
Get yourself Tylenol, Motrin and whatever is your preferred medicine for the cold and flu.
Include cough syrup in your list…lozenges, whatever makes you feel better.
Plan to have your kids at home. Schools will close, it’s just a matter of time.
All the advice I am seeing includes calling your health care provider if you feel sick, not rushing to the ER. This could be interesting if your workplace requires a physical note from your doctor. Due to test shortages expect those to be used in more vulnerable patients ahead of healthy younger people.
If you can work at home, do so.
Include emergency supplies for your fur kids, or any other pet you may have.
And here is another that my parent’s financial advisor told my dad in 2008…don’t check your 401K, save your blood pressure.