Just relax

Well what did you expect?

1/22  “. . . we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

1/24  “It will all work out well.”

1/28  “Johnson & Johnson to create coronavirus vaccine.”

1/30  “We have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully.”

2/10  “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away,”

2/19  “I think the numbers are going to get progressively better as we go along.”

2/26  “the Democrat policy of open borders” had brought the virus into the country.

2/27  “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”

2/29  vaccine would be available “very quickly” and “very rapidly”

3/2  “It’s very mild”

3/6  “Anybody that wants a test can get a test.”

3/6   “People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability.”

3/7  “I’m not concerned at all.”

3/10 “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”

Today:  Just relax

Update:  I predict that by the end of March there will be more people with coronavirus in Switzerland than in China (active cases.)  If I’d made that prediction a month ago I would have been put in an insane asylum.



48 Responses to “Just relax”

  1. Gravatar of Jim Bowerman Jim Bowerman
    15. March 2020 at 18:33

    10 year rates dropped instantly at 5pm EST right on $700B Fed announcement

    I think only that that could’ve made rates rise is a promise to peg IOER at 0% forever.

    IOER at even current 0.1% is problematic if market thinks Fed will raise IOER at first sign of growth?

    would love your opinion this, but hard to see how that market is viewing this $700B as better than expected

    Stock futures already are limit down

  2. Gravatar of Diotima eidos Diotima eidos
    15. March 2020 at 18:47

    Do you still think “ Of course there won’t be 1.7 million dead Americans from the virus, maybe not even 1% that many ” from the other day?

  3. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    15. March 2020 at 19:18

    Nice summary of the firehose of pure BS that is this presidency. I guess people actually like listening to ridiculously obvious BS, else he wouldn’t have any voters. I’ll never understand the attraction to this overpowering stench.

  4. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    15. March 2020 at 19:33

    And still the lack of tests if impeding physicians:

  5. Gravatar of Justin Justin
    15. March 2020 at 20:29

    Apparently Tucker Carlson had to drive across Florida to Mar Lago and personally convince Trump this wasn’t a “confidence” issue. Every country should be in a Wuhan or Italy mode NOW, for two weeks. Basically close borders. Two week lockdown, ration masks to essential personnel, then relax restrictions to a South Korea mode. I really hope we can get mask production up, apparently that’s the key, minimize respiratory transmission.

  6. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    15. March 2020 at 21:49

    As a leader, Trump is a small cut above carnival barkers, park-winos or establishment Donks and ‘Phants. As a speaker, Trump is dreadful, unable to properly frame even his good ideas.

    But strange as it seems, Trump is a pretty good macroeconomist. He has been after the Fed to ease up, and he has been right.

    Now, Trump is right on a payroll tax cut.

    Donald J. Trump
    If you want to get money into the hands of people quickly & efficiently, let them have the full money that they earned, APPROVE A PAYROLL TAX CUT until the end of the year, December 31. Then you are doing something that is really meaningful. Only that will make a big difference!
    7:30 PM · Mar 13, 2020·Twitter for iPhone

    The orthodox macroeconomics profession is in a feeble, discredited shambles presently.

    Sumner has good ideas, what with targeting NGDPLT, cutting rates to zero and conventional QE.

    But to boost aggregate demand pronto inside the US?

    The tie to avoid an auto accident is before you have the accident. The time to avoid a recession is before you have the recession.

    BTW, it may be we have seen only the first two legs of the bear. Stay tuned.

  7. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    15. March 2020 at 21:49

    Jim, Yes, it looks like the markets were disappointed.

    Diotima, Yes.

    Tom, The test shortage is just horrifying.

    Justin, It’s way too late for border closures to help significantly.

  8. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    15. March 2020 at 23:42

    Sumner in his typical hyperbole mode. It’s still an open issue as to how far Covid-19 will spread, so arguably Trump is right, time will tell. Covid-19 could burn itself out, like SARS, or not, and also China could be faking their new Covid-19 cases, like they fake their GDP. But true believer Sumner, like Sydney and Beatrice Webb with Stalin, is unlikely to believe that.

  9. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    16. March 2020 at 00:23

    A genius idea: pay people contact coronavirus, and thus be be naturally inoculated, and thus be non-carriers.

    When you get to about 60% of the population having been exposed, then you discover the coronavirus is on a shrinking path.

    Let’s say 200 million Americans agree to be inoculated naturally. At $1,000 a pop that is a $200 billion program. Make it a helicopter drop for double effect.

    Tyler Cowen: send me my $50,000 for this excellent idea.

    I deserve a MacArthur prize and a Nobel Prize for this idea alone. I’m willing to accept the presidential Medal of Honor too.

  10. Gravatar of Student Student
    16. March 2020 at 01:57

    For the record, the world is currently on pace to surpass 1 million cases before April 1 and 100 million cases by May 1. Unfortunately, it is looking more likely than less likely we might crack 20 million deaths from this by the time all is said and done.

  11. Gravatar of foosion foosion
    16. March 2020 at 02:02

    Did you see the Cliff Asness “there are no libertarians in foxholes” twitter thread?


  12. Gravatar of Student Student
    16. March 2020 at 02:03

    For the record, the world is still very much on pace to surpass 1 million cases by April 1, and 100 million cases by May 1. We are currently on pace for > 20 million deaths. Let that sink in. We are on pace mathematically for 20+ million deaths!!

  13. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    16. March 2020 at 02:07

    OT but interesting:

    Matt Colvin became a viral villain after he was featured in a New York Times article.

    “We will not tolerate price gouging in this time of exceptional need, and we will take aggressive action to stop it,” Tennessee attorney general Herbert Slattery III said in a statement. “

    Price gouging limited supplies during a state of emergency is illegal. People can report price gouging to their state attorney general’s offices.


    What in the world is “price gouging”? He only asks for the real market value.

    This is the country of “capitalism” and “land of the free”??? I assume this was long, long time ago.

    Today it is more the land of typical socialist NYT hate campaigns and the whole country is following suit.

  14. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    16. March 2020 at 02:42

    That’s not gonna happen. Even the other extreme is more likely: Put enough humans on earth in complete lockdown for 2-4 weeks and the virus might be wiped out.

    The virus needs to infect new people all the time to stay alive. If close to no one gets infected anymore, then the virus dies out.

    You might have to nearly exterminate a few bat species as well, but who cares. I’ve never understood why these carrier of diseases are so protected in many countries anyway. They are basically flying rats. Perhaps it might even be enough if the Chinese stop eating everything with eyes and legs.

  15. Gravatar of Student Student
    16. March 2020 at 02:46

    Well, we probably need to start the 2-4 lock down soon. If the estimated growth factor remains where it is, we are very much in an environment of exponential growth. I keep hearing limit the spread, social distancing, yet this has not been born on in the data yet. Cases numbers are growing 10 fold about every 15 days. By the end of March, the current number of cases will be 10 times larger than today.

  16. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    16. March 2020 at 02:47

    Hey Troll-Ray, what happened to your stupid UK strategy? Scott was right on all accounts once again. When is your apology coming? Oh, wait, you’re a lunatic with a Trumpian personality disorder, incapable of any kind of apology, fact-finding and admission of error.

  17. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    16. March 2020 at 03:06

    There are at least two problems with the exponential growth theory. One, how do you expect the virus to spread if a lockdown is done correctly. Second, even with a half-hearted lockdown, the virus has to reach a limit at some point. It’s like a Ponzi scheme: the virus no longer finds enough hosts to continue growing exponentially, where are all the hosts going to come from? But I agree with you, we need a lockdown right now in as many countries of the world as possible.

    We must also remember that the current figures are a look into the past. The incubation period is about 5 days, it takes at least another 1-3 days until people ask for a test, the test results need another 1-2 days, so we look at least 8-10 days into the past. This means that we can expect a significant decrease in numbers at the earliest 8-10 days after a lockdown, until then the numbers might increase exponentially indeed.

    I assume that’s why many Western governments are in such panic right now. First they have been sleeping deeply for weeks and now they understand that they are looking 10 days into the past.

    Another 10 days of exponential growth in countries like Spain, France, UK, Germany, USA is really, really bad but unfortunately, it may no longer be possible to prevent it. We are in stage 4 of the infamous Hey Minister scene.

  18. Gravatar of Student Student
    16. March 2020 at 03:18

    Sure sure we can, we can. We just keep saying that but there is no departure from the exponential trend.

    As of March 16, 2020 at 11:11 GMT, there have been 3802 confirmed cases and 69 deaths due to coronavirus COVID-19 in the United States. My the end of March 18th, the number will be almost double at about 6,000. By the end of the month, 30,000 cases. Then by mid April, 300,000 cases. Then by May, 3 million.

    How long are we going to say, we could just shut things down if we wanted to? Can we? I don’t think so.

    Not even the tiniest departure from the exponential growth trend is detectable in the data.

  19. Gravatar of Spencer Hall Spencer Hall
    16. March 2020 at 03:33

    Jim Bianco re: “cash is king”


    link: Daniel L. Thornton, Vice President and Economic Adviser: Research Division, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Working Paper Series

    “Monetary Policy: Why Money Matters and Interest Rates Don’t”


    Thornton: “the interest rate is the price of credit, not the price of money (i.e., the price level.)”

    #1 Gibson’s Paradox: “observation that lower prices were accompanied by a drop—rather than a rise—in interest rates”
    #2 Interest Rate Fallacy: “monetary policy is easy when interest rates are low and monetary policy is tight when interest rates are high”
    # 3 Paradox of Thrift: “The paradox states that an increase in autonomous saving leads to a decrease in aggregate demand and thus a decrease in gross output which will in turn lower total saving.”

    The FED should do LSAPs. That’s what NOMINAL GDP targeting is all about.


  20. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    16. March 2020 at 03:40


    I always thought the Stalin statement “1 death is a tragedy but 20,000,000 deaths is a statistic” was an evil assessment of WWII. But another way to look at is we can only process the tragedy of 1 death because 1 death is always a tragedy to that person’s family—-but 20 million really is a statistic. You may be right on 20 million, which means an extra 1/400 people dies this year——which for 399 is a statistic (not really—-divide that by number of people who care about each person.

    But my point is 53,000,000 million die each year, some of whom would be part of the 20,000,000. I am rambling ——but I do wonder—-maybe even believe——if we would have all been better off thinking of potential deaths as a statistic. There is something profoundly dangerous about how we are reacting——something makes me think this is not the black swan, but our reaction to this will create a tremendous black swan

  21. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    16. March 2020 at 03:44

    We just keep saying that but there is no departure from the exponential trend.

    I don’t get your point. In countries like China, Singapore, Japan and South Korea, the trend was clearly broken.

    The US cannot have broken the trend yet, because effective countermeasures (let alone a lockdown) have not been in place for long. And again: From the effective countermeasures on, it can take 10 days until a breakthrough is seen.

    You cannot just keep adding the US numbers until May. That’s not reliable.

  22. Gravatar of Student Student
    16. March 2020 at 03:51

    I hope you optimists are right. I just look at the global data (there are clusters and fits and starts in any one place) and see a growth factor that is consistently in the range 1.10-1.30. That implies the world is in the midst of rapid exponential growth.

    On the one hand, there is basic math staring you in the face, on the other, we could stop it if we wanted just like they did in China, SK, etc. i will believe when I start seeing it born out in the global or US data.

  23. Gravatar of Spencer Hall Spencer Hall
    16. March 2020 at 04:26

    Buying “coupons” was what Greenspan’s Black Monday put option was all about.

  24. Gravatar of Student Student
    16. March 2020 at 05:42

    Didn’t wuhan go into lockdown when it hit 500 cases? New York is at about 500 cases. If New York can’t do what wuhan did, I doubt we can do what China did. Exponential…

  25. Gravatar of Spencer Hall Spencer Hall
    16. March 2020 at 06:44

    The Fed is now engaged in what Bankrupt-u-Bernanke called “credit easing”, changing the composition of assets, instead of “quantitative easing”, increasing the volume of assets on the Fed’s balance sheet.

    There is absolutely no change in the expansion of the seasonally adjusted total checkable deposits classification, prima facie evidence that the Fed has eased credit conditions.

  26. Gravatar of Spencer Hall Spencer Hall
    16. March 2020 at 07:08

    QE supposedly targets an expansion of interbank demand deposits, or bank reserves. QE should target the money stock.

  27. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    16. March 2020 at 07:23

    Where is the process Scott spoke of? All right, at least they didn’t wait months again before cutting the federal funds rate to 0%. However, 13 years ago the initial level was also higher.

    I wonder if Trump’s meltdown has helped? It’s striking, Trump threatens Powell and only a few hours later Powell goes “all in”, or at least what Powell thinks “all in” is.

  28. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    16. March 2020 at 07:32

    I 100% agree on the awful mismatch between Trump and this crisis. No argument.

    Having said that, the bureaucratic shitshow has little to do with Trump.

    Fortunately, social distancing especially with the olds, hand-washing, shutting down sports and restaurants, this will deliver the goods over the next few weeks. We will contain the virus because we aren’t relying on our government to pull a testing kit out of a hat, and, ultimately, a pause of a couple weeks shouldn’t produce an economic calamity, and we’ll learn a lot that will be helpful when a more dangerous strain makes the rounds.

  29. Gravatar of Anonymous Anonymous
    16. March 2020 at 07:44

    Serious measures in the U.S. are quite recent, the last few days only. So we wouldn’t expect any effect for about another week. Then case rise will drop dramatically. All is in lockdown where I am.

  30. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    16. March 2020 at 08:20

    Good editorial in the WSJ today from a USC public health professor pointing out that we are doing crap statistical research on the virus. We’re not doing any random testing so we don’t know the true fatality and contagion rates.
    I’ve been wondering about what an effective test regime looks like. I’ve been self-quarantining for two weeks after having had flu-like symptoms and having been exposed to a co-worker who had been in Beijing in January. He had spent two symptom free weeks in quarantine himself before returning to the office. My musing on the testing regime is all academic at this point because I haven’t been able to get tested nor was he. But if test kits were available and I got tested and came up negative, what actually would I do differently. Probably not a lot. I would just switch roles from trying to prevent myself from being a spreader to trying to prevent myself from being a spreadee. And, without testing and considering that the incubation period is a week, I would never know at what point I might have flipped back to having to worry about being a spreader again.

  31. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    16. March 2020 at 08:37

    I think some people overestimate testing at the moment. The situation is out of control right now, so testing is not doing much. Locking everything down is key, so that we have only very few new infections.

    Then, in a few days, we can go back to testing and track down the remaining transmission routes. That’s the main point of testing: tracking down every single route of transmission. You can’t do that right now, there are too many new infections and too many possible routes of transmission.

  32. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    16. March 2020 at 08:53

    @Benjamin Cole – neat idea! Human guinea pigs…paid to be. A true Libertarian ideal. Your status has gone up in my mind the last few weeks.

    @Christian List- post less please, think more. And provide a link to your points, nobody believes a lying German (redundant I know). Where is the reversal of the UK strategy? Not just banning stadium crowds but complete reversal.

    @ Student – slow internet in your neck of the world? Explains the double posting, and the too numerous posting, like in a Twitter thread, you must have few real world friends, like List.

    @Brian Donohue – so you long the stock market or making your usual useless mouth bets?

    @Carl – are you the Carl_R at MishTalk? If so, you know more than the average fool on this blog.

    @Spencer Hall – I can see you drunk the Keynesian and Monetarist Koo-Aid. Shame since you’re otherwise not totally illogical. Read Bernanke’s FAVR paper on the failure of strong money non-neutrality and the numerous papers that the Keynesian multiplier is about zero.

  33. Gravatar of Mads Lindstrøm Mads Lindstrøm
    16. March 2020 at 08:53

    Brian Donohue writes:

    “We will contain the virus because we aren’t relying on our government to pull a testing kit out of a hat, and, ultimately, a pause of a couple weeks shouldn’t produce an economic calamity, …”

    I agree with you mostly, except I cannot see how this is a two week thing. I assume, maybe wrongly, that most people needs to be infected though in an “orderly” manor. That is, the new infections should not be faster than hospitals can manage. This will take months, maybe a year. Therefore, I do also think that we will have a recession. Though, things will return quickly to normal, when we have beaten the virus. Well, not quite normal, because this experience will change how people think about things, but I will not get into that here.

  34. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    16. March 2020 at 09:22

    Hey Troll-Ray,

    since you are apparently too mentally handicapped, even for such simple tasks as using Google (or following the links Scott provided hours ago), here are some soundbites from Johnson’s press conference today according to the British press:

    Boris Johnson set out the need for “drastic action” to tackle the “fast growth” of coronavirus.

    The Prime Minister said that according to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) “it looks as though we are now approaching the fast growth part of the upward curve” in the number of cases.

    “Without drastic action cases could double every five or six days,” he said.

    UK must go into coronavirus LOCKDOWN: Boris Johnson orders Brits to work from home, keep out of pubs and clubs and tells the whole country to stop all ‘non-essential’ social contact

    Boris Johnson plunged Britain into lockdown today – urging everyone in the country to stop all ‘non-essential’ contact with others.

    The PM warned that the coronavirus was now in a phase of rapid spread across the UK, and it was time to take radical action to stop the NHS being swamped.


    Of course he should have done all this and more last week already, but better late than never.

  35. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    16. March 2020 at 09:24

    @Brian D:

    I worry that going forward every time there’s a new virus, and there seems to be one every few years, that we will shut down the world to contain it. That’s a real problem for long term growth. Also, bioterrorists now know the world will shut down pretty quickly for any virus.


    The problem with the internet and social media today is one can always find something to read to make you very afraid. This virus is not going to be even close to that bad. As Christian said, it’s already stopped growing in China and other parts of Asia. Containment is happening all over the world now.

  36. Gravatar of Ed Zimmer Ed Zimmer
    16. March 2020 at 11:05

    Re exponential growth, the right answer is we don’t know because we were unable to do adequate early testing. Take a look at the graph on the Real-World Economics Review Blog ( https://rwer.wordpress.com/ ). South Korea appears to be flattening out.

  37. Gravatar of Student Student
    16. March 2020 at 11:26

    I don’t really care what people say on social media. I care about the fact that the ratio (delta new cases day t / delta new cases day t-1) > 1. Until that number hits 1, it’s growing exponentially. Sure that will lag the social distance we are implementing but you don’t take your foot off the gas until you have made your get away.

  38. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    16. March 2020 at 11:34

    Ray, You said:

    “Sumner in his typical hyperbole mode.”

    LOL. In the post I wrote a total of five words, and said nothing about my view of the crisis. I merely commented on the POTUS’s communication style.

    foosion, This crisis has made me even more libertarian. I thought dealing with pandemics might be one thing that governments could do. Silly me.

    Spencer, Set a level target and then do LSAP.

    Christian, The same epistemic bubble that causes Ben and Ray to be clueless about what’s happening in the UK also causes them to read and accept crackpot theories.

  39. Gravatar of Student Student
    16. March 2020 at 11:35

    I suppose I could buy seedy women or friends is some third world country. But alas, I am no 1 percenter.

  40. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    16. March 2020 at 11:36

    @Christian List – the link you provided that the UK is in a ‘total lockdown’ is false. False like the Aryan superiority some of your countrymen believe in. All the link said is that UK citizens “should” avoid crowds. It’s not the total lockdown like in France, Greece (fine of 5k Euro if you are outside your home without a police permit, all work stopped, and only four people allowed inside the small food supermarkets here), or in the Philippines (total lockdown in Luzon island, 60M people, and police/military to ration food, citizens banned from leaving their homes).

    Got it now? The UK is doing things sensibly, not panicking, as B. Cole suggested, allowing herd immunity to take place. You do know, retard, why authorities are urging lockdown? It’s because without lockdown the hospitals would be overwhelmed, it is NOT, I repeat, NOT because lockdown will make Covid-19 go away. Re-read this last sentence and let it sink into your dense Germany skull, a skull that stupidly started not one but two world wars. Instead of a lockdown, logic dictates the authorities should build more hospitals rather than plunge an economy into the dark ages–and keep in mind the UK doctors are saying the social distancing will last for a very long time, to wit, twit, “Chief medical officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, said “This is going to go on for some time. We should not be under any illusions that ‘if we just do this for a couple of weeks that is sufficient’.””.

    Got it now? I can’t dumb it down anymore for you.

  41. Gravatar of Spencer Hall Spencer Hall
    16. March 2020 at 12:03

    “Pushing on a string” only applied prior to the nominal legal adherence to the fallacious “Real Bills Doctrine” when terminated in 1932 – due to a paucity of eligible (hopelessly impaired), commercial and agricultural paper for the 12 District Reserve bank’s discounting purposes.

    The remuneration of interbank demand deposits, IBDDs, by Bankrupt-u-Bernanke emasculated the FRB-NY’s “open market power”, the power to inject ex-nihilo, and gratis, showering free lunch money both exogenously and endogenously, into the payment’s system — by Lorie K. Logan (Manager of SOMA as well as Executive Vice President of the New York Fed’s Markets Group’s “trading desk”).

    Unlike Treasury issuance, because the belligerent bifurcation (the mis-aligned distribution of sales and purchases of debt by the FRB-NY’s trading desk and its customers/counter-parties is largely unpredictable (which shouldn’t be a problem with the expanded reverse repurchase agreement counterparty listing), so too now is the volume and rate of expansion in the money stock. FOMC policy has now been capriciously undermined – by turning nonearning excess reserves into bank earning assets.

    This is in direct contrast to targeting: *RPDs* (reserves for private nonbank deposits with nonbank counterparties), and by using non-borrowed reserves as its operating method (predating Paul Volcker’s October 6, 1979 pronouncement on the *Saturday before Columbus Day*), as Paul Meek’s (FRB-NY assistant V.P. of OMOs and Treasury issues), described in his 3rd edition of “Open Market Operations” published in 1974.

    This adds up to an obdurate apparatus that the Fed cannot monitor, much less control, even on a month-to-month basis.
    What the net expansion of the money stock will be, as a consequence of any given addition or subtraction in Federal Reserve Bank credit, nobody can forecast until long after the fact.
    And the whole process is now initiated by the member banks, via proffered bankable opportunities, not by the monetary authorities.

  42. Gravatar of Spencer Hall Spencer Hall
    16. March 2020 at 12:04

    In other words, you can’t target AD, so you can’t target NGDP LPT

  43. Gravatar of Spencer Hall Spencer Hall
    16. March 2020 at 12:30

    My money multiplier was 206:1 pre GFC. Charles Hughes Smith put it @ 219:1

    The validity of the money multiplier (commercial bank credit expansion coefficient) as a predictive device is predicated on the assumption that the commercial banks will immediately expand credit and the money supply (invest in some type of earning asset), if they are supplied with additional excess reserves.

    The inconsequential volume of excess reserves held by the member commercial banks from 1942 until October 2008 provides documentary proof that the DFIs undoubtedly did.

    The remuneration of interbank demand deposits by Bankrupt-u-Bernanke emasculated the FRB-NY’s “open market power”, its power to instantaneously inject ex-nihilo, and gratis, showering deposit liabilities both exogenously and endogenously, into the payment’s system — by the FRB-NY’s Market Group.

    After 1995, the commercial banks became non: “e-bound” (Dr. Richard G. Anderson’s term). See the truistic money multiplier, SA article and contributor, Charles Hugh Smith, “Bank Reserves and Loans: The Fed Is Pushing On A String” –

  44. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    16. March 2020 at 13:24

    Christian, The same epistemic bubble that causes Ben and Ray to be clueless about what’s happening in the UK also causes them to read and accept crackpot theories.

    Scott, at least now I know how you must feel when I write something really stupid. Or when Trump says something really stupid.

    R. is so obnoxious and arrogant and ignorant and stupid, and all at the same time. It makes your head spin in astonishment and disbelieve.

    If a writer invented such a person, people would say: take a break, this is extremely unrealistic. How narcissistic can one be? This guy even talks to himself and praises himself.

    It was my fault for trying in the first place. This guy is a completely lost cause.

    He even says about himself that he was banned everywhere else, which of course (classical narcissist) is not his fault, but everybody else’s.

    Let’s see if he becomes as obnoxious as Mr. EH.

  45. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    16. March 2020 at 15:16

    @Christian List – as a German, you most likely: (1) rent your flat, don’t own it (2) are poor, certainly no 1%-er like me and mine (min net worth $10M+), (3) like ass and fart jokes (4) don’t own many equities, (5) are hated by southern Europeans, (6) live in campers when traveling, unlike five-star hotel me, (7) wear white socks with shorts and sandals, (8) profess to regret starting WWI and WWII and Nazis, but secretly admire it and them.

    In short, a real loser. By contrast, I invested $20k today in the falling market, and will invest one or two more such tranches later when the market falls to DJ-30 15k and 10k. Rich get richer. My 1% family have several million in stocks; they can’t sell since the AMT tax bill would be too great, so they buy and hold. They live comfortably on the interest of their money, at around 1% a year. You can’t even imagine that.

  46. Gravatar of agrippa postumus agrippa postumus
    16. March 2020 at 16:05

    list and lopez: lopez is the cleverer, both windbags, both liars, both both.

  47. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    16. March 2020 at 19:15

    Well, it’s March 16, 10.42 EST—-kind of day 1 in NY Metro for Lockdown. I would like to know what a “ignorance is bliss strategy” will do. I am still not quite sure why a post lockdown period will not just pick up where it left off pre-lockdown—-so we may find out about an ignorance is bliss strategy after all—-without the bliss part. I have given up believing we will have tests.

    Plus, there is no way in the world I can imagine driving into a Walmart parking lot to get my swab——that is logistically inconceivable. It takes me an hour just to get on the Williamsburg Bridge from Delancey street—-about 1/4 mile. In NJ it just won’t happen. As an aside, CT scans can tell you in 5-10 minutes if you have it. But talk about logistics!

    Most people instinctively just have a hard time accepting Lockdown makes sense——yet, everyone I know is definitely playing by the rules. I wonder, besides movie stars and basketball players, not one person on this blog has said they know anyone who has the virus. Say there are 20 readers who each know —-30 people—-shouldn’t someone know of someone?

    Then again, like the 450/650 on the Diamond Princess, we could all be a-symptomatic.

    On stocks—-after I read a freaky essay by Tyler Cowen, I sold 20%, hedged (bought Sept puts) for another 30% at 3100—-under the belief we were heading to 2400—I think I was far too optimistic to think only a 25% + drop would happen

    Now I am frozen in time—-wondering if markets would leap up if they knew “only 20 million” would die. One of the readers said every time we have one of these we will start having lockdowns. I think that may be right——-because regardless of what happens we will say “it worked”.

  48. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    18. March 2020 at 17:19

    Cultural homogeneity may be an advantage, because of greater conformity in responses. In Australia, there is a constant attempt to do things according to Anglo norms, which get subverted because too many people never adopted them in the first place or abandon them under the slightest pressure.

    South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore can just do X, as people are operating within common cultural patterns with strong conformity pressures. In the US, UK etc, there is the perennial “how will this run in x,y,z … group?” and with weaker conformity pressures.

    The bureaucracies have not been performing well. In Australia, they are dragging their feet on almost everything, such as allowing private providers to do COVID-19 testing. Or not thinking things through. Such as declaring only medical personnel can have access to the full protective gear, only people in full gear can deliver bodies to NSW morgues, but funeral service personnel, who collect and deliver bodies, don’t get the gear. And so on.

    And previous outbreaks have not been as global as quickly.

    That being said, the different media environment may also be having effect, compared to the last pandemic. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/public-health/swine-flu-8-facts-about-the-world-s-last-pandemic-in-2009.html?fbclid=IwAR1IdFf5KcvZ2hh2FUJeHm0LTq7ZqdGc9UkY2IX8jb_TT8JaJpnN6st8DUY

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