Saturday, May 2, 2020

Life After Corona - The Hangover?

I never was a super-fan of Corona beer. Too tasteless and light. There are Mexican beers that have flavor - Negro Modelo (fun to order in Mexican bars, when you ask for "Dos Negros", it doesn't raise an eyebrow"), Tecate, some of the Dos XX types (lager, amber) - but Corona is - meh. Part of the problem is the distance it travels, and the fact that the bottle is clear. A clear bottle is vulnerable to degradation the longer it sits. Putting a lime in the neck masks the lack of flavor.

If I want fruit, I'll eat fruit. When I drink beer, I want BEER.

But the virus called Corona is another matter. The response of the countries with modern economies seems designed to bring them down to the level of a badly functioning semi-Socialist banana republic. Only the defiant resistance of small business owners is dragging us back to a semi-functioning status - God bless those willing to risk jail for their principles.

Even in those states without working plans to 'open up' again, there are signs of resistance:

Governors who imposed more stringent rules have found that the people are pushing back. Many of the rules seem designed to favor large box stores, corporations with products/ties to China, and Leftist donors. Small business took it in the neck, and many were completely shut out of the loan money that was distributed before it was possible to apply (for the non-favored). The larger businesses are generally NOT open to giving that money back, even after the negative publicity it brought.

In short, the fix was in. Nothing new about that.

Hangover Time:
  • We added to the already huge deficit. I don't even want to think about the numbers. I also don't want to even deal with it until the economy returns to more-or-less normal. There is time for that later.
  • We're going to have to encourage people to get back to work ASAP. For that reason, I don't recommend extending the handouts. Some financial pressure is a great motivator to get a job. Any food aid should NOT be EBT - it should involve having to pick up a box in line. It should be inconvenient, and something people want to get away from. EBT is way too much like using a credit/debit card in the supermarket - easy, convenient, and hard to stop.
  • Some of the business assistance - in fact, MOST of it - should come from the states. They can get creative, for example, offering to pick up the first 3 months of the employer's share of health insurance, to encourage cash-poor businesses to bring employees back quickly. No more federal assistance without states having at least 1/2 of the cost borne by them. And, short time limits on any assistance - no more multiyear giveaways.
  • No bailouts for state budgets. They're on the hook for what they've chosen to fund. It should be a spur for them to cut unnecessary programs and employees. Streamlining government should be the goal.
  • This is going to be tough, but do-able. In those states where it is necessary, amend state constitutions to let them get out of pension obligations that cannot be reduced. Bring in the heads of the unions/benefit associations, and tell them the plain facts. ALL pension benefits should be on the block. Most of them are horribly underfunded, and if they are allowed to continue at current levels, will suck up all available cash for the future. 20%-25% is a reasonable goal for cutting benefits. They might exempt the lowest 10%-15% of those receiving benefits from losing money. That puts the burden on those who have give in their budget.
  • Overhaul of nursing homes is essential. I've floated the idea of having 'emergency outbreak' teams available to move in and take over temporarily when notified of critical illness outbreaks. It's pretty clear that the inpatient facilities were a major driver for the numbers hospitalized, and those that died. Whether there needs to be some financial support for the operation, or larger reimbursement for costs, I don't know. But, if we don't deal with this before next fall, it's gonna get ugly again.
Most families took some financial dings. Some were devastated. It's going to be a long time before they do any extravagant spending. Discretionary expenditures will be modest, and that will have an effect on the recovery.

For most of us, the most important thing we can do is to target our purchasing power - buy at local stores, shop American (there are sites that help you chose), and, when looking for a treat, select the independent business owner, if possible. Many of us have gotten used to the ease and price of online, but many of those products are foreign made - usually in China. It's time to suck it up, and boycott China, whenever possible. They lied about the outbreak, made it difficult to make good decisions about containment measures, and now - thanks to aggressive media promotion of Remdesivir, a Chinese-made antiviral - stand to make a 'killing' on selling the cure. It's an overpriced product, that is not all that much more effective than much cheaper meds. But, according to media coverage, it's the ONLY thing that will save us.

Don't buy it. Look into alternative treatment options.


HoundOfDoom said...

Thank you Linda.

Amazing how the fix was in for 'small business'. Things never change, do they?

Also thanks for surfacing that video. Really cheesy attempt there. Glad it was found out. Conspiracy of what, 4 people at the minimum?

Much appreciation.

Linda Fox said...

I don't know if I'd call it a conspiracy - rather a small collection of opportunists creating news on a slow day, that just HAPPENS to fit a desired narrative, using the currently fashionable 'hero' type (which profession would normally be dismissed as a mouth-breathing moron, not smart enough to be a doctor".