Monday, March 23, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic continues unabated through much of the world. Despair is starting to weigh on society as millions of people have lost their jobs and our freedom of movement has been curtailed by the government with no recourse for dissent. Through this natural disaster, a morbid theme has emerged for the Corvid-19 virus--Boomer Remover.
Used mostly by the young, boomer remover shows their disdain for the elderly and who they think is the source for much of their misery. While they are trying to carry on and party like the young are wont to do, they are being forcefully suppressed by their supposedly more educated and worldly elders. They have been thrust into the worst US economy in at least a generation, and maybe as bad as the Great Depression of the 1930's just as they are graduating from school and starting their families and careers.
However, it is the baby boomer generation that is feeling the brunt of the Corvid-19 chaos. First of all, the disease is much deadlier among the elderly than the young. The death rate for those under 50 years old is less than one percent. After that, the rate increases exponentially until after the age of 80 where the death rate is almost fifteen percent. That's why the college kids feel like they can party on Miami beaches with little consequence for their own health while the country watches in horror.
Then the government guidelines ask that those over 60 years old should stay home since they are the ones most likely to suffer severe illness from the virus when they get infected. This has caused many of them to miss precious work just when they are getting set to retire. In our practice, our older partners have voluntarily stopped working for the last two weeks. I don't know how much longer that can last as they are making zero income sitting at home.
The stock market crash has also disproportionately affected the baby boomers. The financial crash of 2008 forced many in our group to work past their expected retirement age. This caused our partnership to become too top heavy as the older anesthesiologists refused to retire, making it difficult to hire younger partners. After eleven years of a bull market, we finally had an exodus of retirements in the last two years. Wouldn't you know it, the market crashed again. Who knows when people can feel whole enough again in their retirement accounts to contemplate hanging up the shingles.
So the younger generation may feel that they are the ones bearing the brunt of this economic collapse because of government mandates beyond their control. But the term #BoomerRemover may be more accurate than they realize. The increased mortality associated with the disease and the financial difficulties that will crush their retirement savings may cause a calamity for the boomers that are yet to be calculated.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
|No traffic in Los Angeles!|
They proposed the elimination of all use of fossil fuels. Everything would have to be powered by electricity obtained from clean renewable energy sources like wind or solar, but not nuclear. There would be no more airplanes, automobiles driven by fossil fuels, and boats. Homes and businesses would not be allowed to turn the lights on unless the electricity came from clean energy. And even cows were demonized for emitting too much methane into the atmosphere.
The GND was rightly mocked for being impractical and unrealistic, a fantasy of the privileged elite who don't have to drive to work every day to earn their paychecks. They idolized their beliefs to the point of declaring a teenager who espoused those views to become Person of the Year by Time magazine despite having no formal education in environmental science.
Now we know what living in a GND world is like. Through (overly?) draconian actions taken by the government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the American economy has ground to a halt. Practically all air travel has stopped as people are told to hunker down. All cruise ships have cancelled their trips. Millions of people have lost their jobs because all nonessential businesses are told to close until further notice to prevent gatherings of crowds. Millions of children and college kids are out of school with no clear idea when they will return to finish the school year, if at all.
The consequences of these actions have been terrifying. Billions of dollars have been lost in the economy as people are confronted with no income. The stock market is crashing by astonishing amounts almost every day. The federal government is looking at spending trillions of dollars to prop up the economy and it may still not be enough. People are panic buying and hoarding food and survival supplies. There are long lines to purchase guns as people think civilized society is hanging by a thread.
The only bright side for me personally is that my commute to work has been cut in half. A traffic map I took in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday showed virtually no traffic jams anywhere in LA County. Normally there would be red lines through all the freeways. Now they're all green. Los Angeles really is glorious when it's easy to get around. The skies are wonderfully blue. It's easy to see the distant snow on top of Mt. Baldy. The air feels crisp and clear. The only problem is that there is nowhere to go despite so little traffic as everything is closed.
For all those who talked a few months ago about the urgency of implementing the Green New Deal, be careful what you wish for. It's easy to advocate for those policies when you know there is little likelihood of their implementation. This current crisis is just a taste of the chaos that will happen to society if those ideas ever come to pass.
Monday, August 24, 2015
When stocks last crashed in 2008, these guys and gals had barely finished grad school. Their MBA's were probably still inside their unopened moving boxes in their first rent controlled apartment in downtown Manhattan. During the dot com implosion of the early 2000's, these future analysts were still attending toga parties (or whatever college fraternities do these days) and giving themselves serious liver damage and STD's every weekend. As the market swooned in 1994 during the previous Great Recession, these overcompensated chart watchers were probably just trying to fathom the opposite sex. Of course, during the great market crash of 1987, these kids were still clinging to their mothers' legs as they got dropped off at kindergarten.
So what do these people have to teach ME about how the markets work? What can they say that I haven't already seen multiple times in my long grizzled life? Why are they getting paid multiples of my salary espousing cliches about buying and holding for the long term when their very existence isn't even considered long term in my portfolio? How can they be making so much money when they are so frequently wrong?
Maybe I'm turning into the cranky old coot we used to make fun of as we rode our bicycles over his well manicured lawn.
Monday, July 19, 2010
I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The Southern California economy is in the dumps. The state budget is overdue and is projected to have a deficit of $19 billion. The local unemployment rate is 12.3% with the U-6 unemployment and underemployment rate of over 20%. Housing prices are still falling after a mild pickup from a now expired federal bailout (so tired of that word). Taxes are set to rise dramatically in a few months, especially on the people who are most likely to hire the millions of unemployed. Is it any wonder the country is in an uncharacteristic doldrums right now?