Thursday, May 28, 2020

2020: the Year Of The L-Shaped Recovery

It is said that the measure of a man's intelligence is related to how much he agrees with you.

By that standard, John Wilder is brilliant in his latest post.

In it, he looks at the recent prognostication by Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, that the economy is going to come surging right back.

Unfortunately, Scott is wronger than two boys fornicating.

And as noted above in comments at the OP, Adams is, indeed, smoking industrial quantities of hopeium.
I share his wish that things would be otherwise, but people can't buy groceries with wishful thinking.

As we told you back at the beginning of the month, the oil business isn't going to bounce back. Probably not for near a decade.
The auto manufacturing business - and 400 ancillary industries - aren't going to bounce back.
Airline travel drop-off is going to kill some major carriers.
Tourism, hotels, and everything related won't be back for a year.
Hollywood is looking at the south end of a northbound worst-movie-summer-in-recorded-history since Thomas Edison invented the motion picture. TV production is on the longest hiatus since the last writer's strike. People in the biz are losing their houses.
Concerts? Gone.
Trade shows? Gone.
Sportsball? On life support.
Farmers? Lucky to stay off of food stamps this year.
Restaurants? This year will probably be the most closures and bankruptcies since 1929.
Retail? Aloha. Malls are going to be the new ghost towns.

And all those employees? The ones not working anytime soon?
They'll be the exact ones NOT buying all of the above goods and services.

This isn't going to be a V-shaped recovery.
It isn't going to be a U-shaped recovery.

Welcome to 2020: The Year Of the L-shaped Recovery™.
(Anybody can use that one, but *I* said it first.)

And before this year is out, we'll be happy if we could just get back to the Obozo economy.
Getting back to the Trump economy from 2019 will likely be something that takes years and years.
If ever.

Ask Weimar, Zimbabwe, or Venezuela: you can't inflate your way to prosperity.
It fails every time it's tried.

Buckle in, kids. if you've got a paying job to go back to, count your blessings.
And if not, start scrambling.
Like Tom-Brady-looking-at-a-wall-of-blitzing-linebackers scrambling.

Because if you don't you're going to be sacked, and become roadkill.
Just part of the collateral damage from Kung Flu.
And if you aren't careful, you'll find out that massive unemployment brings Famine, which brings Plague, which brings Death. And the unrest from that brings War. Which doubles down on the first three.

No points for noting that all four of those riders come visiting on Four Horses.


Michael said...

Good Morning Aesop! Did you happen to take a look at those Craigslist listings for small swing keel Sailboat(and thus beach able and with an off shore anchor un-beach able)for a tiny house style survival pod? I mentioned how much peace of mind it gave me working in interesting places like Seattle and Johns Hopkins Baltimore as well as a relaxing hobby for less than 6K. I am still not inclined to die in the harness with out even the dream of potential escape. The roads away from a craziness filled city will be more dangerous in my humble opinion than the wide open seas.

No matter what the SHTF situation of economic collapse or People and how they react to the situation needs to be planned for and plans with out action are useless. No boat, no lessons on sailing, no caches of supplies, well it was a nice plan eh?

Your area is likely to have Rodney King level riots when the EBT cards with Uncle Sugar's Unlimited Digits BUYS NOTHING.

Have to survive the idiot riots before surviving the troubles of IOU paychecks from California awaiting any recovery L shaped or otherwise. Roof top Koreans requires a sense of TRIBE that most of us do not have AND I suspect the Government will make the situation worse for those that dare to resist. Just saying.

The prep window is closing, sailing lessons take at least a couple of weekends, caches about the same after your capable of sailing your survival pod.

I'd like to hear from you after the smoke clears and internet resumes, if ever.

FredLewers said...

I've said it all along. Kung Flu isn't the worst problem. Yeah, some people gonna die. The survivors got bigger problems... Like how you survive and rebuild something worth having while everything falls apart around you.

Knightsofnee said...

Minneapolis is just a precursor of things to come. Meanwhile, NYFC folks flocking here to second homes with extended family in tow. 9 of them now living next door. Another neighbor in ICU, septic shock, peaked at 106 degs. cardiac arrest, bought back, hope to extubate soon. In a small community hospital across the street. Tested negative for Covid19, so far.

Phelps said...

If there is a second wave, I think you are correct.

If there is no second wave, I think everything is back in 6 months, and the "experts" will be sufficiently discredited that we won't do social distancing when the next (perhaps actually virulent and deadly) virus breaks out, and then we will actually get hurt.

Reltney McFee said...

As you indicated from your reference to movie industry folks losing homes, in entertaining times, if you owe the bank (whatever form "the bank" may take), they OWN you.

My take home lesson is, once back to work (I anticipate next Monday, if credentialing is not bollixed), Ima gonna be a debt paying off Mo Fo. If the Big Igloo, in whatever form factor, holds off long enough, I may--just MAY-- have manageable-to-no-debt about the time the house of cards collapses.

Then it's frugal living, family, and prayer.

Among the prayers, is the prayer tat you prove to be overly pessimistic.

That's the PRAYER, not the bet.

Aesop said...


The economy is already bolloxed, even with no second wave.
We can't fix a shattered piece of glass.
It was that fragile, and we're way right of bang on that.

Goose said...

Just realize folks that if it gets bad your enemy is not the inner city gangs. They will be a while getting out. It will be your formerly friendly, formerly blue uniformed public safety officer. They have branches in every location in the country and every squad car has an automatic weapon in the trunk. They are fully militarized, trained to kill in a variety of situations and breaking your neck while arresting you is just one of them.

Your local politican will send them around with a variety of orders to steal your supplies and your ability to take of your self and family. What happened in the Costco clip was teaching him to be feminized soy boy and submission to authority. If they were serious about masks they would not have allowed him into the store.

Aesop said...

Or, he took it off after he entered, to test the limits of the rules, because "Muh Free-Dum."

If they'd just wanted compliance, they could have given him that option.
He was clearly a dick, with a Gilligan IQ.

Unknown said...

I read Wilder's post. I wish we hadn't had to shut down, but I don't know what else could have been done.

As for the incoming catastrophe, debt seems to be driving that bus. I have been working on getting out from under my debts for awhile now. I will have to keep doubling down on that.

Glad I never got into credit cards.


Anonymous said...

Haven't missed a day of work since all this started. It's been slower, but it's spinning back up, & customers preparing to go back to full production & manning have us booked solid (I'm in calibration).
I'm worried about the national economy, but the local is coming back up to speed quickly. They must have orders from somewhere: the wouldn't be creating goods if they didn't know where or to whom they were going to sell them.
--Tennessee Budd

OvergrownHobbit said...

It's going to be a massive depression, not runaway inflation.

Plan accordingly.