If You Can Keep Your Head…
This virus has created The Season of Big IFs. IF we subdue and control the virus. IF we manage to keep infections and deaths to a minimum. IF we achieve much lower numbers than “experts” predict.
Then, the administration will earn plaudits. Most of the nation will sing the praises of President Trump and his crisis team. And this president will become extremely hard to beat come November.
He has already earned much praise for how he has handled the crisis on behalf of the nation. More praise than criticism, my impression. IF we emerge from the crisis with low numbers the praise will increase.
And IF the numbers are high, IF they are bad, his critics will pelt him with abuse. And chastised, he will be easier to beat come November.
IF this virus rages uncontrolled. IF it snuffs out the lives of millions. It may plunge us into a genuine economic depression. Along with most of the world.
IF we suffer a depression, our markets will remain anemic for years. Most of us will simply suffer deep losses in our retirement funds. Our current standard of living will become a memory.
Millions will lose their homes. Countless businesses big and small will sink. Millions who never dreamed of it will come, painfully, to know bankruptcy. This is because depressions debilitate. They destroy capital. As well as dreams in the real sense. And lives in the figurative sense.
IF, instead, the virus pushes us into recession, economies will probably recover quickly. And dramatically. Some will roar out of recession. Markets will climb again to at least shooting distance of where they were. Our 401k’s, IRAs and nest eggs will dust themselves off and return to enough health to let us breathe more easily about our retirements.
IF we are smart, we will learn countless valuable lessons from this pandemic. These will help us lessen or avoid damage from many a future calamity. These lessons will cover so many areas. Such as how to prevent future outbreaks. How to respond better to them. How to be more ready for them.
IF scientists prove China messed up as much as it is now accused. IF we learn for sure China hid the outbreak from the world for several precious weeks. IF we confirm China lied to the world about the outbreak. IF further data bolster current studies that claim China could have prevented 95 percent of this suffering. By being open, transparent and honest. IF we verify China’s current propaganda campaign to blame us for the virus is pure BS. Then China will feel our wrath in many ways large and small.
IF the evidence shows China is guilty of such irresponsible and despicable behavior, China will become an enemy of sorts. For years to come, We and much of the world will no longer regard the Chinese as our friends.
No one seriously accuses China of intentionally inflicting this virus on the world. They accuse China of utter selfishness. Of disgusting disregard for the rest of the people who share this planet with them.
China could become a pariah. It could become the former friend who drove our kids home while drunk. Friends don’t play Russian roulette with the lives of our loved ones. Friends don’t blame friends for their own failures.
IF, IF, IF… These are mighty big IFs. The way they resolve will determine our election. The election of course affects fates and fortunes untold.
The IFs will determine the flow of trillions of dollars. They will determine the health — as well as life or death — for billions of folks now and in decades to come. They will determine what level of misery or contentment many of us will suffer or enjoy for our remaining years.
Poet Rudyard Kipling’s best known poem is titled “If”. “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.” (Something we wrote to investment clients when the market crashed in 2009.)
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those imposters just the same.”
I wish Kipling was with us today. To think. And to write. About us. And our destiny. While we lay in the clutches of this virus. In these precarious times.
Now is the winter of our uncertainties.