AskProfWolff: COVID-19 and the Stock Market

I’m beginning to believe the current “pandemic” is perhaps just the latest contrived “enemy of the state”. An opportunity taken by western governments that have, over the past 20 or 30 years, gotten bolder in their willingness to fabricate fear to secure a political end. Political ends are always about greater control, corruption, and ultimately, cover ups.

In the age where air has become second to digital noise in terms of ubiquity, and hyperbole has replaced truth as the journalistic objective, governments’ ability to leverage misinformation (i.e. propaganda) has become a precision tool.

Like it or not, society has become confused by the amount of information thrown at us and that makes us susceptible.

But if this is contrived political hysteria, what is the objective?

I’ve heard people on either side of the aisle suggest it is to help or hurt Trump. And perhaps, it is that simple. However, given equally good points on both sides of that argument I am skeptical. So then what?

Well, I think back to 9/11 and whether you believe it was an act of terrorism by our own government or some other group, the end result was the same – The Patriot Act, and a truckload of knock-on legislation that quietly edged out our individual rights and freedoms. All in the name of keeping us safe from harm.

Ok, but do we see any of that happening as a result of this current narrative? Of course. Right now a bill is making its way through Congress that most legislators, have admittedly, not read but are ready to approve.

And perhaps the most glaring action is the $5 trillion financial bail out that took place over the weekend.

This is by far, the biggest financial industry bailout ever to take place, at least on this planet. Most Americans have no idea a bailout is taking place and those that do will never come to know that the bailout began in early September.

On September 2nd, the Fed began its second epic “bank bailout”. That is, it has nothing to do with the virus.

And it isn’t just banks but the entire sport of speculation that require a bailout. The leverage inherent in the sport of speculation, across all asset classes, has created an aggregate risk position so large there is no longer enough cash to cover the margin call.

And this is where we’ve run into trouble. In 2008, we had levered specific collateral instruments up using nonsensical economics.

At the time I was studying financial engineering at Chicago Booth. I graduated in December 2008, after spending 2 years studying the models that were proving, in real time, to be absolutely wrong and creating massive pain for the bottom half of the economic food chain.

To crawl out of that mess we printed trillions of dollars to bail out the large risk positions that had earlier created immense wealth for those on the top of the economic food chain.

This past weekend, once again the Fed announced a $5 trillion bailout and it went completely unnoticed by the public because we are distracted by a “world ending virus”.

The largest financial bailout in the history of the world and nobody knows it happened because the focus is on a virus that to date, has resulted in 50 deaths in America (at the same time 8,000 deaths have resulted from the flu in America).

I am constantly having Italy being thrown at me as evidence the virus is going to wipe out humanity. So I decided to look into Italy, specifically. What I found is that Italy has about 16K flu related deaths each year.

That’s a little over 2K flu related each month of the 7 month flu season. And here are Italy’s Covid figures.

The new cases are in decline and the total death count in the 2 months since the outbreak began there, is at 2158, so about 1K per month (half that of the flu during the same period).

And Italy is the worst case scenario in terms of mortality rate (fatality to recorded infections – yes this is a less than ideal statistic in terms of meaningfulness). Germany, for instance has an incredibly low mortality rate.

And let me be clear, I’m not saying we shouldn’t take this seriously. My point is whether or not the severe response from western governments is a reasonable response given the “threat”.

In 2009, the Swine Flu hit America’s shores. Let’s look at the spread and mortality figures of the Swine Flu outbreak that went almost unnoticed by the public and media.

In fact, I had no idea Swine Flu hit our shores until the writing of this article.

As of mid-March 2010, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that about 59 million Americans contracted the H1N1 virus, 265,000 were hospitalized as a result (0.4% of the estimated total number of people who contracted it), and 12,000 died (0.02%).

Now let’s compare the US Covid outbreak to date.


By V F – The Chicago Economist

First published by ICH


The 21st Century

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