Saturday, April 4, 2020

A Falling House of Cards?

So much depends on everything else. Consider the surprises of the COVID crisis:

Newspapers have little ad revenue, because no one has anything to advertise. Shops are closed and events are cancelled. At the same time, people want the news more than ever.

State governments have little money to spend because sales tax revenue has tanked. No one can make purchases on which to pay taxes.

Hospitals are stretched to the limit, but their revenue is down. Elective surgeries have been cancelled for weeks, and payments for those surgeries bring in millions in revenue.

Police forces get sick, navy ships become infected, soldiers need face masks to protect them from germs.

Parks and playgrounds are closed.

Then there is the falling stock market, the $2 trillion stimulus paid for entirely by government borrowing, sports leagues on hold, festivals and concerts cancelled, small businesses struggling, schools closed, graduations postponed.

Everything depends on everything. The economy is a complex ecosystem, all intertwined. Let's hope it is an ecosystem, not a house of cards. Something invisible has invaded and threatened the whole thing.

And we are learning to depend on people again. If the whole house of cards falls, we will really need each other.