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2020 Stock Market Crash (wikipedia.org)
264 points by smnthermes on March 16, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 199 comments

im worried this article will eventually get whitewashed into "corona caused the financial crisis." HN and others have repeatedly pointed out numerous factors in the market that definitely were not corona, that would have caused this crash eventually. untenable levels of credit card debt, automobile debt, and unreformed student loan structures as well as stagnant wages and rollbacks on a number of legislative efforts to police markets and protect investors.

Saying that covid-19 caused the crash is like saying that the assassination of the archduke caused WW1. The accuracy of these kinds of statements depends on how you define "causation". If you follow this down, it turns into a deep philosophical question.

Also, consider that there are always people (especially on HN) predicting stock market crashes. I'm not sure it makes sense to ascribe the ability to predict the market to people who happened to be right.

I don't necessarily agree with the assessment that Covid was just a spark.

Certainly there are many underlying factors, but a massive change in consumer behavior with a somewhat open-ended timeline is itself much worse than many of the other issues in the economy.

But, there is the fact that right now stores are running out of everything. Online sales must be very strong right now as well. Sales are booming?

I'm not a financial...well, anything, but it's my interpretation that most large stock market drops are due to massive selloffs. Basically, people who own the stock are trying to unload it before something bad happens to those stocks. The result is something bad happens to those stocks, and things start crashing.

Like in Sneakers:

People think a bank is financially shaky

Consequence: people start to withdraw their money

Result: Pretty soon it is financially shaky

In other words, stores running out of things and/or online sales being strong aren't, by themselves, the cause of major market movements right now; it's speculation about what'll happen tomorrow, and making sure you don't own any of the stocks if & when it tanks. Which incidentally causes the stocks to tank.

Don't even ask the question. The answer is yes, it's priced in. Think Amazon will beat the next earnings? That's already been priced in. You work at the drive thru for Mickey D's and found out that the burgers are made of human meat? Priced in. You think insiders don't already know that? The market is an all powerful, all encompassing being that knows the very inner workings of your subconscious before you were even born. Your very existence was priced in decades ago when the market was valuing Standard Oil's expected future earnings based on population growth that would lead to your birth, what age you would get a car, how many times you would drive your car every week, how many times you take the bus/train, etc. Anything you can think of has already been priced in, even the things you aren't thinking of. You have no original thoughts. Your consciousness is just an illusion, a product of the omniscent market. Free will is a myth. The market sees all, knows all and will be there from the beginning of time until the end of the universe (the market has already priced in the heat death of the universe). So please, before you make a post somewhere asking whether AAPL has priced in earpods 11 sales or whatever, know that it has already been priced in and don't ask such a dumb fucking question again.

Even online stores are running out of things.

Amazon for instance started running out of generic Tylenol and other items you're recommended to have on hand yesterday.

I was putting stuff in my cart Saturday only to have it be unavailable for the forseeable future by Sunday.

Online merely lags behind brick and mortars. They'll probably have more stuff available since you aren't browsing but searching for specific things, but for things everyone thinks they need, they won't be doing much better.

In situations like this, many people realize that we are in a mutual game of hot potato. The people involved are each trying to figure out what everyone else is using as a timer, so they aren't the ones left holding the bag.

Everyone knows about the student debt crisis. Everyone knows that public companies were borrowing to pay for stock buybacks. Everyone knows about the rampant de-regulation and rent seeking. And nobody thinks any of these issues will be addressed in the coming years.

It's going to be the 1980s all over again.

I have a theory that in a democracy, a status quo that takes $10 from every citizen to give $100,000 to a much smaller fixed subset of citizens will never be changed.

Because the small subset have a lot of motivation to advocate for the status quo, and each individual outside the subset has only a small motivation to advocate against it.

I don't know if that has much to do with democracy. In many historical countries, it was seen as the God-given right of aristocrats to take $10 from every citizen so they can have $100,000.

Sounds like governments now

Reminds me of the line from Margin Call when the boss says he doesn't hear anything anymore, so the music must have stopped.

That’s a great analogy. The assassination caused a military fight that wouldn’t have happened otherwise, but the conflicting alliances and leaders itching to use their new military power would have caused a major war anyway. The spark didn’t matter as much as the real systemic issues, but for a layman it’s a good enough cause.

Something would have popped the bubble, and I’d argue the real cause of the start of the downturn was OPEC and the bottom falling out of the oil market. Then COVID set in and made things a million times worse, making a quick recovery nearly impossible. That’s what will be remembered by lay people, while experts will hopefully remember you can only pop a bubble if there is a bubble to be popped. And OPEC/COVID didn’t create the bubble, they just popped it.

"The assassination caused a military fight that wouldn’t have happened otherwise, but the conflicting alliances and leaders itching to use their new military power would have caused a major war anyway."

1) Europe was a powder keg. The assassination was a single item is a list of reasons a war happened.

2) The escalation of war to involve multiple countries happened only after multiple attempts at de-escalation. Saying generally that leaders wanted to go to war is a massive oversimplification of the start of the war

It would have happened otherwise

The July Ultimatum would have happened, or WWI in general would have happened? I’m not arguing that WWI would have been avoided, in fact I said it would have happened regardless. The July Ultimatum could have been avoided, but again if you read through my entire comment you’ll see I believe WWI would have happened anyway.

You're right I jumped you sorry

Every market has some underlying conditions, but I see no reason to think any of it would have happened purely because of the reasons you cite.

Many of those conditions have been present for a LONG time and people have been predicting a correction or other events for years ... and they just haven't happened.

Fair or not, I have serious doubts anyone is selling stock right now because they're concerned about student debt or etc.

I feel like in every crisis we get laundry lists of people who cite "things that I'm concerned about are the real reasons" and so on.

Agreed. This crash is very obviously due to the virus. All the other factors may have contributed to it, but were not the leading cause. Had the outbreak not occurred, we may have eventually had a crash, but we don't know for sure.

This seems to be people who were skeptical about the market attempting to prove themselves right by piggybacking their favorite reason-the-market-will-crash onto this event.

I don’t know that this even fits the simple 5 why questions of root cause analysis. I’m not savvy enough to understand the financial underpinnings of the economy but this sounds like we just stopped at the first “why”, meaning it’s more likely a proximate cause. Removing a proximate cause may just mean another precipitating event could have led to a similar outcome eventually

Yeah, the parent comment here clearly has an agenda.

The virus is literally shutting down economic activity. High leverage never shut down an economy.

I agree. We were overdue for a correction, based on more than a century of stock & economic patterns. Something was gonna knock it down eventually. The longer a bull market goes on, the more fragile it becomes, like an over-inflated balloon. It was already artificially propped up by tax cuts and interest rate cuts. That "stimulus" was premature; reverse Keynes. Save up for a rainy day by paying down debt during the crest. Well, it's raining now and the piggy bank is empty. Enjoy the bacon....

Me and friends were speculating just a few months back that for a crash to happen, one of the FAANGs has to fail, spectacularly. Even with the privacy concerns, that we deemed as top risk factor, we did not see that crash happen.

Little did we know that the concentration of talent in Bay Area, Seattle, NYC and maybe London and Vancouver would be the trigger. I wonder if this gets any worse, and if one team coincidentally is wiped out, would the org be able to actually play their DR scenarios and rebuild their stack!!

"Little did we know that the concentration of talent in Bay Area, Seattle, NYC and maybe London and Vancouver would be the trigger."


This is an incredibly self-centered and myopic view of things.

Bro, the software industry isn't the center of the universe, or the global economy.

Restaurants are closed, travel is at a standstill, events are getting cancelled, and you're over here talking about engineers getting sick..... wow.

Let me try to explain but I think it may be futile. I just mentioned a conversation as part of the bigger discussion. Sure i could put it differently but it does not make my point invalid.

When we talk of the 1 percenters, when we talk of 0.1%, we are talking about wealth being unequally distributed. When we look at S&P or nasdaq, we see the pumping up of market in select names only. Forget the past month, and go look back at the past 3 years and compare the growths of tech companies with the non tech and see the difference. And the topic of this thread is market crash, not the dystopian or utopian world so my perspective is pretty much based on that.

Also, I am not saying the country is not at the standstill, but our whole supply chain, our whole messaging(WhatsApp and what not), a lot of our healthcare runs on software being managed by teams of 5-15, in many cases run from the same building. Not everywhere but in so many companies. I am not laying out a conspiracy theory just laying down the facts, as I understand them. If having a second data center is essential to modern DR, why is the same need of redundancy not relevant for people.

Re: for a crash to happen, one of the FAANGs has to fail, spectacularly.

Demand for digital services has gone up due the epidemic. Big Tech will do fine, but everything around them may crumble.

I don’t think the risk is centered around (typically young) software teams.

Closing borders, flights, events, bars, and restaurants has way more impact.


A complete suspension of commerce in the service sector due to a sudden, unprecedented change in consumer behavior is a massive economic shock that I've never witnessed in my lifetime.

The good news is that this isn't a case where there is a lack of capital available (like 2008), and many businesses will be able to weather it. However, we need to be very aggressive about bailing out the businesses that are too small or constrained to weather the storm.

I've been going back and forth on this for a week. On one hand we've been clearly headed towards a Minsky Moment / Big Debt Crisis for years. On the other hand, the impact of COVID-19 on the real economy is unprecedented. A sudden, global halting of all in-person social interaction??? Wow.

It doesn't have to be either/or. It can be both/and. Things were unsustainable; eventually something would push it over the edge. And the something was enormous and unprecedented, something that could have pushed even a stable market into a recession.

I would really prefer that people were more pedantic about this. The impact of COVID-19 is presently not even a rounding error. The impact of the measures taken to try to prevent the first impact from happening is enormous.

If we could actually do a full halt for 2 weeks, we will be back to normal in another 2.

The problem is that some are doing it, some are not. And then they are doing it on different schedules.

This is definitely false. Many companies are going to have layoffs. Supply chains will become disrupted. You can't just hire those people in two weeks and get production running up to 100% right away. If we actually go into a recession due to this (if we're not already), then people won't be willing to spend as much money right away either.

Leave history to the historians!

We understand nuance from the past. For example we understand that the assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand didn't cause WW1, even if it directly led to it.

Why worry that future historians won't understand such nuance from the present?

I believe your reference set is different than the set the OP was referencing.

"We understand nuance from the past."


We = {Specialized Historians}

I think the OP meant more that the general public's perception would be wrong. I think that's probably more likely correct.

That's a good observation. I think however at that point we're onto worrying about how to educate future persons or peoples unknown.

Also, I'd be wary of thinking (as others down thread have done, you are not guilty of this) that the general person thinks the assassination caused WW1. It's clear that many people are in fact taught that it merely triggered it. It is arrogant to assume it's not a well known fact, a case of "Well the masses are stupid and think X" without evidence that the masses do in fact think that.

Indeed I am not a specialized historian, it was part of my (and all my peer groups') general education (GCSE history).

Does being able to apply pythagoras make a "specialized mathematician", or knowing "Dos cerveza por favor?" make a linguist? No, it's part of a rounded education. Not everyone achieves even a basic standard (as my attempt at Spanish likely shows), but as long as the specialists do exist, then they can write the text books for the general education and correct the record.

Doesn't this example contradict your point? The assassination of Franz Ferdinand is widely seen as what started WW1 by the general public.

The assasination was the first trigger to the war. Is that incorrect? From my understanding after the assasination Austria-Hungary gave an ultimatum to Serbia and later declared war on Serbia.

I don't think historians will be swindled, but what about lawmakers and the general public of today?

If big banks start going belly-up, they're going to use corona as a convenient (and dire) excuse for bail-outs, understating all the bad loans and toxic deals they've made in the past.

> We understand nuance from the past.

Do we? We don't always have all the information…

Given that it's unlikely that we're going to reform those various debt issues, there's a sense in which it will really be the "corona crisis". They should push the market down even further, and they'll continue to lurk as a kind of price support for another decade or more until they finally cause another, different crash.

There are even more issues going on, including the oil price war and an overheated market in general, so simplifying it down to "corona" will still be incorrect. But even as the downturn accurately reflects some realities, it's still only a partial correction.

Calling it "corona crisis" is an attempt to get the debt crooks off the hook. After 9/11 and the Great Recession, we should know better and prepare for bleep happening rather than run up debt in order to brag about the economy (in the short term).

The incompetent response of POTUS and the US Government is the cause.

If George W. Bush or Obama or Clinton were president, you would have had a better reaction and communications plan than what you’re seeing here.

All of those other factors are there, but the panic is because of the actions of the government.

It sucks. I’d guess it’s 50/50 that I’ll be unemployed by January, and 30/70 that I’ll lose my home as my major assets (house, retirement, etc) are attrited down. When the risk of infection wanes, we should be taking to the streets.

Care to compare specifics? There have been enough major downturns that all three previous administrations' responses can be compared. Let's not forget that downturns are part of normal market cycles.

Besides, isn't the stock market too complicated that it can't be controlled, not even by POTUS?

Look at NY Governor Cuomo's response to this issue. He's not always delivering good news, but he is delivering facts, being consistent about policies and when policies are changing, reporting on a regular cadence and behaving like a rational leader.

Comparing the Federal response, you have a lack of coordinated response, inaccurate information from the POTUS, contradictory responses from Federal agencies, a focus on self-praise and prayer, etc. Last night (3/15), the government had a stockpile of venilators. This morning (3/16), reports are that the POTUS told states to find their own. Having a politician like the Vice President that knows how to speak effectively be the sole speaker would be better, even with the incompetent response.

People and markets want to hear measured responses. After the shock of 9/11 wore off, people took solace and unified around the government's response at the Federal, State, Local level. In this, we're leaving Governors, mayors and companies to fend for themselves.

> eports are that the POTUS told states to find their own. Having a politician like the Vice President that knows how to speak effectively be the sole speaker would be better, even with the incompetent response.

You fell for the fake news media and their usual tactics. It's not like it's hard to listen to his actual speech and draw your own conclusions about the media and the POTUS.


tl;dr he said: “We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”

If you’re worried about context, consider that the supply chain is already expended and has been for some time. Some utterance doesn’t change that.

There is no strategic reserve of respirators or respitory therapists anyway. The military probably has some for deployments, but not in meaningful quantities for a national scope.

> If you’re worried about context, consider that the supply chain is already expended and has been for some time.

I'm not worried about context. I'm concerned with malicious misquoting in order to smear the POTUS, by a once reputable newspaper with very low standards for journalists these days. The president said he'd support the states but if they also try to purchase directly rather than just wait for the federal system to do its work, it might be better. There's absolutely no way one could honestly interpret this in a negative way.

When you’re accusing journalists of malicious incompetence and others of laziness, you should care about context and have some idea of the topic you’re talking about.

I wasn’t a fan of GW Bush, but his response to 9/11 was on point. An emergency was declared and those emergency powers were used immediately to procure items needed for recovery or ensure that states and cities had access to cash to meet their disaster obligations. Only now is the federal government slowly engaging.

It’s not a smear, it’s a fact — this administration is paralyzed into inaction by nepotism, lack of effective command and fundamental incompetence. Thousands will suffer as the economy implodes or will die or be hurt by the pandemic as a consequence.

Your opinion and feelings don't change the fact that he was misquoted, but you seem to accept that as just fair. Interesting... I'd rather have proper media reporting.

It'll be the same thing after 2008. Some piddling reforms that do nothing to solve the enormous political and economic threat that our bloated financial system poses.

And everyone will learn once again to take big risks because if it hits the fan you'll get bailed out...

I have a deep distrust of the financial system as well. How much can you just keep repackaging debt until it looks palatable? After all, that's what most financial instruments are, and the financial system has enormous incentives to trap people in debt.

The pattern is the same: years of deregulation allow financial giants to go on a feeding frenzy. They feed on ill-informed consumers by enticing them with deals that are too good to be true. They feed on each other by giving each other loans. The numbers look great for a while. Individuals within these firms get enormous bonuses because the numbers are so good. Then there is a moment of reckoning where the financial giants realize their credit exposure to each other is too high and furiously backpedal. They then try to obtain safe assets at any cost, crashing the market and decimating IRAs (but who cares about those).

This has not been caused _by_ coronavirus. Internal data from my company (sorry, no details) have been foreshadowing a recession for months. Coronavirus just came at the most inopportune time, with a financial house of cards primed for collapse and a USFG administration that's too inept to handle it (and which encouraged the feeding to begin with).

The banks are going to be hit by this, but they'll survive it one way or another. Those of us who are invested in the financial system (read: almost everyone) will get screwed. Then the financial giants, freshly bailed out with taxpayer money, will go purchase real assets at rock bottom prices and further consolidate wealth in time for the next bull market.

This is when we could use an FDR to break this cycle. Instead, we have the choice of Trump, Biden, or Sanders. Yikes.

Sanders is actually proposing reforms that would actually reign in the financial sector, but that ship has sailed. There is no comparison between him and Trump or Biden.

References which may be helpful to understand some of the factors mentioned:

- debt worldwide hits 86k per person [ref: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18683923]

- people buying cars using financial products they don't understand [ref: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14476381]

- rollback of federal oversight [ref: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/22/business/congress-passes-...]

- wage stagnation [ref: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19253364]

- how consumers and lenders pursue consumer debt [ref: https://www.propublica.org/series/unforgiven]

The current crash is 100% because of corona, not sure what proof you need?

Corona was what broke the camel's back, the stock already was struggling before.

It’s a 1000kg weight that broke camels back

a straw would have broken the financial system camels back unfortunately it just got hit in the head by a corona brick

SP500 rose over 10% in the 6 months preceding the corona outbreak - how is that struggling?

It was struggling in late 2018 (after the sugar rush of tax cut ended) and 2019. FED was lowering interest rates to make it look better even though other indicators were looking bad.

Coronavirus was the pin that popped the bubble.

But the pin could have been some other event, at some other time. All crashes have catalysts, but the specific catalyst is usually irrelevant, in hindsight.

Yeah I'm not sure if OP knows what he's talking about. None of those other things are correcting... ONLY the asset market.

Wait until there are mass defaults because of the loss of income.

It's going to be the financial crisis all over again.

Ppl default on loans because they lack cash flow

banks didn't account for this with lax lending standards

banks go bankrupt but TARP style program bails out banks

hopefully people stay in their homes ...somehow. (some kind of mortgage payment moratorium?)

>banks didn't account for this with lax lending standards

Pretty sure the ratings fraud got fixed. Also pretty sure they didn't just go back to handing loans out to anyone with a pulse. I'm sure there's some crazy intricate financial instruments made up of dogshit still around, but it's probably going to be a smaller percentage of the bank's balance sheet.

We need a mortgage and rent payment moratorium nationwide if the majority of the country is expected to just stop working.

Banks are fine now dude, it's nothing like 08.

Just wait.

Canadian banks have been hit hard due to falling oil prices and expected resultant bankruptcies.

American banks will get hit by rising unemployment.

Companies and banks are healthier and more asset rich than they have been for decades.

Some companies are, some are not. Many have been juicing their stock price with stock buybacks at the expense of cash reserves (see Boeing).

Boeing has nothing to do with the current situation and it's not really under any more pressure presently even if there is a temporary downturn.

That’s an odd assertion considering how much the airline industry is going to hurt for the next 6+ months. I’m sure both Boeing and Airbus will see a drop in orders as their customers teeter on the edge of bankruptcy.

Could be wrong, but my understanding is that the aircraft industry is supply not demand constrained.

A stiff breeze can bring down a rotted tree just as well as a hurricane can. Time will tell what really happened.

Exactly. I assumed this crash wouldn't happen until after the election but now we will have a double whammy to deal with. I hope this bubble truly pops so we can reset to a sustainable economy.

Its not going to happen, the government will bail out the banks again and this time they won even bother to punish them of police them because "it was a pandemic", so congress and who ever gets the presidency will agree because it is personally profitable and they aren't the ones standing in line at the foodbanks. Everything will pick up again right where financial system left off and in another 8 to 12 years we will have another crash maybe that time we will get some reform but we wont have a middle class anymore by then.

Yes I see this similarly to the way that we talk about how a forest fire was "caused" by PG&E, or an improperly extinguished camp fire or errant lit cigarette. It's the years of accumulation of dry timber and brush that makes the fire even possible, it could have been any number of things that starts it burning, one just happened to come first.

On the other hand, it's just as easy to say "I told you so" and name a thousand factors that we've cried wolf on. We are working on small data and can't draw conclusions despite our human desire to so

A barrel of gunpowder sitting around is a danger, but as long as there is no ignition source nothing will happen. Coronavirus definitely is that ignition source, as the measures to fight it are a massive impact to the economy (freedom of movement lost, workforce dying / unable to work due to quarantine).

> HN and others have repeatedly pointed out numerous factors in the market that definitely were not corona, that would have caused this crash eventually. untenable levels of credit card debt, automobile debt

None of these were factors in the current crash, that's just fairy tales, magic thinking and posturing by self-proclaimed experts and ideologists who were preaching against capitalism. This crash was caused by a) dropping oil prices and b) the fears and uncertainty (well, increasingly certain negative outcome) around the impact of Cov-19 on the economy.

This is an unpopular opinion on HN, but government overreaction caused the crash.

Rather than having at-risk people self-quarantine for a month, with government financial assistance of course, while the rest of us build up antibody resistance, we collectively lost our shit and decided all people needed to self-quarantine for months -- just delaying the inevitable.

It's actually quite easy to self-quarantine everyone over 70, since they're receiving government assistance anyway (Social Security). But now there are already thousands of job losses from young, healthy, productive people that have almost zero chance of dying from this disease.

The UK will be mostly done with Covid-19 in two months, with much less dire economic consequences -- and the US will still be playing whack a mole and killing the economy with healthy 25 year-olds holed up in their apartment.

If you compare Italy and South Korea, I think you can see why governments are going for the quarantine approach.

In Italy they initially took a relatively light approach to restrictions and the result was the Northern Italy's hospitals were quickly overwhelmed by cases. This has the effect of not just meaning increased mortality amongst covid-19 sufferers but also all the other patients who would usually be using those hospital facilities.

In south Korea they seem to have had a much more draconian response (after the initial surge of cases) and as a result have got the rate of increase under control, allowing the more serious cases to be better treated.

The difference in mortality rate between these two countries is stark, and whilst there are other factors (demographic ones) in play, it seems fair to say that gov. response plays a role.

The other argument for a stronger response is the longer this goes the more likely effective treatments will be developed/validated, reducing mortality.

South Korea is not forcing at-home quarantine for everyone. Italy is.

South Korea's success is all about their widespread testing.

The difference in mortality rate is because South Korea knows how many people have it, and Italy has no clue. Which, again, is because of testing, not quarantine.

South Korea has a load of infrastructure built up after SARS/MERS, no-one in Europe does, The option of "test/track all the people" is not on the table in Europe.

Heck the UK, who's response I gather you favour, are cutting the sets of people they test, not increasing them.

I do t know if you made a mistake but you have got your characterization completely backwards vis a vis those countries respective responses

In case you’re sincere...

I think you should take a look at what’s happening in Italy right now, and understand a lot of countries are going to experience the same thing.

The basic issue is that as the virus spreads exponentially we’ll quickly run out of intensive care beds and ventilators. At that point, the mortality rate of Coronavirus goes way up and so does the mortality rate of many, many kinds of acute illnesses. Because there will be people in need of immediate care and there will literally be none available.

The economic crash will be softer, shallower, and rebound quicker depending on how disruptive the Coronavirus ends up being. Strong, facts-based actions early will have a massive disproportionate effect for the better.

I agree the US is screwed, but it’s because we have not and still are not taking this seriously. We’re still taking basic steps to ramp up testing capability when we should be desperately building out emergency ICU capacity.

In principle you could isolate just the higher-risk individuals, but the age limit you'd want to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system is wayyyy lower than 70, probably around age 40 where the CFR is maybe 0.2% [1]

1. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-se...

You could — if you thought that would slow things done enough to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system. At the moment it looks like we probably haven’t done enough, seems crazy to consider doing less.

It’s not like younger people are a self-contained sub-population. Increased rate of transmission among younger people means an increased rate of transmission to older people too.

I estimate that it's quite risky to follow that strategy. If you allow the virus to spread uncontrolled among younger people, who is to say that the then smaller fraction of serious cases doesn't still overwhelm the health system? There are rare cases where perfectly healthy people are in need of hospitalization.

That's definitely a risk. And I think the NHS in the UK allows them to better respond to that risk by triaging patients and selecting who needs to stay at home and who needs to be admitted.

But the point I keep hearing from knowledgable people is that rapid spread is inevitable at this point. So many or most of the dramatic actions taken by state and federal governments now are security theater.

> point I keep hearing from knowledgable people is that rapid spread is inevitable at this point.

The point I keep hearing from every reputable epidemiologist, virologist, and public health expert around the world is that people need to stay the fuck at home because this virus is extremely dangerous and if left unchecked will completely overwhelm every hospital system in the world.

Some public officials didn’t believe it when it was just Hubei, but after seeing the same happen in Lombardy, a rich region in Europe with a strong healthcare system, the situation became clearer.

Edit: here’s a nice summary written by a Bay Area marketing executive (based on work by epidemiologists and others) https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-peop...

I'm pointing to the decision made by the National Health Service -- and you're countering with a bay area marketing executive's hot take on Medium?

No, I’m responding with a piece written by a nonspecialist with a general data/technical background who is also an excellent writer, who spent a bunch of time reading and digesting data and arguments published by epidemiologists and public health experts, and then synthesized that into one clear and coherent summary aimed at a lay audience, including many links to the direct sources so that readers can click through to evaluate them.

* * *

If you spend some time hunting around for career epidemiologists and other experts to read, they are as far as I can tell unified in opposition to the British plan, and have been calling it out as sheer folly in published opinion pieces and ranting about it on twitter.

For example, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/15/uk-cov...

I guess we’ll all see how things play out in the next month or two, but I’d much rather be in South Korea or Taiwan than England right now.

If you want something more reputable, how about Imperial College London’s epidemiologists:


It's not just rare cases. 12% of the people in hospital in Italy are under age 50.

> It's actually quite easy to self-quarantine everyone over 70, since they're receiving government assistance anyway (Social Security). But now there are already thousands of job losses from young, healthy, productive people that have almost zero chance of dying from this disease.

Your suggestion is indistinguishable from no quarantine at all (not to mention being incredibly ageist, as there are millions of economically productive 70+ year olds). You forgot the part where even a 'healthy' 25 year-old can spread the disease to others, even if mild or no symptoms appear.

> It's actually quite easy to self-quarantine everyone over 70

Is it though?

What about the ones in nursing homes? How do you quarantine the workers who work there? What about when the over-70s living at home have to go to the doctor, or for their chemotherapy or dilation treatments? How are they going to isolate themselves from all the people they'll interact with while doing that?

> The UK will be mostly done with Covid-19 in two months

Is what they're hoping. We won't really know for another 2 months. At that point they'll either look like geniuses or callous morons. And if it's the latter, it'll be too late to change course.

Johnson is right now turning around this advice. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51917562

For the self quarantine thing to work the testing would need to be effective, and we dropped the ball there, we refused to obtain test kits from WHO, we provided broken test kits from CDC. We made ridiculous restrictions to obtain tests.

If we would follow South Korea's example, and test as many people as we could, we would be now over the hump.

The UK health minister was on the news just the other day begging manufacturers for more ventilators. They'll get over it quicker, but at what cost?

> We have around 5,000 ventilators and we think we need many times more than that. We are saying that if you produce a ventilator then we will buy it. No number is too high.

that bit was a really disappointing piece from the UK Gov. Did they really not realise until just now that they might need more ventilators.

They've had at least a month of knowing this was coming...

So, in your opinion the measures against the virus only have a minimal impact on financial markets? Would you say the impact of virus related measures is : 0.1%, 1%, 10% or more (or less)?

Are there recessions that didn’t have excessive debt as a fundamental cause? Genuinely curious.

It's a straw and camel argument. Realistically we were due for a correction. But the current 20%+ fall wasn't on anyone's menu.

FWIW: I think the much bigger long-term risk to this wikipedia article's framing is that the crash almost certainly isn't over. We have months of VERY bad economic news in the future still. Realistically the recovery won't even start for real until either the virus runs its course over the population or a vaccine is widely available. Both of those are going to take a year or more.

(Well, it's possible to get the virus to go faster of course. We don't want that.)

Before coronavirus when a company missed earnings it was battered on the public markets.

With Coronavirus 90%+ of companies will be directly affected in reduced revenue. Either directly like companies that are focused on retail, or indirectly, companies that are affected by challenges in logistics.

Was the market perhaps inflated, in my opinion yes, but I don't see how people can say this crash wasn't caused by coronavirus.

Could we have had a crash or reset in the future without the virus? Most likely. But that unknown reality didn't happen. Instead we have a global pandemic, where the only real working solution is to institute various levels of lock down and social distancing, which will slowdown economic spending dramatically.

If the entire global market has to take 2-months off from generating revenue, that is a huge blow to the system. Then you have the secondary effects. Job losses, businesses closing, rent, evictions, closures, etc.

The economic impact of this will take 6 months to play out to see where the bottom is. Not all companies and industries will be affected the same way, but generally speaking only a small handful of companies will really get through this without some sort of impact to their business.

You could say that it was caused by the coronavirus, but that would be highly reductive. This seems epecially true when you consider that of late, there has been a waning of confidence in our economists' ability to accurately model the markets, combined with the fact that a massive shift has occurred over the past century from an economy largely based on equity, to one based largely on debt.

Losing 2 months of global GDP because of a virus which would reduce the earnings of most companies directly and indirectly seems like a pretty solid foundation for a reduction in market cap.

It's like saying we believe that the market was overheated due to zero interest rates, but we were hoping to have the market head into a recession on it's own, rather than have an outside event cause the global GDP to stop for 2 months. But since that is so obvious, we won't accept it.

How many households have two months of savings. How many businesses can go for 2-3 months with 80% reduction in revenue and if they have the savings to cover that.

I think this event is much larger than a simple recession that would have occurred as a result of speculation and low interest rates.

This is literally stopping the world economy for 2 months and seeing how many households and businesses have enough savings to counter balance that while stress testing the governments ability to intervene, not at the top end, by providing funding to banks, but at the bottom end, of figuring out how to get all of the people who work as waiters and waitresses to go without revenue for 2-3 months and not get evicted or rack up debt that they can never escape from.

I think you are underestimating the impact of this.

I think your argument is largely orthogonal to mine. The virus is simply acting as a catalyst to expose the shaky underpinnings we already have. I think the impact is going to be massive, but the virus is more like the snowball getting pushed off the top of the mountain, not the avalanche that ensues.

If the middle class was on stable footing right now, lack of spending and consequently revenues wouldn't experience such a huge shock. It's a house of cards.

If you think that speculation, debt, and interest rates aren't capable of causing a system wide collapse with far reaching effects, I'll go ahead and refer you to the 2008 crisis.

I'm actually arguing the opposite.

The shaky foundation aside, if everything was valued appropriately, and there was no speculation, the impact of coronavirus alone would be enough to send the global economy into a recession due to lockdowns, change in consumer spending behavior, and the lack of income for million of people for even two months who are already living pay check to pay check.

Fair enough. We're still in the early days of this, so getting down in the weeds on causation is a bit premature. Your first comment made me think you were saying people were glib for downplaying the effect the virus specifically will have on this recession (depression?). I tend to think that's shortsighted, when prior to any knowledge of the pandemic, there were obvious, gaping holes in the reasoning used in shaping our economy in the modern era.

Bottom line is, it seems to me that when the world's richest nation has to outsource the making of anything tangible to the place where the outbreak started, and so much of our economy is based on services of questionable value, we're in for a world of hurt. You can't fight this war with military hardware and social media VC.

It is not reductive at all. The virus is the cause of the shutdowns, the lack of revenue, and any defaults expected to happen. Take one company, Royal Caribbean Cruises, which lost 22 billion in value because of specifically the virus. They are literally forcibly getting shut down and this is not dissimilar from the hotels, airline, and other travel industries. Events over 50 people are not allowed due to the virus, think about the effect of that on the economy with sporting events, conferences, and all the revenue that comes from that. Study the effect of holding an effect on an economy like say a UFC event coming to town. One event alone feeds millions and millions into the economy. Not having those events taking place loses again all hotel, airline, restaurant, event venue, city taxes, and shopping revenue. Events are such a huge part of the economy and removing them due to the virus is literally the cause.

I am genuinely worried that the plan of shutting everything down and instituting a quarantine will turn out to be disastrous if it continues for months on end.

The stock market is just the beginning - what about the millions of people making ends meet as waiters, Uber drivers, AirBnb hosts, retail store clerks, and every other in-person job? HN might not feel this much, as the tech industry is making a pretty easy switch to working remotely. But do not be blind to the facts: the overwhelming majority of the workforce doesn't have an emergency fund and won't be able to ride this out easily, if at all.

The tech industry will feel this if quarantine continues, it'll just be delayed. People here shouldn't fool themselves.

Apple stores are closed. Ad spending will collapse for Google and Facebook. Future financing rounds will dry up. Unless this is a short term quarantine effort, layoffs are coming for tech too.

Yep, I'm on a team that's not a profit center and I fully expect most of my team and I to be laid off at the earliest moment that my employer thinks it won't take a PR hit from doing so. Anyone else feel the same?

Well, now I do.

Yes, you're right. For the economy, it would make perfect sense to simply let it kill a few weak and old people until we find a cure, while hoping it isn't too dangerous for the workforce. Destroying all airlines, restaurants, hotels, tourism etc. will have a disastrous effect on the economy, potentially causing political turmoil and war like in the 30's.

> what about the millions of people making ends meet as waiters, Uber drivers, AirBnb hosts, retail store clerks, and every other in-person job?

Unfortunately many of these are not even jobs, they’re now “contract positions” or “marketplaces” so they have no protection. We’ve traded away every backstop that could help in a crisis for convenience and investor returns.

Rest assured that the end of the month is near and with it all due bills and rent. Most people will beg to start working.

Perhaps I am wrong but I get the feeling the 2020 stock market crash isn't over.

You're absolutely right. We (EU+US) will be lucky to get over it with less than 30% GDP loss. Mostly because the schmuckery that got us out last time doesn't appear to work this time.

It's been said repeatedly, but this isn't a crisis that can be fixed with monetary policy alone. The health crisis that was the catalyst needs to be solved - everything else is just a bandaid.

We need to pass legislation that includes 14 days of paid sick leave, waive all medical bills related to coronavirus, postpone all student loan payments. This is to minimize the impact to working members of society and to help ensure a swift recovery.

Republicans are currently blocking this.

If this continues to be blocked, we can expect to see 7% declines until such legislation is passed and the market sees that there is a path to recovery. Who knows maybe we’ll get another depression too.

I am sorry to disappoint you, but a serious depression lasting years is already inevitable no matter what.

It is a crisis, which is caused by monetary politics and politics overall. The coronavirus was as you say just the catalyst.

You're stating this as a fact. Can you provide any reasoning or evidence?

First of all, thank you very much for reasoning instead of downvote, swear & deny. I really do appreciate it.

I do - over the last 10 years of extensive money printing companies seemed to be healthy, but gathered structural problems, which were not only not solved, but deepened by expanding regulations and such. Just before the crisis started most of the investment grade instruments were BBB (one slight blow away from junk).[0]

In December there was a presentation by the local Mieses Institute where a hypotetical scenario similar to what is happening right now (it was a war near EU + another migrant wave leading to in-EU border closures and state of emergency in multiple countries) was played out. What was predicted is extremely similar to what is playing out right now, though the initial shock was supposed to be weaker. I am really sorry the presentation was not in English, it really had all my thoughts put together in a very coherent way.

Keep in mind that the 30% drop is just market panic. There have been no bankrupcies, defaults and layoffs yet. This is when the fun is going to start.

Another thing that was predicted exactly was that if you look deeper, beyond the indexes, at how the first tranche of the $1.5 trillion package was spent you'd see that hot companies like MSFT restored their value, while troubled ones like UAL received almost nothing. So the bankrupcies, defaults and layoffs have not yet begun and we are already 30% down. What is going to remain after they're done?

0. OECD - "Figure 8. Composition of the investment and non-investment grade categories" https://www.oecd.org/corporate/Corporate-Bond-Markets-in-a-T...

P.S. The rest of the OECD report makes for a very very interesting reading in a time like these. But what you're looking for in it is how at year 2000 most common investment grade is A followed by AA and BBB about even, while now it is a total clusterfuck (with apologies).

> isn't a crisis that can be fixed with monetary policy alone

but it might certainly help, for example, people might be willing to risk getting corona (if they are 20-40 year old) and are asked to do a job for a lucrative amount of money.

If it is anything like 2008, you are right. Bear Sterns collapsed in March 2008, which at the time felt like rock bottom, but it got much worse by the fall.

I think he's trying to flatten the curve to minimize the bottom

Doesn't this crash highlight a fundamental problem with stock markets ?

NASDAQ: -25% in one month. CAC40 (french stock market index) : -33% over the same period.

These stock markets collapsing is just stupid, it just shows that it's pure speculation...

The world economy takes a break during let's say 2 months (everything will resume as before afterwards) and hundreds of billions of euros/dollars disappear.

In fact, the question is: If everyone stops working because of the covid19, if the whole economy is paused (which is basically what is happening) why doesn't the stock exchange do not simply stop too? When a company presents quaterly financial results, it's over a period of _activity_. But then at the moment it's a period of total inactivity... ?!

I believe you're fundamentally misunderstanding what the stock market is and does.

At its base, the stock market is just "you" owning a company. The economy isn't paused for two weeks - many companies will have to continue paying people money, paying their suppliers, paying rent on their offices, etc.

Let's say you own a company that usually has say 100k in earnings and 90k in spending, making you 10k profit every month. That company now has, because of the virus, say 50k in earnings instead, and 80k in spending (it reduces some salaries where it can, but still has to keep the offices around etc.) That company is now going to be losing money for a few months.

Now you own a chunk of this company. Yesterday you assumed it was worth 10 million dollars. Today, do you agree that it's worth less? After all, it's going to be losing money for a few months at least.

Notice that it's only worth less on paper - if you don't sell your ownership stake, then you haven't really seen a loss.

But a lot of people are selling their ownership stake. And that makes sense! If you're 60 years old and need cash right now, and you own a company that, instead of earning 10k a month, will now be losing 40k a month, you might want to sell your share to not lose money, because you need cash. Maybe some other investor that can stomach losing a few months' of profit can take it off your hands.

This is exactly the opposite of speculation causing the crisis. If everyone stops working things stop getting produced and thus companies don't have any value to own. Problem is, people and companies still need necessities like food, water, power, rent, or loans. Some things may be able to be delayed but necessities can't. Now this causes a recession because even if the government printed money people still don't want to spend it on most ofthe companies that make up the stock market. If the stock market was made up of all farmers and hand sanitizer companies then the stock market would go up but it isn't.

The markets are assumed to be trying to factor in the losses that they think these companies will suffer in the long term. There is real damage occurring in real time. Everything is still in flux, which is why it is ringing around trying to find a position. Calling off the markets may not be outside of our future yet, but it is not likely at this point. People want to get out of companies they think are going under and put their money in other areas like bonds or mattresses. This should be considered rational.

Remember that the dates referred to in this article are literally one week ago, so it’s not reasonable to treat this like a past event. It’s very much ongoing and the market will likely remain volatile.

As an example of this, the article at the time of me writing this post doesn't include the 8% drop from today. Of course, the market hasn't closed for the day so it would be premature to add anything like that ... but if it stays that low today then it is yet another massive drop to add to the list.

To further reinforce this point: The DJIA closed ~13% down today, March 16th, the largest ever fall on record. 8 of the top 10 losses are all within the last 30 days.

To note here though, 4 of the top 10 largest gains on record have also occurred in this timespan too.

Still, per the wikipedia article's point, the last 7 days has been VERY bad for the DJIA. There is no sugarcoating this.


"Likely"? You are far more optimistic than I.

The dates are up to present day. Trump is due to give another press conference during market hours (3:30 today), watch the chaos he's wreaking on your friendly neighbourhood index

Expecting another rally followed by another crash

The markets have been looking for a reset for a while anyhow. I think the market is well capitalized right now and this looks much more like a reset than some fundamental crisis. There isn't any underlying financial event triggering this, and I think we know roughly how bad this can and will get and it is not financial crisis worthy. The world governments are already injecting cash into the markets to stabilize them. I generally agree with the Goldman Sachs memo on this event (except how it subtly downplays quarantine/self isolation efforts)


> There isn't any underlying financial event triggering this

Flights are sharply down, large events all over the world have been cancelled, millions of people are quarantined in their homes. If that doesn’t qualify as an “underlying financial event”, I’m not sure what does.

None of those are primary events. Covid-19 is responsible for causing all of those changes. Compare that to 2008 where the sub prime mortgage crisis was the primary event.

So, because they have a shared underlying cause they don't count?

There seems to be this weird idea floating around that because this financial crisis was triggered by events in the real economy (instead of a financial crisis blowing up the real economy, like normal) it somehow doesn't count or it's overblown or something. Just look at the rest of the sentence I quoted: "and I think we know roughly how bad this can and will get and it is not financial crisis worthy."

Airline stocks have tanked because way less people are flying. Movie theater stocks have tanked because way less people are going to movies. This financial crisis seems to be firmly rooted in real world events. These companies are truly worth a lot less than they were a month ago.

I'm not suggesting that this financial crisis doesn't count or is overblown. It is real, and it is happening. I agree that airlines and movie theaters are worth less today than they were a few weeks ago.

What I'm saying is that this financial crisis has a clear, identifiable cause: covid-19. When covid-19 blows over (which it will in a few months time), the market will recover. Without covid-19, travel bans will be lifted and people will fly again. There's no reason to believe people are done with airlines forever. Same with movie theaters and the restaurant industry.

My argument is that the underlying primary cause of the financial crisis matters because it determines the path to recovery. I fully expect covid-19 to disappear in a few months (as it has in China and South Korea), and I fully expect the market to recover in the months afterward.

>financial event triggering this,

There is a financial event. Massive drops in demand. I think people have gotten used to market crashes caused by issues in the financial system itself (bubbles/subprime mortgages) and forget that there can be other issues

I disagree. I think the Chinese economy has been due for a correction for quite awhile now, and this pandemic has finally led to an end to the CCP being able to avoid a recession or worse. An economic crisis in China would have a lot of ramifications for the rest of us like the Japanese one did in the late 80s/early 90s.

And that is before we consider the actual impact of the corona virus itself.

In a weird way, the way this played out kind of helps the CCP. They can let their economy reset without loss of face, because they can blame it all on the Coronavirus (and, as they will put it, their heroic response to it).

Yes, I agree. The CCP have a convenient scapegoat in this case to deflect responsibility away from themselves. On the other hand, I erroneously thought that scapegoat would have been Trump’s trade war, so who knows.

The huge danger is in china’s real estate market, which could undergo a huge correction mimicking the turmoil of china’s property market in the late 90s. As many Chinese have speculated in hot property markets here in the USA, those effects could easily come here (again, like what happened with Japan).

The only fundamental concern is corporate debt. Repayment of that implies healthy levels of demand. Coronavirus is wiping demand, but not supply. Lower revenues might make corporate debt go belly up, which would have cascading effects on markets.

How do you guys think this will affect the software job market?

I have friends whose startups are already freezing hiring, and cutting back on unnecessary expenses (as they should).

Lowered demand for consumer goods and services naturally mean that these companies will be trimming the fat on SaaS products, and infrastructure (unless it's truly critical for work, ie Zoom) which in turn means less technical jobs.

Living outside SV, but working for institutions that subscribe to several SaaS products, I can tell you it's going to hurt, and soon.

The first things on the chopping block, as we consider where to trim expenses, are those "expensive", useful, but not critical software systems with terms ending soon.

Except Zoom. That baby is keeping us rolling.

Maybe? Enterprise SaaS deals are for year long commitments. Sure in 6 mo, they may choose to renew less tooling and having less employees means less seats, but I don't see a big shift here.

You think that planning/sales/etc doesn't impact current operations?

I think big companies are super slow to react, as they should be. There definitely will be adjustments but companies are not going to stop paying for software.

My experience, from the 2000-2002 downturn: One-trick ponies will suffer.

ColdFusion was a popular language, easy to learn, and as a result, led to a lot of folks getting really high paying jobs during the dot com boom. When work dried up, they didn't have the flexibility to do other jobs, because ColdFusion is all they knew.

In today's world, I think the front-end dev who just knows their favorite framework of choice will suffer. Not just the one-trick pony thing, but on a lot of apps these days, complex front-ends are a "nice to have". Tighter budgets and needs will force a refocusing of development priorities.

Arguably much the same (in my opinion, to a much lesser degree) could be said about frameworks like Ruby on Rails, if that's all you know. Flexibility is key.

However, in a downturn, software can be a powerful tool for streamlining. If you know at least one backend language and are devops-capable, you'll be better positioned. The jobs will be boring jobs, in boring companies, on boring infrastructure, but that's OK.

Well, I just started my first dev job two weeks ago after switching careers. I really hope to get a chance to work in this field and not get laid off ASAP.

BS startups with BS products/services that are built on top of hype and investors money -> pretty bad

Regular companies with healthy projects, revenues and employee count sized according to their current need and not according to y+5 revenues -> will do just fine.

Some fat is going to get trimmed, passion project gets canceled and unprofitable companies are going to have tough times.

Yeah think this is barely the start

US hasn’t even gotten proper sick yet and a big chunk of the world market cap is US based

Oh dear, Remember the ridiculous 2020 predictions made by several soothsayers? It appears my so called 'machine learning crystal ball' was to some extent correct over this. Not that it was caused by coronavirus, but eventually in 2020 a crash will come. [0]

The next phase of this Act will claim all those profitless companies with high costs and burn rate who will soon collapse.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21926473

It never seemed ridiculous to anyone outside the hype bubbles. Automation and AI is quite literally the same story since the 40s.

a recession is happening, let's hope it doesn't turn into a depression

The history of this crash starts in 2008.

Or the dotcom bubble. Rates were kept too low after that and we got the mortgage crisis.

Too low rates actually started around 1311

I highly recommend: "Eight centuries of global real interest rates, R-G, and the ‘suprasecular’ decline, 1311–2018." https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3485734

Related to the paper:

- Visualizing the 700-Year Fall of Interest Rates https://www.visualcapitalist.com/700-year-decline-of-interes...

- Macro Musing podcast with author: https://soundcloud.com/macro-musings/paul-schmelzing-on-the

Yeah I've seen that. Going down doesn't mean too low though.

Grateful for the wikipedia contributors putting this together so fast and well.

As a side note. I know a significant amount of people (relatives and friends) that truly think this event is a big "liberal conspiracy" to stop Trumps reelection. We've had to take my grandfathers keys because his favorite news station is telling people this and he believes it so was continuing to go out.

I think one can make an argument that left-leaning media is certainly elevating arguments that Trump is the one individual that is most to blame for the spread of the virus and the economic impact. Partisan paranoia runs deep on both sides of the aisle anytime we have these crisis.

His gaslighting is not helping. It's causing a deeper distrust of institutions and the market does not like it. His historical tweet from 2014 about the then-elected president's fitness to serve "causing" a 1000pt drop is apropos.

honest question why is the market still open? So we all sit around and read crazy news and watch investors get destroyed for the next 2 months?

Obviously yes. It's called a correction. We've had over a decade of monetary-policy-fueled asset bubble. VCs were spending money just to litter the sidewalks with easily-purchasable consumer goods, in hopes of renting them out for some kind of income. It has to pop some time.

There is also the issue that economic annealing has optimized all of the slack out of supply and financial chains. That should have been dealt with during the good time (similar how USG should have kept domestic mask manufacturers alive). But it wasn't, and the only way forward is for that risk to be re-priced-in.

If you close the market and don't solve the underlying problems, the moment it reopens you will wish it remained closed.

Thats what i mean. Why is the market not closed while the world deals with the virus? If and when the world deals with the virus reopen. This is forced closure of most commerce in the world due to the virus and everyone is suppose to speculate on the future earnings of every company in the world durring this time...

Its unprecedented and it needs to be shutdown.

For once, I am glad that I kept faith in yellow metal.

Or take palladium for instance, which price almost doubled over last year. Its price has plummeted 43% in 18 days! In normal times, the demand for palladium (automotive catalytic converters) far exceeds the supply. Wait another week or two and it will be a very, very good investment, believe me! https://www.apmex.com/palladium-price

I'm not sure I'd find that a comfort unless I held physical possession of it.

I moved my savings which were mostly in index funds into 2/3 index funds and 1/3 bear ETF with 2x leverage 3 weeks ago. Seems to keep it all at 0 for now.

Hmm why not sell everything and hold cash if you just want to keep everything at 0?

You're just paying fees for no reason. Is it just some tax trick to keep long term capital gains for the index funds? (does it even work like that?)

I wasn't planning on ending up with that it just happened to end up in a state which basically doesn't move (just like cash). I forgot I had made one transfer and then before I realized it all hell broke lose. I could just as well sell all of it now, but instead I'll probably slowly move from the bear to the index.

Look again. Gold held up for a while during the crash, but now it's down for the year.

What's your source?

According to https://goldprice.org/ it's +16.57% on the year

Also, it's still doing WAY better than stocks.

Huh? On 2019 December 31, gold closed at USD 1519.50. Just now (3:15 pm), it was at 1503. Too bad, because just a couple of days ago it was a great hedge against falling stock prices.

I guess you're talking about the 1-year price change.

Source: goldprice.org

I listened to Trump yesterday and I couldn't believe he was stupid enough to encourage people with no basis! There's no higher demand after crisis as people have no money and most of this hoarding is debt at high interest of credit cards. Many were expecting the crash since last year, the pandemic just gave no reason to wait more!

>On 11 March, impeached US president Donald Trump gave a public address.

Someone really wanted to work that in there.

To be fair if Republican Senators had simply done their jobs and removed him from office we would at least be in a somewhat better position today


You are aware the US is not the only country affected by this right?

Mind extrapolating on that a bit? Do you honestly think that the major stock market indices plummeting around the world is only a story because Trump is president?

Yes. No one believes he's capable of handling the current crisis. He had the chance to handle it a month ago and he blew it. Worse, he laid off the team that could have prevented this. This is the tech equivalent of laying off your security team and having a massive security breach.

I'm not a Trump enthusiast but your claim 'No one believes he's capable of handling the current crisis' is typical of the thinking that DT is single handedly running the USA. There is a huge administration, DT is the spokesperson for it. The Federal Reserve should shoulder a lot of blame for allowing this financial disaster to happen. Having said that there is a huge shortage of credible and non corrupt politicians in the western world at present and I think globalization is another root cause for the current oil & gas melt down and virus panic. These two elements, corrupt politicians and globalization are related and the tinder for the current conflagration IMO...

DT fired the previous Fed chair and replaced her with a man that was willing to cave to his demands.

She wasn't fired. Rather, her term came to an end, and Trump chose to appoint Powell as chair rather than reappoint Yellen. Yellen would still have been on the board until 2024, but she chose to resign instead. Firing implies her term ended prematurely, which isn't the case.

Constantly threatening someone that they'd be fired will not make someone want to stay at their job. Just saying.

A large part of crisis management is being able to effectively communicate immediate and longer-term plans to help avoid panic. A technocratic manager can fail abysmally at this task (this is a large factor in giving Herbert Hoover poor marks for his handling of the Great Depression; he wasn't).

The problem with Trump is that he neither has the technocratic ability to manage this crisis, nor the charismatic ability to reassure the public. The crash on Thursday was driven in substantial part by Trump's absolute botching of the announcement of new restrictions, and probably part of today's crash is a reaction to the news over the weekend of the extra screening in US airports probably being counterproductive.

The image that the public is getting from Trump right now makes Hoover look good by comparison: it feels like Trump is trying to project an image of good handling of the crisis, and (belatedly) announcing measures to stem the crisis, but failing to actually follow through and ensure that the measures are actually being effective.

If he was demonstrating much needed leadership at the moment, he'd have taken bold action, calmed people first which might have calmed the markets. Also, Trump's tax cuts and constant threats to the Fed chair to cut rates (imagine if Fed had cut rates to 0 last year as per his demands) have left us with no levers other than ones which could potentially be catastrophic in the future. I don't think there's any shortage of non-corrupt politicians but I can't point to a single non-corrupt politician on the right (maybe except Romney).

Trump has absolutely no credibility or talent for handling it

You say there are other people who can but this ignores the general corruption and lack of talent in this administration as well as the fact that Trump frequently gets in the way of the few people who are talented and trying to take helpful steps

The Fed are a force unto themselves and it's not going well


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