My wife is going into work for 8 hours each day as she tries to salvage her small business.
Meanwhile I’m stuck at home with two kids...one a baby that cries a lot.
No, I don’t know why.
I couldn’t work even if I wanted to - who would watch the kids? There is no childcare anymore.
It was supposed to be a two-week shutdown. Now we’re already way past two months, with no real end in sight.
How long are we going to put up with this?
How long can we?
My portfolio is back in the red, though it probably wouldn’t have been unless I sold a bunch of stuff back in March.
I guess there was a big boost in trading yesterday as the New York Stock Exchange opened back up.
The mutual funds are showing the greatest strength. I’m invested in a couple emerging Asian market funds. Those were the only things to stay somewhat normal as things began to go south two months ago.
My experiment with Jet Blue stock is still paying off.
You might remember that I bought a few shares as this crisis was starting, figuring the government would bail them out and the stock would go up.
So far I’ve seen a 41% return on that stock.
Before the crisis it was over $20 a share, then fell to under $7 before rebounding to nearly $11 today. I bought it at $7.63. It’ll be interesting to see the ride this company takes over the next year or so.
Airlines seem to be rebounding, with the media showing us more and more images of packed planes and filled middle seats.
What about oil? Now that airlines are crawling back, maybe the oil markets will correct.
I’m not so sure.
Back in October I bought a few shares of Earthstone Energy for a little over $3.50 a share. This company drills for oil in the Bakken.
It made it all the way up to $6.61 in January, but then fell to about $1.60 as the crisis took hold. Now it’s back up to $2.76 a share, meaning I’ve lost 45% on that stock since I bought it.
I wish I would have bought Tesla stock last December when it was about $330 a share. Today it's $808.
Nursing homes haven’t been hit as hard as I thought.
My nursing home stocks are now up 0.04% since I bought them. I’m sure there are a lot of Baby Boomers out there that would love to take their parents out of the nursing home to try and protect them from this virus...but where are they supposed to put them?
Even if these folks have room in their home for their parents, how are they going to provide the near 24/7-level of care that many seniors in that kind of setting need?
While I’m sure there’s a lot of thought going on right now about how practical nursing homes are anymore, the hard truth is that we’re not set up as a society to take care of our elders on our own.
Hence the stock price remaining the same.
The tourism-themed website, Make It Missoula, lists these businesses as the top employers four our city:
- The University of Montana
- St. Patrick Hospital
- Missoula County Public Schools
- Community Medical Center
- U.S. Forest Service
- Missoula County
- City of Missoula
- Montana Rail Link
- Western Montana Clinic
A year from now, how many of these are going to continue to be top employers? Let’s go over each of them and offer some ideas.
The University of Montana: Last fall this school had nearly 10,000 students, with 559 full-time staff members and another 232 part-time staff. I suspect we’ll see those numbers fall significantly, with around 4,000 to 5,000 students next fall, and probably 50 to 100 fewer staff members, mostly adjuncts, associates, and non-academic workers. I doubt any positions in Admin will be eliminated, and with the cuts we’ll see, I suspect many in Admin will give themselves raises and bonuses as a way to congratulate themselves. Clay Christian and his rotten organization will probably smile at this.
St. Patrick Hospital: This place has been around since 1873, and I don’t think it’ll have a harder time that it’s about to. I don’t know how many workers they have, but I figure it’s in the hundreds. Back in 2011 they had nearly 8,000 patients. Our biggest benchmark for this hospital is Kalispell Regional Healthcare, which laid-off 600 workers in April. They did this because, without elective surgeries and other procedures, they were losing $16 million a month. I suspect St. Pat’s in in the same boat. I fully expect major layoffs at this institution in the coming months, if not weeks.
Missoula County Public Schools: These schools teach 8,500 kids across 17 different buildings and they have hundreds on staff. Taxpayers fund them, so they should be alright. I do suspect we’ll see many of the older, more susceptible teachers retire.
Community Medical Center: This place will be hit just like St. Patrick’s Hospital will.
DirecTV: This company will probably do alright, and might hire more. People are stuck at home. But a year from now? Maybe cable and dish won’t be a huge priority in people’s lives as they try to save every nickel to put food on the table. By that point, we might see layoffs in places like this, perhaps even places like Netflix, too.
U.S. Forest Service: This is a really tough one. The government can just keep printing money out of thin air, and then pay its workers with that. We know during the Great Depression, those on the government rolls actually rose. In fact, here in Montana we saw public employee numbers go up 565% from 1940 to 1950, and another 2,842% between 1950 and 1960. Government at all levels will probably hire more, thinking this will help. I think it’ll only prolong the crisis.
Missoula County: Missoula won’t fire workers until it absolutely has to, and it probably won’t. There are so many suckers here that’ll vote for every tax increase that is put before them that the city will probably always have money. But maybe that’ll change as the extent of this catastrophe becomes clear.
Walmart: This company will probably hire more.
City of Missoula: I don’t differentiate between the city and county anymore, as they’re run equally as bad.
Montana Rail Link: This is another tough one. At some point rail freight is going to go way down. We’re just not producing as many goods. Already the rail companies are closing down hubs and trying to park trains that aren’t being used. I suspect we’ll see significant layoffs over the next year or so.
Western Montana Clinic: This organization will have the same issues as the other two hospitals we listed.
Looks like it’ll be a summer of riots.
I’m amazed we actually had a police officer in Minneapolis that was stupid enough to put his leg on a black man’s neck. It was recorded. The man said, “I can’t breath.”
Deja vu all over again!
There’s no social distancing in those protests, which saw hundreds of people hit the streets. This will continue to happen in that city for a few days, maybe weeks.
I don’t know when the protests will spread to other major cities, but I know they will. Politicians and unelected health board members stole the jobs of millions of Americans, many of them the most vulnerable in our society.
I'm not advocating this...just telling you my opinion...but:
I think we'll see lots of people arrested for threatening local officials, probably via social media. I think there's a very good chance many local officials and politicians around the country will be confronted with violence, and some might even be killed.
People are at a breaking point and they want to blame someone.
It’s hot and it’s summer and people have nothing to do. It’s gonna get hot real fast and we’re going to see epic property destruction as the lower-classes take out their frustrations on the upper-classes (which will probably just hit the struggling small business owners, who will see their windows smashed in).
A big story came out yesterday about Whitney and her PACs and the people that work for them.
It’s a real hot mess.
I don’t think Whitney Williams is a good person.
I do think she’s an egomaniacal individual whose life is so empty that she seeks to fill it with all that her and her rich, out-of-state friends’ money will buy.
I think she’d be a terrible governor, one that relies on staffers because she has no real ideas and doesn’t understand the state’s politics or priorities. I think she’d get mad at those staff when they told her something she didn’t want to her, didn’t agree with. At that point she’d fire them, and hire new staff. These and the other staff would learn real quick to be ‘yes-men,’ telling Whitney exactly what she wants to hear. The state would enter four years of stagnation, with nothing getting done.
Whether it’s the governor’s race or the AG race or even a few others, it’s the upstarts vs. the establishment.
Cooney and Raph are the establishment; Whitney and Dudik are the upstarts.
I think we’re looking at an establishment year, and I think that’ll be confirmed in 6 days.
Be careful of that sewer we call social media.
Be wary of the voices you find there, many of whom are anonymous.
In fact, your life would probably be better if you spent as little time on social media as possible.
I’m down to a couple minutes on Twitter a day, and I thank God for that.
But I’m lucky. I don’t need to go to social media to find an audience; to get my voice out. I don’t need that platform - this site is my platform.
With luck, I might be able to eliminate social media altogether in the coming months.
Social media is nothing more than a cess-filled sewer that stinks up our lives, filling us with hate and vitriol, animosity and resentment, and eventually self-doubt and depression.
I think it’s one of the greatest health risks facing humanity today.