On that day officials were still urging people not to gather in groups of 50 or more, and there was talk that a national 14-day shutdown might be needed.
Around the nation, however, governors were flexing their muscles, quite authoritatively.
March 15 was the day Steve Bullock ordered schools closed for two weeks. We had 6 cases at the time.
Now here we are, 31 days later and up to 399 cases and 7 deaths.
We’re all at home, staring into our screens, reading and watching and letting the time pass by. The uncertainty around ‘not knowing’ when things will get back to ‘normal’ is one of the most difficult aspects of all of this.
Anyways, let’s cover some of the news that we might have missed yesterday.
Some of Trump’s ideas to reopen the economy leaked out and the Washington Post got them.
The government wants schools and daycares to open first so parents can then go back to work. Test kits won’t be manufactured in bulk until May 15.
I’m not sure governors will go along with that idea, or consumers. I think many will stay home for most of the rest of the year if they can, rarely going out except to bulk-purchase grocery store items.
Republican leaders in the legislature are urging Bullock to reopen the economy.
They tell Bullock that “Montana’s economy is in’ a ‘freefall,’ with many businesses closed – but that Bullock has shielded government agencies from virtually all the same sacrifices demanded on the private sector.’
They noted that few state agencies are closed and apparently no public employees furloughed.”
They mention that taxes are going to “plummet” as businesses remain closed, and this will devastate small communities.
Consider Stevensville and it’s 2,000 people. They only make $2.4 million in tax revenue a year, and this year they’ve already budgeted $3.7 million in expenditures.
When the fiscal year is done, they’ll have $1.9 million in the bank. And that was before the virus.
Tax revenues for Stevensville are going to fall, big time. That community is going to be in trouble.
What about places like Polson or Plentywood, Bigfork or Browning?
Their budgets are going to be decimated, and they’ll look to the state for help. The state doesn’t have a big enough surplus for all the hands that will be held out. So the state will ask the feds for help, and the feds will ask the Federal Reserve.
What a mess.
The governor of Michigan is having a helluva time. Over 200,000 people in that state have signed a petition to have her recalled, and another 300,000 have joined a Facebook group that’s against her.
Here’s a bit more on her dilemma:
“Whitmer said her actions are centered on flattening Michigan's curve of infections. The new restrictions are aimed at curbing foot traffic in stores and preventing the outbreak — now focused around Detroit — from spreading quickly through the northern and more rural parts of the state, where the health system is not well equipped for a major outbreak.”
Notice that the story is the same all over the country - ‘our hospitals are not ready.’
These are private hospitals. They pay their CEOs millions of dollars a year.
But you know what? They’re not prepared.
None of the hospitals in this country are prepared. They don’t have PPE. Why? Because for years, our private, for-profit hospitals have looked out more for themselves, not their communities.
It’s not the government’s fault these private, for-profit hospitals don’t have any supplies...it’s their fault.
The CEOs in charge of these hospitals were too concerned about taking their winters in Europe, their summers in the Hamptons.
And now what do they do?
They blame Trump.
It’s a helluva lot easier than blaming their own greed.
In Great Falls, over 2,000 people filed for unemployment a week ago. I’m sure thousands more are out of work but simply haven’t filed.
Despite the economic ruin in that community, the $160,000-a-year superintendent of the Great Falls schools is going ahead with a levy to increase his salary.
Ballots go out next Monday. Hopefully the good people of Great Falls will do the right thing and vote this down.
In a year or two, hopefully they do the right thing and get rid of the superintendent.
Remember the Tea Party? We’re going to see a major resurgence of the Tea Party...as well as a major populist uprising.
People are sick of this shit. They’re sick of the politicians that foisted this upon us. And they’ll vote accordingly.
We’re going to see a major backlash against this quarantine and the subsequent stealing of our civil liberties.
I think it’ll go against both political parties. Governors of both parties closed their states.
It’s hard for us to imagine this now, but it’s gonna happen.
In a couple months, our political discourse is going to be entirely different. Issues that we can’t even imagine right now are going to be at the forefront of our national debate.
Crime is way down in Butte. Usually they’d have over 10 arrests on a weekend, but this past weekend they had zero.
The mining city’s not the only one. In Chicago, drug arrests have fallen by 42%, and crime overall in the city is down by 10%.
Peru has seen an 84% drop in crime. In South Africa, rapes went from 700 this time last year to 101.
People figure it’s staying at home, and how this doesn’t have people running into each other, and therefore problems don’t arise.
Pretty interesting. Hopefully the trend continues when we finally open up.
Two years ago, US embassy workers in Wuhan warned the US State Department about “risky studies” being done on bats.
Amazingly, the Washington Post has the story.
Even the corporate media is beginning to realize they can’t hide the truth forever.
I wonder how long before we pull all our manufacturing back to this country. It’s up to the CEOs, who don’t want to do it.
They don’t want to do it because that would cut into their take-home pay and their bonuses.
Currently the Department of Defense is looking into the lab-origin idea, though at this time they don’t think there’s enough evidence to support that idea.
Reports are filtering out that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which has been run by Dr. Anthony Fauci since 1984, actually funded a bat study at the Wuhan lab.
Things just keep getting more and more interesting. If you want a great resource on corruption in the virology business, I encourage you to check out the book Plague of Corruption.
The airlines are getting a $25 billion bailout, with 70% of that money being grants and 30% loans.
The airlines are angry that they have to pay any of that money back.
We knew this bailout was coming.
On March 20, I bought a few shares of Jet Blue in anticipation of this. I bought it at $7.63 a share, and the current price is $9.23. I’ve made a 21% profit off that stock in less than a month.
Seems strange, considering that airline revenues are down 90% from this time last year.
In February, that stock was trading at over $21 a share.
People aren’t buying cars. Used car sales were down 64% last month. Prices have fallen 10% as dealers hope against hope that their customers will come back.
Another big problem are all the leased vehicles that people have...people that probably don’t have the money to keep paying that lease.
GM alone has $30 billion worth of leased vehicles on the road today.
I suspect many of our used car dealerships here in Missoula will go out of business. One, called Cheap Cars, used to have about 30 cars on its lot. Now it has 5.
Nationally, I suspect we’ll see some mergers among the Big Three - GM, Ford and Fiat.
If there isn’t some kind of merger, I suspect we’ll see one of those companies go out of business for good.
Several nights a week I’ll go out and just drive around for the better part of an hour. I typically do this around 10 or 11 PM.
Downtown is deserted. Last night I saw a homeless lady with two large bags, standing outside the Gild restaurant and yelling about God knows what.
I see a lot more homeless people sleeping on benches. I was surprised how many people I saw out walking around last night, even though it was raining.
Lots of people are out driving, too. I figure they’re like me - bored of sitting around the house all day.
I don’t know how long this can continue.
At 2 AM this morning, my federal stimulus check hit my bank account.
$3,400 that I don't want and don't need. $1,200 for me, the same for my wife, and an extra $1,000 for our two kids.
We have enough savings to go several more months, probably six. Most Americans don't.
I feel sorry for them. This stimulus check will last a week, with most going to rent and power and internet. Much will be spent on food. Things like credit card bills will be ignored.
The desperate Montanans that needed this money weeks ago? It'll last them a few days and then it'll be gone.