It is what it is

It is what it is.

Ted Folkert – October 10, 2020

Wow, what a brilliant statement! The coronavirus “is what it is.” This is the way our fearless and compassionate president expresses his concern for this devastating pandemic. Where do we start in listing the coronavirus-initiated chain of events and employment impacts in some of our major industries?

According to news reports airlines have cut more than 400,000 jobs in the last few months. These are not minimum-wage jobs. These are middle-class jobs. The chain of events to follow is coming. This amounts to 400,000 people who are now limiting their spending to basic necessities. They have to have food and shelter, but what about clothing, entertainment, education, insurance, transportation, and all the other budgetary items on the list? The full impact of this has not yet reached the economy, getting some help from benefits from employer-provided and government-provided unemployment programs. But the full impact is coming because these programs have time limits. And the fear for the economy is that many of these jobs and those of other effected industries will not soon, or perhaps ever, be restored.

Disney just announced the layoff of 28,000 employees from their theme parks. So, obviously the devastation is not limited to airlines, it affects all businesses which rely on crowds or lots of customers, situations which provide places for distribution of the virus as customers interact face-to-face or in close contact with each other.

These are just a few examples. How about employment at other forms of transportation, housing, household furnishings and goods, entertainment, elective healthcare – all of the other industries which employ us? The labor department has reported that the US has experienced 22 million job losses over the last six months due to the virus and that less than 50% of them have been recovered to date, and that perhaps 5 million workers could face long term joblessness. Unfortunately, in situations such as this, some of these job losses are never recovered as companies realize that they can survive without them or have scaled back operations with limited profitability.

The Real Deal magazine posts a story call “Rent Relief for Retailers is Expiring. Now What?” This could be an unmanageable situation for the retail real estate industry and the retail industry. The industry as a whole is still far from a back-to-normal condition and in an unlikely position to pay agreed rental amounts let alone the backlog of deferred payments.

The term “nonessential” has suddenly taken on a more threatening meaning. No one wants to be determined nonessential when their industry is declared nonessential and starts eliminating nonessential jobs or nonessential employees. Nonessential is the term state governments use to require certain industries to cease or curtail operations in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

As the employees from bars, restaurants, movie theatres, gyms and other industries determined to be nonessential hit the job market or join those seeking unemployment compensation the spending must follow the same pattern. Those affected must determine what is nonessential for them. Some eliminate some entertainment expenditures, visits to friends, unnecessary vehicle trips, events which draw crowds, any unnecessary exposure to others.

These events must ultimately take a toll on discretionary spending throughout the economy. It could be tempered by government grants to all US citizens such as some of those already implemented, but this is temporary relief and cannot go on indefinitely. And what happens to the government debt incurred in this process, which will forever require interest payments since the debt will not likely ever be repaid.

The assumptions of some of our prognosticators regarding the declining impact from the virus seem to be missing the mark as predicted. Now those who had forecast a decline and ultimate end to the crisis have backed off and have become mum to the subject. The answer is that nobody knows and all prognostications are merely speculations or wishful thinking. They all come with a lack of certainty and parameters which tend to protect one from miscalculations. So why listen?

Like our debt-ridden, dishonest, embezzling, lying, stealing, and cheating president says when he has no answer or seeks a way to duck blame: “It is what it is.”

I guess that explains it. But don’t try to take that one to the grocery store when your unemployment compensation runs out. And don’t try to lay blame of this on our dear president even though he ignored the crisis in the early stages and declared it a simple case of the flu which will disappear very quickly, ignoring the warnings from our most trusted healthcare advisors, such as Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci. I wonder which medical school Dr. Trump graduated from?

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