Trade Ideas May 15, 2020

MorningWord 5/15/20: The Science Denying Will Continue Until the Stock Market Improves

by Dan

If you think the New York Times is Fake News, are reluctant to vote in favor of science over your gut, or think that stock market guys should just stick to the stock market, then you should stop reading now, unsubscribe, maybe we can reconnect at a kinder, gentler time in our nation’s future. Oh and please Stay Safe & Well and wear a Mask.


To state the obvious, the human race has been humbled over the last few months by our inability to handle a curveball of science. I think it is safe to say, whether we believe the Chinese were being transparent or not back in December and January about what they knew about the ability of the coronavirus to spread and it’s lethal nature, what could not be ignored was the actions taken by China to avoid its spread, quickly closing down cities larger than New York City, with names that most Americans had never heard of.

In early April NYT’s columnist Tom Friedman quite aptly summed up the White House’s response to the virus:

Mother Nature is just chemistry, biology and physics. That’s all she is. You cannot sweet-talk her. You cannot spin her. You cannot manipulate her.

Freidman made a point that I have made on numerous occasions since January that our response from the top has lacked the proper focus, it has been guided by politics, ego, and ignorance. As Friedman put it:

I believe that the most powerful force on the planet is Mother Nature and the second most powerful force is Father Greed, i.e., the markets. The coronavirus spread in America because Trump looked at the problem through the lens of the markets first and the science of natural systems second, if at all.

Early on, Trump clearly spent his days watching the markets and downplaying the virus’s potential for rapid spread. If the markets were doing well for investors, Trump thought it meant that he was doing well containing Mother Nature’s Covid-19 disease — one of many Darwinian engines she employs to mercilessly sort out the weak from the fit.

Too soon to assign blame in the middle of a health and economic pandemic? It’s not polite in the midst of the suffering? Tell that to trump, whose number one job is to keep Americans safe.. he heaps praise on himself for his response, blames everyone else, and has refused to take any responsibility for the disproportionate health toll the virus has taken on the country,… as I said in Monday’s note, the loss of life in our nation is unconscionable:

the lack of preparedness and foresight by one of the wealthiest and supposedly most technologically advanced countries in the world is truly shocking. Our country of ~330 million people is less than 5% of the world’s population, and despite spending more per capita on healthcare per citizen (around 18% of GDP each year) than any other country on the planet, we represent 32% of the globe’s coronavirus cases and 28% of the deaths associated with it.

The hits on the health front will keep coming, likely in waves, as we reopen, then again later this year as we get comfortable with a flatter curve, better-prepared health system, and a more sanitized way of life, it could come back and cause further rolling shutdowns and ensure a spotty economic recovery.

To be honest, I have not been in favor of mass quarantining and economic lockdown. I was skeptical it would work in America and said so repeatedly in February on CNBC’s Fast Money. I even went as far as to say that American’s have too many guns, many of those gun owners believe too little in science. Well sure as shit our divider in chief leaned into that narrative of late and to distract from the mounting deaths, unemployed citizens and spiraling fiscal deficit, has shifted blame to blue state governors and the mainstream media and in some instances has even gone as far as inciting insurrection to open up certain states. Sad!

Yesterday the CEO and Founder of BarStool sports had a rant online about the changing of the rules, a sort of moving of the goalposts by our health experts as it relates to the quarantine which went viral:

No matter R or D, most American’s feel his frustration. Whether those making the rules like it or not, the quarantines are going to end soon, as a species, we are not meant to be locked up in cages without freedom of movement, and denied our ability to make a living. Have the health experts been flawless in identifying the threats, offering guidelines to stay safe during the height of the spread, or offered a clear path back to a sense of Normalcy? I think it is safe to say no, but it is important to remember that these people are not politicians, but sadly which has been made very clear, they are guided by them, and the politicians and the media outlets that support them have done their best spin and manipulate the science to fit their agenda.

The health and human toll in such a short period of time have been staggering and what has been made clear by the health experts this week that it is not likely to abate, despite the original goal of flattening the curve. trump now wants to scapegoat the health experts, but he will be unable to place the economic toll of the virus on their shoulders. It is my belief, as it is with Friedman and many others, that the economic devastation did not have to be nearly what it is, trump was clearly guided by the exact wrong thing, the stock market, which he has yet to learn is not the economy. His insistence on not disrupting it as it made new all-time highs daily back in January and February resulted in a lack of preparedness for the worst health crisis our country has faced in decades which forced us to have to kill the economy to save as many American lives as we could. And by the way, yes we don’t have a cure for cancer, and yes cancer kills more than 85,000 Americans a year, but cancer does not spread like the coronavirus which is far more lethal than the common flu.

In my opinion, this interview of trump on CNBC from Jan 22nd will be forever remembered as ground zero for the #MAGA-EconomicPandemic2020, which ultimately will be his legacy…


trump been unmasked, his sham is over, and his ineptitude and ignorance are now on full display, the American Carnage he spoke about at his inauguration in January 2017 has been unleashed on the very people he swore to protect. He is not to blame for the coronavirus, but if we don’t assign the proper blame and right what was wrong with the response, we are bound to repeat the mistakes.

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