2020 May 23 - Coronavirus & The Economy

I'm publishing this on May 23rd which is George Osbourne's birthday, which now means we've had more months of Coronavirus than he has jobs. It's hard to tell really because with social distancing in play, he's maybe had to add 'clean ing the house' to his CV, or perhaps he prefers to live in filth; a lot of anonymous people online say he's into filth. I've never met the man though from what I read he seems like the sort of chap that probably closes the laptop at around 8 o'clock so he can listen to people clapping outside and assume that the public are celebrating his stewardship of the Evening Standard.

I imagine the one job he wouldn't want to be doing right now however is the old "chancellor of the exchequer" one, seeing as how this is a time when there's serious work to be done and major decisions to make amidst a no-doubt shambles where the usual economic models are falling apart alike an Air-Fix model Spitfire assembled by a small child. I would imagine Gideon Orbourne actually probably quite likes making airfix models, what with all the glue and the naphthalene vapours although in the real world the word 'solvent' has a far more economic meaning because right now the Western world is voluntarily embracing the economic equivalent of self-immolation. Perhaps cutting limbs off would be a better analogy because the Prime Minister continues to convey a jovial charm and indifference that's reminiscent of the Black Knight in that Monty Python film, while the business owners across the country are more akin to John Cleese demanding that the government fix the dead parrot, I mean the dead economy and reopen things.

The current situation is now forecast to cost around half 500bn pounds between government borrowing, lost investment and other costs and in context, that's literally the cost of a manned mission to Mars, or the kind of outlay you're looking at if you wanted to see Accrington Stanley win the Champions League. Certainly If "money talks" then it's saying "goodbye" and for no return other than maintaining the status quo. But "every life counts" though currently only 36,000 people have died from the coronavirus which in context is a lot less than have died from other things since the start of the year. I can't help wonder whether it would have been better spending that half a trillion pounds kind of money 5 years ago to cure cancer or at the very least become the world research capital. It would be nice if the UK was the pace where people came to cure cancer rather than the place that Far Eastern betting syndicates go to launder money before they get uncovered by the Mail On Sunday.

For context imagine everywhere in the top 500 towns and cities, you're down to smallish towns like Fathersham, Truro, Broadstairs, Dumbarton, and now imagine giving every single one of them £1bn no strings attached to spend or waste on anything they like. Mostly community art projects and pay rises I imagine. Nonetheless you examine it in that context and you quickly realise that the return on investment is worse than that time King Phillip of Spain bought hundreds of galleons to conquer England.

In my mind the only way this thing ends is with inflation exploding to 20%+ or taxes, possibly a massive raid on corporations which means your pension. When I'm not wasting my money on eBay, I like putting it into cryptocurrency and gold and I'd frankly adviser others to do likewise. Or at the very least buy an investment on eBay, and by "investment" I don't mean a classic Nintendo or a classic car, or frankly anything on my watch list. I should delete all that stuff actually...
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