Thursday morning, 03/19/2020.
Times are tough. Things aren’t going our way and it may seem like things will never get better. The folks at CNBC don’t sound positive. A rain storm is lashing at my office windows, dark clouds have delayed the morning light. We don’t know enough. Not enough about biology, not enough about economics. The TV folks will tell you that this time is different, that this healthcare crisis and economic crisis is different than all others that have come before. It sounds grim. We simply can’t know what happens next.
I don’t know as much as I would like this morning, but I know what I believe, and what I believe may be what is most important at times such as these. Here is what I believe:
1. All financial crises are unique and awful. The trigger events for financial crises are almost always unique to their times (example 9/11). They also, often, seem to threaten the whole order of things, both political and social. Then people adapt, they start moving again and the most amazing thing, once we get a chance to look back, is to what extent so many things – the things that are most important to us - are the same or maybe just a tad better.
2. The health crisis will be met and overcome, and our economy and financial markets will adapt. Modern economies with industrialization, international trade and international banking have existed since the U.S. Civil War. During most of that time they dealt with polio, tuberculosis and an absence of infection fighting antibiotics. Despite those challenges, every generation of Americans advanced themselves economically and we will do the same.
3. America is the place to be. We have first class health care institutions and highly dedicated health care professionals. They are already on the front lines, buying us time. Pray for them. In time, solutions will be found and America will lead the way. There is no place where a better combination of democratic government, rule of law and an advanced form of capitalism exists. You can’t see evidence of this from the news conferences I’ve watched, unfortunately. But, time and time again, America has been the country that solves the biggest problems… often at the very last possible moment. We will solve the COVID-19 crisis.
During the blitz, the British adopted a phrase that came to define their dogged determination to prevail, “Stay calm and carry on”.
Good enough advice for this dark and rainy day.