Widespread angry protests, a pandemic that doesn’t seem to be slowing on the timeline health experts expected, and an economic slump into a New Great Depression are just a few of the markers of modern day America. However, optimists across the country continue to anticipate a return to normal life sooner rather than later. The reality? Jim Rickards warns that we will not see normal ever again.
We are not just dealing with health crisis and economic collapse now, but underlying social tensions that will take even longer to fade away from the forefront of the American consciousness. Remember the example of Germany through both World Wars. World War I ended in 1918, and a second World War wracked the globe from 1939-1945, meaning that the country left “normal” in 1914 and did not see a return until at least 1954. That marks a period of 40 years.
As for the United States, we’re now in our third month of a national lockdown, a situation that may continue for another month at least, dependent on where in the country you live. Certain cities and states have begun the process of shifting back to normal through the opening of stores and restaurants as well as the lifting of stay at home orders.
Still, this is happening in stages, which means that some businesses may reopen in a week, and others in a month. Many stores, especially smaller enterprises, won’t be able to survive much longer. Many have already shut their doors permanently.
The lockdown also takes a toll on a much more personal level, as Americans and people across the globe experience unprecedented changes in their day to day lives. Many are unable to go into work, instead reliant on video calls. Many have lost their jobs entirely. Many have been unable to have physical contact with their loved ones, particularly elderly parents or grandparents, for months. Many are scared everyday as they take the risk of working on the frontlines of the pandemic.
According to a Census Bureau survey, Americans have experienced a spike in cases of depression and anxiety since the start of the pandemic. Surveys like this one were started as emergency weekly surveys of US households two months ago in an attempt to monitor the ways in which the health crisis has taken a toll on things like education, employment, finances, health, and housing, among other factors.
In this particular poll, which drew on the data of over 42,000 participants comprising about 1 million households, 24 percent of people reportedly showed signs of major depressive disorder three months into the pandemic, when asked questions typically used for screening patients for mental health problems. Furthermore, 30 percent of participants said they had experienced symptoms of some generalized anxiety disorder. Unsurprisingly, vulnerable populations were most negatively affected, with young people, women, and low-income individuals reporting the highest number of experiences with depression and anxiety.
In this video, we are going to discuss the consequences of the lockdown measures imposed in the US, both in terms of public health and the economy. We will hear from the experts on two sides of the issue–the optimists who anticipate a speedy recovery and the realists like Jim RIckards who acknowledge that normal will never come back.
Unfortunately, we have failed to heed the warnings from past events. In America’s response to the Great Recession, the country learned that the Fed is perfectly capable of flooding financial markets with unlimited credit created out of thin air. Back then, this cheap credit was directed primarily towards stocks, bonds, and real estate. As is typical, such policies benefited the richest while leaving the middle and lower classes to drown. In a bit of deja vu, the Fed is back to their old tactics, but bailouts have moved beyond businesses and certain sectors to individuals and households. This may provide temporary relief for many American citizens.
But as economic output suffers and unemployment affects wide swaths of the population, free government handouts will not do anything to offset an increasing wealth disparity issue. Rather, such problems will only get worse.