Lockdown Madness, Public Health Bungle, The Sinking Australian Economy
The political football over managing the virus outbreak in Australia took a weird twist this week.
The Victorian Premier, Dan ‘Lockdown Czar’ Andrews, did not extend the lockdown period in his state, preferring to open up effective midnight Wednesday, 28 July. The NSW Premier, Gladys ‘Never Go into Lockdown Again’ Berejiklian, announced on the same day that she would extend the lockdown in Greater Sydney by another four weeks.
You would have thought the headlines got it wrong. You’d think it would be the other way round.
No, that’s what’s happening.
The lockdown restrictions in Greater Sydney are now more severe for several regions in west and south-west Sydney in a bid (desperate and potentially futile) to stop the spread of the Delta variant of the Wuhan virus. This includes a 5km travel restriction, even for shopping, and mask mandates indoors AND outdoors. Never mind that studies exist showing the virus will die within seconds of exposure to UV light, so wearing a mask outdoors is superfluous.
As a Sydneysider, I am speechless.
This is foolishness.
Studies in the recent months show lockdowns and mask mandates have made an insignificant difference in controlling the spread. The guidelines from the World Health Organisation, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), and many public health officials worldwide have been at best contradictory. You can read about the latest examples of the absurdity here.
And those who have repeatedly said that the numbers do not lie regarding cases, hospitalisations, and deaths, I was amused that the CDC announced changes to the use of the PCR test. Read about it here.
So the entire basis for justifying the global pandemic came off of an instrument that could not tell the difference between the Wuhan virus, its variants, and the flu.
I advise you to read the above sentence three times and just reflect on it.
The numbers we kept hearing about led to much of the world shutting down for a certain period of time last year. And apparently the experts are telling you they need to change what they are using because they might have gotten it wrong.
This is the same as manufacturing cars with a speedometer that does not specify whether it measures kilometres or miles per hour. How would you know if you are speeding?
To think that NSW actually spent over $580 million testing people for the virus since late June, at $85 a test!
But hey, how many times do you hear people say, ‘It’s better to be safe than sorry’, ‘I trust medical experts over conspiracy theorists,’ and ‘One death is one death too many’?
Spare me the noble platitudes, especially based on the wrong premise.
I believe what we are living through is possibly the world’s biggest public health bungle in history.
And it is bound to get worse.
Society at breaking point
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Sydney and Melbourne on Saturday, 24 July, joining a worldwide movement to rally against lockdowns, vaccination mandates, and government overreach. These protests have split society, even within households, much like The Chinese Cultural Revolution.
Social media and news media lit up with people sharing videos, memes, rantings, and thoughts supporting and condemning those who attended.
Yes, some protesters turned up to stir up violence.
Yes, some protesters just want to get back to travelling overseas and posting selfies in airport lounges and tourist destinations.
But there are even more whose lives are literally hanging on by a thread because they run small businesses that are barred from opening. And there are employees of such businesses.
It is so easy to dismiss these people when you are working an office job where it does not matter if you are in the office or at home. It is rich to say these people should just suck it up.
Oh, and the government and public health officials who slammed these people as ‘selfish’, ‘irresponsible’, ‘boofheads,’ and ‘disgusting’…
These are those who make tough decisions using taxpayers’ expense. Watch how they speak with that tone of righteousness to the fawning press.
Remind me of what happened to Queen Marie Antoinette of France in 1793. ‘Let them eat cake.’
I believe anyone can be generous and saintly at the expense of others. Give me $100 million and I will show you. Tell me to use my own $100 million (hypothetically, of course!) and I will likely hesitate.
Which leads me to the next point.
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Government steamrolls economy
The federal government will come to the rescue with ‘relief packages’ to small businesses and households affected by the Greater Sydney lockdown. These packages are expected to cost over $1 billion a week.
This may sound like it could help stem the bleeding of many whose livelihoods are coming apart.
Businesses may be eligible for $750 a week, and up to $100,000 a week, depending on their headcount. Non-employing businesses can receive up to $1,500 a week.
Many business owners receive much more than that when they are operating. Plus, $750 a week is hardly enough to cover mortgage payments or rent, plus meals and other expenses.
This is like smashing up someone’s car and then handing them four wheels. Fat lot of good that will do.
Where is the government going to find $1 billion a week to fund this?
Taxes? You have to be kidding me. We just sledgehammered the powerhouse of the Australian economy!
It will no doubt come from borrowings and a budget deficit.
Just as many thought that the US economy will be weak and the Australian one will do better…
It looks like we will be heading down more.
So will the Aussie dollar. It is trading below 74 US cents now. You could expect it to head below 70 US cents in the coming months if my estimate proves correct.
Government debt and economic slowdown will no doubt boost inflation. I like my chances in holding gold and gold investments. Some of my colleagues like property, stocks, and cryptocurrencies.
Check out how gold has performed this year so far in Aussie dollar and US dollar terms in the chart below:
Notice the clear decoupling in mid-June? The Aussie dollar gold price did not fall by as much as US dollar gold. And it has headed up to levels last seen in late-May before the June correction.
Gold could continue its ascent in the coming months.
Hard times are coming. Find yourself an anchor. I have mine in gold.
Editor, The Daily Reckoning Australia