We received an email this afternoon from the city government right as locals were getting off of work that the governor of Florida had mandated that all bars and nightclubs would be closed for weeks and restaurants had to be at 50% capacity with people seated at every other table. They are going to start patrolling the beaches to ensure that people are at least 6 feet away from each other. People have gone batshit insane running on the stores ever since. The ATMs at local banks don’t even have 20s. They are spitting out small bills.
This is an enormous deal for Florida, as this is not just about St Patrick’s Day, but all of Spring Break and the tourist season. The cost to the Florida economy is, well, not quantifiable at this time.
It is also pitting the generations of people living in Florida against each other. You can see the different responses to the pandemic in the grocery stores here. At the Publix in my neighborhood – a golf course community with a lot of retired business executives and other professionals – there is literally no food on the shelves thanks to the hoarders. At Target, hoarders even bought out all the thematic napkins and tissue paper on the birthday party aisles so they have something, anything to wipe their ass with. They have Paw Patrol toilet paper now. Avocados in the produce section, organic foods, and White Claw are still piled high, so Millennials will survive. At the liquor store, the shelves of vodka and gin are gone.
I spoke to an Irish woman on the canned food aisle (stripped bare) who was looking for carrots to have with the corned beef in her slow cooker. She picked up a package of the chopped carrots you stick in a child’s lunchbox and told me, “Well, I guess this will have to do for tradition this year. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.”
If you drive to the Winn-Dixie across town, where the rich, white Baby Boomers do not dare venture because here there be black people, there is plenty of food on the shelves. The shoppers there do not have money to stockpile essentials. The only thing saving them from the hoarders is that the hoarders are afraid to walk down the aisles. For the first time ever, racism has worked to someone’s benefit.
I have never seen anything like this before. The hoarders are worse than a category 5 hurricane in a beach town. No joke. They are.
We decided to stop into our favorite Thai restaurant, which is owned by one of our friends in town. It was empty. We asked if people were getting take-out instead of eating in. He said no. This is a place that is usually always hopping. The owner is a pillar of the Asian community here. He employs lots of people. He talked to us about how it was going to ruin him and all the people in his community who looked to him for work and stability. He was visibly trying not to cry and shaking. I told him that I thought the government was making a mistake doing this to people, and he said yeah, but what if they don’t reverse it in time? What are all these people going to do? I told him to stay strong and try to maintain hope, America takes care of its people. I don’t think that’s how he feels right now. I’m not sure that’s how I feel right now.
When he walked away, our eight-year-old daughter asked me how old you have to be to run for mayor because she wanted to run against the current mayor of our town and help people out. We spent a few minutes at dinner searching Google for the youngest mayor in the United States. In case you were wondering, a town in Minnesota once elected a three-year-old as mayor, which I am 100% positive is better than the current crop of leaders in our country.
I’ve already received several text messages from friends and family members who are now out of work. This is pretty much what I said was going to happen. It’s all fun and games sharing your favorite Netflix shows to watch while staying in until the bill comes due and it’s coming due soon. The country does not put millions of people out of work overnight and not have that bullshit trickle upwards.
Anyway, I bet you are wondering from the title of this piece how China fits into this. As western democracies are imitating the non-wisdom of the Communist Party of China in dealing with the spread of illness, it might be useful to know that now that China is back to 80% capacity, China is looking at an 11% economic contraction. They are fucked to smithereens.
Now ask yourself who is going to purchase the Treasury debt Trump and Congress think is going to fund our economic stimulus programs. Trump wants close to a trillion dollars of stimulus spending. That’s not coming from the US Treasury. Where is it going to come from? You can pass any kind of legislation you want, but actually executing it is another story.
It took socialist Venezuela years to fuck over its people to this degree, but it took selfish, stupid idiots with time horizons shorter than Wall Street bankers in a strip club less than two weeks to achieve similar results in the US. A society thoroughly deluded by its own decadence into believing that our fates were not inextricably intertwined.