Happy Talk Vs. Reality — Washington Stumbles on the Coronavirus
Author: Greg Valliere
February 26, 2020
A DISTURBING PATTERN IS RECURRING: Donald Trump appears to be muzzling the experts, sticking to happy talk that has no basis in fact. This has occurred repeatedly — Trump against the Weather Bureau, against climate experts, against his own generals, against the Federal Reserve, etc. And now there’s a disturbing battle between Trump and the Centers for Disease Control.
THE NARRATIVE WORSENS: Yesterday morning, the director of the CDC’s respiratory illness division stated that the coronavirus will soon grip the U.S. “It’s not a question of if this will happen, but when this will happen, and how many people in his country will have severe illnesses,” she told reporters in the morning.
AN EXTRAORDINARY WARNING: We repeat, verbatim, a chilling passage from Dr. Nancy Messonier: “Businesses need to consider replacing in-person meetings with telework. School authorities should consider ways to limit face-to-face contact, such as dividing students into smaller groups, using Internet-based learning or even closing schools.”
SHE ADDED: “Local officials should consider modifying, postponing or canceling large gatherings. Hospitals should consider ways to triage patients who do not need urgent care and recommend that patients delay surgery that isn’t absolutely necessary.”
THIS CANDOR INFURIATED THE WHITE HOUSE, which responded with sunny talk. The President said a vaccine is close, but actually it could take 18 months before it’s widely available. Larry Kudlow’s happy talk about the markets was ignored by investors. By afternoon, the CDC — intimidated — sounded more upbeat about containing the virus.
THE MIXED MESSAGES EXTENDED TO CAPITOL HILL, OF COURSE, where Democrats saw a political opening, blasting the White House for being unprepared. And everyone called for spending more money.
WE’RE HARDLY EXPERTS ON THE VIRUS, but we can usually smell a political shift. This is the greatest threat to Trump’s re-election, by far. He needs the experts to take charge, and if their message is grim, he can’t foolishly contradict their assessments. Trump’s credibility as a leader now faces its most serious test.
* * * * *
TWO MESSAGES FROM LAST NIGHT: The embarrassing, angry, chaotic debate in South Carolina, poorly moderated, had two main messages.
First, Joe Biden still has a pulse rate; he was animated and reasonably articulate.
Bernie Sanders is still the favorite, but he took some major body blows and we still
think Biden has a narrow opening. No one else does; Mike Bloomberg went from terrible last week to mediocre last night.
Second, enough already with the debates. The Democrats’ post-mortem, a year from now, surely will conclude that THEY HAVE TOO MANY DAMNED DEBATES. What a turn-off for voters, nothing but yelling — and, regrettably, very little focus on the dominant issue in the world today, the coronavirus.
The views expressed in this blog are provided as a general source of information based on information available as of the date of publication and should not be considered as personal investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy and/or sell securities. Speculation or stated believes about future events, such as market or economic conditions, company or security performance, or other projections represent the beliefs of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of AGF, its subsidiaries or any of its affiliated companies, funds or investment strategies. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in these commentaries at the time of publication; however, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Market conditions may change and AGF accepts no responsibility for individual investment decisions arising from the use of or reliance on the information contained herein. Any financial projections are based on the opinions of the author and should not be considered as a forecast. The forward looking statements and opinions may be affected by changing economic circumstances and are subject to a number of uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward looking statements. The information contained in this commentary is designed to provide you with general information related to the political and economic environment in the United States. It is not intended to be comprehensive investment advice applicable to the circumstances of the individual.
AGF Investments is a group of wholly owned subsidiaries of AGF Management Limited, a Canadian reporting issuer. The subsidiaries included in AGF Investments are AGF Investments Inc. (AGFI), AGF Investments America Inc. (AGFA), AGF Investments LLC (AGFUS) and AGF International Advisors Company Limited (AGFIA). AGFA and AGFUS are registered advisors in the U.S. AGFI is a registered as a portfolio manager across Canadian securities commissions. AGFIA is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. The subsidiaries that form AGF Investments manage a variety of mandates comprised of equity, fixed income and balanced assets.
About AGF Management Limited
Founded in 1957, AGF Management Limited (AGF) is an independent and globally diverse asset management firm. AGF brings a disciplined approach to delivering excellence in investment management through its fundamental, quantitative, alternative and high-net-worth businesses focused on providing an exceptional client experience. AGF’s suite of investment solutions extends globally to a wide range of clients, from financial advisors and individual investors to institutional investors including pension plans, corporate plans, sovereign wealth funds and endowments and foundations.
For further information, please visit AGF.com.
©2022 AGF Management Limited. All rights reserved.