Ayn Rand and Country Clubs
The Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration (SBA) recently released the names of businesses that had received more than $150,000 as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The purpose of the disclosure was to ensure more transparency surrounding more than $520 billion that was approved as part of the CARES Act. Nearly five million loans were guaranteed, and some of the organizations on the list have both the left and right perturbed over hypocrisy and shadiness.
Despite the program being intended for small businesses, the list of PPP recipients included billionaires, country clubs, Kanye West, and the Ayn Rand Institute. The public is crying foul (rightfully so) that golf resorts are receiving any taxpayer-funded loans. Why should some of the wealthiest institutions in the U.S. be given a bailout funded by the average taxpayer?
Indeed, their grievances are justified. But the applications were also as reasonable since the state ordered these entities to shut down. If they did not obey the whims of bureaucrats, they would be fined or imprisoned. So, they pay their taxes like anyone else, and they can present a case for redress.
One of the groups on the list that leftists are handwringing about is the Ayn Rand Institute. Why would an objectivist organization seek a handout of between $350,000 and $1 million from the very monster it wishes to slay? ARI functions were disrupted by the government since it conducts tours, sponsors events, and host fundraisers. But the very name elicits a fit of rage on the left – dare yourself to peruse Twitter for how angry leftists become by invoking her very name!
The Rand haters usually allude to her receiving Social Security and seeking medical care in a publicly funded hospital in her senior years. Two things can be true at the same time: You can oppose this system, and you can demand some of your money back. Rand, like most other people, had her earnings confiscated by the state. In her old age, she sought repayment by using the services she was forced to pay. Where is the hypocrisy?
China’s Melt Up Monday
In 2015, China’s state-run media was ebullient over the stock market, encouraging grandmothers and students to pour into stocks. The government was desperate to turn around a sinking equities market, so officials implored their media arms to praise it all. The population bought the propaganda and started scooping up everything. It was all sunshine and lollipops until the Shanghai Composite Index crashed the following year.
Well, it seems to be 2015 all over again in the world’s second-largest economy. China Securities Journal, a publication owned and operated by the government, published a front-page editorial that pushed the public to buy stocks. The op-ed encouraged investors to get ready for the “wealth effect of the capital markets” and a “healthy bull market.” Investors, from grandmothers to college students, were all in and bought the article’s narrative.
What happened? Melt Up Monday! The day after the article was released, Shanghai stocks surged nearly 6%, the CSI 300 index of Shanghai and Shenzhen-listed shares advanced 6% to a five-year high, and the Hang Seng Index jumped close to 4%. By the end of the trading week, China’s stock market soared about 11%. Is this short-term boost a sign of bearish things to come? Perhaps.
As Liberty Nation has reported over the last year, the fundamentals of the Chinese economy are not sound. Even before the pandemiconomy was born in China, everything about Beijing had been built on a faulty foundation. The Ponzi scheme economy was bogus, relying on central bank intervention and government stimulus and relief to survive.
The U.S. economy has the Federal Reserve to juice financial markets. China has both the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) and the state-controlled press to prop up an ailing financial arena. The house of cards will eventually come crashing down.
The Retailpocalypse’s L-Shape
It is a blood bath in the retail industry. Well, unless you are Amazon or Walmart. According to Coresight Research’s newest forecast, as many as 25,000 retail stores could close their doors for good by the year’s end. If the COVID-19 pandemic forces economies to go into lockdown mode again, then fasten your seatbelts. It is going to be a bumpy 18 months.
So far, more than 8,700 store units have ended or will end their operations this year, and the final tally could top last year’s 9,300. Forbes has a comprehensive list that is regularly updated. Perhaps the vulture consumers can gather around and take advantage of deep discounts after reading the breakdown.
Here are some of the well-known companies:
- AT&T: 250 stores
- C. Penney: 154 stores
- Microsoft: 77 stores
- Starbucks: 400 stores over 18 months
- Walgreen: 100 stores
- Walmart: two stores
- Zara: 1,000 stores over two years.
But the retailpocalypse had already started a few years ago. The public health crisis only accelerated the industry’s demise. It looks like the sector will miss out on the anticipated V-shaped recovery. We could be looking at an L-shaped resuscitation unless the pandemic subsides or a vaccine is developed. Until then, be careful you do not slip on the blood in the streets.
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