Are you awake to see opportunities?
Why is it that some people have the knack to see an opportunity and seize it, and others just watch them pass by?
While the news media only seems to want to cover COVID19, let’s have a nice distraction from the doom & gloom and talk about the 2020 Presidential Race to the White House. Yeh, I know - that’s boring too. But this time I’ll go out on a limb and tell you who is going to win it ahead of time.
I write this article in the first week of April 2020, approximately 7 months before the 2020 US Federal Election. President Trump is in power, completing out his first 4 year term as President of the United States. The Democratic party have not yet identified the candidate to go against Trump in the November elections, although based on reported statistics and delegate vote count, there is a 99% chance it will be former Vice President Joe Biden.
Making predictions is a risky game. There’s a 50% chance of being right based solely on the fact there will be two candidates running for the office of the President. Sure, there will be the odd alternative party candidate (Libertarians and Green Party) which may impact a small percentage of voters but as the USA effectively has a two party system, it really is going to come down to Trump vs. Biden.
If you believe what you read in the newspapers, TV or Internet, they will wax philosophically with a lot of big words about what they predict will happen. I’m not one of those people.
I’m an average Joe, but I don’t live a “normal” life. I’m a contrarian, so I spend much of life seeking out the alternatives because I know that when the herd follow down one path, they leave all the opportunities for those that are not in the herd. When the herd encounters adverse situations, they panic and leave even more opportunities out there for others. And since it is relatively easy to predict the path of a herd, it isn’t hard to use their own power and weight against them. It is kinda like the art of Aikido when you use the weight of your opponent against them. I’m not interested in fighting with the herd, but if you are looking to see where they are going, it is relatively easy if you stand away and don’t feed into the same news cycles and feeds that they are seeing.
And that is why I’m willing to make a relatively bold prediction this early in the game.
Biden will win the Presidency in November 2020.
Now there is no money on this bet. You won’t lose your shirt if you follow my predictions. They are not based on investing in this or that stock, or investing in this or that commodity, or Forex or asset. This is not a prediction like that. If I am right, then great. If I am wrong, so be it.
But I strongly believe Biden will win the Presidency, and I’m going to lay out why here. Amuse yourself with my thoughts, if you will.
As I write this, the world is going through a global pandemic - COVID19. It is uncomfortable at best, and a disaster at worst. Lives are being lost, economies are collapsing. A recent statistic that I read today stated that for every 1 confirmed case of COVID19, there are 46 employment layoffs. In the past 2 weeks since I write this, the USA laid off 10 million workers. Yes, 10 million. According to govt statistics, the total size of the US workforce is 164 million, and we are not counting for those who have been furloughed, hours cut back and gig workers who just can’t do any gig right now. But if we just go with these numbers, in a 2 week period we lost 6% of the entire workforce.
Yes, it 2 weeks.
They are predicting unemployment at 30% levels. As this virus continues to kill people, and as more people are told to “shelter in place”, they can’t work. Those that can work are lucky enough to have work that can be done remotely - online over the Internet. But despite our wonderful technological achievements, we’ve never completely been able to move all of our workforce to online work. We’ve decimated the manufacturing economy through global outsourcing, and the bulk of the workforce are doing service related work - service that involves human to human interaction. Good luck with that in total lock down.
Although governments and Federal Reserves are stepping in to provide bridge funding for people and businesses to get through this, by the time the virus retreats there won’t be much left. Sure, many will recover and rebuild, but with that a sense of caution regarding money will permeate the population. That sense will reduce consumption and reduce the ongoing need for as many workers, so this initial attrition is probably not likely to recover quickly.
There will always be voters who will routinely vote for their “team”. They are kinda like die-hard baseball fans, who will stick with their team through thick and thin. They have always voted Republican or Democrat, their parents voted Republican or Democrat and they always will vote Republican or Democrat. They represent probably 60% of the voters. But remember that a presidency is won simply with a majority, and that means the 40% left who may be inclined to vote for the party of the issues they want, will often move from party to party. There are some exceptions based on rigid policy. For example the Fundamental Christian voters typically will follow a party that supports Pro-Life agenda. This can become a challenge, however, as many will see the actions of a President against their own fundamental beliefs. But it comes down to whether they can stomach that, in order to support an agenda item they are most inclined to use as their main reason for supporting a candidate or not.
Let’s say that we are down to 20% of the voters that will “swing” based on the issues of the day between the parties. Well no matter what electoral college math you might want to play, you can’t affect that level of voter swing.
People right now are scared. They won’t leave their house because there is a pandemic out there. Sure, many have doubts over the official guidelines. There will always be those that don’t believe what they are told, but so far they are not fairing all that well.
When pastors and universities wanted to buck the system, they either got infected or go arrested. Both are not good for one’s career path. Yes, there is probably overkill on behalf of policy but that’s on the basis that it is better to be safe than sorry. So I get that, but let’s hope they relax anything that is a civil liberty issue after this is all over.
However let’s look at the real fear - other than the risk of death.
What happens in the USA if you are forced to go to a hospital? You arrive at the emergency room, and they admit you, but they will ask you for insurance information. If you don’t have it, they might ask for a credit card. Or some other form of payment. Sure, they are not allowed to turn you away, but they want to be paid. So you (or your family members) do all the paperwork as you wait to see the doctor.
You get admitted into hospital. Now you are the customer with no choices as to what you have to buy. They get a bed ready, they provide immediate triage, they diagnose what is going on, they try and stabilize you. This involves countless medical personnel - doctors, nurses, clinical consultants, etc. All who are paid a lot of money for the dozen or more of years in tertiary education. They deserve every dime they get paid, and you’ll gladly give it up because if you exercise your free market rights and leave the hospital because the costs are too high, you will probably die on the street.
So you just sit there and let them do their work. If you are in the vast majority that will survive hospitalization, you leave after some time, stable and on a path to recovery.
Then after a few weeks, the bills start to arrive in the mail. Your insurance company may be receiving them and sending you notices of what they charged and what the insurance company is paying. But you owe the deductible. You are on the hook for the first X thousand dollars, and as medical insurance is so high most of us are on “high deductible plans”. Sometimes this could be as much as $10,000 that will be out of pocket costs just for the deductible. Then you find all these nasty tricks that they do - a physician saw you that isn’t “in network” and therefore you have to directly pay for that person’s charges. Or you went to a hospital that wasn’t in network, so you are up for 50% of the bills. Or they prescribed something that isn’t covered in your plan. Or that you have to take pharmaceuticals afterwards that may not be covered. Etc. You get the drill. You are going to be fleeced here.
I don’t care if you have the best health insurance plans in the world. The fact is you will still pay a minimum of thousands for this.
If the COVID19 epidemic goes through a predictable cycle, it will likely peak sometime in early May. That means hospitals will be overrun through early summer and by about July/August we will start to see the tail of this.
Therefore I’m thinking that sometime around September, most of the affected Americans will be dealing with the bills. They have the normal 30 days to pay, and then the collectors start to call. That’s about October. Many will not have the money. They lost their jobs because of COVID19. They have no source of income. They will probably fight initially and then succumb to bankruptcy filings. This all is going on right into the November election.
Remember years back there was that thing called “Obamacare”? And who was the vice president during that time? Biden. Who has a reputation for fighting for free or subsidized healthcare? Biden. Sure, the Democrats have far more liberal candidates who wanted Medicare for All, but the fact is that Biden will likely be the nominee.
So all he needs to do with this is remind the American people that the Obama/Biden period was the period of Obamacare and that Trump campaigned entirely on the mantra of killing it. Remember the 2018 “Blue Wave” that gave the House of Representatives to the Democrats? What was the #1 reason for that? Health care. Health care is the #1 reason that voters swing their vote to a party in 2020.
And now this is EVEN more important, since we will have come out of a global pandemic. In a global pandemic, no one is exempted. Rich or poor, famous or invisible, urban or country, etc. Everyone is equally impacted as we are all human beings. Those who are more likely to suffer or die from this will be those with medical conditions to begin with, and that further underscores the fact that the United States will be crying out for a savior for health care. It doesn’t matter just how rich you might be, you can’t spend it on your death bed and health is the #1 issue of 2020.
And that’s why Biden will be your next President.
Now you probably know my story. I spent a large part of 2019 in Mexico getting elective surgery there because it was unaffordable in the USA. I don’t have an insurance plan that would cover me. If there was a pubic option or I was eligible for Medicare, I probably would have taken advantage of that. In retrospect, I think I did the right thing and the outcome was fantastic. I saw the inside of a country that treated me like family and it ever changed my love and respect for Mexico. But this was in a time when the health care industry in the USA had been co-opted by lawyers & accountants rather than doctors. I’ve never met a doctor I didn’t like.
So I appreciate that anyone who is scared to go to a hospital and thinks they might be getting COVID19, should be. The hospital will bankrupt you. And they are already threatening to increase medical insurance premiums by 40% next year due to the demands for service right now. This is after they increased 45% over the past 5 years. And yet the Federal Reserve inflation rate specifically excludes the costs of medical insurance as a regular cost of living. However I know for a fact that this is the #1 largest line item on our budget - even more than most family mortgages. Sure, I could avoid that if I had a job, but the employers are also paying more than you would be for an individual insurance plan. That money could have been put into your paycheck.
And that’s assuming you have a job. When you lose a job due to the economy, you lose health insurance with it. So not only will families be facing enormous hospital bills, but they will also be facing not having ANY insurance going forward should they need continual treatment or for the next medical event. And with that fresh in their minds, those that are issue or swing voters will vote for Biden.
Trump will use every marketing trick in the book to try and distract you from this. Wars, invasions, economic plays, negative interest rates, etc. We’ve already seen him do that. But when it comes down to your personal existence, no matter what he throws in the ring, it will never be more important than personal life.
Sure, there has been decades of time when people put the economy ahead of their own self-serving interests of health care. Most western countries in the world have free health care. Those that provide that (even if it is the provider of last resort) typically do ok. You could argue that you pay more taxes in those countries, but that isn’t actually the case. Countries like the UK, Canada & Australia negotiate down the costs of health care because they are the sole customer most of the time, and that means they can force medical costs low. That may not be a perfect “free market” paradigm, and it may force some level of rationing, but at least you won’t die if you get sick.
I’m a Libertarian so you’d think that I’d be all for free market with health care, but I’ve learned that it is the one service that may be best handled under government provision. Because the motivation of a free market doesn’t necessary match to the motivation of health care. Purism of ideology isn’t necessarily the best way here when you can’t apply a “one size fits all” paradigm to a problem. I’d be more than happy to pay for my health care if the pricing was reasonable and affordable. If that was the case, I’ll support a free market anytime. But the thing that drives the free market to lower cost and increase innovation, is supply & demand and customer choice. When you are lying on a stretcher, needing immediate health care, you don’t have a choice. And that’s why health care isn’t something that fits into a free market system that well. Sure, if it is elective or preventative (see my previous articles on breaking up needs into these categories), then yes - Free Market is the solution.
But if you get sick from COVID 19, you are in the “adverse/chronic” category, and either you have insurance and can afford the out of pocket costs here, or you look to a subsidized or free provider for it and in that case it is going to be the government. It is why most seniors are very happy with Medicare and this is at a time in their lives when they need it most.
So distractions won’t work here. This is a fundamental issue for humanity and it will determine the next President of the United States.
Let’s see if I’m right or wrong here.