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There was a time when I thought that this week’s newsletter might be about how Joe Biden has absolutely nuked Bernie Sanders off the map in the Democratic Primary. That should be an amazing story due to the fact that just two weeks ago the entire Fake News Media was piling on Uncle Joe for basically having a better chance of getting Alzheimer’s than surviving the pummeling he got from Bernie in Iowa and New Hampshire. But things have changed bigly. Coronavirus is here and people are much more concerned about whether or not the world will still exist in November than who the president will be then.
Since there are no gambling markets out there that make a clever entry point into the coronavirus conversation, I’m just going to leave some thoughts here:
AMERICA’S RESPONSE VS. CHINA’S: Admitting there’s a problem vs. addressing it.
China is obviously way better at imprisoning people than the USA is, whether that is in re-education camps for the betterment of their minds, or in coronavirus quarantines for the betterment of their health. Emperor Xi totally knows how to drop the hammer and when a savage disease like this one is on the move, that is a good thing.
However, do not forget that one of the main reasons why coronavirus is a household name is due to the fact that Emperor Xi and the communists tried to cover it up forever. The Chinese government just does not like to admit when it has problems. They are frail AF and have thinner skin than celebrities on Twitter.
In the USA the issue is pretty much the opposite. We are way better at admitting that we have problems (such as Ted Cruz’s beard and a lack of COVID-19 test kits) but not as good at taking action to fix them. That is sort of how divided government accountable to the people works. Things have to get bad enough for leaders to believe that the consequences of inaction are worse than the blowback from a possible over-reaction.
It will be interesting to see which model performs better: efficiently acknowledging a problem and inefficiently addressing it (America), or the opposite (China).
THE PUBLIC’S RESPONSE
— Even though the U.S. federal government has done basically jack about the corona virus threat, the fact that the NBA, March Madness, and Tom Hanks are all canceled due to the outbreak is probably more important. When celebrities get fired-up, the American people get fired-up. This is the way we declare a national emergency.
— I personally think that the ease with which airlines, hotels, and concert venues are refunding customers their money is proof that they assume the government will bail them out. Score one for the squeaky wheels during the 2008 financial crisis who were crowing about “moral hazard” and “too big to fail.” It’s definitely back.
— And am I the only person who is really tired of getting coronavirus updates from email lists I did not even know I was on? .
LASTLY — A WORD ABOUT OUR CONTENT
For the last few weeks, everything on this site has been very focused on the early primaries on the Democratic side. I personally do not like to admit fault because I am a perfect human being in every way, but some of these stories were in the weeds and responsive to quick events that — come Friday– had already passed. Since Joe Biden is pretty much guaranteed to be the nominee, our content will be moving back towards broader subjects starting next week. We’ll be back to covering big stories through the gambling lens, and not just writing about dumb arbitrage opportunities in states that I have been to as many times I have visited Poland (zero).
I’m looking forward to it.