ASS UP MY SMOKE
By Philip Drucker
Today, I start with a simple concept. Every sugar-high ends with a sugar crash. This includes an artificially-sweetened economy driven by short-term gain over long term pain. I'd like to tell you what is coming next, but the truth is nobody and I mean nobody period knows. In all my life as an amateur economist with nothing else to do at 4:00am except check foreign markets, stock and bond yields (I know, it's the dark side of insomnia) I have never run across anything even remotely like the mess we call our economy.
We are up to seven million (yes, million) unemployment claims and that number will almost assuredly rise. I would like to give you a comparison to express the dire nature of our situation, but I honestly can't think of one. Maybe Nazi Germany at the end of WWII? When the Reichs Mark fell to one trillionth of it's former value? When a wheelbarrow full of bills wouldn't buy a loaf of pumper nickle? Or even white supremacy bread?
After WWII, the Allies tried issuing their own currency. Problem was the US in the allied zone and the USSR in the soviet zone, individually, tried to issue their own German Occupation Notes. Quite predictably, that didn't go too well. Throw in there was still a version of German issued currency, albeit and thankfully without a swastika, and you had all the making of economic chaos. And chaos it was. No one, and I mean no one, inside or outside of the Fatherland would dare use the word "hard currency" for the, well, whatever those worthless notes were called. It wasn't until 1948 when the new and somewhat improved Deutche Mark came into existence that at least Western Germany had something that at approximated a national currency with discernibly, credible, exchangeable for goods value.
So, what did your average out of work German do for those three years between the end (at least in Europe) of the Great War 2.0 and 1948? If necessity is the mother of invention (and not Frank Zappa's legendary band from the 1960's) eating is up right up there with the best of the necessities of life and so, the Germans created a black market based upon suddenly fungible (as good as and to be used as money) goods. The most popular of which was cigarettes. They created an economic structure based primarily on the trade of cigarettes.
If you had any kind of capital or cash, you "converted" it to cigarettes if and whenever possible and took your smokes to the black market. I'm only going to take a guess here, but I'd wager Marlboros were among the most sought after and that Philip Morris, the company that hooked a generation (or two or three) on nicotine by giving their addictive, emphysema, and cancer inducing death sticks way to US soldiers for "free" as part of their "war effort" (yeah, even back then, they knew) had little to no problem extending their deadly empire into and onto the newly liberated and suddenly very capitalist West Germany and it's unwitting population. Anyone but me notice how the cannon "lights up" when it's fired? USA! USA! USA!
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/marlboro-manslaughter/ Considering Mr. "Only I Can Fix It (But Only If I break It Beyond Repair)" is the President to create an economy that is simultaneously subject to 1. The highest overall unemployment rate; 2. The biggest single one day and overall Percentage market drop (eliminating all of it's previous gains); 3. The highest domestic deficit and; 4. The greatest trade deficit/imbalance IN OUR HISTORY, could the US Dollar collapse? Here's a scary thought, is it even up to us? What if foreign countries decide not to except American Dollars as "hard currency"? Would it be enough to avoid a total collapse if we continue to negotiate in dollars domestically? Or, even with our closest allies (if we still have any)? The answer is once again, nobody knows. How about some things we do know. Will the recent stimulus package work? For about two weeks, maybe. After that, no. Are people excited about being paid their own money in the form of a "government" relief check? Yes (we're all doomed). Will The next round of economic data be worse than the latest one? Yes. Will it get worse? Barring an Easter Miracle, yes. Could our economy fall victim to the Covid-19 virus? If nothing changes, I'm afraid the answer is yes. The combination of deceit, deception, disregard and denial is simply put, not sustainable. Unless we alter course, and I cannot make an accurate guess as to how much time we have left, but it's at best months and certainly not years, our economy, and our way of life with it, will fall. Back to the unknown. I'm willing to say cigarettes and tobacco products will not become the coin of the realm. Could a black market economy (on top of the one we already have BTW) develop? Sure. Like I said, people gotta eat. Judging by the recent Covid-19 Virus inspired panic buying, are we headed toward becoming the Toilet Paper Economy? The Handgun Economy? The Klondike Bar Economy? There's a thought for you. What would you do during an epidemic and economic collapse for a Klondike Bar? If it gets bad enough, just about anything I'll bet. In the meantime, there is one favor I'd like to ask of our Rearless Leader. Now that the adults have started taking over the Covid-19 response and preparing an actual economic stimulus plan, as my stoner friend used to say (when he was high as our stock market used to be) "Dude, would you mind not blowing anymore ass up my smoke?" BTW, did you know Clarence Hailey Long Jr. aka the cooler than you'll ever be cowboy in the iconic Marlboro Man ads died of lung cancer? Just sayin... As always, be the divine spark of life within you wish to be. -Namaste -Philip Drucker for http://www.DruckerReport.com