— Eye on Everett —

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(Photo by Josh Resnek)

Looking outward

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By Josh Resnek

This coronavirus epidemic/pandemic and its immediate fall-out will last a long time.

There is no way it wont, despite everyone wanting to get the country’s economy up and running again.

We are in for a very difficult social and economic period. We are at the beginning of it right now.

Whether you are oblivious to this climactic moment when our society hangs in the balance, or whether you are at home shivering with fear about the uncertainties of the future, this is for sure: all our bubbles have burst.

This moment in our lives is historic and dangerous, fraught with perils of every kind, but powered mainly by a deadly virus, unprecedented but similar to catastrophes that have befallen mankind throughout the course of known history since the beginning of time.

Here is what’s coming in the short term.

In fact, the moment is upon us and devouring us as this is being written.

Thousands of Everett residents are already without jobs, without businesses, without savings accounts and without health insurance in a very short time.

Cash disappears at a much more rapid rate than it multiplies.

This closedown is a monster movie featuring, a Frankenstein, a Godzilla and King Kong all put together with a huge cast of flesh eating Zombies.

No matter who you are, from the richest man or woman in Everett, to the poorest, your business, your property, your home, your bank account, your retirement and IRA, everything about your economic life has undergone a seismic event.

Whatever we all own today, our homes, our automobiles, our expensive possessions, is worth a fraction of what it was just four weeks ago.

It is as though someone cut all of our aortas and the blood is a river spilling out of us.

How to stem the bleeding? We don’t exactly know.

Hell, we don’t know how to keep from getting infected by the virus! We can’t decide whether or not it is better to wear masks or not! Or we complain we are bored by being made to stay inside to save our lives when breathing on each other might cause our death!

Can you imagine being more self-indulgent than that?

How about the Stimulus, the $2 trillion the government put up to give to us to take care of the rough edge of this economic supernova for the American people and the small businesses, and corporations gasping for life?

If you’ve filed for a SBA loan you haven’t yet heard anything back from the SBA. If you’ve filed for unemployment it is the same.

How else could it be when so many millions have lost so much at the same time overnight?

Our systems aren’t set up to handle so many claims at the same time. The money is coming but everyone will have to wait for it.

At least this time around no one has to worry about being evicted or foreclosed on, or their heat, lights and water shut off during the crisis. Taxes aren’t due until mid-July. A call to your mortgage company will get you three months without having to pay…and then you have to make a deal to pay it back, all monitored by the state and local government.

If you can’t pay your rent, don’t pay it and don’t worry about being thrown out.

That’s a big change, and a welcome one from the crisis in 2007 when the nation’s economy nearly collapsed.

Millions lost their jobs, their homes, their mental health and their well- being.

It was the end of job security and of home ownership for millions of Americans.

The new nation rose out of that financial mess.

Out of the ashes of that economic conflagration, the nation’s economy grew like it was on steroids.

When the economy was shut down three weeks ago, we were all in a pretty good place – and now this.

It is a kinder, gentler, richer more generous and sensible America trying to keep itself afloat today.

There is already talk about a second round of trillions to be distributed all around to do more than to keep us from drowning but to guarantee our recovery.

This will be costly and time consuming.

We will experience many months of flat earnings or none at all until we get going in a different direction.

In case you are not yet aware, there will be no spring and no summer season as we have known them throughout our lives, as our parents knew them.

These seasons will not materialize this time around.

Vacationing, flying, driving from state to state, renting a car, staying in motels and hotels, eating at crowded restaurants with the family and friends, crowding onto beaches crammed with throngs of people, well, that’s out the window for this season.

Not forever, probably.

Just for this season or maybe longer.

It will take us at least until the middle of summer to beat down the virus, if we are able to sufficiently do this.

It will take longer to get our good feeling back about congregating in large crowds anywhere – Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, at local beaches, concerts, plays, operas, symphonies, paint ball centers, rock climbing, little league, Girl Scouts, football, soccer, sports of all kinds, restaurants and clubs, even local parks might remain off-limits for a while.

The Encore casino and hotel, what will come of this? What will become of the city budget? Will hundreds of teachers have to be laid off? Will we ever build a new school again or simply rely upon Internet video teaching and learning?

Does city hall ever have to open again or can everything be accomplished for less by computer?

The possibilities are infinite at this moment.

This we know for sure; for everything to come back will take an enormous recovery effort.

Nothing good in the economy can happen unless strong, positive speculation takes hold of the consumer population.

Right now, there is only strong downward speculation, negativity, huge swings up and down in the stock market and throughout nearly all the important sectors of our economy.

This week I filled up with gasoline and paid $1.70 a gallon.

This is great for you and me but it isn’t great for the economy. Until gasoline rises higher again, we know the economy is tanking. The more oil that is bought and used, the better the condition of the economy as we move forward.

Our health system has ben shaken by this experience.

We discovered we are not situated to fight back against an epidemic

because we didn’t properly plan for it. But then, who can plan for an epidemic?

We will do this now, you can be sure.

We are going through an existential moment in our life and time.

It is said of existentialism that existence comes first and essence comes second.

In other words, the virus has brought our great economy to stop. It has killed tens of thousands in our nation.

This is the reality of our existence right now.

Our essence is not our death.

Our essence is our survival followed by our victory over darkness. We have awakened to the possibility that all of us could get sick and that all of us could die.

All of us aren’t going to get sick and all of us are not going to die. For a while, we have to sacrifice to beat the virus.

Beat the virus and we come back.

We come back big.

It will take time, but the comeback will be very satisfying.

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