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By Nazarul Islam, Copy Edited By Adam Rizvi, USA, TIO: Every day that passes, Americans get ready for more turbulence, discontent, pain, and a reversing pursuit of happiness. I see a gathering of dark clouds, in a confluence of events, are coming together, which will make things tougher for people. It will impact jobs, the economy, and the stock market.
European countries are closing down their economies, ordering businesses to shut down and requiring people to stay indoors, calling for curfews and states of emergencies. This means that their respective economies will slow down or come to a crawl. This will cause more layoffs to occur.
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Optimistically, we who live in the US had hoped that we’d miraculously muddle through this disease without incurring further casualties and deaths. It feels like this was a foolhardy dream. There’s fear that what happened overseas may occur in the United States too. After eight months of shutdowns, this is not what we want to hear. Just when we thought we were almost out of it, we’re drawn back in again.
Again, the popular media opinion was that former Vice President Joe Biden would handily win the presidential election. The recent stock market volatility suggests that may not be the case. The sudden cascade of stock prices seems to indicate that either Trump will be re elected or there will be a contested election.
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Should America fail to have a clear winner, things could get ugly. Since we’ve witnessed months of mayhem, riots, and civil unrest in large U.S. cities, it’s reasonable to conclude that we’ll have a frightening level of violence, destruction, and unrest after the election. Both sides may claim victory, which could lead to actions that we don’t want to even consider, as it would rip apart the country.
Only recently, a knife-wielding man was shot by police officers in Philadelphia. The city had erupted with looting and people broke down into the stores looting and pilfering merchandise. This—and past riots—may indicate a precursor of what may happen after the election. This may be the first time in modern history that a winner most likely won’t be announced on Nov. 3. You can sense the tension over what will happen and how ugly things may get.
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This year’s holiday season is on the horizon. Usually, this is a joyous time. People are happier. The mood generally improves. We smile and nod to people on the streets. Plans are made for parties, get-togethers with friends, company-sponsored holiday events, and traveling to see relatives that you haven’t been with for a while. That’s not going to happen this year.
And, for those seeking jobs, the mood is dour. Concerns over the resurgence of the disease, along with the uncertainty of the direction the country will take. That really depends on who is the president-elect. Obviously, the conventional slowdown that accompanies this season and a deterioration in the stock market, due to lack luster earnings will contribute toward forcing companies to hold off on hiring and wait things out until there’s more clarity.
For the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs or are worried about the safety of their jobs, they’ll curtail expenditures and hold off on purchasing items.
To make matters worse, Congress couldn’t be enticed to agree on a second stimulus package. The last multitrillion-dollar round helped invigorate the economy, stock market, and led to the creation of new jobs and companies bringing back furloughed workers. The cycle of events and the consequent impacts are likely to repeat, then create panic! In the absence of a financial rescue plan, people may not be able to pay their rent or mortgage payments and have little left over for gifts.
The American stock market, until recently, seemed to have miraculously rebounded and regained all of the losses from the pandemic lows and remarkably reached new highs. The tech sector, including Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Zoom, Facebook, and other work-from-home stocks, have been on fire.
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Recent trading activity indicates the bloom is off the rose for the stock market. Earnings are not strong enough to support their lofty prices. There has been much written about wealth inequality, as folks like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made billions more during the pandemic, while the average person is just trying to hang on.
Unfortunately, as stocks fall or maybe even crash, people will substantially curtail their spending habits. This will slow down the economy, make it difficult for businesses to survive and the cycle of layoffs will continue.
Rising rates of coronavirus, increases of jobless claims, and general uncertainty will keep people from traveling. Sectors that have been beaten up badly, such as airlines, cruise liners, resorts, hotels, restaurants, and leisure, won’t see any help anytime soon. They’ll continue lacking customers and passengers, which means little—if any—revenue, no profits, and lots of losses.
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Other corporations will pull back on their activities too. They’ll hold off on hiring, enact layoffs and cut costs. When this happens, other companies will follow suit and do the same thing. It will be easy for executives to just wait for the elections to be over. Then, when it’s over, they might as well wait until the New Year before executives make any hasty decisions. This means we’ll be in a long period in which everything grinds to a halt.
This dire situation won’t last forever. The pendulum always swings to excess. Soon, it will turn toward the positive side. Eventually, we’ll have a vaccine or figure out how to minimize the impact of the outbreak. If not, we’ll learn to live and cope with Covid-19.
Nearly two hundred fifty years ago, Americans had fought England, the mightiest empire at the time, and won our independence. Again, they fought a Civil War, the World Wars I and II. They endured the Great Depression, the Pearl Harbor attack, and the Sept. 11, and a host of other challenges. We’ll prevail now too. It may take some time to fly through this turbulence, but it will happen.
The funny message is: Stay strong and hang in there until this happens….and repeats!
Compiled and Curated By Humra Kidwai