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Category: Campfire

Around the campfire: Bad and good news

Maybe it was inevitable. The bad news is that I contracted Covid-19 over Christmas. The good is that I got over it quickly and am back to full health,...

14 January 2021

Jason Cozens

Maybe it was inevitable. The bad news is that I contracted Covid-19 over Christmas. The good is that I got over it quickly and am back to full health, and taking a lot of exercise once more – though not as much perhaps as our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who has been criticised for taking a bike ride in east London, seven miles from his ‘home’ at 10 Downing Street. He’s just told the British public that it’s “more important than ever” to stay at home.

Maybe Boris is just confused about what the rules are regarding Covid-19 – they have changed at least 64 times since the start of the pandemic, according to Adam Wagner, a London barrister, becoming increasingly cumbersome and confusing along the way. The English legislation regarding Covid-19 has expanded from a svelte pdf of just 12 pages last spring to a Gargantuan 108 pages, 50,000 words, today.

Two women in the northern England county of Derbyshire were fined £200 ($273, €225) each by police after going for a walk five miles from their home. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary (and thus in overall charge of the English police) initially backed the fine, but it was subsequently rescinded after a public outcry.

Police across England and Wales have issued some 32,000 fines for breaching Covid-19 laws and seem to be moving towards a fourth ‘e’ – from ‘engage’, ‘explain’, ‘encourage’ to ‘enforce’.

With more than 90 million people around the world now believed to have contracted Covid-19 and almost two million of those having died, the race to contain the virus is in the hands of vaccine developers and distributors. In England, the fear is that the National Health Service (NHS) could be overwhelmed before sufficient vaccinations have taken place – I come way down the list of those who will be prioritised, but having had it once, I’m now immune right?? It’s still all quite unclear.

The situation in the US, with its privatised healthcare network, is no less serious during this second wave of the virus. With a new president about to take office, the US is starting to ask itself serious questions about better preparation to combat viral pandemics – whatever happens, Covid-19 (and its variant strains) will be with us forever and will bring about long-term structural changes to protect those perceived to be most vulnerable – and these changes will cost plenty of money.

Plenty of money which no government has, nor is likely to have. President-elect Joe Biden has proposed $11 trillion in new spending over the next decade – the largest spending spree since Lyndon Johnson, which would partially be paid for in higher and new taxes. For those appalled by such largesse, think yourself lucky – the failed Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders wanted $97 trillion in new spending. Now that the Democrats control Congress, Biden should have a clear path.

But it is unlikely to be a stone-free path. The US has (for now) the world’s reserve currency; there’s no limit to the amount of dollars it can create. At the moment it isn’t clear how Biden’s spending will shape the future of America. All that perhaps can be reliably said is that it is likely to mean further erosions to the purchasing power of the dollar – and thus, as it’s the world’s reserve currency, the currencies of all nations. Perhaps inflation will be another consequence. Who can tell? Whatever happens, gold is likely to become increasingly in demand – and you can help defend yourself against paper currency debasement by using your Glint account. You might catch Covid – but there’s no need for your finances to catch a chill.

Until next week, stay well.


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