Pulling the Ripcord
The longer the lockdowns last, the worse it will be. You might understand a lockdown in an urban area but the policies are so uneven and random they make no sense. The government is not the answer to our fiscal problems. In most cases, they are a cause of the problem.
Capital Thinking • Issue #583 • View online
On the night before I laid off all 30 of my employees, I dreamed that my two children had perished, buried alive in dirt, while I dug in the wrong place, just five feet away from where they were actually smothered.
I turned and spotted the royal blue heel of my youngest’s socked foot poking out of the black soil only after it was too late.
My Restaurant Was My Life for 20 Years. Does the World Need It Anymore?
Gabrielle Hamilton | New York Time Magazine:
For 10 days, everyone in my orbit had been tilting one way one hour, the other the next.
Ten days of being waterboarded by the news, by tweets, by friends, by my waiters. Of being inundated by texts from fellow chefs and managers — former employees, now at the helm of their own restaurants but still eager for guidance.
Of gentle but nervous pleas from my operations manager to consider signing up with a third-party delivery service like Caviar.
Of being rattled even by my own wife, Ashley, and her anxious compulsion to act, to reduce our restaurant’s operating hours, to close at 9 p.m., cut shifts.
With no clear directive from any authority — public schools were still open — I spent those 10 days sorting through the conflicting chatter, trying to decide what to do.
And now I understood abruptly: I would lay everybody off, even my wife.
Prune, my Manhattan restaurant, would close at 11:59 p.m. on March 15. I had only one piece of unemotional data to work with: the checking-account balance.
If I triaged the collected sales tax that was sitting in its own dedicated savings account and left unpaid the stack of vendor invoices, I could fully cover this one last week of payroll.
By the time of the all-staff meeting after brunch that day, I knew I was right. After a couple of weeks of watching the daily sales dwindle — a $12,141 Saturday to a $4,188 Monday to a $2,093 Thursday — it was a relief to decide to pull the parachute cord.
I didn’t want to have waited too long, didn’t want to crash into the trees. Our sous chef FaceTimed in, as did our lead line cook, while nearly everyone else gathered in the dining room.
I looked everybody in the eye and said, “I’ve decided not to wait to see what will happen; I encourage you to call first thing in the morning for unemployment, and you have a week’s paycheck from me coming.”
“The commercial real estate transaction market has largely come to a standstill as buyers and sellers adjust their underwriting expectations and try to agree on a fair price,” the Green Street report notes.
“During periods of wide bid-ask spreads, asset values often move closer to the bid than the ask. There is little to no investor demand in the retail sector and waning investor demand for sub-prime office buildings today.
“However, high-quality office and most industrial assets are still likely to trade at punchy capital values per square meter.”
We can revisit some other some the interactions of good intentions and uncertain information, and what the author Saul Bellow used to call the Good Intentions Paving Company.
But imposing large financial costs on US health care system and on the health of other patients out of a fear of a coronavirus overload has turned out to be a mistake, and you have to acknowledge mistakes to learn from them.
The longer the lockdowns last, the worse it will be. You might understand a lockdown in an urban area but the policies are so uneven and random they make no sense.
I can shop for clothes at Target but not an independent shop? What’s the difference?
Places that have little to no infection should be open.
Should the government have engaged in PPP?
Government shut the economy down and so it had to act. But, it’s not sustainable.
To me, there are some warning signs that are ominous for our economy going forward. I actually sold stock for the first time this week and went to 1/3 cash in my portfolio.
The government is not the answer to our fiscal problems. In most cases, they are a cause of the problem.
*Featured post photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash