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May 14, 2020 | The Wages of Fear

A best-selling Canadian author of 14 books on economic trends, real estate, the financial crisis, personal finance strategies, taxation and politics. Nationally-known speaker and lecturer on macroeconomics, the housing market and investment techniques. He is a licensed Investment Advisor with a fee-based, no-commission Toronto-based practice serving clients across Canada.

Some notes from the Virus Diary on this Star Date 14.05.20.

For years he was a GreaterFool Deep Throat undercover correspondent from the delusional, house-lusty, moist metropolis of Vancouver. Then he escaped to Europe, but remains addicted to this pathetic site (aren’t we all?). “I’ve written you now for what seems like close to 10 years,” he admits, in this week’s epistle.

So how are things in Switzerland?

“I was in Canada until March 16, then back to Switzerland, arriving on day one of the full lockdown, lasting 20 days ago. Things started to open up . . . with the Haircut and Tattoo parlour being first. (I have now been to a restaurant each of the past 3 days – the first days of opening). All of these businesses have been open for 2.5 weeks and our infection curve reduction has not in any way changed course – every day – less and less . . . not even an inch of uptick from the opening of businesses.

“Maybe I’m not scared  because I live in a place where I don’t get any media – it’s all in a foreign language, there is little English local news, Thus all I can see are the statistics (here they are very, very positive – we have reduced the infection rate by ~97% in 6 weeks).”

DT may be feeling good about how the Swiss are dealing with Covid, but he seems deeply worried about Canada, especially in light of the poll done here some days ago showing the overwhelming bulk of readers have 0% intention of venturing out to eat, take in a concert, go to a business meeting or fly any time soon.

“I am shocked to see how scared your readers are. They are afraid to go out in any way – even those who appear to be saying, ‘just get on with this. . . ‘ If only 16% of people would go to a restaurant in the coming 2 months – that’s just totally crazy. I don’t even have one ounce of fear ad am not “scared” to get the virus – I just won’t change my life for this.

“I could easily see it being 50/50 – but 16% for restaurants? What, are you all crazy? I also would even fly tomorrow if I could. But the poll shows that people are now totally disconnected from the low level of risk that they are facing. Restaurants are doomed if only 15% would even consider going out in the next 2 months . . . . !!!! Anyhow – greetings from Zurich – and if the delusional realtors in Vancouver think the market will not move – – I think they are all lost . . . !!”

Speaking of real estate, social media is alive with realtors claiming the bottom of the market was hit in Toronto more than a week ago. Listings are growing. The number of showings is up (either virtually or with the help of masks, nitrile gloves, hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes – not the edible kind). The weather’s better. Flowers. Bugs. Audis. Tank tops. The whole thing.

And, yes, prices are off – certainly in the 416 heartland. Here’s a summary from one of the downtown hustlers.


Source: Toronto Luxury Realty Group

GTA prices fell abut 12% in April alone, and are off 9% year/year in the core, despite what the real estate board may be telling you. Condo listings are starting to swell like a horny blowfish as the Airbnbers scramble to unload, amateur landlords get stiffed on rents and sane young owners worry about elevator buttons and garbage room door handles.

So, about the new crop of moisters. The Millennials are now boring, having reached the age of quiet career-driver angst and family-forming desperation. As they get busy turning into their parents and craving minivans, the next gen is getting whacked. The Zers are between 15 and 24 and since they hold a lot of jobs in a service sector which Covid has crashed, they’re getting an early taste of joblessness.

In fact, it’s a crisis. The Z people make up 12% of the workforce in Canada but last month represented 25% of all the unemployment (two million people lost work in April). Look at this…


Source: Bloomberg

TD economists made some good points as those dog-awful jobless stats were being published. In recessions younger workers are always victimized, since the service sector is the first to be impacted. “Past recession cycles have shown that young people often bear long lasting scars on their livelihood,” Beata Caranci and James Marple said in their report.

This will likely mean lower lifetime earnings compared to the previous generation (that’s you, Mills), with a tougher time finding the right job/career and the need to accept work below their level of education. Kids entering the job world during a recession, we’re told, make on average 10% less than others. The income gap can last a decade, rendering student debt harder to pay while delaying marriage, kids and real estate.

Worse, the Zers will likely spend their entire lives paying higher taxes on incomes, savings, purchases and investments in order to finance a 2020 federal virus deficit that will reach towards $400 billion, according to a new Macquarie report. Every day the economy stays shut, the burden grows.

Let’s hope we know what we’re doing.

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May 14th, 2020

Posted In: The Greater Fool

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