Friday, May 1, 2020

Governor Expected to Announce COVID-19 Revisions

* Note of correction: I mention below Governor Inslee is up for reelection in 2022 he is actually up for reelection in 2020

Before I make comments on the upcoming information from the Governor's office, real estate is still chugging along at a slow but measured pace. The slow down is seems to be equally distributed between buyers and sellers keeping the market in balance and prices steady. This is good news for real estate at a time that many industries are seeing hard times in the face of this pandemic.

Sometime today Governor Inslee is expected to make an announcement regarding the May 4th revision to his COVID-19 response plan. Although the governor's office has suggested some loosening may come, it is highly unlikely that any changes will be that significant. This is where the governor will make or break his entire career.

This virus is a genuine threat and measures were needed and still are needed to protect the health and safety of Washington residents. Finding the balance is not easy but as they say, that's why he gets paid the big bucks. It is times like this that truly test the leadership of government executive officers. I do not envy the position Governor Inslee is facing. This could go so very wrong that voters anger lingers all the way to the 2022 election or worse yet, a recall of the Governor.

Washington residents have been fairly patient these last 6 weeks under a fairly heavy handed approach to containing this virus outbreak. Now with news circulating out of New York that this virus is not quite as deadly as originally thought, the governor best tread carefully. If he goes too strict he may face a challenge for recall or maybe worse. But if he goes too soft and there is a relapse of the virus he could face equal scrutiny. The governor needs to show an understanding of the health risks measured against known risks of economic collapse on the health and well being of the state at large. Trading a million or more Washington residents livelyhood and or lives, though economic loss of job, health care, housing, and other fundamental life necessities in exchange for "potentially" saving a few thousand lives to COVID-19 may not sit well with voters of either party.

I hope the governor sees fit to allow the bulk of the workforce to return to work with some COVID-19 safety conditions. I do not think any kind of close quarters events should be allowed yet, but there is no reason restaurants and other establishments should not be able to at least operate at partial  capacity allowing for social distancing and with proper staff precautions to minimize potential spreading. Factories and the like need to get back to work ASAP.

The amazing economy we had rolling in Q1 was able to absorb this 4-6 week shut down, but the government does not have the resources to continue floating aid for much longer. Let's all hope Governor Inslee and other leaders around the nation can get this call right. If we crash this economy so hard we enter an actual depression, people will wish they died from virus rather than ride out what there ancestors had to endure from 1929 to 1941. There is no sugar coating a depression. It will make the "great recession" of 2009-2011 seem like a economic boom. This is not a place we ever want to go and certainly we should not trust a government that would deliberately take us there. The people who are suffering under this lock down are the poor and the middle class, the rich are doing just fine so keep that in mind.

Things are still fundamentally sound and smart planning from our leaders can help us recover by the end of the year. For real estate, things are still solid, slow, but steady. Putting people back to work will do wonders for the morale of the nation, will energize the economy, and most likely save lives.

That's my two cents, anyway.

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