[Ed. – If the pandemic can be contained even by August, there is plenty of time for the market to bounce back a bit. Coupled with the size of the stimulus the administration is underwriting, the doomsday scenario outlined here may turn out to be wishful thinking.]
As last year drew to a close, President Trump’s reelection prospects had never looked brighter: Impeachment was behind him, unemployment was at historic lows, the stock market seemed to hit a new high every day, and Americans who generally agree on little else felt pretty great about the state of the U.S. economy. Gallup found that 62 percent rated economic conditions “excellent” or “good,” the most in a decade. Nothing on the horizon indicated cause for worry.
Coronavirus changed that within a matter of weeks. Economic repercussions have traced the path of the virus with astonishing speed, first ravaging financial markets in China, then Europe, and finally the U.S. On Feb. 12 the S&P 500 hit a record high; 30 days later, the index had plunged almost 30 percent, capped off by what was, at the time, the worst single-day decline since the 1987 “Black Monday” crash.