34 thoughts on “Atlas Is Starting To Shrug”

  1. Southwest cancels over a quarter of it’s flights, on a weekend (in an environment where week-day business travel is still a fraction of ’19 levels). Which alone is evidence of at least minor spinal straightening. But when you read about it in a major newspaper, it’s blamed on weather. At a time when anyone can easily pull up a weather map and see instantly it’s BS. And mostly the collective response is a yawn. “Yeah, someone is paying that guy to write that garbage, but mostly I consume it as a negative indicator.”

    1) Major event – Domestic Flight Cancelations.
    2) Fake News produced.
    3) Fake News consumed properly – “I know it’s fake, but I can glean useful information from it, and act accordingly.”

    1. And the fake excuses they generate are so simple-minded that they are insulting…. ‘Bad weather’? When everyone has a cell phone that can get weather and flight data for anywhere in the world?

      Seriously, that’s what they ran with?

  2. The EMS and general health system is getting into a critical state. Ambulance drivers can earn more delivering packages. Nurses and medical techs, who know a lot more about disease and side effects than Fed bureaucrats, are leaving in droves, mostly because of lack of child care (schooling) and mask mandates. Just when the government supposedly wants to bolster the health care industry, they’re crippling it.

    1. “Just when the government supposedly wants to bolster the health care industry, they’re crippling it.”

      So many of Biden’s policies are like this but we need to ask if the outcomes are bad and unintended or intended and bad.

      Take oil for example. I think artificially restricting supply, driving up costs and prices, and waging a global regulatory war has bad outcomes that are intended. High energy prices are intentional. The suffering they cause is intended to force people to act differently. But most people only think of petroleum products in terms of gasoline or maybe natural gas not all the other products made from what would normally be considered waste. So, there are a bunch of unintended negative effects from Progressive Marxist’s policies.

      Of course, Progressive Marxists say that the destination is worth the travel but…

      1. You may be right, but then one always must remember that one should not ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.

        Malice? Incompetence?

        At this point, I say embrace the power of “and”.

      2. “Take oil for example. I think artificially restricting supply, driving up costs and prices, and waging a global regulatory war has bad outcomes that are intended. High energy prices are intentional. The suffering they cause is intended to force people to act differently. But most people only think of petroleum products in terms of gasoline or maybe natural gas not all the other products made from what would normally be considered waste. So, there are a bunch of unintended negative effects from Progressive Marxist’s policies.”

        Yes. Same agenda they have had since the ’70’s; to force people to “conserve”, “make due with less”, etc. Force people on to mass public transport (where they can keep a better eye on where people are going and when, why etc.). They HATED the tar sands and especially the fracking boom which made us largely oil and natural gas independent, Biden ran on pulling the plug on fossil fuel use in general and fracking in particular although he denied it. My understanding is that fracking wells are used up more quickly than conventional wells requiring a robust quick approvals process to drill in new sights. Said approvals process is being deliberately slowed down under Biden for supposed “environmental” reason. They want the price of oil to spike; the main stream media will make sure the public isn’t told why this is really happening.

  3. Because things have become entirely too political when determining what to do, Democrats are using mandates to purge government at all levels. Yes, there are a lot of Democrat interest groups that are opposed to mandates but Democrats view a few civilian casualties as worthy sacrifice to further cement their control over civil service.

    It is really hard to tell if Atlas is really shrugging. Shipping has be a cluster long before vaccine mandates. Industries losing a small percentage of their workforce shouldn’t cause any long term problems. However, vaccines aside, people are getting tired of all the COVID stuff, especially when the Newsoms out there are forcing you to vax your kids while not vaxing their own.

    Democrats wanted to keep this alive for the midterms. It might backfire on them. They promised salvation but none of their policies worked and 2021 was worse than 2020 for infections and deaths. It is one thing to choose to suffer in the hopes of a good future outcome but when suffering just leads to more suffering as a reward, people will want different leaders.

    It will be interesting to see how many Democrats turn anti-establishment or get primaried by anti-establishment candidates and whether or not any new entrants are more or less authoritarian.

    1. “Shipping has be a cluster long before vaccine mandates. Industries losing a small percentage of their workforce shouldn’t cause any long term problems.”

      Three or four years ago there was sufficient slack in the transportation system to accommodate small disruptions. That slack has been draining away and does not exist any more, especially in the long-haul trucker industry. Federal regulation, electronic log books, the requirement that drivers pass a drug screen regularly, the requirement that any shipment of more than 1000 lbs of most anything hazardous requires a hazmat endorsement on the truckers license, and the stopping of pipeline construction (meaning truckers can make serious $$$$ driving crude oil)

      Plus specifically for the California ports, the roads around them (and California in General) are in such horrible shape that I’d be reticent to drive my 4WD truck on them. Too bad that all the state fuel excise taxes go into the general fund so the legislature can spend them on unicorn recharge stations…

      1. Where I live, they don’t maintain roads that they try and discourage drivers from using. I bet the same is true in California.

  4. “Democrats wanted to keep this alive for the midterms. It might backfire on them.”

    Plan B may be emergency approval for Pfizermectin and Ivermercktin.

  5. These supply chain disruptions were very easy to see coming, and they were one of the reasons I’ve railed for years against globalization of trade. Global supply chains are, after all, inherently fragile to conflict, natural disasters, etc.

    I’m well aware that not all of the disruptions are due to globalization, though globalization is a major factor in most of them.

    The root causes are complexity and efficiency. Compared to decades ago, inventory is lacking, due to the quest for efficiency, made worse by perverse tax structures (such as inventory tax). It would be exceedingly helpful if the tax structure rewarded rather than punished slack capacity and inventory in key sectors.

    As for me, I’m cheering on this current mess, because it’s reducing imports, as well as adding to their costs. It’s also causing a crunch in automaking and other electronics-intensive manufacturing, and seeing as how I loathe “smart” devices and “connected” cars, I think this is a good thing on several levels. (I’m even starting to see cars offered with a lot of the “connected” stuff as an option rather than standard – which was hard to find just a few months ago).

    BTW, if y’all think the current mess is bad, just wait until the government tries to fix it.

    1. You have some good points there.

      It might turn out that we will revive local chip making.

      Societal changes like Smart Stuff in cars being an option and not required is a good thing. That will slow down the GPS tracking of your vehicle in order to tax you on the miles you drive.

      1. Intel said they are expanding their chip fabrication. I don’t think it was all in the USA but either way, years away from helping meet demand.

        1. Intel is also not complying with vaccine mandates, and prohibits management from even asking employees about vaccine status.

    2. Saw an article at Instapundit, maybe linked here too, that said car manufacturers use older style chips and the fabricators don’t want to expand those production lines because they would rather focus on new stuff used in things other than cars.

      I like some of the stuff in newer cars, like blind spot indicators, but the infotainment systems suck in a lot of them. For one, buttons are tactile and easy to find when your attention is on the road. Trying to do this on a smooth screen isn’t as easy and is distracting. Aside from maps, they don’t offer useful information. I get an email when the tire pressure gets low. Great but why not display the current tire pressure on the infotainment system or even what tire is low? How about battery health?

      At least you can get the latest sports scores.

      1. The blind spot indicators, though I’ve never driven a car with them, sound like a worthwhile thing.

        As for the rest, I’ve seen the “infotainment” screens, and no thank you. Your point on buttons is the core of it; I’m rather weird, apparently, in preferring to keep my eyes on the road when driving.

        As for GPS, I use stand-alone devices, such as Garmin. I much prefer them to built-in, because I can have the type I like, upgrade them if needed, and carry them along with me when I leave the vehicle (such as for a hike, walk, etc – rather useful as I don’t have a smartphone). I’m of the opinion that such stand-alone GPS units are easier to carry in one’s pocket than the car is.

        I’m astounded that they don’t display (at least as a user option) needful information (like tire pressure, oil pressure, temperature, etc) on the infotainment screens. That means the things are even more useless than I thought.

        I gave up new car shopping two years ago because of the electronic garbage infesting new cars, and their lack of things like dipsticks and spare tires (I won’t buy a vehicle without the ability to carry a full size spare, and they no longer come with full size wheel wells for the spare). I also won’t get a “connected” vehicle, and sure as heck not one with a shark-fin antenna of any kind right in the middle of the roof cargo area. The current chip shortage might make it worth another look, just in case.

      2. My newer cars have the display panels…The maps suck, I use my phone which is more accurate (less bad) if nothing else.

        And for some reason my Fords will tell me that a tire is low, it won’t tell me which, or what the pressure is. My Dodge Ram would tell me the pressure on each tire (including the Spare)

        And Ford wants $100 to supply a new chip to update the maps

  6. The stevedores union has been pink-to-red for nigh a century. Lock them out permanently and put the ports under the authority of the Corps of Engineers.

  7. Our long-delayed shipment of belongings is arriving tomorrow, after being stranded in California for more than two months for lack of trucking capacity. Man oh man am I glad we escaped when we did… while it’s true that “A wise man, in the course of a long life, is prepared to abandon his luggage, several times,” I’d really rather not do so this time.

    And the sunset over the Banana River was glorious this evening.

    1. Short answer: because conservative traditional minded religious rural folks i.e., “rednecks” are having more kids while urban/suburban/non-religious college educated liberals are having much fewer numbers of kids. Probably why liberals want to open the borders; importing what they hope to be faithful democratic voters to make up for their shrinking demographic.

  8. Just-In-Time inventory is brittle. It might get you a slightly higher percentage profit one quarter, but sets one up for catastrophic failure if anything goes wrong; Murphy was right.

    That container ship that ran aground and blocked the Suez Canal for two weeks is still having ripple effects, on top of everything else.

    The Air Traffic Controllers are making noise now, too. One out of twenty guys gets diagnosed positive and fifteen have to quarantine, leaving five guys to do the work of twenty for two weeks.

    Pilots are speaking up about mandated vaccination now too, and between them and the ATC is the real explanation for Southwest’s problems. This isn’t going to be just Southwest for long.

    You’ve got medical staff – supposedly Heroes for working throughout the time when there was no vaccine at all, but now Villains for refusing the vaccine, which as it turns out they don’t need anymore. They either got covid and recovered or were immune all along, so why force them? Because it isn’t about health. If it was, they wouldn’t be firing any healthcare workers.

    Up here in the Great White North, there’s almost no oil drilling in Alberta. The rigs are all in North Dakota and Texas. But the oil is being shipped like mad, on multiple 200 car trains a day through my town. They’re shipping reserves, not newly discovered oil.

    This is not by accident. This is not an unintended set of consequences. This is all on purpose.

      1. Suncor and other drilling companies have huge reserve tanks, meant to keep supplies steady as drilling waxes and wanes. That’s what’s being shipped. There’s no drilling though, and those reserves are depleting.

  9. They need massive inflation to monetize the debt. They tried the demand side but Joe Manchin, the Triffen dilemma, and demographics spiked that. So now they’re doubling down on the supply side. Bonus that they get to weed the conservatives out of the workforce and force them into gray markets to provide endless examples if necessary. 15% inflation for a decade might do the trick but it’s risky politically – never know when a Reagan will crawl out of the woodwork. But if you hyperinflate for 2-3 years at 50%… Normally that requires a scapegoat but if you can blame it on a virus maybe you pilfer the middle and working class without concentration camps. Or at least without too many… gotta throw away the key on a few “domestic terrorists” to keep the lumpen subdued.

      1. “Debt monetization or monetary financing is the practice of a government borrowing money from the central bank to finance public spending instead of selling bonds to private investors or raising taxes. The central banks who buy government debt, are essentially creating new money in the process to do so. This practice is often informally and pejoratively called printing money or money creation. It is prohibited in many countries, because it is considered dangerous due to the risk of creating runaway inflation. ”

        Create money to pay off the debt. Doing so causes massive inflation. “So sorry everyone lost their life savings, but at least we got rid of the debt!” The problem is that governments are addicted to spending and don’t stop, so you never actually get rid of the debt.

        1. “Create money to pay off the debt. ”

          The only time I have seen this idea directly floated was a few weeks back when they were talking about minting a trillion dollar coin. What has been happening is that when the money is printed, it is given to friendly financial institutions that lend it out or invest it in hedge funds or commercial real estate.

          The pay off the debt part comes from taxing the beneficiaries, except all the connected individuals and groups take a cut before the taxation targets generate taxable income. Like any other social welfare program, the money changes hands so many times before it gets to the people they claim they want to help that almost nothing is left when it gets to them.

          1. The literal “money printing” is a sideshow, an accounting trick meant to confuse the masses for a few more months. The real money creation occurs by suppressing interest rates, either directly or by the Fed growing its balance sheet by buying up assets (with conjured money).

    1. ” and force them into gray markets to provide endless examples if necessary.”

      Hence the surveillance of every bank account transaction.

      I’m not sure how they think inflation will help the debt or society as a whole. There is some underpants gnome logic to it, especially when they keep racking up debt at the new inflated value.

      1. “I’m not sure how they think inflation will help the debt or society as a whole. There is some underpants gnome logic to it, especially when they keep racking up debt at the new inflated value.”

        Part of the “conserve” learn to get along with less paradigm they have been pushing for decades. Simply put destroy the value of your/our money and your standard of living will decline, less “unnecessary consumption” be it in your transportation (especially by individually owned car) and ability to purchase consumer goods. And also as a side effect increase dependency on the government largess to keep you afloat; better vote democratic or else your check/benefits will be cut-off.

      2. I recommend a listen to any recent interview with Lyn Alden or Luke Gromen to get a better understanding of what is happening monetarily.

        There is some historical precedent to it. We essentially ran this playbook in the late 40s to monetize the war debt. The gist is if you can devalue the currency faster than you grow the debt, you can get debt down to say 60% of GDP in a few years. At that point you can deploy the Volker playbook and let rates float. That is not to say there are no underwear gnomes. For various reasons I’m doubtful it will work this time:
        * We haven’t stopped the massive overspending before trying it like we did in the 40’s
        * There are more ways for people to store wealth outside the currency or bonds now than there was in the 40s. Anyone with a smartphone can buy equities, precious metals, and crypto. They can also speculatively attack the dollar by borrowing against those assets. This can help accelerate inflation, but it also makes it more regressive and unpredictable.
        * There were lots of young people in the 40s, which means lots of monetary velocity, which means the new cash trickled down quickly to wages which in turn let the bubbles deflate gradually. That is not the case now, the money is just stashed in assets because we have aging demographics.
        * …which causes wealth inequality to skyrocket. This motivates the govt to increase direct payments in order to maintain social order, which are all debt-financed, which makes the problem worse. Tax revenue is at record high, and if you slap a wealth tax on an inflated equity market – well, 2% tax on 50:1 P/E = bankrupt.
        * The Volker play can work (1948, 1982), but it can also cause a depression so deep that GDP drops and debt/GDP goes back to a bad place (1929). It’s not clear a priori which way it would go.

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