The “Big Short” Guy Speaks Out

By April 7, 2020 Commentary

Many of you may have read the book or seen the movie “The Big Short”.  The hero is a quixotic investor named Michael Burry who is one of the first to see the dangers is housing speculation and makes a lot of money by shorting or betting against housing-related securities.  Mr. Burry has shared his views on the economic shutdown, which may more relevance that some other perspectives, as in addition to his obvious business acumen, Mr. Burry is a doctor.   (Burry Story)  I will summarize a few of his tweets here.  He writes better than I do.  Here is a sample:

“Universal stay-at-home is the most devastating economic force in modern history.  And it is man-made.  It very suddenly reverses the gains of underprivileged groups, kills and creates drug addicts, beats and terrorizes women and children in violent now-jobless households, and more.  It bleeds deep anguish and suicide.”

And on an alternative to the comprehensive shutdown; “A more nuanced approach would be for at risk groups–the obese, old and already-sick–to shelter in place, to execute widespread mandatory testing, and to ID and track as necessary while allowing society to function.  I would lift stay-at-home orders except for known risk groups.  We already know certain conditions that are predictive of severe disease.  Especially since young healthy lungs tend to be resistant, I would let the virus circulate in the population that is not likely to get severe disease from it.  This is the only path that comes close to balancing the needs of all groups.  Vaccines are not coming any time soon, so natural immunity is the only way out for now.  Every day, every week in the current situation is ruining innumerable lives in a criminally unjust manner.”

I really have nothing to add.

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