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Latest Issue

Year of the Bookends

January 14, 2022

If you are a booklover like me, you probably have many shelves. On some of those shelves you probably have bookends holding the books in place. They come in opposing pairs—similar but reversed.

What if the COVID-era economy has bookends?

I think that may be what’s happening. If you think of 2020 as the left bookend, at some point we’ll have a period when equally significant economic forces push the other direction. The time in between? A bunch of books telling this crazy era’s many different stories. Maybe someday we’ll read them all.

Today I’ll continue the annual forecast I began last week. New COVID developments are unfolding rapidly. If we’re lucky, they may carve out a nice bookend for us. But my worry is that rather than bookends it could be economicus interruptus. 2019 was not portending the most robust of economies. What if, in Groundhog Day fashion, we end up back where we were?

And as much as I like my bookends analogy, maybe the COVID period is more like brackets: 2018, 2019, [2020, 2021] 2022, … A break in the normal where extraordinary measures were applied and are now being removed. Let’s explore the implications.

Labor Shortage x 2

Of course, any analogy is flawed. We had a clear beginning of the Covid era but the ending is going to be cloudy at best. But we’re at least closer to the end.

A couple of weeks ago I saw someone on Twitter predict that by March, every American would be either triple-vaccinated, or have been an Omicron case, or possibly both....

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