Billionaire investor and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman shared a horrifying, arguably conspiratorial vision of what he believes lays ahead for America’s near-term future and has offered what he believes to be the only viable solution.
Speaking Wednesday afternoon on CNBC, Ackman first claimed that he’d begun to experience an inexplicable, climate-change-esque “feeling” of doom roughly two months ago.
“Hell is coming. … This was a feeling like I’ve never had. Like there’s a tsunami coming. The tsunami’s coming in. You feel it in the air. The tide starts to roll out. And on the beach, people are playing and having fun like there’s nothing’s going on. And that is a feeling I’ve had for the last two months,” he said.
“And my colleagues at work thought I was a lunatic. … I did stuff I’ve never done before. I’ve never had more than $200 in my wallet. I went to the bank, and I took out a large amount of money in cash because of this concern. I made preparations.”
Listen to his spiel below:
Ackman then pivoted to his dubious solution, which calls for shutting down the entire U.S. economy — and thus leaving millions of Americans without work — for 30 full days.
“We need to shut it down now,” he declared. “Shut it down now. … It’s Spring Break now. A lot of people were going to take these two weeks off anyway, so just extend it for a month. A month at home. How hard is that? Compare that to going to war.”
As a billionaire, Ackman seems unaware of the devastating financial repercussions that being forced to remain at home for 30 days would wreak on the millions of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck.
As it stands, millions are already suffering because of authoritarian decrees by mostly Democrat governors banning restaurants, gyms and other businesses from operating during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Employers are slashing jobs at a furious pace across the nation due to mass shutdowns over the coronavirus, slamming state unemployment offices with a crush of filers facing sudden crises,” Politico reported Tuesday.
“In New Jersey, 15,000 people applied for unemployment benefits on Monday, a twelvefold increase over normal levels. In Connecticut, nearly 8,000 applications arrived over the weekend, an eightfold increase over the norm. Rhode Island officials reported Tuesday a five-day rise in claims due to the coronavirus from 10 on March 11 to 6,282 on March 16.”
Were these authoritarian lockdown measures enacted nationwide, these numbers would likely skyrocket faster than the coronavirus itself.
Applications for unemployment benefits skyrocketed this week
OHIO: a nearly 7x surge to 45,000 workers
NEW JERSEY: a 12x surge to 15,000
CONNECTICUT: an 8x surge to 8,000
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) March 18, 2020
“Compare that to getting on a boat, you know, and storming the beach,” Ackman, who made headlines four years ago for buying a $91.5 million apartment in New York City, dismissively continued. “It is nothing. It is not a sacrifice.”
He then claimed without evidence that a 30-day shutdown would somehow cause the stock market to regain all its recently lost value.
“The moment the president goes on TV and says this is what we’re doing, the stock market will take off because this will set the time frame,” he claimed.
Thanks to pressure from the media, the White House eventually responded to Ackman’s statement Wednesday by issuing its own statement reminding the American people that President Donald Trump’s already on the job.
White House reaction to Bill Ackman’s comments: “As President Trump has said, we are going to ensure that we take care of all Americans, including affected industries and small businesses, + that we emerge from this challenge stronger and with a prosperous and growing economy.”
— Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) March 18, 2020
And as it stands, neither the president nor his top officials believe that forcing a national quarantine/lockdown is in the American people’s best interests — at least not now.
“President Trump said authorities are discussing a national lockdown to slow the coronavirus but that it’s unlikely to happen,” the New York Post notes.
“I just don’t think it’s going to be an action that we are going to take,” the president himself said during a coronavirus briefing Tuesday.
As for the public, it seems a majority of both conservatives and liberals have dismissed Ackman’s diatribe as an “emotional” rant not worth taking seriously.
Similar hyperbole was used in the 2008 meltdown, Russia gate. Not who cried wolf.
— TheGentile (@TheGentile2) March 18, 2020
Ha! Nothing like a billionaire inducing panic for profit.
— CL_Addict (@AddictCl) March 18, 2020
What a bizarre thing to say. Maybe someone should check on him. A friend like.
— H Pirtes (@PirtesHa) March 18, 2020
The side effects of Coronavirus seem to include paranoid behavior in billionaires.
— Lucian is Light (@naturefreak799) March 18, 2020
WTF @CNBC…the guy hit his banks for cash & millions will die but he’s buying stocks today? Get this guy off the air.
— J_Harding (@J_Harding) March 18, 2020
Worst person you could have brought on, just terrible fear mongering
— Brad D Smith (@BradDSmith) March 18, 2020
A lot of billionaires have had a lot to say lately! Who’s still standing? PRESIDENT TRUMP. I’ll trust him and his Avengers team of medical superheroes. pic.twitter.com/gxXRJLXMff
— Huck Berry (@HuckBerry4) March 18, 2020
Note how one critic pointed out that Ackman was buying stocks even as he was panicking and fear-mongering.
“Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman is buying shares of private equity heavyweight Blackstone Group Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter, as the growing coronavirus pandemic roils markets,” Bloomberg confirmed hours after his appearance on CNBC.
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