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Going Down Fast

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Call me crazy, but the likelihood that there will be so many bankruptcies it will overwhelm the system strikes me as suboptimal:

Already, companies large and small are succumbing to the effects of the coronavirus. They include household names like Hertz and J. Crew and comparatively anonymous energy companies like Diamond Offshore Drilling and Whiting Petroleum.

And the wave of bankruptcies is going to get bigger.

Edward I. Altman, the creator of the Z score, a widely used method of predicting business failures, estimated that this year will easily set a record for so-called mega bankruptcies — filings by companies with $1 billion or more in debt. And he expects the number of merely large bankruptcies — at least $100 million — to challenge the record set the year after the 2008 economic crisis.

[…]

More than 6,800 companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year, and this year will almost certainly have more. The flood of petitions from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression could swamp the system, making it harder to save the companies that can be rescued, bankruptcy experts said.

A needless to say, all of this will be made worse by the bust-out firms that load massive amounts of debt onto companies so that Mitt Romney can afford that sixth tire garage:

Hertz has been weighed down by debt created in a leveraged buyout more than a decade ago, and added to it with the acquisition of Dollar Thrifty in 2012. As it was battling direct competitors, the ascent of Uber and Lyft further upended the rental-car industry.

J. Crew and Neiman Marcus were carrying heavy debt loads from leveraged buyouts by private equity firms while struggling to deal with the changing preferences of shoppers who increasingly buy online.

Evidently, if the White House and Senate were controlled by a normal political party rather than a neoconfederate death cult they would be moving heaven and Earth to mitigate the damage in an election year, but…

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