We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Let's not take advantage of the self-employed tradesmen and workers: electricians, carpenters, pavers, landscape people, roofers, delivery restaurants, plumbers, painters, fitness trainers, hairdressers, etc. etc. during hard times.
Right now, they are desperate for work and offering bids which are almost 50% of what they would have done 6 months ago. So my feeling is this is the time to get a lot of jobs off your checklist in affordable and prompt ways, but don't be a schnorrer. They are all under-bidding eachother just to stay busy and to keep their helpers working. A minor profit is better than nothing.
These people have families to feed, and times are tough. If you can, put these people to work and don't give them a hard time about it. Do it for America.
2. Economic collapse and unemployment are destroying families
Each day the shutdown continues, we are losing approximately one million jobs, as evidenced by 16.5 million initial weekly jobless claims in three weeks (since March 26). Many of these lost jobs will never return. If the lockdowns continue through April (essentially, a best-case scenario), we’ll be lucky if job losses are limited to 25 million. Many people see 6.6 million people as just a number , as Len Kieffer put it, it is the size of the state of Missouri. Twenty five million is almost the size of the state of Texas!
The 16.5 million jobs lost thus far are only counting people who have filed jobless claims that were processed through April 8, 2020; it’s likely that the real number is quite a bit higher than this. In addition, there are millions of people not-technically-unemployed who have seen their incomes plummet. One example would be so-called gig workers, such as Uber and Lyft drivers. It’s almost certain that realtors are suffering the same fate.
This is a good time for all of us to see what we can do to help a neighbor and to shop/buy locally. These are tough times for a lot of people and it's times like this that give us all a chance to stand up and "do the next right thing".
By sheer dumb luck, the wife and I have established routines that let our pool guy, yard guy, and cleaning service* work uninterrupted throughout all these Stay-Home restrictions. We hit the local pizzeria weekly with a dinner order and a hefty tip, and treat ourselves to Dairy Queen on shopping forays. Just doing our bit to keep some doors open (and get tagged as Loyal Customers).
*A good cleaning service is like gold; hard to find once you've lost it. And lots of the otherwise scrupulous well-to-do will steal your cleaning staff at the drop of a hat.
Of course I had to look up the new to me term, schnorrer.
And that led me to "Jewish Schnorrer Jokes" on www.myjewishlearning.com. The internet is a wonderful thing.
Here's an example ...
Chernov, the schnorrer of Petrograd, had a very wealthy patron who, for some obscure reason, had taken a liking to the nervy little beggar. Each year he would give Chernov a handsome stipend — never less than 500 rubles. One year, however, the rich man gave him only 250 rubles.
“What is the meaning of this?” demanded the insolent schnorrer. “This is only half of what you have been giving me!”
“I’m sorry, Chernov, but I must cut my expenses this year,” apologized the wealthy man. “My son married an actress, and I am paying all the bills.”
“Well, of all the [nerve]!” roared Chernov, hopping mad. “If your son wants to support an actress that’s his business. But how dare he do it with my money!”
The real question is this: Why are government employees continuing to draw a paycheck? Sending a few e-mails is not "telecommuting". It's nothing at all. There is no reason to pay millions of people who aren't working: Unless government employees are more "important" than other people. And there's the rub: Plumbers and Carpenters do real work. A woman sitting at a computer in Washington does nothing. In the real world (which government employees wouldn't know about) results matter. How long a project takes. How much it costs. The quality of the results. But when you have a government job, you can be a lazy bum and it doesn't matter. Nothing matters.
So we're going to have millions of government employees getting paid to do nothing. They will all stay home, watch Oprah, and collect a salary of a hundred thousand dollars a year. That's just not going to happen. Government employees need to learn that results are the only thing that matter. To start: We need to trim State and Federal payrolls by 80%.
And then tell the remaining staff that they will be judged only on their performance. So they'll have to put down that coffee, or they too will be looking for another job.
When the lockdown started, we thought we were going to get a lot of landscaping done that we'd been having a hard time finding contractors to bid on. We're fairly price-insensitive and always pay what the market will bear. After a day or two, though, everyone seemed to decide they didn't want to keep coming out to work, though social-distancing is a snap out here, and landscaping and construction are both explicitly defined as "essential." They may not feel comfortable having to buy supplies. When they're ready to come back, we're still hiring. We did put off some indoor repair work. I don't want people trooping into my house right now. Outside work is safe enough; we're in the boonies, only two reported cases in the whole county.
We're still paying a housekeeper, but not asking her to work. I can run a vacuum, and it's no worse a financial strain on me than before. I see a shrink; we're doing it by phone for now.