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.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, April 17. 2020
Re Sullivan's: How to Live With COVID-19
The opening up of work and life is not a black and white choice between health and wealth. If it were, that would be an easy choice. We're not talking about wealth here. We're talking about a functional life, working, being useful and social, paying bills, not losing shelter, staying solvent.
This Chinese virus is not ever going away. It's here to stay like all viruses, and many if not most people will be exposed to it before 2021. However, viruses tend to run rapidly through a population over about two months and then just stick around more quietly forever, waiting for opportunity. Some people will get sick and die, regardless.
The trick now is how to balance illness and death risks with destroyed lives, careers, futures, families, and businesses. I still feel that the lockdowns and stay at home programs were extreme responses, but I understand that they were issued in the absence of data and in an atmosphere of panic (eg, 2 million Americans dead!). Lockdowns do not really save lives, and that is not what they are for anyway.
The Trump administration's plan makes good sense to me, with calm guidelines but leaving local decisions local without a one-size-fits-all for this giant country. After all, the federal officials and world experts weren't omniscient, were they? They never are. Nobody is.
I do appreciate that Dr. Fauci now says I can go back onto Tinder, but where will I go to meet that special girl in person? Maybe for a 6-foot distanced walk up and down 5th Ave...with masks? That would be a memorable way to meet your true love, masked and anonymous. It might work.
One question for readers: Do those with secure cash flows have different ideas from those who do not?
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Even with a secure cash flow, I am very worried about those without same. The quality of their lives impacts me greatly. That said, it is hard to sort through the competing models and projections, the comparative, updated and revised data, and the cynical if not morbid politicization -- never let a good crisis go to waste -- of this pandemic.
Cash flow secure, current job is university teaching online (for the forseeable future!). BUT, no city is going to bounce back from quarantine without folks spending money for goods and services. My wife and I have been (dumb) lucky enough that we could keep the cleaning service, the yard guy, and the pool guy all productively employed throughout the Difficulties. And, we order out at least once a week, and tip generously everywhere we get service.
Slowly, surely, step-by-step, we need to Re-Open America.I can't wait to visit a wide-open, socially-spaced patio bar, where a masked cocktail waitress brings margaritas and loaded nachos. I'm buying. (Hmm, sounds like a good use for that pittance of an Income Tax refund coming.)
You cannot put a value on human life is nonsense. We do that all the time. Look up VPF and ICAF. Society could not function and individuals could not live their lives without doing so.
My wife and I are both still employed, working from home. But we feel this can't go on like this....the disease will not go away any time soon. The country must grow a spine and get back to the business of surviving as a nation.
We're semi-retired, but of course worried about the longer-term effects on our investment income once the earnings devastation starts to manifest itself. Our kid / spouse are holing up with us instead of being cooped up in their city apartment, and this has been our silver lining this past few weeks. They are both working full-time from our home and the transition has been pretty remarkably easy for both of them - in fact both say they are actually more efficient working from here, and in some ways more effective at getting their job done....
But cabin fever starts to chafe us all after a few weeks. We are blessed with forest and paths that we can go to with the dogs to let off steam in this exceptional spring weather. And we are blessed to be living in part of the country that hasn't been badly affected by the virus, and that doesn't have an aspiring tyrant for a governor.
Gov. Abbot comes on in a few minutes to tell us his plan for re-opening the state. It's time. And don't forget to chafe at this process too, if you value your freedoms.
By the way, I would point out that the philosophies of Re-Opening the US economy seem to be falling into two camps, along party lines. We have the syndicate of governors on either coast becoming more adamant that they must maintain their chokehold on their piece, while the red-states by and large are clamoring to get on with it.
This fact in and of itself is a sign that the worst is over: The elected political leadership has gotten over being scared to death that they'll be blamed for the piled up dead, and are up to their old political tricks. Pretty soon it will be time for another impeachment.
No. I actually live on USN retirement and Social Security; so my cash flow is secure until the U.S. Government goes broke. Still, I hate what is happening to the country. It matters little to me personally, an octogenarian, but daughters and grand children will pay a price.
I hate that small businesses stand empty. I hate the thought that people who need to work are prevented from working.
I hate that the government is spending money like drunken sailors. Oh, sorry shipmates. It was our own money that we spent frivolously.
I hate that petty tyrants can so easily control our lives; that terribly flawed models were accepted unquestionably and provided cover for draconian restrictions.
I hate that we have become a nation of sheep who so easily abandon the liberties that others fought so hard to preserve.
I agree with all of that Oldflyer, and thank you for your service!
My opinion since the first disaster reports has always been to NOT shut down. We could have had suggestions on the best way to protect ourselves. We're ALL GONNA DIE!(eventually) of something. I am in the at risk group and may be one of the casualties when I get the Chinese virus.
I have a fairly secure cash flow and think the economy should have been restarted yesterday. You are right to remind us that the lockdown was intended to save lives in and of itself but by keeping hospitals from being overwhelmed. The projection was that the same number of lives, maybe even a bit more, would be lost to the virus. Suggestions that we remain lockeddown till there is a vaccine or at least a treatment is ridiculous. In the first place, there is a treatment that has shown promising results: hydroxycloroquine/azithromycin/zinc. There are different ideas about dosage and it would be much better to have that standardized but there is enough experience with it in the context of COVID-19 that a strategy could be developed. In addition, hydroxychloroquine has shown promise in preventing COVID-19 infection. In the second place, there are lots of common deadly diseases for which we have no vaccine. Some like to point to flu vaccines we take every year, but those vaccines do not work anywhere near universally and even with them there are anywhere between 30,000 and 80,000 flu deaths a year in the US.
Some of us seem to think we shouldn't have to worry about any communicable disease. We could lower the speed limit to 5 mph and reduce vehicle deaths to near zero too but just like our economy won't go anywhere to continue the lockdown, we wouldn't go anywhere going 5 mph.
Another reason to stop this lockdown is that there are so many bad precedents could be established. Are we going to shut down the economy every time we get a new virus and models project mass death? Hopefully, we will come out of this with a lot less trust in computer model, but how difficult will it be for the next president not to shut down the economy and society at the next pandemic?
Finally, there is the scientific thought that we should use our own immune system to fight a virus - specifically herd immunity. This is spelled out in this video by Professor Knut Wittkowski (https://youtu.be/lGC5sGdz4kg).
re Do those with secure cash flows have different ideas from those who do not?
I think that for the most part, they do. It's far easier to tell someone else to do without rather than have to endure the hardship oneself.
Imagine being newly unemployed, perfectly healthy, and not having enough money to pay the bills. Wouldn't you resent people who told you it was being done "for your own good"??
People with steady incomes that insist other people should be thrown out of work, "to save lives" should walk the walk. They should donate 100% of their income stream to charity until the country is opened back up. Otherwise they are just immoral hypocrites.
Are there any federal employees NOT getting a paycheck? Maybe the government would be more amenable to opening up commerce if they were not getting a paycheck.
Actually, the worst people in America, the U.S. Congress gave themselves a raise
Fauci needs to be fired...Angelo Codvilla has a good piece at American Greatness published April 14th. You are right. It is not about health vs wealth. It is about health vs power.
The intended purpose of the shutdown was to keep the hospitals from being overwhelmed and to allow time for our U.S. companies to produce adequate PPE supplies. For the most part this succeeded and it is indeed time to begin to open up. But it isn't that simple. You know if Florida or LA or any large population area suddenly begins getting the daily death count in the thousands that there will be repercussions mostly aimed at politicians and "experts". And that will happen. What then? If every nursing home suddenly have 15 residents dying overnight, what then? If school kids bring this home to mom, dad and grandparents who die from it, what then? I am not sure we are prepared for the downside of this virus and partly because the shutdown and quarantine worked pretty well.
I hope we'll stay focused on keeping the hospitals from being overwhelmed, as that was the only reason for a shutdown that made sense to me.
Re-opening doesn't mean throwing caution to the winds. The elderly and immunocompromised should stay isolated for now. Businesses should open with unusual and inconvenient protective devices that would have seemed like too much trouble before. We should all wash our hands on a schedule that would have seemed nuts in January. But we should open a LOT of businesses and restore a LOT of jobs.
"Do those with secure cash flows have different ideas from those who do not?"
Even before this virus hit, you could tell many who were secure in their jobs had no problem with voting for Obama the second time; despite the fact that millions of us were out of work or underemployed. They were secure so the only thing they cared about was their own "virtue signalling" by claiming "look at me! I'm not racist! I voted for the Black guy!"
And now I hear some of those same folks telling everyone; "Sure my 401k might hurt; but, it is for the good of everyone that we shut things down." never mind this is lost income and lost hopes and dreams for so many people - losses that those just starting out in the working world, or schooling, will NEVER get back. Never!
Today, I am VERY lucky. I have a full time job with great benefits, growing savings, bought a house (woo hoo!) all due to Trump getting this country on the right path. However, I DO remember how lean and tough those Obamanation years were so, I hate to see others now going through what I went through for 8 years.
Ya know, I can spot those Garbage People across a bar or dining room; they're all lousy tippers. They can all go impregnate themselves. Keeping America shut down is just them stiffing the waiter on a tip, writ large. I hate those bastards.
Yeah, like a lot of us Greedy Geezers, my investment portfolio took a major shot in the shorts, but I've sailed through a few serious downturns before--if you don't sell, you don't take a loss--and Re-Opening American will get me back in the black. Quicker if I spend some big bucks on stuff that gets my neighbors back working and drawing a paycheck again. (NOT toilet paper!)
Secure cash flow?
Secure in the knowledge that I will have eternal life.
Pray for us who live in California.
I'm retired with a secure cash flow. But most of my extended family members and many of my neighbors do not have a secure cash flow. They need and want to get back to work. I can forego the gym, but what about the people who work there? I can forego dining out, but what about the huge number of people who work in the industry? That said, I know people with secure cash flows (not on this website, obviously) who show little concern for those who are out of work. They are the same people who think AOC is a breath of fresh air.
As a dentist being ordered to shut down, I am secure for a while. However, the practice loans and rent continue.... PPP emptied out yesterday without getting approved so staff laid off with no end in sight. Good news I supposedly can collect! It’ll end sometime, I guess. However, the new regulations regarding precautions will cause a great deal of inflationary pressure on the consumer price. I won’t try to predict the future, the “experts” already showed us how silly that is.
Secure cashflow here. I want people to be free to open for business if they feel safe enough, and customers allowed to patronize those businesses if they feel safe enough.
I confess, absent a need for a root canal, it may be a while before I feel a need to see my dentist that overwhelms my decision to stay isolated. But that should be my own choice. Actually, my dentist's office is not what should worry me; they're already extremely clean and careful. It's crowds full of oblivious strangers that probably pose the greater risk.
"Do those with secure cash flows have different ideas from those who do not?"
Thanks for the laugh. Which Hollywood celebrity not currently in jail for bribing a university to let thier kid in is going to be homeless first?
I understand that the CDC has put out new guidelines to reduce risk of respiratory transmission of Wuhan flu.
For the cis-normative, the only allowed positions are doggie and reverse cowgirl. Guidelines are under consideration for the LBQT communities and will be issued within the week.
The missionary position is considered too risky and is banned by the Federal Government as of 16 April 2020.
Of course, that might be fake news but it sounds plausible.
There is a concept called "Force Majeure". It means that if there is a drastic change in circumstances, then a contract can be renegotiated. Obviously, people have not been working, and can't afford to pay their rent. Force Majeure should be used by the State Governments to cut all rent and mortgage payments by fifty percent, until further notice. More Here:
And of course the state will cut property taxes for the landlords by 50% and make up the lost income for pension funds invested in mortgages.
I don't think force majeur lawsuits are the right approach. I do think that we just asked some 20MM people to lose their jobs for the public good--OUR protection, not just theirs--and that it's reasonable for those of us who still have jobs or other income streams to tide them over this abrupt and costly period.