Sunday Commentary: It’s a Stunningly Bad Economic Picture – What Do We Do?

Twenty million jobs lost in April as unemployment jumped officially to 14.7 percent—a figure that no doubt understates the issue, and a graphic in the NY Times illustrates just what that looks like.

There is perhaps one bright spot: 80 percent of those unemployed believe they have been temporarily laid off and expect to return to their jobs in the coming months.  But some experts disagree with that, arguing that these furloughs are permanent, not temporary and that the optimism is misplaced.

The key question is, what do we do to stem this?

The administration has largely doubled down on the strategy of trying to get states to re-open as a way to re-start the economy.  While that is tempting, in the end for a lot of reasons I don’t think that will have the effect they want.

For one thing, re-opening is likely to start driving up the infection rates and the death tolls.  That will swing the pendulum back and ratchet up the pressure to shut things down again.  We have seen the models for what is likely to happen in the next two months—and that is going to make it hard to really re-open, and harder still to get any economic benefit from doing so.

Another problem is that people are not dumb.  Just because the governor says re-open doesn’t mean people will go back to business as usual.  Oh sure, some will.  Some will go to restaurants, line the beaches and take unnecessary risks.

FiveThirtyEight in an article earlier this week noted that “on the front end of this crisis, Americans weren’t deciding what to do based on politics. Americans living in red states appear to have taken the crisis plenty seriously; data shows that residents there were staying home well before their governors issued stay-at-home orders.”

And on the back end of the orders, you will probably see the same thing.  Even if they are not required to, most Americans are not going to chance going back to business as usual.

That probably means two things—that the dire predictions on new deaths is too high, especially if high risk locations figure things out, and it means that the chances for recovery are lower than expected.

In the end, I think re-opening too soon will not restart the economy because there will be a lack of confidence by reasonable people—at least that it is safe to do so and it will prolong this outbreak.

Instead, I would recommend a different approach.  Cushion the economy as much as possible.  Use the government to give people unemployed $2000 a month.  Use the government to bail out key industry like hospitality and entertainment that you can’t transition.  And then use the time we buy to transition other segments of the economy away from being contact-based.

Washington right now doesn’t seem to like the idea of the ongoing stimulus payment.  I get it.  They are afraid that deficits will soar.  They will.  But guess what, they are anyway because people’s tax payments are falling.  Might as well cushion the economy.

There is fear that people won’t work if they can get their $2000.  That’s probably true for some people.  But this is a temporary solution and if they don’t want to work, they can stay at home and not risk getting sick or getting others sick.

If we keep key businesses afloat, they will be more likely to rebound than if we allow them to fail.  People on both sides of the divide don’t like this—I get it.  But once again, this is an emergency.  It will be much harder to restart the economy if businesses fail than if we keep them afloat.

Third, there are businesses that can safely open.  What was interesting was hearing from the key sectors about how they managed to keeping their businesses open.

First, the employees that could work from home—are.  I still think there are a large number of people who commute from home that don’t have to do that every day.  They found that productivity wasn’t bad.  People get used to change and they figure out ways to get their work done.

Second, there are protocols for people working in the office.  Temperatures at the door.  That of course doesn’t capture the asymptomatic but, then again, we still don’t know even relative contagion levels there.  Gloves and masks.  Social distancing.  Frequent disinfection.  You definitely don’t want to pack a room and I see a few businesses that are not doing enough to protect their employees from themselves—but this is something that can be employed when people have to go to work.

Third, a lot of businesses can function.  Most retail you can switch to online interfaces, and then pick ups or deliveries.  There is no reason why people have to go into stores these days.

Restaurants can switch to ordering at the door and delivery.  I have seen a bunch of restaurants that don’t even let their customers in.  They simply order at the door, pay.  And they either have ordered in advance or they wait outside until the food is ready.

Consultants and therapists and even some doctors’ appointments can happen via video.

Barry Broome on Thursday noted that a lot of their work can be done via Zoom.   But getting creative and collaborative needed person-to-person interaction.  I guess it also depends on the setting, because I have actually found that three-person Zoom meetings and brainstorming can work even remotely.

I think if the government can prop up people and industry with ongoing infusion of money, the economy can slowly start to adapt and rebound.  There will be businesses that fail.  But there will also be new businesses that emerge which are prepared to meet the new demands.

None of this is a replacement for re-starting the economy, but I think what we are going to find is that people don’t want to re-start it now and most will err on the side of caution  With proper protocols, a lot of businesses should be able to operate—and we should allow them to do so.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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179 Comments

  1. Keith Olsen

    Use the government to give people unemployed $2000 a month. 

    They’re already getting an extra $2600/month in addition to their state unemployment pay.

    There is fear that people won’t work if they can get their $2000

    Ya think?  I’ve read where some restaurant owners have tried to hire back their workers only to find that they’re saying no because they’re making $50,000/year sitting at home.  Add $2000 more a month to that equation and they will be making $74,000/year.

    What incentive is there for them to want to return to work?

        1. David Greenwald

          You’re missing a key point – whether it is for three months or six, the benefits are not going to last forever. If people turn back jobs, they will lose their jobs and they won’t be able to return in a few months because their employers will have moved on.

          You and others are so worried about the economy, but you’re not willing to cushion it. Sorry, I don’t agree with your approach.

        2. Keith Olsen

          You don’t cushion the economy by paying people in many cases over double what they were making while employed as the country is running its debt to the moon.  That’s insane.

        3. Ron Glick

          Running the debt to the moon is likely to create inflation when the increased money supply and the velocity of economic activity increase somewhere down the line. Most other economies are doing the same right now so the there is little danger that the dollar will not remain the world reserve currency because of our current spate of money printing. The danger that you are concerned about is the moral hazard of dis-incentivising work but that is a minor problem.

          The big problem right now is the 54 billion dollar deficit the Governor announced for the state government and a deadlock in DC about addressing it. That is only the state deficit and doesn’t include counties and cities. Of course much of that money is passed down to local government and schools from the State so we are likely to see a huge austerity impact with its accompanying diminished multiplier effect rippling through the local economy in a potential shock that will devastate Davis. Davis is a big government town with many state, county, city, university and school employees. The moral hazard of generous unemployment benefits at the present moment shouldn’t be our biggest worry.

        4. Ron Oertel

          If people turn back jobs, they will lose their jobs and they won’t be able to return in a few months because their employers will have moved on.

          Or, closed.

          Seems to me that the biggest problem will occur when the assistance comes to an end.

          I don’t think there are any easy answers.

    1. Richard McCann

      Hmmm. Maybe those workers were being underpaid as it was? We’ve already had a problem of overaccumulation of wealth. This is the type of policy that could force owners to share more with workers. And you say, well prices will go up. But not if landlords realize that they need to reduce their rents to keep those businesses around. Empty storefronts do not deliver income.

       

  2. Tia Will

    Jeff

    Are you denying more people will die if the society is “opened up”? Because not even Trump is denying that.

    Or are you denying people will die ( suicide or other-self destructive behaviors) if we do not open up? Because that is a specific GOP claim.

    So who are you accusing of making up a claim of increased deaths?

     

  3. Robert Canning

    Jeff,  I understand from your responses to numerous articles about the coronavirus pandemic that you might do things differently.  So, I am curious, if you were able to be in charge of responding to the pandemic, what would be your approach? I’m interested in how someone with a very different world view would approach this. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    1. Jeff Boone

      Take the approach in Sweden except to lock down the senior housing facilities and also implement a policy to keep everyone 75 and over, and anyone with diagnosed compromised immune systems, sheltering in place with enhanced public services to help prevent them from leaving their houses unnecessarily.

      I do agree that we ban large events until the threat has been reduced significantly.

      Then allow all other business to stay open with guidelines to mitigate the spread.  Run public service announcements that explain what we know about how the virus is transmitted and the real health risk and steps people should take to mitigate the risk, and allow people to decide themselves if they want to take the risk.

      1. Keith Olsen

        Good plan, sounds reasonable to me especially in Yolo County where they’ve only had 20 COVID deaths and 15 were tied to one nursing facility.

        So if you didn’t live in that nursing home the Yolo death rate per capita is a lowly .002%.

        Time to open things up.

      2. Robb Davis

        Some good ideas here.  Two points:

        1. Test, trace, and isolate must be part of any reopening plan and can start now with most recent cases. Can start now means that systems are in place to support such a program.

        2. “Then allow all other business to stay open with guidelines to mitigate the spread“.  This is important and the federal government must provide these guidelines. 

        BTW, the program that the Yolo Food Bank put into place to provide food at the doorstep of at-risk populations was designed to do what you are calling for in terms of enabling elderly and immuno-compromised to stay home.  I hope people will support it.  It is currently reaching over 2300 households (5500 people) per week. More could be done if resources were available.

         

      3. Robert Canning

        Sweden has been brought up a lot recently – both pro and con. They are paying a price that I’m not sure some would consider too high to pay. I agree that any plan should include what Robb mentions – testing, tracing, quarantine guides. If you look at the numbers in Europe, only Sweden and the Netherlands have had a bad outcome – compared to neighboring countries.

      4. Mark West

        “Take the approach in Sweden…”

        Sweden has universal healthcare, not an insignificant difference. Since most of those who are being pushed to ‘return to work’ here are low paid employees with no or limited access to health insurance, I expect those pushing Sweden’s approach will also be calling for the implementation of Medicare for All.

         

        1. Jeff Boone

          No, I am not wrong.  Sweden’s admitted mistake was not immediately locking down the senior centers and seniors getting care at home… not their approach to keeping most of their economy open.  That is 75% of the deaths.   That is the same that I would have advocated.  That is the same that most intelligent and informed non-ideologues would have advocated in any case like this.  Address the most vulnerable and don’t cause unnecessary harm and suffering of others.

          This is the problem with boneheaded large government responses in that they go nuclear when a peashooter is required.

          1. David Greenwald

            I think there is a big problem here when you are looking only at the deaths. A huge amount of the deaths in a lot of places are nursing homes and health care facilities. But that misses a huge swath of people who are getting sick – having to go to ER – we’re talking weeks turning into months. 50 days. Six weeks. Ongoing. My friend’s wife is now in intensive care. My friend just posted on Facebook how hard it was saying goodbye not knowing when or if she’ll be back. That’s the part of this story that is not being told and not showing up in the death stats. And btw, the economy in Sweden is no better than their neighbors.

        2. Jeff Boone

          It is WAY too easy to get your heart and your immediate fears to rule your head.  You are supposedly a statistician and yet you blow past the actually statistics and stake your opinion on your personal experience of singular cases.

          It is a pandemic.  People will get sick and die.  It is unreasonable to pursue some mythical goal of zero.  It is not only unreasonable, it is macro economic suicide.

          1. David Greenwald

            There are plenty of stats to bear this out. You ignore them. So why should I bother to repost them?

            People will get sick and die. But you can reduce the number of people that get sick and die. It won’t be zero, but you seem to be arguing that the effort to reduce it from 250,000 in half is not worth it.

        3. Richard McCann

          Jeff

          You must have missed the point is to “flatten the curve”, not totally eliminate the disease (we missed that opportunity months ago). You appear to be arguing that if the response isn’t perfect then we shouldn’t bother.

          As to Sweden, yes, you are wrong. You are ignoring the fact that rest of the population is a vector into the population of the vulnerable and aged. It’s not possible to completely isolate them, and if the rest of the population is a carrier, often asymptomatic, then the disease still penetrates the vulnerable population. It’s inevitable with open circulation.

          Please don’t include yourself in the category of non-ideologue. To do so, you need to demonstrate that you are willing to absorb information that doesn’t align with your preset world view and revise that view. You haven’t shown any evidence of doing this in your public statements.

        4. Keith Olsen

          Please don’t include yourself in the category of non-ideologue. To do so, you need to demonstrate that you are willing to absorb information that doesn’t align with your preset world view and revise that view. You haven’t shown any evidence of doing this in your public statements.

          Ha, that goes for about everyone that comments on here.

      1. David Greenwald

        “but, not my blog…”

        Really wish people would stop saying that.  (A) someone else posted that, (B) someone else designed it, (C) it’s unnecessary to make your point.

  4. Robert Canning

    I asked Don to put up these graphics as a follow-up to my comments and conversation with Jeff about Sweden. The top chart shows that Sweden (and the Netherlands) are somewhere between really efficient (Taiwan – where the vice pres. is an epidemiologist – and Norway, a country similar to Sweden) and the U.S., which is doing (IMHO) a really lousy job.

    The bottom chart is a slide from the UCSF Dept. of Medicine Grand Rounds this week. It points out the significant disparities among ethnic groups on deaths.

    By the way, the UCSF Medicine Grand Rounds which is on YouTube every 2nd Thursday is very interesting. A bit technical at times but the discussion from world experts is really authoritative and helpful if you are interested in some of the technical details.

  5. Bill Marshall

    And the big question is local… DJUSD, Yolo County, and City of Davis…

    Yet, the article seems focused on what State and Feds can/should do…

    Can we re-purpose this discussion to “local” (great doubt, there)…

    The measure to increase DJUSD employee compensation is now rendered a “spit in the ocean” (or other bodily fluid)  kinda of thing… Davis, Yolo, DJUSD revenues are ‘tanking’… no guarantee of State/Fed assistance… far from…

    So going to the purported topic, “what do we do now?”  That we actually, locally, have control over?

    Should be interesting discussion… I have my suspicions of how the City/County/DJUSD discussion will go… as to cuts or enhancements (taxes) to revenues…  particularly as union teachers in many districts, are demanding ‘hazard pay’, extra pay for distance learning, opening schools up in Jun/Jul being “extra”, etc.   But, remember, “it’s for the kids!”… City and County should make huge cuts to loosen up money for the schools, and the teachers, staff, and administrators… or, much greater taxes on all…

     

  6. Richard McCann

    Fundamentally, instead of saying “restarting” we should instead be saying “rethinking”. What was “normal” is not going to be so for a long time, if ever. And “normal” has been becoming increasingly problematic. We can’t turn back, even to the 1950s as the MAGA tribe desires. We’ve had one looming crisis requiring us to rethink how we proceed and now we have an even bigger crisis on our doorstep. It’s not time to be discussing a rushed reopening–it’s time to discuss what do we want our society to look like when we are ready to reopen.

    1. Keith Olsen

      In the case of Tesla, if they don’t go back to work or the county or state try to close them back down Musk will move Tesla to Texas.  Who wins then?

    2. Keith Olsen

      If going back to work and getting sick results in people suing we have no chance of ever getting out of this.  Congress has already stated that in the next stimulus bill they’re looking at safeguards for businesses over this.

    3. David Greenwald

      It’s actually against the orders of Alameda county, the state allowed them to go resume. FYI.

      “Yes, California approved, but an unelected county official illegally overrode. Also, all other auto companies in US are approved to resume. Only Tesla has been singled out. This is super messed up!”

      1. Keith Olsen

        Correct, I just saw that.  But it looks like the state’s and county’s lockdowns has cost CA future business.

        “Frankly, this is the final straw,” Musk wrote. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependent on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.”

        Read more here: https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article242657726.html#storylink=cpy

        1. David Greenwald

          I don’t think Tesla should dictate health and safety in this state. So I’m not going to cry over it. Elon strikes me as a brilliant guy, but he acts like a spoiled baby way too often for my tastes.

          1. David Greenwald

            I agree – he doesn’t care what I think. I don’t care what he thinks, so it’s probably even. They may love the revenue and jobs, they may grow tired of the antics that come with them.

        2. Keith Olsen

          I agree – he doesn’t care what I think. I don’t care what he thinks, so it’s probably even. 

          No it’s not even, Musk employs tens of thousands with great jobs and creates a lot of revenue for the county and state.  How much do you create?

          1. David Greenwald

            Indeed, I simply meant it’s even in terms of not caring what each other think.

        3. Jeff Boone

          Economic development is important for Davis, not for California – APPARENTLY

          Tribal political ignorance.   It is really quite breathtaking though… the city of retired liberal college professors that don’t understand where the dough that makes their bread originates from.  I thank the lord every day that I did not select that career path for all the lacking knowledge it would have caused me.

          1. Moderator

            the city of retired liberal college professors that don’t understand where the dough that makes their bread originates from. I thank the lord every day that I did not select that career path for all the lacking knowledge it would have caused me.

            Please stop with these kinds of disparaging generalizations.

        4. Jeff Boone

          Please stop with these kinds of disparaging generalizations.

          I am sorry but this is statistically proven.  And a very common problem that is important to understand.  People have a worldview shaped by their life experience and career.  In the decades of debating these issues it clear that there is this tremendous gap in understanding for how our economic system works to sustain the human condition.  Economic development should NOT be up for debate, it is a requirement.  You cannot block and shut-down the economy and then wring your hands over the resulting inadequate revenue to fund needed public-side services… unless you are ignorant or otherwise pushing some hidden agenda.

          Sometimes the first step in progress to fix a problem is to develop self-awareness for individual and collective contribution to the problem.

          1. David Greenwald

            “ I am sorry but this is statistically proven”

            Actually that is a misnomer. You do not statistically prove things. Proofs are for mathematics. You can only show inference and correlation through statistics – and correlation does not prove causation it only shows linkages.

        5. Richard McCann

          Keith O

          Are you saying that Musk is above the law and the rule of a democratic government? Because he does need to care what we think if he wants to continue to operate, and also if he wants us to buy his cars and rooftop solar.

        6. Richard McCann

          You cannot block and shut-down the economy and then wring your hands over the resulting inadequate revenue to fund needed public-side services… unless you are ignorant or otherwise pushing some hidden agenda.

          Jeff

          You ignore the fact that there is a tradeoff in the present situation. You have not presented any kind of case that the loss of economic activity has greater consequences than the likely increased mortality rates from prematurely reopening. Your proposed “solutions” to contain the diseases have key fatal flaws that make them infeasible, but you are unable to admit this problem. Come forward with a real justification that the consequences of reduced activity is worse than an additional one million deaths (at a minimum) and then you can make your claims.

        7. Keith Olsen

          Because he does need to care what we think if he wants to continue to operate, and also if he wants us to buy his cars and rooftop solar.

          I doubt Musk cares whether you or any of your friends decide not to buy his products over this.  There are others who will take your place and will buy his products precisely because he took a stand and opened back up.

        8. Jeff Boone

          You ignore the fact that there is a trade-off in the present situation.

          LOL  Pot calling the kettle black.

          It is EXACTLY the lack of tradeoff analysis that I am most concerned about.  And it is trade-off analysis considering the long-term big picture.  To get there one has to shed their constraining emotions and focus on the facts and data at hand.

          YOU CANNOT IMPLEMENT A COMMON SHUT-DOWN OF US ECONOMY TARGETING SOME UNATTAINABLE GOAL TO COMPLETELY MITIGATE THE RISK OF DEATH FROM A NOVEL VIRUS.

          You simply cannot.  That solution should have never been on the table… it should have never been allowed.

          We spend billions on the CDC, NHI and medical research related to pandemics and yet we were unprepared.  We counted on the government to have a plan in place, and instead we got a fear-based crisis response with decisions made on the fly to force extreme measures that will only cause long-lasting devastation to millions.

          Why didn’t we have the masks and ventilators we needed?  Why didn’t we have a plan to protect seniors specifically?

          There is copious evidence of breathtaking ignorance in how the US economy works to keep people alive and thriving.  Anyone with a modicum of sense for these things would never support the actions being taken.

          At a recent town-square conference meeting with congressman Garamendi, he responded to a comment from a small business sole proprietor related to conflicts with  unemployment benefits and the PPP program that he didn’t know and was unaware of her situation.  The EIDL program ran out of money and the SBA has been cutting the maxim loan amount.    This is common… we have people in government and working in government that are disconnected from the actual private economy.  They don’t understand how it works.  They don’t even know how many businesses are out there pumping the life-blood into the system.

          Consequently there is inadequate consideration of the trade-off consequences for their orders preventing almost 50% of the economy from functioning.  The lifeblood is being choked out.  Many people are going to lose their jobs, their business, their life savings, their homes.  And this will cascade into inadequate tax revenue.  The same government idiots that pushed the extreme measures will then start crying for more tax revenue… tax increases… thus causing more pain for the fewer remaining businesses and workers.

          I think we will look back on this and realize that we made terrible fear-based mistakes and exploded harm to the human population beyond comprehension.

          Yes, trade-off analysis is missing, but not from me.

        9. Robb Davis

          YOU CANNOT IMPLEMENT A COMMON SHUT-DOWN OF US ECONOMY TARGETING SOME UNATTAINABLE GOAL TO COMPLETELY MITIGATE THE RISK OF DEATH FROM A NOVEL VIRUS

          This is the straw man fallacy: “completely mitigate the risk of death” was never, nor is it now the goal of these directives.

        10. Bill Marshall

          … the city of retired liberal college professors…

          Please stop with these kinds of disparaging generalizations

          Moderator was ‘right arm’… now, if you had included all retired, independent, public employees (State, County, City, etc.), or retired, conservative folk who based their   private business in some significant part, to serving public entities, at a profit, maybe you wouldn’t have gotten an admonition…

          Time, place, manner…

          Saying that as an NPP, retired, public employee, who never worked as a professor… trending toward fiscal conservative, social liberal… the type all hate…

           

  7. Tia Will

     Musk employs tens of thousands with great jobs and creates a lot of revenue for the county and state.”

    Yes, he does. However, he is not an elected official. So, a theoretical question. At what point is a private individual or enterprise deemed so valuable as to be able to break or even flout the law? When does someone’s unofficial power become so great that they simply do not have to follow any rules they dislike? And if not during a pandemic, when the rules are being made to try to save lives, do we say “No. An Elon Musk’s”, for example, personal idiosyncratic preferences are worth more than the lives saved”?

    1. Keith Olsen

      Yes, he does. However, he is not an elected official.

      Actually, the Alameda County health official who is/was trying to stop Tesla from reopening is not an elected official either.

      1. Richard McCann

        The official is accountable to elected officials, the County Supervisors, who delegated their legitimate official power to the County health officer. That’s exactly the same as how corporate shareholders delegate their authority to the corporation’s management.

        1. Bill Marshall

          If the official is “at will” @ the discretion of County Supes, true… if the official is “at will”, @ discretion of the CAO, somewhat true…

          What I believe to be true is that the Board of Supes (likely by ordinance, or operation of law)  delegated powers to the CAO… who may have delegated powers, limited in scope, to the CHO… but am not really familiar with Alameda County… so, if I am correct, Alemeda Co supes can only ‘discipline’ or dismiss, the CAO…

          Ex.   Davis CC cannot dismiss a Dept Head… only the CM can, if “at will”… Davis CC can dismiss the CM, or CA… that’s it… even if “at will” status…

          Poli Sci 150 (upper division, not post graduate level)… surprised no Poli (or Poly) Sci folk didn’t pick up on that…

    2. Bill Marshall

      At what point is a private individual or enterprise deemed so valuable as to be able to break or even flout the law?

      Corollary…

      At what point is a public individual or enterprise deemed so valuable as to be able to break or even flout the law?

      Think of certain ‘electeds’… many, many examples… and some elected are, in reality, arguably, private businesses… can readily think of 3, in CA…

  8. Alan Miller

    [I got a post dropped – since there was no reason stated as to what policy I violated, I’ll assume it’s because I posted a link and repost best I can remember]

    I agree – he doesn’t care what I think. I don’t care what he thinks, so it’s probably even.

    Appears Lorena Gonzalez agrees with you.  She tweeted in regard to Musk threatening to leave, “F*ck Elon Musk”.

     

      1. Bill Marshall

        Ahhh, yes, Nevada and Texas … two “red” states that get more federal funds than they contribute via taxes… unlike CA… and when the US Senate approved relief for covid things, they made darn sure most of that, per capita, went to “red” states… gotta protect those “red states”… gotta love the Republicans’ fiscal priorities…

        Lincoln must be spinning in his crypt…

        And several of the “red states”, based on population, have a greater representation in Congress, and the Electoral college…

        1. Bill Marshall

          “in spite of their population” … Wyoming, per capita, has a much bigger ‘voice’ in Congress and the Electoral College, than CA…

          Can I call it “red state priviledge”?

        2. Bill Marshall

          To clarify… I have little respect for the most Democrats or Republicans… both have moved beyond first deviations from ‘reason’… John McCain was someone who could ‘reason’… but, like Lincoln, passed before he could fully make his imprint on the Republican Party… IMNSHO…

  9. Robert Canning

    Jeff Boone says: “There is copious evidence of breathtaking ignorance in how the US economy works to keep people alive and thriving.  Anyone with a modicum of sense for these things would never support the actions being taken.”

    You make many assertions like this that are “breathtaking”-ly either false or have no evidence to back them up. For all your huffing and puffing about political tribalism you rarely show any evidence to prove what you say except your points. Please stop just insulting people and make reasonable arguments if you must. You said you liked Sweden’s approach. That’s fine, what about it would be good for us?

      1. Bill Marshall

        Will there be a quid pro quo?… where you derive your income from?  Including gov’t contracts?  Just wondering…  feel free not to reply…

        1. Jeff Boone

          It was a rhetorical question because everyone’s income derives from the private economy.  The source of everything you and I would be thankful for for our good life  derives from what is being destroyed.  If you disagree please explain.

        2. Bill Marshall

          I opine, that the private and public side of the mix of the economy are ‘joined at the hip’… Siamese twins if you will…

          But perhaps you would prefer no public sector at all… all private sector… interesting concept… no government except the “free market”…

          How well would you thrive in a singularly private market, with no government?

        3. Jeff Boone

          But perhaps you would prefer no public sector at all… all private sector… interesting concept… no government except the “free market”…

          How well would you thrive in a singularly private market, with no government?

          That is off the point.  The point is that government exists to provide services that are funded by the private economy.  The government produces nothing.  It is all overhead.

          I have had this economics discussion with a few people lately that don’t seem to understand the relationship with American government and the domestic private economy.

          Place 100 people on an isolated land and they will need to produce to survive.  They will create a hierarchy based on their ability to contribute value to survival and then to prosperity.  They only elect government out of convenience to provide supportive services from an efficiency perspective.

          The design of this country, and most functioning democracies, was done so from a base of understanding that that government would have no overseer and would grow in tyrannical power.   We are seeing that today.  It is broken as the government should be subordinate to the people that put it in power, but instead it wields this awesome tyrannical power propped up by a biased and corrupt media that has injected fear into the population.   It is supported by a tribe of voters that get their money directly from the government in some way.   I am making the point that they should consider where that money comes from.

          The economic shutdown is an example of the awesome destructiveness of that tyrannical power.  Uncontrolled government will always run out of other people’s money.  What we are seeing is an accelerated explosion of the timeline for that happening to the once greatest nation on God’s green earth.

          I can see it coming… a wave of OMG astonishment that we are cutting police and fire and school programs… and public sector pensions are threatened.   And the idiots that don’t get it are pointing fingers at everyone except themselves and crying for a new round of tax increases to stop their suffering.

      2. Don Shor

        “There is copious evidence of breathtaking ignorance in how the US economy works to keep people alive and thriving.  Anyone with a modicum of sense for these things would never support the actions being taken.”

        “Explain to me where your income derives from.  I will wait for the answer.”

         

        I know where my income derives from. For that matter, I know where yours derives from. Nevertheless, I support the actions being taken, and I am not ignorant. So stop with your insults. Our disagreements about this policy are not due to a lack of information on my part.

         

        I support reopening the economy safely and gradually so that we do not get another surge of infections and deaths. I support the use of metrics set forth by health professionals. I urge that they be explained, over and over, to the general public. I suggest that the voices of haste and urgency need to be countered by those who support an evidence-based response to this pandemic. The last thing we want is to have to clamp down again. 

        The nexus of libertarianism and anti-science ideology has been a growing force in American politics. Now it appears it will be lethal.

         

    1. Bill Marshall

      Not sure about current value, but recall that the value of a human, based on full chemical value is ~ $25… but, there are the intrinsics… some would say 0… others might say infinite… depends on the person… is the value of Mother Teresa’s, Abraham Lincoln’s, your parents’ childrens’ life the same as Juan Corona or  Dorothea Puente?

  10. Robb Davis

    Okay, let’s cut to the chase on the US economy.  Right now it is in a coma.  That coma was induced. The economy will be kept alive by supporting consumption.  That is done by unemployment benefits that will remain in place until, say, certain benchmarks are reached.  Now if we had a more flexible system we would pay a percentage—80% let’s say—to businesses to keep people on their payrolls.  This would tie people to their jobs, allow them to keep any health insurance benefits they have, and keep the businesses on life support.  Other nations are doing just this.  It is not a fantasy.  The government could set benchmarks for winding up such supports.  They would be crude, but they would work.

    People would not get their full salary but they would keep a job and health insurance.  This is important in the US because that is how our amazing health system works: you get it with a job.  Lose the job and…

    Now, if you can’t do that, and apparently we can’t for some reason, you put your money into unemployment but then you MUST bail out the states because they pay most of it.  You must also support them to provide health insurance for people who lose theirs.

    Like in any natural disaster there are some businesses that will not come back after the disaster is gone.  But, by supporting the economy while in the coma you at least support basic consumption and give them a chance.  Then you do all the things that public health people are saying you can and must do to “re-start” things: testing, tracing, isolating (stuff that others have done successfully).  Things like providing detailed guidance to businesses so they know how to open safely so that real people actually have confidence they won’t get sick if they go out.  This is what public health people want—a re-opened economy!!! (I should know, I am one)

    Now this all costs a lot of money and some people will cry “future inflation” or “future high interest rates.”  Those same people will cry “if we don’t do something NOW, permanent damage to the economy!”  So, even if I grant that future interests rates will be higher or that inflation will increase (something I am not willing to grant given that people seem to be willing to pay the US government to hold their money right now), I still would argue for action now to cover people’s basic needs.  Because, I KNOW what dong something NOW will mean.  I have no idea what it will mean in the future except that deficits after WWII were WAY beyond what we are talking about and things are pretty much fine (except for COVID-19)

    This is the way forward.  It is not true Keynesianism because we basically are admitting in real time that we have no “automatic stabilizers”—the kind that Keynes liked and the kind that some countries (like Sweden) have in place already. So we need to create a kind of rubegoldbergish post hoc Keynesian system.

    About 6 months ago, Republicans now claiming that deficits will kill us (sometime in the future) were quite content to see a trillion dollar deficit emerge in the face of tax cuts they supported.  Now they have all become born again budget hawks (except Rand Paul who has been consistent but who also wants to go back to the gold standard—or was that his dad?).  So I am having trouble understanding why massive, deficit creating, tax cuts were okay but deficit creating support to the people in this country is not.

     

    1. Jeff Boone

      Tax cuts don’t cause deficits.  Spending more than you take in causes deficits.  And we have had deficits 85% of the last century no matter what the tax rates have been.  Revenues to the federal government under Trump were up signifantly even with the tax cuts… before the orders to shut down the economy.

      It is my opinion that your explanation is indicative of the economic ignorance I am claiming exists.  The private economy is bigger, more complex, more important and less able to stop and start on the whims of administrators.  LA administrators are saying they will keep things closed until August.

      You cannot just pump trillions of newly printed dollars into this self induced coma and expect that the patient will just wake up in 3-6 months later and magically just go back to being anything close to healthy.  It does not work that way.  Have you talked to any business owners?

       

      1. Robb Davis

        Listen you talked about ignorance of the US economy so I went to that level in my discussion. Of course tax cuts ALONE don’t cause deficits.  My point was, there were, except for Paul NO Republican elected official I know of who decried the deficits occasioned by the tax cuts EVEN THOUGH the CBO made it clear what their effects would be.  In fact, some did just the opposite, trotting out Laffer again to say they would pay for themselves.  Back then and ever since up until about two weeks ago, the trillion dollar deficit under the current administration was simply not that big a deal.

        And that is why there is no way that Republicans (except Paul) get to run back to their favorite scare tactic to withhold needed relief from American families and businesses.  Further, to politicize it by claiming “blue state support” is just awful since real people of all political stripes live in all states.

        And I have talked to business owners and many support the current efforts.

        In addition, I have not seen you support at all the things we need to do to re-open in a way that will give people confidence to “re-enter” the “re-opened” economy: test, trace, isolate massively scaled, and clear, precise guidelines for how to open specific types of businesses safely.  This is the pathway that public health officials have offered and instead of asking how to move it forward all I see in response is a bunch of hand waving and the cry “reopen the economy!”

        So, there is a plan to re-open, federal support can and should come with clear benchmarks about when to taper it.  No one, least of all me, said it was not going be bumpy: this is, after all, a national level, natural disaster (not sure if I ever mentioned that on this particular site).

    2. Mark West

      “So I am having trouble understanding why massive, deficit creating, tax cuts were okay but deficit creating support to the people in this country is not.”

      That’s easy. The answer is obvious when you look at who is receiving the benefit. Republicans love to give money to those who are already wealthy and hate giving it to those who need it.

      1. Jeff Boone

        OMG… this is a hoot.  The Democrats are now the party of big business money.  Seems like only Elon Musk is willing to take a moral stand while risking his big government payouts from the Dems.

        I think you are still living in the 70s.  Today the Republicans are the party supporting small business and the working class.  The Democrats seem to want both destroyed for supporting Trump and his policies design to help them return to some level of sustainability.

        I agree with Robb that only Republican Rand Paul seems to speak out against deficit spending.  But there are no Democrats speaking out against it unless they are using their disingenuous DNC talking point blaming Trump.

        And Trump has submitted budget proposals that would work on cutting the deficit.  It is just that been-in-office-since-the-dinosaurs Nancy and her band of merry spenders said no and the left media backed them up scaring the voters for all their hand-outs they would stop getting.   https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/10/business/president-trump-budget-cuts.html

        This shut-down is just another example of the administrative state pushing handouts over self-reliance.

  11. Robb Davis

    So… let’s do what is necessary to “re-open.”  But make no mistake, if consumers do not feel safe they will not “re-enter” a “reopened” economy.  You can’t make people shop, dine out, or get their hair cut. Two things we need ASAP to build confidence and avoid further unnecessary deaths (and COVID-related morbidity that none of the “open now” folks ever talk about):

    1. Massive testing/tracing/isolating

    2. Clear guidance (that the CDC director yesterday promised were coming “soon”) to businesses, schools, organizations about how to safely resume their activities.

    These are practical, actionable actions to achieve clear goals.  We should all support them.

  12. Doby Fleeman

    The variable that is being ignored in this conversation is the reality that our nation’s daily Per Capita Governmental and Economic Operating Overhead  – with minor exceptions – leaves the rest of the world in the dust.

    And when that dust settles, the magnitude of our new Governments debts will be enormous – presenting a long term drag on our future economy that nobody can possibly imagine.  For every day this lockdown persists, we are falling deeper and deeper into debt relative to our G-7 and G-20 neighbors based on our higher operating overhead.  It’s really that basic.

    That’s the cost  – combined with the unprecedented growth in, and untested transfer of power to, government directed programs that may take decades to unwind – if ever.   Those are the costs to which Jeff continues to refer, and nobody – least of all the stock market – is yet willing to admit or discuss.

    If you have faith in the model of Big Government joined at the hip with all-powerful Monopolies and Duopolies – I guess there is little to worry about.

     

     

    1. Robb Davis

      …the reality that our nation’s daily Per Capita Governmental and Economic Operating Overhead  – with minor exceptions – leaves the rest of the world in the dust…

      And when that dust settles, the magnitude of our new Governments debts will be enormous – presenting a long term drag on our future economy that nobody can possibly imagine.

      Really scary statements Doby, so I will bite.  Show me the comparisons you are worried about.  Provide me with a historical, inflation-adjusted debt per capita figures that make your point. I will analyze them and we can discuss how it could play out.  We have faced deep indebtedness before—some even refer to the WWII debt as an investment in the future that led to a boom.  So what are the data?

      I will try to do some research myself when I have a moment just to demonstrate I am not asking in bad faith.

      And I honestly do not know what you mean (honestly) by Big Government joined at the hip with Monopolies and Duopolies… As if this is something new? Have you opposed the military industrial complex’s evolution?  Did you oppose the rise of the surveillance state post 9-11?  I guess I am wondering what is new here…

      1. Doby Fleeman

        Times are scary, in more ways that one.  I appreciate your skepticism, and you probably won’t be satisfied with my answer, because it’s not based on science.

        I’m trying to use my education, past experience and what’s left of my common sense to process this crazy state of affairs.   Mine are gut reactions, influenced by education and experience.

        I view this current situation as akin to a war.  During a classic or traditional war, we assign Generals to make strategic assessments and tough decisions to deploy assets and manpower accordingly.  They are faced with the ultimate decision of sending brave, mostly young, American’s directly into harms way knowing the many many not survive to see tomorrow.

        Today, we are engaged in the opening salvo to a much longer term engagement.  Today’s first responders and medical corps are like the MASH units responding to the Twin Towers attach or first salvo in a much longer campaign.

        Taking the long view, concerning the survival of our country, our nation, our culture of traditions, and the prospects for future generations of young Americans – I suggest we have an obligation to question every element of our strategic approach to each battle and every aspect of this war.   Who are our Generals in this war?   Should their ranks be comprised solely of doctors and epidemologists?  You tell me.

        What are the relative risks of death for our cohort of 20-50 years old Americans?  These represent the next generations of Americans.  Is that not a legitimate question?   What if the personal risk of death or serious disability – in returning to work (not war) is acceptable to the them and their family and they choose to take that risk for the sake of their future and their family’s future?   Who should be empowered to deny them that personal choice?  Care to address that question?

        What criteria “specifically” are appropriate in order “to deny them the right to make their own personal decision”?

        Many of our medical experts have gone out of their way to emphasize that “certain high risk cohorts are most at risk to this horrific disease”.   Fine, penalize me and others – if you must – in this situation, but what of the vast multitudes of others – others who have done nothing wrong, who are at very low risk of death –  but whose lives and livelihoods are melting away before their family’s eyes?

        I’m suggesting the objective of this current war cannot be measured simply by the incidence of death attributable to the disease.   That would be akin to measuring our results in a true conflict, by assessing how effective we were in limiting death and casualties – regardless of the outcome of the actual war.   Minimizing casualties – not eliminating them – is always the goal, but not at the expense of losing the war.

        Something is missing in the current conversation – and something is wrong – when our citizens are expected to dutifully follow the instruction of medical masters as they focus on the singular metric of minimizing and eliminating deaths from Covid – while often ignoring and failing to act on identifiable patterns of susceptibility and resilience, common sense, global and local economic realities, and personal obligations to families, community and country.

        With apologies – this is a war – make no mistake.

  13. Robb Davis

    What I am saying, in other words, is that the horse of Big Government left the barn a long time ago in the years of the Cold War and the rise of the surveillance state after the towers fell.  It is a little late in the game to raise that specter as if somehow coronavirus will make it worse.  I am not buying it.

    If anything we are seeing the results of the complete hollowing out of the federal government that can’t even get its act together enough to issue comprehensive guidelines about how to reopen busineeses.  We are seeing the almost complete abdication of responsibilities usually held to tightly by the centralized state to state and local government.  This virus has not revealed the power of Big Government but the fact that is is hollow and seemingly without effect.

    1. Jeff Boone

      My perspective.

      Big government exploded under Obama with more major rules and big spending than we had seen since the mistakes of FDR’s New Deal.   We had not yet recovered from the Great Recession, and Trump in his second term was poised to focus on deficit reduction assuming the Senate stayed in GOP hands and possibly even the House moved back into GOP hands.   But the virus response changed all that.

      This COVID-19 spending coupled with the destruction of tax revenue flows is going to be the nail in the coffin.

      The state of CA and most counties and cities in the state were dealing with budget deficits even while the economy was humping.   What will happen now?

      My perspective is that WE COULD NOT AFFORD TO TAKE THESE WIDE-SPREAD DRACONIAN MEASURES to lower the risk of being infected by the virus.   We should have only taken an approach like Sweden… except more protection of seniors and people over 75.  We should have held the economy as precious in consideration while we considered steps to mitigate the health risks.

      There is a limit to the amount of deficit spending the country can endure.  The national debt was ~$10 trillion when Bush left office.   It about doubled in eight years of Obama spending.  The 10-year interest cost projected for just Obama’s debt is $6.9 trillion.

      Your jokes about the Laffer Curve are a joke.   Tax receipts have increased after the Trump tax cuts.  The deficit increases were because of more spending… most of it from government healthcare payments and also the interest on the national debt.  Defense spending was increased but only to make up for what Obama gutted.  The ~3.2% of GDP spending on defense is below average still.

      And now we just exploded all of this again… largely unnecessarily.   What will it be when we are done?  Another $10 trillion?!  Sure we can handle that… NOT!

      Chairman Jerome Powell said Congress and the White House will need to spend more money to make sure policy makers’ quick initial response to the coronavirus-induced economic contraction isn’t wasted.

      This is exactly the double-down road to devastation that every chronic gambler faces… need to recover those lost bets, so we need to lay more down on the table!

      The government can not just keep sending money to broken business expecting it to stay in business.   It does not work that way.

      Doby is correct in my opinion.   We made a mess of things and continue to defend our actions for adding more to the mess.

      God I hope I am wrong, but I see us heading into a global depression and possibly worse.  And the deaths from that will far exceed the wildest fears of death from Covid-19.

      1. Robert Canning

        Jeff Boone says: “Big government exploded under Obama with more major rules and big spending than we had seen since the mistakes of FDR’s New Deal.   We had not yet recovered from the Great Recession, and Trump in his second term was poised to focus on deficit reduction assuming the Senate stayed in GOP hands and possibly even the House moved back into GOP hands.   But the virus response changed all that.”

        First, Trump is only in his first term.  Nice try! Second, although Obama’s deficit went up in the first term, when Trump took over in 2017 it was back down to $585 billion. Since then the deficit (under Republican majorities in the House – until 2018 – and Senate) has allowed it to balloon to $940 billion in 2019 and a bit over $1 trillion this year.  See Forbes, Feb. 1, 2020: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2020/02/01/trumps-deficits-are-racing-past-obamas/#7872d33e4819

         

  14. Keith Olsen

    What’s the plan anyway?  Keep the curve low so the hospitals didn’t get over run.

    99.9% of the hospitals never got over ran.

    Has everyone visited any hospitals lately?  They’re dead.

    Of course the infection numbers will show a rise when more tests are getting administered.

    But are there actually more cases than before, are the rates going up or down?

    What we do know for sure is we’re killing the economy, will that result in more harm than anything COVID has or will do?

    Are we going to shut down waiting for a vaccine that may never happen?

    There’s never been a vaccine for any coronavirus to date.

    1. Robert Canning

      Keith says: Are we going to shut down waiting for a vaccine that may never happen? There’s never been a vaccine for any coronavirus to date.”

      No one is saying that we stay shut down till there is a vaccine? Can you provide a reference for your assertion?

      A reasonable approach is what the health experts are suggesting: test, trace, isolate. Allow businesses to open in a gradual process that insures the public is safe.

      Several people on this thread have suggested we should be like Sweden. Current data shows that Sweden’s deaths from COVID-19 per capita is higher than the U.S. and has been so for much of the last month. See: https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/daily-covid-deaths-per-million-7-day-average?country=USA+CAN+SWE+NOR+KOR+ITA

       

      1. Keith Olsen

        Sweden’s numbers will be higher per capita at first, but when the herd immunity is in place their numbers will drastically fall while our numbers will continue to grow due the trying to flatten the curve which in reality is just prolonging and lengthening the curve.

         

  15. Robb Davis

    Listen – I still have zero engagement on ideas for providing for a safe and smooth reopening.  Either you all don’t think they are relevant, don’t think they are necessary, or don’t have an opinion.  But, there is ample analysis that if we do not open safely 1) people will not return to the places that generate the economic value you search; and 2) the economic fallout of a return to increased infection will be worse.

    So, I am looking for some support for the key measures that will move us forward:

    1. Test, trace, and isolate

    2. Provide clear guidance to businesses so they and their clients can feel confident in returning.

    Keith, your question about more testing=more infections is well taken.  Mortality is a better measure and your many doubts to the contrary we have strong evidence now of undercounting.  And mortality trends are not monolithic in the US (there are pockets).

    I am also extremely concerned that morbidity and sequelae of this disease, which are not much discussed here and are getting underplayed.  This includes emerging concerns raised by Dr. Fauci yesterday about the effects in children.  We still have much to learn about this virus. Clinically it is far more troubling than a narrow focus on ventilators would suggest.

    1. Jeff Boone

      I am also extremely concerned that morbidity and sequelae of this disease, which are not much discussed here and are getting underplayed.  This includes emerging concerns raised by Dr. Fauci yesterday about the effects in children.  We still have much to learn about this virus. Clinically it is far more troubling than a narrow focus on ventilators would suggest.

      With all due respect, I see this as a bunch of fear-mongering.  There is this forever growing list of fears for what this virus does.  And little admission for what it does not do and that viruses ALWAYS exist and people are ALWAYS catching them and some are ALWAYS left with lasting health impacts and there is ALWAYS a morbidity and mortality rate with every virus.

      This reminds me of global warming… a play of fear backed by “science” and the media that leads to ideological imprinting that leads to political demands to roll back business and industry into some fantasy of human sustainability from sunlight, batteries and plants… and now no personal contact.

      So, I am looking for some support for the key measures that will move us forward:

      So who… what entity or entities do you expect to deliver these guidelines and measures?  Isn’t it supposed to be the state?  But in our state the governor seems to be half in dictator mode and half allowing local agencies to decide.

      From my perspective, every employee checks their temp before they come to work and they stay home if they have one.  If they have a temp for more than a couple of days, they stay home for at least a week after the last day they had a temp.  Then make the vulnerable and people over 75 shelter in place until… I guess the election where either Trump is re-elected or he is not.   Then reopen the economy except for the large venue entertainment and conference business.

        1. Jeff Boone

          You seem very overly fearful about the impact of the disease.  So much that you seem very cavalier… I would say callous… about the impacts caused by the orders to eliminate risk.

          1. David Greenwald

            I see it as a tradeoff between the impacts of the disease v the impacts of the shutdown and I believe between innovation and government intervention we can mitigate the latter better than we can mitigate the former.

            The other problem that you’re not taking into account is that when cases and deaths start spiking, the pressure is going to move toward closing down again. So you are going to end up not only prolonging the illness part of this crisis, but probably the economic hit on it by re-starting too soon.

        2. Jeff Boone

          I see it as a tradeoff between the impacts of the disease v the impacts of the shutdown and I believe between innovation and government intervention we can mitigate the latter better than we can mitigate the former.

          I agree with the tradeoff part.  What I don’t agree with is that we can better mitigate the former with these over-the-top, extreme, draconion, one-size-fits-all shutdowns ordered by the newly excited I-get-to-play-dictator-backed-by-science politicians.

          Here is how it SHOULD be played.

          Public service announcements to explain the risks as they are known and the mitigation recommendations.   End to large venues/events until the infection rate risk has dropped to insignificant.

          But otherwise, let people make their own decisions.  If you are afraid of catching it, then stay in and don’t go out.  If you are not afraid, then go live your life.  THAT is what we Americans are supposed to be made of.

          1. David Greenwald

            I think the best approach to saving the economy is by innovating how you operate the economy to minimize risk of infection. But I see enough careless behavior as it to worry that enough people will be reckless to put us all at risk. And in the end, that will prevent the economy from being saved because too many people will simply hunker down until they see it being safe.

          2. David Greenwald

            The problem is that “if you are not afraid” mantra is that you end up putting others at risk through your choice.

        3. Mark West

          “But otherwise, let people make their own decisions.  If you are afraid of catching it, then stay in and don’t go out.  If you are not afraid, then go live your life.”

          The problem, Jeff, is that your actions impact those around you. We currently are fortunate to have relatively few cases of COVID 19 in this immediate area. The stay at home orders helped slow the spread of the disease into our community. If you and others decide that it is now safe for you to act the hero and go back to your regular life, you provide the opportunity to increase the incidence of the virus in the community, and thereby endanger those around you – even if they stay at home. We do need to open up again and allow people to return to work, but first, we need to have in place a robust system to test, contact trace, and isolate (like they have at the Whitehouse). Thanks to the incompetent federal response to this crisis, we don’t have that yet, so no, it is not safe for you or anyone else to go out until we do.

      1. Robert Canning

        Jeff Boone says: “And little admission for what it does not do and that viruses ALWAYS exist and people are ALWAYS catching them and some are ALWAYS left with lasting health impacts and there is ALWAYS a morbidity and mortality rate with every virus.”

        Don’t you think this virus is a little different than those that came before? How about almost 100,000 dead in less than 90 days? And what does this virus “not do”? You’re not making any sense.

        And what would you do instead of what we have done? You suggested Sweden the other day but Sweden has a per capita death rate one-third higher than the U.S. Is this what you want?

      2. Alan Miller

        Frankly (though I’m not), I pretty much agree with you about global warming.  Not that we shouldn’t be doing everything we can within reason to improve air quality – and I do believe in climate change; I have a degree in geology – so how could I not?  The climate is changing all the time – the question is — how much of this is created by humans?  I doubt anyone really knows.   But “climate change” when stated in that wording, pretty much reflects a political agenda.

        I see the parallels you wish to make with Coronavirus, but Frankly (though I’m not), I think you’re out to a very nice lunch on this one, while the enemy is all around.  The Coronavirus is an enemy:  deadly, soul-less, invisible, using us to silent kill others via it’s tricks of spreading death while invisible and even using carriers to spread death unknowingly.  The invaded society does not set the terms of defense, the invader does.  Another trick is that this invader appears to be gone while it’s only in waiting, tricking members of the invaded society into feeling safe.

        However, so much of how this has been handled has been so blatantly stupid in both over-reaction and under-reaction, it fuels politically-fueled resistance to societal cooperation, and fuels conspiracy theories.

    2. Robert Canning

      Just a little flashback to 5-1/2 years ago when there was a significant Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Here’s what Jeff Boone (aka Frankly) said then: “There is a line that this thing can easily cross where all of us will be looking back asking why we did not take more extreme measures to contain it when we had the chance.  Then we would really understand the human cost for preventing hurt feelings.”

      No irony intended.

      1. Jeff Boone

        I find no irony at all on that.  Extreme measures would be to shut down the borders and travel and contain the most vulnerable.  I would have never agreed to extreme shutdowns of the economy.  LA Country just took it until the end of August.

        Here is the moral dilemma for you.  If there is such a contagious disease and some people in a currently isolated community have it and you are so worried that they might get out to infect others, do you enlist the military to nuke them to save everyone else?

        Or maybe you consider the science that 83% don’t have any symptoms or mild symptoms.  That children don’t have much of a problem with it.   That is seems to be less contagious in the sun, and that people forced to shelter in place have ended up with a higher rate of infection and death.  And that locking down the seniors would seem to cause the overall mortality rate to plummet to next to nothing.

        Or you could be afraid or want to see your politics prevail so badly, that you nuke all those people and more… slowly… painfully… because… of course… you are virtuous and you know your morality stands heads and shoulders above those that disagree.

        1. Robb Davis

          Or maybe you consider the science that 83% don’t have any symptoms or mild symptoms.  That children don’t have much of a problem with it.   That is seems to be less contagious in the sun, and that people forced to shelter in place have ended up with a higher rate of infection and death.  And that locking down the seniors would seem to cause the overall mortality rate to plummet to next to nothing.

          Or you could be afraid or want to see your politics prevail so badly, that you nuke all those people and more… slowly… painfully… because… of course… you are virtuous and you know your morality stands heads and shoulders above those that disagree.

          There are a number of pretty serious distortions/minimizations here:

          1. Having no or mild symptoms does not mean that you are not contagious and 17% percent with serious disease in a population the size of the US is a mind-boggling number.  The 83% can spread much suffering.

          2. Children do not have much problem with it at all… This is where humility is required. Epidemiologists have been of one mind: they do not really know the role children are playing on the spread and the emergence of inflammatory disease in children who had COVID-19 is just coming to the fore.  We need to wait before making judgments like this.

          3. It seems less contagious in the sun… Don’t even know where to begin on this one… The virus is destroyed by sunlight but people with the disease can spread it as easily in the sun as in the shade or indoors.

          4. People forced to shelter in place have ended up with a higher rate of infection.  Wow, that is just wrong. I know this is coming from the Cuomo statement and it is just wrong. I pointed this out twice over the weekend. You cannot make this statement. The data that Cuomo presented say zero—nothing—about means of transmission and they only demonstrate that sheltering in place is meaningless unless everyone is doing it.

          5. Locking down the seniors… does this mean no contact with caregivers (family, friends, paid staff) who themselves are NOT locked down?  Yes, we can reduce the probability of spread in senior care facilities but locking people down at home, unless it means no contact with people who ARE NOT locked down (those circulating in the now-open economy you seek).

          There seems to be some basic misunderstanding of how this virus spreads in these comments.

          I won’t get into the false binary “moral” dilemma that you set up except to say that your final comment is ridiculous and implies that those of us who support the measures in place (with opening based on test/trace/isolate and clear guidelines for businesses) are murderers.  I would invite you to Google historical epidemiology to look at overall mortality during depressions and deep recessions to see what they say.  Might be instructional

        2. Jeff Boone

          1. Having no or mild symptoms does not mean that you are not contagious and 17% percent with serious disease in a population the size of the US is a mind-boggling number.  The 83% can spread much suffering.

          I think this pretty much sums up the difference in perspective.

          If 17% are at risk (and I think this is WAY inflated based on what I understand the true statistics to be) and 83% are going to have no or mild symptoms, then my perspective is that we implement policies that educate people to make their own risk-considered decisions about how they want to live their lives… while including some reasonable non-economy-destroying measures to help reduce the spread.

          Freedom has a cost, don’t you agree?  We could implement a number of bans on things to keep everyone more safe from harm and death.  Ban swimming pools and bathtubs.  Ban soda.  Ban automobiles.  Ban leaving the house.  Ban anything and everything that has some risk for causing death earlier than someone in power thinks is acceptable.  Unfortunately we have not figured out how to ban nature… and nature will always cause the most harm and death.   Nature must be really frustrating to those that believe they can make up rules to keep everyone safe.  Ironically the most dangerous of all nature is human nature.

          Speaking of dangerous human nature, there seems to be a cohort of educated people owning the mindset that they and/or their administrative representatives should be the protectors of people unwilling and/or incapable of making good decisions for taking care of themselves.  Thus it is moral and virtuous to ban things… including banning the ability to make a living and to keep your business from failing and your employees from being put into poverty… to protect these potential victims from hurting or killing themselves… but more importantly to prevent them from being a risk to those others that are prone to regret from bad decisions.

          It is the actionable line that we are talking about.  I think we are WAY over the line of reason.  Way into something that this country would never have expected to experience.  The rise of the media-backed bossy administrative matriarchal nanny state with the capability to leverage science-backed fear to provide awesome tyrannical power to take away all freedom in an self-congratulatory orgasm of righteous protective virtue.    “We know what is best for you” is the slogan of just about every tyrant and despot that has led their people to complete and utter misery and destruction.

          If you don’t have faith in enough people for making good life decisions, then you likely think it is the government’s job to try and eliminate the risk that these poor incapable people will do something they regret.  And there we have the common theme of the slow spiral of social decay and system destruction caused by the soft bigotry of low expectations.

          “I am government and I am here to help”  If we are accurately afraid of anything, it should be this statement.

        3. Don Shor

          there seems to be a cohort of educated people owning the mindset that they and/or their administrative representatives should be the protectors of people unwilling and/or incapable of making good decisions for taking care of themselves. 

          Yeah, we know people are really good about that. Here, a picture is worth a thousand words.

          I am with a group of 25 nurses and doctors who have been working in NYC hospitals for the past 2-4 weeks. We are coming home.”

           

        4. Keith Olsen

          United flew those doctors round trip free of charge coast to coast to help out in N.Y.

          There’s no way an airline can space everyone at least 6 feet apart and hope to make money.

          I felt the doctor who was flying for free on United’s dime was less than thankful because he had to sit next to someone.

          United’s passenger numbers are down 97%, most flights are near empty.   This one happened to be almost full mostly because of United’s generosity of giving the doctors and nurses free airfare.

          1. David Greenwald

            I definitely wouldn’t be thankful having to put my life in danger flying next to someone.

        5. Jeff Boone

          Did you know that a significant number of COVID-19 deaths in New York and California were caused by government ordering seniors back to the nursing homes after their hospital doctors diagnosed them as having or likely having the virus?

          “We are government and we are here to help” should cause everyone much more fear than should a virus.

        6. Jeff Boone

          United flew those doctors round trip free of charge coast to coast to help out in N.Y.

          And Cuomo let them know they would all be paying New York state income tax for the money they earned providing that help.

        7. Keith Olsen

          I definitely wouldn’t be thankful having to put my life in danger flying next to someone.

          Then you can pay for your seat, the seats next to you , in front of you and behind you to ensure your 6 foot cushion. Or better yet, drive to N.Y. and back, no problem.

           

  16. Robb Davis

    Don’t accuse me of fear mongering please. I have spent my entire career trying to use data for informed decision making and it has served me well in the middle of a cholera outbreak, a malaria outbreak in a population in which malaria was not endemic, and in talking to people in West Africa about HIV risks. There are real consequences for this virus and there is still much we do not understand. As Rand Paul said yesterday and Dr. Fauci agreed, a bit of humility is in order.

  17. Robb Davis

    Who is supposed to deliver the guidelines?  In the deep past, say 4 years ago, the CDC would have been the unquestioned authority on these issues.  Unquestioned. And people would wait for their advice.

  18. Robb Davis

    We never had, before they were developed, the following vaccines (and the diseases they fought were considered inevitable and that there was “nothing” that could be done).  Not an exhaustive list:

    Smallpox (which no longer exists on the planet but at one time was viewed as untreatable)

    Measles

    Pertussis

    Influenza

    Hepatitis A

    Hepatitis B

    Mumps

    Rubella

    Tetanus (deadly in pregnancy)

    The main reason there has been no vaccine for a coronavirus is that there has never been one that transmits as easily as SARS-COV2 and is as deadly.

    1. Don Shor

      A question I am beginning to have is whether those who are pushing so hard to “open the economy” would favor a vaccine being mandatory once it is developed. And if not, whether they themselves would get one. There’s a lot of overlap between the ‘open it up’ and anti-vax crowds, and they show a similar philosophical bent towards free choice having primacy over public health and safety. And a similar disdain for science.

      1. Richard McCann

        At the heart of the general political discontent that bubbled to the fore in 2016 is the belief by many that they only need to be responsible to themselves and that they bear no personal responsibility to others or to society. But for most of those with this social and political philosophy, others have responsibilities to them to respect their authority and elevated historic position in society, and not to infringe in any way on their own personal choices and behavior.

  19. Robb Davis

    From my perspective, every employee checks their temp before they come to work and they stay home if they have one

    Thanks for your perspective. Please understand that it shows a lack of understanding of the asymptomatic spread of this particular virus—one of the issues that has made containing it so vexing.  Check temperatures all you want, people are still going to spread this disease even if they are not displaying symptoms and fever is NOT a definitive one for this virus.

  20. Robert Canning

    Jeff Boone uses a three-year-old article to counter my point about Obama vs. Trump deficits. Jeff – things have changed in three years. Trump’s deficits have become bigger than Obama’s. Here’s the CBO deficit estimates from earlier this year (prior to COVID-19 impacts) (https://www.cbo.gov/data/budget-economic-data#11)

    The deficit in Obama’s first year (2009) was $1.412 trillion. It dropped to $584 billion in 2016. In Trump’s first year (2017) it was $665 billion and has now gone up to $964 billion in 2019 and over $1 trillion and rising in 2020. Projected to go about $1.5 trillion by 2030 (without COVID impacts).

    The Republicans used to scream bloody murder about the deficit but we don’t hear them saying much these days (prior to COVID).

     

    1. Jeff Boone

      LOL.  Nope.  The facts are the facts Roberto.  Did you read the article, or just start Googling for back up and having failed tried a desperate attempt at obfuscation?

      It is really hard to accept the end to a political meme you have grown to love.

      Obama loaded up the budget commitments… put delays in Obamacare until 2014.  I can blame the Republicans for not doing more the first two years, but then many of them were not really Republicans but establishment hacks playing a slightly different part on TV.

        1. Jeff Boone

          Big tent is fine.  Big government is not.

          Reagan was a different time.  Cold war still a dominant concern.

          Any real Republican is a center-right libertarian.  Small and limited government that is focused on preserving safety, security and individual freedom.  Reagan was all that.  McCain and Romney… not at all.

        2. Richard McCann

          Jeff B

          But you’re not a center-right libertarian. Libertarians respect others, argue that the wealthy should also be at risk, argue for downsizing corporations that wield too much economic power, and find the previous “normal” troubling.

          You are a reactionary because you disparage others for who they are, argue for a return to a past where certain social classes were deemed authoritative and deserving of a place at the front of the economic opportunity queue, and protection of existing economic interests.

      1. Richard McCann

        Jeff B

        I don’t understand your retort. Robert is correct that your citation is more than 3 years old, and he presented the updated version that shows correctly that Trump has exceeded Obama’s deficits, and that while Obama’s deficits quickly trended downward, Trump’s are headed the other way. What other factual dispute do you have with Robert’s presentation? You appear to be using the classic Internet troll tactic of asserting the opposite of the facts that you have been presented with because you assume that your readers won’t go to check the links that are presented.

        As to your earlier NY Times link, you missed the most important one: that Trump’s “falling deficits” are based on a fictional economic forecast that is equivalent to Reagan’s “rosy scenario” in 1981. This linked article points out this fictional approach: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/10/business/economy/trump-budget.html

         

        1. Jeff Boone

          https://www.crfb.org/blogs/spending-has-increased-800-billion-under-president-trump

          To be clear, much of this growth is due to factors outside of the President’s control – largely autopilot spending from both Social Security and Medicare due to the aging population.

          Here is where your fake news meme of Trump being responsible for the budget deficit being shot full of holes.  First, it is an intellectually dishonest argument because if your team was in the White House you would support more spending.  Second, Trump has not implemented any big new spending.  Obama did massive new spending.  And he also implemented massive amounts of major rules that cost the private economy.

          Trump has been rolling back many of those major rules.  And he has committed to working on budget reductions.  But the expense are not his doing… they from Obama and Bush and others before them.

          You work on entitlement cuts your second term because your opponent would otherwise beat you up over it and you would not win a second term.

          Name one Trump program that has added significant cost to the nation (other than the pandemic measures).

        2. Richard McCann

          First, the Manhattan Institute is far from unbiased given its heavy reliance on large corporations for funding. But even the MI cites Bush as the real culprit here:

          New legislation cost $5.0 trillion over the 2009–19 period. However, $4.1 trillion of this “cost” came from basic extensions of expiring taxes including the Bush-era tax cuts.

          But more importantly, Trump’s deficits have grown for TWO reasons which you ignore. First, he increased defense spending while doing little to reduce spending anywhere else. And second, and much more importantly, he cut tax revenue severely at a time when the economy was already running near full capacity. We already know that “supply side economic theory” is a failure since we’ve tried it twice before (1981 and 2001) and that tax revenues never catch up to the substantial decrease. In both cases it took tax increases (1993 and 2009) to reverse the deficit trend. And the economy is never boosted on a sustained basis by these types of cuts. The numerous studies across the decades in the economics journals have shown that this is a fallacy. And even Trump’s short boost quickly ran out and we returned to the same growth rates that we had in Obama’s second term (until the crisis). The problem now is that we’re pretty much out of bullets because Trump wasted them all in 2017 and 2018.

        3. Jeff Boone

          First, the Manhattan Institute is far from unbiased given its heavy reliance on large corporations for funding. But even the MI cites Bush as the real culprit here:

          So now you pivot to say it was Bush’s fault and that my cite is biased.  I keep feeding you truth and fact, and you keep deflecting and sticking with your fake news memes.  By the way, you do recognize that you posted your “facts” from a NYT article?  LOL.

          Trump’s deficits have grown for TWO reasons which you ignore. First, he increased defense spending while doing little to reduce spending anywhere else.

          No I have not ignored that.  You seem to not read before you start doing Google searches.   I already admitted that it is the only thing you can pin on Trump for increased spending.  But he just replaced what Obama gutted, and the % of GDP spending on defense is still below the average.  And HE DID NOT LAUNCH ANY BIG SPENDING BILLS LIKE OBAMA DID.

          We already know that “supply side economic theory” is a failure since we’ve tried it twice before (1981 and 2001) and that tax revenues never catch up to the substantial decrease. In both cases it took tax increases (1993 and 2009) to reverse the deficit trend.

          Breathtaking ignorance.  Tax revenues have increase after the Trump tax cuts.  True or False?  Of course it is true.  And of course it completely destroys the liberal narrative that trickle-up government is the better solution.

          Here is a test for you oh smart one.  If tax increase do not result in a decrease in over all tax revenue, then why not just make all tax rates 100%?

          You know the answer (I hope) in that it would result in zero tax revenue because nobody would work.

          Let me help you by admitting that a tax rate of 0% will not return any revenue to government.

          While you start Googling like mad for an answer, let me just help you a bit more… because you need it… a lot of it… that there is some optimum rate of taxation to maximize tax revenue.

          You might not understand this because you are a government employee that gets his money from the capital and effort of producers in the private economy… in fact, it benefits your pocket to see tax increases.  But the problem you have is that you don’t understand the private economy risk/effort-reward function.  Every day there is a stack of projects that are ready to be considered for their financial viability.   Increase tax rates and the resulting number of viable projects shrinks.   Decrease tax rates and the number of financially viable projects increases.  And with more viable projects started there is greater probability that more will generate tax revenue.

          That is the Laffer Curve.  You know it works because you advocate it to help secure liberal bans.  Cigarette tax revenue for example… keep raising the tax rate and fewer people smoke and thus there is a reduction in tax revenue.  There is an equilibrium somewhere… the optimum level of taxation relative to the revenue it returns.

          This is a fundamental lesson in pricing.  You should go back to school and take some economics classes.

          And you liberals also pushed the globalist agenda.  You know Hiden Biden and his Chinese connections?  Obama saying the only way forward is a liberal global new world order?  So because we went globalist we found ourselves competing in the global markets.  So suddenly tax rates are a bigger concern for keeping business financial viable to compete.  And other countries have lower business tax rates…. much lower.

          So the way to look at this is that the ability to raise tax rates to pay for liberal causes has been reduced by the competing agenda of liberals to pursue a global new world order.

          You keep shooting yourselves in the competing agenda foot!

          Supply-side economics rocks.  It is inconvenient to your worldview and for that I am sorry, but sometimes the truth and facts are just the truth and facts.

  21. Robert Canning

    Your facts and mine don’t match. I’m not surprised. Your way of seeing the world is pretty antithetical to me. I’m not sure there’s much in common we agree on around the economy or the pandemic. We could spend most of the night going back and forth and not agreeing or changing each other’s views. So, I’m going to stop for tonight.

  22. David Greenwald

    From an LA Times article:

    A UC San Francisco study of thousands of residents and workers in the city’s Mission District found that 57% of those tested must leave their homes for work, and those who had to leave home to work accounted for 90% of the positive cases. Nearly 89% of those who tested positive earn less than $50,000 a year, and most live in households with three or more people.

    1. David Greenwald

      Also…

      There has been a steep rise in coronavirus cases reported in Orange County following the large crowds on the beaches on April 25-26.

      In the week of April 20-26, there were 438 cases in Orange County. The week after that, 669 cases were reported, and the week after that, 759 cases.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Despite the Republicans’ carpet-bagging during “reconstruction”… which caused a back-lash, that turned to Dixiecrats, and made the Republican party dominant in the South… history…

          Feel free to ask for me to be lynched…

  23. Keith Olsen

    It looks like Newsom’s pandemic directives with the resulting economic collapse has hit a nerve with Californians as this is the first time in 22 years that a California Dem seat has flipped back to a Republican.

    Democrat Christy Smith conceded defeat to Republican Mike Garcia on Wednesday, May 13, bringing to a close the dramatic, pandemic-framed race for a key seat in Congress.

    https://www.dailynews.com/2020/05/12/election-2020-garcia-snags-lead-over-smith-in-early-25th-congress-returns/

    1. Jeff Boone

      Great news for the state.  We just need another 12 of these and we can get to work fixing the mess caused by the that other party that cannot be named.  One of the best campaign assets for Republicans these days is the record of the other party when they gain complete power.  We saw it at the national level.  It only took 2 years of the other party having all three branches of power to help the American people recognize what a mistake it was.

      I think this virus response and the aftermath is going to do more damage to the other party.

  24. Bill Marshall

    that has added significant cost to the nation

    Depends on how one defines “costs”… arguably, the tax reductions, without reductions in expenditures, increased the deficit and the interest resulting… costs… pretty significant…

    Then, there are the “human costs”, that are not easily shown on a spreadsheet…

    The far left, the far right… neither make sense… they don’t think… they just take “positions”… perhaps why NPP’s are the fastest growing party affiliation, as Democrat and Republican registration #’s are declining?

    Not saying you’re wrong, but pointing out you are not necessarily right… even tho’ you purport to be “right”, in two senses of the term… have nothing left to add on that post, Jeff…

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      Oh, and Abraham Lincoln, first Republican president, would be considered a “leftie” in the current Republican Party… probably couldn’t even win the nomination…

      Too bad they didn’t put metal into Lincoln before he was put in his tomb… with coils… if he had seen Mitch McConnell/Trump/McClintock/Nunes, etc., he’d be spinning so fast that he could probably provide 50% of the electricity needed to power for Springfield, IL…

    2. Jeff Boone

      Uh.  Well. No.  When was your last financial accounting class?

      Trump’s tax cuts did not even cut revenue let alone increase costs.

      You could make the case that Trump did not increase taxes to pay down the national debt thus he failed to reduce the interest costs on the national debt, but then there is that damn Laffer Curve that Robb claims is wrong (or politically inconvenient).  So you cannot make that claim as increasing tax rates has an adverse effect on revenue as more producers say “no way” to putting capital and their blood, sweat and tears at risk for a smaller return after the government TAKES its large bite.

      I love how liberals push tax increases on items they want to see less of (sodas, cigarettes, development, etc.) and then claim that increasing income tax will not result in less income.  It is either outright intellectual dishonesty or a sign of cognitive defects.

      And no… Republicans have not gone more right… at all.  That is fake news.  The Democrats have gone far, far left.   Just find and ask a Bernie Bro.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Actually, I made no claim as to the economy… I just pointed out a “hole” in yours… re-read, s’il vous plait…

        Republicans have not gone more right

        That’s just BS, unless you’re talking about the last 36 months… if that is what you meant, I readily concede your point… I take a longer view… I studied History, and physical studies… so, you are correct, I never studied  “financial accounting”… 

        Yet, we are financially secure, and then some, in spite of that… and, we donate heavily to charities… low 5-figures… but we don’t do ‘financial accounting’ to do that… we follow our values…

        In my opinion, both major parties are morally corrupt… both on second deviations of the bell curve… but that is an opinion, and I DO understand the bell curve, professionally…

        1. Jeff Boone

          I agree that the political establishment (aka old Democrats and old Republicans) are corrupt.   But the GOP has not gone more right.  It HAD gone more left, and the has been corrected by Trump’s stunning success.

          If you disagree I am going to need examples of where you think the GOP has gone more right.

          I will just point out the rise of Bernie Sanders and the old liberals embracing socialism as the example that the Democrats have gone more left.

        2. Doby Fleeman

          ….but we don’t do ‘financial accounting’… 

          In many respects, this is truly the crux of the matter.

          Far too many of our nation’s otherwise “well-educated” are oblivious to the concepts and principles which underpin financial accounting.  It should be compulsory content in K-12 education.

          Particulary in context of government services – it is basic information that allows both the taxpayer, administrator and employee to understand when programs and policies are financially sustainable and why – or not.  From an employee’s standpoint, it would be invaluable in understanding whether a deferred pension or benefit program was being managed in a sustainable manner – or not – thereby affording affected employees a basis to discuss potential concerns with the program administrators and trustees.   Without such knowledge, one is largely powerless.

          While that’s a specific example of the value of such knowledge – the vast majority of journalists and reporters likewise have no grounding in financial accounting, and as such complete miss or overlook the ramifications of non-sustainable policy demands.

          Same goes for most professionals – doctors, lawyer, engineers, scientists, professors – there are very few with a working knowledge of “financial accounting”.   Do I really need to add “politicians”?

          Most frustrating, perhaps, is the result that they truly cannot be held “to account” or “accountable” for their actions.

          Not sure how that helps anybody in the long run.  But it surely does lead to hollow conversations about many important issues.

    1. Doby Fleeman

      Ancient history and cherry picking of talking points.

      Maybe we should go back and revisit President Kennedy’s famous quote:

      “Ask not what your your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

      Whatever happened to that sentiment?

        1. Ron Glick

          Which Bush? Pappy’s, “read my lips” or Shrub’s “Weapons of Mass destruction?”

          The fact is that all Presidents lie on occasion. The problem today is that Trump lies on every occasion.

          I think history will be kind to 41. He did have excellent, capable people like Brent Scrowcroft and Jim Baker.

          The father of today’s Federal Government deficit spending was “Deficits don’t matter” Dick Cheney.

    2. Jeff Boone

      This reminds me again of Reagan’s quip that our liberal friends are not ignorant, it is just that they know so much that isn’t so.

      But they are good at Google searching for rhetoric points.

  25. Ron Glick

    I brought up Reagan’s big tent in response to this phrase:

    “…but then many of them were not really Republicans but establishment hacks…”

    As a life long Democrat I’m all for the purging of one part of the Republican Party by another. Is it any wonder with that type of righteousness that the GOP is now the third largest party in CA behind the Dems and decline to state or why the Dems have total control of state government?

    1. Jeff Boone

      I wonder why Hillary lost and Trump won… and the Republicans took over both branches of the legislature and in the mid-terms retained the Senate… which almost never happens… including under Obama?

      Could it be that California is out of touch with the rest of the country?

  26. Doby Fleeman

    “Is it any wonder . . . . why the Dems have total control of state government?”

     

    I don’t know, may be all things things free for the asking?  Sounds mighty good!

    Be interesting to see how the Governor attempts to explain why it is the Federal Government’s responsibility to pay for all the unfunded unemployment benefits (the state had only 3 months reserve at normal unemployment rates prior to the pandemic while some states had two years in reserve) and other goodies the state is promising to deliver.

    Ah, to be blissfully ignorant of “financial accounting”.

     

    1. Ron Glick

      Maybe its the free stuff but there is profligacy all around. How about bailing out the airlines after a decade of stock buybacks, dividends and puny reserves? Plenty of moral hazard there too.

      I think the real reason that the Dems have total control of the state government is that people think the GOP wants to deport grandma. Even when  living in rent servitude poverty people will vote for anti-housing progressives if they think the opposition wants to deport grandma. The Democrats have lots of failures but the Republicans can’t do anything about it because of their anti-immigrant proclivities.

      1. Doby Fleeman

        Sorry, I can’t support that last statement.  Most of us are immigrants – lest you forget.  You conveniently skirt the essential distinction between illegal and legal immigrants.   No excuses for the big airlines, big oil, big solar, big medical, big pharma, big pot.

        What industries do you believe most benefit from a dysfunctional system built on illegal immigration?  An interesting discussion would be why neither party seems interested in migrating to an effective, legal and merit-based system of immigration?  Or is it the merit-based component to which you would most object?  In other words, is it totally impermissible to require of those seeking to immigrate that they have some basic tool sets – when they arrive – that might allow them to find legal, gainful employment offering a living wage?

        1. Bill Marshall

          Most of us are immigrants – lest you forget. 

          Actually, all are… zero evidence of humans being ‘native’ to the Americas… even Native Americans, aren’t, technically, scientifically.

          You conveniently skirt the essential distinction between illegal and legal immigrants.

          Well, since there were no ‘laws’ when Native Americans arrived, and little or no laws in the US about immigration until ~ 1850’s, or even later, all English, Irish, Scot, German, Black, Asian folk arrived outside ‘legal immigration’… if you trace your ancestry to any of those, who came to the America before ~ 1850-1870… well, technically, you are not a ‘legal’ immigrant… probably one of the reasons why the US Constitution had to define citizenship (legal immigrant?) based on where you are born (unless ‘naturalized’)… Washington, Adams, Jefferson, etc., etc., etc., were not born in the “United States of America”… [I forget the first president to be born after the country existed, but it was before Lincoln]… so, technically, despite the contitutional requirement for a president to be born in the US, or US possession, many presidents ‘illegally served’… fact…

           

        2. Bill Marshall

          Because of a fire @ the hospital Dad was born in, in PA, he was “technically” ‘undocumented’… no official record of his birth in the US… differences between ‘native’, ‘naturalized’, ‘documented’, ‘undocumented’, and ‘illegal’… Dad served in WWII (Pacific) and Korea War/Police action (stateside)…

  27. Ron Glick

    My ancestors had no tool set but they had a work ethic and they worked harder than I can imagine.

    Legal or illegal is a distinction that doesn’t matter when it comes to grandma.

    The demise of the CA. GOP can be traced to Pete Wilson’s 94 re-election campaign. Wilson won the election but lost the hearts and minds of latino citizens and the State GOP has never recovered, except briefly for Arnold, who was an immigrant himself. In 2000, Wilson ran for President on an anti-immigrant platform, that he announced at the Statue of Liberty, and got stomped by W.Bush who understood that demographics were destiny and pursued latino votes. It will be interesting to see if the GOP ever recovers with latinos after Trump, who has sought to limit, both legal and illegal immigration.

    By the way Dobie, I’ve had this same argument with Joel Kotkin, whose articulation of the failures of Democrats in California for latinos, on housing and poverty, is spot on.

    As long as the latino perception of the GOP is anti-immigrant the Democrats will get a pass on the housing shortage, its devastating economic impacts and a host of other failings that, devoid of identity politics, would make the Republicans competitive in California. Split hairs about legal versus illegal all you want. So far I’ve been right but I’ll grant you time will tell.

    1. Doby Fleeman

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

      My question is a serious one, it’s not about splitting hairs – it’s the question about why neither party will actively embrace, articulate or otherwise put forward a program for legal immigration as the rule of the land?

      On its surface, the Democratic party’s position as defender of our current, broken system – and it is the defacto “system” – of illegal immigration surely appears as a calculated and deliberate, political strategy aimed at winning the competition for votes of non-citizen sympathizers – while simultaneously placing greater and greater pressure on unfunded public mandates as you so note.  Not too so sure how this all ends for the State of California.   Likewise, not too sure how another political party competes with this model for gaining new voters – other than by giving away even more free stuff to this same contingent.

      I question whether this approach is sustainable and how this dysfunction serves the best interests of  our state and the nation?

      1. Don Shor

        why neither party will actively embrace, articulate or otherwise put forward a program for legal immigration as the rule of the land?

        They did in 2013. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_Security%2C_Economic_Opportunity%2C_and_Immigration_Modernization_Act_of_2013
        It passed the Senate 68 – 32. It would have passed in the House, but Speaker Boehner refused to bring it to the floor. Then the Tea Party overwhelmed the Republican Party and the chances of ever passing a bipartisan bill for comprehensive immigration reform evaporated, probably for another decade until demographics overwhelm the situation.

    2. Jeff Boone

      Split hairs about legal versus illegal all you want

      That is splitting a mountain, not hairs.

      I know of no educated Republicans that are against legal immigration.  And most Democrats used to be against illegal immigration.  Including all the cast of flip-flopping media clowns running for office and in office today.

      Give the Democrats in CA some credit for pulling their cheap media puppet strings to cement the false narrative that Republicans are anti-immigration and anti-Hispanic.   This is as intellectually dishonest as is people claiming the Democrats are party of the KKK and anti-black civil rights.  But the Democrats are really good at victim group divisiveness for political advantage.

      The demise of the GOP in CA can be explained by the same Demographic changes in almost anyplace where the majority of the population is concentrated in urban areas.  There is something about that lifestyle that makes a person more comfortable with government dependency and less likely to understand the importance of individual freedom that is the primary ingredient to their high density population good life.

  28. Ron Glick

    “What industries do you believe most benefit from a dysfunctional system built on illegal immigration?”

    Off the top of my head, Agriculture, meat packing, construction, house cleaning, sewing in the L.A. garment district, yard maintenance, restaurants, casual labor found outside of almost any Home Depot, the U.S. Army, assisted living, BorderPatrol, ICE, immigration attorneys, private prisons, public prisons, immigration judges.

    1. Doby Fleeman

      So, by definition, we’re acknowledging a system designed to increase people living in poverty (in the US), increase homelessness and crime, place increasing pressures on our already overtaxed public schools and healthcare providers, courts and prisons – all while making a mockery of the rules of law and the virtues of citizenship.

      1. Don Shor

        we’re acknowledging a system designed 

        We’re acknowledging reality. You can only tilt at windmills so many times before you give up. Attempts at compromise legislation failed. Nobody is going to bother trying to push for bills that have no chance of passage in both houses of Congress and getting signed by the president.

        1. Jeff Boone

          I thought you were a progressive… committed to progress no matter the challenges.  Why so defeatist on this?  Should we also give up on global warming mitigation?  Seems a lot of tilting at windmills has been done on that subject.

          Also, didn’t the courts just approve the federal government’s ability to withhold federal funds to sanctuary states?  Mexico increased their border guard and are holding asylum seekers in Mexico.  And Trump is adding to the 700 miles of border wall that Obama completed.  It seems to me that the mills are still churning on the illegal immigration “wall”.

          1. Don Shor

            I thought you were a progressive… committed to progress no matter the challenges.

            What gave you that idea? I am a centrist Democrat.

            Why so defeatist on this?

            Because of the failure of comprehensive immigration reform in 2013 after enormous political effort. It would be great to see a similar effort undertaken, but with the loss of folks like John McCain it isn’t likely.

            Should we also give up on global warming mitigation?

            No, there is still, IMO, more consensus on that issue and a greater likelihood of success.

            Also, didn’t the courts just approve the federal government’s ability to withhold federal funds to sanctuary states?

            I can’t think how that moves the needle on comprehensive immigration reform.
            We’re in a stalemate on immigration right now and I don’t see that changing any time soon. It’s too dangerous for a Republican incumbent to favor immigration reform of any kind due to the risk of being primaried. Maybe if Democrats get a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, hold the House, and take the presidency. And even then it would be a challenge due (again IMO) to internal divisions in the Democratic Party. The political consensus that we had a decade ago on this issue has diminished, unfortunately.

        2. Jeff Boone

          Well Trump was elected on a number of policy issues and illegal immigration was high on the list, so I think you might be wrong that there is not the political will to tackle this.  I think a GOP majority will get it done.   That is the party to get it done because the party does not have a political advantage, but it has a business liability to deal with.

          Also the change in the courts back to real jurists and fewer liberal progressive activists is going to mean that the courts are no longer the mechanism to thwart the actual law.

          I think the opportunity for the GOP is to keep appealing to the legal immigrant population while working to reduce and stop the flow of illegal immigrants.  That and turning the black voters against the Democrats and for the new party supporting the working class and middle class is a fine strategy for turning the tide of minority support for the Democrats.

      2. Jeff Boone

        Right Doby – I find it breathtaking how people adopt acceptance for ignoring the rule of law… generally only when it benefits their politics and/or pocketbook… which are generally tied together in this case.

        Massive uncontrolled immigration has been a very significant contributor to black unemployment and low economic circumstances.  Expand the pool of low-skilled labor that will work for lower wages and you displace existing Americans that need those jobs as a career stepping stone.

        There is no doubt that immigration has benefited the country.  However, there is a large pile of  intellectual dishonesty for arguing that massive uncontrolled immigration has not harmed the country.

        1. Doby Fleeman

          In some ways, this discussion reminds me of Davis – where we didn’t have an in-migration problem until early 2000s when our failure plan, forecast and discuss the “problems” accompanying unfettered in-migration hit the proverbial reactionary wall.

          Ignoring the presence of a problem isn’t serving us well, whether it be national immigration policy or local community planning.

          How does California’s current immigration policy square with Davis’ current in-migration policies?   We haven’t even discussed that – despite Council’s vote to declare Davis a sanctuary city.

        2. Ron Glick

          Virtue signaling is what Davis does best. Maybe we should trade in our bicycle capitol title for “Virtue Signaling Capitol of America” instead.

           

  29. Ron Glick

    “…why neither party will actively embrace, articulate or otherwise put forward a program for legal immigration as the rule of the land?”

    I think the answer is demagoguery. Our current system is broken and hasn’t been seriously reformed in 55 years although Reagan did get some changes through in 1986. The group of senators that tried for a bipartisan solution under Obama got hammered. With Trump in the Whitehouse  things are too polarized for a compromise solution.

    “I think a GOP majority will get it done.”

    A GOP majority didn’t get it done in 17-18. Same for a Democratic majority in 09-10. Seems as long as people are willing to demagogue the issue nobody is going to spend political capital on it.

  30. Ron Glick

    “However, there is a large pile of  intellectual dishonesty for arguing that massive uncontrolled immigration has not harmed the country.”

    An interesting statement in the Central Valley of California that has benefitted by wave after wave of cheap immigrant labor in our agricultural sector. Since 1850 agricultural labor has been brought from China, Japan, The Philippines, Mexico and Oklahoma. These are people who didn’t have a specific skill set but were willing to work hard. As each wave passed the generations descended from these immigrants  prospered and contributed. A process that is still going on today.

    I personally know of a pre-med junior at UCD whose father is a farm worker. She is a smart young woman and our public investment in her will likely pay off in the future. Both she and her father work their you know whats off. Dad with his back. Daughter with her brain.

    Yolo County is filled with these kids. Go to the annual Concilio Scholarship Dinner and you will see kids who are overcoming every obstacle to thrive academically. These are kids who are worthy of any investment we make in them because, just like Hamilton, they aren’t going to waste their shot.

    Let’s help those that would help themselves.

    1. Doby Fleeman

      Interesting observations all.

      I personally worked with a former, degreed pharmacist from Mexico City who came to California in the 1980s where he landed a successful career in a construction company.  In years since he has been very successful with a wonderful and accomplished family – a very similar story as yours.  To this day, he still does not speak english even though his children do and one son is fluent in Japanese.

      Point being, and sadly so, we are no longer in 1980’s California –  where a middle class life style was realistically within reach – even for newly arriving immigrants.   Today’s housing prices, owing in part to increased regulatory requirements and fees, combined with high costs of construction, and amplified by artifically low interest rates – have resulted in dramatically higher prices and limited supply – driving occupancy costs through the roof.

      It is a fundamentally different reality facing today’s unskilled immigrants – particularly so for those who arrive illegally.

      Obviously time will tell, but particularly regarding illegal immigrants – with the exception of those possessing highly marketable skills – using examples of families whose roots trace back to pre-2000 California may not be a viable model for our more recent arrivals.

      Times have changed in more ways than one.  Definitely time for the reconvening of a genuine and earnest conversation.

    2. Bill Marshall

      Amen, Ron G…

      But not just kids… adults who entered the US legally, but “messed up” on paperwork…  as far as ‘staying’… know of two…

  31. Ron Glick

    “In some ways, this discussion reminds me of Davis – where we didn’t have an in-migration problem until early 2000s when our failure plan, forecast and discuss the “problems” accompanying unfettered in-migration hit the proverbial reactionary wall.”

    Our problem is that many people in this community would rather fight than plan. That UCD has continued to grow should surprise nobody. Sadly, rather than accepting and making the best of it, many have chosen to fight like hell. The result is a completely foreseeable housing shortage that we are finally starting to address through construction, both on and off campus. But old habits die hard. It will be interesting to see if the downstream impacts of our current situation change the housing dynamics a few years from now.

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