Carnage: 6.6 Million in Initial Jobless Claims, 10 Million Two Week Total

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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327 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Yeah, unexpected is not the word I would use. This was completely expected.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Stay at Home Policies have unintended consequences? But, we gave $25 million to the Kennedy Center!

    Anyway, this is why the bailout should have been given to households instead of to cruise ship companies that flag in foreign countries.

    When the quarantine is lifted, all of these people will be looking for work and a whole bunch of pent-up demand will be looking to spend money and we need the small businesses to have merely pressed “pause” instead of “stop” in the meantime.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

      Umm was any money given to the cruise lines? I thought they were not eligible.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

      I gotta tell you, I can’t imagine coming out of this looking to spend money.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Rufus F. says:

        Heh. Good point. I’m not talking about “buying a big television” as much as “jeez, I really want to go out to eat again”. Because, jeez, I could so go for Chipotle right now…Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Rufus F. says:

        Its not that you want to spend money, per se. Itst that you want others to still be able down the road.

        (Its a big chunk of why I am eating out more these days.)Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Aaron David says:

          I get that. The problem is I’m getting laid off, so I’ll be claiming the emergency relief funds Canada’s making available, and then when it’s safe to go back to work, hopefully returning to my old job, or conversely somewhere else, and saving up to get out of whatever debt I’ve accrued. I’m hoping to be eating out again come Christmastime. Right now, I’m okay with supporting Chef Boyardee.

          The bigger issue is I live on a street that is a “foodie destination” with fine dining establishments in a city that has hung a lot on the nail of becoming a “foodie destination” and replacing a moribund industrial economy with a service economy. I mean, seriously, they’re even making jokes about our aspirations on national comedy shows:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEmc38DKRhQ

          I’ve always been a little skeptical of this- the math doesn’t quite add up. Besides, the real industry here is increasing the value of real estate, like it is in most cities today. Restaurants aren’t intrinsically attached to that. Plus it’s meant their rents have been going up. And, besides, I’ve said for a while that it’s not like restaurants are recession-proof. Are they? I guess we’re going to find out.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Rufus F. says:

            In a lot of ways it sounds like you are a very similar sitution to my son. Albeit 25 odd years apart (I think you are around my age? 50ish?) I would be in a similar boat as I put by little business on hold, but for my wife working.

            But, yes, there is a real issue with what our economies have become, going from industrial to service based, and where that leaves us post La Peste. Will this cause others to look upon the people of their country in a more holistic light, seeing for the first time in a generation damages that have been done to the structure of national economies in the name of globalism? From what you say, it doesn’t sound like it, and that indeed it isn’t a post-political/post-cultural world. In that sense, the plauge changed nothing.

            But along those same lines, we do have major economies that support many, many people, and quite nicely at that. This is done by moving so much money around that the vast majority of those people each get a little bit. And we are starting to see the damages caused by the world wide shut-down. Will those damages be worse than the virus that those movements are supposed to slow? That remains to be seen, but to keep that damage at a minimum, starting to get those wheels of commerce spining again, as soon as possible, is just as important. And for a host of reasons.

            I am a big believer in that a having a good economy is one of the strongest builders of civil rights and equality. It helps tamp down the concept of the other, whether that is the preception they are freeloading, or that they are taking what is rightfully “ours.” This fact, not to mention having people employed with all the self benefits that go along with that, is enough for me to try to do “my part” so to speak. I am not generally a food person, nor am I a shopper. But I do love books, and to keep that little book store alive and its owners doing well enough that they can call it a life, is important to me.

            I feel that is is important to keep people going to bars to see shows, to purchase more of the arts to have in their lives or books to read. And home supplies and healthy food are equally important. All of those little things that keep a community whole and healthy, I want to support.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    A tweet that I read that made me say “wait, what?”

    Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

      Huh.
      First you deport the people who pick the crops, next the crops don’t get picked.

      Hoocoodanode?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Given the unemployment numbers we’ll find out if John McCain was right when he said Americans simply won’t pick lettuce regardless of how well of pays.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater says:

          I’m willing to bet he was wrong. Livable wages and unchecked tolerance of illegal labor are fundamentally incompatible world views. The fight for the former is something we should all get behind. The latter, well, there’s a process for people who want to become naturalized.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD says:

            Without getting into issues of whether the folks in the picture are engaging in proper social distancing, I’d be idly curious as to whether corporations will panic enough to consider raising wages or if letting the food rot in the field will be seen as preferable to normalizing $15/hour.

            Remember that scene in Grapes of Wrath where they burned oranges? That struck me as a horrible mix of obscene/absurd at the time.

            Well, let’s see if doing it again is preferable to paying people.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

              I’d like to think that all the subsidies to big agribusiness would preclude that. Of course what I’d like to think and what actually tends to happen are two very different things.

              Burning crops would definitely take the game of chicken between big business and the American people to a whole new level.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

              After the Great Recession recovery was in full swing some UC folks did a stufy to figure out why labor rates in the construction trades hadn’t recovered and what they found out, defying all the “laws” of economics, was that a hard ceiling was imposed and enforced by management/ownership.

              What you’re talking about here would be, if it occurs, earth shaking. 🙂Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater says:

                It’s because the recovery has been an unsustainable mirage, with the majority of the underlying issues left uncorrected. If it wasn’t covid-19 it would’ve been something else that exposed it.Report

            • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Jaybird says:

              I actually didn’t (and don’t) remember that, even though I read the book twice. In fact, as I recall, the novel was fairly pro-New Deal (and pro-social Darwinist, with the “the Okies are now stronger, therefore they deserve to rule” subtext.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gabriel conroy says:

                “The works of the roots of the vines, of the trees, must be destroyed to keep up the price, and this is the saddest, bitterest thing of all. Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground. The people came for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges at twenty cents a dozen if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges, and they are angry at the crime, angry at the people who have come to take the fruit. A million people hungry, needing the fruit- and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains. And the smell of rot fills the country. Burn coffee for fuel in the ships. Burn corn to keep warm, it makes a hot fire. Dump potatoes in the rivers and place guards along the banks to keep the hungry people from fishing them out. Slaughter the pigs and bury them, and let the putrescence drip down into the earth.

                There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. The fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit. And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificate- died of malnutrition- because the food must rot, must be forced to rot. The people come with nets to fish for potatoes in the river, and the guards hold them back; they come in rattling cars to get the dumped oranges, but the kerosene is sprayed. And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quick-lime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”

                Report

              • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Thanks, Jaybird. I still don’t remember that passage, but it’s evidence for what you said above.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gabriel conroy says:

                Related:

                Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

                Unbelievable.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to InMD says:

                It’s so sad that nobody in Holland can afford milk.

                However, I would also suggest that maybe the cheese factories had to shut down, or some such thing.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to George Turner says:

                The dairy flushing is happening in Wisconsin not Holland. I also strongly doubt that food processing anywhere is shut down, as all orders in effect except certain essential services and activities.

                It’s a market failure combined with lack of contingency planning.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD says:

                I don’t know that it’s a market failure, as much as a failure of policy designed to protect a segment (farmers) failing to have an exception for times of national emergency.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Maybe market failure is the wrong word, I don’t know. It’s a situation though where the market or system or whatever as we’ve constructed it is leading to perverse outcomes as a result of lack of contingency planning.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD says:

                Getting hung up on the technical meaning of the term “market failure” seems counterproductive here since everyone agrees (seems to me) that letting milk rot when there are people who would drink it – after paying for it! – is a failure, in almost every sense of the word, of the market.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                See March’s comment below. If it is illegal to bring your product to market except via a specific channel, that is not a failure of the market.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                {{Yeah, that’s the type of #welltechnically countyerproductive distinction I’m talking about.}}Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                What’s not helpful is people using terms with specific definitions in ways that satisfy ideological priors, like, I don’t know, socialism/communism/etc.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                “Let’s correct this market failure by allowing milk producers to sell directly to retail suppliers.”

                “No no no. What’s happening right now *ISN’T* a market failure!”Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Stillwater says:

                you will note that the dairy producers aren’t exactly running around to food banks with gallon jugs saying “here’s free milk, everybody gets free milk, all the milk you want for free, have the milk, take the milk, show up at the farm with a jug and you can fill it with milk, PLEASE TAKE OUR MILK”

                the important thing to remember about Wickard v. Filburn is that the government wanted to let Wickard grow wheat and it was the other farmers who said he wasn’t allowed.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck says:

                “Hey, everyone. Dairy farmers are literally dumping milk down the drain right now. It’s whacko. Let’s correct this market failure by letting them sell to retail suppliers directly.”

                “No no no godammit. How many times to I have to tell you this isn’t a market failure?”Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Stillwater says:

                so you’re calling for a relaxation (or outright removal) of the government regulatory structures which currently prevent producers selling directly to consumers? welcome to the libertarian party, here’s your complimentary gun.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck says:

                I’m calling for a solution to a problem that isn’t conditioned on a prior agreement on semantics. There’s a real problem for dairy farmers right now and they most likely don’t give a rats whether you call it a market failure or not.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                If the farmers cannot give the milk away due to regulations, then we have a handful of options.

                1. Do what they’re doing. Just dump it.
                2. Change the regulations! Easy-peasy.
                3. Regulations aren’t real.

                I think those are the big ones. Is there a 4th I’ve forgotten?

                If 1 is unacceptable, is 2 on the table?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Not sure what you mean. Why wouldn’t 2 be on the table?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Because too many people are too interested in not changing things. You know. “If we let them do this, they might sell raw milk and if they sell raw milk, children will die, so we can’t change the regulations out of an abundance of caution”.

                You know what it’s like talking to Chip about how the FDA needs to be more like Europe’s FDA if we want our American Medical System to be more European?

                That.Report

              • Avatar KenB in reply to Stillwater says:

                There’s a real problem for dairy farmers right now and they most likely don’t give a rats whether you call it a market failure or not

                They don’t give a rats about us or the discussion on this blog. The idea that we have to pretend we’re talking to the people who are directly affected instead of the other people involved in the conversation is kinda stupid.

                The term “market failure” has a specific meaning that doesn’t apply to this situation, and it should be OK to point that out here, even if we wouldn’t do that if we were talking with the farmers themselves.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to KenB says:

                Thank you!Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                In order to have a market failure you have to have a market to begin with.
                Dairy is a “market” the same way that a Soviet tractor factory was a market, i.e., it isn’t.

                And we should all keep in mind the fact that the vast regulatory apparatus of government control of agriculture came about exactly to correct problems like this, where the vagaries of agriculture resulted in vast overabundance one year and starvation the next.

                The purpose of the governmental structure was never to make an efficient pairing of milk producers and milk consumers, but to prod milk producers into producing much more than anyone ever needed or wanted.

                Every year, Americans dump millions of tons of food including milk down the drain or into landfills and nobody seems to freak out over it.

                We do this because food is so cheap its easier to dump it than to give it away.

                That Grapes of Wrath passage stirs my leftist blood and makes me want to reach for my hammer and sickle, but then again, I can’t remember the last time I saw a hungry person and I live two blocks from Skid Row.

                I just don’t think that dumping excess milk is such a big problem today.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Well said.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Every year, Americans dump millions of tons of food including milk down the drain or into landfills and nobody seems to freak out over it.

                Because they’re not being bankrupted by having to do so.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Exactly. Saying it is a market failure implies that there needs to be a regulatory intervention to correct the failure. But this situation exists precisely because of regulatory intervention to correct a market failure.

                Ergo, it’s a regulatory failure.

                It’s important to use the correct terms because if you actually want this to not be an issue in the future, you need to identify the correct root cause.

                A market failure is more along the lines of this.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                So if we say it is a regulatory failure, where does that point?

                We have historical evidence of the failure of the agricultural markets, where they whipsawed between boom and bust cycles; This is why the regulatory apparatus and cartels were introduced in the first place;
                And now we have a regulatory failure resulting in the dumping of milk because it is too cheap;

                So where would these two examples point us?

                For me, I see this regulatory failure as a lesser problem; No one is going hungry and no one is going bankrupt as a result.

                Not to say this can’t be solved or be done better; but given the myriad of other problems facing us, not our biggest worry.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Not to say this can’t be solved or be done better; but given the myriad of other problems facing us, not our biggest worry.

                This may not be an ideal outcome, or it’s an unintended consequence of the regulatory framework, but what it is not is a failure of a distributed open system that requires new constraints. It is the result of intentional intervention and we can either choose to modify our intervention, or simply accept the cost.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to InMD says:

                Brittle.

                Distribution failure… there are legally no outlets for milk other than the distributors who process the milk to pass on to other distribution/manufacturing businesses.

                Once a link in distribution is broken, there’s little resiliency in the system to redirect. In this case, a little like toilet paper, large commercial entities are not consuming dairy products, but there’s no good way to redirect.

                While a lot of farming is indeed maximizing production, the other part of farming is all about distribution networks. Farmers don’t sell anything to anybody… they are mostly contract input.

                By way of indirect illustration… Wyoming is allowing Farmer direct sales (within Wyoming) – but this is mostly illegal (except for Chickens, upto 6,000 per farm – last I checked).

                Milk is (practically) treated as a bio-hazard… and given the way it is produced industrially, that’s how you have to treat it.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine says:

                It’s the kind of thing you’d think someone who makes the big bucks would’ve been being paid to think about for a long, long time.

                It’s not like anything happening right now is unforeseeable and yet it’s like we have nothing ready to mitigate. That’s whats really driving me crazy.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD says:

                It’s the kind of thing you’d think someone who makes the big bucks would’ve been being paid to think about for a long, long time.

                Nerds in academia probably have thought about, written about it, warned against these outcomes, and so on. The decision-making in American-style capitalism strikes me as based on quarterly projections, though. So long term planning, especially if it entails a financial cost, will almost necessarily find itself at the bottom of the priority queue.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

                Whenever you set up a control system, there are winners and losers. The losers go away and the people that are left, who benefit from the way the system is set up, make sure the system stays the way it is.

                The California Raisin Board had few detractors because almost everybody who was still growing raisins were protected by the system.

                It’s a case of “Cartels are illegal unless they’re mandatory.”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

                Whenever you set up a control system, there are winners and losers.

                The origins of the regulatory apparus surrounding food production were implemented to mitigate mankruptcies due to the normal, natural vagaries of crop production and the market, and the reason was to ensure that Americans didn’t starve. It’s grown into something else over the years, but as Marchmaine mentioned in his comment (I’ll defer to him cuz I know next to nothing about argiculture production) the overarching goal was to secure low(er) food prices for American consumers. As he mentioned, and the takeaway we all thought was interesting, is that the system is brittle, unable to overcome shocks.

                Whether or not you want to frame the regulatory apparatus as choosing winners and losers, a policy agenda that seeks to attain low(er) food prices and secure the viability of US farmers to continue to feed us isn’t, like, a *radical* proposal.

                It leads to unintended consoquences, of course, and capture and so on. But leaving farmers and American food supplies free from government subsidy to help them weather the shocks (is, not picking winners and losers) has unintended but very predictable consequences as well.

                #freethedairyfarmers!Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD says:

                I think people tend to use “market failure” to refer to any outcome we don’t like.
                As if the market always results in happy outcomes, like some benevolent god was the Invisible Hand.

                The best analogy I’ve seen is that the market is just like an ecosystem, which has no teleological end goal, no directing spirit.
                It just does what it doe,s goes where it goes, and the outcomes can be anything from a flourishing of life or mass extinction.

                The market, like the natural world, is entirely indifferent to our desires.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I see markets as amoral but also as an inevitable outgrowth of human civilization. Managing them successfully seems as much art as science, kind of like growing orchids.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD says:

            Livable wages and unchecked tolerance of illegal labor are fundamentally incompatible world views.

            Totally agree. (It’s already on my list of complaints about the Democratic party, in the “incoherent” section.)Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

          The biggest hurdle will be getting people to live as migrant workers living temporarily in one place then moving on to the next crop. That is hard to do with kids and no child care in the area. Health care is far away as often is family. It’s not just about the pay, it’s a hard lifestyle. Pay has always been just one of the issues.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to greginak says:

            This is a fair point but seems like the kind of thing we should be able to address. We now have approx. 60 million people participating in the gig economy. Maybe we need to look at vegetable picking not as permanent employment but as something people do while it’s in town (as opposed to following), and where they have their own benefits not connected to the work.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

            The biggest hurdle will be getting people to live as migrant workers living temporarily in one place then moving on to the next crop. That is hard to do with kids and no child care in the area.

            Yet, hispanics seem to do that with great ease!Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater says:

              I think it’s really just a matter of getting our heads out of the past regarding how work is done. I can think of a number of people I know (some of whom are even white!) who I can see doing this kind of thing on a seasonal basis if the pay actually made it worth it to them.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to InMD says:

                Lots of pople love seasonal work so they can play the rest of the year. Loads of skiers, climbers, etc do that and it works well for them. The pay and conditions are a big part of making it work. Changing the cultural perception of that work might be the biggest challenge.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to greginak says:

                Also a fair point.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD says:

                If lettuce farmers put an ad offering $50/hr to pick their crop I’d guess – and I’m going to go out on a limb here – that they’d have more white, suburban-raised college-educated applicants than they had openings. 🙂

                And think of it: those kids wouldn’t have to complain about paying back their student loans anymore!Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Lettuce is very labor intensive to make, which implies labor is a significant cost of it’s production.

                One assumes that increasing the cost of labor by 5x won’t increase the cost of lettuce by 5x, but if it’s 4x, will it find any buyers?

                And especially will it find buyers if we have international lettuce that’s still priced the same as now?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Good points, Dark, but the point of the discussion is to re-evaluate McCain’s 2008 campaign pitch that Americans won’t pick lettuce, at all, ever, even for $50/hr. It was part of his broader pitch to the working class that manufacturing jobs are gone boys, and they ain’t coming back.

                Now we have Trump. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                the point of the discussion is to re-evaluate McCain’s 2008 campaign pitch that Americans won’t pick lettuce, at all, ever, even for $50/hr.

                I don’t remember “even at $50/hr”.

                My assumption is at $50/hr you can find lots of people to pick lettuce. Left unspoken is the reality that the farmer who owns the field can’t charge 4x for his lettuce on a whim, even if that’s the break even point.

                Locally we had several unpicked fields of produce (watermelons especially). They rotted on the vine this year. In previous years they would have been picked by people who looked pretty brown to be natives.

                That food rotted on the vine because the farmer couldn’t find Americans to pick it at a price he could make a profit.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Here’s a link with video of McCain saying it. (It’s only 20 seconds long.)

                https://thinkprogress.org/the-economics-of-50-lettuce-50aa9a3449c0/Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                The underlying problem is that lettuce is just terrible. It is the packing peanuts of the food world.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD says:

                Yes, which is why we need to abandon this idea of labor as a commodity, where rational actors buy and sell it.

                Seasonal work is one example of how our cultural conceptions of labor skew things in irrational ways.

                Like, the guy who would accept low paying gig work as a ski lift operator would probably refuse a higher paying job packing lemons because of the cultural attitudes towards it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The only way to get where you want to go, Chip, is for people to believe that being a ski-lift operator in exchange for a season pass *isn’t cool*. But doing that will *always* be cool in outdoorsy subculture. Some things just aren’t gonna change.

                I’d add, though, that the guy who chooses to make less to ski all winter over packing lemons doesn’t do it only, or even at all, because broader culture thinks it’s cool. He does it because he likes to ski more than he likes to pack lemons.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                It was more of an observation than a suggestion.

                That if we want to understand why people behave irrationally, we need to stop expecting them to.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                What’s irrational about taking less money to ski all winter than more money to pack lemons?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                Its more than that.
                Like, notice how certain jobs tend to be filled by types of people?
                Like, receptionists and personal assistants are invariably women, mostly young pretty women?

                Or how affluent people will pay more for a young European Au Pair than a middle aged Mexican nanny?

                Or the way that coal miners loom so large in national discussions about labor, yet more people work at Arby’s than in coalmines.

                There is a logic to this, but it is more complex than simple rational actors responding to financial incentives.

                The way people choose employers, and the way employers choose people is warped by all sorts of cultural attitudes towards what work is, and its relationship to status and sense of identity.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                It’s more than that.

                Everything is more than it is, Chip. Nothing is what it is.

                Reminds me of that famous Bishop Butler quote: Everything is more than it is, and lots of other things. Words to live by!Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                OK, that’s probably confusing. I was being (apologetic sigh) sarcastic. The Bishop Butler quote is “everything is what it is, and not another thing.”

                It reminds of the famous Wittgenstein quote “Explanations must never come to an end anywhere.”

                Wait, I think I got that one wrong too. 🙂Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Stillwater says:

                The question is, when is the extra complexity salient to the conversation? When talking about employment, saying “X pay Y” leaves out many other factors besides just pay. That certainly seems salient to the discussion.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to veronica d says:

                That rich people prefer European au pairs to Guatemalan maids seems salient to why a person would prefer to ski for less money than pack lemons for more?

                I’m sure those things an be woven together, and that people on this thread will do so, but that’s only evidence that anything can be woven into something else to me.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                Status is itself a form of compensation for labor.

                If this conversation is about “How much will we have to offer white people to replace Mexican farmworkers” we have to calculate in the stigma factor of “That’s work that Mexican farmworkers do”.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                And that’s a belief that some people aren’t ever going to give up.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “If this conversation is about “How much will we have to offer white people to replace Mexican farmworkers” we have to calculate in the stigma factor of “That’s work that Mexican farmworkers do”.”

                Which is fair, but as usual in these sorts of discussions it leaves out the other side of the push/pull: what are the competing options right now of “that’s work that white people do”?

                We’re looking at record unemployment. If there are no Mexicans doing it (because deportations, etc) than it’s de facto not “work that Mexican farmworkers do” anymore, so that pretty much eliminates the status loss side of the incentives, and there aren’t specifically “white” alternatives for unskilled laborers to offer a better gain, so raising the compensation isn’t even necessarily needed; “employed” beats “unemployed” on both status and pay, even for white workers (excluding possibly the snowflakes who absolutely refuse to do manual labor of any type, but at that point it’s not even theoretically a race issue, but rather a class issue).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Chip, if you were offered a job packing lemons for the same salary you have right now, would you take it? Would the status of being an architect play any role in your decision?

                Suppose you were offered twice the salary to pack lemons as you earn right now: would you be “irrational” (your word) to choose to continue to be an architect?

                Suppose that you chose lower pay to be an architect over higher pay to pack lemons: would that choice show that you are complicit in perpetuating a status-based system which oppresses minorities and low wage workers based on class privileges which favor the wealthy and institutionalizes social and economic inequality to the detriment of justice, freedom and human fourishing?

                There’s a lot to consider here, so take your time.

                (In fact, the show The Good Place talks about these very issues in a smart, informed, and very funny way.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yes it is interesting.

                Architecture is one of those “high status/ low pay” professions which come loaded with all sorts of cultural and class associations.

                When I go to a jobsite in a suit and tie, I know the sweaty plumber, and the truck driver dropping off supplies there are earning more than me.

                I could say honestly that my decision to make drawings happened before i knew what the term “architect” was;

                But I can’t claim to be ignorant of, or detached from, the larger cultural and class world in which I live and work; none of us here can.Labor, especially for men, is intimately bound up in our self identity and our sense of place in the world.

                Which is why none of us can escape the irrational aspect of our choices.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “Which is why none of us can escape the irrational aspect of our choices.”

                In what way is it irrational to incorporate non-economic factors like social status and job satisfaction into career choices? “Homo Economicus” is defined by rational pursuit of subjectively defined ends, but nothing in the theory requires that those ends be limited to financial concerns. In what way do you assert that people aren’t maximizing utility toward their own goals?

                “Labor, especially for men, is intimately bound up in our self identity and our sense of place in the world.”

                This is true, but I find it interesting to hear it from you. Weren’t you previously advocating for UBI under a different article?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh says:

                I use “rational” in the way that people do when they assert Homo Economicus as an actor seeking solely economic ends.

                You and I agree that such a being doesn’t exist, but often is assumed in discussions like these.

                And I am extremely ambivalent about a UBI for that very reason.
                I’m not afraid of slackers, but more concerned that it won’t really provide the full flourishing of the human person that a robust jobs environment will.

                Which is why I tend toward pessimism with regard to the future demand for labor; I see human labor as increasingly unneeded and worse, the decline for it won’t occur in a smooth across the board fashion, but in strange hit and miss unpredictable fashion.

                So some people will experience a high demand, while many others will find themselves useless.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                So some people will experience a high demand, while many others will find themselves useless.

                The first is great, the latter can be fixed.

                I was the absolute master of a technology. It was replaced and I was fired. It was my bread and butter for 10 years or so. That technology isn’t used anywhere anymore.

                Overnight I went from high demand to useless… if we stop the story there.

                I was unemployed for two days. Fired on Friday and started new job on Monday. I saw it coming and retooled, found a new job before the old one hit the fan.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Has it occurred to you, that if it was so easy and quick for you to “retool” to a new occupation, that millions of other people could do the same?

                In other words, how much effort and time would it take for just anybody to do what you do, and cheaper?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Did you think “Man, I just know that somebody is going to bring up Clinton’s statement to the coal miners” when you wrote this or was that nowhere near your thought process?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                I almost quoted it, but felt it was too snarky.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I do not understand why more people don’t learn to code.

                Now to be clear, I didn’t retool over one weekend, I saw my end coming years ahead of time. I got serious about changing 6 or 9 months a head of time.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Nine months.
                Nine whole months to retool for a new profession?

                So like, an unemployed guy today, or a million or ten million unemployed guys will be ready to take your place at cheaper wages in January 2021?

                See that’s my point.

                Unlike previous eras, where learning a trade like blacksmithing might take years of apprenticeship and journeyman work, technology is such that you or me or anyone can learn a different trade within months.
                Human laborers have become like disposable phones, where it is cheaper to throw the old one out rather than fix it.

                Here, enjoy this clip of Get Shorty where Delroy Lindo explains to John Travolta how easy it is to retool oneself into being a scriptwriter:

                BO: “See, all you gotta do is write what what you think should happen, then hire some other guy to put the commas in and make sure the words are spelled right.
                And hell, I’ve seen scripts that hardly had any commas in at all, and I know some words weren’t spelled right!”

                CHILI: “That’s it?”
                BO: “That’s it!”
                CHILI: “That’s all there is to it?”
                BO: “That’s all there is to it.”

                CHILI: “Then what the f*ck do I need you for?”

                Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Nine months. Nine whole months to retool for a new profession?

                6 or 9. Work ticked up in the middle of this so 3 months of that was old tech.

                And on a side note, that’s happened again since then.

                So like, an unemployed guy today, or a million or ten million unemployed guys will be ready to take your place at cheaper wages in January 2021?

                You’d think… but recruiting is hard. MUCH harder than if your logic actually worked so it clearly doesn’t.

                Human laborers have become like disposable phones, where it is cheaper to throw the old one out rather than fix it.

                A job lasts for a year or two, more rarely three. I’ve worked 8 years at my current place.

                If we ignore that my title hasn’t changed, I figure I’ve had 4 jobs. Something new comes up. I beat on it until I work myself out of a job. Then something new comes up. The need for SW is increasing, not decreasing, that cycle isn’t stopping any time soon.

                Without this virus I would be in the middle of yet another retooling and job switch.

                Of course without this virus we’d be at full employment.

                That’s a serious disconnect between the doom and gloom talk and the numbers.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Ok, then yeah, we’re in complete agreement. Cool.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                A few years ago one of the liberal blogs had an article how we need to get more men into nursing and being home health aids because it is a growing economic field and the traditional blue collar male jobs were disappearing fast. One of the commentators pointed out that very few people are going to want to hire a large tattooed bearded man to take care of grandma even if he was competent and the sweetest man in the world. Rather they are going to want a home health care aid that fits their mental image of one.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Change the name to care adherence technician or something like that and boom problem solved.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to InMD says:

                Wouldn’t matter, people would still call it nursing whatever the title said on the paycheck.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North says:

                And people will still want nurses that look like nurses.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Eventually, they’d get used to it. Especially since they won’t have a say. Hell, I still want nurses in tight white skirted uniforms, but nobody seems to do that anymore except theme strippers.Report

              • Avatar Zac Black in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Maybe it’s just because I live in Seattle, but I see nurses quite regularly both at and outside of work, and half of them *are* large tattooed bearded men. Hell, I’m in the process of moving to a new place and one of my new roommates is literally a large, tattooed bearded male nurse from Tennessee.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Zac Black says:

                Ain’t bears the bestest.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to North says:

                I don’t know if I agree. Purely anecdotal but from my vantage point the more technology is involved in delivering care (particularly of the low skilled variety) the less gendered it seems to become.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to LeeEsq says:

                It’s actually worse than that (not disagreeing with you, just adding in support of your point).

                Male nurses and home health aides are arguably better qualified than female ones from a risk management perspective (more resistant to injury and better able to safely restrain confused/violent patients as needed, much as hospital orderlies do, and physically stronger for care tasks that require lifting patients in/out of bed or on/off the toilet). But men are stereotyped as lacking empathy, so they are assumed to be less attentive and responsive to patient needs (which may be true, I haven’t found any research actually comparing men and women already within the field for a baseline).

                So, yeah, there’s both a pull problem that men are less interested in “pink collar” jobs AND a push problem that customers don’t want them there anyway.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Urusigh says:

                Years back, on the shuttle from downtown Seattle to the airport, the only other passenger’s luggage was clearly a case for surfboards. We had a nice chat. He was on his way to South Africa to start the off part of his six months on, six months off work schedule. He put it something like this: “I’m 6’2″ 210 pounds and in great shape. I’m trained in one of the martial arts focused on restraining the opponent. I’m properly certified to work as a nurse in any facility for people with psych problems. I can land in any metro area in the US on Sunday, start making phone calls on Monday, and start work on Wednesday.”Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Michael Cain says:

                “I’m properly certified to work as a nurse in any facility for people with psych problems.”

                I’d say that puts him more in the “hospital orderly” category than “home health nurse”, so my point probably still stands, but if he could afford a 6mo on/off schedule with that pay… I may just start looking at what kind of time/cash investment it takes to earn that certification because that sounds like a good fallback career option. I’m already married, I no longer need concern myself with cultural stereotypes. Thanks for the info.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Urusigh says:

                I remember clearly that he called himself a nurse, and that he worked in institutions rather than homes. I was more interested in all the places he was going to go to surf in the next six months.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                we need to abandon this idea of labor as a commodity, where rational actors buy and sell it.

                What do you want to replace that concept with?

                “Labor as a commodity” may not explain everything but it explains a lot, and it’s a big part of why I claim at 50/hr there would be lots of supply.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to greginak says:

            America had a class of migrant agricultural workers within living memory. I think Murrow did a television documentary on them during the early 1960s. Most of them were African-Americans but there were significant numbers of white migrant agricultural workers. Agricultural labor is one of those things that needs to be done but nobody wants to pay a living wage for since it makes food more expensive and hurts the bottom line of the corporations.Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to LeeEsq says:

              That’s not really the dynamic at play.

              Agricultural policy is designed to maximize agricultural output at all times – for certain crops that have a shelf life: Corn, Rice, Wheat, Soy, Cotton. These and their byproducts *are* the American diet. Downstream they also power Beef, Chicken and Pork production.

              We could manage these crops by maintaining a “Market” price that approximates the cost/value of producing these products… but we don’t do that. Instead we set price floors and guaranty these prices which *by design* encourage maximum production, maximum surplus, and, importantly, low end-point prices.

              The Agricultural subsidies aren’t designed to make AgriBiz rich, they are designed first and foremost to keep food prices LOW … which in turn are only achievable by certain types of Agribusiness Models… which acts as a giant moat against competition.

              Counter-intuitively, you can only make money in Agriculture if you can clear an artificial threshold set to keep food prices below market levels.

              Now… to clear various markets and open up food diversity, you’d have to wreck the subsidy regime which would make Food prices climb.

              Once we see food prices climb, we’ll see disparate impact on classes… and calls to subsidize prices downward will be very loud indeed. Which then shuts out some of the working poor from entering Agriculture to become poorly paid worker in AgriBiz projects… or ski-lift operators.

              I’ll also point out that like pandemics – in theory – many people have pointed out that our current food production system is very brittle; it’s monstrously efficient, but not at all resilient owing to these structural impediments (and moats) we’ve semi-voluntarily erected to pursue other policy objectives: cheap food.

              Don’t say we didn’t warn you when efficient but brittle doesn’t survive the shock to brittle.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Fantastic analysis, thank you for the info.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine says:

                I’m the first to agree that uncontrolled shocks to lumbering systems are usually not the way to improve things but their existence doesn’t in itself prove we couldn’t do better. The fact that the existing system seems to rely on rampant violation of our own labor laws isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of said system.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to InMD says:

                I completely agree… nothing I wrote is a ringing endorsement of the system. It simply is the system.

                I’m 100% in favor of changing the incentives in the system, but recognize that this will have follow-on effects of raising food prices even as it potentially increases broader input from more food producers.

                Just recognize that the food policy isn’t built for farmers – like its often framed – its built for city dwellers. Its built to reduce food shocks and keep food prices low.

                Ideally we redesign the system so that we can manage both shocks and costs… but that’s the challenge.

                What I think gets lost in the red/blue hubub is that the “red” farmers aren’t benefiting on behalf of “farmers” they are agents of this particular system and will fight tooth and nail to prevent the rules from changing. They have to.

                But, the ultimate beneficiaries in this system are “blue” its a “blue” system, not a “red” one… and that’s confusing.

                …and confusing in that the labor violations are mostly systematized to benefit “team blue” in the cities and ‘burbs.

                So yes, lots of cognitive dissonance. And I’m not even talking about “burning it all down;” I’m fine with AgriBiz for what they do… but we should revisit all the incentives in the system to build in better labor, costs, and resilience – both ecological and economical.

                I mean, that’s all…Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                This is a really good comment. It makes me curious. What other industries/sectors are efficient but brittle?

                Are they all in contemporary America? Is it the kind of thing you only find out after the fact?Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq says:

              The remaining white-people version is custom wheat cutting. Capital intensive. A crew with a $250K combine and two or three big trucks will come through an area and harvest wheat for local farmers who can’t afford the gear. They’ll start in the Texas Panhandle and migrate north as far as the Canadian border as wheat ripens.Report

  4. Avatar Urusigh says:

    The phrase “cure worse than the disease” comes to mind…Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Urusigh says:

      Yeah, enough of this. Private companies issued stay at home policies and in some important cases shut down of their own volition. IMO, once the schools shut down there was no coming back. And given the litigious nature of American culture, every firm that stayed open was risking future lawsuits. Unmitigated, the disease could kill over 2 million people, so closures are the only rational response. IF you want to harp on something I’ll agree with, focus on Trump’s failed mitigation efforts and Congress’ absurd focus on corporate bailouts over cash relief to workers/employees and small businesses that are the lifeblood of the economy.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Stillwater says:

        as someone on Twitter pointed out, once the SF Bay Area issued an indefinite-shelter-in-place order, every mayor in the country was imagining their photo on CNN next to video of ambulances and a chyon ticker reading “SHUTDOWN NOT ISSUED…DEATH TOLL MOUNTS…SUPPLIES LOW…”Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck says:

          Exactly. They fall like dominoes. Once Stanford closed it was a matter of days before other major academic institutions closed. Once the parent company of Olive Garden closed, it was a matter of days before other similar companies closed. Once one district closed its schools, etc and so on. A whole lot of that happened *before* governors imposed stay at home orders.

          Closures and other mitigating efforts – whether public or private – shift the burden from “why are you closing?” to “since these folks closed why are you staying open?”Report

        • Avatar Aaron David in reply to DensityDuck says:

          NYPost: SF MAYOR BREED’S PANICReport

      • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Stillwater says:

        To borrow your own phrase, “Yeah, enough of this”. I’m tired of people trying to conflate the single policy “stay at home” with the absurdly broad term “Unmitigated”. You pull up every single list of “Ways to protect yourself from COVID-19” and you will see just that, A LIST of multiple mitigations, not just “stay home”. You can try to argue that “even if we did everything else to mitigate it, 2.2mil will die without a quarantine lockdown”, but I’m going to laugh at the absurdity of it. There are going to be casualties from COVID-19 and there are going to be casualties from the shutdown and I think we can do a better job than this of balancing those two threats, preferably by getting healthy people back to work ASAP with suitable precautions to keep them healthy.

        “And given the litigious nature of American culture, every firm that stayed open was risking future lawsuits. ”

        I agree that this is an “is”, but not that it should be a “should be”.

        “IF you want to harp on something I’ll agree with…”

        Why would I do that? This site doesn’t have a “Like” function for comments, so if I agree with you I generally just stay out of it to avoid cluttering the thread. I rarely post unless I specifically disagree with someone and think I might get a good debate out of them on the matter. Going off your other posts, you’re usually someone good for that, or I wouldn’t even be writing this.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Urusigh says:

          Hey, I threw that out there because being a rational person I thought you’d agree that Trump has royally screwed the mitigation pooch, and that Congress did too by loading the bill up with corporate bailout money. Alas!Report

          • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Stillwater says:

            Shrug. I already previously agreed that one of the few things I like about the Dems in Congress is they they are a useful check on pork barrel shenanigans on my side of the aisle (and vice versa), sadly though, it’s more common for big spending bills to end up with pork barrel from both sides rather than neither, so I’m never happy with the resulting bills. I just don’t see much reason to belabor the point, this ALWAYS happens, I don’t know of anything particular to this bill that would distinguish it from the norm and therefor make it worthy of discussing.

            “I thought you’d agree that Trump has royally screwed the mitigation pooch”

            I don’t think Trump has, though there’s a fairly long list of other issues playing into the current situation like the prior admin not restocking pandemic supplies after H1N1, the FDA fumbling the ball in multiple ways, the usual problem that a sclerotic bureaucracy is inherently slow, unresponsive, and unwieldy regardless of what guidance comes from on top, and a level of panic coming from the media that has created a significant disconnect between what course of action is pragmatically best vs what course of action is politically/socially acceptable…but if anything I’d say that Trump has gone too far in some regards, not insufficiently far. Mostly though, I probably just have lower expectations than you might as to exactly how much a President or government in general can achieve in this context. It is hard to disappoint a pessimist.

            You’re welcome to make your case though.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

            In January, Trump convened a task force that included experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one of the nation’s leading experts on infectious diseases. They immediately restricted incoming visitors from impacted areas, declared a public health emergency and drew down existing funds to put new measures in place. Foxnews, Feb 27

            The United States said it was expanding screening of arrivals from China from five to 20 airports and would consider imposing further travel curbs.
            “All options for dealing with infectious disease spread have to be on the table, including travel restrictions,” said U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar.
            – Reuters January 27

            Trump announces the creation of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force to lead the “United States government response to the novel 2019 coronavirus and with keeping him apprised of developments.” The White House said the task force was being led by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
            NBC, Jan 29, 2020

            Right now, the US, fourth largest country by population at 330M is sitting below Italy, Spain and very close to Frances numbers of deaths/serious cases. All of those countries have populations no greater than a fifth of the US. We cannot trust the numbers comming from China and other countries, but I would (and many others also do) put the numbers of deaths/hospitalizations at an order of magnatude greater at least.

            During this period, the White House meet with executives from insurance companies getting them to waive co-pays from CV testing, got the FDA (a notoriously slow organization) to allow expanded testing from labs and uni’s to develope a vaccine faster, pushed for business relief, and so on.

            So, looking at the raw numbers and timing of events, an actual rational method as opposed to going by TDS, I would say we are doing pretty good, and it shows that Trump, via the quotes up above, was on top of this, all the while not formulating panic. And 60% of Americans agree, according to Gallup: https://news.gallup.com/poll/298313/president-trump-job-approval-rating.aspx?utm_source=twitterbutton&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=sharingReport

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

              I would say we are doing pretty good, and it shows that Trump, via the quotes up above, was on top of this, all the while not formulating panic.

              Aaron, from the beginning he’s opposed testing because, as he said, he wanted to “keep the numbers low”. His admin is *still* getting in the way adequate testing, as well as domestic production of PPE; denying highly tested drugs like Remdisivr from being being approved in favor of untested drugs like hydroxycholoroguine; has the federal government bidding against states for medical equipment while simultaneously blaming states for not “doing more”; his press briefings are a stream of lies and disinformation which Fauci and Birx can only correct when they’re interviewed individually; and on and on and on.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                Still, unless you provide a direct quote, with any and all context, I operate with the asumption that you have no hard facts. Remember all the Russian collusions BS? No? I do. Remember when I asked to be shown a crime during the impeachment? No? I do, .

                Up above, I put up facts, dates and quotes. And showed that we are indeed doing good. Is it perfect? Of course not, nothing is, but it is damn good. So, unless you put up something with hard, verifiable facts with zero chance of it being interpreted any other way, my position on this stands.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                You cited claims about Trump’s airport restrictions (including the words “the United States said it was”, which is important) so here’s another fact I won’t cite: Trump *said* he imposed increased restrictions at airports, but they weren’t there. Even after the increased super-duper lockdown barring travel from the EU (and then Britain, and everywhere else) my wife’s business partner got off a flight originating in Nepal and waltzed through to baggage claim as like it was another normal day. That was two weeks ago. No temperature check, no questions about where she’d been, no nothing.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                sigh)

                Show, don’t tell.

                But here, I will give you something:
                U.S. rated No. 1 in the world for disaster readiness by Global Health Security Index
                https://www.ghsindex.org/ This is done by Johns Hopkins.

                Oh, and here is Gavin Newsom, no republican shrinking violet by any means,
                https://youtu.be/nefFu2eNwC4Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                Last time you asked me to show, not tell, it was about whether Trump’s extortion of Ukraine was illegal. When I cited the GAO determination that he did, in fact, break the law, you said that didn’t count. Apparently the expectation was for me to cite evidence that Trump had *already* been not only charged but convicted of that crime. So my bad, Aaron.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                And, shockingly it wasn’t part of the articles of impeachment. So, if it was truly illeagal, it would have been a slam dunk for the D’s. But it wasn’t in those, so I am guessing that it didn’t pass the sniff test for being illeagal in the end.

                I mean, a lot of lawyers, gov’t lawyers even!, bet on OJ having killed his wife, but it wasn’t proven to be. And I can think of dozens of other instances like that. It is what our jury system is about. Just because someone says it, doesn’t change something that is an opinion to a fact.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                So, if it was truly illeagal

                The report was written by the Government Accountability Office, Aaron.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                They are not a jury.

                They don’t determine guilt.

                There is no other answer.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                But, by all means relate anecdata as opposed to showing me something tangible.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Aaron David says:

                Every time people have shown you crimes and collusion you ignored it or explained it away. You’ve been shown. You don’t believe. Okay. But don’t say nobody has shown you.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to greginak says:

                Was Trump arrested? Were charges filed? Did he go before a jury?

                Was he found guilty?

                Unless you can anser yes to every one of those questions, what you have is an opinion. So, as we know none of those very specific things have happened, he isn’t guilty of anything more than an opinion.

                So, no. You haven’t shown what you think you have.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                Aaron, stop pretending. You know as well as everyone else at this site that DOJ is governed by an OLC memo preventing indicting a sitting President.

                To anticipate your next move in this game: yes Bill Barr said that that OLC memo didn’t play a role in Mueller’s determination regarding filing charges against Trump; and yes, Mueller specifically stated in the Report that it did.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                And that memo doesn’t preclude an impeachment under or with those items. The fact that they would have an actual criminal act that they could have put into those articles, thus fulfilling the “high crimes and misdemeanors” in a very specific manor, to bolster the case they were trying to make, tells me that there was zip, nada, and squat for an actual crime.

                See, they aren’t bound by the OLC memo. Impeachment is political in the sense there are really no limitations on what can and cannot be an article. But, no. Pelosi and Schiff and Nadler didn’t bring that up.

                So, no crime. Just a GAO worker throwing out opinions. Literally, “a tale told by a fool, full of sound and fury…
                Signifying nothing.”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                Aaron, I already know this about you. Here’s the deal though: you ask for a crime, and I show you a crime. You then ask if that’s *really* a crime why wasn’t Trump indicted, and I show why the President cannot be charged. Then you say if he can’t be indicted why wasn’t he impeached for that criminal violation. And then I say that he was: abuse of power for withholding congressionally authorized aid in exchange for an investigation of his political rival. The act which the GAO said was illegal is *contained in* the filed article.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

                It was not a crime. Even the House didn’t cite a statue that was violated, they must made up “obstruction of Congress” as a charge. It was laughable, and was laughed out of the Senate.

                If it’s impeachable to delay military aid to Ukraine, what should be the penalty for Nancy extorting corona virus aid to American citizens unless she got to shovel money to all her pals?

                But even more fun is that Nancy has just set up a “corona virus committee” and given it the power to subpoena Trump. If impeachment was a political disaster for Democrats, her new move is going to see her party tossed out of office for the next several decades.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

                It was not a crime.

                Groundhog Day.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                No.

                I asked for a crime and you showed me an accusation.

                House Democrats spoke for months about how investigations had established crimes that President Donald Trump committed, but on Tuesday they did not specifically include those allegations in articles of impeachment under the constitutional standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

                The two articles of impeachment Democrats filed — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — stayed away from detailing where Trump might have broken the law with his dealings with Ukraine or interactions with the special counsel probe into Russian interference with the 2016 election.

                https://www.rollcall.com/2019/12/11/house-democrats-abandon-crimes-in-trump-impeachment-articles/

                Yes, D’s listed that there was a phone call to the Ukraine in the articles, but they never show how that was a crime. The insinuated it, they said is was a crime, but they never show it was a crime.

                Here is what the articles said:

                Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election.

                He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage

                Just an accusation, unproven and unsubstantiated. No causel method to show that making this phone call is illegal. Thus, no crime is shown, simply an allegation of wrongdoing.

                Obstruction of congress is not a crime. It isn’t listed as a crime in any book of law I have ever seen, and indeed, it is a prime attribute of a coequal branch of gov’t. And George is right, this is why it was quickly dismissed from the Senate. The house couldn’t make any sort of legal case, no matter how hard they tried to twist words. Only a political case, as quickly dismissed as it was ginned up.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                Aaron, this quote is from the first article against Trump:

                With the same corrupt motives, President Trump—acting both directly and through his agents within and outside the United States Government—conditioned two official acts on the public announcements that he had requested—

                (A) the release of $391 million of United States taxpayer funds that Congress had appropriated on a bipartisan basis for the purpose of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression and which President Trump had ordered suspended; Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                Again, I am seeing a whole boatload of accusations, but no crimes. And the two articles listed, 1)obstruction of congress and 2) abuse of power, are neither one crimes.

                Had he been charged with bribery, then you would have a point. But the phone call, your point of contention over what is a “crime”, is akin to saying, in OJ’s prosocution “he drove fast.” So what.Unless he was charged with that and evidence shown to that effect, it makes no difference. No charge of bribery was made, which is an actual crime. So, no, you didn’t show a crime. Just innuendo.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                OK. so are you down with Clinton having been impeached on accusations, or are you against it?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                To get a sense of where you’re at on this, what do you think of Clinton’s impeachment? He wasn’t charged with perjury. He was accused, sure, but those were just accusations. Should he have been impeached?Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                No, he shouldn’t have. If I remember correctly, he impeached himself on the stand. And, R’s had as much right to impeach him as D’s had to impeach Trump. So, yes legally they can do it, but yes it is politically stupid.

                A better play would have been to bully pulpit him. Just constantly harrage him from the sidelines with outside actors, and have sitting R’s saying they are above it. They would have looked much better. But, to be clear, R’s made a much better case against Clinton that D’s made against Trump. This can be seen by the number of politicos who crossed over during the investigation. Having it end up on almost strictly party lines shows a weak case that was rushed. As I said at the time, you gotta play it out as a long game. Schiff was the wrong guy for that.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                No, he shouldn’t have. If I remember correctly, he impeached himself on the stand.

                That’s an interesting understanding of the word “impeach”, but it’s very good to know. You have a higher threshhold for impeachment than I do.

                My view is that he should have been impeached. Public officials should be held to a higher standard – much higher – than normal citizens. (In Clinton’s case I think he should have been acquitted in the Senate; in Trump’s case I think he should have been convicted and removed.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                The silliness in all this “Show me the crime” arguments is that Aaron’s logic is the same as the Democrats, just that he works it in the opposite direction.

                Namely, there is no such crime as “High Crime”.
                There isn’t a section in the municipal or Federal statutes that says “Article 5, Section A,; Withholding foreign aid for political gain;” I’ve seen people extrapolate one from the various Federal rules governing how money is appropriated and disbursed, but most of those can be debated.

                The Constitution (and I know we covered this many times before) says that Congress gets to decide what is a crime or what isn’t; So if the House and 2/3 of the Senate say that withholding aid is a crime, well, its a crime and the President is removed.

                But if 1/3+1 of the Senators say it isn’t a crime, well, he skates.

                But the larger silliness is to use this argument as a shield to defend the President from the charge that he used his power for his own gain; He did, and proudly said he did.

                Whether that is improper is a question for us as citizens to decide, and mete out our own penalty, both to the President and the Senate.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                He did, and proudly said he did.

                Yeah, that’s the part of the whole shebang that still astounds me. Trump admits to the crimes Democrats accuse him of, then papers over it by saying “it was a perfect call” and his sycophantic supporters never go “yeah Trump the call was … wait what?” I mean, I don’t expect them to come right out and say “I like president who crimes” but that’s basically what Trump admitted and they cheered him for it.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Aaron David says:

                Sorry, not impeached himself on the stand, perjured himself.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                Having it end up on almost strictly party lines shows a weak case that was rushed.

                Maybe. I don’t think so. Trumpism is the GOP at this point, so only a person in a) a very safe seat and b) was willing to piss off everyone in every institution they’re part of (graveytrain included) would cross over to the Dems.

                It was political, and wildly partisan, but (we disagree on this) the prima facie case put forward by the Dems was bolstered by the witness testimony to a point well beyond reasonable doubt in my opinion, while never even being challenged or rebutted on the merits by the GOP.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                Nixon won reelection in a landslide. But, during this time the D’s slowly and methodically showed the public what happened, how it happened and the damage it did. They didn’t rush it, they allowed everyone to see a causal chain. And when the tapes were released the public was so agast that the R’s, wanting to keep representing their voters/fearing for their seats, were lined up against him, asking for his resignation.

                The public can and will turn on a dime. You just have to give them a reason. Clinton would have been convicted in the Senate if, and only if, it had been shown to be a real crime against the US and not a process crime, which is what purjury is. No one gives a rats ass about fooling around in the oval office. Everyone knew it was two consenting adults (no matter the power differential aspect) and that HRC undoubtedly knew and OK’ed it.

                But they never really got the public behind it. Now, if it was an actually rape, totally different story on how it would have played out. But, it wasn’t, no matter how hard the R’s tried.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                Yeah, we’re not in Nixonland anymore seems to me. I understand criticizing the Dems for not taking more time, and I also thought they should take more time, for two reasons. The first is that being under investigation would curtail Trump’s ability (psychologically) to crime, and the other is that I felt like the Dems had one shot at collecting those documents to create historical record, useful for both personal edification but also to prove to people in the future how fucking lunatic fringe Trump’s narcissistic sociopathy was.

                I don’t think a longer investigation would have changed any minds. We’re too far gone as a society and culture for those types of considerations to play well with more than a few people in the electorate.

                Alas!

                ALso, to your last point, I think it’s even money that Trump would be acquitted in the Senate if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                “prove to people in the future how fucking lunatic fringe Trump’s narcissitic sociopathy was.”

                You might believe that with all of you heart, but that is what the D’s, and the left in general, have have failed to show in all of this. Oh, he’s a blustering blowhard, sure, but not a sociopath. Not narcissitic.

                But one thing coming out of the impeachment along with the possibliity of a slow response to Covid ops?

                That he was slowed down by a cheap shot of an impeachment. If the R’s start getting that message out, the quick-draw McGraw impeachment looks even worse.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                I’ve believed Donald Trump was a narcissistic sociopath since long before his candidacy. It goes way back, actually, to the days when he single-handedly destroyed the USFL.

                Just a few days ago Trump referred to the federal stockpile of ventilators as “our supply”. Small, I know, but put yourself in the headspace if a person who thinks that way. When people repeatedly show you who they are, believe them.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                He is the president, speaking to the public. Saying “our supply” is just talking about the US. It is reasuring, saying he is one of us, another US citizen. What you are doing is lunaticy and fringy.

                Seriously, that is just assinine. And very, very petty.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                Nope. He was contrasting “his” ventilator supply with states supplies. On my preferred reading, “our” meant “his”. But on a more a charitable reading – that by “our” he merely meant the Federal Government – it’s still sociopathic. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                Dude, that is some serious batshittery.

                (backs away slowly, both hands in the air…)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                One day you’ll wake up, rub your eyes, stretch, and then, when you’re walking to the kitchen to grind beans for your morning coffee you’ll look down at the floor and notice a weird chip in the oak which you haven’t seen before, and think, “My god I can’t believe I didn’t see it until now…”Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Urusigh says:

      A global pandemic with millions of people dying around the world and tens or hundreds of millions to sick to work isn’t that great for the economy either. The proper response would be the European freeze the economy but that was not politically possible in the United States.Report

  5. Avatar Stillwater says:

    This is all terrible, and tragic and will have long term effects on the economy. One perhaps silly, perhaps significant indicator: the New York art community said it will take years to return to where it was only two months ago.

    And as an aside, Congress’ economic response to the shutdown was *almost* as awful as Trump’s mitigation plan, which strikes me as something all the Medicare for All people need to watch and learn from. US Federal government is, itself, a disaster zone, and anyone who thinks our healthcare system would be better if run entirely by these willful idiots needs to lay off the crack pipe.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Stillwater says:

      Stop it. Congress is the political arm of the government, and it ALWAYS respond first to donors and second to voters (and often a distant second). Congress screwed ordinary working folks again (from both sides) in favor of their corporate check writers. Hell – the $1200 checks everyone is so hot about are tax credits against next year’s taxes – if your income picks back up you will have to repay that.

      But the permanent federal civil service bureaucracy isn’t congress. We are all still at work – all be it from home in nearly every case, and within the legal mandates we operate from. The US Public Health Service is working around the clock as is NIH and the CDC (warts and all). We are ALL doing the best we can (and many at great personal health risk) – so let’s lay the blame where it belongs ok?

      AS a SEPARATE ISSUE – most of us on the left don’t want universal single provider healthcare – we want single payer, and that is easily and productively done – Medicare and Medicaid do it now quite successfully with less then 3% waste, fraud and abuse.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Philip H says:

        Congress is the political arm of the government, and it ALWAYS respond first to donors and second to voters (and often a distant second).

        This is also on my list of grievances about the Democratic party. Number 16, I think.

        I get your point about career admin being different than the political appointees and partisan congressional slap-fighers, but the point stands, even on your own terms. The careers work within the policy priorities of the current admin, which means the single payer system is one POTUS, or one unified Congress, away from being ratfucked. Unless and until *both* parties make a single payer system a largely shared policy goal trusting government to administer it is absurd. Just ridiculously foolish.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Philip H says:

        Plenty of us on the left want universal healthcare. There are different ways to do that. I’m not sure why single payer has become the be all and end all of UniHC. A hybrid German/Swiss style system is just as effective and would easier to implement i think. Keep eyes on the goal, Uni HC, not the process to get there.Report

  6. Avatar InMD says:

    What this is emphasizing is just how outdated our approach to the economy and benefits has become. I know it sounds anachronistic but we need to figure out what America’s industrial policy is (maybe a better way to state it would be ‘theory of commerce and benefits’).

    In any case we need to get to a place where benefits are completely portable and where regular people have more cash in their pockets. It’s more important for keeping a consumption based economy moving than any other consideration, including availability of venture capital or keeping particular companies afloat.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD says:

      One thing to keep an eye open for is whether there is a national discussion of the importance of bringing back some kinds of manufacturing to the US. Like, you know, medical equipment or something.

      Maybe manufacturing that could be modified somewhat to turn into essential equipment manufacture if it comes to that (similar to the My Pillow guy making masks).

      (I’d also like to see a discussion about making it easier to open a small business and hire people and changing the burden of proof for licensure to be presumptively against it rather than presumptively for it.)Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

        The discussion about manufacturing needs to happen and it’s a shame that the guy leading it is such a boob. The bill is coming due on 30 years of outsourcing to bad actors. We’ve been operating as though there’s no trade-off but now we can’t wish away all these people losing their hand-to-mouth service jobs and the barely adequate benefits they no longer have.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird says:

        One of the things that I haven’t seen mentioned in articles about all the companies starting mask production is exactly what kind of masks they are making. N95 masks certified by both NIOSH and the FDA? (NIOSH requires stopping particulates; FDA additionally requires stopping a stream of liquid at a specific pressure.) N95 masks certified only by NIOSH (often called “industrial” masks)? Surgical masks (which stop neither particulates or the liquid stream, but are required to be sterile when shipped)? Something else?Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

        One thing to keep an eye open for is whether there is a national discussion of the importance of bringing back some kinds of manufacturing to the US. Like, you know, medical equipment or something.

        As long as corporations view their fiduciary responsibility as maximize short term profits this is not going to happen. all the free trade agreements are based int he theory that the US should get its goods and services where ever int he world we can that minimizes costs and maximizes profits.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

          And establishment of the PNTR with China had nothing to do with that sort of thing? (Or the establishment of a Trans-Pacific Partnership of sorts?)Report

        • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Philip H says:

          Yup. InMD, Jaybird, and you already nailed the issue to the point where I don’t have anything to add right now except a complementary “Well Done!” to all of you. Very good points.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H says:

          In the same way we need to jettison the idea of labor being merely a commodity, we need to jettison the idea of corporations existing solely for the benefit of their shareholders (which goes back to Milton Friedman in the 1970s, I believe).

          Both ideas are based on false premises, that individuals are rational actors, and that the natural workings of economics will produce the greatest good.

          Maybe the third idea to jettison is the econo-centric view of politics, the great century long Kitchen Debate the Western world has had, where the central decision of politics is the private versus public control of the factors of production.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            we need to jettison the idea of corporations existing solely for the benefit of their shareholders

            If memory serves, this idea has been proposed before but the implementation normally requires we measure corporations on things that can’t be measured and motivate them by requiring perfect people to run them.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

              We do that all the time, in almost every area of life.

              Legal contracts are studded with language like “reasonable”;

              Courts routinely make decisions on what is “unreasonable” or “cruel and unusual”;

              We also give executive power to individuals allowing them to make arbitrary decisions, based on the premise that they are people of good will and acting in good faith.

              There isn’t anything unusual or unworkable in making the granting of a corporate charter contingent upon socially desirable goals.

              In fact, I think that is how corporate charters came into being in the first place, as transactional agreements between the state and the corporate entity.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Courts routinely make decisions on what is “unreasonable” or “cruel and unusual”

                Court is ugly and adversarial. Changing the day to day functioning of every business to that is a bad idea.

                There isn’t anything unusual or unworkable in making the granting of a corporate charter contingent upon socially desirable goals.

                “I had a lower ROI because I was helping the homeless.”

                So… how much lower ROI does that forgive? How many homeless does he need to help?

                This sort of thing takes us from using math to figure out what is good/bad and deep into posturing, political correctness, and a bunch of other things that in the corporate sense are off topic. It’s hard enough to evaluate ROI and to get people who are good at that.

                Fundementally we should expect this to cost economic growth, and we’re forgetting that economic growth is such an amazing “GOOD” that it should take a lot to justify sacrificing it. If the gov want’s to deal with [problem X] then the appropriate solution is for the government to deal with problem [X] directly via taxes. If the company’s behavior is a problem, then the appropriate solution is to outlaw that behavior.

                Turning every company into an arm of the government to do something vague and ill defined seems like a mess. I can think of various countries which have tried this (Russia, China) and it hasn’t worked well. We end up with zombie companies that have no economic reason to exist that MUST exist because the government needs them to provide social services.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Corporations, right now, all have charters, statements of their purpose.
                And they themselves measure their performance by all sorts of subjective criteria;

                Remember how Hobby Lobby framed its argument, that the corporation had certain principles of morality and human flourishing?

                Or how Catholic hospitals, which function as corporations also have principles and social justice goals by which they operate?

                Or how various hotel chains like Marriot debated whether to accept porn on their in-room services, depending on their “corporate values”?

                These corporations all reject the “shareholder value” framework and instead define themselves as having higher goals which guide their behavior.

                The relationship between the state and the corporation is already a transactional one- “We grant you the limited liability in exchange for socially advantageous behavior”;

                And all around you, every day you see this sort of transactional relationship playing out.
                A developer asks for increased density, and the state bargains by asking for the street to be widened at the developer’s expense.

                Like all transactions, there isn’t any magic to whether they end up in a positive sum or not; Sometimes they go badly for all involved.

                But there isn’t any categorical reason not to consider them.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                These corporations all reject the “shareholder value” framework and instead define themselves as having higher goals which guide their behavior.

                All of your examples are of corporations behaving badly. “My corporate values cause me to discriminate against gays/women because god wants it.”

                That’s most understandable if the corporation is tightly held by a family, but it should call in question just how much society should “want” this sort of thing, much less encourage it.

                I’m sure you have this vision of corporations serving leftist goals, but our RL experience with this looks pretty bad.

                Hobby Lobby is just the tip of the iceberg. In the USSR it was common for the state to be forced to keep dead companies alive because they are supplying so much social good.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                If you object to the injustice of private discrimination by corporations, wouldn’t that logically argue for greater public control over them?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I am pointing out that the door you’re trying to open doesn’t lead to “the left’s ideals are done by corporations because all people are woke”. We’re multi-cultural, the very definitions of what is “good” are different in different sub-groups and we mostly don’t know which groups control which corporations because it mostly doesn’t matter.

                So “greater public control” may lead to things like abortion being a lot harder to get and pay for.

                And that’s just a small part of this smell.

                This country already forces businesses to supply health insurance. There are already all kinds of distortions as side effects including people not being able to leave work or change jobs because they’ll lose their health insurance.

                Extending that to housing would be a mess, much less all other social goals.

                We force Amazon to build housing… because nothing bad can happen from making Bezos a slumlord. What makes us think Amazon is going to be any good at this, and if they’re bad, why should we want to overcome its economic power if we want housing reform? If Amazon sucks at fixing stuck toilets, are we seriously going to threaten to shut it down?

                Or how about we insist Amazon build housing that’s attached to Amazon jobs? So now you need the clout of Amazon to build housing, and if you quit Amazon you’re homeless.

                Go back in time and insist that coal mines do social stuff (i.e. like the Soviets) and we find coal industry, which is bleeding money, is also running lots of hospitals, owns lots of housing, food stores, roads, and so forth. So if a coal factory goes under, so does the hospital, etc. Also your boss at the coal mine has your medical records so if you’re facing an expensive illness then it’s in your boss’ best interests to fire you and make you leave town (he’s also your landlord remember).

                Or how about electricity generation? Puerto Rico has a ton of experience on mixing that social good with other political objectives (often at the expense of profit), and we end up doing lots of things really badly.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Here’s a discussion we had a million years ago about what multiculturalism entails.

                Too many people think it means EPCOT’s World Pavilion.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                This is an example I mentioned about viewing everything through the Kitchen Debate lens.
                That is, that every choice is either toward Soviet Style Communism, or Free Market Capitalism.

                This was always a false dilemma (In 1958, Richard Nixon’s American Capitalism was massively socialized), but the dilemma is even more silly now.

                Let talk specifics so we don’t end up talking past each other, and specifically lets start with examples of the public imposition of social goods which seem to work well;

                As Michael Cain explained, there is no free market in agriculture. The government very explicitly imposes a moral order on the production and consumption of foodstuffs.

                The Commerce Department examines large mergers to assess whether this would result in a positive benefit for the consumers; The outcome isn’t left to the marketplace, but rather, a top down desired outcome is imposed.

                When large development or infrastructure is proposed, lets say a dam or housing project, municipalities conduct environmental impact studies to determine how this will affect the community, in terms of everything from pollution to housing stock to transportation;

                The government owns vast tracts of land; It grants leaseholds at below market rate, in exchange for assurances that the lessee will extract natural resources and add them to the supply chain;

                In all these cases the relationship between the actors and the state is a transactional one. The state grants certain permissions, in exchange for receiving some benefit.
                The important thing to note is that not all of the state conditions are economic; Many of them are explicitly moral and social goals.

                Even the goal of “increasing GDP” is itself a social goal, premised on the egalitarian idea that a higher GDP will benefit everyone.

                To be more clear- Even your own argument is premised on an egalitarian social goal, the promise that a higher GDP will lead to greater prosperity for all.

                Otherwise, why should anyone support it? If you were to tell me that “higher shareholder value” holds no benefit for Chip and his friends, why then should Chip and his friends vote for a party that pursues it?

                Why shouldn’t we vote for the “Party of Confiscating Wealth And Giving It To Chip And His Friends”? Even if this is proven to impoverish the nation as a whole, who cares? Chip and his friends will do just fine!

                This isn’t a silly hypothetical; This is literally the policy pursued by many nations around the world, where the party or clan in power loots the nations wealth for themselves.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Let talk specifics so we don’t end up talking past each other…

                Yes, let’s.

                What specifically do you want to have happen, and how specifically do you intend to have corporations make that happen?

                At the moment both your examples and mine hit the radar as a list of bad ideas, so let me put a different social goal out there.

                Ending Child Labor. To make that happen we outlawed child labor. I can think of a few other examples, mostly dealing with negative externalities. However at the moment you are being very vague and don’t seem to want things in those sorts of catagories.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I don’t have a specific list of demands, so much as a desire for us, we Americans nationally, to stop accepting the Shareholder Value Theory of corporations, in favor of a Transactional Benefit Theory, where we accept that in return for the lucrative benefit of the corporate form of business, the state can negotiate some sort of broad social goals.

                That we stop thinking of the corporate form of business as a naturally occurring artifact or fundamental human right, but more as a privilege which we the people grant to private individuals for our own purposes.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The current theory is one of the bedrocks of our economic system. Other systems which have used your suggestion have worked poorly… including many of your “broad social goals”.

                Are you willing to make people/corporations/society poorer for this desire? Or are you insisting it will make something work better?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                This “bedrock of our economic system” is younger than the Big Mac.

                It didn’t exist during the postwar economic boom, it didn’t exist in the 19th century Industrial age.

                It doesn’t even exist today in most of the world outside of America.

                The idea that corporations are public entities and that the public has a legitimate interest in their outcomes is the “bedrock economic theory” throughout the world.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                It didn’t exist during the postwar economic boom, it didn’t exist in the 19th century Industrial age.

                In the 1886 case Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific – 118 U.S. 394 (1886), Chief Justice Waite of the Supreme Court orally directed the lawyers that the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause guarantees constitutional protections to corporations in addition to natural persons, and the oral argument should focus on other issues in the case.

                So in 1886 the Supremes thought it so well established that there was no point in talking about it. It seems to have been created in 1818. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhood#Historical_background_in_the_United_States

                As for the rest of the world (same link): In the United States and most countries, corporations, as legal persons, have a right to enter into contracts with other parties and to sue or be sued in court in the same way as natural persons or unincorporated associations of persons.

                It’s also noteworthy that the US ranks towards the very top of countries when judged on corporate governance.

                The idea that corporations are public entities and that the public has a legitimate interest in their outcomes is the “bedrock economic theory” throughout the world.

                You have been very vague on what you’re trying to do (other than overturn bedrock economic principles) so if you can point to other countries successfully doing something and are trying to copy them, please point to them and supply links.

                Again, the only countries I can think of who have tried what I think you’re suggesting are communist experiments which ended poorly.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Corporate personhood is not the same as the Shareholder Value Theory.

                Most European nations have very strict public control over how corporations behave; in Germany for instance labor unions have a seat on the board of companies like BMW and Mercedes Benz.

                Check out the German Works Council Constitution Act, where corporations are required to give workers “co-determination rights” in how the company operates.
                https://www.businesslocationcenter.de/en/labor-market/employment-law-and-collective-contracts-system/german-works-council-constitution-act/

                They don’t operate under the idea that corporations have no obligation other than to their investors; Corporations are understood to be a privilege granted upon certain conditions and for the benefit of the public.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Corporate personhood is not the same as the Shareholder Value Theory.

                To the best of my knowledge, SVT isn’t a legal theory, nor a law, nor anything other than some idea of governance. No court would accept it as something that would shield a company from behaving badly.

                The rest of this seems lacking in details in terms of what problems you’re trying to solve and how you intend to motivate corporations to solve them.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                That’s right, SVT is a political theory, a way of looking at the world that many American have come to accept.

                Which is what I would like to see changed. I would like Americans to think of the corporate form of business as a privilege that is granted with the intention of benefiting the public’s interest as much as the shareholder’s interests.

                I like the German example of giving a stronger voice to the workers, placing their interests on an equal footing with the investors.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I would like Americans to think of the corporate form of business as a privilege that is granted with the intention of benefiting the public’s interest as much as the shareholder’s interests.

                I dislike the idea of making economic activities (including and especially job creation) a “privilege”.

                Having said that, can you define “benefiting the public’s interest”?

                Amazon has roughly 800k employees. I don’t understand why that’s not “benefiting the public’s interest” on the face of it, and that’s ignoring all of the other benefits we the public get from Amazon.

                I like the German example of giving a stronger voice to the workers, placing their interests on an equal footing with the investors.

                My general impression of Germany is they’re a mono-culture and have had less problems with unions behaving badly.

                My impression of unions in general is they’re a competitive disadvantage on a company. Their decline in both the US and Germany(?) seem to reflect that.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Again with the monoculture stuff?
                Seriously?
                No Germany is not a flippin’ monoculture! The events of 1933-1945 should be familiar to you.

                And more recently, the strangeness of the reunification of the “Ossies” and Wessies” after the fall of the Wall should be fascinating to anyone who imagines that nation as a hive minded monoculture.

                https://www.dw.com/en/prejudices-towards-former-east-still-exist-says-german-president/a-6005406

                And the idea labor unions are a competitive disadvantage is made laughable with just a glance at the German industrial powerhouse.

                And in keeping with my other comments today, maybe the operative term here isn’t “labor unions” so much as it is “German”.

                That is, the German people have collectively made decisions about how they want corporations to behave and what benefits they want to derive from them.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I don’t have a strong opinion on the worker representation concept but having lived briefly in Germany I can tell you you’re way off on the monoculture issue. Yes, there’s some regional variation and dialects aren’t always mutually comprehensible, but compared to the US… well they’re on the same page in a way I can’t imagine us being.

                My brother in Mannheim even keeps a running comparison to his old neighborhood in Baltimore (Mannheim is very diverse for Germany). It’s still a totally different world.

                Also keep in mind events of the 30s and 40s really destroyed any pre-WW1 remnants of cosmopolitan Europe. People in the US IMO fail to comprehend just how much that has impacted what they’ve been able to do post war. Only recently are developments with refugees etc. causing some of the consensus to fray.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Again with the monoculture stuff?
                Seriously?

                Chip, think about this more narrowly. For example, on the issue of the NHS, Britian is largely a monoculture. When it comes to opposing honor killings, the US is largely a monoculture. Etc and so one. You keep trivializing the concept of a monoculture by assuming it means people who agree *on everything*.

                Michael Cain’s point about union integration into the German business decision-making is a good example of what I’m talking about. Ie., culturally, Germany made a decision to not have unions and management be antagonistic rivals.Report

              • My general impression of Germany… have had less problems with unions behaving badly.

                Take a long enough view and that’s not true. Bismarck instituted public pensions out of fear of what the unions (and the rest of the socialists) would do.

                My impression of the history since WWII is that Germany worked to make unions and capitalists all part of an “us”. The US, as in other things, took a path that made them antagonists.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Michael Cain says:

                I think that impression is pretty good… but the WW2 era was hugely distorting on the fabric of Germany Society.

                If that’s what we need for unions to play nice with the capitalists, then that’s not the solution, it’s the problem.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                If that’s what we need for unions to play nice with the capitalists

                Are you at all aware of the history and origins of unionization in the US, Dark? You’ve conveniently reversed the order of things.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Are you at all aware of the history and origins of unionization in the US, Dark? You’ve conveniently reversed the order of things.

                Yes I do know the history, but my strong inclination is to ignore anything that happened more than 75 years ago.

                The glory years of unions as a force of good depended on management as evil, i.e. management deliberately working people to death, stealing worker pay, engaging in violence, etc.

                Those glory years existed, but everyone involved is long dead, we’ve had like 5 or so wars, and every aspect of society has been redone.

                Modern Unions need to justify their existence based on modern conditions.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I tend to be a proponent of a number of ideas around German systems that I think with tweaking and massaging to the reality of the US could be improvements on the status quo. Because they’re a decent size geographically, federated with real regional differences and interests, multi-sectarian, and have a big enough population you can get a bit closer to apples to apples than I think anywhere else in Western Europe (France is another maybe, but forget Scandinavia).

                We just always need to keep in mind that we can’t replace our history with their history. The fact that something works for them is not dispositive or even particularly persuasive unless you’ve really dug in to what they do versus what we do. Even then some things will never translate.

                We fall into a weird place that IMO makes what happens in Latin America at least as instructive for how different ideas are likely to play out in the US.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to InMD says:

                Well put, and agreed.Report

              • I lived in Germany two different times. You have no idea what you are talking about with German culture and specifically their unions, which are entirely different than what labor unions in the US primarily consist of.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Dark,

                Do you agree there are sorts of ways US systems fail to not only achieve their putative goals, but directly fail *people* as well? I mean, surely you must have some criticism about our healthcare system, right? High prices and total cost, poor outcomes, etc., yes?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Do you agree there are sorts of ways US systems fail to not only achieve their putative goals, but directly fail *people* as well?

                Yes, absolutely. HC is even a good example of that, although parts of the system are good, cheap, and widely available; HC for pets. Lasik eye care. Plastic surgery.

                The parts of the system that are working are the ones which are using something close to markets, price signals exist and are allowed to work. The rest of the system is largely market free and shielded from price signals. We might claim it already works on social goals.

                Market failure is a thing, Chip’s definition isn’t bad, but when we’re looking at market failure we figure out why and fix that as opposed to doubling down on things which presumably will make it worse. Further obfuscating price signals, and shielding corporations from ROI seems unlikely to make things cheaper.

                To be very clear, there are situations where the market fails. Monopolies, public goods, costs that are unloaded onto the commons… however there’s also government mismanagement, and misregulation.

                If the FDA is too restrictive, the solution probably isn’t to make companies care less about it. If local housing authories prevent the creation of enough housing to meet demand in the name of social goals, then that’s a description of the problem, not the solution.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                One of the reasons I’m not fond of the term “market failure” is that it uses a metaphor of the market as being some entity that operates separate and independently of the society in which it occurs.

                But that metaphor seems inaccurate to me. The metaphor doesn’t explain how markets work so much differently, produce so wildly different outcomes across nations and time.

                And the suggestion that the public somehow “fix” the problems like monopolies and externalities is no different than saying we should “fix” society itself.

                Economics is at its root a form of sociology. It attempts to explain and predict human behavior. And human behavior is one of the most complex and unpredictable things in existence.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                And the suggestion that the public somehow “fix” the problems like monopolies and externalities is no different than saying we should “fix” society itself.

                Pointing to a single problem affecting a single industry and saying we should pass a law is doable and has been done many times.

                For example housing costs are out of control in many parts of the country because there’s no increase in supply, which is caused by local people using local zoning and other governmental tools to shut down it’s creation.

                The long term solution is to strip localities of those tools or restrict them a lot. Make NIMBY types pay for the endless reviews they want. Ban square footage requirements. Put a cap on how many weeks a board can keep a developer hanging and how many bites of the apple they get.

                human behavior is one of the most complex and unpredictable things in existence.

                Thus why Economics is call “the dismal science”. However trying to claim we don’t know everything and it’s a soft science shouldn’t open it up to claiming we know nothing so we should ignore supply/demand.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Dark, I understand your critique. I’m very familiar with it, actually. Here’s the a followup question: would poor people, or middle class families, or the elderly, or people with preconditions, be able access quality healthcare on (what you view) as an idealized market?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                …would poor people, or middle class families, or the elderly, or people with preconditions, be able access quality healthcare on (what you view) as an idealized market?

                The word “quality” is doing a lot of heavy lifting there. The answer is it depends on whether you’re judging by absolute or relative measures.

                If you have a problem which is bleeding edge and requires a very new very expensive solution, then obviously not.

                However HC would be a LOT cheaper so the definition of “can’t afford treatment” would have to be moved down a lot; I.e. from an absolute measure there would be more HC available and fewer people priced out of the market than currently exist.

                However imho it is simply a fairytale to pretend that expensive bleeding edge solutions are available for all in whatever system, and we’re paying a lot of money to maintain that fairytale.

                Also you asked about an idealized market and not a realistic market one, so oh boy. We’re probably looking at a 20x reduction in costs, which I’m getting by asking the internet about expensive pet treatments for human diseases (cancer) with the understanding that for pets this is a niche market. Assuming that’s an outlier we might still be looking at 5x reductions.

                With a 5x reduction and insurance used as insurance rather than as a way for everyone to freeload on everyone, then we’re looking at a vast increase in the net human good…

                …and yes, this means putting up with crying eyes of people dying because they’re priced out of the system. And not believing politicians who claim there will be no crying eyes if they’re elected.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                “this means putting up with crying eyes of people dying because they’re priced out of the system. ”

                Can’t make an omelette…Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Yes. The really nasty drawback is you can point to those people and they’re real.

                The nasty advantage of some other systems is, because you can’t point to those people, they’re not real, even if their numbers are much higher.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            “In the same way we need to jettison the idea of labor being merely a commodity, we need to jettison the idea of corporations existing solely for the benefit of their shareholders…”

            sounds good but “corporate management has a moral dimension” is how we got Hobby Lobby claiming that they had a moral duty to not include coverage of abortifacent birth control in their employer-provided healthcare benefits.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck says:

              Very good point that morality and ethics cut in many different ways, but still, we don’t let that stop us.

              The same moral code that says we should respect this behavior can also say that we should ban that other behavior.

              The boundary lines between the two are always being negotiated and litigated.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The same moral code that says we should respect this behavior can also say that we should ban that other behavior. The boundary lines between the two are always being negotiated and litigated.

                True. This is why I’m comfortable dropping 9 and 10 digit fines on organizations which cover up their agents raping children.

                However it’s also true that what we have now has been worked out over MANY years and we have the examples of many countries. It should not be scrapped without extremely careful research and evaluation.

                It’s the whole Democracy issue, it’s not that the current system is great but that the others that we’ve tried are worse.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Another thing I’ve been noticing is a number of people upset at Trump for not locking down the entire country.

    What percent of the country has been locked down, do you think? What percent gave us 10 million in the two-week total?Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

      Lockdowns should be regional, based on current conditions.

      You cannot beat this virus but 100% quarantine. It would be nice. Just have everyone sit in a sealed bubble, then no one gets sick. However, that psychologically impossible.

      The goal should be to phase “in and out” various levels of social distancing as needed to “flatten the curve.” These phases will vary region to region.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

      The statistic I read is 3 out 4 Americans according to the Times are under some kind of stay in place order.Report

  8. Avatar Damon says:

    If the Chinese had been honest from the get go, we’ve had a better idea about how this thing might play out. Even now they are under reporting. Combine that with the initial “descallation” efforts by politicians and the media, and it’s a cluster.Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Damon says:

      The fact that so much of our system is contingent on transparency and fairness from the PRC strikes me as exactly the kind of thinking that needs to be abandoned.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

      If the Chinese had been honest from the get go, we’ve had a better idea about how this thing might play out.

      Congress was briefed by the intelligence folks on the severity of the pandemic in January 25 (the briefing which caused both Burr and Loeffler sell stocks), and shortly thereafter Schumer, Warren and Chris Murphy all made public statements about the WH and Fed Gov failing to act quickly or take the epidemic seriously. The first reported death was on February 19 (I think). It wasn’t until two weeks ago that Trump even *hinted* that the pandemic might have consequences so extreme they would be beyond his ability to convincingly lie about them, and during that two month window he took effectively zero proactive measures to prepare the country for mitigating and responding to the inevitable crisis (other than spin falsehoods, denials and blame-shifts).

      What you wrote is nonsense.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

        Also last year the admin got rid of our point person from the CDC stationed in , get this, China. That job was to interface with the Chinese and keep an eye on what was going on re: diseases.

        That may, in retrospect, not have been a great idea.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Stillwater says:

        Really? Given the number of deaths in Wuhan? The pics of truckloads of cremated urns? The 21M cell phones turned off/missing? The chinese were dealing with this in December 2019. It allegedly came from the same wet market as SARS. The prc has a history of “message massaging”.

        Bullshit? Ha!Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

          Damon, Congress and the WH were briefed on the epidemic on Janurary 25 and even though governors and mayors have taken proactive measures, it wasn’t until ten days ago that Trump *stopped lying* about what everyone at the federal level already knew.

          So, yes, your comment is nonsense. Like Richard Burr selling off his stocks, Trump had plenty of time to get in front of the pandemic.

          Regarding his dithering while the ship sank, the best case for Trump is also his worst case here: that he believed the Chinese government over US intelligence agencies.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

            Being “briefed on the epidemic on Jan 25th” doesn’t mean jack if the WHO didn’t think it was going to be a pandemic until March. There are quotes from the WHO right before that briefing which effectively state that they don’t expect it to be a problem.

            Let me just quote wiki here: The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020 and recognised it as a pandemic on 11 March 2020.

            The root problem here is exactly that the Chinese were (and are) lying about how bad this is, how fast it spreads, and how many dead people it makes.

            As far as we can tell the Chinese made it a matter of national pride that they could beat this so they were (and probably are) suppressing information. Thus we have weird things like tens of thousands more urns being used than normal for this kind of year which simply don’t jibe with the official death toll.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

              Being “briefed on the epidemic on Jan 25th” doesn’t mean jack if the WHO didn’t think it was going to be a pandemic until March.

              Only if you don’t trust US intelligence agencies, which were correct, as turns out.

              The root problem here is exactly that the Chinese were (and are) lying about how bad this is, how fast it spreads, and how many dead people it makes.

              Nope. South Korea had their first confirmed case the same day the US did. They figured it out, we did too, Trump lied about. Remember when Trump refused to let a ship dock in Seattle because it would “increase the numbers”? Remember when South Korea was mass testing its population while the FDA refused to approve new companies to conduct testing and the CDC’s guidlines on testing were that *only* people who checked all four boxes of fever above 102, coughing, headache and exposure to someone who’s been abroad could get tested? I do. I could go on of course. And on and on and on. Trump wanted to “ride it out, ride it like a cowboy, ride that sucker right through,” then predicted reality caught up with him.

              Look, I’d even like to give him credit for allowing governors to determine their own policies on stay-at-home orders, but I can’t since that’s revisionist too. While DeWine and others were ramping up the lockdown Trump was still implying the epidemic was a hoax.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Only if you don’t trust US intelligence agencies, which were correct, as turns out.

                You’re assuming the US intelligence agencies actually got it right and weren’t just copy-catting the WHO in relying on Chinese intel.

                It’s always possible to point to some doom sayer after the fact (or someone who claims to have been right). The people whose jobs are to publically worry about this sort of thing weren’t worried about it, so that should be a decent yardstick on what was reasonable to think at the time.

                South Korea had their first confirmed case the same day the US did.

                Your intel is seriously wrong, that should make you question where you’re hearing this.

                South Korea’s first case was Jan 20th. The US’s first case was Feb 26. BTW China’s first case was December 1st.

                During the first 4 weeks, South Korea controlled the spread of Covid-19 by being seriously big brother, i.e. using high-tech resources like tracking the use of credit cards and checking CCTV footage of confirmed patients. So basically they had a full month on us… and they used it really well. Well enough that they made it look easy.

                In terms of number of tests available they’ve had two free months.

                the CDC’s guidlines on testing were that *only* people who checked all four boxes of fever above 102, coughing, headache and exposure to someone who’s been abroad could get tested?

                You say that like it’s a bad thing. Two weeks ago a third of the country thought they’ve had this disease, almost all of them are wrong. We don’t have an unlimited number of tests, it would be real easy to burn through all of them for spurious testing.

                the FDA refused to approve new companies to conduct testing

                People on this site have been pointing out that the FDA is overly restrictive for a lot longer than Trump has been in office. Much worse, the only politician who has been seriously trying regulatory reform is Trump.

                With the benefit of hindsight he’s not covered in glory from his behavor in the early days, but I’d still give the lion’s share to China… and “hindsight” is a really high bar. A lot of this anti-Trump stuff seems to be for stuff you’d forgive from a Blue player.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                You’re assuming the US intelligence agencies actually got it right and weren’t just copy-catting the WHO in relying on Chinese intel.

                The briefing was on January 25. Shortly after that both Burr and Loeffler cashed out their 401Ks and are being investigated for insider trading. Within 6-7 days of that briefing four Democrats publicly said that the administration isn’t doing enough prepare for the epidemic: Murphy, Schumer, Warren and someone else.

                You can trust me that those Dems did, or you can make me dig through the interwebs for a link to their public comments.

                People on this site have been pointing out that the FDA is overly restrictive for a lot longer than Trump has been in office.

                What I’d point out is that under Trump the FDA is being selectively restrictive. On the one hand its denying approval to mask, testing, and other gear manufacturers on the premise that the denials are pro-forma while on the other it approved an untested and actually dangerous drug for commercial use at a nod from President Trump (even while Remdisivir – the drug with demonstrated efficacy in treating corona-strain viruses and given to the Chinese by Gilead – sits in phase III clinical trials waiting approval).Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                When Macau shut down its casinos is when I should have realized something was up and that it was big.

                Sigh.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                You didn’t trust Warren, Schumer, Murphy and Biden. Would you have trusted Loeffler and Burr had they been honest?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                I admit to not trusting the senators about much of anything.

                But Macau shutting down? I should have trusted Macau shutting down.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                Though my guess, and that’s all it is, is that you didn’t see those early public statements since they didn’t get any play. I was aware of Murphy’s warnings only because I follow him on Twitter. He’s a good source for inside-Dem/Senate politics!Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter says:

              Since when does the WHO run the US. Please, that is some sad trump fluffing. Biden, Schumer, Warren and the Sen from Conn whose name i’m forgetting all called for a significant effort and that CV was going to be bad at the end of Jan. Burr and Loffler certainly read the tea leaves well enough to dump and buy stocks to profit well this.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak says:

                Biden, Schumer, Warren and the Sen from Conn whose name i’m forgetting all called for a significant effort and that CV was going to be bad at the end of Jan.

                Source?

                Burr and Loffler certainly read the tea leaves well enough to dump and buy stocks to profit well this.

                And Bezos did amazingly well from his stock moves without actually knowing anything. I almost rebalanced my stocks at the start of the year simply because the run up has been amazing to the point being overvalued and I clearly remember thinking this was another Bird Flu.

                Take dozens of politicians who knew then select the best moves that a carefully cherry picked few made.

                We are certainly deep into appearance of wrong doing and I’d welcome reform preventing politicians from owning these sorts of assets. With an investigation maybe we find actual wrong doing.

                However statistically we’re in the zone of firing lots of bullets randomly at a barn and then drawing a circle around the best cluster and claiming you’re a great marksman and NOT at HRC’s cattle trades.Report

    • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Damon says:

      Didn’t there used to be a government agency that would have been tasked with looking into just this sort of thing? Whatever happened to it?Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Viruses and pandemics do not care about ideological priors but a hell of a lot of people are sticking to their priors.

    I expect this will get worse before it gets better. The Bay Area just instituted new social distancing measures to be in place until May 3, 2020 at earliest. The new restrictions still allow for restaurant take out and delivery but state social distancing must be maintained in the kitchens. A lot of restaurants cannot or will not comply and decided it was easier to shut down until restrictions are eased.

    The optimistic take is that some restrictions are eased in May and June with more and more through out the summer. The negative take I have is that there are one or two more clampdowns to flatten the curve, maybe more and/or authorities decide to wait until the fall before allowing restrictions to ease to see if there is a second wave in the fall rather than ease up and have a second wave.

    The most dire predictions are for 32.6 million or so out of work,. This is higher than the Great Depression’s 24.9 million out of work. So this is going to be really bad. If it has not happened already, white collar professions are going to start laying off workers because business dries up. Someone already said that their big law firm is holding a town hall next week on how the pandemic is effecting the firm’s economics.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I’m not even sure if whether one or two more clamp downs is enforceable without significant force. People are going to start going nuts sooner than latter. Most people don’t have the economic ability to survive one or two more clamp downs. State governments can’t provide because they have balanced budget amendments and can’t print money. The federal government under Trump and Republican Senate isn’t going to become suddenly sane about this issue. The Republicans know that their voters will just blame the out group and still vote for them.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq says:

        People are going to start going nuts sooner than latter.

        Lockdown, Day 20: Dearest Mollie, The passing of indolent days reclining in my rocker, drinking ale from the fridge, to accompany my cheese tacos, have frayed the edges of my sanity. I sense I am not alone, on the front lines, in having had my fill of being cooped up. I know, as do you, that it’s only been three weeks, and I hope my letters of longing, for the Pub, haven’t imposed an undue burden on you and mother, who are also cooped up. But I fear that insurrection is at hand. Rumors flourish of a rebellion, and I thrill at the thought. Whatever happens to me, dear Mollie, know that I love you, and mother, and should anything happen to me please take care of my dog. Yours…

        Add: as an aside, William Shatner has been doing something similar on his twitter feed, with posts starting “stardate X…..”. It’s pretty amusing!Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater says:

          Will you stop it. The second Bay Area order had to a lot stricter and clearer than the first Bay Area order because of all the scofflaws. There was at least one speak easy bust that I posted a link about.

          How much do you think people can put up with? Especially when their money is starting to run dry?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq says:

            I honestly thought I was going to, Lee, but every time you complain about the lockdown I recall that you said it was the biggest sacrifice anyone in American history has ever been asked to make, and that you said it on *day 7*.

            I mean, I’ll try, because I know you don’t like it. Seriously, I’ll do my best (which isn’t all that good, we’re finding out.)Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater says:

              You totally misinterpreted what I wrote and willfully so.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq says:

                You couldn’t just leave it with my last comment, could you. I mean, I can pull up the quotes if you want….Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’ll try to rephrase what I think Lee was going for.

                GenX and younger have witnessed a whole lot of bad things happening. The oldest GenXers remember the Vietnam body counts on the television and then had to live through The Brady Bunch, Lennon and Reagan getting shot, watching The Day After, and then, just as they were coming of age, the Berlin Wall fell.

                And then there was a truly awesome decade. A freedom dividend like none other. Awesome music, the gay thing was finally lightening up, awesome movies, and we weren’t all gonna die. It was fun. Then 9/11 happened and, once again, GenX (and younger, this time) were bystanders. Witnesses. Standing and watching. But what did Bush ask us to go? Go to the Mall. We weren’t asked to do anything. Under Obama? We didn’t have to do anything. Nothing at all.

                This is the first time that GenX (and younger) has been actually asked to *DO* something.

                And doing something is easy if you’re used to doing something. Maybe. I guess. My grandparents seemed pretty stoic about what happened when they were teenagers.

                But GenX (and younger) has never been asked to do anything before.

                “Why do my eyes hurt?”
                “Because you’ve never used them.”

                (Note, this pretty much only applies to privileged people. People who don’t qualify as privileged have had to do shit before.)Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

                That was one of my points. Most people alive today really don’t remember what life was like during infectious diseases or anything really that bad either for the most part. There are exceptions like being an old enough LGBT person during the AIDS pandemic of the 1980s or not being privileged, but even, they know a lot less pain and sacrifice than previous un-privileged groups as a whole.

                My other point was that during the Civil War, Great Depression, the World Wars, or whatever previous time sacrifice people could still talk to each other and engage in social activities. Humans are social animals and the previous we are all in this together events actually emphasized this. Covid 19 is asking people to be non-social, to stay inside and avoid others, etc. So we might not be on a rationing or knowing extreme economic distress like the Great Depression, yet, but we don’t have an outlet for our social needs.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Where I would push back is on “most people”.

                If you change that to “pretty much everybody I know”, you might see the problem that other people see.

                It’s the equivalent of complaining about how difficult it is to work at home to someone who lost their job. Complaining about how long you had to wait on the phone to talk to someone about adjusting your mortgage rate to someone who doesn’t know how/if they’re going to make rent.

                It communicates “I’m privileged” more than it communicates how difficult it is to do what you’re being asked to do.

                It’s okay to find this stuff difficult, mind. If this is the toughest thing you’ve ever had to do, then this is the toughest thing you’ve ever had to do!

                Here’s a funny therapist tweet I saw the other day that does a good job of capturing one of the several dynamics going on right now:

                Now my advice for you is to look at what you’ve been asked to do and, at the same time realizing how difficult it is, realize how blessed you are that this is the trial you’ve been asked to overcome.

                Also: too much internet is poisonous. Like, a lot. You should find something diverting. If you’re not into video games, re-connect with a hobby from your youth. It’ll help.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

                When your entire life revolves around increasingly-awful imaginations of what The Worst Thing Possible might look like, it comes as a relief when an actual Worst Thing Possible happens and you’re like “pfft, that’s not even in my top ten!”Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

                “So we might not be on a rationing or knowing extreme economic distress like the Great Depression, yet, but we don’t have an outlet for our social needs.”

                I think the issue is your repeated focus on “social needs”.Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to Stillwater says:

              Stop being a jackass. Good grief.

              This effects nearly everyone, and taken on that scale, this is collectively the biggest hardship to hit the nation as a whole in my lifetime. And I was alive for Vietnam (although very young). I was a teen during the AIDS crisis. This is bigger. Moreover, it dwarfs 9-11 and the “economic collapse” combined.

              Yes, you can look back through history and find humans enduring worser hardships. Yep. Certainly. My parents were young teens at the end of WWII. My grandfather fought in WWI. My family back in Ohio used to can their own food for winter, a skill largely forgotten — although I’m much better at ordering from GrubHub than they were.

              The point: this is us, and it’s now.

              To mock people experiencing hardship now because other endured worse in the past is a fucking dick move. It makes you look like a complete ass. Cut it out.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to veronica d says:

                Good lord get off your fucking horse VD. You’re not the any sort of moral authority at this site. If people are expected to man up to the challenge of *staying indoors* then it’s helpful to recognize that they’re suffering with heat on, well fed bellies, plenty of distractions, social interactions via phones, skype, the internet. It’s a burden, yes. It’s a pretty easy fucking burden compared to the historical crises the US has had to endure.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yeah! And those whiny bitches with cancer! Always “the chemo is awful” and “I might die” and “it costs a million dollars!”

                What whiners! 100 years ago they’d have just died!

                How dare anyone complain? And don’t get me started on the poor, with their cell phones and refrigerators! Why 30 years ago, only the rich had cell phones! They’re wealthy beyond the dreams of the 80s, and instead of celebrating they’re all “I can’t afford food” and “I can’t afford medicine” and “I’m so poor and I’m one small problem away from homelessness” instead of “But I have this cool Nokia!”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS says:

                And all those other whiny bitches, too, JS. Don’t sell yourself short.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq says:

        People are going to start going nuts sooner than latter.

        I suspect one indirect consequence of this will be a bunch of people putting off their retirement. Not because their 401(k) crashed — although that might be a part of it — but because they’ve run into the question I’ve always asked colleagues contemplating early retirement: “How are you going to fill up all those hours?”Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Probably depends on what Covid does in warmer weather. Right now nature is on the quarantine’s side because the weather is pretty crummy in the north (but rapidly improving). I don’t thing even the national guard could keep people inside once the weather gets nice up here.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

        Weather in California is largely always nice and the streets are damn quiet.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to North says:

        Down here in hot and steamy Mississippi we JUST got our Stay Home order statewide yesterday. It exists in part because coastal counties and mayors didn’t have anything with teeth to write citations to people gathering on the beach in larger numbers then the CDC recommends.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North says:

        Covid started in Australia during Australia’s summer, one of their hottest. It also acted in Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore. All three of those are tropical countries. We have decent evidence that Covid can remain very active in hot weather.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Yeah, the bottom line currently appears to be a big ol shrug. But the articles I’ve read aren’t optimistic since the studies so far have either said “it likes the heat” (eeek!) or “it’s uncertain”. I don’t like the direction that is leaning.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North says:

            My impression from the little bit I read on the statistical difference between warm weather and cold weather spread is due more to the confined spaces which people occupy in wintertime than anything inherent in viruses or our responses to them. IOW, in colder times, people can and do share more germs.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater says:

              In the past, people lived in denser living conditions with small apartments and housing and more people per rooms. I assume an old-school style tenement where one apartment could house eight to twelve people and the entire building hundreds were very conductive to spreading diseases more than modern suburban track housing or even a modern condo.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater says:

              In some places, people stay inside during the summer because it is so damned hot outside. I read that flu is a summertime disease in India for this reason.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                That makes sense. I think Trump’s idea was that heat and viruses don’t get along, which is sorta silly. The other idea might be that people’s immune systems are more responsive to fighting infections in the summer time. But it seems like spread is increased when people are more closely confined, and that would occur during cold and extreme heat cycles.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Australia’s doing quite well, with 1 death and 200 cases per million people. And this isn’t just a case of getting a late start—their infections and deaths have been growing linearly (not exponentially) for nearly two weeks now.Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            Thailand and Singapore haven’t been hit very hard at all, either. Thailand, maybe you could chalk up to being a middle-income country and maybe not having great monitoring in place, but not Singapore.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Brandon Berg says:

              A lot of this is probably cultural set theory. How many different people do you meet in a typical day?

              Right now I’m interacting with the same tiny set of people every day (my family) and they’re interacting with me.

              In NY they’ve had issues with certain religious groups that want to get 10+ people together to pray. That’s probably not very bad on the face of it… unless it’s a different set of 10+ people every time.

              Now all of a sudden your set of people who can infect each other is the entire group, which may be hundreds of thousands of people, and they can spread it to other groups they are members to.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Dark Matter says:

                If people form a steady prayer group, then things are still pretty safe. As I’ve said many times, social distancing doesn’t have to be absolute. In fact, it can’t be. The psychological cost is too high.

                Of course, there are smart ways to do things. For example, protective masks, hand washing, cleaning the area before an after prayer, etcetera. The risk can be well mitigated. What helps is a prayer group is a high trust situation, very much unlike (for example) public transport or a stadium.Report

  10. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    The TLDR version is that experts believe that people who live alone just need to suck it up and deal with the loneliness:

    https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/4/2/21202903/coronavirus-covid-19-social-distancing-closed-circle-single-alone

    The number of people who believe we can do 18 months social distancing without wrecking people mentally is amazing.

    Stillwater, don’t you even dare to post your typical response.Report

    • Avatar Urusigh in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Good link. Thank youReport

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I’ve seen conservatives saying the same thing, including one writer with anxiety disorder going on and on about how it will drive suicide numbers up.

      My thought is that suicide numbers will also be pretty bad when everybody loses a parent, a couple of classmates, and dozens of Facebook “friends”, and tons of people they know also lose parents and friends. I think what’s going on psychologically is that they’re really wishing that both options weren’t bad, and imagining that it would be better if life went on as normal, with no lock down and no deaths of people they know.Report

      • Avatar Urusigh in reply to George Turner says:

        Interesting, I don’t think I’ve had a disagreement with you yet, George. Guess there’s a first time for everything.

        “I’ve seen conservatives saying the same thing, including one writer with anxiety disorder going on and on about how it will drive suicide numbers up.”

        I’m one of those conservatives and the research on suicide from economic downturns is pretty solid.

        “My thought is that suicide numbers will also be pretty bad when everybody loses a parent, a couple of classmates, and dozens of Facebook “friends”, and tons of people they know also lose parents and friends.”

        False choice. Suicides due to economic impacts are ALSO losses who are parents, friends, etc. People are going to die either way and those people will have grieving loved ones either way. However, the ripple effects (notably including copycats) from suicide is usually much worse than from impersonal causes of death like disease, so on a 1-1 basis suicides are significantly more important to prevent than disease deaths. Both options ARE bad, but the optimal balance of fewest casualties tilts more toward “keep society functioning” than “only disease-related deaths count”.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

      This is probably why the solution involves a vaccine and/or herd immunity (following absolutely horrid numbers) instead of a stay-at-home/social distancing kinda thing.

      One of the things I remember from my old Myers-Briggs days was that the distribution of Extroverts to Introverts was something like 75-25. On top of that, we all know that it’s a spectrum rather than a toggle so even Introverts like to participate in a gathering from time to time. (Speaking for myself alone, I know how much giddy pleasure I felt going to the grocery store and getting ingredients for spaghetti sauce a week ago and I know how much I enjoy going for a jog at the end of a long day. Me! Jogging!)

      We’ve had a stay-at-home for… what? Two-weeks now?

      So far we’ve lost 10 million jobs.

      When you add “I need to get out of the house” to “if I don’t work, I’m going to be thrown out of the house”, that’ll turn this back into a full-blown pandemic. And that’s the *BEST* case scenario. (The worst case involves re-reading Jacobin history in order to make the best guess at the rhymes that are coming.)Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

        Even introverts like to hang out with people in real life and meet potential romantic partners. The number of people who are willing and able to live the true hermit life without going bonkers is nuts. I’m not exactly an extrovert but I’m not an introvert either. If we need to stay at home for a very long time than we are going to have to implement a sort of freeze the economy system. Anything else is too unstable.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Uhh, let’s give up early and see what happens. ???

      Is that what you want to hear? No one likes it Lee.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Been thinking a lot about anti-fragility. Our system (including our system of government!) is one that optimizes for everything working just right. When everything is working just right, it becomes possible to play status jockeying games. It’s not about what you have, it’s about what you have relative to everyone else. The bottom parts of Maslow’s Hierarchy are so solid that we don’t even need to think about them. So we look to the top of the pyramid and that’s where the movers and shakers put all of their energy.

    And wham. Pandemic. We’re going to have a lot of people who have problems meeting the foundations. Not just the ghastly unemployment rate, but the whole “dying” thing.

    And seeing people play status jockeying games seems so… quaint, I guess? The game has changed.

    Anyway, I read this Thrive/Survive post from SlateStarCodex again. It reads differently. As do the comments complaining that he’s not criticizing Reaction enough.

    How fragile we are.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

      I read that essay, and his conclusions ( rightism is optimized for survival and effectiveness, and leftism is optimized for hedonism and signaling games ) and ( rightism is optimized for tiny unstable bands facing a hostile wilderness, and leftism is optimized for secure, technologically advanced societies like the ones we are actually in ) are derived from a caricature of both leftism, rightism, and history.

      To start off with, he doesn’t acknowledge the large overlap of rightism and leftism.
      They both for example utilize groupishness and the subordination of the individual to the collective.

      Especially in desperate survival situations, the needs and desires of the individual become very weak and the bonds and obligation to the larger collective group become stronger.

      What he doesn’t acknowledge as well, is that our political frame of reference of rightism and leftism is itself a product of a highly advanced technological society a world of abundance and peace.

      From the viewpoint of some struggling band of desperate people in the wilderness, or a resident of some other time and place, the beliefs of both American conservatives and American liberals would be baffling and incomprehensible.

      And if the point is to hypothesize about how contemporary American culture might change as a result of a desperate survival event, probably the only safe conclusion is that it will be “unpredictably different”.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        What kind of problem do you think we’re in, Chip?

        A: Yeah, this is pretty bad but we’re going to turn the corner in a couple of weeks and things will be back to a new normal by the end of the summer.

        B: It’s going to get worse but we’re going to turn the corner by the end of the summer and things will be back to a new normal by the end of the year.

        C: The overture hasn’t even ended yet.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

          I would vote for something between A and B.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

          Here’s the problem I think we’re in: Every stakeholder with Real Power (TM)* will blame this crisis on some other actor’s actions/decisions/unforseeable Act of God and by appealing to their in-groups fear of the outgroup as saboteurs (the arrows flying crosswise in every direction) the introspection which a calamatous event like this *should* inspire will be replaced with a bunch of “I told ya so”s confirming misplaced priors thereby perpetuating our dysfunctional cultural/political status quo.

          *And even those without real power. Sniping from the cheap seats is a time honored American tradition.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

            That strikes me as a variation on status games, though.

            The introspection will happen when status games are seen as less important.

            Here’s an weird example of some of the stuff I’m talking about:

            We passed “money isn’t real” a little bit back. A lot of people didn’t notice.

            We’re fixing to pass “regulations aren’t real”. Depends on the FDA/CDC, I think.

            I hope we don’t get to “laws aren’t real”.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

          Things never go back to normal because no matter what is happening, society is constantly changing and evolving.

          2019 wasn’t the same “normal” as 2016, which wasn’t the same “normal” as 2006.

          We tend to notice the big shocks to the system like 2008 style crashes of shock election results like 2016.
          But those are sort of like the meteor strikes and volcanic eruptions to the social ecosystem; Big spectacular events that make immediate and visible changes.

          But the small stuff does its work too.

          Like, the 2008 crash and Trump’s election didn’t just happen at random like a meteor zooming out of the cosmos.

          They were the result, the visible manifestation of things which had been in motion for a long time, just never noticed until after the fact.

          Likewise, this pandemic isn’t unpredictable or even novel (despite its name). This is just the first time one has hit us under this unique set of conditions.

          And the reaction to it is a visible manifestation of the changed society that has been evolving towards this direction for decades.

          The lack of trust, the lack of ability to coordinate efforts, the existence of a propaganda outlet which seeks to disinform and obscure; these are conditions that are different and new.

          They are and have been for a while, the “New Normal”.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Ah, yes. “Things would have been different no matter what.”

            I guess I can’t argue with that.

            How’s about this question then: Have you bought a gun yet?Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

              I suppose there’s a chance that everything will be different… like before and after the Civil War in the South.

              But, I confess I’m not convinced that everything will be different. I’m not convinced this is a Civil War event; it feels like a mash-up of 9/11 and 2008… some unexpected terror and death plus a market shake-up.

              But, things are still happening, so I’m not exactly sure what we’re living through and whether things like the Virus Aid bill and various emergency measures in research and single minded focus on the problem will do over the next month or two… maybe nothing.

              What I am a bit astounded by is the conviction, almost maniacal need for this to be a transformative event… its a bit like this is the most transformative black swan event ever. More so than the last one(s). Less so than the next one.

              I suppose we may anticipate a new Dept of Homeland Health Security, maybe a cold-trade-war with China as we re-evaluate logistics… those are not nothing; but 2021 will feel a lot like 2019 plus a requirement to take off our shoes *and* swab our hands as our temp is measured automatically in the phone booth thingy we enter into at the airport.

              Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’m not convinced anyone else is right.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Right now it feels like a mashup of 9/11 and TARP. In a couple months, if/when unemployment sits at 32% it’ll feel a bit like something else.

                It doesn’t feel like a transformative event right now because the ground is only beginning to shift.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                Here’s a quote from St. Louis Fed Res President Bullard:

                “This is a special quarter, and once the virus goes away and if we play our cards right and keep everything intact, then everyone will go back to work and everything will be fine.

                He also said he didn’t think he economy or jobs market was in “free fall”.

                lol It’s like he didn’t even read his own report!Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Marchmaine says:

                This strikes me as the correct (at least moreso) take. We aren’t seeing massive carnage, as we are at 10k deaths as of today. That is from two or so months of the virus “rampaging” through our society. If you compare that to the 3,600 deaths per day from auto accidents, it is no wonder people are not going to treat it as some world changing event like Spanish flu. So, unless something radical happens, causing Covid to rapidly change, this is going to increase:
                https://www.chron.com/news/article/Despite-stay-at-home-orders-6-out-of-10-are-on-15179476.phpReport

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                Would a 32% unemployment rate constitute massive carnage?Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                I am talking about deaths, and if people don’t see them, actual bodies en mass, than it will look even more like peolple don’t give a shit about what the catastrophists are chicken littling about.

                The 32% unemployment rate will cause carnage from the massive societal damage from idiots destroying an economy over what is essentially nothing.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Aaron David says:

                I am talking about deaths, and if people don’t see them, actual bodies en mass, than it will look even more like peolple don’t give a shit about what the catastrophists are chicken littling about.

                That’s the paradox here. An effective intervention will appear unnecessary, because it works.

                It’s a bit like the Y2K thing. (The difference is, in the Y2K case, the media made a big shitstorm about it to the general public, who really didn’t have anything to worry about, because of the efforts of the tech folks. By contrast, this requires effort from all of us.)Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to veronica d says:

                Funny you should mention Y2K, as it has been on the forefront of my mind. And you paranthetical is on point, only that at this point it remains to be seen if it isn’t some sort of repeat situation.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                My FIL made (for him) massive amounts of money in semi-retirement re-writing FAA code in advance of Y2K over an 18 month or so lead time. Not sure what your point is here. Is it that because planes didn’t fly into each other, and banks’ computer systems didn’t collapse the whole “re-write the code” effort was a mistake?Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                No, I am not saying that “re-write the code” wasn’t worth it, I am saying that the panic that was expressed in the media at the time wasn’t worth it.

                But I did sell a lot of books on it, making (for me) big money.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                So, what’s your account of why private businesses spent billions of dollars of *their own money* (not gumint’s money) re-writing code?Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                They felt they needed too to fulfill business contracts?

                They didn’t want their systems to go down? They have business needs that required it? They understand maintenance and capitol expenses?

                What I don’t believe is that media panic! convinced them to do it overnight, because they already were working on it (according to you).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                What I don’t believe is that media panic! convinced them to do it overnight, because they already were working on it (according to you).

                Ahhh, OK. I get it. You think I’m defending media hysteria. Fine. (I’m not, and not sure why you inferred that from anything I wrote.)

                I will point out that your view that Y2K parallels the coronivirus response doesn’t really hold up, though, since you’re view is that it isn’t worth it anyway.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Stillwater says:

                There is a difference between “this is a serious problem that engineers need to fix” and “this is something that the general public needs panic over, go withdraw all your money cuz the ATMs will stop working, planes will fall from the sky, and medical equipment will fail.”

                The former is true. The latter didn’t happen. The media definitely pushed the latter story, as the former story wouldn’t drive ratings.

                My own anecdote: on Y2K, we had extensively tested our code, but still, one subsystem failed on the actual date turnaround. No customers were effected because other subsystems were resilient. Moreover, the failing system actually worked fine once we restarted the service. It was just a weird glitch.

                In other words, we did the work. Our systems stayed up.

                #####

                I think there are a lot of important differences between Y2K and COVID-19. The big one: Y2K actually could be fixed quietly by engineers working behind the scenes. COVID-19 cannot. Sure, hopefully smart scientists will give us better tests, vaccines, treatments, etcetera. But that is at best months (years?) away. In the meanwhile, COVID-19 doesn’t have a “quiet, behind the scenes” solution.

                #####

                The similarity is in the public response. If these mitigations work, people will say they weren’t needed. Public officials who did the right thing will be attacked. In other words, these are shitty incentives.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

                For a month with $2.2T aid, no… no it wouldn’t.

                Now, the thing none of us know is whether we’ll have 32% unemployment for 6-months without another – bigger – bailout… or, after we get a testing regime is it sticky at, say, 22% for a year… those are all unknowns.

                So, we don’t really know what 32% unemployment means, since even this time we’re doing 32% unemployment with $2.2T in aid to workers and businesses.

                I’m not saying that *nothing* is happening, I’m saying that 32% unemployment is known and baked into the 1-2 month cake.

                I agree – and have said – that the Aid buys us a 30-60 day quarantine… if 60-days from now nothing has changed, then I definitely anticipate a collapse of the quarantine. At that point we’ll have another assessment of what before/after might look like…. pending developments in testing, treating and mitigation.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Well, seems to me we’re only disagreeing at the edges. Your view is that this event isn’t big enough to be transformative, so it won’t be. My view is that this event actually *is* big enough to be transformative, but it won’t be.

                Could be that I’m more cynical than you are.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

                “Could be that I’m more cynical than you are.”

                Sometimes words can hurt.

                Now I have to spend three hours on twitter to work on my cynicism.

                But, to be clear, I’m not saying this isn’t big, its BIG… I just have no firm conviction whether or how it will be transformative.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                In the absence of a vaccine/medication-that-works (and both of those have to be *AFFORDABLE*… like, somewhere around “free”), we’re stuck with a disease that will make most cities in the US look like what’s happening in NYC right now.

                Maybe the best plan is to power through and get the herd immunity and, yes, people will die and not just the elderly and not just the otherwise infirm. But, let’s face it, staying home is unsustainable too (especially taking into account the fact that only the upper and upper-middle classes can stay home and, from there, they have to rely on the lower middle classes and lower to act as hired help).

                And so I’m back to my old question.

                What kind of problem do we think we’re in?

                I’m hoping it’s A. If it can’t be A, I’m hoping it’s between A and B. If it can’t be between A and B, I’m hoping it’s B.

                But I’m worried it’s C.

                And if it’s C, we’re going to learn that a lot of our socially constructed concepts have durability problems.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                We *need* an antibody test, like right now. Like yesterday.Report

              • Didn’t Stanford start testing one on 2,500 or so volunteers yesterday?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Michael Cain says:

                It appears so. Newsome said the test is “hours, not days” away from FDA approval.

                The article I read indicated that the test was somehow linked to United Biomedical, whose ownership lives in Telluride, so all 8000 Tellies are gonna get the test for free.

                (United Biomedical ownership donated something like 16,000 Covid tests to Telluride to provide cost-free blanket testing of the county’s residents *after* Polis switched the State’s free testing site from downtown Denver (major urban center) to Telluride (small but wealthy town at the end of a box canyon). I’ve been following this weird little bit of Colorado politics for a bit now.)Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                I don’t know yet.

                A disease that strikes 1% regardless of race/class? I’m willing to acknowledge our institutions are brittle… but aside from the sorrow and suffering I’m not seeing the virus causing revolution.

                The response to the virus? One that shifts the sorrow and suffering disparately to some rather than all? Sure, that could spark some vigorous civil disobedience. Has any government figured out a way to do that yet?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                1% of deaths that hit cities harder than suburbia and results in 33% unemployment for 3-6 months is going to require a handful of changes (including new ways to think about employment gaps).

                Plus there’s the problem of “if your job can be done remotely, it’s offshorable”.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Sure… if the big takeway is that organizations realize the horrible liability that people are and re-double and double again efforts to automate…

                I mean, why offshore to India?… the coronavirus story from India hasn’t been written yet.

                Why not a sort of Butlerian jihad in favor of solidarity — finally we all see how important it is to have short-resilient networks?

                My initial comment is that we don’t know what the Apres la guerre stories will be until we see what paths we take now. I’m mostly objecting to the Pre-spinning of the outcome. An outcome we haven’t seen.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Short-resilient networks have disparate impact and are worse than nationalist: they’re localist.

                Capital is now unbound by borders. And if they don’t like the laws where they are, they will just move to Somalia.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Marchmaine says:

                It isn’t just affecting 1% regardless of class though. It is hitting POC and poor/working class folk harder. Not solely them but not an even distribution.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to greginak says:

                That strikes me as a reflection on the response, not the virus itself.

                But I’m told this is the best possible response we can have… so.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Well the response and the pre-exsisting inequalities.

                Ahh i see. “best response…” Yeah i’ve hear about trumps shitposting. But in the real world however…..Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                In the real world, people are champing the bit to go back out to have gatherings and it’s barely been a month of the lockdown.

                I don’t even know that we’ve internalized “if you die in the real world, you die in real life” yet.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Some are. We’ll see how that changes by the end of april. Some will still be eager to get out, some will have watched the death toll rise.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                and it’s barely been a month of the lockdown.

                Time dilation. San Francisco was one of the first cities to lockdown. It started on March 16th.

                In Colorado the lockdown started on March 25.

                It feels like longer…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                (I kinda started my lockdown on the 12th. Maribou started hers a few days before that.)Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to greginak says:

                But in the real world this is the same response we’d be getting under Pres. Obama/Clinton/Biden: an astounding voluntary quarantine of very nearly the entire nation.

                What we do with these 30-60 days we’ve bought? Sure, there I’d expect some variance… but as of now, the only “response” we’d be able to measure is getting people to stay home.

                And the disparate impact felt by all those workers who are “essential” *and* can’t work from home? That’s the exact same group no matter who’s President… and those people would have been used exactly the same as we’re using them right now.

                At the end of 60-days, judge the previous 60-days… I have no problem with that. I’m more than a little weary of the forward certainty of things people are all too willing to retcon after the fact.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak says:

                It isn’t just affecting 1% regardless of class though.

                Don’t forget the old, retired and sick.

                Something else is this 1% is a one off.

                Herd immunity makes this go away. Vaccines make it go away. Getting it when you’re 10 means you’re not immune to it when you’re older but you might as well be.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Herd immunity, ie: killing all the vulnerable people, does work. I’m not sure that is the point you think you think you are making. For HI to really work you need a very large percentage of people to get it and survive or get a vaccine. What is the death toll if 90+% of the pop gets it? Sure we’ll get some sweet sweet herd immunity from that.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak says:

                Depends on what our goal posts are. If the idea is to prevent this virus from being able to attack anyone (which to be fair is the normal definition of HI), then yes, we need a very high percentage.

                If the idea is just to contain it enough that the hospitals don’t get overrun and the HC system can keep it down to a manageable level? Then the people with serious levels of exposure (sometimes called social butterflies) will get it and we’re lose that as a transmission vector.

                That would be the cops, HC workers, and others whose jobs are to encounter large numbers of people all the time.

                That won’t drive the numbers down to zero, aka chicken pox, but we can (and will need to) live with it killing people at a level less than the flu.Report

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