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Gordo

Just curious, anyone have a plan, or preps for global pandemic?

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10 hours ago, Ron Put said:

but why are you not focusing on the numbers provided,

Because I don't dispute them.   You missed the point of the question,  being overly defensive as usual.  It was not focused on your thesis that the severity of the outbreak  "doesn't seem justify the draconian measures which will have an enormous impact on the economy and will likely cause much more lasting damage than the virus."  

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BTW, the Russian take on this is funny.

Yeah, that's the Russian take.

Edited by Sibiriak

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Tom, my view is longer term, I did mention "next 10 years".  Let's just say hypothetically speaking, the government decided to give every man, woman, and child a check for $10,000 a month for the next year.  Surely even you would have to admit this would be inflationary, right?   OK, how about you dial that back a little.  And a little more.  Where do you say, 'Nah, that's not inflationary'?  I don't care much about "vs. other currencies" they are all falling.  I think more in terms of purchasing power.  We currently have 23.5 trillion in debt and over $100 trillion in present value of future obligations.

 

In other news - 

Italy records smaller increase in virus cases for 2nd day

 

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"vs. other currencies" they are all falling

Exactly my point - that's what I was pointing out, that the dollar devaluation is not against other currencies because none are appreciating against it (i.e. major ones that matter: Euro, Renimbi, Yen). So the dollar is not going to experience currency devaluation. Which is why...

I next addressed purchasing power. I don't know what you want me to say - I already enumerated the issues. But OK, let's elaborate.

In order for the dollar to devalue vs purchasing power you have to have (1) excess demand vs supply (2) producer pricing power. Please tell me which one do you see in the scenario you outlined? I don't have time to write a thesis here, but I'll try to make it as short as possible.

You assume that the government is going to give enough money to consumers so that you increase consumer demand beyond producer supply. I think that's absurd. That will never happen. Look what they are discussing right now - $1200 per person, $500 per child, one time - maybe a few times at most. That's peanuts. It'll do nothing except slow down the collapse slightly.

The problem is not that there are too many dollars chasing too few goods. Instead, like during the depression, you have no dollars chasing any goods, so there's a deflationary spiral. By giving a bit of money you are slowing the spiral down, but you're not stopping it, or reversing into inflation. If indeed you had the government giving everyone $10K a month, yes, that would be inflationary. But that will NEVER happen. NEVER. If people are too poor to buy the goods, you have no inflation because you can't ask for a higher price when there is no demand (i.e. no pricing power). Today, we are looking at low demand and no pricing power. That's not inflation. That's deflation. Btw. I already see it with prices for various goods falling drastically - my email box is full of offers for dramatically lower prices on fashion items and free shipping.

To elaborate a bit more, because it's an atypical situation. There are two kinds of demand - aggregate and sector. The aggregate demand is low, but most of the sector demand is steady - it's not growing. Aggregate demand is low, because broke or scared people put off discretionary spending, thus hitting the whole economy. Sector demand is steady - f.ex. in the food sector, the demand is overall steady to down, but it's NOT growing - people want to buy as much as they bought before (or slightly less, fewer luxury food items, restaurant meals) etc. So steady demand - it's not like suddenly people want to eat twice as much. So most sectors will be down, with a number steady and a few growing. Aggregate demand is still down.

The government will NOT be putting so much money in the pocket of consumers as to cause inflation. NO WAY. What the government will be doing is throwing money at the market, corporations and so forth. In the present situation, that is stupid, because it's not a problem with enough production - it's a problem with demand. Corporations are already sitting on record cash and have been for years now. If they needed that money to increase production, that's what they'd be doing instead of sitting on the cash. Clearly they don't need it. Giving them more cash will not make them increase production, they already have enough cash. And they won't increase production because the demand is not there for the goods. There is no point in making more widgets that nobody has the $ (or desire if we're talking about discretionary) to buy. Throwing money at the corporations is pushing on a string. It gets us nowhere.

The problem is not production capacity. The problem is lack of aggregate demand. Lack of aggregate demand means deflation, not inflation. The money spigot will not fix the demand part of the equation, because too little is going to the consumer and instead is being pointlessly wasted on the producers who don't need it. Giving money not to fire employees is only going to do something, if we get back to production soon - and we won't get back to production unless we fix demand, because who is going to produce stuff that there is no demand for?

Now, this applies to a world where the economic picture is the same all over. If it's drastically different in a substantially large part of the world economy, of course all this will change. In this case, the only unknown variable at this point is China. Only the U.S., the EU, or China can be engines of growth or impact the world economy. The U.S. and EU are in the same situation, so that's not the variable. That leaves China. If China can go back to "normal" it might upend everything - and yes, in that scenario, you *might* even be able to ignite inflation in the U.S., especially if they start selling their U.S. foreign reserves. I don't think that's super likely, but at least it's a possibility. Outside of that, I see no inflation in the U.S. (and no dollar depreciation).

What needs to happen is for everything to get back to normal. We cannot sustain this nonsense for more than 3-4 months at the most. The pandemic might go on indefinitely or become endemic, but we'll get back to business and it'll become just another fact of life, like the flu, car accidents and natural disasters. We have no other rational choice. And once we get back to business, all these scenarios will retreat into the mist and we'll be back to normal, more or less, except now in debt up to our eyeballs... but hey, blame the politicians for that. If we had a rational government we'd cut defense spending by 90%, cut down on all non-productive spending (i.e. money spent on education, science, business development, infrastructure etc. is productive, so don't cut that) raise taxes across the board massively and start saving. You can't go deeper into debt indefinitely.

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11 hours ago, Ron Put said:

None of this means that this is not a significant outbreak. But it doesn't seem to justify the draconian measures which will have an enormous impact on the economy and will likely cause much more lasting damage than the virus. To me, it appears that much of the histeria is politically driven, fed by fear and reflected in the social media and unfortunately, regular media coverage.

Again, a relatively significant death rate which is homogenous in space and time does not appear to clog the hospitals, ICUs and the morgues. Clusters in space and time, as we've observed, just do that, they have the power to overwhelm the hospitals and staff. Add to it that medical staff is dying or getting ill in significant numbers and that contributes to the overflow of the hospitals and ICU units.

It's interesting that the death rate of influenza seemed to be higher in Italy but, again, there are so many factors at stake, how do you sample the infected but healthy population, the infected who had minimal symptoms and so on....

The strategy which you would like to see would perhaps have little impact on the economy but would be guaranteed to pose huge ethical and practical problems. For one, is it right to let die the old and the sick, a government who encouraged such concepts of social Darwinism,  was Hitler's government. The elders cannot be practically protected without draconian measures, since they are so much distributed into society, at last in many countries.

Then, the hospitals would be overwhelmed for some undetermined time and this would cause further deaths, people necessitating operations or urgent interventions for other causes but not being able to obtain them.

Last but not least, the morgues would be just clogged, the corpses carried away and cremated, in Italy, this is just happening and people do not know where their deceased relatives are. Again, an aspect which does not encourage the morale of the population.

 

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I haven't seen much discussion on COVID-19 vs. race. 

Africans (and African-Americans) should be a genetic group to watch given their general robustness to diseases like malaria. (A primary reason Europeans used Africans for slave export to the New World). 

On that note, indigenous racial groups (vs COVID-19), should also prove interesting. E.g., how the newest races  fare (such as indigenous groups in the New World; many of which were wiped out by 15th cent. European colonizers-- Columbus, et. al))

Refs:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4067985/

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TOM:"I see no inflation in the U.S."  You seem focused on the short term with regard to these comments, of course there can't be inflation if no one is buying anything, haha. The seeds of inflation or hyperinflation longer term (10 year timeframe) are there now, printing money is the only way out of the fiscal problem we've put ourselves in even long before coronavirus, but the virus is accelerating what was already set to happen.  It will be fun digging into these "rescue plans": Dow futures surge as Wall Street holds out hope for coronavirus rescue plan

 

In other news, these debates about holing up and destroying the economy vs. putting some people at elevated risk are finally going mainstream:

Coronavirus: Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says he and some other grandparents are willing to die from COVID-19 to save economy for their grandkids

and of course Trump: The Cure Can't Be Worse Than The Problem

It will be interesting to see what states and the federal government decide in this regard over the next two weeks while new infections are still climbing.  And the big question, will people actually take precautions and do the things they should do to avoid infection and spread even when not forced to hole up at home?  Or are Americans too stupid and/or self-centered to do this?

 

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Edited by Gordo

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There is a whole range of options between the extremes of   do absolutely nothing and total lockdown for months.   Each country/region has to consider the variables and devise a reasonable strategy.  It's very difficult to do that when the issue is politicized, as Ron Put has argued. (It seems insanely politicized in the US right now.)

How severe and widespread should the lockdowns be? How long should the lockdowns be kept in place?  Wait  a few weeks,  just enough to "flatten the curve a bit"?  Wait until hospitals are definitely prepared for the next wave of patients that  may come when restrictions are  lifted ?  Wait until new effective  treatments and vaccines are available?

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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Hunter Hoagland, a reporter with Chattanooga NBC affiliate WRCB, spoke with the man covered in a New York Times article this week who hoarded 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer intending to resell them for as much as $70 each on Amazon and Ebay.

"Noah Colvin took a 1,300-mile road trip across Tennessee and into Kentucky, filling a U-Haul truck with thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer and thousands of packs of antibacterial wipes, mostly from 'little hole-in-the-wall dollar stores in the backwoods,'" the Times reported Saturday.

After Amazon and Ebay prohibited the sale of such items to combat price gouging, Colvin was left "sitting on 17,700 bottles of the stuff with little idea where to sell them.

 

"

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A lot of hyperbolic attacks on Trump for positive remarks about chloroquine.  For example:

'Media, Stop Live Streaming His Misinformation!': Despite Reports of Overdose Deaths, Trump Again Touts Unproven Drug Treatment for Coronavirus "How many more people will have to die?"

Quote

[...]As Common Dreams reported earlier Monday, Trump has already been accused of gross negligence for repeatedly touting the effectiveness of chloroquine phosphate, an anti-malaria drug.

Despite warnings from health experts that chloroquine has not been tested for treating COVID-19, Trump falsely claimed during a press briefing Sunday that the evidence for chloroquine's effectiveness in treating the coronavirus is "very strong."

 

Cf. French researcher posts successful Covid-19 drug [ chloroquine ] trial

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TOM:"I see no inflation in the U.S."  You seem focused on the short term with regard to these comments, of course there can't be inflation if no one is buying anything, haha. The seeds of inflation or hyperinflation longer term (10 year timeframe) are there now, printing money is the only way out of the fiscal problem we've put ourselves in even long before coronavirus, but the virus is accelerating what was already set to happen.

Oh boy. Are you an adherent of the Austrian School of Economics by any chance? I hope not, because I don't have the energy to go in circles here :)

Where do we start. You want a 10 year timeframe? The words of John Maynard Keynes come to mind: "in the long run we're all dead". Attempting to extrapolate how the fiscal landscape will look like in a time of crisis like this, to a timeframe of 10 years, is a bit rash as JMK would say. If you want projections, well, fine: it seems the markets disagree with you, as the 10 year T-Bills value is high and interest on them is low... folks buy them with the very idea of what 10 years from now will look like - and their verdict seems to be a very severe NO INFLATION in 10 years:

https://ycharts.com/indicators/10_year_treasury_rate

So much for projections - maybe you feel you're a better forecaster than the market, fine. But on fiscal fundamentals, there are a few things you're missing here. First, printing money is one way out of excessive debt, but contrary to what you say, it is not the "only" way. The other two are: one, debt repudiation and two, productivity gains. Debt repudiation: this has catastrophic consequences for small economies which do so in an economically stable world - example, Argentina. It's a measure of last resort, and better not done if at all possible. But it is a completely different matter when essentially all world economic centers are in exactly the same situation - at that point a mutually agreed debt repudiation, while wrenching would not be a death sentence a la Argentina. And as you know, there is heavy debt in the U.S., famously in Japan, but also in China: gray market debt and off the books debt in China - which btw. is becoming a problem for their recovery - I just wrote about China yesterday as a possible avenue out, but now there are reports that China's economic recovery is not all that it's cracked up to be:

No, China’s economy hasn’t gotten better. The implications could be more serious than investors realize

So scratch that one off. That leaves EU - and as the crisis continues, they too will load up on debt no matter how much Germany protests, and that's not even mentioning the absurd debt levels not just in Greece but in Italy (Spain and Portugal are not far behind). That about covers it - EVERYONE is either already, or soon will be in the same deep debt situation. At that point debt repudiation becomes highly possible and not fatal - it might not be 100% repudiation, instead it'll be some kind of cents on dollar long term debt restructuring, but it'll avoid having to print money. In fact, we've done that in the past with Third World Debt, especially African, which was largely written off - and the world didn't come to an end, and those countries went on a growth spurt, unlike Argentina. This is particularly made easier because all that new debt that's coming and which you point to, is largely government debt. So that's one avenue you're missing.

The second way out of debt and avoiding hyperinflation or debt repudiation, is my preferred solution: productivity growth. This is by far the best. This is how the U.S. which was the heaviest indebted country in the world back in the 1800's worked itself brilliantly into leadership - massive productivity gains. At first we tried to do what you suggest - print money - and all that did was collapse the currency. So then we tried productivity - and it was a brilliant success. Here's an interesting trip through that history - we financed a whole new country on debt:

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/11/the-long-story-of-us-debt-from-1790-to-2011-in-1-little-chart/265185/

The same path was used by many other countries. This is completely realistic - IF OUR POLITICIANS ARE UP TO IT. I would propose to cut defense spending by 90% - nobody is going to attack us as long as we have nuclear weapons and those we can keep at 1% of current budget - sure we won't have the troops to interefere in other countries affairs and start wars of choice, but to me that's a feature not a bug (the trillions upon trillions we wasted in Iraq and assorted Wars On Terror that only made more terrorists and made us less safe). Military spending is the very worst kind of wasteful and unproductive spending on stuff that explodes and does nothing for the economy - even the Austrians agree

Cut down all non-productive spending (only keep high infrastructure, education, business development etc.). Put all that money saved into massive science projects to revolutionise every productive sector including not just information technology but also biological sciences - the returns will be gigantic in everything, including agriculture that needs to feed billions upon billions sustainably. Is there precendent? Why yes! Recall the U.S. response to the Sputnik challenge and the space race - when we were scared that the Soviets were ahead, we invested massively in engineering education and science and it ignited a stupendous productivity wave that we're still living off of today in every field, computer and information science, material science, engineering and on and on. It was the most spectacular effect that exceeded even the WWII gains. So it can be done. We need a massive boost in productivity and innovation and that way I am 100% confindent we can work our way out of this crushing debt - no need for inflation or debt restructuring. But only if our politicians are up to it. We've done it before. We can do it again - and yes, it is a crisis that brings about such revolutions.

Finally, it's time to stop fighting the last war. Obsessive projections of impending hyperinflation are the very definition of fighting the last war in the realm of economics. For decades now, the Austrians and other assorted flat earthers were warning about impending hyperinflation as government debt balooned, quantitative easing swelled and all fiscal discipline flew out the window. And... not only is hyperinflation missing in action, but inflation too. In fact, the only fiscal crisis we've had was the severe danger of deflationary spiral after the 2008 crash, which we fought with more debt. It's been 12 years since then. And decades since these warnings emerged (first under Reagan) - how's that for not just a 10 year timeframe, but a close to 40 year time frame. And inflation nowhere in sight. So when are the Austrians going to stop telling us "but wait for tomorrow" - after almost half a century I think it's time to give up that nonsense. Paul Krugman has a saying about those warnings and projections, under the moniker of "fairy" - the ever present "inflation fairy", "debt fairy", "bond vigilantes fairy" and so on - remember when bonds were supposed to collapse? And interest rates up to skyscraper levels? Well, we've had record low interest rates for literally decades now (and zero today, lol). 

The debt fairy and inflation fairy theories of the Austrians have been put to the test in the real world, and have failed abysmally. At this point, arguing with Austrians is like talking to the Flat Earthers, even when we've gone around the world literally billions of times. They're impervious to evidence and the real world. So are you going to believe their Unique Inflation Wisdom, or your own lying eyes? Give it up. There is no inflation. There has been no inflation for a couple of generations now, and there will be no inflation in a 10 year time frame. The Austrians don't realize that when you've had a theory fail on the ground for literally decades, the problem is not that they missed the timing - the problem is that their theory is fundamentally wrong.

Stop fighting the last war. We have different tools available to us, and I strongly support an all out effort to gin up our productivity on a revolutionary level - we've done it before! Except we have idiots for politicians. They're flooding us with debt in the most unproductive way possible, throwing trillions at the market, at corporations and still mealy-mouthing discussing peanut sums for consumers. Where is our Alexander Hamilton, where is our FDR, where is our Eisenhower? Instead we're stuck with the moron Trump and his band of Republican humunculuses and the craven democrat opposition. 

But fairness demands that I give credit where credit is due. I'm the last person ever to give Trump any kind of credit, but truth and fairness demands that I give him at least a tiny bit of credit - he at least started the conversation about re-emerging the economy. Yes, his motives are dreck - re-election and apparently many of his properties are on the brink of failure - but it is what it is. He did get the ball rolling. Now we must have a rational discussion as to how to proceed. Because if there's one thing we know, it's that this is not sustainable. Eventually, we must restart the economy. The time to discuss how to do this best is NOW. What's the best way to proceed - this should be a bi-partisan discussion... but I fear our politicians are not up to it.

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"Herd immunity" theory -- alive and well in Sweden:
 

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More than 350 public health academics and practitioners in Sweden ranging from full professors to post-doc researchers have signed a petition calling on the government to change its coronavirus strategy.

Sweden has closed senior high schools and universities, banned gatherings of more than 500, asked all citizens to avoid non-essential travel and advised those who feel ill and are aged over 70 to stay at home.

But unlike most EU countries it has not introduced stricter suppression and social distancing orders, such as closing lower schools, non-essential shops, cafes and restaurants, or confining citizens to their homes.  It is also no longer testing the majority of people who show symptoms of Covid-19.

Anders Tegnell, the country’s chief epidemiologist, has described Sweden’s strategy as trying to ensure “a slow spread of infection, and that the health services have a reasonable workload”, arguing that it is important for part of the population to acquire immunity.

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Popular Science has an article with some nice ways of visualizing the scale of the outbreak in different countries which I haven't seen before:

https://www.popsci.com/story/health/misleading-covid-coronavirus-graphs-charts/

Here is one I found interesting showing the number of confirmed cases scaled by a country's population. China is the top row and the US is the light green row six down from the top. I strongly suspect the US row is so light partly because of the lack of testing:

Screenshot_20200325-132001_Chrome.jpg

Speaking of a lack of testing biasing US data, here is another graph from the PopSci article showing rate of testing by US state vs. number of confirmed cases. As you can see, most states with very low confirmed cases also have done very few tests, leaving us in the dark about just how free from the disease they are:

Screenshot_20200325-132422_Chrome.jpg

--Dean

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Thanks for the reference, I had a chance to see again the diamond princess data. They would suggest a mortality ratio of 2% with respect to symptomatic cases, which are usually those which are tested more often (excluding exception like S Korea or other restricted areas). The number agrees with the average reports. In a real population, with a larger number of >80 and of people with comorbidities, maybe we might double that number as a gross estimate, which would become 4%.

And this might be used as an estimate of the true symptomatic cases, in Italy now 75000*(100/4) = about 2 million really symptomatic people, with about the same asymptomatic cases.

I don't know what to say about other people, if we can assume that on the ship all passengers have been exposed, then only 20% of them was positive to the test, not sure what it means.

 

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MMMmmm....., Italy's surge is maybe slowing down, or perhaps other surges are skyrocketing. In 3 days if the trend keeps unvaried, USA will be on top of the list. Of course, there are at least 3 major clusters there, which adds up to many subjects. Spain is surging fast as well.

image.png.225ed9e782390065ac7e3477b7b41163.png

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On 3/24/2020 at 8:00 PM, TomBAvoider said:

...lots of stuff...

Tom, don't want to go off topic on this, but I agree with much of what you said and no, I do not belong to the Austrian camp, although I think we would disagree on what level of debt expansion is sustainable longer term.  There is a point at which the debt to GDP becomes a serious problem.  As for treasury prices - there isn't a "real" market when the Fed is doing most of the buying and artificially keeping rates low.  If you look at other market indicators, like the price of housing, food, college, or stocks over the last 10 years, you could argue there has been considerable inflation not necessarily captured by CPI.  Some also define inflation simply as "increasing money supply".  I don't really know what a reasonable level of price increases should be or if it even matters, should the price of an average house go up 100% every 20 years or 10 years for example?  Regarding productivity, I actually expect that at some future point machines will be doing almost all work including growing, transporting, delivering, and preparing our food, transporting us anywhere, building us houses and goods, etc. At some point even "work" by traditional definition will likely be optional. But I digress...

Coronavirus "rescue bill" looks like it will be passed soon and it's a real doozy.

 

WASHINGTON — The Senate returned Wednesday with plans to vote on a $2 trillion economic stimulus package — the largest in U.S. history — designed to pump money directly into Americans’ pockets while also shoring up hospitals, businesses and state and local governments struggling against the coronavirus pandemic.

Free money for everyone! 😉 Loans to business that will be forgiven if they continue paying their workers.  Checks for every man, woman, child.  Biggest spending bill of all time.

 

7778218E-421B-45DA-AC94-4C23385FA1CA.png

Edited by Gordo

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Right. And I in turn don't want for people to get the idea that the government can just print money and then inflate their way out of the obligation that they money represents. This is not a good way, and btw. back in the day when hyperinflation was rampant, the results were not pretty (see: Germany after WWI). 

So rather than trying to conjure up inflationary "solutions" from the past, we have to face the stark truth that if you issue IOUs or obligations, you have to actually present work in exchange, and not another piece of paper - hence, the only real way to pay off this obligation is through a dramatic rise in productivity. Our debt levels are too high to cut down through the traditional measures of spending cuts and ordinary productivity growth. That was possible when debt levels were manageable. Once you're at these levels, you could cut expenditures to zero and still be left broke. And ordinary productivity is not sufficient even if you threw in a time frame of 1000 years of work... why? because of compounding interest rate on a mountain of debt. The only solution is for productivity to rocket so high, that you can actually grow your way out of this.

Instead, we have folks arguing that we should print our way out of this, as if empolying a printing press and some paper in some building somewhere is going to be a solution to the production of real products! It's like magic. And unfortunately that magic and the ease of it has convinced politicians that this is an excellent way to solve our problems - and you can't persuade them otherwise - it's like a cult.

Right now we're issuing massive IOUs. We must pay them back, or else after you've destroyed all money and obligation papers and all confidence, we'll have no choice but go back to bartering goods and services.

Finally, again this is an emergency which is why the government is putting all of this on a "credit card". But my question is the same one I asked you the first time - why is it, that we have no Rainy Day Fund, no savings we can dip into for precisely situations like this? Why is it, that when times are good, the government saves nothing and hates running surpluses? Do they believe a rainy day will never come? That's the only conclusion I can reach for why the moment we have a surplus - as we had under Clinton - the Republicans immediately cut taxes to create a giant deficit, so that it's impossible to save. And the lack of saving is bi-partisan insofar as a president - of whatever party - gets praised as a great leader merely if times are good, even if he doesn't save a dime. Instead, we should be excoriating such a leader and asking "why are you not saving for a rainy day we know will come??". But as long as economic times are good - and even if the president just happened into it, not due to his policies, but merely due to cyclical booms, and even if he's running deficits. Booms should not be allowed to run into insane territory - which is actually inflationary! - they should be curbed with taxes, so they last longer, but at lower levels, and use the funds for a rainy day. Now we have a rainy day, and we're broke. I hope we learn something from this. But why does it have to take a catastrophy to take basic measures by politicians? Our system is flawed.

Anyway, enough of this. Seeing this bill coming out of the Senate, I'm not optimistic.

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Mccoy,

Over on the greens thread, you wrote:

1 hour ago, mccoy said:

 The above [people fleeing virus hotspots] has already happened in Italy, to an extent.

How much is travel restricted in Italy, particularly to/from the Lombardy region? If there are travel restrictions, are people following them and how are they enforced?

10 minutes ago, TomBAvoider said:

Right now we're issuing massive IOUs. We must pay them back, or else after you've destroyed all money and obligation papers and all confidence, we'll have no choice but go back to bartering goods and services.

Did I hear someone say Bitcoin? 🙂

--Dean

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Oh, no! I am NOT going to discuss bitcoin - that's another situation where all rationality goes out the window for partisans on both sides. That said, I'm much more in favor of all electricity and computational power going to help our science projects (including bioscience - folding at home etc.) instead of mining for bitcoin and the like. YMMV.

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On 3/23/2020 at 2:06 PM, Sibiriak said:

Because I don't dispute them.   You missed the point of the question,  being overly defensive as usual.  It was not focused on your thesis that the severity of the outbreak  "doesn't seem justify the draconian measures which will have an enormous impact on the economy and will likely cause much more lasting damage than the virus."  

Yeah, that's the Russian take.

Just in a hurry (been a bit crazy at work) and the thrust of your post was not clear to me. Apologies if I erred.
 

22 hours ago, Sibiriak said:

"Herd immunity" theory -- alive and well in Sweden:
 

Yep, my hat off to Sweden and its health officials, who are apparently uniquely isolated from political pressure:

Coronavirus in Sweden: why the largest country without any lockdown measures thinks its approach will pay off

On Monday, Sweden's former state epidemiologist and current advisor to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Johan Giesecke went as far as to tell Swedes to go out and enjoy the spring sun.

Saying "banning public gatherings is an idiotic idea", he told members of the public to "bring a friend and walk a metre apart"....

But Sweden believes it could see a slow and steady increase in cases, without overwhelming its health system, relying on public faith in its health agency, and its citizens' compliance.

Sweden's Public Health Agency has a unique vantage point. Unlike in other countries, Sweden has an ingrained trust in the Folkhalsomyndigheten, as it is politically independent from the government. Ministers cannot interfere with its day to day running, with agency freedom enshrined in the Swedish constitution."
 

 


Here is an interesting bit of modeling from Michael Levitt, too:

Nobel Prize winner shares some good news about the coronavirus pandemic

"He ultimately nailed his call for a mid-February peak with a total tally of about 80,000 cases and 3,250 deaths. As of March 16, China had counted a total of 80,298 cases and 3,245 deaths — in a country of almost 1.4 billion people where about 10 million die every year.

He’s got a similar view for the United States.

“What we need is to control the panic... we’re going to be fine,” he said, adding that the data doesn’t support the gloom and doom epidemiologist have been warning about.

Levitt looked at the stats from 78 countries with more than 50 reported cases of COVID-19 every day and sees “signs of recovery,” focusing on the number of new cases, not the cumulative figure.

“Numbers are still noisy but there are clear signs of slowed growth,” he told the L.A. Times, claiming that, however, the trajectory of deaths in the U.S. back up his findings.

There are now 35,224 cases and 471 deaths in the U.S., as of Monday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. On Friday afternoon, there were 16,018 cases and 210 deaths.

Levitt said social-distancing mandates and getting vaccinated against the flu are both critical to the fight against the spread. Italy’s strong anti-vaccine movement, he explained, likely played a factor in the explosion of cases, because the spread of the flu likely was a factor in overwhelming hospitals and increasing the chances of coronavirus going undetected.

He lays some of the blame on the media for sparking panic...."

 

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