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  • Coronavirus / COVID-19

    We’re all questioning recent illnesses right now, but based on the behavior of COVID-19 in China, SK, Europe, New York, etc. this virus has not been circulating in the US prior to February of this year.

    I look forward to the antibody tests being broadly available, but if you were sick in the US before February this wasn’t it.
  • Coronavirus / COVID-19

    Wow, I leave for a few hours...

    @JamieT I hope you’re okay, or even if you’re positive that this is the worst of your symptoms.
    I’ve read about all kinds of non-standard symptom sets being positive for the virus with the only consistent thing being a fever.

    Young people are going to die and old people are going to live, the bell curve peaks with old people that also have preexisting conditions, but there are tails to the curve that will include a healthy teenager dying from it and a 90 year old with emphysema living through it. Nobody is safe, and yet nobody has a death sentence either.

    if you are more than 15yrs from retirement, don’t sell out of your stock positions (assuming they’re indexes or mutual funds) locking in the losses. If you have discovered that you can’t take recessionary downturns in the market, then change your future allocations. Don’t lock in losses unless you’re relatively close to retirement and need to have cash or conservative stuff to fund withdrawals in the relatively near future. Pull up a graph of the DOW or S&P 500 from 2009 to 2014 to see what you could miss out on in the market if you sell-out because of fear now rather than ride it out.

    The mental health struggle is real. I am hearing from all kinds of people working from home by necessity that it’s really a cause of stress and anxiety, not even mentioning the news and potential media obsession. I’d recommend Governor Cuomo’s press briefings over the White House’s if you want to see sane leadership in a crisis.

    We will get through this, but it’s going to be an off-and-on battle for the next 18mos or so. We’re going to have a recession, but we will recover. Look for the helpers, they’re all over the place from first responders and medical professionals, to grocery store checkers and truck drivers keeping the food supply working. There is a lot in this crisis that shows the best of humanity when you choose to see it.
  • Coronavirus / COVID-19

    Not to just shoot stuff down. I think we could get through this by guaranteeing medical coverage and a universal basic income at the poverty line for every person/family until the employment market recovers to a reasonable level (like 6%-ish). Put it into law that it auto-renews until then so there is only one tough vote for congress to take.

    You’re still going to see lots of income-rich/cash-poor folks go bankrupt (lots of people can live pay-check to pay-check making $200k/yr with houses, cars, boats, etc.). You’re going to have to pay for it with significant taxes later. It would guarantee a consistent base level of demand in the economy though.

    I’m less a fan of locking people into their existing jobs. We need more people at Walmart, Amazon, Costco, grocery stores, etc. right now so don’t lock-in laid off waitresses and bartenders to their current places of employment. I don’t think the demand for restaurants, live sports, live music, live theater, movie theaters, cruises, etc., is going to be the same after this so don’t lock everyone in to those jobs. This pandemic is going to change to economy in unexpected ways, and we need a labor market that can adapt and is not frozen in time to the way things were before while also taking care of basic expenses and healthcare.

    The GOP will never agree to this because they know people will like it want it never to end.
  • Coronavirus / COVID-19

    Jim said:
    Giovanni said:
    Denmark's stimulus plan: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/denmark-freezing-its-economy-should-us/608533/

    Basically, if a company keeps a worker on the payroll rather than lay them off, the government will pay 75% of their salary.

    Based on GDP the same cost in the US would be 2.5 trillion dollars. Yet the US is proposing a 2 trillion dollar plan with a one time check of 1200 dollars for people. I don't even understand. The odds are so in favor of corporations in this country that it's laughable. I say this as someone who will not lose my job. 

    I'm so sorry for all the people who need help and the government failing them. :(
    Maybe I'm completely naive about how our / the world's economy works but I've thought for a while now that the U.S. should just pause all payments / interest / fees on everything and shut down the stock market for a few weeks / months. Tell everyone non-essential to stay home. Everyone essential (food distribution, healthcare workers, electric / water, etc) can take extra precautions and continue working to keep the country running during the pause. Pay them for their work as well. The biggest hurdle is certainly compliance but starting with banks and credit cards companies would get you 90% of the way there, yes? Once the virus settles down, you could create an oversight group that people can submit claims of wrongful fees / interest they were charged during that period.

    From what I can tell, money is only the incentive that gets people to do the things necessary to run our country. Right now we have another pretty strong incentive!

    Tell me I'm crazy. I'm happy to hear that it wouldn't work if I can learn a little in the process.
    I don’t think you appreciate the complexity of financial markets. For this to happen it would take the whole world getting on the same page, with no country vying for benefit. Basically throwing a switch to make the world into a utopian communist society for a few months with everyone knowing that you plan to throw the switch back and nobody trying to benefit from either throw of the switch.

    Let me run down a few examples:
    - You would have to freeze pay (nobody gets paid) because companies can’t meet payroll without access to the corporate paper markets.
    - Farmers, miners, manufacturers, etc. would have to operate on trust because they buy and sell commodities on futures exchanges and all have outstanding contracts that would expire during that period (poor example: farmer sold their spring wheat crop to someone already, that someone is probably not the ultimate consumer of that crop and was planning to sell it later, shut down the market and you get a million tons of wheat delivered to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange while bread production grinds to a halt).
    - International trade relies on currency markets and letters of credit, and practically everything has international aspects to its supply chain.
    - Freeze financial markets and folks who rely on them for income/liquidity can’t buy food. Smallish number that doesn’t also draw social security, but not zero.

    It’s late and I’m drinking, but there are many other problems unless you freeze all money during that period across national borders and just go with everyone who can pitch in does without compensation, and everyone who needs something takes no more than they absolutely must without paying. 
  • Coronavirus / COVID-19

    Shum said:
    Salt Lake City was hit with an earthquake this morning, so that's the end of rational thought around here...
    Both Goldfield and Magna. I live in Cali so of course I have an earthquake app.
    And the obligatory fake rumor that FEMA (and the Air Force...) said there would a another 9.0 quake following 2hrs later that spread like wildfire due to hysteria and lack of critical thinking skills. We had several employees raise it and I just kept saying:
    1. You can’t predict a specific earthquake.
    2. Provide reliable source of the information or ignore it.