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  • 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

    cdrive said:
    My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are in lock down.  San Jose, CA.  Santa Clara County.  @Michelle @Chinaski you guys being ordered to shelter also?


    San Francisco Bay area in "Stay in Place" until April 7. And just got an emergency alert on my iPhone that simply said, "Stay home - No gatherings" - the result is putting everyone in full panic.

    My opinion but this has been handled very badly. We should have identified the group of citizens where this flu would be deadly, had them self-isolate, and then the other 98% of us protect their safety, free up medical care for them, and maintain the economy so when they don't get the flu the world they return to is the same. 
    This is a math problem:
    Rough numbers obviously since this is a novel virus that we are still trying to understand. From what I’ve seen, and feel free to challenge these numbers, about 80% of people infected don’t have significant symptoms, mortality rate appears to be 1-2% though infection is underreported so call it 0.5%, safe to assume that 2-5% will require ICU level of care.

    Undisputed facts worth remembering:
    - Healthy people in their 30s have died from this illness
    - People in their 90s and 100s have survived this illness
    - Both of these are going be be statistical tails, but don’t act as if the tails don’t exist
    - This bad flu season exists in parallel with the COVID-19 pandemic

    So if we don’t isolate and 1/3 of the US population contracts the virus over a relatively-short period of time:
    - 20 million people have significant symptoms
    - 2-5 million people require intensive care
    - 500,000 - 2,000,000 fatalities
    - Flu is already taxing the supply of ICU beds and ventilators

    Lack of medical resources would push fatalities to the high end, or beyond, these assumptions and flu fatalities would spike in parallel as the same resources are required for severe flu cases. You also get a spike in mortality for COPD, asthma, and other diseases that require these resources for severe cases and exacerbations along with cancer and heart disease and all of the other common illnesses that can require intensive care on occasion.

    Infections passed to healthcare workers are a whole other issue that could compound all of these.

    This is not okay. Governors, mayors, school boards, etc. have been taking some drastic action based on good scientific advice and the federal government is finally catching up to the severity of the possible crisis.

    If we do a good job with social distancing and flatten the curve so the demand on the healthcare system is spread out over time, then the spike in all-cause fatalities could be 5-10% of these numbers saving potentially over 1,000,000 lives.

    If we end up with 25,000 - 50,000 excess all-cause fatalities from this we’ll be lucky and lots of folks will say we overreacted even though the overreaction is what saved the lives. That is not good, but it is much closer to okay.

    Please support decision making based on the science, data, and math. Please remember that responsible government officials aren’t making the economy their first priority, and I don’t think we’d want to live in a society where they did.
    CoryElisaMarciJSDCAFlukesJoshTheBlackFreddyken hale
  • U.S. Politics Vol. 7: A Dream of 2020

    If anyone hasn't seen this yet, someone had people in the UK guess how much basic medical costs are in the US to show what a bad idea it would be to let US companies privatize the NHS. It is genuinely staggering how broken our healthcare system is.

    Healthcare in the US is a success of capitalism and a failure for society. When the incentives are to maximize visits, diagnostic tests, procedures, devices, medications, etc., to all people who can afford them while minimizing care for those who can’t; it’s ignorant to be surprised when the system optimizes over time to follow those incentives.

    Few make little money in the system from people who are in good health (unless they’re forced to pay into a system they’re not really using), so there is no real incentive to optimize for that.

    The free market is just not equipped to handle healthcare. It’s structurally not compatible with the desired outcomes.
  • Watchmen S1E1: It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice (SPOILERS)

    I like the foreshadowing with Gossett, Jr., early in the episode asking Regina King if she thinks he could lift 200#, and then sitting next to ~200# hanging Don Johnson at the end.

    Deputy with the silver mask’s face looked like a Rorschach mask during about every set of images in the interrogation pod. That’s not an accident.
  • U.S. Politics Vol. 7: A Dream of 2020

    I’m sure the idea of an aggrieved Trump holding daily MAGA rallies in their respective districts campaigning for a primary challenger to exact revenge on every Republican who crossed him instills some fear in these folks.

    Also if you scrapped the Constitution in today’s politics we’d end up with 4-5 separate countries where the US once was, and probably some border skirmishes if not wars over which country is really entitled to which territory.