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Everything posted by Neomalthusian

  1. Stock options usually take years to vest, and it is set up this way precisely to avoid short-term stock-popping tactics.
  2. That's usually the crux of the problem with pensions. Neither the employer nor the employee wants to actually put money into the pension funds, but are often happy to agree to promises of generous benefits. Thus they all too often "pull in the same direction" with pensions, and that direction is toward failure. This is why we see pensions failing to adequately remain unded regardless of the fiduciary (whether private, government, or union). Pensions are a way to avoid current-period expenses by instead taking on long-term liabilities. This is super tempting for both employers and employees. When it comes to pensions, both sides often pull in the same direction, which is the direction that ends up contributing to long-term failure. Have a read: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4349885-arrival-of-unavoidable-pension-crisis
  3. Given the way corporations operate these days, isn't it probably for the better that employees be paid in the current period for work performed in the current period? Why should we want corporations' employees to be able to be paid in long-range IOUs? Is that really in the best interests of those employees? Honest question. Do you actually want a corporation's CEO-du jour to be able to cut wages and salaries expense to the bone in exchange for making promises that the company will pay them some handsome reward starting 30 years from now, well after said CEO is dead and his heirs have already inherited the fortunes? Do you actually honestly think that's good policy?
  4. Unions did not "give us" the provisions of the FLSA or other labor laws. If a person is in a union and refuses to pay the dues, what do you think should happen? 1) Should the union just stop representing them? 2) Should the union be able to order the employer to fire the employee? 3) Should the union be able to take the person to court over it to get the money remanded to them? There are several things a person can be when they are affiliated with a union. 1) They can be a full member that pays dues as well as PAC contributions. 2) They can be a a partial member that pays dues but opts out of PAC contributions. These ones usually can still vote on union matters. 3) They can opt out of union membership altogether, even if they're represented by a union. Union-represented employees do not have to be actual "members." But they cannot opt out of being represented by a union, if their position is in a union's "bargaining unit." In some states which are not Right To Work, private sector workers that are represented by a union have to pay dues by another name: "agency fees" Paying this money does not entitle them to vote on union matters. They still have to pay the money but they don't get the voice in union matters and they don't get to opt out of being represented. In the public sector, as well as in Right To Work states, opting out of union membership altogether means they do not have to pay any dues or agency fees.
  5. Working from home (but that’s the norm, even in non-COVID), teaching our preschooler to read, teaching our kindergartner multiplication tables and typing, baking lots of baked goods. Working on artisan sourdough but don’t have the patience to meticulously follow the instructions so we’ll see how that goes.
  6. A lot of places are essentially doing that right now, by putting everyone into tiers and making every next tier less and less generous. Financially this helps significantly compared to the unfeasible alternative, but this still arbitrarily heavily favors those who on average received the most irresponsibly generous pension benefits in the first place, to the relative detriment of basically everyone else. Pension reform needs to cut benefits to those whose “promises” were most generous relative to the actual work they did. As one particularly sickening example, those who worked basically their entire careers for government unions (not government) and then were allowed to just draw government pensions, they should have their pensions reduced to absolute zero immediately.
  7. Not just those, but also pension-spiking, pension holidays, 20-and-out rules, and so on. Alaska defunded its pensions in the 90s, but it also had extremely generous 20-and-out pensions for decades. I met a couple of middle school music teachers who retired at 40, have been retired for 20 years, and could easily live for another 30 or more years on a full pension and full health benefits that have $5 copays. Should benefits like that be sacrosanct as a state careens into de facto bankruptcy because these people who will spend 75% of their adulthoods retired on a state pension can just shout “I was promised!?” No. People like that need a benefit cut. Will they maybe have to downsize or sell their winter home in Florida or Arizona? Yeah maybe. Because the alternative sends a message to states that they are idiots if they actually fund their pensions, since making them extremely generous and then refusing to fund them causes magic federal bailout dollars to flood in.
  8. By the way, New York is not nearly the worst state in terms of pension sabotage and underfunding. The states that have really effed up their pensions are Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Kentucky, Alaska, and Colorado, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Hawaii (among others, but those are the worst).
  9. McConnell is right about this, actually. States like New Jersey and Illinois have actively sabotaged their pension funding situation for years. They created their own bankruptcy. It was mostly (albeit not exclusively) Democratic executive and legislative leadership that caused it, which is a function of the interest groups that supported those politicians as well as the general voting public that enabled the de facto state of bankruptcy for certain states. The benefits should be cut, and the federal government is going to have to get involved to enable those cuts to happen. The benefit cuts need to start with the largest (e.g. six-figure) pensions, and the most ridiculous and unearned benefits such as those that that arose from pension-spiking tactics, and work their way down according to who worked the fewest years relative to their estimated lifetime pension benefit. Those who worked the most years and/or receive the most modest pensions should be cut last, if at all. If states are still that bankrupt that they can't even pay the pension benefits of those who worked the longest and have the lowest level of benefits relative to years worked, then perhaps the feds can step in and add in some bailout money. If letting states go through some bankruptcy procedures is what's needed to allow the necessary cuts to take place, then McConnell is right.
  10. We'd have almost no COVID problem if we just refused to test anyone for COVID. Then we'd have zero COVID cases and zero COVID deaths. That's basically what right wing partisan hacks are arguing here, by virtue of their inability or refusal to analyze basic data or perform simple math. Just don't test anyone, pretend it doesn't exist, then the problem will go away. Ignorance is bliss.
  11. This thread you've created is a mix of hyper-partisan hackery meets poor critical thinking skills. Rank the states in terms of population and % of population tested. All of the largest boxes in the graphic, both "red" and "blue," are among the top 15 most populous states. Four of the largest blue states rank in the top 10 in testing per capita. Three of the most populous red states, Texas, Ohio and Georgia, rank 2nd, 7th and 8th in total population and yet they rank 40th, 45th and 48th in testing per capita. In particular, Texas ranks 2nd in total population and 48th in testing per capita, whereas New York ranks 4th in total population and 2nd in testing per capita. When you have the capacity to think logically, rather than see everything through the lens of a complete partisan hack, it becomes clear that basically all of this discrepancy in case counts is explained by testing discrepancies and population.
  12. We are still needing more data. We don't just need a better understanding of how many are infected or have been infected, we need a better understanding of how many people have recovered, and if the virus flares back up (as some prelim data has suggested) and if people remain infectious after recovering and/or testing negative. It would certainly help if we could know the total infected as well as total recovered. That would give us a true active infections curve that would help us determine what degree of opening up was actually safe. As of one month ago we had 80,000 confirmed cases. Who knows how many actual cases there already were as of that time. And as of today, at least according to this link, we have 81,000 recoveries and 870,000 cases, leaving about 790,000 active confirmed cases. How many actual recoveries do we have? It has to be way more than 81,000. There is now evidence of community spread COVID going back to almost certainly mid-January, a full two months before most of the country started sheltering in place. When you dig into the data, it's highly probable that the actual lethality of this virus is considerably less than the confirmed cases suggest. But that doesn't mean shelter-in-place is unnecessary. Shelter-in-place is not a conspiracy against Trump. On the flip side, our inability to test everyone and have perfect data is not all Trump's fault. Partisan right-wingers acting complacent or like they have something to protest does not demonstrate that opening back up is actually a good idea yet.
  13. I don't know why people are going around and around about this. COVID deaths divided by confirmed COVID cases equals a mortality rate that is not actual. The reason for this is that because our testing capabilities do not produce accurate case counts. Why are we not able to test adequately? One reason, and ONE REASON ALONE. TRUMP IS BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!!!!! BAD EVIL TRUMP!!!!! No, the reasons we cannot comprehensively count cases via testing are (for starters) that 1) many people are asymptomatic and don't present for testing, 2) we don't have enough tests or human resource capacity to administer testing on even the total number of people who have symptoms, let alone random healthy others in the population, to get a highly accurate read on how many asymptomatic or mildly-symptomatic cases there are, 3) there are questions about test accuracy and false negatives, 5) testing does not necessarily capture people who already had it and have recovered, except for 6) antibody testing but that has taken time to develop into something reliable and deploy widely. In short, there has never been a need to ramp up infectious disease testing capacity like this at any time in modern history, so there are going to be structural difficulties to just making it happen. What we can fairly reasonable infer, therefore, is that the actual mortality rate = Covid deaths divided by (confirmed cases + estimated untested active cases + estimated untested recovered cases). That denominator is going to be much larger than out confirmed case count, making the actual mortality rate appear pretty small. But a smaller mortality rate doesn't prove that shelter-in-place is stupid or that we need to open back up by (x) date.
  14. My cloth mask has a gore-tex-like polyester/nylon type fabric inside it, the kind used to make popular performance rain jackets, so it’s better than ordinary cotton cloth. But I don’t assume I’m invincible in it. If nothing else I assume it might slightly improve my chances of avoiding infection relative to wearing nothing, or worst case scenario at least it might slightly comfort others around me if I cough or sneeze compared to wearing nothing. Think of it like this: would a southern border wall keep out all illegal immigrants? Certainly not. Tons of other ways in. But wouldn’t it make it harder than just literally allowing people to stroll across the border, i.e. wouldn’t a physical barrier be better than nothing?
  15. Medicare is a pay-as-you-go government entitlement whose eligibility criterion is age. Why can’t the private sector just provide old people their health care and insurance? Why do old people look to a socialist government to take money from younger people to pay for what they want and need? There is hardly anything dumber than an old person attacking Medicaid while defending Medicare.
  16. "... the case where we cannot let this, we've never allowed any crisis from the Civil War straight through to the pandemic of seventeen, all the way around, sixteen, we have never never let our democracy sakes second fiddle, way they we can both have a democracy and elections and at the same time, correct the public health." "And in order to avoid that those very high numbers we have to do at least several things, one, we have to uh depend on what the President's going to do right now, and first of all he has to uh, tell, uh, wait til the cases before anything happens, look the whole idea is he's gotta get in place things that we're shortages of." "the kinds of things that, that have to be done. Um, you know there's a, uh, during World War 2, uh, you know, uh, Roosevelt came up with a thing uh, that, uh, you know was totally different than a, than the, the, it's called he called it the, you know, the, World War 2 he had the Worl- the the War Production Board." Not so good.
  17. Probably nearly half of Americans would still rather have Biden, assuming he's still able to sign his name when instructed to do so by his cabinet/aides/party, than the alternative. A lot of people planning not to vote for Trump would vote for literally anyone else. It's gonna be brutal though. The debates will be brutal. Trump is not only still able to speak quickly, he's a provocateur who can and will humiliate the hell out of Biden. Clinton was extremely diplomatic and he embarrassed and provoked her. That's Trump's one superlative skill -- how to be a provocateur. Biden would be child's play compared to how Clinton was. And given Biden's demonstrated impulse control issues such as calling people in town halls "damn liars" and saying they're "full of sh**" and challenging them to physical competitions and all that buffoonery, I would not be going into the debates with a lot of confidence in Joe right now.
  18. Why? Where’s the evidence of the leverage though? Let’s assume the combination of Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon essentially own all data on all things known to all of humanity. What are they going to do? What do we need to brace ourselves for?
  19. For what it's worth, I'm inclined not to take this accuser or allegation seriously at all. I didn't take the Kavanaugh accuser seriously at all either. Timing for coming forward was far too ironic and politically convenient.
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