Sunday, April 12, 2020

NON-COVID-19 Stuff, For a Change

I'm pretty sure that most of us have serious KungFlu Fatigue; it's on the news, 24/7 - you can't escape it.

Except here, today. I'm dedicating this to OTHER matters of interest.

The Case of the Missing Emails - sounds like a Nancy Drew mystery, doesn't it? Except that it's far less of a mystery.

Here's an analysis of the situation vis-a-vis the stolen Clinton emails, the AG's office, and the DNC. Most of this I had some knowledge of, other aspects I'd either forgotten about, or was not aware of before. This was a new site to me; but I've skimmed through the posts, and have bookmarked it for later reading.

Biden and Cheating. The nature of truth.

Why the DNC shouldn't rush to dump Biden for Cuomo - the NY governor is highly vulnerable on aspects of his response to the ViCri (Virus Crisis). That's the reality of what will be a long, sober examination of the executive responses - Trump's, and the various local and state actions. It's easy to criticize Trump and his team; it's tougher to defend actions after the heat of the moment has passed.

Did Trump need to advise shutting down the country for an extended time period? I dunno. Whether or not it was a good decision, the fact that he made it, decisively and in a clean-cut way, is a mighty point in his favor. If Biden or Cuomo had been in that position, their actions would have been more tainted with political maneuvering, payback, and action-change-corrected action-harsh news-whoops, need to clarify (again). Then, after seeing that the public is still against their decision, issue a new statement disavowing their previous action.

Meanwhile, the clock would be ticking. Failure to act in a crisis is worse than making a bad decision. Staying on the fence is the problem, not issuing a bad order.

Dithering is what most politicians do well. For most situations, it won't kill them to issue tentative orders, then backtrack when they are criticized.

Not in a crisis. There, an executive has to quickly consider all options, make a call, and implement it. Trump has had a lot of experience with being in charge of large projects. He lets his people make on the ground decisions, whenever possible. He makes the tough calls. If necessary, he wades in to re-negotiate for a better deal.

But, sticking to his guns when he thinks he's right? No problemo. And, when a journalist asks questions, he has no problem pushing back against the question.

That's uncommon from a person in a political job. When most politicians are confronted, most of them try to deflect, minimize, lie, and wash their hands. They are eager to escape blame for their actions. In order to keep from being blamed, many play Hamlet-like games.

So, what about the economy?

That's got several parts:
  • Jobs/employment/unemployment
  • Getting businesses re-started
  • Dealing with those businesses that can't make the transition from closed to open
  • Banks - needing money, issuing GOOD loans
  • The stock market
Start with jobs. The first part of this is to allow "non-essential" businesses to make the choice to open. I think it's sensible to suggest that having people tested before going back to work is a good idea. So, issuing "All-Clear" certificates would seem to be a first step. When an employee has one in hand, they're good to go.

For the purposes of keeping the lawyers at bay, maybe that would mean that all employees returning should sign a certificate that no one residing with them is positive currently, and vowing that, should that situation change, they will notify their employer immediately.

Then, sanitize, put some procedures in place to reduce spread (masks, gloves), and get 'er done.

Ideally, the first businesses back should probably NOT be restaurants. The potential for spreading infection is huge. Better to bring those jobs back that don't have as much exposure to the public.

Continue paying those employees that are confined to home; yes, government might have to step in temporarily to assist in payments to those sick employees. End that subsidy as soon as possible.

Unemployment funds - expect that they will have to be shored up for a while; the states have been slammed with responsibilities leading them to spend money they haven't got. Until the economy is 80% or more back on track, provide extra assistance at the Federal level with matching funds. That last is important, as it makes the state share the pain.

In fact, matching contributions should be the go-to norm in the future. Make states bear a sizable percentage of the cost of their lavish state benefits. Over time, reduce the Federal portion of the match.

Will this increase the deficit? Hell, yes. It's a short-term necessity. I'd rather be further in debt than scavenging for food in the nearest dumpster.

PARTIALLY guaranteeing loans for re-start might be one option. I don't favor full guarantee, as it's too often abused to take ridiculous chances with public money (Remember The Big Short? A phenomenal movie, and a great introduction to economics for your high school kids. Schedule it for enrichment in your home schooling, and watch it yourself, too - it's free with ads for now.).

The federal government should encourage insurance companies to get a fund going to handle pay out for those inevitable lawsuits related to mistakes in starting back that result in illness/death. Yeah, the Federal government might toss some portion of the initial money into the pot; no guarantees, though. Just some start-up cash, that will be augmented with a slice of the premium money.

Businesses that have to shutter? That's a FEMA-type problem. Figure out some way to reduce indebtedness, help owners to move on, and re-employ the workers.

I'm against a blank check or complete guarantee for banks. Loosen the money supply, but watch the pot. Over the next couple of years, push banks to replace those guaranteed loans with regular loans. Come up with an incentive for them to convert them, and get government out of the banking business.

Again, watch The Big Short for examples of what NOT to do.

One GOOD thing about this National Time-Out is that it's confronting a lot of people - who had not bee affected by overly-strict Nannystate Rules in the past - with the problems of an oppressive government.

Look, oppression doesn't have to involve prisons, torture, and tanks.

It starts with the idea that governments can tell a Free People what they are PERMITTED to do, absent a crime. We are a sovereign, free citizenry. Our TEMPORARY, elected leaders-in-charge cannot legislate or rule in a way that takes away out rights (theoretically).

Until this shutdown, many people poo-pooed those who stood firm for their rights. They were called paranoid nutjobs.

This month, people got a stark brush with reality - and, unlike those shows on TV, with real consequences. There will be some very inconvenient questions being asked of local, state, and federal office seekers this summer and fall. All of them being by citizens, not news media (other than the Dissident Media).

Stick around - this is going to get interesting.

I don't believe that the stock market will need all that much to get it back to Bull. Already, anytime the situation improves, even a little, the bull begins to pull ahead.

If you're interested, here is the Heritage Commission's suggestions - personally, I think they are too skewed towards jump-starting international business. I've had about all I want of American companies getting entangled with foreign businesses/governments. Too influenced by what benefits the foreign government, and unconcerned about American interests.

My experience with the stock market - yours is likely different.

I have some part of my retirement in structured IRAs, and teacher-type retirement accounts. I have very little control over their investment decisions. Some are in variable return, others are in fixed return. Most are down, for now - some quite a bit.

My personal investments? Not too bad, considering.

I invest primarily in individual stocks - primarily pharmaceuticals, technology, and consumer businesses. The list includes: Roku, Texas Instruments, Zoetis, Pfizer, Dominion. My husband added in Ford and GE.

The current performance ranges from down 63% to up 73% from my original investment. I've bought them over the last 3 years, including several recent purchases of stocks we thought were undervalued. The average of all the stocks is up 24%.

I'm not a genius. I just find a stock that I think is undervalued but sound, in a long-term growth industry, and invest.

Then, stick with it for the long haul. When the market is considerably down, I put money in. I have some confidence that - over the long run - I will make money. And, for the most part, I have.

By taking control, and not investing in mutual funds - as my other, IRA-type investments are - I've done pretty well. Periodically, I re-evaluate my investment mix, and sell off low performers. At that time, I look at investments that might do better.

That's it. It seems to work for me, over time.

I know, it's Diane Feinstein, but, who the hell do you work for? America, or Iran? Some people forget - but not Ted Cruz.

Juliette Ochieng - AKA Baldilocks - is on a roll. I didn't even finish reading the stuff at the link before deciding that you needed to know about it - she's doing a multi-part takedown of the many things that led up to our present situation.

Oh, and, I know I said non-COVID, but I have good news. My husband developed an eye condition - puffy and irritated - and visited the doctor yesterday. He had read that pinkeye could be associated with the WuFlu, and was concerned. To be fair, so was I.

It's a different kind of eye problem. Treatable, and not serious. While he was there, the PA put him on a different asthma med; she wasn't happy about his control of the condition. He protested, but eventually went along. I think he just hated the idea of having a chronic illness.

Friday night, after taking the first meds, for the first time in a long time, his snoring was diminished. So, I also slept better.


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