When Will The Riots Begin?

I was surprised when Trump won. The economy was doing well, Trump had charisma but was erratic and made what seemed like many missteps (like disparaging people in the military) that it didn’t seem plausible he could win. Yet, he plowed through the Republican primaries and gathered such a large and powerful base of support that people like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, who have good reasons to hate his guts, even they kowtowed. I don’t want to revisit the debates about why Trump won but one of the reasons was that his base felt disrespected by coastal and media elites–their religion, their guns, their political incorrectness, their patriotism, their education, their jobs–all disrespected.

And now maybe it is happening again. From the point of view of the non-elites, the elites with their models and data and projections have shut the economy down. The news is full of pleas for New York, which always seemed like a suspicious den of urban iniquity, but their hometown is doing fine. The church is closed, the bar is closed, the local plant is closed. Money is tight. Meanwhile the elites are laughing about binging Tiger King on Netflix. It doesn’t feel right. I can understand that or feel that I must try to understand that.

Here’s a picture from a protest in Ohio. It wasn’t a large protest, about 100 people, but they look pretty angry. They want to reopen the economy.

Photo: Joshua Bickel.

Columbus Dispatch: Kevin Farmer of Cincinnati climbed to the top of the Statehouse steps with his bullhorn to lead the protesters in a series of chants.

“Some say that we’re actually causing havoc or putting lives in danger right now — but actually they’re putting my livelihood in danger and others because we’re laid off during this pandemic,” Farmer said to the crowd.

Farmer told The Dispatch that he has been laid off from his job at Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing, and said his employer will contact him when it is OK to return to work.

Farmer said he hoped DeWine would see the dissent caused by the demonstration, and allow Ohioans to get back to their jobs.

“Don’t Mike DeWine supposed to be a Republican (sic)? Don’t he believe in less government? Small government?” Farmer said.

“He has an obligated right to get us back to work, because if not, what do you think Americans are gonna go through?”

Farmer also led the demonstrators in a series of “When I say tyrant, you say Mike DeWine” chants, among others.

Another demonstrator, John Jenkins of Pleasantville, was bearing an upside down American flag, traditionally a distress signal.

“Ohio is currently under distress,” Jenkins said. “The United States is generally under distress.”

…Joe Marshall, who did not identify where he was from, said he was representing Anonymous Columbus Ohio.

Marshall said he chose to demonstrate against DeWine because he believes DeWine and Acton are being led astray by the World Health Organization, which he said is corrupt and peddling false information to local governments.

“Their numbers here are what these clowns are going by,” Marshall said. “Even if they are right, they don’t justify” enforcing a stay-at-home order.

“These are common sense things,” Marshall said. “The problem is, Mr. DeWine doesn’t want to do common sense things, he wants to listen to Amy [Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, AT], and Amy gets her orders from the World Health Organization.”

Another protestor from a follow-up:

 Columbus Dispatch: “We have children to feed, businesses to run, employees to pay, and Ohio must end this shutdown now. Those with high-risk categories and compromised immune systems can shelter safely at home while the rest of us can exercise our constitutional liberties to work and take care of our businesses and children.

“Patriots who love and respect our liberties and the Constitution are sick and tired of the fear-mongering while the governor and (state Health Director) Dr. (Amy) Acton continue to hide the numbers from the public.”

As Tyler put it yesterday, “America is a democracy, and the median voter will not die of coronavirus.” Solve for the equilibrium.

Addendum: In an excellent historical piece, Jesse Walker at Reason notes that cholera riots were common in Europe in the 19th century. Respect also played a role:

The more high-handed the ruling classes were, the more likely they were to be targeted by rumors and revolt. The riots persisted longest, Cohn writes, “where elites continued to belittle the supposed ‘superstitions’ of villagers, minorities, and the poor, violated their burial customs and religious beliefs, and imposed stringent anti-cholera regulations even after most of them had been proven to be ineffectual. Moreover, ruling elites in these places addressed popular resistance with military force and brutal repression.


Just wait until the left and their pets in the media wait for the proscribed forgetting period before launching their "Look how much Trump's economy sucks!!!" campaign, coming this summer to a theater near you. Kind of makes you wonder whether this whole thing had a reason. Solve for that equilibrium.

No worry that Trump supporters will be able to "solve for the equilibrium"

Math was not their strong point.

As for Media Pets
Fox now is a
Media Pet
For Donald.,

Is this the best you can do? Republicans are dumb? Faux News? Is it 2006 again? Is Lost back on the air?

Bill, I won't stoop so low as to insult your intelligence, but I do want to offer two pieces of destructive criticism: 1) you seem to be a terribly boring and unimaginative person; 2) your haiku are awful.

I'm sorry.

I'll do better next time.

The economy was good!! In 2016 the economy was good??

Trump was elected because the Democrat party has become socialist/communist and more oppressive in their political agenda.

Of course, what a splendid site and educative posts, I surely will bookmark your site.Have an awsome day!

Correction: "your haiku 'is' awful." Haiku is singular. If there is more than one haiku, then your comment should have read "your haikus are awful." You appear to be as bigly an ignoramus as your name-calling protests are grammatically WRONG. The more you protest, the bigger fool you are. If you want to fetishize Mr. Trump, please do it in private. The only reason you are allowed out at all is because previous Republican administrations shut down all the sanitoriums.

It's even worse than that.

Skeptical thinks it is haiku.

It's free verse: "Free verse is a literary device that can be defined as poetry that is free from limitations of regular meter or rhythm, and does not rhyme with fixed forms. Such poems are without rhythm and rhyme schemes, do not follow regular rhyme scheme rules, yet still provide artistic expression."

I am not constrained by convention, nor Skeptical's comments.

I am free.

Oops, that rhymed. Sorry.

俳句 =haiku
Nouns in Japanese are not obligatorily marked for number, although number can be optionally indicated.

Sadly for Bill, it may be the best that he can do.

You got that right, sure got that right.

You are not the
Audience with whom
I wish to communicate.

Don't read
You don't care.

It seems Trump supporters were smart enough to do the math that 100K votes in Michigan and Pennsylvania was worth more that 3M votes in California.

Are Trump supporters smart enough to count to 6 trillion? That's the price they are making ALL of us pay for the failed leaders they elected for us.

Don’t worry. Nancy and Chuck have promised to help him spend some more.

Trump knows a thing or four about bankruptcies. This might be the biggest one yet. A gift for all future generations.

You would have voted for a woman who kissed a child to prove that her pneumonia wasn't that bad. The perfect person to have around in a pandemic.

More seriously, I have been shocked how flatfooted the social media giants have been.

They know who we are, our age. They can know quickly, even by asking improve the situation, the suggestions and direction from the local public health people. They already put up messages and using their social acumen could have educated their user base. Very early, very effectively. But no.

They defaulted to Authority and Control. Twitter said they were going to delete tweets that went contrary to WHO recommendations. It is pretty hard to be more wrong than that.

Sometimes civilisations become too stupid to survive.

Hillary would have acted much faster and the cost would only be one trillion. Trump is a slow and costly blunder.

"Sometimes civilisations become too stupid to survive."

You don't say.

What makes you sure Hillary would have bucked the advice coming from the WHO and other sources? Would Hillary have even considered a partial travel ban on China in late Jan? Or would Hillary have joined Pelosi and said “go to Chinatown”?

Hillary authorized the sale of 20 percent of current and future Uranium ore mining in the US to a Russian owned company. And then Bill got a $450,000.00 speaking opportunity for people associated with that same company. Hillary is politics-for-hire, always has been and always will be. She would be following the Chinese propaganda line to the limit and there would REALLY be 2 million US dead.

Fake news bro. She did no such thing. Besides, shes f'ing irrelevant at this point. Let her go.

If it is fake news why is it still readily available on the NYT and other 'reputable' news source sites?

actually , Hillary didn’t authorize or even have authority to authorize anything. the State department (not Hillary per se, as there’s no evidence she was directly involved) has a seat on a multi member committee that provides forward guidance to corporations (they don’t have authority to authorize, they help companies minimize regulatory risk of future intervention by the executive branch). Additionally, their guidance was Russia could not have a controlling stake in the Canadian company doing the deal and they couldn’t export uranium to Russia.

Matt Gaetz, actually said the words "our precious uranium". It's so cute. Why was Matt Gaetz wearing orange on 2008 October 31? Nobody cares about uranium. Many countries have produced it and many countries can produce it.

Hillary's term as SoS (ahem, Libya), her tenure as Senator, and her 2016 campaign call her managerial acumen into question.

"It seems Trump supporters were smart enough to do the math "

If Trump supporters are so smart then why did they vote for a President that is currently bankrupting them.

The 'riot' that matters will occur in November.

This is really not fair, and it gets tiring when the release people to work side get characterized as anti-science.

Well-run studies associated with Stanford (the gold-standard of science in America) connections get dismissed as flawed.

A noted german virologist (Hendrick Streek, as well-credentialed a doctor as one could find) said there is no evidence of surface to body transmission (it is possible, but the silly hypothetical you have to design makes it so very unlikely as not to be a credible worry). Dismissed and we sell out millions of wipes to wipe of grocery cart handles and every other surface imaginable.

We are just all choosing to believe the science that supports our world-view. I am not anti-science; I just believe my well-qualified scientists and studies more than I believe your well-qualified scientists and studies.

"Kind of makes you wonder whether this whole thing had a reason."

There's a much more obvious reason that's much less conspiratorial. But I'll let you ponder over that.

To around one hundred people, who just happened to get a variety of media coverage.

There's 50 governors that conspired against Trump. Who are the other 50 you had in mind?

"You won’t ever know if what you did personally helped. That’s the nature of public health. When the best way to save lives is to prevent a disease rather than treat it, success often looks like an overreaction." - Epidemiologist Mari Armstrong-Hough

There will be ways of determining to what extent there has been an over reaction. For instance, Sweden in the U.S. have about the same number of COVID-19 deaths despite very different policies.

Covid19 is doing a hell of a number on how much a crowd who branded themselves as having a fact and evidence based worldview now embrace unfalsifiability as inevitable. (In your face Popper!)

Wait! I was told there are 57 governors.

It's the country of Covfefe that has 57 governors.

50 states, DC, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands. If you're running in a Democratic primary, there are in fact 57 governors. Obama was right!

One of the issues around when and how we should re-open the economy comes from a lack of trustworthy statistics. There is widespread distrust for instance of the China data, and other data seems confusing. However the UK's National Statistics Agency has just released a data pack on the effects of the virus on the UK in March. As previously thought, the disease is really of greatest threat to older people with already existing conditions. The Daily Mail has a not bad summary, of course for the data junkies you need to go to the source;

The key point - "roughly 92 per cent of deaths were over the age of 60." And by my calculations over 97.5% were over 50 years old. It seems to me that the simple solution is self isolation by the over-fifties and re-opening the economy for everyone under 50. Are we older people really so selfish as to want to entire economy shutdown so that everyone can do self-isolation together?

Okay, but correct me if I'm wrong, the thing about that is that the 50-plus people would have to have super isolation. Because interaction with a younger person becomes near a certain exposure.

Talk about decontaminating groceries, am I right?

I believe you are wrong because we would soon have herd immunity as the younger people got the disease and became immune. Like a cold for most.

Certainly not "soon."

Either way it seems likely we are headed towards a huge natural experiment where we will eventually get to see a lot more clearly whether or not it is the virus or the policy actions taken in response to it that are really killing the economy.

Different states are reacting very differently. The laboratories of democracy will become laboratories of the spread of a virus that doesn't care about political boundaries.

Let's say we saved 125K potential deaths by destroying the economy--a $2T hit at least.

The people that died were generally very frail anyways--Italy has reported nearly all would have died in 6-12 months. That's optimistically 125k life years you gained at a cost of $2T. That is $16M per life year.

Additionally, for those that did have their lives extended, those life extensions will be spent watching TV, locked inside, many hooked to oxygen. Many smoking. Fearing the virus.

And in return, you had 20-40M lives brought to financial ruin.

Cuomo prattles on about every life being precious. But I'm sorry, destroying 250 families so that an a single old person can spend another 6 months smoking and watching TV while connected to oxygen isn't a a good trade.

We know what this disease is now. And we can smartly face it head on.

There are probably a good percentage of people who are living in mixed households (i.e. with people above and below 50). But we can find solutions to them. If they cannot self isolate in the house, one possible idea would be hotels where only the over 50's can go. Staff of course need to stay in isolation (ideally they could all be over 50 as well). It's got to be cheaper than isolating the entire population.

Just pointing out that a large fraction of 50 year-olds have school age children. You probably can't both open schools and isolate people who are 55.

The age-related death rate of the Covid isn't as bad as the initial projections by a devastatingly incompetent bureaucrat would have you believe. 50 year olds are not particularly at risk. Hospital records will reflect this in the near future. I know because I am one of them who caught the disease in late February. I also have asthma and high blood pressure and I survived the infection without particular issue.

Sineater, all political differences aside (and there are many) I am so glad to hear you dodged the bullet on this. We are in the same age range and have the same maladies. So I guess I'm motivated my self-interest. But in any case, be well.

I’m glad you made it through.

I also hope your extrapolation from your own case is correct. In any event, we’ll have a lot better data in a month or two, which is the time-frame at issue. We may still not know about long-term issues, but maybe people are willing to gamble on that.

Certainly it would be a lot easier to only have to isolate people 60+. Isolating the 40-60 set, who form both the bulk of the economy and the bulk of parents of school children, probably isn’t possible. Reducing their exposure through work-from-home and widespread testing at places like schools and factories might work, but not isolation. It would be great if we can turn that into an acceptable risk through data, therapies, and testing. Probably something like that is inevitable, and it’s mostly a question of the local timing. It will be easy in Vermont and very difficult in NYC.

People at risk who have young kids that can’t look after themselves will have to continue to self isolate with their kids unless them can make arrangements for them. Better say 20% of the population is in isolation than 100%.

If you require families to be in isolation, that's rather more than 20%. But yeah, I more or less agree that every little bit of the population that can go back to work helps.

The other side of the equation is that something like 35% of the population (and rather more of the wages and productivity) can work from home just fine and isn't really affected by this. They have secondary effects, because those folks aren't going to restaurants or movies like they used to, but I don't think anything the government says will fix that soon.

I think that Daily Mail took numbers that are "deaths per million" in March and misstated them as "deaths per 100,000".

As of today (April 16), the UK has 202 COVID-19 deaths per 1 million population, per Worldometer. The math checks out: about 13,700 deaths in a UK population of about 67 million.

For hundreds of years older people have sent younger people off to fight their wars . I was once one of those sent off to war not of my choice. I am now an older person. Its time we fought the war for the younger generation by self isolating and letting them get back to work to support us with all of the welfare we enjoy.

Probably you are trolling, but you have a point. We need the young people working to pay our Social Security!


My spouse and I are both 65. We started self-isolation the first week in March. “Sorry grandkids ... we won’t be watching the St. Patrick’s Day parade with you this year”.

We do go outside for walks being sure to maintain a lot of distance from others. We go grocery shopping during senior hours on Monday and Friday wearing cloth masks. We order most of our food for contactless delivery ... it’s placed on our front porch. We go out for car rides too.

We’ll gladly do another couple of months seeing the kids and their children only by FaceTime if that’ll help get others back to work.

Disabuse yourself of any notion that there is enough information in these situations to make decisions. Even that is wrong. Disabuse yourself of any notion that the information you have is of any value to make a decision. It may not be incomplete, it may be utterly useless, wrong, misleading.

The only useful information are heuristics. There will be no proof, in fact there will be proof of the opposite. A logical, rational, scientific way of thinking will make the problem worse.

Indeed I read today C-19 can cause hallucinations and long term mental health problems. Enjoy your herd immunity. Better you than me.

Didn't you also say it causes your organs to "liquidate"?

I did and it does. Google it dude: "Myth: Ebola liquifies your organs, which causes bleeding from the orifices."

Um, we are talking about Covid not Ebola.

It’s good to see the spirit of liberty is alive in the land. Alex doesn’t seem to like it which is an odd position for a supposed libertarian to take.

My sentiments exactly. I'm fine financially and can survive the shutdown, but I am well aware that millions of people are suffering economically right now and their livelihoods have been destroyed. That pisses me off.

I've never publicly protested in my life, but I tried to organize one this week in my very liberal town. I did not vote for Trump last time. This year, I am definitely voting for him. I see through the Democrat governors plans to destroy our economy with this man-made crisis in hopes of defeating Trump. Ain't gonna happen.

I just want you to be aware that the entire world is laughing at your country and its "leader".

The most damaging thing for the economy is for the virus to freely run its course. A million people can't die in three months without massive economic damage. Many millions will refuse to work. Many millions will be sick.

The cheapest and safest way is to eradicate it with sensible restrictions. Most people can continue working, but as many from home as practical. Only high risk things need to stop - restaurants etc.

One word for your simple minded response. Sweden. Compare a lockdown nation like UK with one that's not - Sweden - except for sporting events. Death rates are the same in both countries.

Sweden is in no way comparable to the UK or the US. Sweden has a low density population, and Swedes very rarely congregate in large numbers. Also a large part of the population lives alone in their own place. So there is a huge number of social distancing going on already.

The UK originally also wanted to go this "herd immunity" way until the numbers started exploding and it was becoming very apparent that the NHS would collapse under the strain.

I'm not sure that it is really elites versus everyone else. Consider this pinned Scott Adams tweet. Peak Scott Adams:

"Based on what we now understand about #coronavirus, it seems clear to me the consensus of opinion in the country is that losing a few hundred thousand people (or fewer if we are clever) is an acceptable price for reopening the economy. I'm in a higher risk category and agree."

As others note, here is an elite, sitting at home on a pile of money with a job that doesn't require him to go out and meet people, saying "sure, let em die."

No, this revolt does not come from the cashiers at Walmart.

Those people in the picture seem to agree with Scott Adams. They don't seem very elite to me.

On the other hand, it's doubtful you have the elite membership card (nor does Tyler, or Alex...) yet here you are carrying water for the elites.

So I wonder, between the owners and commentariat of an economics blog, and the people protesting so they can get back to work and feed their families, which is more likely to be part of a cargo cult of the elite?

Well some of those obviously might be foolish people who have been told it's all a hoax.

But I really think anyone here who says let it rub should tell us about their situation.

Do you for instance think you are facing the risk, or are you putting it on someone else?


It’s been debunked that Trump called the virus a hoax.

According to you and the other fearmongers, I certainly am. I might catch an easily transmitted virus, for which my body has no defense, that in the best case scenario will scar my lungs and leave me permanently disabled.

So perhaps you might understand how people are taking a calculated risk, and how important their livelihood is to themselves and their dependents.

Or do you? You obviously can't be a foolish person who got hoaxed, so let's do you now. What's the financial impact to you of staying at home?

You didn't actually answer my question.

For what it's worth though, I am retired and can comfortably stay at home. But the difference is I actually care about the people who can't.

I'm afraid the end game of conservatism has become the end game of Trumpism, which is "we don't care if workers die."

You couldn't possibly pay them to keep them safe, right?

For anyone under 60, there is far more risk involved in traveling in a personal vehicle. I suspect some of our governors are dreaming of plans to call the combination of auto deaths and climate change an eternal emergency that abrogates all human rights. And I observe that SL did actually answer your question, whereas you answer no question.

'Might easily catch" is not an answer.

I will believe that you, he, and Donald Trump actually believe it's safe when you're willing to walk through Walmart and hug everyone you meet.

I'd do it today if we can make it a Kroger. (The Walmart is like six miles away.) I don't care about your tempest in a teapot, I didn't care in February and I don't today.

Do you cross freeways on foot as well? Are you that bad at math?

I'm not so bad at math that I'm still letting the projections from six weeks ago that predicted MILLIONS DEAD inform my behavior. It's astounding what you people on here will do to sound educated.

"you people"

And not answering me at all.

You’re largely correct today but the irony of you complaining about people not answering your questions might be the highlight of the week.

No the irony of the week is Trump supporters becoming bankrupt like Trump did in the 90s. LOL. They are stooges like their god emperor.

That's another thing I never stoop to. I never make unsubstantiated personal attacks to "win" some unrelated argument.


You were mostly not lying until this comment.

Link it, butthurt loser.

Just to be clear, I'm saying I never do these drive-by insults, and the only reason I can *imagine* for anyone else doing them is butthurt about some past discussion.

That's another thing I never stoop to. I never make unsubstantiated personal attacks to "win" some unrelated argument.

Link it, butthurt loser.

ust to be clear, I'm saying I never do these drive-by insults

Top kek. The lack of self awareness is just perfect

Absolutely not. Calling you on your BS is not following you around like a butthurt loser.

It is a tit-for-tat response.

I mean, could you carry a bigger "I am butthurt" sign than following me around the way you do?

For anyone interested in the grounding theory:


Nobody is stalking you. I just found it hilarious that you would complain about other people’s debating tactics. And that you double down on your lack of self awareness makes it even better

But you should keep engaging, I think you provide a worthwhile contribution here, even when I disagree with you.

I'll stand by my analysis. Anyone who enters a thread, and their first comment is an ad hominem attack, is a butthurt loser.

I don't do that. But I do defend myself against the butthurt losers who make it their life.

You're literally the one making ad hominem attacks, humorously enough with the insults of an elementary school child.

I'm sure you'll continue to prove us all wrong by making more ad hominem attacks.

"For anyone under 60, there is far more risk involved in traveling in a personal vehicle."

Over the course of your entire lifetime, yes. But the appropriate comparison should be over the next 12 months if we assume most people under 60 will get infected over that period. Then, there is no comparison. The most optimistic estimates are that <50 people have 0.1% mortality and 50-60s have mortality rates in the 0.5-1% range.

Over the calendar year 2020, not an entire lifetime, about 35,000 people will die in traffic accidents. We don't know how many will die of coronavirus but 35,000 is as good a guess as any. So the comparison is valid.

Do the people yelling and shouting realize, if DeWine (sub in any governor) revoked the stay at home order tomorrow, nothing would change?

People are not staying at home because the governor ordered them to. They are staying at home because there is a deadly virus in the air. The stay at home orders are meant to extinguish it as quickly as possible.

If the let it rip, millions would die, the economy would still shut down, and people’s businesses would still be ruined.

What we have here are pissed off people with their torches and pitchforks out looking for some one to blame. It’s like a Kristallnacht...

Blame the elites... blame the Jews... same old story. People pissed off by crappy circumstances they don’t (or won’t) understand running around looking for someone to blame for their troubles. That’s happens in every single crisis. Ivory tower folks mocking them makes it worse though.

If the governor ordered people back to work, millions would die and people would have their pitch forks and torches out rioting about that... looking for someone to blame. In a crisis, many people just want someone to blame. It’s the Chinese, it’s the WHO, it’s the elites, it’s the Jews, it’s the Christians, it’s the Muslims, it’s witches, it’s immigrants.... etc etc etc....

Your "millions will die" hair-igniting is wearing thin. It's not March any more, you should have known that would have an expiration date.

(For that matter, so is the gratuitous racism drop, but that's been fermenting for at least two decades.)

And that’s a good thing.

Because if we let it rip rather than doing what we did, it wouldn’t be wearing thin... it would be happening.

And... the economy would still be in ruins because people aren’t going out to eat when millions of people are dying.

That’s what the torch and pitch fork crowd doesn’t understand.

The governor or the president can order the economy to open all the want... but people aren’t going to do it when hospitals are swamped and bodies are piling up.

The economy is going to suffer one way or the other... their is a deadly virus in the air... and that’s what’s causing the economy to suffer. It’s gonna happen no matter what the governor orders to happen.

Pissing in the wind will make it more pronounced and last longer. That’s why smart people don’t listen to dummies.

"You won’t ever know if what you did personally helped. That’s the nature of public health. When the best way to save lives is to prevent a disease rather than treat it, success often looks like an overreaction." - Epidemiologist Mari Armstrong-Hough

Shark Losers, you mean 'fomenting'? Unless you're an alcoholic, which by the sound of your pointless jabberings probably are, then your rantings can be better understood. Which, in that case, keep fermenting buddy and peace be w/ you!

Poor Shark Loser, foaming at the mouth...

Student opined ... “ The governor or the president can order the economy to open all the want... but people aren’t going to do it when hospitals are swamped and bodies are piling up.”

Illinois is one of the states hit hardest by Covid-19.

The statistics from our State Government as of 4/14 show hospital beds are only 38% in use. ICU beds are at 68% usage.

Hospitals here are NOT swamped as the vast majority of those beds, along with the state’s population are in Cook and the surrounding ‘Collar Counties’.

My spouse and I will self-isolate for another couple of months as we are in our 60’s.

But younger people, our kids for instance, might decide otherwise.

What is needed is large-scale reliable testing.

Thankfully our worst fears have not come to pass. But for everyone’s sake, except perhaps students, things need to get back to normal as soon as it can be safely done.

They aren’t because of the mitigation. I was referring to the absence of that. Why is that so difficult for people to grasp.

Soon, we will open things back up... but that’s not going to solve much because when it reignites people are not going to go out to eat or to the movies or take vacations. The shutdown order isn’t what’s preventing the economy from functioning (for the most part anyways)... its the damn virus. Until this virus is defeated, it doesn’t matter what the governors say. A huge number of people simply are not going out.

Yes until there's a vaccine some folks will continue to curtail most of their activity. But there has to be provision made for the people that are ready to participate in economic life.

It's not binary, it's not open it all up right now same as before vs shut it all down for a year until we have a vaccine. It's about thoughtfully finding ways to slowly open some things up, with extra precautions like the ones grocery stores are using now.

Iceland -- with all of its intensive testing and relatively young, healthy infected population -- is now showing a mortality rate 0.4%. America's mortality rate will almost certainly be higher and 1 million is entirely possible if the "let it rip" people were to have their way. If health systems collapse due to large groups of people being infected at once, all bets continue to be off. That probably won't happen because it turns out few if any governments in the world are actually stupid enough to to agree to laissez-faire at any human cost. The U.K., Italy and several states in the U.S. tried and pulled back when they saw the abyss in front of them.

In short, the questioning of social distancing policies is at about the same level as, "Why do we need so many police here? There is hardly any crime!"

It's only higher because of how the USA is counting. We just "found" 3800 more deaths in New York.

No one in the USA has gone without a ventilator. No one has been denied care. So the difference in death rate is because of the denominator. How many cases get counted.

That is so obvious that to have to make the point here, to me, is absurd.

0.4% is the upper bound on mortality. If Iceland could actually catch the asymptomatic cases (look at their age distribution of cases vs distribution of population) we'd see that rate around 0.1%

yeah it’s a big conspiracy imposed by people to destroy themselves... makes sense.

It’s looking more and more likely we are going to find out. The economy is going to reopen pretty soon here.

My bet is we get a second wave. Hopefully unlike with the Spanish flu, people will at least not go to parades and mass protest events so that the second wave is smaller than the first.

If the torch and pitchfork crowds grow, however, it will be just like the second wave of the Spanish flu.... which was way worse than the first.

The people protesting are not wearing masks, are not practicing social isolation. The lockdown saved lives. Taking simple precautions saves lives. The virus can't spread if it doesn't have a new host. Starving the beast for a few weeks is the best way to win the war. But these protesters are demanding a second possibly more powerful wave of infections. And the more infections that occur, the more mutations in the virus. We go from bad to worse.

The state of the media is shameful. CNN has a political bias in almost all its reporting. Fox News has now gone nuts feeding the frenzy of the mob that this in some way is a hoax. I wish Trump would come out and tell people that they need to wear masks. They need to distance. That we can and will open when the virus has declined to safer levels. A matter of weeks not months.

Instead, we have a mob demanding the right to let thousands die. Like when a ship sinks and in desperation a mob fights and claws for survival. In the panic more die than if everyone remained calm. It looks like we are watching those desperate people reaching out to save themselves, even as they kill others in their desperate fight to survive.

Good comment. A good leader would try to lead their troops to best course of action. Trump saying at least wear a mask and try to be socially distant would be a good thing because people are gonna riot. They need someone to blame psychologically. Urging ones troops to do it in a harm minimizing way would be good leadership.

This is a test of his leadership. I pray he steps up and leads.

Your "lockdowns save lives" mantra ignors chain defaults, civil unrest, suicide, drug abuse and quality of life.

You are telling 30 year olds to "lockdown" when less than 3000 people in the USA under 60 have died.

The number of 30 year olds is what? 200? 300?

And for that they should go bankrupt?!?

For that we throw sand in the gears of America: the engine for the world? The engine that lifted 4 billion of the world's population out of poverty in the last 30 years?

You are nuts.

The stay in place orders have worked so far. Fewer people died because of it. Including fewer young people. You brag about how few people have died but ignore why those numbers are low. You could put two zeros behind your number, would you still be happy?

In the big picture, we are looking to have a stay in place order until perhaps June 1. Then we switch to masks, distancing, and hygiene because those are the only tools we have at this point.

The purpose was to buy time. Equip the health care sector for the battle. We are only weeks into the struggle. We can then deal with isolated cases popping up, but not exponential growth.

Quality of life in the middle of a pandemic declines. Stress, depression, anxiety, will not go away with the opening of a restaurant. There is no magic wand to wave this away.

People are currently not showing up at jobs that are essential. The meatpacking houses lack workers because many are afraid to go to work without safeguards. What makes you think the economy will perk up before people feel safe enough to engage with each other?

Are you nuts? Do you think bars and restaurants will fill with people if the government said they are free to open? And if they did you think there would be no consequences? What happened in the weeks following Mardi Gras in New Orleans?

We have limited tools to fight the beast. Panic in the face of the enemy will not help us get to a better tomorrow. It will only lead to another outbreak.

> Fewer people died because of it.

Yes, but you are destroying families so that you can brag that you enabled an old person that was already on oxygen and failing to live another 6 months.

At what cost are you willing to save a life? At what cost are you willing to extend someone's life for one year? In the UK, they call this QALY. The UK won't even do a $10,000 hip replacement on old people if they are frail. And yet, we're spending MILLIONS per person to extend the life of a person that is so frail their day consists of watching TV...day after day. And that was before the virus.

Do not underestimate what is happening to families that are struggling.

The economy is crashing either way. We can have a crash with millions dead or a crash with thousands dead. That’s our choice.

In the long run, we have to return to work... but we shut down until like the first week of May to bring the cases levels down (to correct for our mistakes in Jan and feb when we didn’t prepare)...

Then reopen intelligently, according to a plan, wearing masks, implementing millions of little behavioral changes... have testing in place to find hot spots so we can shut down places locally in targeted fashion.

If u let it rip today, and just go do whatever... millions will die and that will crash the economy just as much as a coordinated short term shutdown does.

Either way though, the economy is crashing. There is no escape from that. All the rioting does is spread the virus more quickly.

People are mad... I am mad... this sucks. But we can’t lose our heads over it otherwise we will make a bad situation worse.

All of you are basing your estimations on the deadly effect of this virus on the ridiculous calculations by a vastly incompetent bureaucrat early on. Actual testing in other countries and in California indicates that this disease had to have been spreading as early as December and that there are large numbers of people who had the disease, had no symptoms, and are now locked down in their own homes for entirely no reason. The death rate among older people (of whom I am one, who is employed at an essential job and who is going out and working at different job sites without a qualm) is quite comparable to the normal rates of influenza, if you actually count death due to complications of the Covid. Since the federal government pays for the treatment (even failed treatment) of Covid patients who die and may or may not have health insurance, there is a built in incentive for medical staff to "determine" that a given death was Covid related even though it was from a stroke or from blocked bowel or shotgun blast.

Ok. This is all normal. We see the hospitals in New York like this every year. Italy, Spain, and others are all a Hollywood movie. The evidence of the virus in California in December is proved by who? So far it is a story with no evidence. Have they found one of these early patients? No.

And then just to be funny, you say that all those health care workers falling ill, some dying, are just making it up to make a quick buck. Even though hospitals shutting down to concentrate on Covid cases are losing money.

You see all those empty streets. All those people staying in. That is unprecedented. See the drop in pollution? That is because most of the world had the sense to ignore people like you. That reduced the spread of the disease. It worked. Because those were the only tools we had.

Hear, hear DanC.

I'm open to discussions on the risks and benefits of reopening certain parts of the economy -- a discussion that, mercifully, we can have here in Australia because our government (following some early errors and the introduction of thousands of cases, mostly from the USA due to its complete lack of testing/competence) has managed to take the right steps in both instituting lockdowns and using this time well to boost healthcare and preventative capacity*. So I'm not (and nor is anyone I know, on any side of politics) advocating some kind of 18-month lockdown until a vaccine is discovered.

And I 100% agree with you -- do people seriously think that nurses and doctors are all evil liars? Is this a thing where poor people in the US have had such little contact with the healthcare system across their lives that they see ordinary medical professionals as some sort of elites?

*Companies are also collaborating with government, going above and beyond adding safety features and procedures. Yep, it's partly for their own economic benefit so that they can reopen sooner and stop transmission -- but they have not been blinded by conspiracy theories and can actually see how incurring some costs to reduce transmission of this virus is beneficial. Honestly brings a tear to my eye how much I love this country and our culture and am grateful to have been born here rather than in the US.

If nothing would change, then why have the order?

Because pissing the wind is stupid and will make the ruin even worse.

The ruin of what? The economy? Or the number of COVID deaths?

Both. The economy is going to crash either way because there is a deadly new virus in the air. If we let it rip right now, we still get a crashed economy but with millions of dead. There is no way out of a crash... it’s a matter of mitigating it to the extent possible while minimizing deaths.

Thus, shut all but essentials and transfer wealth from the lucky to the unlucky until this is over... at which point we go back to normal (again to the extent possible).

This is the only real solution. It sucks too, but or sucks less than the alternatives.

The economy has already crashed because of the shutdowns. That it would have crashed without shutdowns, instead of just slowing down, is not obvious, and if you have any evidence, please present it.

As for transfers: nobody is stopping you from transferring your wealth to an unlucky family in Nigeria. But of course that's not what you mean, right? You want to transfer *my* wealth to them.

There is already plenty of evidence. Do something simple and look at hotel or restaurant reservations from booking sites in states with a shutdown order and without (prior to them all shutting down), you will see the economies crashed in all cases... shutdown or not.

Why shutdown at all then? Heterogeneity!!!

A coordinated shutdown starves the beast. It extinguishes the fire because the virus needs hosts. If people are not shutting down at the same time, there are to many hosts and the virus still spreads even with the uncoordinated shutdowns.

Be smart and shutdown in a coordinated fashion for several weeks and we starve the beast at which point we bought time to prepare for reignition when we do open back up.

People... this isn’t that complicated!

Herd immunity is much more important from a social health perspective than starving the beast due to some wildly ridiculous prediction of an overwhelmed hospital infrastructure. The 'deadliness' of this virus is questionable in light of the various data indicating that up to 60 percent of people catch it and suffer no discernible symptoms. This is another virus like influenza that may exacerbate existing medical conditions even up to the point of death but there are no indicators that ...the best case scenario is I may end up with scarred lungs and a permanent disability... (paraphrased because I didn't want to dig through to where you actually said that particular bit of hyperbole).
There is even evidence that people with lung damage might have been suffered that damage because respirators are being used instead of immunosuppressants and straight oxygen. Google cytokine storm and you will find articles indicating that many of the people in life threatening cases of Covid infection are actually suffering from a relatively easily treated case of immune system overreaction.

"Wildly ridiculous"? You think those pictures and video from Italy and Spain are fake? There's no way to reason with people like you.

Those pictures from Italy and Spain are of course real.

Those pictures - and the statistics - are also consistent with something like "bad flu season mortality times 2 or 3 but all compressed into 1 or 2 months due to how fast this virus spreads".

That argues for more than "do-nothing" , but it doesn't argue for measures with a cost in the trillions (and still increasing) in the U.S.

We are transferring wealth from “the lucky” future generations (I.e. borrowing and printing money) to “the unlucky” current generation that has to live through this nightmare.

How's the weather in Russia, "Student"?

Ironic that ridiculous comment comes from an Ivan. 😆

Listen 6 months from now when we have better data and models and all that, there's a decent change the libertarians and other folks will be able to look back and say that places that locked down didn't really do all that differently then places that didn't (maybe they'll even say worse, mixing up cause and effect; in any event there will be at least some places they can point to), that the curves in hard hit areas were already bending down before the lock downs were place (true in at least some places, like Italy and WA maybe others, prob. not true in others). And they will make the argument that none of these lock downs were necessary, that private folks and businesses were already responding and 'solving' things, doing the appropriate level of cost / benefit trade off, that if the government regulatory state had gotten out of the way (FDA letting private companies test; being less idiotic about testing treatments and vaccines; let companies / the market figure out their own safety vs. activity tradeoff) and that all this lock down this and that was government power tripping.

That's all, at best, only partially true, but they will believe it. I expect your argument will be very convincing at that time.

Put less snarky...

The point of a stay at home order is coordinate the actions of people such that we can extinguish the virus. If there was no order there would immense heterogeneity in people imposing their own stay at home actions. This would still cause the economy to crash but since people were not staying at home all at the same time, the virus wouldn’t extinguish and we would get the worst of both worlds. A crashed economy and millions of dead Americans.

It’s coordinated action that has an impact... but the economy is crashing either way.

The choice is a crash with millions dead or a crash with thousands dead.

Recall Tyler’s post from a few weeks ago where he posited that we will oscillate back and forth between letting it rip and shutting down... which would lead to the worst of both worlds result.

Seems that’s looking more likely these days.

the virus doesn't move. people move. if people stop moving the virus dies...

Succinctly put. Well done.

If people stop moving - truckers hauling food, workers going to food processing plants, consumers going to grocery stores - then people die.

"Starving the beast" is highly unlikely to work given existing prevalence in the U.S. If it did work, I'd put the over/under at about 2 months before major flare-ups that originate from people illegally crossing the southern border. And these people usually distribute themselves among many of the largest metro areas in the U.S. - L.A., Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Phoenix, the Bay Area, and New York.

But the Walmart workers are revolting, but none are cashiers because walmart has eliminated them. The revolts happen when a Walmart worker gets sick, and especially if they die, and the workers do a tally of the medical bills plus not being paid, and decide to simply not be paid without the medical bills.

The china owned SD Smithfield packing plant was shutdown by a worker revolt after they heard of workers getting sick, then reports of deaths.

Let them! They have a better handle on the costs/benefits of continuing to work than their state governor, or the GEOTUS, or for that matter any economics professor.

It's how this whole thing should have been handled from day one. Give people the information and let them decide whether they should stay home, or shut down their business, or not go to work. They'll do what they need to do to make their personal situation work.

Unfortunately that's not the answer that serves any number of elite interests so instead we got a top-down economic seppuku, run by 50 state governors acting like they're in a competition for America's Next Top Authoritarian, egged on by an elite class and media looking to take down Orange Man, all based on what is most charitably gross incompetence by a trading partner full of people that hate us and less charitably a deliberate attack.

But hey, silver lining: Tyler and Alex still have their jobs, so their losses are minimal aside from creating online classes. So no biggie!

So this is an evil plot by 50 state governors and China to take down Trump? Why don't you ask Mueller to investigate this blatant foreign collusion?

But the Walmart cashiers are working. They never stopped.

Recalibrate your thinking. The people you purport to worry about are working. If they weren't, the pandemic would fade into insignificance as hunger takes over.

So worry about solutions to allow normal functioning of society to carry on without catastrophic spread of the infection.

A total lockdown where no one leaves their home will last 3 days, with a shoot on sight regime, 5 days. Anything on the continuum from that to normal has an expiry when necessity causes it to collapse. So figure from the other way; this thing is going to last 3 months, what level of limited activity is going to hold for 3 months?

The worst situation is a rigid lockdown that collapses resulting in a worst spread of the infection. A runaway infection with societal breakdown.

Where I live the reasonable restrictions are already breaking down after 4 weeks.


Is the simplistic thinking that we shouldn't have cashiers?
Is anyone thinking of the potential knock off effects of this?
What about state budgets going bust, and them struggling to make payroll? Whose gonna enforce the lockdown if police aren't getting paid?

Derek, this a good point. We do need a smarter shutdown. To the shutdown crowd... be willing to compromise with people like Derek. We are all in this together, and people are mad for a reason... though their solution is misguided. Let’s be open to a smarter shutdown. Rigid shutdowns are necessary for another week or to, but it is beginning to crumble. The time is now to rethink our strategy before to many people take up their torches and pitchforks. Let’s hear them out. Let them know we their cry. Now is not the time to fight. While I am certainly among the shutdown crowd... I am open to ideas for a smarter shutdown. I think that can be done.

Leaders... if you are seeing this... lead us. Please! Be heroes. We need heroes right now.

What, exactly, is the difference between the interaction between a grocery store clerk and customers or a convenience store clerk and customers versus a barkeeper in a bar or a waiter in a restaurant?
It isn't the size of the venue nor is it the number of people *AT* the venue. It is entirely arbitrary. It is nonsensical. Why close libraries? Why close bookstores? Why close clothing stores? I guarantee the guy who owns the haberdashery on the first floor of my building has less contact with customers than the guy one block over in the tiny crowded convenience store. Why close beaches and public parks?
Nonsensical knee jerk reactions by politicians to incompetent projections from bureaucrats who were proven wrong in epidemics in the past and who are wrong now.

Money quote: “I can understand that, or feel that I must try to understand that.”

Just incredibly hilarious!

Which is it? Do you understand this deeply obvious thing? That would make you a sane person who is capable of at least occasional thought.

Or do you not, and feel like outside forces are requiring you, against your will, to do the impossible and make sense out the utterly nonsensical? That would make you a repugnant dope who should never be listened to under any circumstances.

Thanks for clarifying that you may be one, or at least the other.

Alex has to make clear he is not empathetic to the plight of the common Trump voter, or they take away his key to the faculty lounge.

The common Trump voter is a drama queen. Not everything they whine on and on about are worth the hassle. If any of them riot, call in the National Guard and they can club some sense into those idiots until their MAGA hats don't fit.

As like so many others, you have a misconception of who exactly is a Trump voter. Protip: you would need to be handling that club yourself.

Don't need to club them. Trump voters die when you sneeze on them.

These are *Michigan* people who just happen to have a Confederate flag lying around.

"you have a misconception of who exactly is a Trump voter. "

I bet you they don't have high GRE scores.

That is a nasty thing to say about Federalist Society members, particularly as they are likely very sensitive on that point.

Federal Society members can study to become economists.

The fact that you think people care about your GRE score is emblematic of the midwit demographic of this blog.

Seemingly have no appreciation of the fact that any mention here of GRE scores is mocking Tyler, from good naturedly to with as much vitriol as can be packed into a few short words.

Everyone doing it knows, better than you it seems, that no one cares about your GRE scores anywhere outside of an admissions office for long enough to evaluate student results, or the faculty office of at least one economist. And even the most vitriolic commenter would not think that every economist cares about GRE scores.

You'll have to forgive me for not hanging on to the innuendo of an economics blog run by two Outer Party members. As I said, what you people run here is a cargo cult, one I'm happy to not be part of. It's not a good look for you, especially in times like this where your role models have been wrong time and time again.

I forgive you... but for being an idiot. It’s not your fault but clearly it’s true nonetheless.

If we listen to people like you, we get a crashed economy and millions of dead. Why can’t you see that?

It is truly stunning to think that you believe those who relentlessly mock economics, economists in general, and TC and AT in particular, think that they are role models for anyone.

You really need to leave that small pond, and start swimming in the big ocean. It would probably make it easier to recognize that not only you are fully aware of what utter tools TC and AT are.

I don’t think it is as simple as you suggest.

Farmer, the man quoted, evidently works for the local public housing agency but wants less government and thinks that is the answer to the pandemic and will, I guess, help him pay his bills.

In other news,

"1/3 New study shows that people with #COVID19 may be most infectious before their symptoms develop. The authors estimate that - on average - about 44% of secondary cases were infected from people who had not yet developed symptoms."


Definitely related, am I right?

These idiots want to let it rip when 44% of transmissions are by the non-symptomatic.

30%+ of New York has already been infected.

Yes. Open it back up.

I don't suppose you are a supermarket cashier?

You mean the people still working?

What point are you trying to make?

We have another question evader!

You know there are no checkout girls in this thread and I know you we're trying to say "you don't care about the plight of the workers" but accidentaly used an example of someone already working.

How's that for answers?

That is still an evasion.

I am saying that anyone, like Scott Adams who says let 100,000 die, should tell us if they are on the front lines.

Are you on the front lines?

We’re all gonna be on the front lines of a depression soon. Which is The point that many of you are dodging. 22 mil jobs lost. In a month.

Nah. The economy will come roaring back. Goldman Sachs said so. Trump too. Those 22 million people are getting trillions of dollars going their way.

I don't really see the point of the snark here.

What point are you trying to make?

We're like "The economic depression is very real and more deadly than 100% infection would be" and your retort is "orange man bad."

That's TDS.

There is no depression here! Americans want to get back to normal ASAP. It's too bad you touchy snowflakes see TDS in everything. Take your whine elsewhere.

Oh they "want to work?". Why didn't I think of that?

Guess they didn't "want to work" in the 1930s.

I am on the front lines. I am also high risk. Let it rip.

These folks don't think it can happen there. NYC should be a warning; instead they'd like it to be an example.

Wrong. We know it will happen everywhere. We see the worst case scenario and are able to judge that destroying the economy will kill more people than 100% infection rate.

That you can't see that means you can't do math.

LOL - "We" is doing a LOT of lifting in your quote, but OK.

Right. A wrecked economy might not literally "kill" a million people, but it will easily destroy a million lives.
Long term, who knows, drug addiction, alcoholism, the stresses of poverty and joblessness, maybe it will kill them anyway.
Let's just sacrifice the hopes and dreams of a few million young adults to stop a could hundred thousand deaths of sick old people. Seems like a good trade.

I wonder, did the Great Depression kill a million people? Did the Great Recession kill a million people?

The hopes and dreams of young people die so quickly? Anything today compares with the horrors of WWII? Imagine a generation that went through the great depression and a world war.

Projections are that by June 1 this had a chance to be more manageable with very low infection rates. We hunker down for 12-16 months using masks and social distancing to keep the numbers low. Let the health care system arm itself for the fight. Or we just concentrate on the difficulties we are facing today without a clear way to win the war.

How many died in WW2?

The virus is not knocking on our door in the middle of the night to take you to a concentration camp. Taking away all you own or will ever own. This is difficult but it will pass.

Why do you think WWII happened?

The Treaty of Versaille and the Economy harm it caused to Germany.

And if you don't think those knocks on the door can come again, just think what happens when a billion Indians have no food and need a scapegoat.

The virus is writing treaties now? And encouraging China to conquer the Far East too?

If you are correct that this is a big nothing, then we get a V-shaped recovery and waiting to June 1 won't much matter.

You missed the point. Great Depression One was a major contributing factor in Hitler coming to power, and hence WWII.

What will Great Depression Two bring about?

He's clearly trolling. No one is actually dumb enough to write "The virus is writing treaties now? "

Are you not aware of the increase in deaths of despair, likely from the Great Recession?

Have you not read of the plight of millennials as a result of the Great Recession? There is a very real chance that an entire generation will see their economic hopes destroyed.

Also there are plenty of studies showing that graduating in the middle of a recession depresses lifelong earnings.

Who are these elites you are talking about?

Are they the guys who funded Cambridge Analytica or financed the Tea Party movement? They are pretty good at it if they can get you diverted to not look at them but claim that someone else is the "elite".

We don't talk like that here.

It's very interesting that the DeVos brother who organized black op pay operations organized the rally in Michigan.

We should start pointing out instances of how people are being manipulated, particularly when it is around an issue of public health, because if some those dodos keep it up they are endangering the community's health, including your own or your kids.

We need an active and investigative press.

There is no evidence of Devos involvement in the Michigan protest. You were successfully manipulated by the media, and now you're transmitting misinformation.

Reported in the media, but it is a quote from the governor, who one assumes knows who her political opponents are, and provides at least the appearance of evidence. "Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday she doesn't have a problem with a planned protest Wednesday that is intended to create a traffic jam around the state Capitol to show how angry Michiganders are about a stay-at-home order intended to stop the spread of coronavirus.

But she drew the line at one of the hosts of the protest — the Michigan Freedom Fund, a Lansing-based organization that advocates for conservative policies, has strong ties to the west Michigan DeVos family and has been critical of Whitmer, especially her stay at home order, which lasts until May 1.

"This group is funded in large part by the DeVos family. And I think it's really inappropriate for a sitting member of the United States president's Cabinet to be waging political attacks on any governor, but obviously, on me here at home," Whitmer said Monday, referring to Betsy DeVos, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. "I think that they should disavow and encourage people to stay home and be safe."

Guess you have never heard of the Michigan Freedom Fund.

Guess you have never heard of the Michigan Freedom Fund. Ha Ha. This was just a spontaneous action without any assistance and promotion.

Bill, even the troll just admitted that the governor had no evidence for her statement, and you've had to back down to citing an organization with unspecified "ties" that bought a $250 Facebook ad publicizing the rally. You're parroting fake news.

Ever heard of the DeVos political advisor who organized the protest?

I forgot his name. You might know it.

Tom, I would agree with you that having DeVos's political advisor and the Michigan Freedom Fund promoting the event is not sufficient to prove that she controlled it. The only evidence is that her political advisor created it and the foundation she funds promoted it.

Probably not enough to convict. And, people do have the right to speak, but also we should know who is the person behind that screen and who funds and organizes it, unless you believe in spontaneous combustion.

Probably Bernie did it.

You are truly a creative reader, to interpret "Reported in the media, but it is a quote from the governor, who one assumes knows who her political opponents are, and provides at least the appearance of evidence." as meaning "that the governor had no evidence for her statement."

The governor has plenty of evidence who her political enemies are (they were just protesting, after all), but apparently, you won't accept that obvious fact, even when the media is directly quoting her.

They donate to the group or control it?

I think it is funny when things go bad no one wants to claim they had anything to do with it.

It just happened without any help, assistance or planning.

Right ? It's like Trumpy small business owners, retirees in gated communities, or hedge fund/casino billionaires aren't elites. Talk about mood affiliation.


"Elites" is a weaponized term. Plenty of research out there about how in conservative places, Trump's biggest supporters were often the local elite, who often make much more than the academic and bureaucratic elites who make models predicting pandemic deaths, which other academic elites disparage.

Plus, see Scott Sumner's point about how much of the lockdown was happening organically *BEFORE* government policies were implemented. Who are people going to blame then for a decline in the economy, especially when government opens things back up and lots of people still stay home.

That the socialists would already be having a field day in advancing the revolution? “He has an obligated right to get us back to work, because if not, what do you think Americans are gonna go through?” Thanks for bringing this to our attention, since we all know that the revolution will not be televised.

And the person who wrote this must have chuckled even more than I when reading it - "Joe Marshall, who did not identify where he was from, said he was representing Anonymous Columbus Ohio."

And in light of recent reporting, “America is a democracy, and the median voter will not die of coronavirus.” remains true, but meatpacking employees aren't median voters either, though they are starting to die.

Work out the equilibrium.

Just to be clear, there has been one death at the Smithfield plant, and unless we're prepared to declare food production non-essential, that plant's not closing no matter what we do with the rest of the economy.

There has been a death at the Smithfield SD plant too? I was referring to the Tysons Iowa plant. And both plants are closed, right now, and for the indefinite future. Particularly with deaths now occurring at both places, the workers just might not be all that interested in returning to work any time soon.

'Two employees of a Tyson Foods plant in southeastern Iowa have died, presumably of the effects of COVID-19.

Company spokesperson Liz Croston confirmed the deaths. The names of the workers, who were employed at Tyson's Louisa County plant in Columbus Junction, were not released.

The plant, where 186 workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, has been closed since April 6. Gov. Kim Reynolds, in a Wednesday morning press conference, said the state was sending 900 testing kits for COVID-19 to Louisa County, in addition to 200 sent last week.'

And the described economic catastrophe has zero to do with the government, and is 100% due to the fact that a novel pandemic virus is continuing to spread among workers and their community. “We are taking on water fast,” National Pork Producers Council President Howard “A.V.” Roth said, adding that thousands of hog farms could close this year without government intervention. “Immediate action is imperative, or a lot of hog farms will go under.”

The Columbus Junction plant is one of several meatpacking facilities across the state and the nation where business has been suspended after they were hard hit by the highly contagious coronavirus."

Odd that he wants government intervention in the absence of any government action causing the problem in the first place. New diseases bring inevitable costs in their wake, regardless of what individual policies are followed by any government.

Smithfield closed a plant in WI today as well.

Give it time, and I am fully confident that the people with high GRE scores will be able to spin a tale where it is not private companies closing plants in response to a pandemic, but the government that is really responsible for the disruption.

But looking for more information about that closing, Smithfield has shut down two plants, not just one. The Daily Mail comes through with the sort of detail that they serve so deliciously, as this headline reveals. 'Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods shutters two more meat processing plants in Missouri and Wisconsin after massive coronavirus outbreak closed South Dakota factory, threatening the American food supply chain

Chinese-owned meat packing giant Smithfield Foods has closed two additional plants in the U.S. after coronavirus outbreaks, raising concerns about the American food supply chain.

Smithfield announced the closures of packing plants in Cudahy, Wisconsin and Martin City, Missouri on Wednesday, days after its Sioux Falls, South Dakota plant was indefinitely shuttered.

The Sioux Falls plant, where 518 employees and 120 of their family members have tested positive for coronavirus, is now the largest single source of cases in the U.S., and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has dispatched a critical response team to the scene.

Smithfield said in a statement that a 'small number of employees' at both the Cudahy and the Martin City plants had tested positive for the virus, without offering further details.' The number of people infected in that SD plant doubled in just a couple of days, and their family members are also being affected. Odd how let her rip seems to have such bad effects on the meatpacking industry in the total absence of any governmental action.

What is amazing is that the plants did not work harder to keep the plants open such as adjusting work schedule to ease crowding, insist on masks, checking temperatures of employees, and changing sick leave policies to discourage people from working sick.

The number of people infected at the plants did not magically increase overnight. The number of people tested and found to be infected increased. Please state facts. How many of these persons have actual symptoms and how many are gravely ill is a good question to ask, given that studies indicate 60 percent of cases under 60 years of age may show no symptoms at all throughout the infection.

the logical conclusion of your points being???

Their protest is legitimate.

Nice trick.

Talking about a protest in a non-coastal state with a GOP governor and legislature (overwhelmingly so) and putting it in the form of 2016 grievances.


"In states like Michigan, North Carolina and Kentucky, people protested against rules aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. "

Any of those fit the bill? I don't keep track of the "color" of states anymore.

Last time I looked Michigan had a Democrat for a governor ad the legislator is a majority Democrat.

I wonder what percent of the population has the sensible 6-months of high-liquidity savings that every good Ned Flanders, i mean American, should have to cover all typical monthly expenses in such scenarios? 15%? How about even 60-days? I suppose that it is the same amount that built backyard shelters 30 - 40 years ago - 1 - 3%. Funny how the local zombies always mob the planners, thinkers, and forward-thinkers. Its not anti-elitism. Its anti-sensibilism.


Including the chickenhawk in chief, who talks about opening the economy, while requiring everyone who comes to his office to pass a
coronavirus test first.

That's probably why his hair isn't dyed.

Well, I'm working. So is my staff. Tests aren't available because we have no symptoms. What we do happens to be essential, ie. you can buy food because we have a part in what keeps that going.

What we do can kill us 6 ways, every single day. This is just one more thing to watch for.

So as someone with skin in the game, why don't you keep quiet about what you know nothing about?

When I say that the reasonable restrictions in my jurisdiction are starting to collapse right now, why don't you pay attention to someone who actually knows? This is really important information.

When I say that the current lockdown is unsustainable because it will cause profoundly dangerous breaches in the supply chain of necessities, why don't you sit up and take notice? This is actually important, very important.

Proof of what I know from experience won't be available in a timely way. The proof will come when we are over the precipice.

I have said over and over again that there are no good decisions in this situation, only bad and really bad. Get used to it. You won't be happy no matter what. Your happiness is immaterial.

You are actually the first person who did say he's working to me on this page. I gave others every opportunity, and what did they do? They dodged and didn't answer.

And sure, I will take your working experiences seriously.

And derek, while you are working, this is what's going on:

"Dr. Oz just made the argument that we should reopen schools because *only* 2-3% of kids will die."


Now, in the most generous interpretation he doesn't mean 2-3% of kids, he means 2-3% of the total population. But #$%, what is 2-3% of the US population?

That's why I say chickenhawks.

You *DO* understand that under absolutely normal circumstances 1% of the US population dies every year? You also *DO* understand that there are indicators that children will not be affected by the COVID 19 infection much at all? We have had a handful of documented children cases of this infection across our country with 340 million inhabitants. In China, where this thing started, less than 2 percent of all total cases involved children.

Have you heard or read the stories of the orphans from the Spanish flu?

I'm not familiar with orphans and the Spanish flu, however most orphans have a tough go. Worldwide, the average kid growing up in an orphanage lives to 30.

I take this as you volunteering yourself to die for the good of everyone?

It's less about discontent and more about partisan position taking. In my neck of the woods there are two types of poor - overeducated/underpaid urban young and undereducated rural poor. The division lines cleave by education level and urban/rural dichotomy. That forms the basis for your group identity. The loud "open it up" protesters lean latter. The former are suffering just as much (they form the bulk of laid off bartenders) but aren't out protesting due to groupthink. Their lot is much more likely to post "Grandma died for the DOW", "wear masks", and "lives before profits" and other such slogans I see trending.

The urban young have their parents to support them.

The rural young don't have parents?

Not affluent suburban parents, by and large.

The urban young don't have affluent suburban parents either.

Portland and Brooklyn are not representative.

Maybe American leaders are cowards. Brazil face anti-vaccination riots in the early 20th Century. They were dealt with decisively and now Brazil is considered to have of one the best healthcare systems in the world.

Hi Thiago!

I think you are mistaking me for a friend of yours. I am Larry, from Spokane, Washington.

I am a friend to all mankind

The people in that picture aren't the median voter either...

They are in certain electorally key states.

If the median voter in a particular state is like the people in that picture, it wouldn't be an electorally key state, but a solid red state.

What is amazing is how the government passed 26 weeks of 850 dollars a week worth of unemployment welfare, plus stimulus check, plus another round of stimulus that will be coming with the next bill, and nobody wants the money.....

They want to work.

The money ain't flowing like it was supposed to. In Florida, very difficult to get that cash and people already have bills due. I think if it was genuinely that easy to receive the unemployment people would be less angry. But when you have to wait on the phone for hours, and then when you do connect the person can't help you, anger builds quickly. This is how it is in Florida, I believe other states are better.

That's because nothing about it has presented itself as a risk yet. The disease has barely spread to the more central parts of the country. Let them go back to work - they will be clamoring for a solution once reality presents itself. Just like what has happened everywhere else.

Don't these people believe in self-responsibility? Always keep a few months of money and supplies for emergencies. They clearly live overextended, profligate lives. Money doesn't grow on trees.

Where I live we are past the peak based on the original models and we have 10x less casualties than the DHS projected when under lockdown. Read that again. 10x less than projected if we locked down. Hospitals are laying off nurses. Sorry but kids should be in school now, people should be at work, it’s over already. If you can’t see that, you don’t want to.

" In an excellent historical piece, Jesse Walker at Reason notes that cholera riots were common in Europe in the 19th century........"

Wait a min, are you implying that the people in the photo are as poor, malnourished and ignorant a 19th century European cholera rioter? I'd give a bit more credit to the US education system, and ag & food industry, . People is better on average than 200 years ago, right?

I think this is the money quote from Reason: "“where elites ........ imposed stringent anti-cholera regulations even after most of them had been proven to be ineffectual."
Seems to be the mindset of the protestors.

More like "I should have paid off my February balance instead of buying a boat". Those protestors are irresponsible and they can only blame themselves.

Byline in today’s Philly Inquirer:
“A new analysis shows half of Pennsylvania’s coronavirus deaths have occurred in elder facilities.”

Are lockdowns doing anything to stop this?

Yes. Because workers at care facilities go home. They become infected by a random person. They bring it back to the facility.

Lockdown slows the random person to person spread.

Judging by that bit of data, the virus is already in the elderly care facilities. A continued lockdown isn’t going to change that. Maybe a different strategy is needed.

Not nationally, right?

The virus is wreaking havoc in hotspot cities

and so you want to lockdown before your area becomes a hotspot.

Yes, in other areas too. As of 4 days ago, NY had 3,300 elderly care deaths.

NY is a hot spot.

The lockdown lowers the virus to the level that it only appears in isolated spots. Using masks and social distancing keeps the spread low. Then you allow the health care sector to arm for the fight. within 18 months the vast majority has escaped the entire episode. The nation needs a leader that will tell the people to help in the fight. Take precautions. Stop the growth of the virus. The virus can't spread without new hosts, don't feed the beast. Should the whole country become a giant nursing home? Look around the world, what has worked?

But the lock downs are done by governors and mayors. How, except for MSM covering his every word, does Trump figure into this issue.?

He doesn't, except when he himself asserts otherwise, but Alex's point was merely that Trump is a sign of larger social forces at work.

MSM and Trump have a codependent relationship. If you don't want people covering your every word, maybe don't have daily press briefings. MSM, on the other hand, always take the bait to be trolled by Trump, just as they did during the campaign.

I kind of get you, but on the other hand, let's remember what the President of the United States is supposed to be doing.

He is supposed to have a good plan, and be leading with it.

Nobody has a good plan. This whole fiasco is based on various "models" composed of unreliable figures tied to assumptions with unknown validity. The decision-makers, not being epidemiologists or even of a scientific bent, are basing their responses to the problem on the interpretations of models constructed by self-appointed experts and, more importantly, the knowledge that implementing ineffective solutions is better for them personally than doing nothing at all. In the future, they will make use of the Janet Reno explanation for the ATF destruction of the Branch Davidian compound, essentially "We did what our experts told us would work." Sadly, taking the advice of "experts" doesn't always produce the desired results.

The East Asian countries had good plans and it worked. Let's not make any more excuses for what is openly bad leadership in the West.

Bad politicians definitely. If you want to call them leaders, I guess feel free.

Then add the criminally negligent CDC and FDA.

Remember it’s the Taiwanese CDC that made the policy recommendations that our CDC refused to make for another 90 days.

Yes. We are following a model that worked in the rest of the world. We are following models that worked the best for the Spanish Flu. We are using the only weapons we currently have gainst an awful beast. Isolation, masks, hygiene are the only tools we currently have. That and the ability to remain calm and committed in the face of the enemy.

I don't know what the right balance of opening the economy vs. taking measures to slow the spread of the pandemic is. Maybe these protestors are correct. Maybe they aren't. But I do know that the relative decline of America is being hastened when decisions are made by partisan, zombie-like screaming based on hurt feelings rather than rational, dispassionate analysis.

Say what you will about China, but relative to the US, so far it seems much better at using the latter. And other parts of East Asia even moreso.

This was not about feelings. This was about trying to keep our medical care system from breaking down

The hospitals say that they're going broke and large numbers of their staff have been laid off or furloughed. An interesting way to avoid the breakdown of the medical system.

You said hospitals, run by CEOs of for profit and putative nonprofit entities with hedge fund mentalities. Indeed, profitable activities like imaging, elective surgeries, etc have ground to a halt.

I was talking about front line medical care providers and ICU capacity. Which was in fact on the verge of breaking down, and broke down in China, Italy, and New York and elsewhere.

Two things true at the same time. Perhaps your mind is to narrow to manage that sort of complexity.

broke down in China, Italy, and New York and elsewhere.

An interesting observation. Are pandemic deaths an actual indication of a breakdown of the medical system? When weather conditions cause the cancellation of a large percentage of air line flights is that a breakdown of the air traffic system? When a truck fire on !-95 in Miami backs traffic up past Ft. Lauderdale is that a breakdown of the US Interstate system? What percentage of the people that have died from the Covid flu received zero medical attention? Is the fact that there isn't an accepted vaccine for the Covid flu or even a positively effective treatment for it a "breakdown of the medical system"?

The appearance of a previously unknown health problem that can't be solved in minutes at no expense isn't an indication of a breakdown in the medical system. Nor is the fact that elected decision-makers are implementing policies recommended by so-called experts juggling numbers from their models. These decisions are meant to solve the problem, regardless of the political affiliation of the decision-maker. If there's been any system breakdown it's been in the faux democracy structure itself.

oh god just cut the obtuse crap already

The anti-elite narrative is funny because liberals are saying “elites want us all to go back to work, we average folks want to stay home where it’s safe” while conservatives are saying “elites want us all to stay home, we average folks want to go to work because we need to make money.” Of course, I’d argue that the real elites are government leaders like Donald Trump that have the power to tell everyone where they can and can’t travel, not someone harmlessly binging Tiger King in their New York City apartment.

Regarding Ohio, Ohio is shut down because that was ordered by their local Republican government, not because of people in New York. Ohio’s shutdown is also working very well—Ohio has fewer deaths and cases than neighboring Indiana despite having twice the population, and 1/4th the cases of its comparably sized neighbors Pennsylvania and Michigan. Polls show that support for shutdowns is overwhelming (https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/15/poll-dont-stop-social-distancing-coronavirus-spread-187290).

I have been severely personally affected by containment measures (large stock market losses and a close family member stranded abroad), but I know that realistically things are not going to return to normal until we have the virus under control like in South Korea. Even if all the state and local lockdowns are lifted, people are still not going to feel safe going out and about like normal, and many countries are still going to keep restrictions on international travel. The best solution is to have a very draconian but short lockdown that gets the virus to manageable numbers and then we can get back to normal. Loosening the lockdowns will only delay a return to true normal.

Easy answer. Set-up a 3-month Emergency-Only Trust fund for every person, financed over the next 5 - 8 years when the next pandemic occurs. Shut-down access only. Send them monthly bank statements with market level interest to show that it is there waiting for them.

1. I think this would be better served by an insurance product, if we could make sure the insurance companies would remain solvent through the crisis.

2. This would add another political angle into when a crisis is officially called. More turmoil in a time where partisanship needs to be set aside.

"it didn’t seem plausible he could win."

He didn't win. He lost least. He had 70% of the GOP against him, but Cruz had 90% against him, based on getting to cast only one vote "for", and n-1 votes "against", implicitly.

Approval voting allows multiple "for" votes. If there are ten on the ballot, vote 0-10 times for those you approve of. If there are 50, vote o-50 times.

The winner has the highest approval before taking office, and probably keeps it.

Many votes for Trump were an in your face none of the above.

A vote to demonstrate the corruption of the GOP since Reagan by the Newt Gingrich and McConnell et al. The party has zero principles, just winning power to shovel money to the wealthy backers.

And not looking out for voters was the rule. Especially on education and health care.

So, Trump failed to try to understand health care while Bush and McCain did.

Bush saw the threat of SARS. Took action.

Trump had lots of help from Bush in understanding SARS on its return, but Trump saw it as Obama's help. Several SARS vaccines reached human trial after a decade of work started by Bush. The GOP cut it to spite obama and Democrats. Obama relied on what Bush built for multiple epidemics, and supported doing more.

There were no riots from the epidemics that didn't crash the economy because their spread in the US was halted. Ebola reached the US but was stopped from spreading, so the riot from the Ebola death in the US was merely online and radio.

Do you have any idea the TDS you have to have to write that post?

It's off the chart.

It's like arguing the team that got more points but less yards in a football team "Lost".

Instead of swimming in 'da Nile, perhaps you and Alex should look at your world model and ask "If I got this so wrong, what can I do to make my predictive model of the world better?"

Instead of engaging in the definition of Insanity.

In a voting system that does not involve ranked choice, the winner is always the person who lost least. I would have included Ted Cruz somewhere in my ranked choices but not Donald Trump. I know an awful lot of other Republicans who would have done the same thing. And I do not have TDS, but of the 17 Republican primary candidates I would have ranked him last, both for personal preference and for who is likely to beat the Democratic nominee. I thought he would carry 15 states.

These aren’t rioters, they are protesters who are getting an inordinate amount of media attention.
80 percent of Americans support the shutdown.

You don't understand. As long as the small fraction of the population that is protesting promotes a right wing agenda, we have to cater to them. If only they had a leader which we could grant unlimited power to in order to quiet their protests. When has that ever failed to work out?

Sir, but what of the COASTAL ELITES streaming their NETFLIX? Are you not angry? This doesn't fit Alex's narrative!

no no no; it's a MOBBBBBB! There's at least eight or nine of them.

But they do once again prove that right wing protestors get camera time, left wing get pepper spray

The health experts and politicians who have imposed lockdowns almost always have guaranteed salaries and/or personal wealth. They do not suffer for one moment from their own well-intentioned regulations. Nor do they show much public sympathy from those who do suffer.

This is very remindful of the bitter protests against school busing in cities like Boston. The ruling elite sent their children to private schools, and did not suffer from the disruptions imposed by their well-intentioned public policies.

The economic problems are real. Concerns about civil liberties are reasonable. Suspicion of the elites is valid.

But it ends there.

The conspiracy theories, strident ignorance, psychological projection, reflexive outrage, situational principles, and nativist tribalism are manufactured.

Manufactured, ironically, by the elites.

Alex is an awful, awful writer. Out of respect for himself and his audience, he should seek the appropriate training. He won't, though.

Correct, his fiction is predictable and uninspired.

awful, and oh-so-boring

why does Tyler let him post here?

Maybe it's the mean girl ugly friend gambit. You allow an ugly girl hanger-on to stand a few feet behind you at the mall because it makes you look prettier? We're constantly comparing Tyler and Alex and Alex is producing the anchoring effect that clouds our mind and makes us think Tyler's more insightful and eloquent than he actually is?

Or maybe they're just pals and sharing the server cost?

Those callous, out-of-touch elites, seeking to slow the spread of a deadly illness.

The median voter won't die of this, but they will know someone who does.

They are much more likely to know someone who lost their job because of this.

And knowing someone who lost a job is much less likely to influence someone's political decision than knowing someone (mom, dad, etc.) who has died.

You may want to a) check the ratio of job losses to deaths, b) check where the major clustering of deaths is happening, and c) compare the speed and size of job losses to previous recessions.

No, the median voter won't directly know someone who died of it. The vast majority of voters won't directly know anyone who died of it unless we have another wave at least 10x larger.

Yes, correct, it is only those ELITES in NEW YORK CIDDDDYYY that are binging TIGER KING.

The people I know who find Tiger King most amusing are decidedly non-elite rural/suburban Southerners that I grew up with. Another spin of the yarn for the "economist," which in your world is just fiction writing.

Don't you know that Netflix costs $10,000 per month, and that it only works in coastal states?

All of the official orders in the world are worthless if the public will not comply. Whether by outright defiance or by rules lawyering and voiding the outcomes people can bring down any well crafted set of regulations. Perhaps the single most important thing the wise could do right now would be to get the buy-in from all the major population blocks in the country.

One of things we, as docs, are instructed about is being "culturally competent". When dealing with folks from a distinct culture it pays to understand what they believe, value, and hold dear. Then go out of your way to be respectful and frame any disagreements in a non-judgmental manner. When other authority figures advocate for medically harmful courses of action, we are taught not to immediately harangue the imam or the granthi but instead to validate the patients non-medical concerns and explore what options might best address these external concerns and still allow for provision of effective medical care.

I see none of this when it comes to the 30% or so of Americans who are loyal to Mr. Trump. Every misstep is chronicled, with the most damning possible motives assumed. I see far more effort being placed on blaming Mr. Trump than on convincing his followers that they can protect their health and everyone else's without betraying him.

For instance, when Trump calls this a "Chinese virus", now is not the time to fret about it being jingoistic or racist. We want the xenophobic to think that this is foreign threat which we all fight together. We want our response not to get bogged down by having whatever percentage of Americans you believe are unrepentant racists not actively thwarting infection control measures. At most we should have dubbed it "Wuhan flu" and let Wuhan suffer the same eponymization as Marburg, Lyme, Aichi, St. Louis, and Norwalk. Or perhaps we might have been bold and have the talking heads call it the "communist virus".

Likewise, defunding the WHO should not be about performative theater and lawsuits. We should be drawing a clear contrast between the WHO, which after all did give me grossly inaccurate professional guidance in January and February, and the current "American" response. Yeah, this may not be the time to conduct an in-depth review of WHO mismanagement (e.g. they routinely spend more on their hotel budget than they do on malaria prevention), but we should be saying something like "Mr. Trump is right that the WHO got this wrong and we have serious concerns about an organization that nominates Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador, we should revisit our funding of the WHO after this virus is under control."

If I have good reason to believe that patient is a Trump partisan I will go out of my way to lament the fact that his travel ban was not implemented two weeks sooner when it would have, easily, bought us another month or two of preparation time. I refrain from saying how many decisions by this administration (e.g. refusing to both prohibit export of PPE and being unwilling or unable to bid for PPE effectively with spot market pricing) squandered a good bit of what breathing room we had. Why? Because if I come as threatening, the odds that they will abide in an honest self-quarantine while waiting for test results dramatically. My disagreements with Mr. Trump are not worth innocent lives.

Want to know an extremely well evidenced way to decrease medical compliance? Attacking a respected group leader with insults, accusations of bad faith, and generalizing language. Yet this is what I am seeing from the media, from Democrats, and even from health officials.

Is Mr. Trump guilty of mistakes that killed people here? Yes. Does ascribing blame to him bring any of them back? No. Does it make it less likely that people will die in the future? Not that I can see. We are trading a risk of a large increase in new cases now, with the potential for exponential spread, against making the media happy that they scored some petty points.

Which of course just feeds into the beliefs of some people that this is all overblown. After all, how serious can it be if half of every story is trying to convince us that Trump is incompetent on every possible ground, no matter how dubious (e.g. an org chart reshuffle becomes a major sin)? How serious can it be when the people on the right who got it right (e.g. Carlsen, Navarro) are still being treated as pariahs rather than as useful props for improving popular cohesion even if it was just broken-clock luck?

The media is not acting like the highest good, worthy of sacrificing many good and proper ambitions, is truly containing this virus. Why should the hoi polloi not do the same?

That was very good, and well written.

But it might make the error of a certain kind of paternalism.

And it might avoid the parallel question, of when you get off your ass and change a government that you have to apologize for.

Dude, he's retired to Martha's Vineyard. Shipped sailed. Get on with it.

And it might avoid the parallel question, of when you get off your ass and change a government that you have to apologize for.

In my neck if the woods, it’s every 2 years I can vote to change my government. I don’t apologize. I complain and vote. Only once did I ever feel I should have apologized, and that was to my Vietnamese manicurist.

If I talk to people from other countries, I never expect them to apologize for the people who run their countries because I have chosen not to live there. That’s their business. Besides, there are too many other Interesting things to talk about. Scenery, food, weather, cultural norms, etc. no point in discussing our 2-year escape valve, which, from a certain POV makes the US very stable. It’s the way it is, it works for US, other countries prefer other ways.

"How serious can it be when the people on the right who got it right (e.g. Carlsen, Navarro) are still being treated as pariahs rather than as useful props for improving popular cohesion even if it was just broken-clock luck?"

Come on. You already wrote the answer to this a few paragraphs earlier.

"Then go out of your way to be respectful and frame any disagreements in a non-judgmental manner. "

So don't pretend to be naive. You are a sophisticated thinker. Carlson and Navarro are firebrands. They are not uniters. That's why.

Oh come on, this is not that hard. You just say things like, "Well as Tucker Carlson said back a few weeks ago … " and then promptly cover the general points where he agrees with the things people need to do stop others from dying and ignore the stuff that you despise. We do this all the time in medicine. Your naturopath says that the important thing is eating well? Great they just agreed with me that doing an EGD would be helpful because I suspect your GI bleed is leading to all manner of digestion difficulties. Your crazy aunt thinks that it is important that kids get their vaccinations spaced out? Great, mom now gets to hear that her two authority figures agree on the most important issue (the kids getting all the vaccines) and that our disagreements are of secondary concern (the timing).

Navarro was right, our connectedness to China lead directly to importation of cases. If we had had fewer cases imported from China our country would have not been hit as hard and we would have had more time to discover better treatments and to better ready the healthcare system. Unfortunately the CCP lied through its teeth and we lost the most critical months of this pandemic so that means that Americans will have to step up. We will have make sacrifices because people did not listen back when a travel ban would have been highly effective. Like Mr. Navarro noted, people only get sick when they come into contact and that is why it is important that we don't do things like China did: keep non-essential factories open during the exponential growth phase of epidemic, hold large gatherings without appropriate safety measures, and place an undue value on maintaining economic output.

It is called cultural competency. You should know how your patients look at the world. You should then know how to use parts of their world view to better communicate to them useful information so they can receive the best medical care with informed consent. And in a situation with pandemic the greatest mortality in my lifetime? Yeah I am willing to do all manner of things to induce patient compliance.

I don't care if people are dividers. I care that people avoid doing things that will kill lots of people. If that means talking nice about people who have odious opinions I have done it before and will do it again. Yeah maybe there will be some long term problems from saying nice, validating things about horrid people. Fine they can join the queue after letting people out of jail who have high odds of killing others, sending people home from work to be cooped up with domestic abusers who are now unemployed, and the massive suicide risk uptick from tanking businesses, careers, and everyday life. This is societal triage, being picky about the long run impacts is luxury for when the mass graves stop being required.

Keeping my hands morally pure is less important to me than saving lives. That does not seem to be elite consensus for God-knows-why.

My concern is that by making public health a partisan issue we will make ourselves, collectively, unhealthy.

Motivating people to demonstrate, calling a pandemic a hoax, giving false hope of being open at Easter when the scientific advisors say no way, is not good for public health.

This will be a long process, made even longer, if we do not act collectively to coordinate our individual behaviors for our own benefit and the benefit of others.

Let's here from scientists and doctors.

"I don't care if people are dividers. I care that people avoid doing things that will kill lots of people."

You should care if people are dividers because they will make it difficult to prevent more deaths. Your second sentence doesn't logically flow from the first. If somebody thinks this pandemic is caused by certain groups or is an elite hoax, then they will engage or encourage behavior that will cause more net harm. History has shown numerous occasions where this has happened.

You do realize that I deal with the stuff every night? Talking nice about Tucker Carlson is a pretty easy way to get increased buy in when I need a patient to go home and not see anyone else.

Pointing out the things Mr. Trump has done "right" again, is a good way to get my patients to see me as either "one of them" or at least someone sympathetic and understanding of their culture or identity.

I, of course, only see people by the hundreds, but the same principle applies to the millions who see or read the news. If you care about people believing your most important message: social distancing saves lives, please keep doing it even if you go back to work, then you do at least the bare minimum of pointing out when the people they respect agree with you.

If your top priority is saving lives, then you will actively praise the right pundits who agreed. Maybe their social security plan is crazy. Maybe they are xenophobic ideologues. Great, but if Covid invaded hell make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House.

I get, for a lot of elite folks raising the status of some right winger to get buy-in by the Trump portion of the electorate is a sacrifice. They have to accept outcomes elsewhere that are detrimental to their interests. But that is the price we should be paying to save lives. Everything Trump does right, or could be construed as having been done right, belongs in large print above the fold. Everything Carlson and company has said should be repeated to, if nothing else, show that our response to Covid is more important than partisan politics and again get buy-in.

We are asking many Americans to sacrifice their savings, key parts of their sense of self-being and self-worth, and some of the most fundamentally enjoyable things about being human (e.g. time with grandkids). Yet elites are unwilling to make far smaller sacrifices.

Pandemics response is not a morality play. You either make common cause to the degree that you are able and deal with less important matters later, or you are not serious about saving lives.

I believe in the latter, I do exactly this sort of thing with patients, and it works. Why exactly should we not do this at a national elite level in the media?


What you are trying to do is influence your patient, but that does not mean you have to set aside your own private thinking, or adopt their views.
There is some good work on persuasion in the doctor/patient setting that you might want to look at. One of my interests is behavioral economics and healthcare, which often overlaps patient communication and goal setting. Here are two books you might want to read: Behavioral Economics and Public Health (Roberto and Karachi) Oxford 2016 and Health Behavior: Theory, Research and Practice (2015),

My concern is that if you tie politics and political identity to healthcare you will not be in control of this elephant.

Better would be to find other ways of persuasion rather than political identity. At least consider that as a possibility.

Of course I do not set aside my own private or public thinking. But what I do is lead with my points of agreement. If Trump does 9 things wrong and 1 thing right, lead with the right thing. If the things he does wrong are irrevocable, ignore them.

I mean seriously, what can you hope to accomplish by, however rightly, cataloguing Trump's failings? He controls the executive agency. Unless you can get a lot of Republican Senators on board there is no ground on which the legislature can hope to change executive policy. And then, of course, there are the courts but the Supreme Court is highly unlikely to stop Trump from exercising the duly delineated constitutional duties nor are they likely to let the legislature rescind the discretion they have given to executive. Basically all we are left holding are three basic bins for anyone to influence Trump in light of his failings: persuading Mr. Trump that a different course is better, shaming him so public pressure forces a course change, and waiting until 2021 if he loses the election.

I see precious little movement by media figures, health officials, or opposition legislators to persuade Mr. Trump. I see no hope of doing much to get the public to toss him, a majority approves of his Covid response and his poll numbers were pretty solidly where they always are even when he was being impeached. Which leaves us with the election. A constant litany of what Trump does wrong and the like is great for electing Biden. It just means writing off Mr. Trump, and his extremely strong influence on 30% of the population, and likely killing thousands of people.

And I just don't get it. Why are hearing BS about how "Chinese virus" is problematic right now? Let him call it whatever the hell he wants in whatever manner will convince his 30% that this is serious and something Americans should sacrifice to fight. If you dislike his ventilator procurement policy, do not mangle a quote to strip out relevant context and be honest if he ends up being correct about peak ventilator demand in NYC (which looks increasingly likely). When makes an endorsement of hydroxychloroquine with a CYA, lead with the fact that he is absolutely correct that we don't know, then go on to the QT elongation, and finally discuss how we will trial it.

Donald Trump is the single most effective locus of persuasion in the country currently. The second is, likely still, Barack Obama. We should be having both talk to their followers and reinforcing, whenever possible, the things they get right. We don't have time to find alternative channels. Losing control might have bad consequences later, but I am signing Covid death certificates now.

You either believe the math of epidemics, where a day delay is close to making the problem 19% worse or you don't. Assuming that all the media and left leaning politicos do then we are looking at a very real shot that taking even a day to reach everyone Trump can reach on twitter is worse than losing a thousand ventilators.

Likewise, when you attack folks people love or respect they are harder to persuade. Maybe I am good enough to eventually overcome their belief that this is yet another time when the costal elites who type for a living are willing to throw their livelihoods under the bus while the elite make no sacrifices of their own. But if it takes me an extra two days, we are facing a 41% bigger problem.

There is no safe course. There only things we can do now that we have reasonable odds of making the situation better. Blaming Trump, however justified, is not one of those things. Using him to get buy-in from his followers might be. That makes this a pretty easy decision if you actually believe epidemiological models.

Re: Donald Trump is the single most effective locus of persuasion in the country currently

Do you really think so?

What might be a better way to address this would be to have scientists and doctors do the communication.

My concern is that if we kneel to the man holding the scepter, we may have a situation where that person pursues a political strategy rather than a public health strategy.

He's still the President if you have scientists in charge and doing the talking. It persuades more people, not just the Trump supporters who, justifiably, might question political motives.

Again, I would go back to how you persuade people and avoid creating partisan divides when you need coordinated voluntary compliance.

Of course I think so. The least qualified man in, ever, ascended to the most powerful political office in the most powerful country in the world. He did not do that by having small and terrible ability to communicate to a very large minority of the population.

He has also moved the Overton window more than most any other politician and basically shut down a dozen of the best communicators the Republican party had to offer.

If this were 2015, I would be making the same argument with Barack Obama. For better of for worse, the modern presidency has become an institution in which people invest their sense of identity and are willing to adjust their beliefs and behaviors around.

For better or for worse we have few individuals who can reach millions and be believed instantly. The Pope runs into trouble with traditionalist Catholics for being to left wing. He has troubles with liberals for being too conservative, and in general Catholicism no longer gets anywhere near the adherence to direction that the political parties manage.

If you believe that Trump's partisans (e.g. his rock solid 30%) are unwilling to listen to reality, will believe anything to protect their guy, and resistant to logical appeal, he is the most efficient channel to reach them almost by definition.

Doing using Trump turn off left wingers? Sure. But as far as I can see they are already deeply invested in the whole "this is the science" shtick and are unlikely to thwart quarantine or otherwise take silly actions that kill thousands.

An epidemic is not a morality play. The evil will not be punished. The good will not be spared. The better policy tomorrow is the enemy of the good option today.

We simply do not have the time to wait for an alternative to arise. And after all it is April 16th. Having Trump reach a quarter of his core supporters back at the start of the month is worth more than reaching literally everyone today. Given that no viable alternative has been found thus far, we cannot afford to find a better channel.

Time is precious and Trump is here now. He is an ass. He is a liar. He is prone to all manner of troubles. But I do not want to canonize the man, I just want us to use his direct line to a lot of people to build a commitment for policies that save lives. It sucks that we have to use an imperfect channel, but I willing to live with that in order to save lives.

I still think that leaders, if they want to be leaders, must still listen to their audience. If we say that 30% believe in him, he must know that he needs to listen to others, and even to his own 30%, Note that he changed his position on social distancing measures after the public began, including doctors and others, pressured him.

So, while he may lead, he may also follow: which means that there is a role for rational discourse that contradicts the initial tendency of a leader. If you simply blindly follow, you end up in a really bad place for not challenging initial assumptions and behavior.

We live in a democracy, which the benefit of gathering information and directing, as well as following, leaders.

And, since we are in a federal system, when national leaders don't lead, or lead in the wrong direction, we have governors who pick up the reins and lead.

We even have Republican and Democratic governors banding together to lead.

So much for the 30%.

Self preservation uber alles.

Quarantines are only effective if a super majority of people abide by them. If we want this to work we need both the inner city urban coalition of Barack Obama and the exurban/rural coalition of Trump to get it to work.

When Trump goes after Democratic leaders he also decreases the odds that a quarantine policy will work. To the degree that left leaning folks distrust official responsibility, it is beneficial to take people they trust (e.g. Bernie) and praise the things they do right on this.

There are many, many things Trump should do. He does not do them. Maybe he is incompetent, maybe his priorities really are the economy, or maybe his private analysis is different than the public consensus. Any of these would be consistent with attacking his opposition and risky their partisans being non-complaint with quarantine.

With the other side of the aisle, these explanations hold little water. They have not been talking up the value of economic normalcy recently. They have been fully endorsing the epidemiological models. I suppose we could believe that all these people, who after rose to positions of great power and healthy remuneration, are incompetent. But Occam's Razors suggests that the simplest explanation is just that they implicitly value being right, hating Trump, winning the next election, or whatever more than saving lives. Otherwise they would be prioritizing the things that their own policies say are needed to save lives.

Nowhere do I say that governors cannot exercise independence. Just that if they truly valued lives their spin would not be "how wrong is Trump compared to me". Like with my many examples above, they can certainly do something independently, highlight whatever agreement they have with Trump and increase public buy-in. They are not bothering so it suggests their ultimate priorities lie elsewhere.


No one said we are going to have massquarantines, so that's really a straw man argument, and certainly, quarantines would not last for 18 months. But, we can have testing, but there is none available to cover a large population.

Governors seem to be the leaders, with sniping from the side, and someone saying, when things go bad, I have no responsibility, and those covid 19 tests were not there when I assumed office. And, it will wash over us in April, and be done in May. I guess that is what you call, or maybe even believe, is leadership, because 30% of the population follows.

You might want to listen to Dr. Osterholm's podcasts, and look at the public health proposals by Johns Hopkins, because they are discussing the balance and how to ease.

FYI, the above poster is not Me. Either, there really is another JWatts or it's one of the random name changing trolls.

Occam’s razor: the sock puppet troll also makes comments under his/her own handle and forgot to switch?

Yes, I wondered if that wasn't the case.

A good comment as usual from Sure.

Assessed on behavior, the media’s highest priority is scoring anti-Trump points. Closely followed by, and usually well aligned, is advancing their personal career.

Optimizing the response to the virus, or even just plain objective 5W reporting, falls a very distant third.

Concur about Sure's usual common sense.

And yes, the response of much of the media has served only to trivialize the thing, as crazy as that sounds given the wall-to-wall coverage.

What's that thing? "The stupid think x, the smart think y, the really smart think x"? It's by no means inviolable, maybe could be updated to "the really smart understand the aspects of both x and y that are correct, and why they are correct, and in what proportions" ... Few if any in the media have earned the right to be treated as if they belong in that latter category.

Having had to deal with elderly relatives with various medical superstitions I appreciate what you're doing.

The mass media is failing the public. CNN is so politically biased that every store somehow gets twisted into a political story. Fox News is feeding the mob a conspiracy story about elites misleading you. Even as the strategy seems to be working.

Then many posters here claim they dislike political attacks, even as they make yet another political attack.

Indeed, Trump seemed more vulnerable before the pandemic than he does now, which, as Tabarrok points out, is due in part to the relatively mild effect of the pandemic on red states. I would add that the pandemic has provided Trump with a platform where he has the greatest appeal to his base: the daily news conference where he engages in verbal combat with media elites. While I may see an unrepentant liar whose failure to act caused thousands to die, his followers see one with authority who saved his followers from the coronavirus. And there's a reason Trump keeps promising to re-open the economy at the end of the month even though he is highly unlikely to do it: his followers will blame those same elites for preventing Trump from re-opening the economy.

I'd be more impressed if that exact same mob of d-bags hadn't already banged on doors about blacks, mexicans, guns, border walls, taxes, Hilary, Joe Biden's son, China, George Soros, Venezuela, hanging chads, and God only knows what else.

The people who riot to reopen the economy are the same who will sue their employer if they get infected at work. The government can’t switch on the economy with an on/off button. It will require businesses accepting the liability risk. Or Congress passing a law that protects businesses against liability for regular transmissions. Let’s see how the plaintiffs’ lawyers react if anybody actually proposes that.

So what? Just remove the stay at home orders and see what happens. If you don't think business will reopen, good for them. Let people make their own choices about when its time to reopen

That’s kind of my point. Businesses will make their own decisions as to what liability risk they are willing to accept.

You still don't get it, being something of an elite yourself.

Trump won 51% of the educated-woman vote, which, of course, does not imply that Hillary got the other 49%. I doubt very many of these women self-identified as working-class. Or should I say, working-class losers, which you and yours imply when discussing residents of the fly-over states. Or anyone who doesn't happen to agree with you.

You also fail to take into account that the largest segment within the electorate is Independents. Trump won their votes, too.

Trump will win both again and would have no matter who the Democrats nominated, Biden being just about the worst choice. For that matter, given the results, so was Hillary.

Non-stop insulting people who don't happen to have your same world view does not win friends of influence people. If I were to vote in 2020, which I'm not planning, as I didn't in 2016, it would be against people with these attitudes, which usually means Democrats.

It's pretty clear, no matter what one says to you, that you will not be influenced.

I have voted for both Republicans and Democrats in my life. That's how you keep them on your toes.

From the way you talk, let me guess that your parents voted for the same party as you do, that if you are married, your spouse votes for the same party, and your closest friends have the same political views, and that you voted for Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Donald Trump, and see no difference.

Or, you can keep them on their toes by voting third party and for challengers to incumbents from thier own party.

Maybe if our elites have been humble enough ro srudy Brazil's President Captain Bolsonaro's teachings, we would not be in such dire straits now.

I don't know about riots, but there's no question in my mind that this shutdown was imposed by an elite class who pressured the political class. And we need to reopen soon, with restrictions in travel and large social gatherings, probably fewer public toilets. But soon, please. https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2020/04/15/tradeoffs-in-the-era-of-covid-19

Here's the thing.

The actual experts still don't know shit about the virus. How it spreads. Where it spreads. When it spreads. Why it spreads. How it will stop. Does it confer immunity. and on and on. we know exceptionally little about it.

Sure, there's some educated guess and anecdotal hints. But in any scientific sense, we are still blind. And the supposed state of the art knowledge changes and reverses still with a high rate of frequency.

And we still don't have enough tests, or enough PPE, or any sort of treatment.

Getting closer. But not there yet.

The thing that worries me is that the conversation around lock downs is so heavily dominated by discussions of what's 'essential' and what's not. It reeks of privilege / performative signaling / theater / command vs. market thinking etc. that just seems to be catnip to a particular set of chattering / political class.

What of course should be dominating things is what actually spreads the virus. Or since, we don't have complete scientific evidence, what's most likely to be spreading the virus based on what we know of this and related viruses (I have, sadly, long since given up on actual, intentional policy experimentation [e.g. some areas do this, some areas do that, check the results etc.], it just seems completely incompatible with politics even though it would be really helpful in cases like this where there's so much legitimate, not inherently political, uncertainty about the correct policy choices).

I don't fault initial lock downs for being overly broad or a bit panicked in their implementation (particularly in NY). But we should constantly be evaluating the tradeoffs, relaxing things that can support lots of economic activity at low risk or tightening things that are higher risk even if 'essential'. Instead the discussion seems way too binary and in some places it shows all the signs of being a ratchet, of people trying to outdo peer cities / states.

In northern CA the lock downs has had two strengthenings since implemented. 2.5 weeks ago (iirc) they closed parks and beaches which were previously open; and also shut down tennis courts and similar all of which were open before [excepting playgrounds]). 1.5 weeks ago they banned 'non safety essential' landsacping / gardening services. The latter is being widely flouted from what I can see. I'm not convinced either of these measures is at all justified, even at the time. Neither seems particularly likely to materially effect the course of the outbreak in ways that much softer measures couldn't have addressed.

This is all based on models that (at the time the lock downs was implemented) predicted that even with the lockdowns hospitals would be full by early April from the existing momentum and overflowing at the peak ~April 14th. Here we are and the hospitals are ghost towns in northern CA. Those models were clearly way off; the health system is not going to be overwhelmed anytime soon, now is the time to start experimenting with targeted relaxations.

I have suspected that we'll only get 6-8 weeks of hard lock down compliance (less in the summer). After that the inherent inconsistencies in such a heavy handed top-down approach will give people the ammunition to start flouting some of the restrictions in increasingly large scale ways.

I can tell you in NY, the people who started with the attitude "it's too high a price to shutdown the economy" almost immediately changed their tune once they knew someone in bad shape with the virus (which didn't take long). If we re-open too soon and it spreads, I think we'll have the opposite problem on our hands: "why did we re-open so soon?"

Hey, when I said "let them die," I didn't mean my father/son/pastor/favorite bartender/buddy at work/next door neighbor....

These people are fecking morons. With the emotional intelligence of toddlers.

They were supposed to be a small minority of the population, vocal but mostly harmless, relegated to the fringes of furtive conspiracy theories and endless greivences. Then the GOP figured out how to weaponize them.

Go back up
And look at the
Of the
On the right
I can't make out
The writing on the red cap.

Can you post below
What is the word on the hat?

Interesting, isn't it, that if you live on one of the coasts, have a white collar job, and read mainstream media you have no idea what the average American thinks?

Poor people aren't heroes.

Do you really believe that hedge fund guys and Wilbur Ross have an idea what the "average American" thinks?

I guess you are the judge of what you think the average American thinks.

If you don't know it, one of the techniques used in propaganda is to assert that there is that "other" which does not know what the "folk" think and that they are their representative.

It is just as annoying to hear bobble head commentators say: "Americans believe" and "Americans think" and then go into what they believe.

Have you ever claimed "Americans believe" something that you do not believe?

My father in law used to have a great question: What do you believe you know is not true?

Yass Queen slay!!

Bill destroys the median voter theorem.

Dear Reader,

Sometimes only Skeptical understands what he means,
You have his decoder ring.

Only Skeptical knows
What the
Average American

So weird.
Do these people not have 60-days of liquid savings to support their families? - that's practically negligence.
Do these people not have streaming or backwoods antennas or --aghast-- basic cable? - that's less than $20/ month.
Do these people prefer to work rather than take a semi-supported 6-week stay-cation? That's mental illness.
Do these people not have any distance-appropriate social activities/ hobbies/ interests they can do? That's poor social hygiene.
Geez people. Your home, job, family, and god will still be there for Memorial Day - sleep in. have a pre-11am Bud. Clean the garage. Call your mom.

Do these people not have 60-days of liquid savings to support their families?


No, that's core heartland red state personal responsibilty

So is not being addicted to opioids.


+10, these people live in a bubble.

They've never experienced life as a lower working class family. A family whose household income is less than $50K per year. A family who have to run up the credit card to buy a new set of tires and try to pay it down before Christmas.

The median Checking account balance for blacks/hispanics in the US is $900. The median balance. So half are less than that.


Personal responsibility. These Trump voters vote Republican and don't seem to understand the meaning of those words when it comes to themselves but have no problem using against those outside their tribe.

Protesting that you want to go back to work and feed your family looks a lot more like taking personal responsibility than looking for a check from the Federal government or treating this as a long personal holiday.

" sleep in. have a pre-11am Bud. Clean the garage. Call your mom."

There were many years where I didn't have enough stashed away in liquid savings to get through the next month. It's called being a grad student. A teaching assistantship doesn't pay much more than a minimum wage job.
With rents in most cities it's pretty hard to imagine how anyone would be able to save 2-3 months worth of expenses. You're not supposed to spend more than 1/3 of your income on rent - which is basically impossible in New York, the Bay Area, LA, Seattle, the DC area, and probably Denver, among other places. Any money you managed to save would probably get spent on some other necessary thing like health insurance (now mandatory) , or a long delayed purchase of a used car.

No one has to riot. The current system is voluntarily observed martial law. A sufficient number of people would just need to cease observing it, and that would be that.

Overall there are five buckets of people: 1. Those who must show up for work regardless. 2. Those who can work from home until there’s a vaccine and prefer to do so. 3. Those who could work from home, but would prefer not to. 4. Those who can’t work from home and would prefer to reopen the economy. 5. Those who can’t work from home and would prefer the government pay them to stay at home. The elites in bucket 2, without any moral authority, are arguing over the marching orders for buckets 4 and 5.

And when this is all done, we will learn how many Republican political leaders, thought leaders, CEOs, and media leaders were in fact bunkered down in the country with plenty of money, PPE, and access to elite medical care, while telling the rest of America to hit the streets.

reopen to the economy to what? who will go to bars? the people in your state that will disregard the risk? creating the same medical emergency that's now present in the larger cities? Ok, good luck with that and your EcOnOmY

Here's the potential problem for Republicans:
Let's assume that the shutdowns end at the end of April. What happens if the COVID-19 numbers start going up again?

You could either see Republicans get brutally hammered for reopening too soon. OR, if the numbers don't go up that much, the Democrats will be excorciated for burning the economy to the ground in a frenzy of hyperactive paranoia.
It could go to either extreme and there's no way to know.

At the moment, it kind of looks like the Democrats are rapidly approaching the point where they are going to blow all the political capital gained by Trump's early incompetence, by wrecking the economy. But who knows, if people go back to work, and then the shit hits the fan and hospitals are overwhelmed, it could easily swing back the other direction.

It's fascinating because it all dependent on something that, for once, is based in reality and not spin.

Except... the Republicans have control over mechanisms to lessen the economic impact and to address the health care response. They've already shown themselves willing to behave in an utterly partisan fashion with that power.

As as you say, it's been deeply politicized already. The GOP will not blink from holding the country's economy and health hostage if it makes the Dems look bad.

Weird comment.

The stimulus was bipartisan and totaled what, $2 trillion?

Bipartisan, like a lion and a hyena fighting over a carcass.

Please don't pretend that future stimulus moves won;t be highly politicial and weaponized. What other checks will the President insist on signing? What aid and purchasing will be used as graft to friendly governors?

The bill is the exception not the average. The average is being waged on the federalism front, on supplies procurement, and arguments about science.

There have been two major Corona bills.

Both passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Very good comment. Hazel, you have been a great commenter on this blog since the beginning of this epidemics.

Haha. I'm not sure about that. I was predicting this whole thing would turn out to be no big deal. Either I was wrong or we're witnessing the Year of the Massive Overreaction.

+1, Excellent comment by Hazel

Actual opinion polls show a different picture: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/15/poll-dont-stop-social-distancing-coronavirus-spread-187290

Americans protesting at lockdowns is like French people protesting at laws cutting people's pensions and making it easier to fire workers: you would worry that something fundamental shifted in the national character if there were no protests at all. It is a mistake to confuse the existence of protests with widespread public sentiment -- just like it was a mistake to confuse Bernie Sanders' jam-packed arena tours with evidence of an actual socialist revolution in motion.

To actually answer the click-bait headline (which Alex does not), IF the riots come I suspect they will very likely come when it starts getting hot. They will come in the cities, probably one with a pronounced class or racial divide (or both!). First or second heat wave IF we're still locked down hard then would be my guess (I don't think we will be but maybe some holdouts?). It won't be trump supporters (they are too old and rural, they may protest, but it will be all the 'rioting' of say the tea party); the rioters won't be particularly political.

I'd watch out for a city that's far enough north to not have universal air conditioning (or has a lot of older housing stock that doesn't really cool off with a window unit), but still gets hot and muggy (midwest? mid-atlantic?). And there would need to be a trigger (probably some overzealous bit of enforcement; roughly breaking up a party, arresting some parents playing with their kids in a closed park, that sort of thing, that can be viewed through a class or race lens).

Riots are inherently destructive and require an us being oppressed by a them, people don't go around smashing what they think of as their own. So people will look around and 'see' the elite, with their large air-conditioned apartments / houses with yards / balconies / roof decks, their instacart, amazon and grubhub (lower class takes all the risks), their cushy work from jobs, multiple streaming services, internet/facetime friendships and contrast to their own situation of tiny uncomfortable living space, no allowed use of the commons, boredom, severe job and medium term financial insecurity, and many lock down measures that seem more performative then functional, ones that cost them more then the elite (closing parks and public spaces in particular).

It probably needs a particularly stubborn governor or mayor to not read the way the winds are blowing, I don't think we'll necessarily see it, but it's possible. I do expect to see more protests of the type above if things continue too much longer (but look at the picture, none of those people are going to riot).

Consider that this is all a propaganda ploy. I know this is about a different state, but there are lots of people who benefit from a "riots around the corner" story line: https://crooksandliars.com/2020/04/usual-suspects-are-behind-michigan

We are at 30K dead and growing.

Fuck the protesters. When they were closing NY and NJ I had the same types on Facebook screaming. Then the bodies started piling up.

The alternative facts community is going to learn one way or the other that there is only one set of facts and they don't care how many likes you get for your alternatives.

The fact is, Alex, that this is the greatest policy mistake in history. While the populations doesn’t know of a concept like VSL we’re off by so many orders of magnitude that they know what we’re doing is wrong.

Hopefully their ire is directed at the media and the elites who played along with this farce. It would be a start.

So would the 'elites' include the Hoover Institute which projected only 500 deaths in the US? Would they include the President of the United States?

Or, like Alex, do you think they somehow exclude that but include the people that made the Tiger King documentary?

Economists should have been very public with their toolkits. They should have shown VSL, how it work, how it is calculated, how it is very generous and perhaps too generous for scenarios where many can die.

Economists should have applied their mathematical strengths to helping show the uncertainties in the projections.

There should have been dashboards showing the cost and benefit of the policy, and the potential uncertainties.

Instead we got cheerleading from economists. Understandable in this age of leftist terror which would make Robespierre blush, but still cowardly.

Interestingly Tyler has been one of the few courageous ones during the crisis. Mostly during the most recent days, but still incredibly courageous.


Value of a Statistical Life.

Ahhh so those people in the photograph are upset that they did not have access to the mathematical models used by economists? Are such things not on the web?

Does this moron really think the policy was determined by an estimate of VSL? Does he really think that's how a policy should be determined under uncertainty?

"Understandable in this age of leftist terror which would make Robespierre blush"

You had a nice troll going but ruined it with this. Over the top, like something that would have been on the Colbert Report 10 years ago. 0/10.

'The fact is, Alex, that this is the greatest policy mistake in history.'

Not even close, as the example of WWI makes clear. You could even argue that either invading Russia or declaring war on the U.S. on the part of the German leadership in 1941 were each larger policy mistakes leading to more economic destruction than all the current shutdowns.

Agreed. WWII was a bigger policy mistake on the part of the German government than this.

This is still a pretty fucking collosal policy mistake though.

And again, despite Trump wanting to reopen the economy - he does not escape blame. If he was a better leader, he could have calmed people's fears so that the reaction would not have been this hysterical. An actual *leader* would have set an example of competently and calming managing the situation. What has happened is that the leadership vacuum caused by Trump's incomptence has led to dramatic overreactions on the part of some state governments and a scattered haphazard and ineffective federal response.

And how do you figure this is a collosal policy mistake?

I do not believe the total shutdown of the economy is necessary or justified by the epidemic.

I think that voluntary social distancing and changes in behavior such as mask wearing, etc would likely to be sufficient to slow it down enough. I think the epidemiological models overestimate the likely number of deaths and the death rate is likely far lower than estimated due to undercounting of mild and asymptomatic cases. I estimate a couple hundred thousand deaths, tops, which is worth taking some precautionary measures but not worth the economic damage we're currently inflicting on the US economy.

In my arguments with some others, the 2017/18 flu season is often brought up. This was a bad flu year and it killed about 60,000 people. There was no shutdown and unless you're keen on elder care or worked in a hospital or doctors' office, you probably sailed thru the year without even thinking about it.

In one month the US managed to kill 50% of the toll of a 'very bad flu year'. But that is *WITH* a massive shutdown. Again that is *WITH* a massive shutdown. If we did nothing beyond ask people to wash hands more and tell older people to avoid malls and movie theaters.....

Well it's nice you estimate 'only a few hundred thousand' dead. I'm sure somewhere you have posted all your detailed calculations. I wouldn't want you to incur the wrath of those angry Trump people in the photo at top who also care about your econometric models...

Everyone else knows this is bullshit. You wear a seatbelt because you may get into a car crash. If you calculate how many car crashes are minor and how m any major and you decide you'll hold off the seat belt until you see the crash coming, well you're an evolutionary dead end.

BTW have you calculated the effects of putting 4-5% of those who get his on ventilators for a week or more? Did you even know what a ventilator was before this happened? Ever have a family member on one? Not a fan of his personality but Nassim Taleb hits the nail on the head here. People like you have just enough statistical knowledge to be stupid but not enough to actually do anything useful.

You wear a seatbelt because you may get into a car crash.

As a society, we accept the reality that there will be a certain number of car crash deaths every year, because we all want to continue driving automobiles.
Can we not accept the reality of a few hundred thousand COVID-19 deaths because we all want to keep having jobs and making mortgage payments?

A "few" hundred thousand is a high estimate. My early estimates (I'm an economist, not an epidemiologist) were 200,000 (three times as bad as a very bad flu year) and we are convincingly below that curve.

The combined mortality from suicide, homicide, alcoholism, drug abuse, and the generally poor health associated with extended periods of poverty will be *way* more than 200,000 over the next 10 years, based on what I'm seeing in terms of the effects of the prolonged lockdown policy.

There's also the tax money that won't be there to fight the next fight, whether it's against a virus or some other enemy.

"And again, despite Trump wanting to reopen the economy - he does not escape blame"

Trump almost completely escapes blame. Watch the timeline. Trump, along with all western leaders attempted to downplay the disease. However he, in particular, took enormous pressure from the media on this point. The media pressure swayed public opinion and Trump, being astute politically tacked directly into the new dominant narrative. He has, however, been consistent on re-opening the economy as soon as possible throughout (at some political cost, perhaps he is sufficiently astute to understand that this will help him as the populace figures out the stupidity of the lockdown policy).

Trump almost completely escapes blame. Watch the timeline. Trump, along with all western leaders attempted to downplay the disease. However he, in particular, took enormous pressure from the media on this point.

So as a rule of thumb, let's make a note of this for next time. When we see a superpower do a unprecedented in human history shutdown of one of their major cities and then proceed to tank their economy because of what they saw. Our reaction should be to "whatever shit they saw, it scared the hell out of them so we should take note" rather than "haha".

That being the case, the failure of most leaders to recognize this threat in January and even February is fairly noted. By Mid-March, however, with mass graves appearing in Iran and Italy falling, the stupidity becomes much less excusable.

This is, of course, not even considering some longer term issues that are purely on Trump's shoulders....disbanding the pandemic task force with no replacement, ignoring the depleted stockpiles of medical supplies.

We could go on, for example the Senators who were given a classified intelligence briefing, told the public not to worry, and then sold their stocks in hotels, cruises and retail and invested in makers of masks....hmmm. But yes feel free to find some tweet of the mayor of NYC telling people to enjoy the Chinese New Year parade and pretend it's all equal.

I'm not a Trump fan but he has, increasingly, no middle ground to stand on. If he talks about ending stay in place CNN attacks him. If he talks about continuing the shutdown Fox will attack that indirectly. Trump increasingly tries to walk the crooked line in between. If anything Trump reflects the deep divides and contradictions in the population. And for political advantage, the wolves will attack whichever way he goes.

Look if you set your a fire on your roof and deny the problem for a while so that it grows to cover half your roof, you're an ass. If you then get the hose out and start fighting the fire. At least you're doing the right thing then. If you start sending 'signals' that maybe we should care more about the water bill....you're basically a dithering moron.

Lesson one: Trump is not the victim here.

But a cowardly leader dies a thousand deaths, while a brave leader only dies once.

Exactly. If Trump was a decent leader, he would take a single stand, and take the political hit. Regardless of which side you are on, you can't say Trump has been a good leader - he's either an incompetent who pig-headedly ignored the crisis until it was too late, or he was a weakling who caved into political pressure and allowed the public health establishment to drive the economy off a cliff because they were overreacting to the hypothetical predictions of a few models.

Boris Johnson.

Or he has more or less followed the advice his medical team has given him. His conferences waiver because Trump does what he always does, he just says what is on his mind uncensored. Many politicians just read what the prompter says. That has never been Trump.

Each path has costs. The data needed on which path to take is unclear and changing. My point is that Trump has no clear political path nor does he have an ideal easy path. He continues to support a stay in policy while pledging to open the economy as soon as he can. When is that? People disagree. The data is unclear. Rushing to do something because you need to look like your doing something is hardly a better path.

How could Trump have stopped New York or New Orleans? Could he have stopped travel from Europe early on? Could he have stopped Mardi Gras? Democrats are talking about State's Rights for the first time since the South was solidly Democratic. The consensus of what to do wasn't there. Instead, Trump continues to outwardly demonstrate his confidence that this can be beaten, will be beaten, even as the press attacks almost anything he says.

Trump didn't do much different then what any other leader would have done at the time. Almost every world leader has had to ride this tidal wave. Some States have done Ok, on balance. Was some of that superior leadership or luck or are they just waiting for their turn? Time will tell.

What weapons do we have? Distancing, masks, hygiene, and time. Everything is about finding the time to launch a counteroffensive lead by the health sector. Find drugs, make test kits, work on a vaccine, get PPE. Trump can talk about it but those actions must be completed by others. Trump then becomes like many leaders at the barricades, telling the troops that hope and help are on the way. When will it arrive? That is often beyond the control of the guy on the barricade. Curse him, hate him, whatever.

Or he has more or less followed the advice his medical team has given him

His medical team told him to disband the pandemic response, not refill the national stockpile of PPE & ventilators, promise tests that would never come, call the thing a hoax to hurt the stock market, and hawk fake cures?

"he just says what is on his mind uncensored"

I'm sorry what is this supposed to be? Like do you use this at work? "Errr we asked you for last years sales figures and you instead pulled down your pants and pooped on the desk while talking about how bad the latest Star Wars movie was." "Yes but I was just being uncensored, you don't want some guy who just reads numbers off a paper do you?"

BTW, promising millions of test kits a month ago and we are still rationing is not a good move.

Declaring that you won't wear a mask and visibly ignoring social distancing at press conferences but taking multiple tests for yourself and having frequent in person meetings with business leaders and having them all tested before..... doesn't help.

The carpentry and knife sharpening skills of the uneducated masses will prove to be much more valuable than the typing skills of the coastal elites.

Not to worry.

The purported carpenters and their followers will be the first to die from the disease they contracted at the rallies.

Visit Sioux Falls South Dakota after your visit to Florida.

Just like all those dead spring breakers, huh?

Because the spring breakers brought no virus infections back with them as they went home? Because, errrr, magic.

The median voter wouldn’t die if we all played Russian roulette, but he’d have a 1/6 chance of doing so and a lot of his family would die.

Voting for everyone to play Russian roulette is not popular with the median voter.

Is this what passes for wisdom?

The fatality rate is not 17%, and it is not evenly distributed by age, sex, and health.

As for RR, what is the economic or societal value of it ? Now compare that to people going to work.

And what is the fatality rate in a society that does nothing and just let's the virus have its way? Ohhh sorry I don't mean do nothing, have some PSA's about washing your hands and telling old people they should stay out of movie theaters and malls?

Check Sweden, deaths per 1 mil are less than NYC. Obviously, we may never know the CFR, but we do know not everyone will get it, and even those that do, its reasonable to assume from data available that the fatality rate will be below 17%.

So your philosophy is wait for all car crashes to happen, then find the one that caused the least amount of damage, and use that in deciding whether to use a seatbelt or not.

It just gets worse. You asked for a society that didn't shut down. I gave you the info. Sweden is doing better than NY, Italy, France, etc. Now you are moving goalposts.

Here's a hint, we don't shut down all highways and roads despite fatalities.

Or do you want to plant a flag in the ground that the idiotic Russian Roulette analogy is actually apt?

Sweden did better or is doing better? The first is past tense indicating a final result while the second is present indicating a result in progress only.

Let's say Sweden does end up doing better in the long run. Are you saying this is evidence that the virus actually transmits more when people interact less? A more plausible hypothesis might be other factors that cannot be replicated...Sweden having less travel to the country, lockdowns happening elsewhere prevented key 'patient zeros' from coming to Sweden enabling the few cases to be isolated.

Or we could go with the theory that this virus magically replicates more when people are shutdown...

Dear God, how dense do you have to be? There are real actual damages to the lock down. It is not the only strategy, especially since no one believes it will eliminate the virus.

Great, you stopped it from spreading rapidly. Now what, just watch those jobless claims rise? Did we even establish herd immunity?

So you are backing off Sweden. At best we can say too soon to tell and most likely it's not an applicable model for the rest of the world.

Yes there are unemployment claims. Most likely a do nothing policy would have cost a few million lives. And people are not as stupid as commentators here, there would have been a massive shutdown from the bottom up had we just let people die like flies.

So the shutdown is about cost containment and loss avoidence, not scoring something great. If your house is on fire you put it out, but your house isn't going to look nice after its been doused with high pressure fire hoses.

Herd immunity is possible to achieve with an antibody test. Basically it would mean who didn't get it would be surrounded by those who had it.

Stopping the virus without herd immunity is quite possible. You stop the hotspots, limit the new cases and then you can switch to a test, contract trace, isolate model. There have been multiple ebola outbreaks and this is how all of them were stopped. Feel free to advocate a 'let's all get it and get herd immunity' policy for that next time, if you wish.

Actually, I talked to a distance learning professor who teaches medicine online in Sweden yesterday. He pointed out that Stockholm is now a hotspot, and that outside of Stockholm people are isolated by nature of their location. He also talked about England at the moment and the construction of emergency hospitals. I'll see if I can find some information on Stockholm for you, but I would not hang your hat on your claim unless you want to lose your head later.

It didn't take much to find the confirmation of what my source said:
Article from Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-sweden/swedens-liberal-pandemic-strategy-questioned-as-stockholm-death-toll-mounts-idUSKBN21L23R

The death toll is still mounting in NYC, despite the lock down. Same with Italy, France, etc. There are many other factors to the death toll. We are applying a one size fits all reaction to a large part of the globe. And no expert I've read believes the lock down will eliminate the virus. So this appears to be a strategy without an exit plan. We've flattened curve, now what?

And despite the mounting death toll, the #s are still better in Sweden than NY.

OMG, you are actually hinting that you want to go with the hypothesis that if a lot of people are dying of a communicable disease during a lockdown the solution will be increasing communicable activity and that will somehow cause the virus to spread and kill less.

Funny China locked down the entire country and super locked down Wuhan and Wuhan was devastated but the rest of the country managed their outbreak. Seems to me that're pretty consistent with lockdown keeps one hotspot from becoming hundreds.

Now comparisons are being made between Covid19 and Ebola. Covid 19 will prove to have an actual death rate of about 1 % of all infected, mainly people over the age of 55. Ebola had a 50 to 90 percent death rate of even healthy young persons .
You are comparing apples to rocks.
The reason death rates appear to be mounting in hotspots is because the guidelines for 'determining' that a death was due to Covid have been dramatically eased.
Additionally, the federal government pays a lot more for the treatment of Covid patients, which is an incentive for unethical hospital administrators to claim that a shotgun death or a car accident death is actually due to Covid somehow.

Why are you repeating the lie that hospitals are profiting off COVID deaths?

This country is in bad shape if this represents a significant share of the population.

Deny, deny, deny is a coping mechanism for some but it is bad public policy.

Just infect as many people as possible. We will send garbage trucks around later to pick up the dead. Letting them die is a small price to pay for my 401K balance. Plus it keeps those greedy health care workers from ripping me off.

"The reason death rates appear to be mounting in hotspots is because the guidelines for 'determining' that a death was due to Covid have been dramatically eased."

Bullshit. Since 2000 average death totals for NY range from 4-6K. Now NY has 10K. Did all the heart attacks and car accidents happen suddenly in just a week or two and they got mislabeled as Covid?

"Now comparisons are being made between Covid19 and Ebola. "

No one made any such comparison. Perhaps you're delusional or perhaps your referring to my comment. My comment however was discussing how you contain a communicable disease and whether achieving 'herd immunity' is required.

RG, Time's recent article says the same thing that the Reuters article said.

Magic and wishful thinking are no match for a virus.

The real question to ask is what works, what are the things we can do to minimize risks at low costs.

Also, you should google Stockholm covid deaths and you will see the exponential growth curve now in Stockholm.

honest question - do these small business owners mostly not have business interruption insurance? with disasters declared, can they not collect on it?

where i live, at least, more "informal" businesses like lawn care, etc are still operating. i would imagine restaurants must have some sort of insurance for this event, that disaster declarations are allowing them to collect on.

Yes such a thing exists. I don't know what it would cover and I suspect it's relatively expensive and only covers a portion of the costs of the business. It's probably meant to cover a short shutdown, say a water main break shuts your business down for two weeks.

It also wouldn't kick in before a state ordered shutdown. My nephew's buritto place laid him off before the state shutdown as they weren't making enough with take out orders to keep it going. In fact, insurance would probably deny the claim since even today eateries are allowed to stay open if they limit themselves to takeout.

got it, thank you for the reply.

One side note. For larger companies, 'pandemic policies' were/are a thing. Insurance companies saw that sooner or later a pandemic was likely to happen and cost billions so they offered policies. Very few took them because they were expensive but one was Wimbledon. They paid $31M in total since 2003 (after SARS) and are now getting a payout of $114M. In retrospect a lot of other big companies, NBA, Olympics, cruise lines etc. should probably had invested in such policies but they didn't. I'm not even sure that makes Wimbledon whole.

No, most restaurants don't have business interruption insurance. Most of them can barely make payroll and they can't imagine that people are going to stop wanting to eat so that is about their last priority when deciding how to spend money.

I think this post by Alex is a misunderstanding of the Trump vote, and a misunderstanding of how representative those 100 people in Ohio really are.

The bulk of Trump's supporters - beyond the normal Republican rank and file - probably came from people who wanted to inject some normalcy back into a political process seemingly dominated by these weird post-nationalist, pro-global cosmopolitan folk.

It wasn't a protest vote about feeling disrespected, because by and large they don't give a damn about the people doing the disrespecting, or care what they think.

It was then, if not mood signalling, mostly an attempt to achieve a clear political goal; to get some sort of reasonably nationalistic national elite back in play. Which would then do the things in national interest that it was expected to do, like not waging pointless foreign wars for sake that the Iraqi people can ostensibly live under democracy, keeping the border closed, negotiating sensibly on trade and with the interests of US workers at heart, equalizing contributions to NATO and equalizing restraints from international climate treaties between the US and the developing world. And so on and so forth.

Lock-down doesn't animate that same passions or the same folk. It's not clearly anti-national.

Now you will get riots eventually. Of course you will, if people cannot bear it economically.

But the people doing the rioting, the ones who can't bear it economically, will probably be black and minority ethnic urban poor, who vote Dem or else don't vote, not the nationalistic rebels of the Don Trump vote.

And if you are correct, how will the pro lock down crowd's mood affiliation change when a protesting person of color is shot and killed, either protesting or as part of the lock down enforcement?

I suspect some in the media would shift their thinking quite quickly.

The bulk of Trump's supporters - beyond the normal Republican rank and file - probably came from people who wanted to inject some normalcy back into a political process seemingly dominated by these weird post-nationalist, pro-global cosmopolitan folk.

Yea ok, whatever. Was that before or after Trump went to Saudi Arabia and bowed down before that stupid orb thing? Or was that before or after he declared being friends with Russia was a good thing? Or was that before or after this crises hit and Saudia Arabia and Russia decided to have an oil price war because whoever wins at least they get to slit the throats of the American fracking industry?

BTW, we didn't invade Iraq 'on behalf of the Iraqi people'.

Maybe he didn't live up to it perfectly (and could he have?)... but the argument here is not re-litigating whether Trump achieved those goals or not, it's dissecting whether Alex's analysis of what that wave of support was about is correct or not, and whether his prediction of who riots would come from will bear up.

(Perhaps Iraq was not on behalf of the Iraqi people, but certainly the rhetoric was liberation to free people to live under democracy, and to a lesser extent about protecting allies in the region... whether there was any strategic outcome in anyone's interest remains a mystery. There certainly wasn't a US interest.)

"Maybe he didn't live up to it perfectly (and could he have?)... but the argument here is not re-litigating whether Trump achieved those goals or not,"

Are you serious? Let me spell it out more clearly for you. You think Trump was elected because his supporters enjoy turning the tables and making 'elites' the butt of the joke. The moment US oil frakers were knifed by our 'friends' revealed just on whose account the joke was being had. There are countless other such moments so this is not about being 'less than perfect' . People are dying, time to get down to earth.

"(Perhaps Iraq was not on behalf of the Iraqi people, but certainly the rhetoric was liberation to free people to live under democracy, and to a lesser extent about protecting allies in the region... whether there was any strategic outcome in anyone's interest remains a mystery. There certainly wasn't a US interest.)"

You have forgotten and recreated much of the argument about the Iraq invasion. Yes it was envisioned that the end would be a free and democratic Iraq (much as Japan and Germany are free and democratic) but that was not the purpose of the invasion.

Again, you're still trying to engage on facts other than what I'm responding to, which is Alex's post is about (In essence he asks/predicts, "Will there be riots? Will the same people who bought Trump to power be the rioters?". Yes. No.)

But even in the context of what you are trying to argue about, this is vague in the extreme. Be explicit. You seem to be incensed that OPEC can lower the oil price and kill off fracking, without Trump doing much about it? (Possibly you have some financial interest in fracking here or something.). What do you argue that the Iraq War was presented as? Yes there was some nonsense about counter-terrorism and WMD, but it was also sold as a war of liberation, and about stability in "the region", not as "America First".

Did the last 4 years feel like “normalcy” to you? I don’t think we’ve ever had a less normal President than Trump. For many people including myself politics has gone from a spectator sport to something that actually affects us personally now. That’s why Biden’s campaign, which promises a vague sense of normalcy, is resonating with so many people.

Also, I would bet over 90% of Trump voters supported the Iraq War at the time. At the time, 70% of the American public in general supported the war; opposition mostly came from the left and to a lesser extent from the libertarian right. We know in retrospect that it was massively counterproductive to American interests, but at the time there were all kinds of vague claims of national security used to sell the Iraq War to the public such as the WMDs, and Republican voters at the time, the large majority of whom are now Trump supporters today, accepted these claims uncritically, just like they’re doing with similar “national security” claims with respect to Iran and China now. So it’s totally ahistorical to claim that Trump supporters were motivated by a backlash to the Iraq War, though I guess it’s become more typical of Republicans these days to do something that fails and then blame the people who were telling you not to do it when it does fail.

More like normalcy in terms of where dialogue is moving? Yes, sure, more so that the 2000s policy of looking the other way on China, normalization of illegal migration, etc. Trump is unusually incompetent of course. But unless anyone is looking to adopt the shift in a more nationalistic policy orientation and marry it to a more competent machine, he may be the only game in town for a while, despite his foolishness. Of course Biden could still win.

I wouldn't bet many of those that switched to Trump were strong supporters of the Iraq War, not disproportionately. Not that it really matters. As you say, 70% of the public did. Joe Biden supported the Iraq War, as you of course know. It doesn't have much to do with how they feel about it now.

It's not really the case that the only dissenters from the Iraq Attack were on the far left and the libertarian right. Plenty of paleo-con isolationist opponents at the time.

Illegal migration flatlined with the 2008 crash. If that's your hobby hoarse, your hero would be Obama and villain would be Reagan.

"Plenty of paleo-con isolationist opponents at the time"

Yes 4 out of 5 paleo-con isolationists opposed it. That's not a survey but a census of the entire set. Very helpful.

Nationalism, I guess, means adopting a set of mostly symbolic policies (a Muslim ban that doesn't touch Saudi Arabia and Egypt but includes North Korea and Venezuela), banning travel from China while ignoring the viruses spread, while tens of thousands of Americans die.

Or if that's too harsh then please tell us what is your endgame here? What state of affairs do you think this fuzzy 'nationalism' that let's Russian bots have about equal influence as American voters, will bring about?

I don’t think there’s more normalcy in terms of where dialogue is moving, even as you define it. The Democrats have moved strongly to the left on immigration and become more pro-free trade in reaction to Trump. The “normal“ position for many years has been high wall, big door. Trump has effectively destroyed that position and now we have low wall big door versus high wall small door. It’s not clear which side will win in the long run, but a compromise on immigration certainly seems harder now because of Trump. From my perspective, I don’t really care one way or the other about illegal immigration enforcement; I would be totally happy with high wall big door, but when I see lots of legal immigrants now really struggling under Trump to do normal things like work and travel, and American citizens being separated from close family members, even spouses, under Trump’s bans on some countries, then the Democrats’ normalization of illegal migration sure seems like the lesser of two evils and it’s not even close. So in that way Trump has moved me far to the left on immigration, and the polling shows the same movement among Democrats generally and even independents to some extent.

Also, in the 2000s, I don’t think there was much difference between libertarians and paleo-cons; Ron Paul was seen as the leader of both factions. I ran in those circles at the time and did not really see a distinction.

I think you misjudge Trump here. It isn't about moving left or right. Democratics would have been happy early in Trump's administration to cut a deal where Dreamers & current residents get relief in exchange for tighter borders. Trump pulled back because success is not what it's about.

You think Trumpists who talk about 'foreever wars' feel they are a bad thing. To them it's a feature. It's about always having kids in cages, always having the left 'triggered' always having tabloid 'red meat' to throw at the base. It's about fighting the same battle endlessly as if it was only a day old. Consider M up here telling us something has to be done about China....after 3 years of trade wars,dueling tariffs and how many tweets about the 'wonderful deal' we got with China.

This is an old game. Aspiring authoritarians play the forever war to achieve absolute power. Then they can ditch it. The US system, though, kind of has this kink that Trump can't have permanent power. Hence he has to keep the forever war going. Only problem is unless you subvert the electoral system, voters are sooner or later going to start asking why this problem you say you're solving remains just as bad despite you having years to address it.

Don't quite buy it? Ask yourself when was the last time you heard one of your Republican friends say Hillary should be locked up? Was it years ago? Probably more recent than that.

The problem is there is no there there. No vision, no real policy. Just a series of grandstanding, mostly infuriating, stunts whose purpose would work perfectly with a captive media like Hungry, Turkey, or Russia. Instead Trump only has Fox News and he's as lead by them as leads them. Not for nothing did he note his 'amazing ratings' as the pandemic mountain grew.

Don't believe me?

I’m confused. Trump maps to randomness and incompetence more than anything else.

Your stance here is that he supports forever wars? There’s a rickety potentially worthless ceasefire with the Taliban in place.

Boonton, you're essentially proposing here that the reason the China relationship is not completely solved, that the reason anyone is still talking about it, after 3 years, is because Trump wants to keep a "forever war" going in order to become the God-Emperor of the USA?

Not because... it may be difficult to resolve relationships with the rising *actually authoritarian* Communist superpower? And it may never really end?

This seriously dumb stuff on your part. Moronic.

Perhaps after 3 years of the what they called the Cold War, relations with Russia were not completely solved. Obviously that means it was simply a "forever war" to allowing aspiring authoritarians to hold power, which they clearly did because as we know, no one other political leader was able to move to match that and win the votes of Americans. Just as it is apparently impossible for any other leader today to adopt a his positions (and it was impossible for Pelosi to have been hawkish on China and it was impossible for Hilary Clinton to move to follow Trump by reject TPP, etc.)

"Forever war" means a problem that will purposefully never be solved. Not necessarily fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan...

"because Trump wants to keep a "forever war" going in order to become the God-Emperor of the USA?"

Hmmm, that does sound moronic. To think someone would want to be 'God-Emperor' of anything. I mean the man is almost in his mid 70's. What's the rational end game of that? I mean it's not like he's declared he has 'absolute authority', right? Ohhh wait.

Dude, you're saying my thesis is silly because you can't imagine Trump acting on a long term goal that is poorly thought out and almost certain to fail one way or the other? I know that's a real stretch of the imagination, I feel your pain.

"Perhaps after 3 years of the what they called the Cold War, relations with Russia were not completely solved."

Well like with Nazi Germany you had a struggle but it was pretty clear why there was a struggle. The USSR presented the threat of worldwide expansion. It was a problem we dealt with for half a century. Nazi Germany wanted domination of Europe and eastern Asia. We dealt with that problem for a much shorter period of time.

In one we solved the problem by total victory in the battlefield. In the other we solved it by containment, managed opposition as well as negotiation until they stopped posing that type of threat.

What is the problem Trump is solving with China?
"it may be difficult to resolve relationships with the rising *actually authoritarian* Communist superpower"

Ohhh so we want China to be more free and democratic. Gotcha. Ohhh wait, didn't we just hear that Trump was rejecting the 'weird elite post-nationalists'? That Iraq was invaded because we wanted it to be free and democratic and that was a bad idea, not in our interest?

Or is it to balance the trade deficit? Buy more soybeans? Actually I think Trump did in fact tweet he fixed China by a 'great' trade deal that essentially was a promise from them to buy more soybeans.

Do you care about soybeans? Do you think most Americans would even know what a soybean is if one fell on their head? Anyone you know happy their daughter is marrying a boy whose 'getting into big soybean'?

I'm sorry but it seems to me this is a lot of stage managed hoopla that's periodically 'resolved' by 'great deals' that nibble around corners before starting up again. Kind of like getting rid of Nafta and replacing it with the same thing with a worse acronym where commas and semicolons have been rearranged (making it 'great' now, of course).

Ask yourself this, when was the last time any of your Trump friends talked about how Hillary needed to be locked up. I'm sure it was years and years ago. After all, Trump must have moved on from Hillary since the 2016 election, no? Or maybe not....

Weaker democracies can be subverted by authoritarians who use a foreever war to stay in power long enough to subvert the democracy. If they fail to do so, then it becomes unworkable as people start asking questions like "why are you talking about these things as if you weren't the president for the last x years?". You can have your democracy or you can have Trump but not both.

Shorter Boonton:

Forever wars don’t mean the actual forever wars with thousands of American dead and tens of thousands of American wounded and disabled.

I’m making an emotional argument where about how I don’t like the POTUS and it’s JUST AS BAD AS AFGHANISTAN.

Jesus Christ grow the f*ck up.

People here say the Chinese government stirs up nationalism and anti-foreign sentiment to increase its domestic support all the time, and this is not considered a "moronic" position. All governments fundamentally have the same incentives, so why wouldn't politicians in the US also stir up resentment against other countries to increase their hold on power?

This happened in the COVID crisis. In January, when China was covering things up, Trump was praising it, yet in March, when China was doing a good job of containing the disease, Trump started criticizing China hard. Why? Not because China acted worse in March than in January, but instead because in March, COVID was spreading in the US and people were starting to question Trump's response. The blame game is largely about domestic politics--on both sides of the Pacific. War is the health of the state.

The President of China does not run in any election and is an authoritarian leader. Trump is drawn towards that but he cannot achieve it.

Zaua, what would be moronic, in your analogy, would be to propose that Xi keeps poor relations with the United States going purely in order to use a "forever war" to build his power and popularity. That if they had not solved these issue to China's satisfaction within 3 years, this would be because they didn't want to solve them.

This is not parsimonious at all. It spring from the child's view that "Countries never have real conflicts with each other; conflicts are only drummed by politicians to gain popularity among the stupid and use a crisis to win powers for themselves".

The reality is that China has poor relations with the United States because its strategy of where the Communist Party wants China under the Communist Party to be in the world order has inherent conflicts with the world system as it is and the liberal democratic world order generally. (And we see this effect in its interactions with a whole host of countries which are not the United States.). They face limits at resolving this because frankly it is "not in their gift" to resolve (they simply don't have the leverage and means to solve it decisively).

It is not an issue that have intentionally not resolved in order to drum up popularity or use a crisis to win powers for themselves. They cannot solve the underlying issues within 3 years, and if there is still the same political rhetoric coming from them 3 years later, this is not proof that they have artificially kept a crisis and conflict going.

Here are some truly equivalent statements to Boonton's: "Why haven't the Democrats solved poverty in 3 years? It is because they wish to keep forever wars against the rich going, in order to win powers from themselves!". "Why hasn't George Bush The Second resolved Islamic Terrorism in 3 years? Because he wishes to keep terrorism as a forever war in order to win powers for himself!". Dumb.

Zaua: So in that way Trump has moved me far to the left on immigration, and the polling shows the same movement among Democrats generally and even independents to some extent.

I think you overestimate the change - https://news.gallup.com/poll/1660/immigration.aspx.

When asked simply if there is a desire for immigration to remain same, increase or decrease, we find the trend line on "% want increased" on 10-19 doesn't change in 16.

Compare 2015 Jun 15-Jul 10 to 2019 Jun 3-16; you have about 2% of the public who are satisfied with the current level flipping into "increase", totally in line with trend. There's no "anti-Trump surge" of people wanting higher immigration.

Beyond that, it's tougher to talk qualitatively about changes in the pool of what is conceivable. Subjectively my experience is different to yours, I will say.

One interesting thing in the Gallup data is that where they do ask people about their satisfaction with migration levels, and prime them with their satisfaction levels first, they found that 43% were "Dissatisfied, want decrease" in 2016, while in 2020 that is only 26%.

So if there hasn't been a Trump effect in spiking a desire for increased migration, just a continuation of the existing trend, what has happened to foreign born as a share of the population?

It's flattened out - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_to_the_United_States#/media/File:Foreign_Born_in_U.S._Number_and_Share_1900-2019.png

That may not be Trump's doing of course... 2016 is already flat compared to 1990-2010, and this coincides with demographic change in Latin America, and much of the wider sources of migration to the US (continued Chinese demographic bust as well).

I said there has been a move to the left on immigration among Democrats. The Gallup poll is consistent with the idea that the Republicans have moved substantially to the right, independents a bit to the left, and Democrats substantially to the left, leading to greater polarization but only a small overall move to the left. The result is that the Overton Window has expanded in both directions. On the one hand, you do have more people arguing for things like banning Muslim immigration, but on the other hand, you also have more people arguing for things like free healthcare for undocumented immigrants, which even I as an open-borders advocate consider extreme.

On your satisfaction point, there has a been big post-Trump increase from 5% to 15% in the number of people who say they are dissatisfied with immigration levels and want an increase.

In the sense that there is more advocacy for higher immigration in public opinion as whole, probably yes, there is a slight shift to left.

But this is very slight and a continuation of a trend which was going on before Trump. It wasn't caused by the 2016 win. The angry, shouty progressive pro-open borders people were going to be there anyway. There would have been a shift in that direction anyway.

But that's not the whole picture though. The whole picture is that increases in migrant share have stopped entirely* and immigration decreasing sentiment is probably less toxic than it was, and dissatisfaction that migration is too high has sharply decreased since 2016 (it's possibly a good sign if the dissatisfaction has begun to fall more heavily on the side of those that argue immigration is too low).

While the general admitted increase in pro-open borders screamers is not welcome, I don't see them becoming anything other than marginal figures. While in reality, my impression the real policy conversation has improved in the direction of reduction and selection and how to implement those well, and away from "benign neglect".

To re-iterate, the reality is that if Trump had not won, we'd most likely on the previous trend have seen the same increase pro-immigration sentiment. The only change would that instead of "partisan" dissatisfaction that is somewhat equal between pro- and anti-, dissatisfaction stacked primarily on the anti side. It's probably better to have some degree of public polarization than this extremely large and unhappy stacking of discontent on the side of those that want less immigration.

*This slowing of increase in foreign born had begun by 2010 though. Obama doesn't get enough credit, frankly. Big improvement on Dubya.

It's not the question of whether you open, but rather, how first, and then when.

Listen to the Osterholm podcasts which will be discussing how to open, when, etc. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu
There is also some good material at Johns Hopkins.

But, don't expect to find it here.

There is a new podcast since Tuesday which discusses, in part, ways to open and risk minimization.

My husband has a white-collar job. He is still getting paid. We are frugal and have plenty to live on should his job go away, although this stimulus check will be bitter medicine, for us, if inflation makes a mockery of our thriftiness all these years. Not being a doctor or a farmer, he's on "lockdown", however, and his job is not a computer job; it concerns real things in the real world, and until he's allowed to meet with people in the real world, he'll only be finishing projects started before the pandemic. He's busy enough, but he can see that coming to an end, eventually.

He likes his job, for the most part, and is fortunate enough to believe in it (I mean that sincerely, I think a sad thing about this has been that an economy structured to shove people into "non-essential" jobs should be imperiled because people could be told so bluntly that they were inessential, there's bound to be some psychological impact there, it just seems cruel somehow, like having the rug pulled out from under you). Even if he doesn't command the influence his youthful ambition might have once hoped for, his work is far from being unconnected to his sense of self.

So I don't think it's just the elite versus the hoi polloi. There are some in the middle for whom this is not simply about a paycheck and survival, who don't necessarily want their careers to come a-cropper without a damn good reason.

He's maybe not your typical American - he's scarcely ever been in a Walmart, though he once hung out at Alice Walton's house, flipping burgers with her; it was pre-museum and the John Singer Sargents and Winslow Homers were just leaning against the walls - and I'd be lying if I said he cares overmuch about the people who shop at or work at the big boxes; and he would totally and squarely blame the elite for, if not the creation, the elevation and, er, dysgenic encouragement of, the Tiger King class ... but he's certainly united with those of his fellow Americans who want a quicker end to all these measures that don't necessarily seem to be connected with containing the virus.

And his phone conversations, overheard, suggest to me a lot of people, not many of them Trump partisans, feel the same.

and he would totally and squarely blame the elite for, if not the creation, the elevation and, er, dysgenic encouragement of, the Tiger King class ... but he's certainly united with those of his fellow Americans who want a quicker end to all these measures that don't necessarily seem to be connected with containing the virus.

Not sure what 'elite' created the 'Tiger King class'. It seems to me that's a quirky documentary that became very popular. Trashy TV reality shows have been a thing for about 20 years now. You do realize you actually have to click on the shows you watch on Netflix, they aren't assigned to you by some 'elite'.

BTW, per my previous question if you are going to blame an elite for Tiger King, is or is not the President of the United States part of that elite?

Anyway I'm not at all clear how a shutdown is something that "doesn't seem connected to containing the virus". It seems to me a way to contain a communicable disease is to decrease communicable activity as much as possible....but then I might just be 'elitist' and will listen to any alternative facts you may care to present.

I have not watched Tiger King, don't have a Netflix account - there's something kind of off about most of it, production-quality wise, and writing-wise, do you not find, as though we weren't meant to have so much content produced in so short a time? - so may realize more but possibly even less than you think, was using Tiger King as a shorthand for the white-trash (and black-trash) culture that has reigned supreme for some time (whether people feel they're *laughing at it* - the white trash part, no one laughs at the black-trash part, of course - is telling, but not actually particularly significant, CS Lewis would have been good on this subject ...) and in the same interest-of-time spirit: by dysgenic, though I could dress it up to sound sweeter, I am referring generally to government Great Society-type policies combined with academic leftism which is not actually relativism but a worldview in which only the low are high, by all of which the well-insulated incentivize the wrong people to give birth, to avoid family formation when they do, to be simultaneously and pre-emptively targeted by same as "people who won't do the jobs immigrants will do", and essentially targeted as well by elite-favored relaxations in standards and morals that hit them very differently.

Re DJT: Is the president of the United States always going to be a member of the "elite"? Can a member of the elite discuss the elite? Moreover, can he do so without invalidating the notion of an elite? If AOC became president, would you say she was not a member of the elite? I just don't think about Trump enough to speak of him as a person apart from his momentary symbolism, sorry. We will always have an elite, and I would expect our presidents to, typically, emerge from it.

He seems to me pretty sui generis, as a human being. Certainly I've never encountered anyone remotely like him. Hopefully one of the kids will explain him to us someday.

There is a feeling afoot that what lies on the other side of the shutdown, or repeated shutdowns, the unmodelable other side, lies a reset of some sort. You can feel some excitement about it at both extremes, according to their predilections. To not exempt myself, my right-leaning, school-hating self, I've thought, maybe after this is over, people will realize that while 8 AM -12 might have been "school", 8 to three was Big Brother babysitting; or, maybe during this, the people birthing 9/10 of the babies will go home, and we can quit building houses in the fields, and it will go back to more like it was ... On the left, we have AOC announcing that the stock market having a good day during coronavirus is "late-stage capitalism taking a selfie" - no mushy socialist, talking like an actual Marxist - this a woman the Dem nominee for president is meeting with today to let her down gently (let's hope).

Although I think my "movement" is pretty much entirely in my head, I concede that extremes have a tendency not to keep to their lanes. I was not surprised to see AT's post, though I think it odd that he of all people should have written it.

"I have not watched Tiger King, don't have a Netflix account - there's something kind of off about most of it, production-quality wise, and writing-wise, do you not find, as though we weren't meant to have so much content produced in so short a time?"

I have no idea what you're trying to say. This is a documentary I've seen previews for and heard about from people were very entertained by it. I don't know what it means to say 'we weren't meant to have such much content'. I get that you don't have Netflix but you are aware for the last few years Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services have been pumping out content like mad. You're talking about this show as if you were a narrator on 'Ancient Aliens' telling us the pyramids are so amazing only UFO's could have built them.

You seem to be under the impression it is a documentary about mocking 'white-trash' therefore its popularity is the elite laughing at non-elite whites. From what I understand it's about a bizarre but true case of rival tiger owners/collectors including a mysterious murder. I live in NJ, not NYC so I may be disconnected a bit from 'elite' mindsets but I'm pretty sure the dominate impression of middle America is not of a country filled with flamboyant tiger owners trying to off each other.

Do you have anything to contribute about the pandemic that has killed over 30,000 Americans and counting?

BTW, speaking of Tiger King I was on the NBC app last night and noticed they had a 'throwback' section. For fun I watched the very first episode of Knight Rider. I watched it as a kid and even today the theme music is amazingly great. The plot and premise, of course, are totally absurd as well as the conventions and gags that were standard at the time ('jive' talking black guy and Hispanic guy try to rob Kitt from the parking lot was comic relief between acts....). Once upon a time, this was the stuff of pop culture.

You can read too much into these fads. People want to blow off steam and enjoy some fun in their downtime. Today it is Tiger King, before it might have been Real Housewives, before that Friends or Seinfield. You're trying to read some intellectual class warfare going on which is quite frankly pretty elitist in itself.

In your first comment you said your husband hates that the elite created the 'Tiger King class', which sounds like it means he thinks the elite degraded the tastes of 'white trash' instead of giving them more uplifting stuff to watch (as if 'white0trash' can't figure out how their remotes work), almost like this is just another variation on the painkiller epidemic. Then you shifted gears as if to say Tiger King was some type of commentary or mockery the elite were making of 'white-trash'.....although when tens of millions of people watch it just who is the elite here mocking which non-elite?

"Farmer told The Dispatch that he has been laid off from his job at Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing"

And later...

“'Don’t he believe in less government? Small government?' Farmer said."

Soooo...small government, but big enough to give me a job at the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority? Got it.

"Keep your GOT DANG GUBMINT hands off my MEDICARE"

- a libertarian

I would argue with you but this libertarian is certainly not giving back his recently acquired $3,400 :-\

"It was only 100 people."

Ya coulda stopped there and just deleted this post. Come on.

Yes - and (most likely - i don't know them personally & don't have the receipts for what i'm about to write - but come on, we all lived through the Tea Party and the Unite the RIght rally etc. and we know how these things work) ... they were not just 100 random people who were agitated enough to turn out. We all know that most of these 100 people, and many of the thousands who turned out in MI and KY, have been carefully targeted, recruited, and radicalized online. It's beyond disingenuous to say "look, angry protestors, solve for the equilibrium" as if this is an unprompted, inevitable working-out of natural laws. This firestorm, such as it is, is a choreographed production, meant to serve the interests & increase the power of whomever is sponsoring it. The most important question to be asking is not, as this post seems to have it, "when will the riots begin?" but rather "who's behind this and what are they hoping to gain?" Don't approach this like it's meteorology - it's forensics.


Well it looks like the Michigan protest was sponsored by the "Michigan Conservative Coalition and the Michigan Freedom Fund, a DeVos family-linked conservative group."

Come to think of it, did any of these protests happen in Red States that have Republican Governors and lockdown restrictions or did they only happen in Red(ish) states with Democratic Governors?

One would think a natural outrage over lockdowns would come from actual lockdown policies regardless of the governor, no?


Ohio has a Republican governer. But he seems to be the exception. That being said, both yours and TW's points stand. Someone did a forensic check of the people in the Ohio "protest" and dozens of them are running for office or are already GOP operatives.

I get it. Fake models with bad predictions to justify carbon taxes and subsidies that give $7,500 for rich people to buy $120K cars. Fools who think that central planners can do a better job than ordinary people making their own decision.

The elite does not know that it is absolutely clueless about most issues outside of their narrow areas of expertise. Even worse, they have no area of expertise, just a piece of paper handed out by the Wizard. They have no courage but medals handed out by the same wizard. Everything important about them is fake. At least Trump is willing to stand up and say what he thinks.

That's great news. He stands up and says what he thinks? Great. So what does he think? Also will you be saying what you think or have you outsourced that all to Trump?

The post makes a lot of sense. I think that most people know that Trump can't himself re-open but they'll say: at least he was trying to get something done.
Question: if this were reversed, and Obama (but in his style) was pressing to re-open the economy, how would most of the working class respond? Angrily protest that the elites want to risk working-class lives so that the elites can get the value of their 401k's back up while the elites sit in protective isolation? That'd be one of the Fox News talking points.

What's the difference between a 401k and elites? A billion. A billion a year for some. Elites would have a 401k for what...junior's allowance?

There is a real probability that several governors who have declared martial law or its equivalent will be tried for war crimes within the next 24 months, and will actually be found guilty.

Not a big probability, but a real probability. Remember, the decisions they are making are fatal to a large number of vulnerable people, and those decisions are not (in the case of the average governor) well supported by evidence.

Ohio's laid off workers could likely start work immediately at beef, pork and poultry processing plants across the country. Why wait for things to reopen... become an essential worker now.

Mr Farmer, anti-government protestor, works for Cincinnati Municipal Housing.

Are you really implying that the good, hard-working conservatives in America will riot? Tell me when in history that has occurred. It's far more likely that the inner cites will riot as they have many times in the past including during Obama's presidency, MOVE in Philadelphia, and the Watts Riots to name a few. Please stop writing fiction.

we will soon learn that the riots will begin when the president orders them to begin.

"TDS," what a quaint insult that will have turned out to have been.

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