Sunday assorted links

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#4: Not bad, but there's a lot of 20-20 hindsight (or this year, I guess it's 2020 hindsight) in that article.

Outbreaks of new diseases are always going to have massive uncertainty. And even the hindsight is not 20-20; after half a year of pandemic there are still millions of Americans (some of them making comments on this blog) who claim that concerns over the pandemic are overblown.

America wasted weeks by not taking Chinese scientists and doctors seriously.
I'm not sure what kind of -ism this is: it reflects a prejudice against Chinese science and education rather than race. China is coming up fast, so these prejudices may have been valid when they were formed.
But whatever this -ism is, it has cost lives and I hope these folks are revising their priors.

To be fair, Florida didn't believe New York either.

Wavefronts of denial, preceding waves of disease.

Oh I suspect that everyone learned much from New York.

1. Don't send infected people back into care homes.

2. Shelter in place doesn't work. New York had among the strictest limits on activity and had extremely bad results.

3. It seems the key to having a successful pandemic is to have a brother working for CNN.

"Shelter in place doesn't work. New York had among the strictest limits on activity and had extremely bad results."

New York State's shelter-in-place order went into effect on the evening of March 22, when it already had 15,000 official cases. By comparison, a number of mid- to large-sized countries in the Asia Pacific region such as Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia and South Korea don't have 15,000 official cases today.

Yeah that was a weird choice.

How could shelter in place, a form of isolation, be bad in the context of a highly contagious disease?

How does it even make sense?

Oh, I didn't even see "3." So I guess there was no attempt here to be serious.

What if people went into buildings with ventilation systems and common areas that were causes of spread?

It didn't work. There are likely good reasons why, and we will find out. Maybe putting thousands of people inside the same building with a similar internal volume as a football stadium is a bad idea, whether it is a multi story apartment building or a football game.

Maybe if Florida did the same thing as New York, their death rates would be the same. It seems they are smarter.

How is that a useful comment?

People tried to isolate, but were limited by the built environment.

What are you going to do, laugh at isolation because no one could wish a better built environment into existence?

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'Maybe putting thousands of people inside the same building with a similar internal volume as a football stadium is a bad idea, whether it is a multi story apartment building or a football game.'

That observation will come as a real surprise to the South Koreans, Taiwanese, or Japanese.

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84% of NYC hospitalizations came from people who had stayed at home ( their home or nursing homes) and they had a lot of hospitalizations and high percentage of hospitalizations ended up in fatalities This is per Cuomo ( link below) . That seems counter intuitive but by the time of the lockdown, there were already many people infected.
They should have been quarantined if at all possible because each home had vulnerable people ( more in NYC it seems than other areas)
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/06/ny-gov-cuomo-says-its-shocking-most-new-coronavirus-hospitalizations-are-people-staying-home.html

Given the built environment, what alternative did you suggest?

1- React earlier at airports with limiting flights and screening . Flights from Europe to NYC were shut down too late ( March 24) .February would have been much better. I think 10,000 cases in NYC actually came from Europe travel. This was a bad start
2- There was a shortage of tests and they were slow to return results .As a result for a long time only admissions for hospitalization were RT-PCR tested, the rest were most of the time told to go home.
3- In this situation, assume everyone with any Flu like/Covid symptoms is infected and quarantine at least 14 days. If the person is working pay his/her salary for the duration of quarantine.
4- - Don’t infect nursing homes by dumping returning infected residents there. Universal mask wearing mandatory in nursing homes, eliminate visits from outside and patients visits to outside for non covid care as much as possible.
The ideal would be a trained infection controller at each nursing home like in Hong Kong but there was little time. Quarantine outside the nursing home any patient showing symptoms. Do not return to nursing home without 2 negative tests a few days apart
5- Have everyone wear masks in any public situation
This was difficult because NYC seemed to have had a large vulnerable population, was behind in testing and also the US hasn't been able to develop any kind of contact tracing for some reason.
Even a homegrown manned by volunteers artisanal type contact tracing would have been helpful and could have grown into an effective system.

I'm not sure anyone had a path to that. Do cities have the ability to shut down airports? Who had however many million disposable masks?

I think only the federal government ( FAA) can shut down international travel. However , NY could have lobbied hard for it, made the case in the press, screened passengers and otherwise make it hard for international flights to operate.

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Every other shop in NYC is a Taylor. They could have produced each
thousands of perfectly fitting fabric reusable masks in days, following say blueprints issued by the CDC. But why bother since your aim is not to protect people from the cold, but to destroy civilization?

I think we have lost the thread. My original comment was about waves of denial. Arguments about "if I had a time machine" are fine, but orthogonal.

If you fault New York this much, do you fault Florida more for having even more information and not making these same moves?

The DIY masks question is interesting though, and I'm not sure who could or should have made it.

Even more horribly, I'm not sure cloth masks have proven themselves in practice.

If cloth masks are bad, we have to revert to lockdown.

> If you fault New York this much, do you fault Florida more for having even more information and not making these same moves?

NY deaths are 10X that of Florida. Why would you fault FL at this point?

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Sadly, the ideas and opinions of the MR commentariat, despite the ease with which they can be accessed, do not seem to have been studied and followed by the authorities in charge of epidemiological curtailment efforts. Maybe next time.

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I agree, the lesson from New York State compared to most of the world is that you must take aggressive measures when active cases are in the hundreds or low thousands. There is a menu of options for what counts as an aggressive measure including:

- Travel bans (including bans on domestic or inter-city travel)
- Rigorous testing, tracing and centralized isolation
- Closure of non-essential businesses and workplaces
- Mandatory or strongly worded public health advice regarding social distancing and mask-wearing
- Stay at home orders
- Being Japanese

There still seems to be a reasonable debate over which of these are most effective in slowing community transmission. The problem with New York's case is that they waited until things were out of control and, at that point, it isn't clear they could have centrally isolated infected people even if they wanted.

Leadership willing to take immediate and effective public health action is important.

Leadership talking about miracles, on the other hand ....

Leadership not making things worse would be a nice start.

If only the U.S. would be so lucky to have leadership not making things worse.

When you have media holding Cuomo as a phenom--the man that stands on a mountain of skulls due to his mishandling--it's hard.

Even this week NY deaths have outpaced FL deaths. And FL could lose 9X more people and STILL have a death count below NY. But all you hear about is FL and how they are screwed.

Yes, we need leaderships from our govs, but it's absent. They won't even enforce the laws we have. But our media don't care. They wont' even tell you how badly Cuomo screwed this up.

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Another reason to not do anything that New York did.

There is a big world outside of the United States. The Philippines had a lockdown that was even more strict than New York State's but it started at a much lower base and managed to keep things under control for the duration of the lockdown. Overall, Asian cities with population density comparable to New York City's and whose populations largely stayed home during the peak did extremely well so the theory that the virus travels through apartment building ventilation systems is not well-supported.

The lesson of New York is to not wait until you have 10,000+ active cases before taking aggressive measures against community transmission. Your argument is comparable to someone complaining that police are useless because places like Detroit and Chicago have lots of cops but still have high crime rates.

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My view at the moment is that "shelter-in-place" orders probably do "work" to some extent if maintained for months, but...

1) in terms of how much they "work" they're not much more effective than advice and natural changes in behaviour in reducing R0 (claims that they are 6-7x more effective, as Imperial made, are simply quite frankly laughable and ridiculous at this stage).
2) they can lead to immediate negative effects by overcrowding housing.
3) they probably have relatively high economic negative effects for the extra reduction in R0 they provide.
4) they have extra negative effects on quality of life of people exposed to them (depression from confinement).
5) they're politically divisive; see England, where we've had weeks of controversy over "breaches" of lockdowns by various figures involved in making the policy that probably weren't useful at all. they're also probably politically divisive in breaking the attitude of normalcy and intensifying panic, probably triggering the political disorder in the United States and beyond. this panic probably also leads to people avoiding medical care, which may be pretty bad for other excess deaths.

If countries still want to pursue compuslory "shelter in place" orders (nationwide house arrest / quarantine) for the additional limited reduction in R0, they can do so... But they should do so on the understanding that virtually everything Catinthehat has mentioned above is more important, and that "lockdowns" are far from what they were promised to be, which was a measure that imposes relatively few extra economic and other costs for big reductions in R0... Instead they're the opposite; a measure that does little for R0, with big economic costs.

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"not taking chinese scientists seriously" was not the problem.
china was misinforming both WHO
and the u.s.
also some of the scientists& doctors
kept mysteriously "disappearing"

True, not taking Chinese scientist seriously saved lives.

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> America wasted weeks by not taking Chinese scientists and doctors seriously.

When Chinese officials told the WHO on January 15 that the disease could not be transmitted from human to human, and decided to encourage the entire country to enjoy a multi-day potluck celebration on January 17, what makes you think the Chinese gov took the Chinese scientist and doctors seriously?

Jan 15: China and WHO says "all is well, no H2H transmission"
Jan 17: China says enjoy your multi-day potluck with neighbors! It'll be a blast!
Jan 23: Chinese closes city
Jan 30: Trump shuts incoming flights from afflicted regions.

Looking back, what day do think China was clear to the world that this was a problem?

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#4 Perhaps there was too much thinking that this virus was similar to SARs-CoV and would be eradicated similarly in South East Asia ( only 8 people got SARS in the US)
Covid-19 transmits more easily because it infects the upper respiratory tract, not just the lower and it can be transmitted asymptomatically unlike SARS-CoV

+1. And too much thinking generally along lines of "it's like" (fill in the blank). I'm no psychologist, but clearly, the human mind has a reflexive unwillingness to recognize novelty. I vividly remember wrapping my own head around this thing by categorizing it as similar to viruses we had seen before. Call it virus stereotyping.

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the way the virus runs quickly through some families make us suspect there are genetic susceptibilities yet to be reckoned that lead to "heterogeneity"

countries
could also

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> ZERO-SUM THINKING ON IMMIGRATION WILL MAKE AMERICA POORER

Who is "America" here? There ought to be a law against appealing to aggregates without at least mentioning distributional effects.

> The idea that immigrants will steal jobs from American workers assumes they compete for the same scarce pool of jobs. Studies show this is often not the case.

And often it *is* the case. What's the socioeconomic incidence of it being the case?

> In many instances, positions that native born workers are not willing to fill create opportunities for migrants.

"Not willing to fill", conditional on their current low wage, which a supply glut helps keep down.

> Furthermore, immigrants are not only workers, but they are also consumers.

They are also people, as are domestic workers, who are also often fellow citizens.

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3. All institutions are currently being torched because America has no cohesion, but we need more foreigners because of GEE DEE PEE!

Remember when Tyler Cowen said COVID-19 was going to kill woke politics? I do. Libertarians live in fantasyland.

Weird, I was just thinking about that an hour ago, with some link to cleaning my fridge. Tyler has had two spring predictions that haven't panned out: 1) Woke politics is over and 2) Japan is about to have a Covid-19 crisis. Japan deaths, 1,000 and done; U.S. deaths , 130,000 and counting.

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The main cultural clash is mostly white v. black. Foreigners have little to do with it. If anything, foreigners improve our cohesion because they are not burdened by our history of white v. black racial conflict and move our racial dynamic away from white v. black towards multiracial.

It is foolish to ignore the role that HIspanic immigration has had in lowering school quality and increasing crime over the last 30-40 years in parts of the Southwest and Florida. Whether that's worth it for the higher incomes some groups have enjoyed is unclear. As usual the problem is that the net gain may be positive but the people who advocate these open immigration policies dump the externalities on the middle and lower middle class American families. Not to mention the amounts lavished on affirmative action, school lunches, welfare, and dual language policies.

Most parts of the US have very little Hispanic population. What explains the racial conflict there? Also, crime throughout the US has fallen pretty substantially over the last 30-40 years. The other thing is, the visa terminations at issue are not really about unskilled Hispanic workers at all. The visas being terminated belong more to skilled worker categories. The typical would-be immigrant that would be covered by Trump's recent visa proclamations would be more like the Asian doctor I know who got into one of the top residency programs in the US and then could not get a visa, rather than unskilled immigrants who need school lunches, welfare, and dual language policies.

And crime would have fallen still more if the US had not imported groups with a higher crime rate than the generic White natives, on average. If the main body of the country reduces the number of murders by 2 in a year, but you bring in a group with someone who commits an extra one, then you are still down one. However, you could have been down two had you not brought that person in. It's as if someone stealing a dollar from me does not count if I saved 2 dollars.

Also, aren't Hispanics in a racial conflict with Blacks? Seemed like it in Chicago during the current troubles. And, in general, Hispanic communities displace Black communities, both in residence and in employment, leading to worse outcomes for Blacks. The fact that Hispanics are preferable to Blacks, in aggregate, as neighbors and people to interact with, is also part of the problem. Now, all that is left is to Section 8 the Blacks with the deplorables in the suburbs and let the cloud people in the big cities have their cheap labor and ethnic food from a more pliant people.

Why would you look at just generic white natives? You should compare immigrant crime rates to all natives. Immigrants have a lower rate of non-immigration crimes than natives.

I didn’t see any evidence of racial conflict between Hispanics and blacks in recent events. And even if there was, that conflict clearly isn’t the centuries-long, deep-seated conflict between blacks and whites that drives most racial conflict in the US.

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Your confidence in improving cultural cohesion via increased Balkanization is ... well let’s just say unrealistic. Particularly given the Left driven zeitgeist of emphasizing racial, ethnic, language, and every other sub-group identity over a common American identity.

It's plenty realistic. There are many "Balkanized" neighborhoods in the US that are very high in social cohesion. People often take pride in their local neighborhood being diverse and welcoming, and this create social cohesion. Social cohesion in the US right now seems to be breaking down the most in "left behind" areas that tend to be almost all white.

Social cohesion comes from having a successful polity with a good story to tell. Singapore is a racially and ethnically diverse country that basically has no history prior to 1960 and is still 40% foreign-born today yet is one of the poster children for social cohesion.

"Social cohesion in the US right now seems to be breaking down the most in "left behind" areas that tend to be almost all white."

shootings are a pretty good metric for social cohesion breakdown
there were about 55 shootings in chicago this weekend
roughtly that number in new york for the week
113 in Minneapolis since memorial day
you wanna guess how many involved white people?

And how many involved immigrants? The group in the US that commits the most disproportionate amount of violent crime is native-born African-Americans. Immigrants commit violent crime at a lower rate than native-born Americans.

probably mostly true but probably not true for immigrants who are already violent criminals when they "immigrate"

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I genuinely thought that Singapore has a Han Chinese supremacist regime, and a large part of their high immigration is to make sure that the Han are not overwhelmed in Singapore by other ethnic groups. Is that mistaken?

That isn’t to negate the point that it is possible to construct a nation out of groups of people who believe themselves to distinct from each other, though my recollection is that nation building usually means suppressing minority identities and using the power of the state to assimilate everyone into one large national culture/volk. It doesn’t seem to me to be what Singapore is doing.

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Didn’t Robert Putnam’s research find that social trust was lower (especially among minorities) in ethnically mixed neighborhoods? It would make sense for neighborhoods with higher population turnover and fewer shared social norms would have lower trust.

That said, there’s a lot of selection bias. Ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods, like poor black inner city or poor who’re Appalachian towns are the worst places to live but probably because no one who doesn’t already live there is willing to move there. There were (and still are though less so) plenty of uniformly white suburbs that are functional and apparently high social trust, though since well-off immigrants want to live in places like that they've tended to change demographically. This may not affect trust levels because anyone who can afford to live there regardless of where they’re from probably shares some of the same ‘bourgeois’ values.’

“Who’re” is supposed to be ‘white.’

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I think it depends on people’s attitudes and circumstances. Nothing inherent about ethnic diversity should reduce social cohesion. In a world where many people have strong in-group bias (which is human nature to a large extent), then it would make sense that diversity in general would tend to reduce social cohesion.

But in the world today, in-group bias is shrinking or at least being redefined along non-ethnic lines. That allows ethnically mixed areas with progressive views to have social cohesion and diversity at the same time—in fact the diversity may foster social cohesion if having diversity becomes part of the community’s identity. Putnam’s research is many years old from a time when people were less progressive in these values and it would be interesting to do an update.

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Do tell, which US neighborhoods are both heavily "Balkanized" and highly cohesive. What exactly are you measuring?

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As an immigrant who is "not burdened by [your] history of white v. black racial conflict" I feel a mission to "improve [your] cohesion" so I would give you a +1, but in practice I feel helpless and forced to be silent (at work, not here).

because they are not burdened by our history of white v. black racial conflict and move our racial dynamic away from white v. black towards multiracial. and move our racial dynamic away from white v. black towards multiracial.

So the consequences of a lack of forethought for how (forced) immigration would affect American society now demand more immigration to fix, but voluntary and even more diverse? That is like the Simpson episode with the Bolivian tree lizards https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9yruQM1ggc

And, I did not get the impressions that the multiracial South Africa was done yet with its Whites. Why would it happen to the US, when the persistence of gaps will require a "legacy majority" to blame, even if they are already a despised minority? After all, many Whites in the US are descended from people coming in after slavery ended. The racial conflict does not distinguish between them and pre-Civil War Americans.

I'm not sure what to say. Immigration is of course not the miracle solution to the "racial" problem in the US. In fact, the realization that the US have a huge and almost unique in the world "racial problem", by the way created by the Democrats who supported slavery, fought for it, voted against its abolition, imposed segregation, gave birth to the KKK, and are still with all their strength trying to foster racial hatred, is the main reason I am still just a permanent resident here after 12 years and never applied for citizenship. In the current situation, even with the proper documentation, I will never be a citizen able to say what he thinks (except
semi-anonymously like here)

As you say, most of "white" Americans are descendants in part of people arrived here after the end of slavery, and a big part of the others are descendants of those heroic white people who risked their lives (and often lost it) to end slavery in this country.

We in Europe who have been much more recently enslaved (as 2 milions of my French countrymen) or exterminated by Nazi Germans have perhaps something to say about those claiming their "race" has been wronged and that it needed "reparations". This is exactly the discourse that was used by Nazis and those who supported them to justify their burning of books, removal of statues, terminating famous academics, etc., before it became worse.

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The article is terrible. They are typical social change types, their main evidence is "some studies" and they had wave away opposition with things like "jobs Americans won't do", which was overly simplistic 50 years ago.

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Zaua said " foreigners improve our cohesion because they are not burdened by our history of white v. black racial conflict"

Yes, that was no doubt the thinking back in 1965 when we opened the doors and tried to drown the black civil rights movement in a sea of foreigners. To some extent it worked, certainly latino immigration helped solidify the gentrification of large parts of LA, SF and Chicago. But unfortunately a lot of newcomers saw the affirmative action benefits the slave descendants were getting, and decided they deserve the same. "Flight from White" is becoming a real thing as even Iranians, European descended "Latinos", and highly educated wealthy Chinese all try to play the race card. All these groups were warmly embraced by "white" culture as recently as the 1970s.

I’m not sure what you mean. Immigrant groups like Iranians and Chinese generally prefer to live in mostly-white suburbs and don’t benefit from affirmative action. To the contrary, the Chinese were leading the fight against affirmative action in California and New York City.

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It isn't white vs black. It is Democrat vs Democrat.

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+1; I'd tend to doubt that what you see happening would have happened absent the demographic changes the US has seen.

Firstly, the "Woke" know that there will be an electoral shift which will render US whites a majority-minority pretty soon and that they can effectively afford to ignore or demonize the majority of them in the longer term.

Secondly the "Woke" know that new arrivals tend to have a "no enemies to the left / always enemies to the right" stance and will not object to their behaviour whatever they do (everything will get handwaved away and justified by new arrivals who simply overridingly fear American cultural nationalism that could exclude them).

Finally they're extremely susceptible to "Woke" stories of White privilege and stolen wealth. It helps assauge the cultural inferiority complex that the places the come from have tended to be backwards ("The fault of that is colonialism, not our culture!").

That functionally reduces lots of social constraints against what you're currently seeing.

1. US whites are 70% of the population and an even higher share of voters. They are not going to be a minority any time soon. And if you are worried about a minority being electorally ignored, then perhaps that is a big reason behind the plight of blacks and other minorities.

2. May be true but you should blame cultural nationalism for that. If you look at voting patterns from the 1990s and even 2000s, there was much less gap between immigrants and natives—in fact Asian immigrants were more Republican than even white Americans in the 1990s. In fact, Republicans used to be quite adept at using wedge issues such as affirmative action and Cuba to break off large parts of immigrant voters into their camp. If there was not the rise of cultural nationalism on the right, then you would not see immigrants throwing in their lot with left parties—indeed, in Canada, which is less nationalist, there is also a smaller gap in immigrant vs. native voting.

3. Often people who blame colonialism for their country’s problems also blame their own culture. China blamed its own culture for the century of humiliation so much that they had a whole Cultural Revolution about it. History shows that the only way to beat colonialism is to Westernize your own country as quickly as possible, like Japan did.

The reality is that the vast majority of immigrants are not “woke” and in fact tend to be way less PC than white Americans. Most aren’t political at all and don’t even vote. They are just trying to make a living and have a decent life just like everyone else.

#1: 60%, below 50%. About 25 years by census data. And vote less as a bloc than any other ethnic subset.

#2: There are some small changes, but it's not like they were too large. "Before cultural nationalism" and "After cultural nationalism" are pretty much the same, in that in neither case was it really much in contention.

#3: The vast majority of Whites aren't "Woke" either. The subset that is "Woke" is not larger among Whites than kids of recent migrants; no way.

1. You’re right, non-Hispanic whites are around 60% of population. I was thinking of voters—non-Hispanic whites are around 70% of voters: https://www.cnn.com/election/2016/results/exit-polls. A lot of Hispanics end up identifying as white though. Regarding bloc voting, white voters without a college degree by Republican 2-1, roughly the same proportion that Hispanics or Asians vote Democratic.

2. I’m not sure what you mean, could you elaborate with fewer pronouns? I think there were pretty huge changes between the policies and rhetoric of Reagan or the Bushes about immigrants versus Trump. I read a book recently called Out of the Gobi, which was an autobiography of the first Chinese economist who earned a PhD in America, and there is a section where he talks about how he is forever grateful to the Republican Party because a high-ranking official in Bush Sr.’s government helped him through an immigration problem he had and he would have never gotten that kid-gloves treatment in China. Pretty hard to imagine that happening today. Republicans in the 80s-2000s might have been nationalist too, but their form of nationalism was less hostile towards immigrants—Republicans even used to brag about how many immigrants the US attracted the way they still being about how many domestic migrants Texas attracts. That’s nationalist too in a way, being proud of your country because people are voting with their feet that it is the best country. You still saw some of this in the Jeb Bush 2016 campaign.

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#4 The thing is, few intelectuals and world leaders covered themselves with glory at handling the COVID-19 crisis. Brazil's President Captain Bolsonaro, China's General Secretary Xi, Laos' General Secretary Bounnhang Vorachit and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in are some of the best performers on this exceedingly important issue. Meanwhile, Trump and his magical thinking managed to turn the richest country in history into the #1 one in coronavirus deaths! He is killing us.

Yes. Trump's leadership has disappointed me, too. I think I will vote Democrat this year. I have been voting straight Republican tickets since 1980, but, if I have to vote for a sexual predator anyway this year, I will vote for the compos mentis one, thank you very much.

Always good to know where the PLA stands, “Thiago”.

I do not know what you mean by PLA. You mean late Enver Hoxha's Party of Labour of Albania?

Will you deny America is #1 in COVID-19 deaths? Will you deny Trump has (re)tweeted a racist video? Will you deny America has become a decadent country?

Yes.

You mean, PLA = Party of Labour of Albania?

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+1. Unfortunately, for those of us looking to continue something like the Reagan revolution, we'll need to look somewhere other than the Republican party. If it's going to be night in America, one may as well choose a candidate and party that are somewhere in the regretful, stupid, hungover darkness of 2:45 a.m. instead of the illusion-filled revelry of pure, drunken midnight darkness. As COVID shows, it's not midnight anymore, and regret at least has a shot at leading to improvement, even if it's wrongheaded and unintended.

Good point. I can say about the Republican this year, what Reagan said about the Democratic Party, I did not leave it, it left me.

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I live very close to Laos and know the country reasonably well. The claim that :Laos' General Secretary Bounnhang Vorachit" was one of the world's great Covid performers is preposterous.

Laos appeared to announce six cases months ago largely because they looked backwards for not having any.

Laos is a poor country with a very distributed population. It seems indisputable that the economic downturn will harms hundreds of time more Laos than Covid.

1) Actually, Laos had only 19 cases.
2) There were no deaths whatsoever.
3) The Latioan people, under General Secretary Bounnhang Vorachit's correct leadership, has achieved total and unmitigated victory against COVID-19. The Laotian people has enthusiastically celebrated that daunting achievement.
https://www.thestar.com.my/aseanplus/aseanplus-news/2020/06/14/laos-people-celebrate-their-victory-over-covid-19-pandemic
4) Evidently, there will be some economic displacements as the world takes its time to heal from the coronavirus threat, but, all things considered, Laos can be proud of how well its people and leaders have acquitted themselves under exceedingly difficult circumstances. Laos' mighty Ship of State has braved the storm and survived in a triumphant way.

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#2, laughing my ass off. What the fuck qualifies as good in this case? None of the states in the northeast/cities in the northeast can be described as "doing a good job". Virginia only did a good job in the sense if you cut off the D.C metro area and give it to Maryland.

I am not saying they did a bad job, but by comparison to the rest of the country, that WaPo article looks like an effort to make dogshit into perfume.

As they reopen to the extent that the rest of the country has (which started 2 months ago now), they will likely find the same increase in cases as is happening across the Sunbelt, only mitigated by the fact that they may be closer to herd immunity than Texas or Florida was in May and June. The bigger issue, I think, is if case take off again in the northeast corridor, will they have the same bad death rates in nursing homes and hospitals. So far, fingers still crossed, the surge in cases in the Sunbelt hasn't resulted in a surge of deaths, even when you account for the lag at this point.

'Virginia only did a good job in the sense if you cut off the D.C metro area and give it to Maryland.'

Deaths per million -
Maryland - 524
Virginia - 203

Forget the idiotic blue/red distinction, care to guess which of those two states has a licensed doctor as governor?

Or which has a member of the KKK?

But you already knew that.

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"Even when you account for the lag at this point."

I think it's still early to say. Death lags, what, at least 2-4 weeks and in some cases up to two months. FL case counts ,for example, have really only shot up since the second week of June. Thank god, we may yet get fewer deaths, since this seems to be more concentrated in younger folks. Though it's doubtful it remains primarily an increase among the young.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/florida-coronavirus-cases.html

I dunno. Average daily cases for the week ended May 28 were 659. A week later, the average was up 50%, to 985. By another week later, through June 11, daily cases had almost double, to 1,269.

All of this experience is from 4-6 weeks ago.

I mean, Florida deaths will go up, and even the fact that they have only flatlined for a month already is depressing enough, but the case trendline has shown itself to be a poor predictor of future deaths throughout the pandemic and Florida is extremely unlikely to suffer anything close to what BosNYWash already has.

Retirees. Because sadly, there is at least some potential for Florida to suffer something close to what BosNYWash already has.

It is quite possible that the state (not city) most likely to suffer a rate of death comparable to Western Europe, if not the extremes of the Tri-state area, is Arizona. A state with a significant number of retirees, and apparently minimal preparation to deal with community spread.

(I am being generous with 'minimal preparation' - until a week ago, state law forbid Arizona municipalities from having any laws requiring mask wearing in public.)

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The places still getting lower case counts are the places that originally got hit really hard.

Like South Korea or Greece or Austria?

Like the Northeast dips hit

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1. Douthat literally wrote a book staying we have entered an age of decadence and how he is saying the exact opposite, that the world is fast forwarding. Which is it??????

And some of this ... it's not at all obvious that birthrates are lowered due to coronavirus. And, furthermore, Douthat must understand that a world exists outside of Twitter and social media.

The supposed contradiction between a world faster and a world slower is just, the world has slowed personally, but on social media, it has rapidly increased pace. Due to, people now having way to much time on their hands. But again, most of the world is not social media.

And if you look at a short timeframe, yeah it looks rapid. But take the long view, the fundamentals have not changed. The virus has accelerated change in some aspects. But mostly it has revealed stuff that was already there. Douthat even says this. Most colleges that are going to go bankrupt were going to go bankrupt anyhow in 5 to 10 years. True for many restaurants. And newspapers. But Douthat is wrong to say that somehow changes things.

If you extrapolate current trends, sure we are going to wake up tomorrow and it will be 2030. But there is no reason to do that when fundamentally, the past few months have said that trends can rapidly change.

In 2012, the Republican party was finished. In 2016, the democratic party was finished. 2018, Republicans won a few, dems on a few.

When Obama was in power, the tea party was taking over. Where is the tea party now? Likewise, where will the resistance be after Biden takes over? The current crisis shows that things have deteriorated ... but not necessarily in one direction.

I think his original thesis of decadence is correct. And I still think it is correct, even if he seemingly abandoned it.

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1. There have been so many predictions of vast sociological change as a result of this pandemic that already seem false (like the end of woke), or at least iffy (like de-globalization). I think a better prediction may be that not much will change. If the Democrats move too far left, there will be a reaction and the mood of the country will snap back the other way. This is what happened with the Tea Party in response to Obama and then the Resistance in response to Trump. It's possible like Douthat argues that more people will want to move to smaller hinterland areas--but it's also possible that people will seek out the yuppiest urban areas, which seem to have higher social capital in terms of mask-wearing and voluntary social distancing. If you look at more granular maps, in many cities, the urban core and the yuppier neighborhoods usually have fewer virus cases than more blue-collar outlying neighborhoods. Manhattan is the least affected part of New York City, for example: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/nyregion/new-york-city-coronavirus-cases.html. The way people voluntarily choose to organize themselves and society is already basically efficient. I wouldn't expect people to change their behaviors too much as a result of what most people will perceive to be a one-time act of God.

2. My area was never really hit hard by coronavirus, but we are starting to set new records in daily new cases and people are getting concerned. Most of the new cases are young people coming back from spring break in South Carolina and Florida, and then going to bars and clubs when they return home. This is really stark in some places. For example, last week, West Virginia reported around 300 new cases, and 72 of them were tied to people returning from Myrtle Beach. So reopenings per se don't seem to move the needle much, but young people taking no precautions is the issue. It seems the media emphasis on how this virus doesn't affect young people may be backfiring in that it is encouraging young people to take no precautions. It also seems that the international travel restrictions are now seriously backfiring, as perhaps a lot of young people who would have taken their spring breaks to safer areas abroad are instead stuck going to Myrtle Beach.

4. I can't really blame people for missing the early call. Pandemic-scares happen very frequently and they generally all turn out to be nothing-burgers until this one. People who saw that this pandemic would become the big one should only get credit if they also correctly predicted that SARS, MERS, swine flu, avian flu, zika, ebola, etc. would all turn out to be no big deal. But I do blame people who aren't taking any precautions today such as the aforementioned young people when we do know that this virus is the big one.

early call - It's their job to be on top of this. what else do they have to do ? If the CDC is not useful in that situation who will be ?

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Young people should take no precautions. They are really not at risk from Covid and have already made massive sacrifices for the over 65 population that is.

Young peoples lives and futures are being ruined by the reaction to a virus that is much less dangerous to them than, say not wearing a seatbelt.

And perhaps more important, they have not been given a rational policy objective for all this sacrifice. Are they delaying their lives in hopes a vaccine will be released? That herd immunity will developed despite preventing it?

If I were young(er) I would believe that this damn virus is just going to run its course - and that the sooner that happens and we get back to normal, the better.

Young people who take no precautions cause the virus to spread in their communities, which could infect older people and also cause businesses to shut down. Restaurants in my area lost a lot of business this weekend because the new higher case counts scared people back to their homes. I’m not saying they should stay at home all day, but wearing a mask and avoiding crowded bars and vacations to hot spots seems reasonable.

Honestly though, the over 65 crowd needs to take responsibility and stay home. Already infirm folks too.

We've done our part, now it is up to the at-risk folks to do their part.

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"People who saw that this pandemic would become the big one should only get credit if they also correctly predicted that SARS, MERS, swine flu, avian flu, zika, ebola, etc. would all turn out to be no big deal."

There is an analogy with seismology. Seismologists cannot when earthquakes will happen and how severe they will be but they can predict which parts of the world are most at risk.

Infectious disease specialists work in an even more uncertain environment because mutations and zoonosis are random processes. Once a novel disease is identified, it can take several months to estimate its contagiousness, how fatal or dangerous it is, and whether or not it can spread asymptomatically. We are still debating these three points today in the case of SARS-CoV-2.

SARS, MERS, and Ebola weren't nothing burgers as much as they were viruses that happened to not transmit asymptomatically. We got lucky.

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An example of young people taking few precautions and so an age demographic spike (Minnesota) - https://mobile.twitter.com/aaronsibarium/status/1277369424014725123

Percentages are misleading, because you don’t know if young people are getting infected more or other groups are getting infected less. Minnesota so far isn’t seeing an uptick in cases, so it doesn’t seem like the protests caused an uptick (of course it’s very possible that some people were infected at the protests but the net impact of the protests on the virus was not much because the protests caused other people to stay home as we’ve seen some research on).

However, young people going to bars and traveling to hotspots seems to be the bigger issue. 1/4th of all new cases in West Virginia (a state now experiencing a definite uptick despite no large protests) were in people returning from Myrtle Beach alone.

I don't know if it's protests or what. As in the Nate Silver thread, I think the impact of the protests, if any, was more that the very limp response from the press in condemning them (and portraying them as some sort of admirable act!) broke open the barriers for reduction in social distancing, not protests so much as superspreading event themselves. (Of course, many MR commentators appear to believe, this is a crazed wing conspiracy theory by crazed right wing conspiracy theorist Nate Silver, in order to avoid responsibility for the right wing establishment he is part of and supports).

Re; percentages yes, but it seems more likely to be driven by behaviour in 20-29 leading to increase or remaining constant in their group, rather than a behaviour change in all other groups that they avoided.

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In the continuing saga of watching the U.S. screw up in responding to a pandemic, the protests vs reopenings debate will again use up a lot of energy better spent on actually bringing the pandemic under control.

One country has truly made a political issue out of a virus every step of the way to the state it is in now. The U.S. is so, so messed up.

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Where are the people who said 'only 30,000' to die. I keep waiting for them to show some courage. Snowflakes.

As JWatts says, look at the hospitalizations, not the cases. My, my, Arizona, Texas, and Florida. South Carolina coming up fast.

Yeah, only if other states followed NY's enlightened Nursing home policy in the beginning...

You forgot CA in that list, is there a reason why or are you trying to fit into some narrative?

CA coming up fast, too. Just listing examples. Looking at the comments below, many seem to be betting on higher hospitalizations not equaling more deaths. I expect care has improved so this is partially right. We'll see how much more right it is.

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It won't lead to a large death increase and at any rate , these states start from a fairly low base.
These are younger people. We're very far from NYC levels of deaths. NYC had a very high death rate.54,689 hospitalizations and 22,470 deaths ( 41%)
Texas has about ~ ¼ of the cases of NY per million but only ~ 1/20 of the deaths per M.
The hospitalizations will climb slower, the stay will be shorter, the ICU admissions will not climb as fast.
I am not saying there is no concern, Yes, we don’t want all the infections to happen all at once but this is not a new Bergamo or NYC.

'It won't lead to a large death increase'

One can certainly hope that, but Florida and Arizona (add any other state that fits the following) have large communities of retirees living in fairly close proximity to one another. And based on the apparent rise in community spread, those communities/complexes are unlikely to be spared exposure.

Here is some reporting from June 25 about how well Arizona is prepared - "But physicians, public health experts, advocates and local officials say the crisis was predictable in Arizona, where local ordinances requiring masks were forbidden until Gov. Doug Ducey (R) reversed course last week. State leaders did not take the necessary precautions or model safe behavior, these observers maintain, even in the face of compelling evidence and repeated pleas from authoritative voices.

“We have failed on so many levels,” said Dana Marie Kennedy, the Arizona director of AARP, who said her organization has yet to receive a response to four letters outlining concerns to the governor. She is working on a fifth.

Neither the governor’s office nor the state health department responded to requests for comment. ...

“My level of frustration is high,” Kennedy of AARP said. “We could have stopped this.”

The last time she met with Ducey was March 11, Kennedy said, when she stood by his side as he declared a health emergency and promised to safeguard nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. He has failed to follow through on those efforts, she argued, saying testing of facility staffers has remained inadequate and equipment needs have gone unmet. Cara Christ, Ducey’s health director, has been absent as well, Kennedy said, pulling out of plans for a virtual town hall meeting with AARP members in April."

Again, everyone can hope for a miracle, but that is not an effective public health strategy. Demographics play a significant role in the death rate, with Arizona and Florida having characteristics that are not typical in many other states. For many living in those two states, this is not a theoretical concern. And it appears that weeks were wasted - again.

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Quick bit of confirmed deaths curve fitting against the official case counts - https://twitter.com/Trinhnomics/status/1277408661086691328

There's some likely some undercounting of the most recent deaths due to report lag, however it seems relatively unlikely that you will see anything close to the early NYC death rates/infection, even at a national scale. Certainly not concentrated at a local scale. Too much disinhibitory behaviour and knowledge is in circulation among the population, and the mechanisms of extreme density aren't there. And the stupidities of packing nursing homes back full of the sick to "save" resources for the young and healthy will not happen again, I don't think.

OTOH the spatial heterogenity in US outbreak and extreme concentration in New York has probably delayed natural distancing behaviours which are pretty important (see - Balloux - https://twitter.com/BallouxFrancois/status/1276999549786226688 - " 'Social-distancing' by the population both precedes and extends beyond government enforced lockdown measures (e.g. see Switzerland below). The 'first wave' #COVID19 epidemics started receding before official lockdowns in several countries."). Compounded a bit by the the uselessness of the US media concentrating on a blanket coverage of frankly political peripheral nonsense ("Remove White voice actors from minority characers in cartoons! Tear down the statues! Establish CHOP communes!" etc.) for about last 3 weeks...

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Where are the people who said millions?

I said here (and I offer a wager on it), in early march, 200,000 for the first wave in the US. I justified my prediction with precise intermediate calculation, most of them have been confirmed (and none have been refuted) yet. This looks pretty good now.

For the world, I said a few millions, and the pandemics has killed 500,000 person so far. Still, as I and many said here, a fraction of the toll of a bad flu, one quarter (as death per capita) of the 1968-69 flu, much less than 1% of the Spanish flu. The fact that deaths are very heavily skewed towards the very old and the already quite sick make this low number look even darker that it really is, from any point of view.

Meanwhile, you lock-down guys are still in huge denial of the cost of the lock-down. If a loss of 8.4% of decline of world GDP for 2020 (a predicted iMF growth of -4.9% for 2020, compared to +3.5% predicted for 2020 before the lock-downs) are not enough convince you, think of the cultural long-term effect of it: more than one third of year of education lost for one generation, with effect for the next 50 years or so (or perhaps education has bio value for you). Or think of the deaths of people pushing back essential care, death of people due to infectious illness because of delayed vaccinations, increase of AIDS in Africa due to the disruptions in the supply chains of preservatives, death of hungers and revolts that causes in several part of the world, etc. Or think of the freedom the world lose and the precedent it constitutes for the future.

The people predicting millions of dead (with the general, yet generally later ignored, caveat that the upper bound was if no measures of any kind were taken) are roughly in the same place as those predicting 5,000 or 30,000, or under 100,000 dead Americans.

With the exception of this still very public figure, who stated on April 20 - “I always say it: One is too many," Trump said. "But we’re going toward 50 or 60,000 people. That’s at the lower — as you know, the low number was supposed to be 100,000 people. We could end up at 50 to 60. Okay?”

A lower number of deaths double that estimate is impossible as of today. Which is clearly not okay.

Speaking with a TDS-impaired man is more boring than speaking with my cat. Purr...

Is how directly quoting President Trump has become an obvious marker of TDS.

Meow.

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3. Save that for Canada.

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3. Current immigration policy will be making us poorer.
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Connect the dots via evolution. The advocates of immigration have a point, we are not monkeys for a reason.

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#4....I just finished an excellent book entitled "The Fed and Lehman Brothers: Setting the Record Straight on a Financial Disaster"
by Laurence M. Ball. It's essential to determine what actually happened in a crisis if you want to do a better job the next time. Concerning the financial crisis, we're not in good shape. As for the pandemic, we need to keep as detailed a record as possible, try and improve our current situation with cogent analysis, and eventually go over what happened with an electron microscope. I'm sorry to say this, but CYA will exist to some extent, and it has to be dealt with. As for the comments concerning this pandemic, it's important to differentiate fixing a toy from disarming a bomb. Too many people are telling us to cut the blue wire, when there isn't even a blue wire.

"The Fed and Lehman Brothers: Setting the Record Straight on a Financial Disaster"
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As seen from one small slice of the economy.
This analysis will not hold up in history, the date of the real shocks do not match anything in Lehman except as the after effect. I just spent ten minutes reviewing the sordid explanations everyone as given, I won;t repeat the details, but this book is not the correct history of the 2008 crash.

Matt, You've answered as if I'd said that I have a serious analysis of a volcano, and you're saying it didn't really happen on that day. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy on a certain day, the Fed bailed out AIG on a certain day, etc. The book examines in detail who decided to let Lehman Brothers fail and why. When say the real shocks occurred on other days at other times, you defy sense. The book is a thorough examination of a specific event, which didn't happen on any other day or time.You can argue these events weren't important, but that's a separate question.

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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8467055/Tiny-antibodies-ALPACAS-help-suppress-second-wave-coronavirus.html

Tiny antibodies found in alpacas could help suppress a second wave of coronavirus and allow countries to safely lift lockdown, researchers have claimed.

Scientists in Sweden and South Africa have used 'nanobodies' from an animal immunised against the virus to prevent it from binding or infecting a human being.

The small antibody targets the spikes of the virus which in turn interferes with its ability to infect its host.
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No review yet, mostly informal.
The spikes they attack are actually the spikes that hold the shell intact. So they have the right idea, crack the shell, see what falls out.

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3. Who is "we", white man? Anecdotal evidence in New Hampshire is that the restrictions on foreign labor are causing a massive labor shortage in service industries at the same time that we have unprecedented unemployment. Restaurants are begging for staff, construction and building industries can't meet demand, and my son's friend is getting $17/hr for an unchallenging lifeguarding job. How much of this shortage is also driven by the Trump bonuses and generous unemployment is a good question. Guess we will see in a month or so.

If there is truly a massive labor shortage, you are too clever to believe that it could be due for a significant part to restricted immigration, when most international flight have resumed only a few weeks ago and migration everywhere in the world is all but stopped.

One of the reason must be, as you say, the absurdly high benefits offered by the congress and Trump.

Another reason might be this. If my colleagues in academia ara any guide, a large proportion of humanity is simple-minded, and when they are said by all the medias that the Covid cold is dangerous as the plague, the eventually believe it, and prefer not to work, especially when they are paid the same and more by not working (reason 1).

In New Hampshire there is a big summer employment market typically filled, for the past few decades, by imported labor from places like Latvia. Those are the jobs that are now going unfilled. So COVID travel restrictions are directly playing a role. Certainly Americans refusing to pick up the slack is in large part the fear of working in a “plague” and the benefit payments that allow them to indulge that fancy, as you say.

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https://www.city-journal.org/biden-labor-agenda
Unions Biden Their Time
The Democratic nominee’s agenda would give a huge boost to labor organizing—especially in the public sector.
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The unions are in battle and intend to get a positive restructuring of pension support in the Swamp. It won't happen the way they think and they will be caught in a Wile E Coyote moment. At this point cards are being laid on the table and the negotiations about seven years, paced by the time needed to restructure California pension arrangements, complete with mammoth tax battles, strike and the occasional riot.

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#4
Good story but a bad headline. Almost all the experts quoted DID recognize the risk of a pandemic but remained hopeful that it would not turn into one.

For example, "A week later, on Jan. 31, she [Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases] told reporters who dialed into a CDC Covid-19 briefing: 'We are preparing as if this were the next pandemic, but we are hopeful still that this is not and will not be the case.'" But was CDC preparing? It does not look like it was.
The question is why the experts did not act on the risk? And, typically, it is a question that the journalist did not ask.

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#3. It's sad that this even needs to be written. There was a time not so long ago when even Republicans knew that immigration made us richer. What happened?

IS there any political party that is anti-immigration?

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#5 The paper does not advance any hypothesis to explain the reported change. Two non-exclusive ones occur to me.
a) Income changes relative to initial expectations.
b) 1) Politicians telling low SSE Whites that they are living in a more hostile world in which immigrants, LGGBTQ people and foreign exporters and workers are out to get them.
b) 2) Actually declining discrimination against high SSE Blacks.

It would be interesting to see these examined.

I can think of a couple very simple things:

Being married is correlated with happiness, getting divorced is correlated with less happiness. In the last 50 years we have moved from a marriage model where culture promoted early marriage and discouraged divorce to one where marriage is delayed and divorce is easy if not encouraged. High SES individuals thrive in this environment. They can afford to buy their way out of a bad divorce. They can afford the additional costs of delaying marriage (be it double rents, IVF, or individual counseling sessions) and of divorce (lawyer bills, reduplicating expenses).

Likewise, all of the social organizations of yesteryear are atrophying. The Kiwanas, the Knights of Columbus, the Grange … places that used to offer social support and status are dying out. The modern economy means that you either disrupt your life to move to opportunity and thus forsake your local social ties, or you accept work that does not allow time control (e.g. construction work is rarely regular hours) and cannot coordinate to have a free night for the lodge. As an added benefit, every organization seems to be making massive efforts to fight racism, global warming, prejudice, and all the rest which makes their actual core functions less evident and relevant.

Drugs and alcohol use are heavily correlated with lower happiness outside of the most conscientious use. As culture has liberalized we have many people for reasons of economics or character who cannot "use responsibly". Alcohol use disorder is going up dramatically and is doing so more among low SES. Similarly marijuana and opioids have strong divergences where high SES users are recreational and rarely consume at levels that meet substance use disorder criteria while low SES users are vastly overrepresented among substance use disorder populations.

In general, decades ago there were a number of "rules" in society that helped people with limited resources and less than stellar decision making capability to thrive. Over the decades we have tossed these rules and almost invariably looked only at the effects of so doing on (at best) upper middle class college student. What little deep social interaction existed between SES cohorts has been diminished as the role of organized religion, extended family networks, and neighborhoods have receded and themselves become ever more heavily stratified by SES.

Re: Being married is correlated with happiness, getting divorced is correlated with less happiness.

The reasons why that would be true are staringly obvious. Marriages usually happen because people are in love (or think they are) which of course is going to conduce toward happiness. A divorce usually happens when a marriage has gone to hell in a handcart which is going to be reason for unhappiness.
It sure isn't clear to me that having lots of imprudent marriages would increase happiness-- it might just increase divorces. I'm single and never married. Which I regret sometimes-- but that doesn't mean I would have wanted to be with the wrong person. I'm also old enough to remember when some people got married right out of high school-- and every one of those marriages I knew of crashed and burned. "Marry in haste, repent at leisure" was a proverb even back in the Middle Ages.

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> 3. Current immigration policy will be making us poorer.

It costs $250K to educate two K12 kids. If someone immigrates to the US and their lifetime incomes and the taxes paid by those incomes won't cover the $250K to educate their kids, then yes, on net, it will make us poorer.

Immigrants that come to the US and average below $70K/year in earnings will take more than they contribute over their lifetimes.

As covered before, drywalling (and most construction jobs) used to pay a median US wage 30+ years ago. These days it pays below minimum wage (because it's often bid out by the job). It very difficult, backbreaking work. In any market it should be paying a healthy premium above fast food work (which is $15/hour in most big cities). And yet it pays less than half that because the workers are illegal AND there's a glut of them.

If you are unskilled, then no, immigration has not helped you at all. It has depressed your wages.

we should be letting in lots of immigrants that can make over $100K/year. They cover their own expenses, are a net adder to the economy, and don't depress wages of people that are already struggling.

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On #4, do they not understand how exponential growth works, or am I missing something? "Exponential" is not synonymous with "big."

"It takes time for a virus that spreads from person to person to hit an exponential growth phase in transmission, even if every new case was infecting on average two to three other people."

They express that twice in the article. Normally I'd ignore it as bad science journalism, but you'd think Stat would understand math. What's the deal?

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