solve for equilibrium

Solve for the equilibrium

The job categories projected to grow over the next decade include nursing, home health care and child care. Of the 15 categories projected to grow the fastest by 2016 — among them sales, teaching, accounting, custodial services and customer service — 12 are dominated by women. These are not necessarily the most desirable or highest-paying jobs. But they do provide a reliable source of employment and a ladder up to the middle class. It used to be that in working-class America, men earned significantly more than women. Now in that segment of the population, the gap between men and women is shrinking faster than in any other, according to June Carbone, an author of “Red Families v. Blue Families.”

From Hanna Rosin, here is more.  And:

More important than the particular jobs available, which are always in flux, is a person’s willingness to adapt to a changing economy. These days that usually requires going to college or getting some job retraining, which women are generally more willing to do. Two-thirds of the students at the local community college are women, which is fairly typical of the gender breakdown in community colleges throughout the country.

Here is a description of one equilibrium:

The former Russell [a now-closed manufacturing firm] men are sometimes categorized by people in town as one of three types: the “transients,” who drive as far as three hours to Montgomery for work and never make it home for dinner; the “domestics,” who idle at the house during the day, looking for work; and the “gophers,” who drive their wives to and from work, spending the hours in between hunting or fishing.

The article is interesting throughout.  The new Hanna Rosin book is here.

Solve for the equilibrium

Here is the short video.  Here is text with photos and another video.  Five Ukrainian women, in an Ukrainian art museum.  They are sleeping, or rather pretending to sleep, dressed up as Sleeping Beauty.  Men come along and kiss them, on the lips, with each man allowed only one kiss.  They have all signed legally binding contracts.  If a woman responds to a kiss by opening her eyes and “waking,” she must marry the man.  The man must marry the woman.

Who will kiss?  When do eyes get opened?

The museum gives out free breath mints.

For the pointer I thank the excellent Daniel Lippman.

Solve for the equilibrium

…the Romney campaign went up with an ad just days after the Ryan pick, hitting Obama on the $716 billion figure.

“You paid into Medicare for years: every paycheck. Now, when you need it, Obama has cut $716 billion dollars from Medicare. Why? To pay for Obamacare,” the ad says. “The Romney-Ryan plan protects Medicare benefits for today’s seniors and strengthens the plan for the next generation.”

How the GOP ticket talks about Medicare is vitally important in Florida in particular, a competitive swing state with a high retirement-age population. Ryan is visiting the state for the first time today since he was named to the ticket, and will go to The Villages — billed as the largest retirement community in the world — with his mom.

But instead of wading into the policy details with which Ryan is most comfortable, Republican strategists said it would be far smarter for the Wisconsin lawmaker to focus on the Obama move to remove money from the Medicare trust fund and portray Republicans as the program’s savior.

The article is here.  You can try a second exercise, called “Solve for the Equilibrium Ten Years from Now.”

Solve for the equilibrium

Scott Sumner on the eurozone, wise throughout:

The eurozone excludes Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Britain and Switzerland. That’s a fairly affluent group of countries.  The eurozone is shaped roughly like a pyramid, with Finland on top, and a wide base stretching from Portugal to Cyprus on the bottom.  Most of the weight if a pyramid lies in the bottom half, which in the case of the eurozone is mostly lower income countries like Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, and Malta…

The pyramid structure I referred to earlier is likely to get much worse as the eurozone grows over time.  And it seems to me that here you have a massive adverse selection problem.  Because of Abraham Lincoln, affluent states like Massachusetts can’t suddenly decide they want no part of our fiscal union, and would rather just reap the benefits of our large single market.  But Switzerland, Norway can and did make that choice.  Britain almost certainly would, and both Sweden  and Denmark might as well.  In contrast, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia would like nothing more than to join such a union.  And all the likely future expansion of the EU is into areas further east, and much poorer than even Greece and Portugal.  Places like Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine (a country nearly the size of France) Belarus, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Moldova (the saddest place on Earth—even the name is depressing.)  And did I mention Turkey?  Indeed why not Russia at some distant point in the future?

Please solve for the equilibrium

That’s what some environmentalists said they feared when Planktos, a
California-based concern, announced it would embark on a private effort
to fertilize part of the South Atlantic with iron, in hopes of
producing carbon-absorbing plankton blooms that the company could
market as carbon offsets. Countries bound by the London Convention, an
international treaty governing dumping at sea, issued a “statement of
concern” about the work and a United Nations
group called for a moratorium, but it is not clear what would have
happened had Planktos not abandoned the effort for lack of money.

Here is the whole story.

What does equilibrium look like for the book business?

Adam Davidson offers some interesting remarks.  My take is a little more radical.  I expect two or three major publishers, with stacked names (“Penguin Random House”), and they will be owned by Google, Apple, Amazon, and possibly Facebook, or their successors, which perhaps would make it “Apple Penguin Random House.”  Those companies have lots of cash, amazing marketing penetration, potential synergies with marketing content they own, and very strong desires to remain focal in the eyes of their customer base.  They could buy up a major publisher without running solvency risk.  For instance Amazon revenues are about twelve times those of a merged Penguin Random House and arguably that gap will grow.

There is no hurry, as the tech companies are waiting to buy the content companies, including the booksellers, on the cheap.  Furthermore, the acquirers don’t see it as their mission to make the previous business models of those content companies work.  They will wait.

Did I mention that the tech companies will own some on-line education too?  EduTexts embedded in iPads will be a bigger deal than it is today, and other forms of on-line or App-based content will be given away for free, or cheaply, to sell texts and learning materials through electronic delivery.

Much of the book market will be a loss leader to support the focality of massively profitable web portals and EduTexts and related offerings.

There is this funny thing called antitrust law, but I think these companies are popular enough, and associated closely enough with cool products — and sometimes cheap products — to get away with this.

The equilibrium (with apologies to Daniel Klein)

On September 5, the first Sleeping Beauty in Polataiko’s exhibition awoke to a kiss from another woman. Both of them were surprised. Polataiko shot photos of them laughing and looking at each other. Then he posted the images to his Facebook profile, where he has been live-blogging the entire event. Now the Sleeping Beauty must wed her “prince,” thus queering the historically heteronormative fairtytale. Gay marriage is not allowed in the Ukraine, however, so these two women will have to wed in a European country that does allow for same-sex marriage.

Here is more.  I believe that none of you had solved for this equilibrium.  For the pointer I thank Eapen.

The political economy of Kansas fiscal policy (from the comments)

MR commentator Patrick L. has a go at it:

OK I’ll bite.

In nominal terms, between 2002 and 2012 state receipts grew 50%. Inflation in this period was 28%, and probably significantly lower for Kansas, while population growth has only been about 10% since 2000. Even the “low” 2014 receipts are $1.5 billion more in revenue from when Sebelius first took office and the government started rapidly growing. In the past 15 years expenditures have grown over 50%, exceeding $6 billion today. The shortfall is $300 million, or about 5%. While the growth of the Kansas government in the past 15 years is smaller than other governments in the country, it still explains the shortfall. We can justify this increase by saying that education and health are rising faster than everything else, but that is not a revenue problem. Tax rates have to rise because education and health costs are growing faster than our economies. That says nothing at all about the optimum size of taxation for state governments with regard to growth, jobs, or even revenue. The tax and spending levels Brownback choose would have been adequate ten, maybe even five years ago. With a bit of luck, he could have ignored the shortfall because of variance, which for receipts can be a few hundred million a year.

Republicans should be wise enough to not depend on luck, and they should be wiser predicting how trend lines go. Cutting the size of government was never a serious option.

I haven’t looked at the votes in depth, but it looks like a classic case of urban // rural split that typically troubles the state’s politics. Just under half the state’s population lives around Kansas City or Wichita, which are both five times than the next largest city. These places have as many votes as the rest of Kansas combined, but their needs are radically different.

Rural Kansas has two unique problems. First, there’s the problem of population collapse, which all farm states are seeing. What few children are born move out when they come of age and new people are not moving in. Fixed costs like “We need at least one school building” or “We need at least one teacher per grade” start to add up for small towns of 1000 or less. Those are the obvious problems, not to mention any number of federal or state concerns dealing with food, medical, or disability services that have to be met. As a matter of geography, 98% of the state is rural, and I think I heard 25% of the state is in towns less than 2500 – with over 400 municipal governments servicing less than 1000 people it’s probably the highest per capita in the country (This is FIVE times the national average).

This is a non-trivial growing problem related to scale government services that has been an issue of intense legal debate in the state. Wichita School District’s scale is such it can use its buses to deliver free or low cost lunches to children in the summer. Small cities don’t have buses. Is that fair? How should taxes be structured to compensate? The only political viable solution to this problem has been to spend more money. If all the small towns could magically consolidate into a super smallville, taxes would (back of the envelope) be 10-15% lower.

Government services to low population areas are subsidized by high population areas, and it costs much more to deliver the same services to small towns. The US Postal Service paid for delivery to small towns across the country by charging monopolistic prices on first class letter mail in cities (Which cost almost nothing to deliver). NPR’s national budget mostly goes to setup stations in small towns. The small towns in Kansas are both relatively and in many cases actually getting smaller, older, and poorer. They are costing more and delivering less.

The other problem is that some rural areas are *growing*, but they’re growing because of immigration attracted to the agriculture and food packaging industries. Which is not the same as growing from a resource boom which can be taxed heavily to compensate. Liberal, KS is the largest per capita immigrant community in the United States. While this influx of people is necessary for the health of these places, the new population has more expensive demands on government services and pays less in taxes. Some of these small towns are the same ones that a decade ago were collapsing. Services and infrastructure might have been allowed to lapse or removed, and now rapidly needs to be replaced. That’s expensive! In the long run this problem might replace the first problem, but for now it’s the worst of both worlds.

The economy of the small cities is based largely around food production, which mostly can’t move, and food packaging, which probably can’t for logistical reasons. These places are poorer, getting relatively poorer per capita, and demanding more in services both directly (immigration / aging) and through scale issues. Their populations are either getting very old or very Hispanic, or both.

In contrast, Kansas City is a stable metropolis whose economy depends on manufacturing is built around a national centralized hub for trains. It also has some finance and telecom sprinkled in, though those guys can probably go anywhere. Wichita, is a moderately growing city based around aircraft manufacturing. When state taxes can’t provide enough government services, local taxes for these areas easily rise to compensate. Their economic concerns are how to stop businesses from going across the border to Omaha, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Springfield, or Kansas City, Mo – places which are functionally identical and just as close. Given their dependence on manufacturing, they also have to consider movement across international borders to China and Mexico. Their demography is much closer to the national averages rather than the extremes. They are large enough that they can take advantage of scaling for government services, without being so large that there is decreasing actual returns. I don’t have figures, but I’d guess income rates in the urban areas to be between 150 and 200% those of the rural areas, which are themselves typically around 2/3rds the national average. This is an industry effect, a farmer in Kansas City and an aeronautical engineer in Greensburg, KS would not make much money. The cities are richer, but they’re richer because they have industries that are becoming increasingly easier to move.

On a political level, normally cities become more liberal, and poorer as you go deeper into the city – a leftover of 19th century industrialization competing against 20th century transportation. Deep urban cores produce these deep blue constituencies that act as checks on conservative suburban rings. In some states this manifests itself as a coalition between the poor rural areas and the poor urban areas against richer suburban areas allowing normal American class politics to balance itself. Cities produce political equilibrium: The richer and denser it becomes, the more liberal, which pushes more money and voters to suburbia, diluting the power. In short, declining rural power (D) and rising urban power (D) offset each other, but rising urban power (D) enhances suburban power (R), and so at a state level you get a balance.

The problem is that the inner core of Kansas City is in Missouri, so Kansas only gets the rich (Republican) suburban ring and a tiny blue part. Typical democratic concerns like maintaining a progressive tax structure can’t really find a foundation. While Wichita also has an urban core that does provide a Democratic representation, the city isn’t constrained geographically by anything (No ocean, mountain, lake, and transportation goes around, not through, the city) means concentration, an ingredient for populist politics, is lessened. The city spreads, and the poor can easily move up the class structure by moving further and further out. Wichita has half the population density of Syracuse and two thirds that of Madison, two close sized metropolitan areas. I haven’t done a county level comparison, but I suspect that Sedgwick has half the density of the ‘average American county with half a million people’ in it. There are other places in America like that, but guess how they vote.

Nor are either cities big university cities, like Madison or Boston. The two big universities in the state are in the small towns of Lawrence and Manhattan, which are quite separate from the rest of the state. Urban centers are places of “Commanding Heights” industries, like health and education that can’t easily move, but Wichita and Kansas City are based around manufacturing.

The political outcomes are not that surprising at all. There is nothing ‘the matter with Kansas’. The power structure easily shifts between slim majorities formed from predominately suburban populations who are wealthier, and whose jobs are most likely to move, and slim majorities formed from the small urban cores and rural parts of the state.

There’s no possible political coalition that you could form that would pass a constitutional amendment allowing a floating balanced budget over a 10 year period. Nor are the populist pressure strong enough to push against regressive taxation. You have ‘fiscal hawks’ in the rural areas who never vote for cuts, and suburban conservatives who never vote for taxes. When the storm gets too bad, they vote a nice moderate democrat in to raise taxes and crack down hard on whatever (Non manufacturing / agricultural) big business they can put pressure on. Obviously something that can’t move easily like Health Insurance.

In summery, this really is an issue of Urban vs Rural politics. Unlike other cities, the kind of industries around Kansas City and Wichita can move. The jobs in the rural areas can’t. The rural areas require more per capita government services, and the urban areas have more money. They both have half the vote. Solve for equilibrium.

== As for the deal:

It’s mostly a .4% sales tax increase, which is less than some of the more fanciful projects done by local governments in the past 15 years, which have included sports arenas, loans to movie theaters, and waterfront improvement. A half cent increase in sales tax does move the state into the top 10 for the country, but the overall tax burden is still quite low. The real problem is that city/county sales taxes are a function of distance from Wichita, and the inverse of population. The smaller your city, and the farther you are from Wichita, the more the county depends on sales taxes. In places like Junction City, this could put the sales tax close to 10%! The real disparity is going to be at the border towns: After the change there will be a .7% difference between KC, KS and KC, MO, though I bet the Missouri side will raise taxes to compensate. After the increase, there’s a 1.5% difference between Pittsburg, KS and Joplin, MO – big enough that I could see some people consider driving for purchases more than $300 (Biweekly grocery shopping for a large family?), especially if retailers on the Missouri side are not dumb. As a general rule, the money and the shopping is on the Kansas side of the border, so stuff isn’t going to transition immediately, but I expect some Laffer curve effects here for local governments, and I would hope they’ll respond by dropping taxes to compensate.

This is probably WHY such a deal was able to pass. Most of the damage goes on the poor and rural parts of Kansas, which is where most of the balance budget hawks are. The rich living near Kansas City will have the easiest time dodging the increase and avoid it more often. A regressive tax, but an efficient one.

As for the other parts of the deal, $90 million in itemized deductions are being removed. I don’t actually think this will amount to much, since there aren’t many itemized state deductions left. What remains are things like adoption, historical preservation, or disabled access. I don’t see much money coming in this way, and the state will almost certainly reverse itself the first chance it gets (As it did the last time it got rid of the adoption credit).

Whew!

Mongol

Matt Yglesias offers a good review of this excellent movie, which chronicles the early life of Genghis Khan, or one vision thereof.  There are at least two increasing returns to scale mechanisms in this movie.  First, leadership is focal, which tends to bind groups together and make concentrated rule possible.  Winning battles makes you focal and winning larger battles makes you focal across larger groups.  Second, if you walk or ride alone in the countryside, you will be snatched or plundered.  That causes people to live in settlements and also larger cities.  Put those mechanisms together, solve for equilibrium, and eventually one guy rules a very large kingdom and you get some semblance of free trade.  Sooner or later, that is.  The movie brings you only part of the way there and I believe a sequel is in the works.

Why non-distanced social and commercial interactions have resumed so quickly

People have solved for the equilibrium.

First, the socially-distanced goods, such as food delivery, are starting to rise in price.  The non-distanced goods have been falling in relative price, and so now people are moving along their demand curves and engaging in less distancing.

Second, the longer the pandemic will run, the harder it is to use intertemporal substitution as a “make up.”  “I won’t go to a bar for two months, but then I’ll go a lot to make up for it” is a plausible story to tell oneself.  “I won’t go to a bar for a year and then I’ll go a lot…” is harder to swallow and act upon.  It starts to become a habit, and at some point you can’t drink enough to make up for what you have lost.  And so people are more inclined to go to the bar right now.

Most importantly, peer effects are remarkably strong.  Most people are not willing to accept a small additional risk of death to say eat in a particular restaurant.  But they are willing to accept a small additional risk of death to live life as other people are living life.

So once enough people are not respecting social distancing, most of the others will follow.

Some wag on Twitter said we can no longer use the expression “to avoid like the plague,” because apparently people do not take so much care to avoid the plague.

Contingent Wage Subsidies

Robertas Zubricka has a clever idea, Contingent Wage Subsidies. Many macroeconomic problems are caused by a coordination failure–you don’t spend because I’m not spending and vice-versa and so the economy becomes trapped in a low-spending, low-employment equilibrium. Zubrickas shows how to solve these coordination problems. The government announces a contingent wage subsidy, a subsidy that is paid only if hiring is low. If a firm hires and others do not they get the subsidy. If a firm hires and others do hire they get the demand. A no-lose proposition. Hence, all firms hire and the subsidy never has to be paid. Instead of a big push, a zero push! Here’s Zubrickas:

New hiring by one firm is a reason for new hiring by other firms because of employment externalities related to additional aggregate demand, new trading opportunities, or production synergies. Without a coordinated action, however, the virtuous hiring cycle may not start, stranding the economy in a low‐employment, low‐spending equilibrium as in the aftermath of the 2007–2009 financial crisis (OECD, 2016). The traditional approach to this problem emphasizes a “big push,” when one large player like the government spends enough to convince others to spend. In this paper, we show how a “zero push” can achieve the same results.

With the economy in a low‐employment equilibrium, we propose a policy that offers firms wage subsidies for new hires payable only if the total number of new hires made in the economy does not exceed a prespecified threshold. An example would be a promise to cover all new labor costs contingent on that less than, say, 100,000 new jobs are created in total. From a firm’s perspective two outcomes can occur from this policy. One outcome is when the number of new jobs is less than the threshold, in which case the firm has its additional labor costs covered while keeping all the additional revenue. The second outcome is when the threshold is met and no subsidies are paid. The firm then benefits from employment spillovers generated by a substantial increase in total employment which makes hiring profitable even without any subsidies. With hiring profitable in both scenarios and, thus, all firms hiring, the threshold for new hires is reached, bringing the economy to high‐employment equilibrium without any subsidies paid.

Attentive readers will note that the idea has the same structure as my dominant assurance contract (which Zubrickas notes was an inspiration).

Read the whole thing.

Saturday assorted links

1. “Of all the Sonoma County youth under 18 who have tested positive for coronavirus, a staggering 95% are Latino, a statistic that is again raising concerns over how the virus is disproportionately impacting local Latinos.

2. How is cocaine trafficking doing?

3. Edenville dam failure caught on video.

4. Ten arguments against immunity passports.  I mean…those are the arguments you should make.  But there is no conception that you have to “solve for the equilibrium” if there are no formal immunity passports, and compare the two situations in terms of cost, unfairness, and the like.  In that sense the authors cannot conceive that there needs to be a comparison at all.

5. The New Modality (a forthcoming publication) seeks articles on these topics and particular kinds of writers.

6. Do proponents of moral outrage wish to “sneak up on women”?  That would explain a lot.

7. The import of super-spreaders in Israel.

8. American Interest interview with Larry Summers.  “LHS: There’s a lot of empirical evidence since Keynes wrote, and for every non-employed middle-aged man who’s learning to play the harp or to appreciate the Impressionists, there are a hundred who are drinking beer, playing video games, and watching 10 hours of TV a day.”  It’s a good thing that has nothing to do with subsequent delayed re-employment (also known as “unemployment”), isn’t it?

Wednesday assorted links and non-links

1. New York City parents care about the quality of the peers when choosing a school for their kids, not the effectiveness of the school per se.

2. Secular stagnation vs. technological lull?

3. Dan Klein on Covid and Coase.

4. “Investors are betting, in part, that the Covid-19 crisis accelerates the already growing power of America’s corporate colossuses.” (NYT)

5. NYT covers Sweden.  In my view we still don’t know how well the Swedish experiment is working out, but a continuing verdict of “we still don’t know” does in fact favor Sweden relative to priors.  And Thomas Friedman (NYT) on Sweden.  And update on some Swedish numbers.

6. A reader email on why child abuse is not opposed more passionately: “Basically, I think it comes down to the problem of agency vs structure. The left (including myself) wants to emphasize that problems have large structural components so we need to change the system. However individual heinous acts don’t fit neatly into that paradigm. Plus, child abuse is pervasive enough that it is sort of structural itself, and talking about it can sound like blaming a community or demographic, or hitting close to racism.  No idea why the right doesn’t emphasize it more other than the idea that it’s somehow “traditional”?”

7. Mel Baggs, disability advocate, RIP (NYT).  Formerly known as Amanda Baggs.

8. Quarantine stereotypes (video, funny, some of it).

9. Will colleges lose twenty percent of their student body this year?  Solve for the equilibrium.

10. Jason Furman: “If you had told me we would have a massive pandemic I would have predicted an increase in health spending. Shows why you shouldn’t listen to me. Health spending down 4.9% in Q1 (not annualized). Responsible for nearly 1/2 of the overall GDP decline. Likely down much more in Q2.”  Correctly or not, that makes me feel better about the observed gdp decline.  I am not minimizing the import of the non-Covid extra death toll (which is what exactly? Is it net even positive?), but I already felt bad about that.

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.

Most Grand Princess passengers not tested

They solved for the equilibrium:

Despite assurances from Vice President Mike Pence that all Grand Princess cruise ship passengers quarantined at Travis Air Force Base would be tested for COVID-19, The Chronicle has learned that two-thirds of them have declined, often at the encouragement of federal health officials.

As of Wednesday, 568 of the 858 passengers screened while confined turned down the test, a federal official familiar with the Travis quarantine and testing told The Chronicle. The low testing numbers align with what passengers were told by officials during a Tuesday afternoon teleconference, citing a 30% acceptance rate for the novel coronavirus test, several passengers told The Chronicle.

“These folks know they are in a 14-day quarantine, if they test positive they are further delayed until they test negative,” said the official, who The Chronicle agreed not to name because they were not authorized to speak to the media, in accordance with the paper’s ethics policy. “They don’t want to stay. They want to be released.”

Interpret the resulting data accordingly, of course.  Here is the full story, via Anecdotal.