Weekly Roundup: A Society At The Hammer Event Horizon Misgenders A Nail Edition

It’s called Dutch disease, although you might know it as the Shoe Event Horizon. It’s apparently possible for one sector of an economy to become so overheated that it is no longer economically feasible to work in another sector of the economy. This is already true in a very limited sense for certain aspects of the United States, most notably with regards to choice of careers at certain intelligence levels: if you are above 99th percentile but not quite in the 99.9999 percentile, the absolute best occupation for you is in finance, more specifically in trading. Second-year associates at Goldman Sachs can earn $350k a year, which is more than the average oncologist in his prime — and the compensation only goes up from there. Therefore, you’re literally throwing money away if you’re smart enough to work at GS but don’t, unless you are so smart that you can easily invent and produce something more valuable on your own. The problem is that not every 1-in-a-thousand fellow can find a job in the business; that would require employing 20,000 new graduates a year in perpetuity. So a lot of smart people target finance and then fail, which leaves them unprepared to enter other fields where knowledgeable new prospects would be welcome, from manufacturing to medicine.

Don’t confuse “Dutch disease”, a term coined by The Economist and which refers to a specific economic situation in the Netherlands during the 1920s, with Dutch elm disease. Turns out that “Dutch Elm Disease” originally came from China, the same way that the Emerald Ash Borer originally came from China. It was called “Dutch elm disease” because it killed Dutch elms. There’s quite a history of Occidental trees and people experiencing some unpleasantness thanks to various unwanted Chinese imports; in addition to the above-named disorders, we have the now-omnipresent Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and the Northern Snakehead and the Asian citrus bug and… can you think of another recent biological invader from China? Not H1N1… not SARS… not H7N9… not the “Asian Flu” of 1956… not the “Hong Kong Flu”… of 1968… oh, that’s right! It’s COVID-19, which is this year’s killer disease from Asia, er, the latest global virus of completely mysterious origin.

No doubt you’ve been told how important it is that we not associate COVID-19 with China in any way, shape, or form. It’s also possible you’ve heard the opinion of WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who recently told a panel of Geneva reporters that “Stigma, to be honest, is more dangerous than the virus itself. Let’s really underline that. Stigma is the most dangerous enemy…”. In fact, for every person who appears to be working on either countermeasures or a cure for COVID-19, there are a hundred, or perhaps a thousand, maybe a million, people who are insistently alerting us to the greater dangers posed by stigma… or racist disparities in virus effects and treatment… or climate change. This is obviously far from a productive state of affairs — not since the last Super Bowl has the ratio of (useless-people-bloviating-from-their-couches)-to-(properly-trained-people-attempting-to-accomplish-something) been this high. How did we get here? More specifically, why are we spending so much time talking about racism and bias and climate change when there is a deadly disease sweeping around the world?

Turns out we have a little Dutch Disease of our own. Call it the Hammer Event Horizon, whydontcha?

It’s no secret that the nature of American post-secondary education has dramatically changed over the past thirty-five years, nearly as much as it did in the thirty-five years prior to that. The average American college student now exits her four-year-college without job prospects, without the ability to think critically, without an understanding of the Western cultural heritage, and without any particular skills which might prove useful in the years to come. Instead, she (on the average, it’s she, because today’s universities are rushing headlong towards the two-girls-for-every-boy ratio which was once the exclusive province of “Surf City”) leaves the school with:

* Crippling debt, more than she can pay in a lifetime of working as a barista or administrative assistant or even as a teacher herself;
* A thorough and unstinting indoctrination in the values and attitudes created by the Long March through the institutions.

These people cannot accomplish any of Heinlein’s infamous requirements for humanity (“change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly”) with perhaps the occasional exception of “cook a tasty meal”. They cannot argue from the general to the specific, nor can they argue from the specific to the general. They cannot recognize patterns, nor can they establish a chain of logic. They practice neither the “deductive reasoning” said to be used by Sherlock Holmes, nor do they practice the inductive reasoning actually exhibited by Holmes in the books.

Like Liam Neeson, however, they possess a very specific set of skills: they are experts in the detection of racism, bias, or other discriminations, both real and imagined. In particular, they have been exhaustively educated in the art of pointing out certain sorts of bias. As I have noted before, their catechism is entirely centered on two end goals:

* Lower the price and value of labor by ensuring that the labor pool is as large as possible (unlimited immigration, the removal of effective standardized testing, lowering of standards for every possible job from firefighter to pilot);
* Ensure that the price of real estate remains as high as possible (unlimited immigration, an infantile focus on urban living, a determination to live in already-popular coastal centers).

They don’t understand that their behavior serves those two goals; that would be like telling the Marines on Iwo Jima that FDR provoked the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor so he could turn the economy back on. They merely act unconsciously in the service of those goals at all times. They are omnipresent on social media, in your universities, in your corporations, in your government. They contribute nothing; they merely attack and destroy, like locusts who arrive at the target, strip it bare, then move on. They are always in search of more racism, more bias, and more discrimination to expose. Like the German military of 1945, they have long since run out of natural sources for their necessary fuel and are now manufacturing this racism and bias on an ersatz fashion as quickly as possible.

Had this pandemic struck the United States in 1960, it would have galvanized a whole nation of useful people to do useful things, the same way that the aforementioned Second World War activated the “arsenal of democracy”. A half-million small factories and workshops would have swung into action making masks, face shields, respirators, and other dedicated equipment. That’s happening now, of course, but the small factories are hamstrung by the fact that

* there aren’t that many of them left;
* nearly every single supply chain in the country involves China.

Domestically, our families would have planted “victory gardens”, conserved what they could, and supported each other through local affiliations and organizations. In many cases, they would have been extraordinarily unlikely to contract the virus anyway; in 1960 we didn’t have three million “skilled workers” who regularly flew between the United States and their overseas homes, nor did we have a middle class which viewed travel and meals as the only socially acceptable outlets for consumption. I think back to my childhood neighborhood of Upper Arlington in 1982; nobody traveled, not even the stockbrokers and the doctors. My mother sold her 1977 Cutlass Supreme in 1983 and it had under eight thousand miles on the clock. Once a year I got on a plane to see my grandparents in Florida; this was a rare enough event to elicit envy among my rich-kid classmates who were brought to school in 450SELs.

Contrast that with the America of today. We’ve trained most of two generations to be good at nothing besides griping about racism and bias. A very real form of “Dutch Disease” has taken root in the universities; if you’re bold enough to major in something besides grievance studies you can expect at some point to come under the lens of the grievance studies mandarins, who may decide to scuttle your college career on a whim in a system where you are guilty until proven innocent. Even if you make it out of school, you are likely to find that your corporate job values your adherence to certain “team norms” over and above your actual productivity or usefulness. We have largely replicated the Soviet system where one’s loyalty to the Party and its values is far more important than one’s qualifications or abilities.

I don’t fault our young people for spending their days on social media barking about the racist aspects of this and that; it’s what we trained them to do. Nor am I surprised that a significant percentage of Americans have proven to be utterly feckless during this time of crisis. We made them that way. Young people respond well to training. After just a year or so of occasional practice, my eleven-year-old son can play nearly any bass part you can find in rock music and much of what you find in jazz. Most of us acquire the bulk of our life skills before we are twenty-five. Had I not learned the very strict rules of programming Atari and Apple computers in 1981 as a nine-year-old, I probably wouldn’t have paid for multiple Porsches by writing software in my thirties.

In other words, we gave the last two generations of Americans nothing but a hammer which bangs out accusations of racism. Is it any wonder that they see COVID-19 as a nail? There’s just one problem: this coronavirus lives in reality, not in the fantasy of the modern university or corporate compliance department. It is optimized for the modern city, which might in the long run prove to be, as they say, “problematic” for the people who enthusiastically endorse the rabbit-warren vision of humanity’s future. The “social distancing” which will supposedly save us from its effects is not that different from how suburban and rural people typically live their lives; if the virus didn’t live for a while on surfaces I don’t see how it could ever get to, for example, rural Ohio. It also may be racially biased; there’s a lot of hand-wringing going on at the moment trying to convince us otherwise, which raises my personal suspicions on the matter. In the fantasy world, proving that COVID-19 has racial bias would mean that COVID-19 would have to quit its job; in the real world, that’s probably not true.

Tonight I happened to come across this article at the Brookings Institute Brookings has a lot of smart people. In another world than this one they might be helping cure the disease, or at least helping to ameliorate it. In this world? Here’s the Brookings List Of Necessary Things To Do About COVID-19:

  • Immediate release of demographic data
  • Testing and triage centers need to be placed in Black neighborhoods
  • Essential workers need paid leave
  • Essential workers deserve hazard pay
  • The federal government and states need to provide a living wage
  • Universal healthcare

It’s difficult to see how this agenda differs in any significant way from the standard uniparty agenda; if you replaced “Testing and triage centers” with “Planned Parenthood clinics” this could have been written in 2019, 2009, or 1979 without raising any eyebrows. Shouldn’t our self-appointed best-and-brightest have better, more timely, ideas than this? Or is it our collective fault as a society, for giving everyone a hammer when we should have been giving them an N95 mask?

* * *

This week, for Hagerty’s revamp-in-progress website, I wrote about socially distant Miatas.

65 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: A Society At The Hammer Event Horizon Misgenders A Nail Edition”

  1. Avatarpaul pellico

    Well…not sure exactly about your pointing at young people. In my opinion, the actual descent into this began with the baby boomers.
    Not all, but a certain number went from free love, another term for shagging as many girls as possible, to protesting war ending up raising children as if it was part of a sociology class booklet.
    We went from the Greatest Generation to my own The Most Selfish Generation.
    I often scold the socially distancing and hiding that they are more cowardly than the German people beforeWW2.
    Chastising people for protecting their livelihoods and turning heads while the Jewish neighbor was taken away…all while you hide in your living room and allow the government, mostly nutty mayors, to take down the greatest economy the world has ever known…so nobody gets sick, so YOU don’t get sick!
    Think about it…so you don’t get sick, you force people to close their lives, to lose whatever they might have mortgaged into a family restaurant…because your government decided what was and wasn’t essential.
    So you didn’t get sick, even if there was only a remote chance.
    One’s family’s essential is another idiot’s
    But I rant to much…
    All I wanted to say was it isn’t just the young…it is my generation that started this.

    Reply
    • Avatarstingray65

      Good point. The greatest generation were the last generation of teachers and professors who were not universally Leftist in their world-view, and they were mostly retired by the early 1990s. The Boomers who replaced them were almost universally Leftist whose formative years were spent protesting against war, capitalism, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and human nature more generally. Thus for the past 30 odd years Boomers have indoctrinating our children to fight battles that were won back in the 1960s. The KKK and Jim Crow are long gone, blacks get huge bonus SAT/MCAT/GMAT points on their university applications, and a majority of whites voted for black US president, and yet the children are taught that racism and a legacy of slavery is thriving in the USA. The dreaded stay-at-home mom is also long gone, and females get priority preferences in all fields of education and employment so that they make up 60% of university students and earn higher starting salaries than men, and yet the children are taught that sexism and patriarchy are thriving in the USA. And despite claiming to be believers in science, the one thing boomers didn’t bestow on our children are any lesson the biological/hard-wired differences in gender and races that can’t be protested away.

      Reply
  2. AvatarPatrick King

    As I was sitting here reading this Richard Engel was doing his Sunday night special about COVID-19 on MSNBC. It was mostly background noise over my shoulder but there were lots of stern warnings about racial bias and how hateful it was to mention the pandemic’s ground zero.

    World To End Tomorrow. Women And Minorities To Be Hardest Hit.

    Reply
    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      It’s interesting to contrast how the media is treating different groups that are disproportionately affected by COVID. For blacks and Hispanics, it’s systemic racism. Even if they bring up cofactors like hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, those are blamed on racism as well. For Orthodox Jews, it’s their own fault because their funerals and weddings disregard social distancing.

      Reply
        • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

          Jews were washing their hands, bathing and blessing the Creator when doing so at a time when your ancestors were still living in caves. Regular bathing caught on only recently in Europe.

          Reply
      • AvatarPatrick King

        The coverage is remarkable Ronnie. And repetitive. MSNBC is my default because I want to keep an eye on their shenanigans. For some reason I find Fox and Friends unwatchable but Kilmeade is good on the radio after the TV show is over. I’ve got NPR and the Fox News Radio presets in the car and as often as not he’ll interview the same guests who were on Morning Joe earlier, asking perfectly reasonable questions. As I’ve felt for decades, radio has it all over TV for serious discussions of any issue.

        Reply
  3. AvatarHarrison Bergeron

    I think you struck the nail on the in quite a few respects. At big Liberal U where I am currently attending in a professional program the split of the class is 60/40 female:male. Interestingly enough there are all kinds of programs and other resources made available to women that aren’t available to their male counterparts to help them succeed. Almost all the females in my class come from a much better off background than myself and most have parents who are also professionals whether it be doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc. I found it interesting mainly that there are all these resources to help women, but I as a male but also the only person in my family to enter into a professional field was basically told to go kick rocks.

    Also interesting is how often political points are mentioned. I am constantly bombarded with things like America’s high infant mortality rate. Told day in and day out other countries have longer life expectancy and we need to re-evaluate our healthcare because of that. We need medicare for all(professors and other students). Never mind that if you correct for accidental deaths our life expectancy then jumps up. Don’t talk about how many countries don’t include premature babies or sometimes don’t include children if they die within the first couple days in infant mortality,you better never bring anything up that could insinuate that the statistics could be manipulated to show a problem that doesn’t exist. Please also don’t talk about how we have some of the best long term outcomes for cancer and other chronic diseases. Its medicare for all or nothing.

    Then you explain to these kids who are arguing such things that the field they are entering will be taking a giant pay cut. They don’t believe you, tell them to look at Canadian wages, sometimes only half of what workers in america get paid. There is a reason pharmacist, doctors, nurses, and all kinds of other health workers from Canada come and work in the bordering US cities. Tell them many of the plans for loan repayment they don’t qualify for because they’ll make too much, so they’re taxes will increase to pay off all the baristas’ debts while they themselves are saddled with $300K in loans. Maybe that is not as large of a concern for them as it is for me since the majority of them have parents paying their tuition and bills.

    On that note you’re right also almost none of them know how to budget, cook, or function as an adult in general. How can you though when mom and dad pay for everything and you haven’t been forced to grow up even though you’re 26-27. When mom and dad are paying for you luxury apartment downtown for $2200 for a studio so you can walk they can’t understand why you commute and take the bus. Mom and dad pay for their car so when you explain your finances and how you have bills like auto insurance and a cell phone bill they don’t realize how much all those things add up. They don’t understand how our credit rating system work, many I’ve talked to have no credit card and don’t even know what their credit score is or how to check it. As far as the cooking nice meals go the majority of them lack the basic skills needed to probably even make spaghetti, but again can you blame them when in that allowance from the parental units there is room for them to eat out almost every night.

    On another note I’ve heard the endless talks at this point about how the healthcare workers are obviously being racist. What else could be causing this discrepancy? Why would Detroit have so many cases? It can’t be anything other than racism. Never mind the fact that they have had so many troubles stopping large gatherings in Detroit. They would try to break them up and people would run so they couldn’t issue citations, I’ve heard now police have been instructed to arrest home owners if there is large gathering at houses.

    https://www.wxyz.com/news/coronavirus/detroit-police-to-enforce-ticket-people-not-following-stay-at-home-order

    Here is the stupidity you are dealing with in these areas. How can you try to protect people when they obviously don’t care about their own safety? This week the stores in Detroit were crowded. While most areas have seen a decrease in traffic many locations in Detroit have actually had increases in foot traffic. People were out in force getting everything they need for their Easter parties and barbecues they don’t care about the stay at home order they are still going to crowd together. Whenever you try to point out that it could be disparities in culture and behavior fueling the high numbers you are immediately shouted down as a racist, why even bother trying to discuss the real reasons anymore? It does no good.

    Love the Hagerty article. I’ve found the stay at home orders very interesting based on what is acceptable and what is not. People running down trails a few feet apart=safe. Me going for a drive in the corvette not near another living soul=unacceptable. Want to go kayaking with a group of friends? Have at that should be perfectly safe. Do you want to go out on your jet-ski alone? Ha better not you are breaking the stay at home order. There is no rhyme or reason to many of the imposed regulation. So I took it upon myself to not comply and blasted down some back-roads with the traga stowed in the rear.

    Reply
    • AvatarRyan

      For some of these kids, the pay cut doesn’t matter. In High School, they were promised $75k/year jobs and are lucky to pull $20/hour at some boutique marketing “agency”.

      Having gone back to school a few years ago, I understand your plight with regards to resources. Between student employees and lazy bureaucrats, it was difficult to get almost anything done in a timely manner. In a way, this lack of support kind of created a network of “good ol’ boys,” where sympathetic staff members would flagrantly bend policies and procedures to help out select students.

      Reply
    • Avatarstingray65

      Despite the supposedly rampant patriarchy and sexism at US universities and American culture more generally, one thing that never gets mentioned (for some reason) is that women have made up more than 50% of medical school classes for about the last 30 years. This change from male dominance to female majority medical school classes has had major implications for medical costs, because while the cost to society of training doctors is about the same whether they are male or female, the number of hours they work during their careers is far different as women work fewer hours in full-time positions (i.e. less likely to work over-time), are far more likely to work part-time for substantial portions of their career, and are far more likely to leave the profession early. Women are also far less likely to choose to work in a rural area and more demanding medical specialties than men. Thus the shortage of doctors in many geographic areas, or during times of crisis, and in certain specialties is largely due to the rising number of female doctors. Medicare for all and the resulting reduction in doctor pay will likely only increase the portion of female doctors, as countries with government run healthcare systems have even higher portions of female doctors than the US.

      Interesting that our black Surgeon General is being called a racist for putting some portion of higher black casualty rates from the Wuhan flu on their own bad health habits and life choices. It is very clear that the flu cases requiring hospitalization and resulting in death are almost entirely related to comorbidities that are most often related to health habits and related outcomes such as smoking and obesity. Blacks also happen to smoke more as adults, smoke in groups and inhale second-hand smoke, are more likely to be obese and have obesity related heart problems and diabetes, and all these things just happen to be things that the “racist” Wuhan virus likes in its victims.

      Reply
    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      Detroit cops may be breaking up parties, but Sunday afternoon I drove downtown to take photos of Cobo… er the TCF Center, which has been set up as a field hospital. I drove down there on the Lodge and then drove home on Woodward. Near as I can tell the cops in Detroit and the near suburbs aren’t stopping anyone from traveling.

      Reply
  4. AvatarJohn C.

    One thing to point out about the young and educated is how willing they are to shut down their lives in order that more of us over 50 will survive what our filthy Oriental friends have inflicted on us this time. Very Christian! of them and something duplicated in Europe as secular as they are now. Fighting that is the unChristian Wall Street types who say F the old, let them die so that the stock market will move around more and their demonic gambling will pay off as we try to open up too early moving the market more.

    Reply
    • AvatarPaul M.

      But those 50 and older (and I am of those set) made the decisions to outsource to China and India, not the young. It is on the boomer generation all the problems that this country is going through. The boomer generation pushed for profits at any expense, high productivity, all that meant losing our soul to China and India. So now, we are at mercy of a system integrated with a culture that eat wild animals and all that come with it. The boomer generation has indeed doomed this country. Not the young.

      Reply
      • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

        American businesses may have chased the lowest cost, but we shouldn’t excuse predatory practices by the Chinese. Supply chains moved to China because Chinese companies, with state support, made it almost impossible to compete. Once the supply chain has moved, you no longer have a choice. Domestic sources simply don’t exist.

        Competition from Japan and Taiwan already shrunk the American machine tool industry, but then Chinese injection molders started offering free molds in order to get molding jobs. It’s very hard to compete with free.

        Stuff like that has been duplicated in all sorts of industries, from nuts and bolts, to pharmaceuticals. Eventually, you can’t find a domestic source for the widget you need because entire industries have disappeared from our shores.

        Reply
      • AvatarJohn C.

        You make a great point about us mature folks having fallen short both in our dealings with Asia and for that matter most everything else. That makes this generational sacrifice all the more a miracle. A totalitarian state would have said shoot the infected and burn their bodies to save the herd. If China really has gotten past their virus, that was probably how they did it.

        Reply
  5. AvatarRyan Patrick

    That de Blasio tweet is golden. Looking back on the idiotic things people were saying in January and February has at least made my days under the boot of Gov. Whitmer at least somewhat enjoyable. Unfortunately, gardening equipment has been deemed non-essential (among a host of other things)

    Most of the people praising these measures, complaining about hoarders, and calling for people to “donate” their PPE are the ones who were wholefully unprepared for the situation. Funny how that works.

    Everyone had the same information available to them. If they chose to ignore what was happening on in China and instead focus solely upon politics, that’s their fault.

    Reply
  6. AvatarBeccaria

    I don’t know where you’re getting the notion that “universal healthcare” is a “uniparty idea.” The DNC was willing to sabotage the candidate who embraced Medicare for All at the expense of shattering the party and quite possibly losing the upcoming election. Resistance to single payer from the establishment is entrenched; but the current crisis has irreparably damaged the credibility of the current system. There aren’t going to be any more ACA bandaids and glittering bromides about “markets” or “competition.”

    I now very strongly suspect that the Republicans will get behind a bootleg version of single payer before the Democrats ever do. It makes too much political sense given the evolution of their base (whiter, more rural, lower-middle to working class). They’ll set it up in such a way that their core demographics and donors are given favored treatment, and they’ll sell it as something that makes American business more competitive and “keeps the heartland strong.” Look for PatriotCare™️ to appear within the next couple of election cycles. The R’s are vindictive and cruel, but they’re smart enough to know how to hold power.

    Reply
    • AvatarPaul M.

      Right on brother. The Biden response is to give medicare for all to those 60 years and above. what a joke. He is a joke.

      Both parties are lost. Medicare for all is the only path forward. The current health care system is broke. Only those blinded by insurance, and medical (pharmaceutical) companies don’t get it. But hey, those people who do have insurance, think we have the best system. Only if you can afford the deductibles and coinsurance. Even if you have insurance, most plans want so much deductible nowadays, that going to a doctor for anything big means at least going into debt for about 10,000. And God save all those that lose their jobs. You can’t make this nonsense up.

      Reply
      • Avatarstingray65

        How is that single payer working out in the UK and Italy? Free medical isn’t so great when “free” also means their are inadequate medical supplies and inadequate medical staffing to handle medical emergencies. Internal memos have been leaked in Italy and Sweden that show the policy is to limit care to anyone over 60 as a way of rationing the very limited capacity of their “free” medical systems. The funny thing about such systems is that everyone thinks they are covered because they are citizens and pay taxes, but then they discover the medical system doesn’t need to be responsive to their health needs and can refuse them care. Because the pay checks of medical personnel in a “free” system aren’t dependent on payments from individual patients or their insurance companies so they just say no to difficult cases and go home at 3.30 when their shift is over – sort of like the care you would expect to receive if the DMV was in charge of hospitals.

        Reply
      • AvatarCJinSD

        You can have Medicare for all right now in your personal life if you’re uninsured. If you get sick, take some aspirin and die. Medicare for all is really about removing the ability of people who have saved during their lives from spending their earnings prolonging their lives so the parasites in government can let them die and loot their estates. Government interference in medicine is already removing many of the best doctors from availability to the public. Medicare for all will give you health that resembles our neglected infrastructure.

        Reply
        • AvatarJohn C.

          If medicare didn’t do anything for the people it currently serves, it would not cost so much. Your presumption that we would limit care once young people were added is yours. Covering everyone under it properly would cost a small percentage of the “liquidity” that was just handed out to swamp people on Wall Street you so admire. Notice that welfare queen behavior bothers your conservative inc sensibilities not in the least.

          British PM descibed the mountain of sacrafice given his country by the young that served in WWI. He felt the sacrafice earned the young a better deal than their fathers. Well the young today are dutifully going to ground to save their parents and grandparents. A debt that also must be repaid after this is over.

          Reply
  7. AvatarPaul M.

    Problems we see with Pandemic, shortages of medical supplies, and medicine, would not have been resolved with a bit earlier response. The only way to fix things is to mandate made in America at government level for those goods. The only way to fix corporate America is to mandate representation for employees and communities that those companies are based at on the boards. boards should have 30% representation by each of three areas (stock holders, employees and communities). Until corporate America is not run by so called capitalists and wall street types for whom profit is the only motivation(stock price is king and CEO only answers to large stockholders), lowest cost production wins. Hence selling out to China and India and the kind. There is no hope when only a few at the very top win. Revolutions happen in those circumstances. If that can’t happen,then a minimum salary (living wage, Yang’s theme for his election campaign) of at least 2000 a month must be given to all funded by taxation on corporations and the rich and wall street. There is no other way. Stop vulture capitalists like Elliott group (Paul Singer), stop shorting of stocks, stop but and sell orders for stocks for short term gains, give people real pensions not stupid retirement funds that can go poof in every economic downturn.

    Reply
    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      Please sell your wolf tickets somewhere else. Employees and “communities” are just as greedy as stockholders and will grasp for a bigger share of the pie. Some people have the foolish notion that you can separate out humans into a group, by any measure, and end up with a group of people who don’t act like people. There are lots of folks who think that if you work for the government or a non-profit you can’t possibly be as greedy as someone working in the private sector.

      Regarding profits, Samuel Gompers, the father of the American labor movement said that the biggest sin that capital can commit against labor is to fail to turn a profit.

      We already have too many “woke” corporations, like Gillette, and politicized HR departments in most large companies.

      Frankly I think most companies’ mission statements should be “Make cool stuff, sell it at a profit, treat people well.”

      Reply
        • AvatarTexn

          I worked at an engineering firm with a similar model: work hard, have fun, make money. I didn’t make much but we kept clients happy and had a good time. In your 20s, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

          Reply
      • AvatarPaul M.

        Ronnie Schreiber , when you start your counter argument by saying:

        “Please sell your wolf tickets somewhere else”, you lose credibility. You sound like you are defensive. Weak to start. Your counterpoint is all over the place and not cohesive.

        How are employees greedy? Because they want to have a job? Because they don’t want positions outsourced? Enlighten me.

        How are communities greedy? Because after giving huge tax breaks to companies for company to locate to a city, they don’t want to see call centers moved to Philippines and India? Again enlighten me.

        If you think quoting people and talking how they made profit makes you sound intelligent, I got news for you, you sound disconnected You are not grasping the fact that today America has no real system that allowed this great country to thrive previously. Profits where only a few thrive, and no middle class, which is what is happening when people like Carl Ichan and Paul Singer (Elliott group) take advantage of the system, is not a system that will survive long term. That is THE REASON for why we need representation for employees and communities.

        It is not about companies selling cool stuff for profits, only. How simple can you be? It is about companies making cool stuff, by employees in AMERICA (not Apple in China) and contribute to our tax base. Otherwise, there is no long term survival for a country where majority are poor, and a few make money by making cool stuff overseas.

        Reply
        • AvatarDaniel J

          Tax breaks given to employers for moving to a location are given by Mayors, city council, or county officials all elected by the citizens. There’s your representation.

          Companies invest millions if not billions of dollars into communities through employment, training, and all the revenue generated by other companies needed for support.

          The only way to NOT give tax breaks to companies is for all communities not to do it. Without that, a city or state will always offer a better deal to these companies.

          When I hear comment about tax breaks, I always look towards math which many seem to not understand. If a company comes into town and gets tax breaks, at the worst case, they will pay zero local property tax dollars, zero capital gains tax dollars, and maybe zero taxes in other areas.

          But zero still equals zero if they don’t show up.

          What does the community get? Employment, training, sales tax and property tax revenue from new or economically lifted employees.

          Fundamentally, the real problem with our so-called capitalistic economy is that it has *too* much government interference. It is crony capitalism. It is capitalism where government chooses winners and losers. Looking at the auto bailout is an example of that.

          In a free market, lobbyists wouldn’t exist nor would they have the political and economic pull they have. Free markets would allow for the best products and services to win. The rich get richer because we have increased regulations and reduced competition.

          Reply
    • Avatarstingray65

      Paul, Do you realize that over 50% of Americans own stock directly or indirectly through mutual funds? Add in those whose public or private pension system own stocks and the vast majority of Americans benefit from higher stock prices. The current pandemic has resulted in stock market downturns of about 30%, which is because of projected lower earnings of companies due to forced closures and other disruptions to their normal channels of sales and profits. This downturn is causing great worries for pensioners and near pensioners who are concerned that their source of wealth has become much smaller, and hence are less likely to purchase a new car, house, TV, or take a trip they might have made otherwise, which hurts people working in those industries even if they don’t own stocks. Most of your suggestions would make much of the stock market downturn permanent, and result in far slower future growth and wealth creation, and who gets hurt from that? The answer is everyone, but most severely the poor and most vulnerable.

      The only suggestions you make that may be fruitful is the buy American mandates by the government agencies to ensure a buyer for essential materials made in higher cost USA. I also expect many “greedy” corporate executives will also take a second look at the true cost of relying on “cheap” China for key supplies and perhaps consider bringing more jobs back to the US or other more stable places. What would almost certainly reduce this likelihood of this job return would be requirements that management have their decision making tied up by more government regulations and non-shareholder stakeholder mandates that make achieving a profit in the US more difficult.

      Reply
      • Avatarhank chinaski

        I would argue that there has been an uncoupling of price and value to the detriment of everyone but the financial institutions, particularly after a crash. Without throwing out the baby with the bathwater, reinstating Glass-Steagall, regulating CDOs, stock buybacks, leverage, ZIRP/NIRP, HFT, capital controls, outsourcing, and more, would be a good thing.

        Globalization sucks. The economy should serve us, not the other way around. ‘muh GNP’.

        Reply
      • AvatarPaul M.

        Stingray, few individual stock holders own stocks in America. And I am including 401k stockholders in that statement. From the article in link below:
        “A whopping 84 percent of all stocks owned by Americans belong to the wealthiest 10 percent of households. And that includes everyone’s stakes in pension plans, 401(k)’s and individual retirement accounts, as well as trust funds, mutual funds and college savings programs like 529 plans.”

        https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/business/economy/stocks-economy.html

        So not only individuals lose money to tune of 30% (currently per lows of pandemic) or 50% (great recession) or dot com bust before, but most stocks are not owned by majority. You are defending the top 10 percent.

        Corporations buy their own stocks instead of spending on capital investment in America. Corporations pay large dividends (there are companies known as dividend aristocrats) even though they may not be doing good financially (check AT&T dividend and check their debts). GE seemed to pay great dividends till it did not.

        You say my recommendation of giving 2000 a year minimum to every American without jobs is bad and will create recession for ever. Meanwhile, it is ok to given billions and billions to banks when they need it. Or to auto companies when they should go bankrupt. Or now to airlines and Boeing. Why are we trying to save Boeing. Let it declare bankruptcy. It is the company that bought its own stocks instead of investing in its product. It outsourced. Airlines have done well for past 10 years, yet they bought their own stock to prop up the stock price.

        The current corporate system is built for LARGE stock holders (remember that majority of stocks are owned by 10%). If you bring jobs back to America, many will be hired. A good move. But automation will still make many lack jobs. That minimum salary will cover the rest. Instead of waging wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, having solders based in Germany, and South Korea, spend it at home. Those checks to individuals means they buy cars. They pay rent (homes will be built). They buy clothing. The money will be spent here.

        As is, the corporate system, keeps the money in pockets of a few which means it sits in banks. They don’t spend the money. If the country doesn’t take care of majority, there will not be a country soon enough.

        Reply
        • Avatarstingray65

          I’m not in favor of bailouts or crony capitalism, and less regulation in general would make investing in America more profitable than paying dividends or buying back stock or shipping jobs to China. Yes rich people own more stock than poor people, but many rich people are rich because they invested in the stock market. When you see stats that point out huge disparities in stock market portfolio values you have to consider the age of the owners, because most of the 1% or top 10% are senior citizens who have had decades of compound interest and dividend reinvestment to build huge portfolios. But as the links below show, just over 50% of US households own stocks, and a downturn in the stock market hurts the pension funds many rely on such as Calpers.

          https://wallethacks.com/stock-ownership-in-america/
          https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article241391841.html

          Reply
          • Avatar-Nate

            Lying again as usual .

            You support corporate welfare .

            Me, I guess I’m a 10%’er as I have a diversified stock portfolio, anyone can do it : buy one or two shares of the stocks you think are any good then set it up so any dividends go directly into more stock purchase, also once a month cut a check to buy more .

            It adds up sooner that the mouth breathers think .

            My grand daughter should do really well when I die .

            -Nate

        • AvatarDaniel Jason Sharpe

          Paul M,

          I fall into the wealthiest 10 percent according to several sources at 120k per household. I am not rich nor wealthy by any stretch. And my 401k is in the tank.

          I think looking at the top 10 percent is a bit disenguous.

          Again, the problem is too much government intervention and reduced competition.

          Reply
  8. AvatarRonnie Schreiber

    Domestically, our families would have planted “victory gardens”, conserved what they could, and supported each other through local affiliations and organizations.

    A Victory Garden is out of the question here because Michigan’s governor has prohibited big box stores from selling seeds and other garden supplies because they are not “essential”. That actually contradicts her earlier order that says agriculture is exempt. That’s how the cannabis grow stores are still operating.

    I used to wonder how people as stupid as Maxine Waters and Debbie Wasserman Schultz could achieve power in the United States. Now I realize that identity politics have made Democrats stupid in the sense that for two generations now the party leadership has been terrified of speaking the truth about women and minority candidates, when those candidates happen to be stupid as rocks.

    There’s a difference between ambition and intelligence.

    Reply
    • Avatarstingray65

      But she is allowing people to buy “essential” lottery tickets – hey you might be a winner and then who needs a garden?

      Reply
      • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

        What’s silly is that the law only applies to stores that are a certain size. The Ace Hardware franchise in the neighborhood will sell you all the seeds you want.

        I listened to part of Whitmer’s press conference today. She doesn’t come across as very bright. When one reporter asked if non-essential state workers would be laid off to help with the revenue shortfall she refused to even address that specific topic. I haven’t heard of any public employees, at any level, state, local, or federal, being laid off, as if somehow we’re supposed to believe that they’re all actually busy and essential right now.

        Whitmer won’t lay off state employees because she wants the support of AFSCME and SEIU.

        After watching Deep State criminals getting away with stuff that they’d put you and I away for for years, and now no public employee layoffs, it’s increasingly clear that there are two classes in America, regular folks and folks who leech off of regular folks.

        Reply
        • AvatarCliffG

          Last I looked states can’t print their own money. With sales tax revenues down 70%, income taxes down 30%, other taxes down 20%+ I will be fascinated to see how they are planning on paying their bills in about 45 days. Given her comments about Trump, Mnuchin may be uninterested in answering her phone calls. Interesting times indeed.

          Reply
  9. AvatarShortest Circuit

    I think this time we can call it the “craft beer event horizon”.
    I mean really, whisky-barrel aged russian stout? Who TF comes up with that??

    Reply
  10. Avatardejal

    https://www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2020/04/coronavirus-health-officials-announce-70-more-deaths-and-2615-new-covid-19-cases-in-massachusetts-on-easter-sunday.html

    WTF?
    Here is a breakdown of deaths by ethnicity or race:

    Hispanic: 28

    Non-Hispanic White: 199

    Non-Hispanic Black/African American: 20

    Non-Hispanic Asian: 13

    Non-Hispanic Other (Reporting multiple races or that the originating reporting system does not capture the information): 16

    Unknown: 356

    Missing: 124

    Reply
  11. AvatarJW

    Unrelated to the discussion happening here, what a coup for Hagerty to snag Sam Smith. Dude might be the single most entertaining person in all of automotive media. Quite the roster you all are building there.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I can’t take any credit. Hearst decided that they hate car magazines and the people who write them.

      Reply
      • AvatarNoID

        It’s like they told Gawkmodo to hold their beer.

        Between TTAC losing its religion and Jalopnik suffering from Benjamin Button syndrome, it’s nice to see this oasis of talent, experience, and insight forming at Hagerty.

        Reply
      • AvatarNewbie Jeff

        “Hearst decided that they hate car magazines and the people who write them.”

        Which, not surprisingly, seemed to coincide with the move to NYC. The product went downhill immediately.

        I love SS. I used to love R&T. Now I love Hagerty? I guess I’ll subscribe to find out…

        P.S. Does Hagerty do anything about club racing? I always thought something like that belonged in R&T, like a recurring column for the club crowd. If Gordon Baxter could write about little airplanes for 30 years, maybe Hagerty could find someone to write about amateur car racing…

        Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          Hagerty is getting big into trackday insurance. I’m hoping they will come up with a product for the club crowd, of which I am obviously a member.

          Reply
      • AvatarPanzer

        Yeah, but ‘ol Sam drank the Climate Kool
        Aid about how Car drivers are to blame. Surely that would’ve got him brownie points?

        Reply
          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            The climate thing was ridiculous but it’s important to remember that much of that direction comes from the ownership in New York City, which despises the automobile and is actively embarrassed at owning car magazines.

          • AvatarHarrison Bergeron

            Yep did not renew either when it was up. Unfollowed them on all the social media platforms as well for good measure.

      • AvatarPanzer

        I’m willing to give the guy a second chance, because I liked his writing almost as much as yours at RT, but you say the direction came from up top to write this shit, yet he was out the door soon after. Couldn’t he have told ‘em to go fuck themselves in that case?

        Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          He has two children, both under the age of five, and a wife who stays at home.

          He did what they asked, then I came with a different opportunity, and he took it. Which I think says it all. Sam’s not the Judd Nelson character from the Breakfast Club… that’s probably me. He’s more like Ducky from Pretty in Pink.

          Reply
          • AvatarPanzer

            Ok fair enough. Now you’re his boss, you can help yourself to that yellow Integra of his right?

          • AvatarScottS

            It was so good to read Sam’s bio at Hagerty! I didn’t know about the climate change piece, but I read it this morning. I’m willing to forgive that indiscretion, but if I ever have the privilege to meet Sam in person I might bring it up. My last time reading R&T was the PCOTY issue, which ended up in the fireplace at the start of the final chapter. I expect the lights are fully out at R&T with Sam leaving the room, but I won’t be checking in to find out.

            I am impressed with the team that has been assembled at Hagerty, and I will be interesting to see where the future leads. I’ve always regarded, as I expect many other do, Hagerty as a collector car company. Old cars, not new ones. I have loved old cars over the years and continue to admire them as much as ever. I simply don’t have the bandwidth required to keep them going. And yet I worry for the future of the late model cars that I would enjoy owning having the fun engineered completely out of them.

            I’ve been freeriding the web articles to this point, so I think it’s time for me to step up and support Hagerty.

  12. Avatarscotten

    Right on Jack.

    I’m roughly your age and flew twice as a kid: Once to move cross-country when my dad got relocated and second on a vacation that my father won (due to on-the-job performance).

    Most travel agents were women and I credit/blame them for pushing the vacation industry that lives now.

    Reply
    • AvatarNoID

      I’m much younger than both of you (31) and I flew one time before I was an adult, a family working vacation in California. Only one of my children has ever flown anywhere, and that was when our at that time still-nursing youngest daughter accompanied my wife on an emergency trip to handle some marital and inter-generational drama, since apparently she’s the only adult left in the family.

      She’s since taken two more trips for family drama, but we’ve found it easier and of comparable expense to rent cars for the one-day drive, with the bonus feature of her having her own wheels for the duration.

      Jack, your ratio of Miata to Not-Miata article themes is getting a little lopsided.

      Reply
        • AvatarOne Leg at a Time

          I love the Miata articles, and I think this one was one of your best work.

          The sublime experience of driving those cars comes through in your writing, even when you are not specifically writing about the sublime experience of driving one.

          And of course, the best Baruthian extended metaphor of all time was in favor or the last gen Miata. (From the Hyundai Genesis / FT-86 / Miata comparo on TTAC)

          Reply
        • AvatarKevin Jaeger

          Love the Miata articles, but of course I’d still likely read an article about the damn Phaetons.

          I’m looking forward to getting my Miata out of storage, even though I will need to violate multiple government orders when I do it.

          Reply
  13. Avatarhank chinaski

    The list of viral plagues originating in China is long and distinguished. Whether due to ‘wet markets’, genetics, crowding, or Chabaduo practices at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (I can imagine the resale of used PPF or lab animals out the back door for a few Yuan, for instance) , there it is. Grab a random pic of urban life there (or on Chinese in US cities) and you’ll see more than a few masks.

    At any given moment, a fraction of the population is within a year of death from all causes, with the curve ramping up with time. The majority of healthcare’s efforts are spent dealing with these folks as they float in and out of hospitals. WuFlu clearly gives this process a swift kick in the ass. Apparently being the stereotypically HFCS fattened middle aged American is even worse than before. Americans have classically been in denial of their own mortality, Boomers especially so. This is mirrored in the overreaction to this disease. Whatever is left for posterity, it will be even worse than 9/11’s Patriot Act and Forever Wars.

    Reply
    • AvatarOne Leg at a Time

      Yeah, well, so’s my johnson…

      (If I don’t do it, someone will. And if no one does, I will be disappointed)

      Reply
  14. Avatar-Nate

    FWIW, most of my family (all the ones still living East of the Rockies) have already planted Victory gardens, I would too but it turns out I’m a terrible farmer, I can grow pot easily (anyone can, if you can’t you’re rare) but am useless in the field unless the hay bailer or tractor quits half way through mowing / bailing / threshing .

    This blog is as close to social media as I get, it sounds like I’ve not missed anything important .

    ” our nondescript home” ~ ! oh, PUH-LEASE jack ~ I’ve seen it and it’s a mansion .

    I could park all of my Motocyles in there and prolly my truck, VW and Morris Minor and still have plenty of room .

    It’s not bad to have a nice big house, God know you worked for it just don’t claim otherwise .

    Kudos on the Miata escapades ! the L.A.P.D., CHP and L.A.S.O. have been told to ignore expired tags and so on through June so if it runs and is safe, go drive / ride it ! .

    Just remember : BE SAFE ! A.T.G., A.T.T. ! .

    -Nate

    Reply
  15. AvatarScottS

    Thanks for this, Jack. Very thoughtful and thought provoking. Great article for Hagerty, too!

    I stopped this morning a coffee at one of favorite non-corporate chain shops. The place, and the whole town, are was virtually empty. The owner who lived through the war in Serbia said, “If you want to know what socialism is like, this is it. The Government is in control of everything, and fairness for all”.

    I’m grateful that I grew up in a rural area, learned to solve problems, and do a lot with a little. FWIW, I always have enough toilet paper and staples to avoid going to a store for a couple of months 😉 This manufactured pandemic has done little to change my daily life, but I do enjoy the reduced traffic. Makes it much nicer to ride motorcycles when the other motorist are more engaged in the drive and not trying to send a text message.

    Reply
  16. AvatarTyler

    ZMF lives?! Thought he expired from the interwebs way back when The Onion / AVClub still had their testes.

    Reply

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