The COVID-19 shutdown has had many changes, with a notable one being more time spent at home. For couples, this had lead to more…alone time, if you know what I mean. More alone time means that 40 weeks from the start of pandemic in the United States (so around Christmas time) means we might be seeing a surge in births.
What does this mean long term? First, a surge should help stave off economic downturn. World War II saw a decline in population of almost 2.5% worldwide, but a surge in the birth rate after contributed to the regrowth of the population and economy to boot. With better health care and schooling, a jump in birth rate means more workers to produce more , which long term should raise GDP.
Second, the population will change dramatically where it is located at. China, already on decline, will likely decline more, falling behind India faster than 2050. That may put pressure on China to consolidate gains made by the One-Belt-One-Road Initiative and territoriality in places like the South China Sea. Russia faces a significant loss in manpower and may struggle to maintain control over its vast territory, which could lead to civil war. African nations like Nigeria and Ethiopia, with relatively democratic governments, could become huge markets for goods and the new source of manufacturing for companies escaping China.
Lastly, COVID-19 exposed that how we manage the elderly, especially in America, is a borderline death trap. Nursing homes, already struggling to keep workers, are the single largest source of COVID deaths in America. But longer life spans and the tendency of nursing homes to suck every penny out of retirement funds means that people will be likely outraged and desire to move aging parents into safer facilities. Expect to see a focus on cleanliness at nursing homes plus a boom in new homes being built with mother-in-law suites for aging parents.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.
DaTechGuy of DaRadio livestraem podcast starts at a special time today 3 PM because of the surprise cancellation of work and my wife’s windshield repair. We’ll talk a bit about Trump the Jacksonian and about the riots going on in Minnesota.
As I wrote a couple of posts back the unemployment rate is 67 percent in the Marathon Pundit home here in suburban Chicago. Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, they were furloughed from their jobs.
Obviously in possession of free time Mrs. Marathon Pundit and Little Marathon Pundit decided to travel on this holiday weekend–they headed to Wisconsin. I stayed here to work.
Illinois, run by a Democrat from Chicago, J.B. Pritzker, remains under lockdown. You cannot enter supermarkets or any store with out a mask. Up in Wisconsin, its state Supreme Court struck down its shelter-in-place order made by its Democratic governor, Tony Evers. And its mask requirements.
Wisconsin is a free state. Illinois is a lockdown state. It’s that simple. My wife and daughter’s money is being spent not her3 but north of the Cheese Curtain. In a way they remind me of Poles in the last years of the Cold War visiting West Germany.
I just got off the phone with Mrs. MP. She enthusiastically told me about her first dine-in restaurant experience in two months. The restaurants in Illinois that are open are open for take-out only. On Friday outdoor dining will be allowed in the Prairie State. What if it rains? What if these diners aren’t equipped for al fresco serving? What if they don’t have the necessary permits? What if the restaurant owners can’t apply for an outdoor dining permit because their village hall is closed because of the coronavirus lockdown? Thanks for next-to-nothing, Pritzker.
Then my wife told me about their arrival yesterday in the small town of Mineral Point in the southwestern part America’s Dairyland. There was–wait for it–a parade! One for recent high school graduates. While the graduation ceremony was cancelled, grads in Mineral Point received their moment of glory on the streets. As far as I can gather all parades scheduled in Illinois in spring or early summer were cancelled. “A few people wore masks,” she told me of the people participating or viewing the parade, “but most didn’t.” Some stores are open–mostly the locally-owned ones as opposed to the big chains. “When you go in those places, you don’t have to wear masks,” she enthused.
My wife and daughter went inside, yes inside, a coffee shop, and drank coffee, although a sign outside of that establishment said, “Masks are recommended.” But masks weren’t even recommended when they entered an ice cream parlor.
Many other Illinoisans have escaped to Wisconsin too. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel spoke to one refugee from the Pritzker Lockdown who journeyed to Lake Geneva. “‘All for it,” said Dave Gragnani of McHenry, Illinois, who said he planned to visit a coffee shop and skatepark without any mask or hand sanitizer. “People should have a choice. I’m having a wonderful time.'”
Good for you, Dave!
As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) have sent a letter to officials from the Trump administration, demanding answers about TSMC’s recent announcement to build a fab in Ariz. As reported, TSMC has announced its intention to build and operate an advanced semiconductor fab in the U.S. The fab, to be built in Arizona, will move into production in 2024.
The senators believe that it’s important to have a strong U.S. semiconductor industry, but they want to know if TSMC was offered incentives. They also contend that TSMC’s proposed and one-time fab is “inadequate” in terms of rebuilding the technology base in the U.S.
When I said AOC was the soul of the soulless Democrat Party that was not hyperbole. Her success in blocking Amazon in New York City was just one of many attempts by Democrats to sabotage capitalism in America.
Look at who runs most of the cities and states that refuse to re-open.
That’s very true, American’s working helps Trump thus it’s EVIL in the eyes of Dems but the real crime here is that it’s a Taiwan company and as Instapundit has noted you can really tell who is on China’s payroll or at least on the same team:
Update: Instalanche: Thanks Ed, Hi folks take a peek around and check out our merry band of writers. Let me note that the quote from that piece is Don Surber’s whose site should be part of your daily reading and let me take the time to plug my livestream no frills podcast Monday’s at 12:35 AM EST and Fridays at 9:30 EST , you can watch the latest where I talk about
Obamagate and what the CYA by Susan Rice means
the Democrat Aristocracy of Losers namely Stacy Abrams
Morning Mika’s failure to see the dangers of the Streisand Effect due to the media bubble (and inability to defend husband Joe Scarborough using the obvious argument because it’s an outside the bubble
The special election in Staunton VA and what that means nationally here.
I oppose the whole sanctuary City business as a violation of the rule of law, however if there is one thing you can say about the Sanctuary City movement is that it is in keeping of the American Tradition of completely ignoring laws that they don’t like.
We’re now seeing a glimpse of this in NYC:
Upper East Side bars and restaurants allowed patrons to drink on sidewalks, and in some cases dine in. Tonight's lead story on @NBCNewYork at 11p—shot by photojournalists Danny Ojeda and Alex Plasencia. pic.twitter.com/RBvZqUUimu
When you have a one party state or city it usually takes an “I’m mad as hell and can’t take it anymore moment. I’m wondering if this might become the case in blue states that remain locked down as other places open.
“A resolution of the city council of the city of Atwater affirming the city’s commitment to fundamental rights of life, liberty, and property, and declaring the city of Atwater a sanctuary city for all businesses,” the resolution read.
A statewide shelter-in-place order has been in effect since March 19, with gradual easements happening this month. While some counties were reportedly approved to move to “Phase 2” of the state’s reopening plan, which would allow some non-essential lower-risk business to reopen, Atwater’s Merced County was not included.
It will be fun to see the left object to these thing as they’ve objected to sanctuary gun counties. Perhaps they should have thought about the “new rules” as Kurt Schlichter calls them, before imposing them.
The same thing applies to liberals rushing to cheer Judge Sullivan who is doing all he can to pretend that he’s in a Soviet Courtroom rather than an american one. In one respect given how this entire Mike Flynn business has gone such actions by the left should be unsurprising but I’d remind our friend on the left that Donald Trump has appointed a 3rd of the judiciary at this point and you might not like the Sullivan Standards if they are applied to their allies.
The left will not consider these tactics an outrage until they are used against them and under a Jacksonian president, I’d not be surprised to see it, except for the fact that he’s not to my knowledge appointing Jacksonian judges. As Razor put it on twitter:
This won’t be a shocking scandal impacting democracy and undermining the rule of law until the moment a Republican copies it.
It’s worth noting that the reason why President Trump has been able to so effectively pack the courts with conservatives is that Harry Reid changed the rules when he presumed that the left would hold the Senate forever.
It’s also a bad political move. I suspect that while Black Americans intellectually know that Barack Obama was a disaster in the White House for America in general and them in particular they cling to the myth of the light-bringer culturally to the point where they might actually turn out to defend that fantasy.
Turned on a livestream of a Sunday Mass on the Roku (I keep ending up finding different ones) and I noticed that there was a chat option.
I thought this was odd considering you aren’t supposed to be talking in Mass but if nothing else said option is an exercise in realism.
On my way to work here in Illinois–where Democratic governor JB Pritzker says I have to wear a mask–I was listening to Dennis Prager’s show when he said something along the lines that people connect to each other by way of seeing their faces. Very true. The most obvious example is by way of dating sites, nearly all of the profiles include face pics. Whether you are old or young, thin or heavy, bald or hairy, every expert on creating profiles for LinkedIn recommends using a quality head shot on that employment networking site.
Faces are how we remember people. When you think of Angelina Jolie her lips come to mind. With Jay Leno it’s his prominent chin. With John Bolton his bushy mustache is his visual trademark. If they are wearing masks you won’t see their distinctive facial features.
A masked face doesn’t allow you to see smiles.
It’s unclear how effective masks are in preventing the spread of COVID-19, with the exception of the N95 mask, which gets its name because it’s supposed to block 95 percent of small particles.
What is clear is that the projections of the death total from the novel coronavirus have been alarmist. The most dire one predicted 2.2 million COVID-19 deaths in America–and that prediction likely led to many shelter-in-place orders being put in place, including the one that was extended by Pritzker, most likely illegally, until the end of May. The latter order opened a few more places, such as golf courses, but added a mask requirement for businesses open to the public, such as big box stores. Dine-in restaurants, hair salons, and health clubs remain shuttered. Churches too.
Humans are primates and primates are social beings. We’re not cats. While there are a few among us who choose the life a hermit, even existences commonly connected with solitude, such as that of a monk or a nun, involve a community where people see each other. Monks typically live in monasteries with other monks. Nuns dwell in convents with other nuns.
So far COVID-19 is not nearly as deadly as the 1918 Flu Pandemic which killed anywhere from 50-100 million people worldwide–and many of those who died of it were in their twenties and thirties who were otherwise healthy. It is not the Asian Flu of the late 1950s which killed roughly two million. While every death of course is a tragedy, so far 300,000 people have died of COVID-19. In 1918 the world population was about 1.6 billion, in 1958 it was a bit short of 3 billion. Today’s world population is 8 billion.
A few weeks ago I questioned whether the draconian methods to shut down our economy were worth it, bankruptcies and unemployment are common triggers for substance abuse, depression, spousal and child abuse, and suicide. Since that post we’ve learned nearly all of the coronavirus fatalities suffered from pre-existing conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
Now because of masks we are becoming the faceless, like the disturbing images in the “Life of Julia” Obama-Biden campaign video from 2012 that preached to the masses–not to individuals–the inherent power of a government that does everything for you. But remember Barry Goldwater’s warning, “Any government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.”
Like Prager, I’m not a conspiracy nut. But a couple of weeks ago he wrote that the coronavirus overreaction is a dress rehearsal for a police state. Chicago’s vast expanse of lakefront parks–which is 18 miles long–have been closed for six weeks and counting. Churches and dine-in restaurants are closed statewide, as I mentioned earlier. In regards to the latter, for health reasons will the state or local governments in Illinois retain the power to shutter restaurants that serve, let’s say, too much high-fat food? That possibility is no longer far-fetched.
The lakefront parks won’t be closed forever. But I can easily see Lori Lightfoot or a future Chicago mayor limiting Lincoln Park or Jackson Park to a few hundred visitors each day–with government workers with internal passports first in line of course–in the name of nature preservation or fighting global warming. It will of course all be done in the name of the faceless masses.
I’m running low on orange juice. I may need run to the supermarket. Where is my mask?
I’ll be less of a human wearing that mask. Is that the plan?
The Prospect of Elon Musk dropping California over their continued lockdown is highlighting one of the biggest facts of life concerning the left. For three years they were praying for a recession to slow down the Trump economy. Now that the Corona Virus / Wuhan Virus / CCP Virus has produced one they are desperate to keep the ball rolling. Unfortunately for them the President’s deference to the state on reopening is likely going to create a red/blue economic divide where states run by Trump supporting Governors and/or legislatures are open and thriving while states with Democrat governors or veto proof Democrat majorities hold their people back. We’ve already seen one LA district go GOP in a special election this cycle and if the Democrats insist on keeping people unemployed the revolt against the left might turn an election already looking bad for the left thanks to Biden into a disaster on the state level as well.
The dropping of the Michael Flynn case and the revelations that the Democrats were saying one thing under oath while saying a 2nd to their audience in a normal time might mean doom for them in general but I had a long talk with my parish priest on the subject and he’s noticed that when it comes to things political a real tribalism sets that blinds people to certain things. He gave an example where during the Clinton years a devout woman who would have never tolerated such behavior in her own family would comment. “The poor man, he can’t help himself.” People will find a blind spot when they need it and lately they really need it with the left.
One of the most significant revelations from the Flynn case has been the degree to which Barack Obama was involved in the attempts to destroy the Trump campaign and Flynn. This should be no surprise as Obama was always just a cheap member of the Chicago corruption gang who brought that game with him to DC. However the prospect of senior Obama people’s conduct being examined by the AG and a case that might even reach to the top is one of the reasons why the ex-president is getting involved, it’s also the reason why if evidence is found there is unlikely going to be any move against them till after the election so as not to energize the left.
It’s been interesting to see Jake Tapper questioning several democrats on the Tara Reade / Joe Biden double standard. Over the last few years he has been as NeverTrump as it gets but once the embargo on Reade ended he has not hesitated to challenge leftists on the new METOO standard of “believe all democrat candidates”. One might think this is more toward his roots and it is but if your goal is to defeat President Trump it’s necessary to get this taken care of now rather than later and Tapper’s questions actually serve this purpose better than anything the Democrats have done.
Finally this week’s Monday AM podcast was cancelled due to some issues at home. Barring disaster the livestream will resume Friday Morning at 9:30 AM and the Monday AM podcast should return three days later
Illinois has the wrong governor at the wrong time.
Oh, I’m not talking about the political positions of Chicago Democrat J.B. Pritzker, the billionaire who was elected governor in 2018.
Let’s first discuss how he was elected. Largely because of support of unions, who probably fell in love with his wallet, as well as the tacit support of the most powerful politician in Illinois, longtime state House speaker Michael Madigan, Pritzker won the Democratic gubernatorial primary. That’s quite ironic as the Pritzker family has had a troubled relationship with organized labor, starting with the Pritzker-owned Hyatt hotel chain.
Pritzker largely self-funded his campaign. So did his hapless general election opponent, multi-millionaire Bruce Rauner. The one-term Republican achieved nothing as governor, other than get bested by Boss Madigan, the mother hen of Illinois’ pension bomb.
Illinois’ shelter-in-place order in response to the coronavirus was eased a bit earlier this month. Golf courses, those germ cesspools, are now open. Dine-in restaurants, health clubs, hair salons and the like are closed. Nearly one million Illinoisans, including my wife and daughter, are newly out of work.
When things get back to what we might call normal, many of businesses won’t be here anymore. Pritzker is a trust fund baby who has never had to worry about economic survival. I’m sure he’s had a few setbacks, but he could always reach into that perpetually-full cookie jar of a trust fund or his accounts in the Grand Cayman Islands. Contrast that situation to the husband and wife who met while working as servers at a restaurant twenty years ago, then saved their money and took out a second mortgage on their home to open their own restaurant. They’ve laid off their servers and bussers, and only half of their cooks kept their jobs. Revenue has plummeted. Taking a third mortgage out on their home to bail out their restaurant isn’t an option. So their dream business, their livelihood that supported children may have only one destiny. Closing down. And then they’ll have no choice but to declare bankruptcy.
Pritzker doesn’t get it.
Since the governor issued his shelter-in-place order nearly two months ago most state offices were shuttered. Yet every state employee is being paid. Let’s zoom in on Illinois’ secretary of state office, which is mainly what other places call the DMV. Driver’s licenses aren’t being issued or renewed, the same goes with license plates, unless, with the latter, you are buying a car as most car dealers in Illinois have the ability to provide at the very least temporary state tags.
Why haven’t state employees like these been laid off? Union rules just might prohibit that but we are told by Pritzker that Illinois is facing an emergency. I’m sure if he wanted to he’d find a state law to justify layoffs. But Pritzker couldn’t simply buy the governor’s office two years ago, he needed votes to win and unions supply lots of voters. And Pritzker, who is not the most dynamic campaigner–he comes across as an arrogant jerk because he is one–will need labor support again if he chooses to run for reelection.
Sales tax revenue is of course way down in Illinois. Because of that and the state’s mountain of unpaid bills and its appallingly-underfunded public worker pension plans, last month Fitch lowered Illinois’ bond to one level above junk.
Unlike its governor, Illinois has no trust fund to bail it out nor does it have bank accounts in the Grand Caymans. Courtesy of Boss Madigan Illinois hasn’t had a rainy day fund for years.
Pritzker is facing several lawsuits challenging his shelter-in-place order. But his wife violated that order by leaving the state for the refuge of their Florida equestrian estate, in the manner of a medieval royal escaping a plague.
It’s good to be king. It’s better to be a billionaire living off a trust fund who can use that cash to be elected governor and then lecture people like me as to how I should live my life. He’s been doing so in his daily press briefings on live television that pre-empt talk shows and soap operas. What fun! The Great Oz has spoken!
Rural Illinois has been particularly devastated by Pritzker’s shutdown. Many Illinois counties have fewer than ten reported cases of COVID-19. Three of them have none.
With great fanfare and expense–$65 million–Pritzker transformed Chicago’s cavernous McCormick Place Convention Center into a hospital because he told us our existing hospitals would be overwhelmed by the coronavirus and there’d be no more hospital beds. After treating 37 patients the McCormick Place hospital closed down. Pritzker took bad advice from so-called experts.
Whether the shelter-in-place order in Illinois and other states worked–or perhaps it was never needed–the lockdowns need to end, with exceptions such as preventing visitors at places with vulnerable people, such as nursing homes. Densely populated cities such as New York and Boston–but not Chicago–probably need to keep up additional protections against COVID-19.
As I wrote a few weeks ago here, a new epidemic is coming. Perhaps it’s here already. One consisting of addiction, spouse and child abuse, and suicide. Economic hardship often brings out the worst in people.
“You never let a serious crisis go to waste.” Rahm Emanuel in 2009.
Last week the president of the Illinois state Senate, Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), sent a letter the state congressional caucus, a gerrymandered lot–more on that latter–asking for $41 billion in aid in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The devil is in the details–Illinois is a hellish place—and in that letter from Harmon is a request of $10 billion to fund its woefully-underfinanced public pension plans.
Illinois’ pension crisis goes back decades. In 1989 Governor Jim Thompson, a Republican, signed into law an annual compounded three-percent cost-of-living-adjustment for the state’s public pensioners. But the funding wasn’t there. His successor, Jim Edgar, another Republican, seemingly placed a fix into the system in 1994, “the Edgar ramp,” which started with low payments for the 15 years of his plan. But by that time, when the “ramp” was to kick in, Great Recession arrived. And there were “pension contribution holidays” before then. When the 2008 economic collapse hit Rod Blagojevich, who was as bad as math as Edgar and Thompson, was governor.
In the early 1990s pension payments consumed four percent of the Illinois budget–now it’s 25 percent. The state-controlled public pension plans are only about 30 percent funded.
All that time–except for two years–powerful Chicago Democrat, Michael Madigan, has been speaker of the state House.
According to the Illinois Policy Institute, 19,000 state pensioners collect more than $100,000 annually. On average these pensioners paid a paltry $160,000 into their retirement plans. What a great deal!
New Jersey and Kentucky have public pension funding issues that are as bad, or perhaps slightly worse, than that of Illinois. Will they be asking for pension bailouts next?
Cutting the three-percent COLA has been tried–it was ruled unconstitutional in a unanimous decision by the Illinois Supreme Court because of the pension guarantee clause in the state constitution. Repealing that clause is the smart thing to do but it’s a politically tall hurdle. Such an amendment would likely have to pass both chambers of the General Assembly. Thanks to Madigan, a skilled gerrymanderer who is also the chairman of the state Democratic Party, there are Dem supermajorities in both chambers. Two attempts by petition to effectively ban gerrymandering by way of a constitutional amendment was struck down in court. Allies of Madigan were behind the anti-Fair Map suits. The petition process to amend the Illinois constitution is deeply flawed.
The organized labor wing of the Democratic Party, the public sector unions, won’t remain quiet if pensions are challenged. Hey there unions, you contributed to this problem too. In 2005 most public service unions signed on to that year’s pension holiday.
I’m against an Illinois pension bailout by the federal government. For the most part. But if such aid comes in the form of an International Monetary Fund-style rescue package with conditions that Illinois cleans its fiscal house, such as dropping the 3-percent COLA and taking aim at the top pension earners, those six-figure retirees, I’m willing to listen.
But receivership is best. Okay, let me dream a bit. As Chicago architect Daniel Burnham said a century ago, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” I know, states are viewed as sovereign entities and cannot, as Detroit did in 2013, declare bankruptcy. But what if Illinois agrees to a strings-attached receivership deal? An emergency manager can be appointed. Pritzker, or whoever is governor if receivership comes about, can still handle the ceremonial stuff, such as ribbon cutting for a new bridge and placing bets with other governors when Chicago sports teams are playing for a league championship.
Oh, I’m thinking loans from the feds, not handouts.
On a personal note, several friends and relatives of mine are collecting state pensions. Money that was taken from their checks every two weeks for their retirement was instead spent on lord-knows-what. They deserve to be angry and that fury needs to be directed at every Illinois governor from Thompson through Blagojevich. And of course at the Where’s Waldo of Illinois failure, Boss Michael Madigan. He deserves the most rage.
Let me be clear: I don’t take my pension reform views lightly.
Prior to Harmon’s bailout request, the latest pension fix idea was a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Illinois flat income tax guarantee and replace it with a graduated one. That amendment will be presented to Prairie State voters in November. My guess is that it will fail. And even if the graduated income tax amendment passes, the additional revenue won’t be enough. Illinois, which has had negative population growth for six straight years, can’t tax its way of the mess.
It’s time for the lastest edition of DaTechGuy’s Friday Morning Court now permanently moved to 9:30 AM EST on Friday’s
MSM Reade or not?
Trump the Man with an Opening Plan
WHO are you fooling?
and misc including Catching Mike Trout and product placement
You can watch the livestream here starting a 9:30 AM EST
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