Continuing coronavirus happenings (Part 1)

Making it free helps them hide the real cost and what they skim off the top. It’s all part of the grift.


sorry…go over to Unicorn Chasers. It helps.


Throughout the nineteen twenties the stock market roared and people ploughed more and more capital into the markets. They thought they could not lose! I forget how that worked out.


Hardly need to go that far back…


The twenties are particularly pertinent beyond the date, since they started with a pandemic. Although i feel the rise of fascism is a bit further along than it was…


There were pandemics in the Founders’ day, and quarantines and lockdowns were common ways of handling it. Republicans continually complain about activist judges legislating from the bench, but this is exactly that.

  • Bill of Rights, ratified December 15, 1791.
  • 1793 Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic, with lockdowns, churches closed, etc.

Something that they can actually check how the founders felt about it, and a precedent in Pennsylvania law.


Where were they going to get them? Didn’t trump send them to China already?


It’s tough to even imagine what a difference this would have made.


“At James Madison University in Virginia, which recently sent students home through September amid a surge in cases, the county is averaging a weekly infection rate of nearly 90 cases per 100,000 people, or more than eight times the statewide average.”

Yay for the hometown team! Oh, wait, that’s bad, isn’t it?


Remember that Chiefs/Texans game where the football players got booed for kneeling and locking arms when the anthem was played? It wasn’t the only Trumpy thing that was brought to the stadium that day




AIUI, there’s two main things here.

The first thing is that some businesses, mainly big tech companies like Amazon or Google, are doing really well in the current situation, and thanks to their size they dominate the indexes, masking the effect of all the other companies who are not doing so well.

The second thing, and IMO much bigger one for the long-term effects, is that if you have money to invest and want a reasonable return, there are very few options available beyond stocks. The interest rates have been way down for more than a decade, so government bonds offer little or even negative returns. Corporate bonds are more profitable, but not hugely so, and they have a lot of the same risks as direct stock investments. Real estate has its own risks, especially when housing prices are pretty high (again, due to low interest making loans and mortgages more affordable).

That second thing is something I see as a small investor, too. I don’t trust the stock market valuations right now, but it’s genuinely hard to find alternate investments that provide any kind of a worthwhile return, without being uncomfortably risky in other ways, very opaque, or both. The big investors and institutional ones like giant pension funds and such have options available to them that small-time guys like me can’t use, but even so they have problems in maintaining reasonable diversification between asset classes.


The markets say nothing about the health of the real economy, just how the wealthy and corporations are doing. We have high unemployment, looming debt crises, and an out of whack housing market, among many other real problems. Having the stock market being one of the only real ways to invest is not a mistake, it was a purposeful choice made to move money up from the rest of us to the wealthiest and corporations.


I think you’re giving the rich too much credit for purposeful evil. The whole mess is IMO more easily explained as an emergent result of blatant greed and short-sightedness.

Also, stock market and things like index funds make investing more accessible and approachable to the less wealthy; the piling-up of wealth in the hands of the ultra-rich is an orthogonal matter.

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No. This is a system built to privilege certain people. They don’t see it as harmful and entirely believe it’s beneficial to all. Any one who doesn’t do well is responsible for their own problems, in their minds. They believe the poor are poor because they are lazy, not because the system is rigged to protect wealth over human beings.

The stock market is not the real economy.

No. It does not. You need money to make it work for you. Most people don’t have the extra wealth to invest now. The vast majority of Americans do not, in fact, have extra wealth to invest in stocks.

It is not. It’s the whole point.

Anyway… Karl Polanyi is still relevant:

Let’s not forget what happened when we went from pensions to 401ks:

More people’s life savings were in far more volatile accounts and people lost everything as the boom and bust cycles of the late 19th century returned in the wake of the Reagan era deregulation push. Pensions work. 401ks don’t always work.


Chris, you are one of the few docs (maybe the only?) physician on this topic, maybe even the BBS.

More, you are a pediatrician

As a parent, as uncle to my immuno-supressed niece, as a friend to a family with an infant born more than four months early, as a survivor, as someone who knows first hand how people suffer when no qualified physician and no hospitals are available I say this: without you and without your peers, life would be terribly hard. And in your specific case, from everything you let through here, I can see that it isn’t just your role, your job we would miss. It is you, as a person.

I have similar and more close-up, sometimes even very personal experience with other people of your profession and can say with very few exceptions, the same is true for them.

It is a very sad state of affairs when those who follow the calling to help others do not get the help they themselves need.

Thanks, @Mindysan33, for remembering the link.

You are not alone.


Word. Retirement accounts are a failed experiment where we were the lab rats.

No one is able to retire on the median balances noted. Some small part of the population that was already going to have investments do as well as they always did. Everyone else was screwed, The reported amounts in retirement accounts usually exclude those with no savings or minimal savings. Add everyone in and it’s pretty grim.

“ When accounting for people who have no retirement savings the picture looks considerably worse. The following are the median retirement accounts when including the figures for people with no retirement savings. The following do not include mean retirement accounts, as this would be statistically less informative than median data.

• Age 32 - 37: $480

• Age 38 - 43: $4,200

• Age 44 - 49: $6,200

• Age 50 - 55: $8,000

• Age 56 - 61: $17,000“


I have a friend whose parents were both tenured professors. In the 90s, their university gave everyone to choice to switch to a 401k instead of a pension plan. Almost everyone else switched, but my friend’s folks did not. Guess who didn’t lose their shirt in 2008 and in fact is sitting on a good amount of wealth?


I have more than an order of magnitude more in my 401(k) (technically a 403(b), but whatever) than the median for my age bracket: and that is still less than ¼ of what is “recommended”.

I actually have a pension with this job, but since I took the job late in life (mid-30s) it won’t amount to much.

Also, since I wasn’t in a position to do these things until later in life, I won’t have the advantages retirees used to have in the past, such as grown children long out of college and a paid-off mortgage.

In fact, if all goes to plan, I’ll start a new 30-year mortgage this year, which will wrap up 10 years after ProPublica computes that this county will have become largely uninhabitable.