Desert Tortoise comments

Posted in: Mexico says U.S. needs at least 600,000 more migrant workers See in context

Btw, the tech industry, Amazon and eBay had a fabulous year this past year. As a result California had record tax receipts this year along with a record budget surplus and is offering their own in-state Covid relief payments. They are also looking at ways to spend the surplus supporting businesses that had to close due to the pandemic. There will still be some billions available to add to the already large rainy day fund the state started to set aside after the 2008 Great Recession. You can thank "ol' Moonbeam" Gov Jerry Brown for initiating that rainy day fund and demanding budget surpluses every year. Ten years straight with budget surpluses and pushign $20 billion in reserve.

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Posted in: Mexico says U.S. needs at least 600,000 more migrant workers See in context

You left the US so you may not know this but most of us in California love our immigrants. We work with them, hire them, work for them or patronize their businesses. We are glad the bigots left. Good riddance. Just me but I would rather have a poor immigrant for a neighbor than an American born white bigot. I am not alone either. The immigrants appreciate America more, are family oriented and generally more honest. Immigration is in my own blood too so I have no patience for those who disparage the immigrant. They are what made and continues to make America great while the bigots have always been a stain on the nation.

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Posted in: Republicans test history in vote against pandemic relief See in context

Automation , because of the twin influences of a rising stock market and government subsidies inflating corporate capital and pandemic pressures on labor liabilities, is accelerating .

You are alleging relationships where none exist. If anything you have it backwards. Stocks for a given company or an industry as a whole rise because they are seen as being better bets for the future and the ability to automate and improve labor efficiency is a big attraction for investors. It is more likely a case of stocks rising for these firms as a result of successful automation, not rising stocks driving automation. As for government subsidies, what subsidies? I am speaking specifically of the US economy.

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Posted in: Republicans test history in vote against pandemic relief See in context

False equivalency and an often used rationale at the time. Bailing out homeowners who would pay off their loans to banks never occurred to the economists cited?

That is not where the money supply was hemorrhaging. The economists who helped develop TARP and the bank bailout looked at where the least money could have the greatest impact. Btw, they did their work many years before the recession but once the recession occurred the Fed and others in the banking system and Treasury department who were aware of their work consulted them for advice. Sorry to sound crude or unfeeling but throwing money at mortgage holders would have taken far to long to roll through the system. A lot of money would have gone to home owners in no danger of foreclosure. This was a problem in the securities markets where suddenly investors realized that these securities based on packages of mortgages were worth a lot less than they were sold for. That is the point where the money was hemorrhaging and that is where the bleeding had to be stemmed. It was a hard, unemotional and impersonal decision based on data, math that proved to be dead on and the severe time constraints involved in stopping the decline in the money supply before a full fledged deflation took hold.

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Posted in: Republicans test history in vote against pandemic relief See in context

By QE, monetary easing, increasing financialization and corporate bailouts while leaving the public with stagnant wages and little direct stimulus the consumer economy is withering with bankruptcies of small businesses and a vast pool money for the .001%.

Those problems pre-date the Great Recession and are not caused by QE. QE adds money to the money supply and prevented a destructive deflationary spiral from destroying the nation. It is that simple and that bleak. There were no other choices at the time. But the problems you speak of are amenable to remedy using the nation's tax and anti-trust laws as the roots of these problems line not in QE, but in tax policy and an utter lack of anti-trust regulation. Too many big consumer markets like beer, toothpaste, cleaning goods, bread, snack foods and soft drinks, things working people spend a large proportion of their after rent/mortgage income on, are sold by some very large oligopolies that need to be broken up.

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Posted in: Republicans test history in vote against pandemic relief See in context

Andrew Yang has commented that the pandemic has exponentially accelerated the pace of automation.

And he is wrong. Automation is independent of the pandemic and is an ongoing process. Few of tThe jobs lost to the pandemic are jobs that are amenable to automation. Warehousing has been automating for over a decade. So has auto production. The B-2 was the first aircraft to go directly from a design on CAD to production hardware built on computer operated machinery with no static mock up to test fit everything. That was back in the 1990s. Now all kinds of products are made that way. The pandemic has nothing at all to do with this process. None.

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Posted in: Mexico says U.S. needs at least 600,000 more migrant workers See in context

I should have said "Think about how beautiful those veggies look on the store shelf" Apologies for the correction.

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Posted in: Mexico says U.S. needs at least 600,000 more migrant workers See in context

How about giving them work first.

For one thing, few ever apply. Believe it or not, farmers in California try hiring citiznes, but native born workers seldom survive even a day in the fields. It's hot, strenuous, buggy, dirty work. And even if they can handle the physical demands they generally can't come close to the level of productivity that is expected. That migratory workforce is surprisingly skilled at what they do. It is not easy to pick fruit or delicate leafy vegetables unless you know what you are doing. It's real easy to mess up a lot of what you pick and ruin its market value. This about how beautiful those veggies look on the store shelf. You can mangle cabbage or lettuce if you pick it wrong and then the farmer doesn't make as much off their crop. The buyers for the grocery chains look at their crop and won't pay top dollar for mangled veggies. Nice looking carrots fetch a buck and a half a pound at the grocery store, but I can also buy a 30 pound bag of beat up mangled carrots for $7.99 (we take our little boy out to feed donkeys with the beat up carrots, donkeys don't care- we love the donkeys too). This is true of most crops. Each crop requires specific skills. Doing it fast enough to justify a $15 per hour wage, which many California farms pay, is a skill that takes time and effort to learn. Someone who's last job was in a doctor's office or Frys Electronics, or who was short cooking food in a now closed restaurant, isn't going to walk out to some farm outside, oh say Watsonville, and be productive. It might take a whole season to become productive. Who is going to put fourth that much effort unless they expect to spend their lives picking crops?

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Posted in: U.S. in delicate balancing act as Saudi prince spared sanctions See in context

A good first tactic is to simply refuse to deal with this crown prince. Talk to other members of the Saudi government but not to him. Try to convince allies to do the same. Make it clear to the Saudi king before he dies that his son is radioactive and not someone the west is willing to deal with in the future. The king will have to do something to protect larger Saudi interests. At the same time reduce military sales to them and make future cooperation contingent on this crown price going away somewhere.

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Posted in: Republicans test history in vote against pandemic relief See in context

This is the Equation of National Income

GDP = C + I + G + ( EX - IM ).

In words that is national income is the sum of consumption, investment, government spending and net exports.

Now, a recession is defined as two consecutive fiscal quarters of declining GDP. So your nation's GDP is declining. That implies C, I and maybe net exports are also declining. So now what do you do to get them going again and restore GDP growth? Spend more G. Here is why that works. The government spends money. It either puts money directly in someone's pocket or it buys things from industry. People with more money spend more, increasing C. Businesses spend too, also increasing C but often increasing I as they are now worthy of borrowing from lending institutions or by selling bonds. That $1 increase in G generally increases GDP by more than $1 as the effects ripple through the economy. That is why direct spending is always a better choice than "tax relief". With a tax cut of $1, less than a $1 is spent. Some is always saved so the increase in GPD from a tax cut is less than the tax cut itself.

Where the US gets it all wrong is that when GDP growth resumes and is stable, the debt incurred during the recession must be paid back. That means setting aside some tax revenue to retire the debt, maybe even raising taxes to do so. But instead in the US, as soon as GDP growth returns the battle cry is always and forever to cut taxes. Doing this perpetuates the debt and leaves the US vulnerable when the inevitable next economic crisis occurs.

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Posted in: Republicans test history in vote against pandemic relief See in context

The Obama administrations' going forward with the banker bailout, began under Bush, and condemning millions of ordinary Americans to foreclosure and bankruptcy was the opening that allowed for the rise of faux populist Trump

In February 2009 when a Democratic administration replaced the former Republican one, there was no realistic choice but to go forward with TARP and the banking bailout. What you are not apparently aware of is what happens if a full fledged deflationary spiral were allow to occur. That is where the US was headed in 2009. In a deflation wages and prices fall. That means business incomes fall with falling prices. People who have cash hold off buying thinking that if they wait, prices will only go lower. That accelerates the overall decline. What does not fall are outstanding loan balances. In a deflationary spiral a point is reached where nobody makes enough to make their loan payments. Not businesses, not mortgage holders, nobody. When that happens you have mass bankruptcy, mass unemployment and human misery rivaled only by war. The level of bankruptcy and foreclosure that the US experienced was tiny fraction of the carnage the US would have suffered had there been no TARP or banking bailout. I'm an economist. This sort of thing is where I live. The US was supremely lucky that time. It could have been so much worse if people had listened the the ones maligning the bank bailout. Ugly as it was there was no other good choice. None.

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Posted in: Republicans test history in vote against pandemic relief See in context

The 2009 stimulus package was littered with political gifts, like a bailout of Wall Street, which caused the Great Recession,

Oh boy, you have it all backwards. In 2008 the US entered the Great Recession. Everyone is aware of that. What few appear aware of what happened to the US money supply, specifically the measure once known as M3. It went off a cliff, not just a decline in growth but an absolute decline the amount of money in circulation. Why. As all those mortgage backed securities imploded in value something on the order of $16 to $20 trillion, yes trillion was lost from the US money supply. People fixate on inflation but the threat then, and to an extent even today, from a declining money supply is DE-flation. The US was in an incipient deflationary spiral by the middle of 2008. The oft maligned banking bailout and TARP arrested that decline. There was a well deserved Nobel Prize in Economics for the two economists whos math underpinned that effort. The reason nobody wanted to talk about deflation then was also due to the work of these two economists, who feared that if the expectation of an uncontrolled deflation took hold there might not be any fiscal or monetary policies available to arrest it. As it was, deflation was arrested mostly, but kept re-appearing over the course of the next three years and are the reason for the injections of "Qualitative Easing" by the Fed. Ideally Congress would have used massive fiscal stimulus to arrest deflation but Congress would not do so on the scale necessary. That forced the Fed to use QE in its place.

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Posted in: Republicans test history in vote against pandemic relief See in context

Traitors all.

$15/hr is only about $2,000 net per month. Average 1 BR apartment rent in US is $1,164 per month. Try to have a car, insurance, electricity, water, gas and food on what's left. Good luck.

Please read Article III, Section 3 of the US Constitution. Treason is the only crime defined in the US Constitution, the founders thought it so important a matter and historically so subject to abuse that they felt the need to define it narrowly so it would not be abused by Congress or the Courts in the future. Section 3:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

Policy differences are not tantamount to treason.

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Posted in: Republicans test history in vote against pandemic relief See in context

And, the U.S. economy is expected to fully recover in 2021 without a stimulus.

Sigh. Says who? The job losses will take years to recover from. Businesses that have gone bankrupt are not returning. Just last week Fry's Electronics suddenly closed its doors and Best Buy is laying off 5000 workers and closing stores too. In the mean time people have to eat and pay rent. Or is that asking too much? One of my tenants has had to quarantine twice now, once after being exposed to Covid-19 and again most recently after catching it. She can't work when home quarantined, she's a dental tech. She has been good about catching her rent up but her line of work pays well. Those with lower paying jobs are struggling, and landlords like me will struggle when the bills come in but not the rent.

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Posted in: NZ's largest city Auckland back in 7-day lockdown after 1 new virus case detected See in context

The saddest thing to me is the photo heading the article. My very first thought was that it was of a strip mall in the southeastern US, maybe a hilly part of North Carolina, Kentucky, Oregon, Washington or Tennessee. That the mall is in New Zealand but could be anywhere in New Zealand, Australia, US, Canada and maybe elsewhere ought to have people scratching their chins and wondering how the world became so homogenized. I still shake my head recalling when I rode into the outskirts of Adelaide on my motorcycle and saw signs for a Toys-R-Us, a Denny's restaurant and signs for Century 21 Real Estate. Other than driving on the left I could have been driving down a street in Orange County California. I came 10,000 miles for that?

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Posted in: U.S. implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist Khashoggi's killing See in context

The way Trump put the brakes on Iran, deeply hobbling that country. All Joe needs to do is hold steadfast.

I will also ad that US trade policies have strengthened the mullahs as people become utterly dependent on the mullahs to facilitate their business both at home and abroad. To the extent the US isolates Iran it strengthens the hand of the mullahs. You probably don't even understand that. Most Iranians were born after the 1979 revolution and hate the mullahs but due to all the sanctions everyone is forced to go hat in hand to them for their survival.

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Posted in: U.S. implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist Khashoggi's killing See in context

Just me but I see little difference between the governments of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Iran aside from which tradition of Muslim worship the state enforces on its people. One could make a pretty solid argument that Saudi Wahabism has caused the world more death and destruction and is more repressive internally than anything from Iran. And the Shah was not a whole lot better to his people than the mullahs are. People today forget the reasons the people of Iran rose up and threw the Shah out. There is one nation bordering the Mediterranean or to its south that I respect and that's France. The rest including Italy (where the other half of my family is from), Spain, Greece Turkey and Israel plus all the Arab states are corrupt to the core. King Abdullah of Jordan tries so hard but his people are not that advanced and while he fondly wishes for a European style ceremonial monarchy with a vigorous parliamentary government he is stuck with a population that is not interested in this. Tribal and religious loyalties outweigh loyalty to one's nation. Voting against one's tribe is alien even if the candidate is a criminal. It is a problem that afflicts much of the region.

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Posted in: U.S. implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist Khashoggi's killing See in context

The way Trump put the brakes on Iran, deeply hobbling that country. All Joe needs to do is hold steadfast.

Actually Mr. Trumps policies accomplished almost nothing. Iran is still selling oil to nations who are willing to buy it. They still finance militias and standing armies like Hamas and Hezbollah throughout the Middle East. They still have a nuclear development program. What Mr. Trump has accomplished is to push many nations to look for ways to trade outside the US Dollar outside the US financial system. That is happening now and once this trend grows the US loses all leverage on Iran short of war. The US under Mr. Trump has motivated many nations including some European nations to find ways to trade that the US has no means to apply leverage. They are succeeding too. This weakens the US position.

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Posted in: Coast Guard could shoot at foreign vessels aiming to land on Senkakus: gov't officials See in context

The US should at this point publicly explain the history of the islands, their status within the context of the San Francisco Treaty and subsequent US administration as part of the post WWII occupation of the Ryukyu Islands. The US should then state clearly it was a US decision to hand the islands over to Japan in 1971 and that decision is both final and not negotiable. Any attempt to change their status by force with invoke the US-Japan defense treaty. That would clear the air and take the onus off Japan. Let China whine to the US, and let US forces protect those islands. US Coast Guard cutters have guns too.

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Posted in: HondaJet becomes top-selling small business aircraft for 4th year See in context

I guess its an option for those who can spend $5000 an hour for flying lol!

So my 5 hour flight costs me $25,000?

Spread the cost across the seven or eight passengers the aircraft carries. You buy these for the convenience they offer businesses, the ability to take managers and owners across country fast to attend meetings and deal with clients using out of the way airports that do not have commercial flights without having to deal with all the headaches of flying on a scheduled airline and then lining up ground transportation to get to your eventual destination. Every business has to weigh the pros and cons of buying and using such an airplane. Often they are operated by charter companies who serve multitudes of businesses this way.

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Posted in: Are bidet-type toilets a health hazard? See in context

Remember that compared to the Japanese average body size, most others in the world are two to three times larger. Because of that, they can easily break delicate electronic sensors in modern Japan toilet seats, plus their bottoms are very much compressed. The spray water would most likely splatter everywhere and be of no use for front nor rear areas.

Oh good grief! We bought one for our momma in Shanghai and it works just fine on a wide variety of body sizes. It is operated by controls on the side of the seat using little soft touch buttons. There are no sensors in the seat. Though her seat is heated you have to turn that feature on and leave it on. Momma's water and heat controls are electronic but some cheaper models have a simple faucet valve to control water use. Cold water only, though in the summer here even the cold water is plenty warm. If you shop on line you find many dozen models are available with and without heat.

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Posted in: Are bidet-type toilets a health hazard? See in context

Doesn’t a bidet cause you to use more toilet paper (for drying off purposes)?

You use much less paper than you would wiping only with paper. Have you used a bidet? The spray is narrow and directed. It doesn't make your whole backside wet. Our momma in Shanghai has one. I like it. I was really wishing I had one in the US early in the pandemic when tp was sold out in all the stores.

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Posted in: Flying along See in context

How interesting. In the US the Yaris was about the lowliest budget model Toyota sold. There was never a performance model and certainly nothing along the lines of an Mitsubishi Evo, Subaru Impreza WRX STI or the hairy chested Ford Focus RS. This is like discovering the skinny nerdy kid in thick glasses you knew in middle school has become a competitive triathlete in adulthood.

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Posted in: Texas blackout: How can electricity grids weather climate shocks? See in context

With the mass production of lithium batteries for EV's it would not be hard to make a law for all new houses to have a 14 kwh EV battery and solar panels. 

Who's paying for it? Solar panel roof installations cost about $3 per watt. Batteries don't last two days either. Most will last at best half a day. Solar systems on a home that is connected to the grid are disconnected and produce no power when the grid is down. The inverters do this automatically. This is a required safety feature to protect power company workers from electrocution when working on equipment to restore power.

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Posted in: Man killed after leaping from platform into oncoming train in Kobe See in context

FYI to all the commenters saying "why is this news?"

People can be perverse and some seek any reason to complain. If JT and others did not report such suicides, someone would likely ask "why aren't they tell us about these incidents" and "what are they trying to hide?"

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Posted in: China denies subjecting U.S. diplomats to COVID-19 anal tests See in context

A big wet fart while taking the sample would have been my retribution. One has to wonder why any diplomat would even allow themselves to be subject to such abuse? I would have said no and then let the people farther up the diplomatic food chain fight it out. There isn't a job out there that is so valuable that I'd let some shmuck shove a swab up my bung hole.

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Posted in: Panel urges quick adoption of carbon pricing to hit emissions goal See in context

Or, get this, it's objectively true. The numbers below are the Gini index, a quantified representation of a nation's Lorenz curve. A Gini index of 0% expresses perfect equality, while index of 100% expresses maximal inequality.

Which GINI index are you using? If you look at the wealth GINI, which measures the distribution of total wealth, not just stated incomes, the results are very different. The income GINI does not measure wealth accumulated over time so it misses stock options sold years later at a profit, real estate holdings, equities and the like. The Wealth GINI captures that. Some of your social democracies like Sweden and UK have more skewed wealth distributions than the US.

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Posted in: Coast Guard could shoot at foreign vessels aiming to land on Senkakus: gov't officials See in context

That would be the first time that shooting would bring about peace and prosperity!

Not true. Well placed warning shots have deterred further aggression many times in the past. Even the JASDF has fired live rounds in front of Soviet bombers to stop them from violating Japanese airspace. It is rolling over and doing nothing when another nation chips away at your territory or that of your ally that invites an all out invasion.

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Posted in: Coast Guard could shoot at foreign vessels aiming to land on Senkakus: gov't officials See in context

hah ha ha japan wouldn't dare shoot at a Chinese ship. Come on..

I clearly remember occasions during my active duty days when JASDF F-15s fired warning shots at Soviet strategic bombers that entered Japanese airspace. As with China today, the Soviets kept pushing closer and closer, the Japanese gave verbal warnings and diplomatic protests. But eventually the Soviets pushed too far, Japanese forces fired live rounds and the Soviets backed off. The Soviets understood the Japanese were serious and that was the end of the intrusions.

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Posted in: Panel urges quick adoption of carbon pricing to hit emissions goal See in context

It's why social democracies end up with less income disparity,

That is emphatically not true. We see income disparities increasing all across the world and across all forms of government. The growing income disparity is mostly due to a lack of effective competition. Too many big markets are dominated by oligopolies who's market power allow them to extract a degree of monopoly rents that would not be possible if there were more competitors with roughly equal market share in the market. FedEx vs UPS, Coke vs Pepsi (noting that Pepsico also owns Frito Lay and dominates not just soft drinks but snack foods too). Colgate Palmolive vs Unilever vs Proctor and Gamble. These are huge market dominating oligopolies. Miller-Corrs vs Anheiser Busch. Each of these big corporations owns dozens of different beer brands. All those microbrews you think are independent? Most are owned by one of the two giants. There are lots more. Almost every isle of the grocery store is dominated by a couple of big oligopolies. The difference in price between what the monopolist or the oligopolist can charge and what firms could charge in a fully competitive market where there are so many sellers that prices and profits are driven down to their bare minimum represents a wealth transfer from consumers to producers. It is probably the single greatest wealth transfer happing in the worlds economies. It is why US corporations are sitting on something like $1.8 trillion in unspent cash balances. If these firms faced vigorous competitors they would have to lower their prices and spend that money on productive capital and paying higher wages to compete for workers. Nations need to be more aggressive in applying anti-trust laws to break up monopolies and the many oligopolies into many smaller firms and enforce competition among them. Europe does a better job of enforcing competition than the US but the problem is global in scope and affects all nations.

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