Daily Archives: October 27, 2021

Permanence

I know I wishfully say I hope Covid goes away from time to time, but does anyone actually think it’s going to happy?

Newsflash: Covid is not going away.

In my most optimistic scenario, Covid deaths decay at a rate of roughly 50% per year.

  • Year 1: 534K
  • Year 2: 267
  • Year 3: 133
  • Etc.

Except we are a little more than halfway through year 2, and we’ve already had 226K deaths.  I actually predicted that we’d have 267K deaths this year at the end of the first year, but clearly I was wrong.  I think, in fact, that we’re more likely to see a 25% year over year decline:

  • Year 1: 534K
  • Year 2: 400K
  • Year 3: 300K
  • Etc.

At that rate, it’ll take six years to get under 100K – or to the number of deaths for a very bad flu year.  Even that’s looking optimistic at this point.

The article to me is interesting in that it seems to imply most people have not accepted that Covid is not going away.  Are they awake?  I think there’s a good chance each of us will die of Covid.  More likely we’ll die of cancer or heart disease, but I’m guessing some kind of coronavirus along with other respiratory illnesses might take that third spot.  Not soon.  After 70, since everyone who reads this will keep up with their shots.  But sometime, probably in combination with other health problems, if it happens.

The article quotes one of my most hated people on earth, Jeff Duch.in, the health czar for Ki.ng County:

Instead, the biggest shift in our new normal could be a growing societal embrace of protective measures, rather than a continued war over school mask wearing or workplace vaccine mandates. “People are not stupid,” said Dr. Jeffrey Duch.in, the chief of the communicable disease, epidemiology and immunization section for public health in Seattle and King County. “They will come around to accept reality.” To him, the clashes over seatbelt wearing, and its ultimate acceptance, offer a useful comparison.

What Duchin is saying: school masking will be permanent and people will embrace it.  AKA, if you don’t want your kids to wear masks all day long for 13 years of school + 4 years of college, leave King County.

Duchin’s latest act in this area is to require proof of vaccination to enter most indoor spaces in the area.  I am all for vaccine mandates, but they have to be for things like jobs or long-term memberships (eg gyms).  The “papers please” situation we have here is not cool.

Here’s what it’s like in Seattle these days.  If you enter any indoor space these days, like the grocery store or the library, expect to hear announcements on loop saying you must wear a mask.  (This probably doesn’t happen in the library, as ours still has massively reduced hours, so it’s unlikely you’ll actually manage to get inside.  Safety first!)  You might hear a security announcement directing the security team to some area of the school where some person dared go with their face uncovered, as I did on my most recent trip.  (We still also have the plexiglass – do they have that everywhere?) If you enter most indoor spaces, you’ll need to show your vaccine card, or a photo of it.  Combined with the signs about plastic bag bans and the like, I honestly sometimes feel like I moved to the USSR without noticing.

spending our kids’ money

Biden has a giant expensive bill he’s trying to pass – 1.75 trillion.  My basic problem with it is not its contents but the fact that he’s not really paying for it.  Balance the budget – then spend.  Otherwise you’re taking on debt that your children will pay off.  I’m not 100% sure what’s in it, but it mostly sounds like a bunch of malarkey.

Here’s what’s not in it: three months of maternity leave.

Here’s thing.  We’ve had literally decades of democratic rule since 1980.  And yet – no maternity leave.  Why not?  It’s almost like the Democrats bully women into voting for them by pointing at anti-choice Republicans and then, over and over, fail to prioritize things that matter to women – like maternity leave.

And no, 4 weeks of maternity leave is not acceptable.

There are roughly 4 million children born every year in the US.  To pay the parents of every single one of those children $10,000 for leave would cost 4 million * $10,000 = 40 billion per year.

So what if the Democrats had done this one tremendously important thing instead of messing around with this giant bill that, as far as I can tell, doesn’t really do anything great?  It would cost less than 2% of the proposed price tag.

Biden’s original plan called for expanding universal preschool.  Basically, they want to extend public school down to age 3.  I am EXTREMELY opposed to this.  Public school is a failure in many low income areas.  It’s a failure for the most needy kids.  And 3 year olds shouldn’t be in “school” anyway – they should be experiencing play-based learning, Montessori at most.  Want to help parents with child care?  How about giving them money to pay for whatever childcare THEY want to use?  Universal preschool will be a massively overpriced, underperforming boon for teacher’s unions.  You could give parents with children under 5 – ages 0-4 – all $10,000 per year per child for childcare to spend as THEY please – for 160 billion per year.  Less, actually, since a lot of families have at least one non-working parents.  (Call the difference administrative cost.)  So the total cost of the O’Meara plan is 200 billion.  I wouldn’t include anything else.  Keep it simple and actually provide something meaningful we can afford without indebting our great-grandchildren.

But if I were a senator, I would vote against Biden’s crazy bill.  Too expensive, and no maternity leave.

I actually think taxing billionaires net worth is a good idea, but I think it’ll be tossed out in court, making the bill even more responsible from a fiscal perspective.