Democrats introduce a bill to expand paid sick leave to millions of U.S. workers. Republican in the senate unanimously vote it down. Trump will undoubtedly blame it on the do-nothing Dems.

Oddly enough, with most places reporting increases in cases, Manitoba has held steady at 17 for several days. Fingers crossed.

Remember when the Utah Jazz basketball team was tested for COVID-19? March 10th 2020 or thereabouts.
They used up HALF of the availble COVID-19 test kits in the state.

What was that number? 58

As of March 13th:

The state had the ability to conduct about 100 tests per day, with an estimated supply of 300, according to Oklahoma’s commissioner of health Gary Cox.

New York City on March 11, 2020?

The city’s public health laboratory is only able right now to test “samples for 60 people” a day, the health commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, said on Tuesday, adding that she hoped to ramp up to roughly 100 people a day soon.

The USA is a petri dish. Close your borders now.

If you are stuck for a good (and relevent) book to read while shut in I recommend Earth Abides by George R Stewart.

Some feedback from South Africa, although we are not hard hit by the virus, thing are spiralling towards the wrong end fast here as well. We went from 7 cases to 230 in a week - https://mediahack.co.za/datastories/coronavirus/dashboard/ with schools closed now and where possible people being sent home for isolation purposes, stores also has low stock levels etc. etc.

I am not a conspiracy theorist at all, I am dabbling in the stock market avidly though, but what I found interesting was this report, in the light of USA, Germany and Italy having discussions around the China economy which China did not accept as it was to their detriment should they, Covid-19 breaks out and as per this report, China is growing their economy into the world's strongest by buying up shares galore - https://www.tigerdroppings.com/rant/o-t-lounge/operation-checkmate-by-china/89026366/ some food for thought...

commented: Thanks for the news. +0

Lakeworth Florida’s Mayor, Pam Triolo, passes a resolution to shut off power to 52 families who were unable to pay their utility bill and then adjourns the meeting (against the rules) before dissenting opinions can be heard.

If a killing type of virus strain should suddenly arise by mutation … it could, because of the rapid transportation in which we indulge nowadays, be carried to the far corners of the earth and cause the deaths of millions of people. — W. M. Stanley, in Chemical and Engineering News, Dec. 22, 1947.

Still say nobody saw this coming?

I'm torn between linking to such stories but March 23, 2020 I'm reading where the US president and others want to return to normal and that the elderly and people at risk are OK with dieing to save the economy.

What is this? Hunger Games?

A few years ago the GOP was screaming "death panels" during the Obamacare discussions. The idea that the gov'mint would decide which seniors were not fit to live was unacceptable to the party of Reagan. But now the party of Trump is quite willing to sacrifice millions to keep the economy going (at least until after the election). Ancient tribes would sacrifice virgins to assure good weather and healthy crops. Now we are sacrificing seniors for a healthy Wall Street?

I’m very fiscally conservative, and I get the concept of you don’t want the cure to be worse than the disease. However, regardless of what Trump is spewing on Twitter, I don’t think that his advisors behind the scenes will allow mass re-openings and business as usual.

I can see waiting a three week period, and then putting borders around small midwestern towns in middle America that have never exhibited any cases of coronavirus, and allowing a little more leeway for mom and pop shops in these zones who are suffering the most and can’t put food on the table if they stay completely closed for 6 months, with restrictions in place such as only one customer at a time and only for businesses with 3 or fewer employees.

As far as I’m aware, Trump did acknowledge that there’s just no way we can even think of reopening any parts of the coasts right now.

I’m coming from the perspective of someone who was forced to close my business, and my mom was forced to close her business, and yet we still have fixed cost expenses such as rent and utilities, and are just hemorrhaging through our life savings and retirement money right now, with no possible end in sight.

Rent for retail space in NYC, for example, can be as much as $1000/sq ft or more. A 500 sq ft mom and pop store is paying $42K/mo in rent. That's all fine and good when there's enough foot traffic to bring walk-in sales over $100K/mo, and after all other business expenses, the business owner is bringing in $12K/mo pre-tax and paying $4K/mo in rent for his apartment. But when the business is closed, they are bringing in no money and still paying $46K/mo from their savings in rent alone. We're not even talking about any other expenses. We're talking about someone who's making less than $150K a year here, not a millionaire.

Keep in mind, the majority of small businesses operate on very thin margins due to huge overhead costs. In many cases, these overhead expenses can't be shut off just because the businesses aren't open right now.

So how about, instead of trying to get a $500 billion slush fund that would be used with absolutely no oversight (likely to reward Trump's friends and/or punish his enemies) they put aside $500 billion toward relief for people like you who need it to pay mortgages/rent/bills/etc.? Of course, that would be Socialism and obviously a no-no.

As I recall, the last big bailout gave money to the banks when it could have gone to the people who lost their houses. That way they could have kept their houses and the banks would still have gotten their money.

I am getting email solicitations for a NYC program that offers small businesses $70k loans interest-free. But I don’t think huge loans is the answer right now either, because that’s just going to mean a shit ton of debt for every small business owner once this is over.

I get that everyone has rent/mortgage and utilities to pay. I can understand a stimulus package that gives everyone some help keeping up with their bills when they’re out of work.

However, I’m also coming from a place of being a small business owner who operates on small margins. My mom’s bowling alley is not allowed to be open right now, but 25,000 sq ft of rent in NY still needs to be paid.

We can’t just forgive businesses’ rent just because they aren’t allowed to be open because commercial landlords rely on the rent to pay THEIR bills and up the chain it goes.

So what’s the answer? I don’t know. What I do know is small businesses are hemorrhaging money, and that both California and NYC (the only two places I’m familiar with) cannot under any circumstances reopen any time soon.

What do you think the solution should be? I’m seeing lots of stimulus package ideas designed to help small businesses continue to pay their employees.

However, once we made the decision to close, and I became in desperate need to curtail my expenses, my hourly employees were the first to have their hours cut back to 0 for now, and it’s the humongous fixed costs of rent that are more than my entire take home pay that I’m struggling with.

So how about, instead of trying to get a $500 billion slush fund that would be used with absolutely no oversight (likely to reward Trump's friends and/or punish his enemies) they put aside $500 billion toward relief for people like you who need it to pay mortgages/rent/bills/etc.?

But isn't that what the issue is between the right and the left?

On the left, you have people saying that soooo many people are suddenly finding themselves with no income and no way to pay mortgages/rent/bills/etc. or they will be homeless tomorrow. How do they put food on the table? How do they pay their rent? The entire segment of the American workforce in jobs they can't do from home home lost their job overnight but still have expenses. Do we help these people with a few thousand dollars a month to get them by so they won't lose their homes?

On the right, you have these small businesses, operating on thin margins with huge overhead costs, who are suddenly finding themselves having to close up shop but still have to cover tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of dollars of fixed overhead costs. If no one is helping these small businesses to ride the storm, they're just going to have to close up shop for good because they can't cover their overhead costs without any sales in the meantime. For example, if I can't afford $50K/mo to continue to rent the retail shop for the next 3 months while it's closed, I might just have to shut down the business LLC, declare the business bankrupt, and skip out on the lease. Then in a few months from now, when this pandemic is over, they'll still be out of business and won't be able to rehire their employees. This will cause more permanent damage to the economy because, after being forced to isolate at home, all of the employees of small businesses won't have jobs to go back to.

So who does the money go to? Who do we help? Do we help the individuals out with a couple grand a month to cover their living expenses while they're not working? Or do we help the small businesses out with $50K/mo to keep them afloat enough so that they'll be able to rehire their workforce when this crisis is over?

Do we help these people with a few thousand dollars a month to get them by so they won't lose their homes?

Short answer - yes.

Longer answer - well, if the GOP got its way the big corporations (that make the big donations) would get all the money with the usual "trickle-down" promises. After all, they got all the tax cuts. They are also the recipients of the benefits of socialism. Except the GOP doesn't call it socialism. They use the other S word - stimulus.

So if you want to keep the economy humming do you give the money to the corporations (remember - the last time this was done, the money was used to buy back stocks) or do you give it to the people who will spend it? Granted, this is a different situation because people are less able to get out and spend, but even giving it to local businesses won't work because most of them will be closed and the money can't trickle down from them either. Winnipeg bars, for example, are closed. The only restaurants that are still open are those that prepare meals for delivery so in that case it makes more sense to give the money to the people who will then turn around and order food. That keeps the money in circulation.

How about declaring a mortgage/lease amnesty? All payments suspended for the duration.

I recall the cynic's definition of "trickle-down". We give all the money to the rich and if they drop some, it's yours.

... for people like you who need it to pay mortgages/rent/bills/etc.?

So basically you’re saying NOT for people like me, who need it to keep from permanently going out of business instead of only temporarily shutting our doors.

I'm saying you should get a break, but not in the form of bags of cash. Relief could come in the form of the government covering your monthly lease. That would keep you afloat and guarantee that the money was being used as intended.

The government just granted Gilead Sciences a seven year monopoly on the anti-viral, remdesivir which is used to treat ebola and may prove effective for Covid-19. Orphan status is usually granted for drugs developed to treat rare (fewer than 200,000) conditions. This is done to guarantee a fair return on investment. Without the orphan status designation drug companies would have no incentive to develop treatments. In the case of remdesivir, the status had to be granted quickly before the number of US cases exploded past the threshold. This deal prevents generic forms of remdesivir from being developed and allows Gilead to set prices. This is especially galling for at least two reasons

  1. Gilead Sciences received more than $79 million in government money to develop remdesivir
  2. One of the members of Trump's Covid-19 task force worked for Gilead for 6 years as a lobbyist

And even if Trump says the treatment will be free for all, that would still mean the treatment still costs $$$ but tax money would be used to pay for it. Gilead would get massive piles of tax dollars. And that would lead to more cuts to social services, medicare, medicaid, SNAP, etc.

Relief could come in the form of the government covering your monthly lease.

You think it’s realistic, or a good use of taxpayer dollars, to pay the rent of every small business in the country that was forced to close because of Coronavirus??

I have no way of calculating the cost of that as compared to a trillion dollar bailout like from 2008. The alternative is to let them collapse. Or are you suggesting we save (in your words) "people like me" and let everyone else sink? What would happen if the government legislated a temporary suspension of lease payments?

or a good use of taxpayer dollars

Susan Collins argued (before this all hit the fan) that is wasn't a good use of taxpayer dollars (about $800 million) to prepare for a possible pandemic. Trump thought that having a pandemic department in DHS was also a waste of taxspayer dollars.

Or are you suggesting we save (in your words) "people like me" and let everyone else sink?

I’m simply pointing out the current disagreement going on between the left and the right. Because they can’t agree who to help, no one is being helped. The left are focused on providing immediate relief to people who need to pay for their housing and food bills while they can’t work. The right are focused on getting small and mid-sized businesses with huge fixed overhead costs to survive through their forced closures so they don’t go bankrupt in the meantime and can go back to employing people once this is all over. They believe it’s the only way to save the economy from a long term recession. The left are saying long term economy be damned, let’s focus on helping the people who need help feeding themselves today. Trump’s solution is to just put an end sooner rather than later to forced business closures, public health be damned.

What would happen if the government legislated a temporary suspension of lease payments?

Then the people whose only source of income is commercial rent, such as my grandma, would not be able to put food on the table, and would clean out their retirement savings, after paying huge property taxes and mortgages on their real estate holdings.

If we are then going to start suspending taxes too, then what money would be used to help anyone at all in the first place?

Also, when I was saying rent, I was just giving a loose example of one of many fixed bills that small businesses have even though they’re closed. For some small businesses, overhead other than rent is their biggest challenge right now. I wrote in another thread, for example, that I’m unable to suspend my $600/mo Verizon FiOS Account because Verizon is not fielding billing support calls right now. Probably because every single small business in the country is forced to be closed right now and every single one of them wants to suspend their service.

I’m simply pointing out the current disagreement going on between the left and the right.

Let's see. The Left wants a comprehensive aid package with details clearly spelled out while the Right wants a half trillion dollars to spend however they want with no oversight. Congress is supposed to control the purse but the Right will do anything to abrogate that right (as long as Democrats control the House).

The right are focused on getting small and mid-sized businesses with huge fixed overhead costs to survive through their forced closures so they don’t go bankrupt in the meantime and can go back to employing people once this is all over.

At least that's what they say. They have a long history of doing pretty much the opposite of what they say.

Trump’s solution is to just put an end sooner rather than later to forced business closures, public health be damned.

That's it in a nutshell (and I picked that metaphor deliberately). Trump just wants good numbers to carry him through the next election and human lives be damned. He is an ignoranus (both ignorant and an asshole).

Then the people whose only source of income is commercial rent, such as my grandma, would not be able to put food on the table, and would clean out their retirement savings, after paying huge property taxes and mortgages on their real estate holdings.

So suspend those payments and do what both Andrew Yang and Mitt Romney both suggested - give every American $1000 to spend on necessities like food.

If we are then going to start suspending taxes too, then what money would be used to help anyone at all in the first place?

If Republicans are willing to go trillions into debt to fight unnecessary wars, while at the same time giving corporations and the rich a $1.5 trillion tax break then what's wrong with going into debt to keep the country from going into the toilet? They could always restore tax levels to pre-Reagan levels and use that money. Most people had no complaints back then and the country was doing just fine. Certainly a lot better than it's been doing since 2001.

Trump just announced that he wants to see the churches packed on Easter Sunday and he can now see light at the end of the tunnel. Also just in - 9 out of 10 Republicans say Trump is the most reliable source of accurate information on coronavirus, and more see him as more accurate than the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Trump's "spiritual" advisor blames Covid-19 on gays and the environmentalists.

Common sense and reasoning have left the building. Your country is so f**ked.

$2.4 trillion long-term price tag for the Iraq war. The cost for Afghanistan is about $2.4 trillion to date.

I recall reading that the US defense budget is greater than the other top 17 countries combined and the Pentagon has yet to produce an accounting of how that money is spent. You don't think some of that could be diverted into homeland relief efforts? You are willing to go into debt to kill people in other countries but not save lives in your own?

Imagine you are the mother of three healthy children. You are doing fine financially and making end meet. Then one of your kids gets injured and needs immediate and expensive surgery. You live in the US and your insurance company has found a loophole to deny you coverage. Do you decide to go into debt to save your child (hoping that you can pay off the debt down the road) or do you let the child die so you can keep the books balanced and your credit rating intact?

Our Prime Minister said screw the bottom line, and allocated $81 billion for immediate relief during the crisis. He is urging peope to stay in their homes to contain the spread. Your leaders want to send seniors back to work and pack the churches.

I admit that at least for today I have nothing better to do than rant here. I think I'll read a book in the hot tub and relax for a bit.

Let's see. The Left wants a comprehensive aid package with details clearly spelled out while the Right wants a half trillion dollars to spend however they want with no oversight. Congress is supposed to control the purse but the Right will do anything to abrogate that right (as long as Democrats control the House).

That's your interpretation of what the left / right want. That's not mine.

At least that's what they say. They have a long history of doing pretty much the opposite of what they say.

In this statement, you proved your point that your first statement is your interpretation of what the right are saying, and not what they are actually saying. It's simply your interpretation that they are lying.

If Republicans are willing to go trillions into debt to fight unnecessary wars, while at the same time giving corporations and the rich a $1.5 trillion tax break then what's wrong with going into debt to keep the country from going into the toilet?

I don't think that either the left or the right are in agreement that we should forgive (and not simply delay accepting) taxes this year.

In this statement, you proved your point that your first statement is your interpretation of what the right are saying, and not what they are actually saying.

Trump said he would drain the swamp. He's done nothing but hire the types of people he said he'd eliminate. Hs administration is the most corrupt in history.

Trump said he'd replace the ACA with something better. All he's done is try to repeal it. not replace it.

Trump said he'd end ISIS/Taliban quickly after getting elected. Still waiting.

The GOP repeatedly said, regarding health care, that they would protect people with pre-existing conditions. Every bill they have put forward does the opposite.

Trump said he'd eliminate the deficit quickly. Instead he gave his buds a trillion dollar plus tax break and it's exploded.

We are living in opposite land.

Imagine you are the mother of three healthy children. You are doing fine financially and making end meet. Then one of your kids gets injured and needs immediate and expensive surgery. You live in the US and your insurance company has found a loophole to deny you coverage. Do you decide to go into debt to save your child (hoping that you can pay off the debt down the road) or do you let the child die so you can keep the books balanced and your credit rating intact?

The problem is that this analogy doesn't hold true when it comes to small businesses. Let's say I own a small corner store for the past 20 years. It has 3 fulltime employees. It's been feeding my family for the past two decades.

Suddenly I find myself legally forced to close up shop, but I'm still paying $3000/mo in carrying costs in the form of rent and other obligations. Additionally I'm paying $9000/mo on gross salaries for the 3 employees. Not only that, but I just spent a big portion of my quarterly expected earnings on a new shipment of inventory, and now I have no way of selling it to pay my wholesaler.

My top priority is keeping my family safe and sound, and feeding my family, without putting myself in complete debt I'll never be able to crawl out of. The first thing I try to do to cut my expenses is see that I'm spending $9000 on salaries for people who aren't even in the shop. I lay those 3 people off because they are the biggest low hanging fruit. A month goes by. We're still sheltering in place with no end in sight. I am still paying $3000/mo in ongoing overhead and I have this huge bill owed to my wholesaler. It's not worth risking the safety and financial security of my family. I close my doors for good, skip out on my rent, and dissolve the business LLC. Because it was an LLC, I'm personally protected from the landlord and the wholesaler coming after me personally to collect. Two months later, coronavirus is over. Four people are now out of work long term, me and my three former employees. Long term shuttering of businesses is going to do long term damage on the economy. Right wing people who see this as a problem are not suggesting that we let any person die to keep the books balanced. We are suggesting that businesses are going to be the first to die, and that will have long term consequences on the economy.