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Altherion

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  1. If it comes at the right time, one term as a Senator is more than enough. I'm sure the corporate backers mentioned in the article will provide for her should she no longer be a Senator in 2025.
  2. So it looks like they're finally getting down to negotiating the topline number in earnest (the $3.5T was obviously way too large to go anywhere): Some are and some are not. The Senators know where they come from and behave accordingly. The Democrats aren't going to primary Manchin in West Virgina or Sinema in Arizona.
  3. I do not mean only the one-time payments which indeed were too long ago to make a difference. I mean the whole array of stimulus measures (including the one at this wiki link and this on and this one). The latest of these extended the increased unemployment benefits to last through Labor Day of 2021 which was only 3 weeks ago.
  4. That is a really bizarre lesson to draw from the pandemic stimulus measures. They're not worth more; if anything, they're worth much less now since the pandemic still is not over and people have not fully returned to hotels and restaurants. The stimulus cash was intended to shore up the economy and it served that purpose, but there will be no more of it. In what way has it not already reasserted itself? There are aspects of the recovery which are slow, but it's clearly going in that direction. What are all of these people going to live on once the stimulus money is gone? There isn't a sudden influx of better jobs and the money to pay them isn't there because it has never been there (i.e. the margins of most of the industries you are talking about are small).
  5. It'll probably fizzle out. First, a non-trivial fraction of this labor shortage is just failure to match unemployed people to job offers. This matching issue is always there, but it currently exists in much larger quantities than usual simply because many people were laid off when the pandemic started. Second, the various pandemic measures (increased unemployment benefits, eviction bans, etc.) have been lowering the incentives for people to get a job unless it was quite well paying, but many (although not all -- some state ones remain) of these have recently been rolled back. It's only been a few weeks since that happened so it's too early to see the effect, but it will show up eventually. Third, a lot of people are still either personally hesitant to go back to work because of covid or need to take care of children or others. This is also being ameliorated to some degree with booster shots and schools going back to exclusively in-person learning. BTW, "nugatory" is a nice word that I did not know before. Thanks.
  6. They will almost certainly lose in 2022 simply because that's what almost always happens in midterm elections to the party in power. This is more or less independent of the $3.5T bill because most people will not see most effects of this bill by then. In fact, depending on what happens with inflation, the $3.5T bill might actually be severely counterproductive for 2022; that's a major reason why there's significant resistance to it. 2024 is a different matter because the incumbent tends to win. There are obviously exceptions, but it requires something quite extraordinary and we have not seen signs of it yet with the current administration.
  7. In what sense is it a false choice? Manchin's choices are: 1) To go back on his words and vote for the $3.5T bill (or something very similar). 2) To stand by his words and continue demanding that the $3.5T be reduced by a non-trivial amount even if this results in the House not passing the infrastructure bill. I don't see anything else he can do and I don't know which of these options he will choose if the House Democrats vote against the infrastructure bill -- and I don't see how anyone except Manchin himself would know the latter.
  8. Sure, there is no doubt that he wants to pass the infrastructure bill and a smaller (i.e. not $3.5T) reconciliation bill. What I don't understand is how you get from this to the far less obvious conclusion of what he would choose between passing the $3.5T bill (which he has said multiple times is unacceptable) and not passing the infrastructure bill in September.
  9. Why do you think that that Manchin is so attached to the infrastructure bill? There's no doubt that he would prefer it to succeed, but I have not seen anything to indicate that he is desperate to see it pass the House.
  10. It's not just us talking about the problem though -- it's being discussed at the highest levels of governments around the world and that is progress because this was not the case before. For example: This specific instance might not go anywhere, but sooner or later (and more likely sooner than later) something like this will happen as it has already happened in several other countries. We can make it work like that, it just requires a lot more work. There are many technologies some of which will pan out and some of which will not. There are many lists of these online; here is one as a example. I do not know which of these can be implemented on a massive scale in the next decade or two; that's why I said it is a race. There are also a few that are almost magical and result in nearly an order of magnitude of savings. Electric cars are the most famous examples, but the one that is closer to a complete rollout is LED lighting. Not only does it consume 8-10 times less energy, but the bulbs also last longer so there's less trash. There are no algorithms that will reduce the number of cars in places where one needs a car to go pretty much everywhere. Also, if you try to take cars away from Americans, there will be violence and no politician wants that. It's not actually that difficult to simply replace gasoline cars with electric ones -- we naturally replace some fraction of the global fleet every year and with incentives we can replace them much faster. Remember, electric cars are naturally simpler than gasoline ones; it's only the battery that is new and those are becoming cheaper and more efficient every year. You would be correct if the shareholders of Ford and Apple were completely distinct, but this is not how it works. Almost everyone who invests in these companies does so as part of a diversified portfolio (i.e. they own hundreds or maybe even thousands of stocks and bonds and other financial products) and this is true of both individual investors and investing firms. Thus, they don't particularly care if Ford becomes less profitable as long as this is offset by a larger gain somewhere in their portfolio (e.g. in greener companies). Oil production went down by 8% last year and is not expected to rebound to 2019 levels this year, but of course this is due to the pandemic. Whether it will ever come back to 2019 levels is not clear and depends a lot on what will happen with the EV initiatives.
  11. Your first paragraph is a bit too apocalyptic. Even in the worst of the global warming scenarios, the changes are not predicted to be that bad (e.g. there will be great disruption of ecosystems, but hardly the end of almost all animals and fish). Regarding the rest... well, the current system has failed so far, but it's a massive system with a lot of inertia and it appears to be turning around. The question is how quickly it turns and whether it is fast enough to avoid a large temperature increase. Sort of, but not really. It was built after a devastating nuclear war, but this war did not stop progress and colonization of worlds other than Earth commenced shortly after the war. I disagree. Even now, we've mostly created the technology to solve the crisis; now it just needs to be refined and implemented on a massive scale. This is not an easy road to travel, but very few people or even generations have had an easy road (think of what the last century was like -- especially its first half). The story continues... Well yes, it won't be completely pulled out until there are no more Ford cars being sold at all and that does not strike me as likely (just like every other car company, Ford is transitioning to fully electric vehicles). However, at this point Ford is worth less than 3% of Amazon which makes it a whole lot easier for someone with a diversified portfolio (i.e. one weighted according to market capitalization) to not worry so much about what happens to it. Interestingly enough, the pandemic helped us out with this. We will have a clearer picture at the end of this year because we'll see the rebound, but it's possible that we've already passed peak production for oil and it's possible that coal will also be reached this decade. We'll see in December.
  12. Wasn't the deal with the moderate House Democrats earlier that she would bring the bipartisan bill to the floor no later than the end of September in exchange for them agreeing to move forward with the reconciliation bill? The blame game is always difficult to predict. Manchin personally will probably be OK no matter what because his constituents (i.e. the people of West Virginia) are overwhelmingly Republican (Trump got more than 68% of the vote there in 2020) so he has options.
  13. It's almost certainly not, but it has proven surprisingly difficult to think of something better and of a way to reach that better system from where we are. Your argument is not new; it came up when centrally planned economies first came into vogue about a century ago. That system was much simpler than the one we have today and they undoubtedly thought something along the lines of "Surely we can do better!", but it turns out that they could not and neither could anyone else ever since.
  14. It depends on the neighborhood. In some places, you really don't need it as you might not encounter anyone during a walk at all and if you do, it's easy to avoid them. Other places are pretty much packed -- yes, it's outdoors, but it's still too many people too close to each other so many people choose to mask. Also, if one is going to the store or work or public transportation, masks are required so it's often easier to just wear it from the beginning to the end of the trip and not fuss with it at the entrance.
  15. It depends on how exactly you define modern capitalism, but probably not. The fundamental reason is that nobody has managed to come up with anything better thus far. Our lives require extremely complex supply chains that stretch the length of the world and modern capitalism is how we manage these structures. Getting rid of them altogether is not a realistic option except for apocalyptic scenarios so unless somebody thinks of something better, we're stuck with capitalism. It might be rolled back to something like the 1950 version though.
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