On one of my top-two issues when it comes to means-testing benefits, @interfluidity gets it just right:

“Requiring demonstration of inadequate means up-front, rather than on the back-end, creates at best a delay between when a shock is experienced and when it can be ameliorated. “Delay” can mean your kid skips meals, you start rationing your insulin, or your family is evicted from its home. It’s a big deal.”

Lawless acts in violation of international norms will end up harming our country. https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-08-16/the-u-s-brings-state-sponsored-piracy-into-the-21st-century

“the concept has altered little in 440 years — we still have one of the world’s preeminent naval powers passing its own laws allowing it to seize treasure from its enemies in the ocean.”

Way back on June 9th I ordered a fancy new umbrella. The vendor created a shipping label that very day, and sent me a tracking number. For reasons (perhaps among them, as they claim on their website, precautions in the warehouse against COVID-19), it was six days before they actually handed the package over to the shipper.

As soon as I’d ordered it, I looked ahead at the weather forecast, wondering if there’d be some rain to use it in, but it looked like a full week of dry weather. Of course, after it took a week to actually ship the package, things had changed. Happily, the package was on-track to arrive Saturday—I’d have my new brolly in hand just hours ahead of forecast thunderstorms!

But then the package followed a mysterious path on it’s way from Wisconsin to Illinois:

  • Jun 9 2020 Shipment information received
  • Jun 15 2020 Shipment tendered to UPS MI BELLEVILLE, WI
  • Jun 15 2020 Package received for processing Avenel, NJ
  • Jun 16 2020 Package processed by UPS MI Avenel, NJ
  • Jun 17 2020 Package transferred to dest MI facility Avenel, NJ
  • Jun 19 2020 Package received by dest MI facility Kansas City, MO
  • Jun 20 2020 Package enroute to USPS for induction Kansas City, MO
  • 20 Jun 2020 22:29 Shipment Acceptance at PO Hazelwood, MO

In what way is this a sensible?

I mean, I’m willing to cut the vendor some slack for taking six days between sending shipment information and then actually tendering the package. I’m sure precautions against COVID-19 reduce their efficiency in shipping things out of their warehouse. But sending the package from Wisconsin to Illinois via New Jersey and then Missouri? They spent 5 days getting the package to a different adjacent state, to a city only 72 miles closer than where it started!

Now that the package is in the hands of the post office, I figure it will actually get here in a couple of days, just about the time the wet weather ends and it gets sunny and dry for a few days.

This article makes a good point:

“Ultimately, we the public will decide when the economy reopens, not the government.”

If people decide not to fly, not to stay in hotels, not to eat at restaurants, and to wait and see how things work out before making major purchases, it doesn’t matter if the “stay-at-home” orders are lifted or not.

Source: It’s Ugly Out There | Tim Duy’s Fed Watch

Always true, just now laid bare by the pandemic:

In transit conversations we often talk about meeting the needs of people who depend on transit. This makes transit sound like something we’re doing for them. But in fact, those people are providing services that we all depend on, so by serving those lower income riders, we’re all serving ourselves.

Source: In a Pandemic, We’re All ‘Transit Dependent’

Always nice to see the workers leveraging circumstances to their advantage, as I expect them to do over the next year or two.

emperor Justinian railed against scarce workers who “demand double and triple wages and salaries, in violation of ancient customs” and forbade them “to yield to the detestable passion of avarice” — to charge market wages for their labor…

Source: How Will the Coronavirus Affect Workers?

Boy are these guys in trouble:

Over the past 40 years, schools, particularly less selective ones, have fought ever harder to attract students. The conventional wisdom held that the best way to do so was to upgrade facilities, build new dormitories and student centers, and provide increasingly luxurious amenities. The result has been a flood of debt…

Source: Coronavirus: U.S. Colleges and Universities Reach Breaking Point