It is no wonder that COVID-19 related cases overwhelmed New York hospitals. It is not a result of any shortage of money for new hospitals. New York law forbids adding a new hospital unless you have been favored by bureaucrats with a certificate of need. Government bureaucrats restrict the quantity of hospital beds much the way they used taxi medallions to limit the number of taxis on the streets of New York City. As Mercatus Center explains,
Certificate-of-need (CON) laws require healthcare providers to obtain permission before they open or expand their practices or purchase certain devices or new technologies. Applicants must prove that the community needs the new or expanded service, and existing providers are invited to challenge would-be competitors’ applications. CON laws have persisted in spite of mounting evidence from health economists, regulatory economists, and antitrust lawyers showing that these laws fail to achieve their intended goals.
As reported in April 2017 edition of Reason, a baby born in LewisGale Medical Center in Salem, Virginia, died after Virginia bureaucrats used the commonwealths certificate of need law to prevent the facility from having a high-tech neo-natal intensive care unit.
Today would be a good day to check if such a law applies where you live, and to tell your State lawmakers to repeal it if one does.
Photoshopped fake for the purpose of satire. Download full size. This is how Trump supporters picture their president.
Text from the biography of Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
Dr. Fauci was appointed director of NIAID in 1984. (...)
Listen to Dr. Fauci, not to Trump. One lengthy list of President Trumps lies about the novel coronavirus can be found at The Atlantic. If you are still a Trump supporter, now is the time to wake up and shut off your crazy switch. If you dont like the Democrats, check out the other candidates. Dont be surprised if the Republocrats in State legislatures prevent third parties from being named on the ballots. Campaign workers have to go around and collect signatures, which is illegal now.
This story is rapidly evolving. Any Dr. Fauci video we feature would quickly become outdated. One way to get up to date with straight talk from Dr. Fauci is to use the Youtube filter. Go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Dr.+Fauci and activate the filter, selecting Today.
Excuse for a police state.
Always remember that the virus outbreak is no excuse for violating peoples rights.
Dont let the coronavirus outbreak distract your attention away from the human rights violations that government officials in China are committing against the Uygher Muslims. Just a reminder.
Check out Reason explaining how federal regulations suppress the supply of hand sanitizer. Even if you support the federal and state restrictions on booze, remember that the distilleries could produce hand sanitizer for health care professionals, and the other hand sanitizer factories would then be able to supply retailers.
Testing for COVID-19
As reported in the Washington Post, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) shipped faulty test kits. Meanwhile, many companies stood ready to supply quality test kits, but federal regulations prevented them.
The War on Walkers
Imagine finishing a 16-hour shift at the hand sanitizer factory, and as you are walking home, starving, you detour to the fast food place. The lobby is closed, but the drive-up window is still open. They refuse to serve you because you dont have a car, and therefore you dont matter. Expect more discrimination against walkers as restaurants offer take-out only. Thats what you get for trying to reduce your carbon footprint instead of supporting the auto and oil industries. Motorists are entitled to their love affair with their automobiles, but that does not entitle them to force other people into a shotgun wedding.
Persons who dont matter
You can file on line for unemployment, but the library is closed. You can go later, but then its too late. The bureaucrats will send the $1,200 bonus to last years bank account. Many people closed out their bank account since then. Youll be able to file on line, but the library is closed. Persons without internet just dont matter to bureaucrats. Since post offices are still open, they could make a paper form available to mail in, but why should they want to do that for persons who dont matter? It is bad enough that they will be mailing out checks at the rate of 5,000,000 a week instead of paying everybody now. Folks who have that nasty habit of signing their names in ink on the back of a check and cashing the check, just dont matter anymore to bureaucrats. Youll just have to wait. Thats what you get for not entering into a contract with an internet service provider.
Have you ever noticed that the auto insurance companies are not complaining about all the profit they will make because there will be fewer car crashes in April 2020 compared with April 2019? Expect some politicians to welcome the coronavirus outbreak as an excuse to take more money from struggling families and give it to big businesses, such as airlines and oil companies. Libertarian candidates, do check and see how your opponent votes on such things.
Just because the bureaucrats sent you some money doesnt mean you should object any less to corporate welfare. Tell the U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative who represent (or misrepresent) you, to end corporate welfare.
The right way to teach health care
You would start the day after high school, moving into a dormitory at the hospital, and you would mop floors to pay for your room, board and tuition until you have an entry-level skill, such as nurses aide or emergency medical technician (E.M.T.). Then you would do that job and continue living in the dormitory, taking more courses until you have gone as far as you are personally capable. There are already some standard promotions, such as going from licensed practical nurse (L.P.N.) to registered nurse (R.N.) and from there to advanced registered nurse practitioner (A.R.N.P.) or from E.M.T. to paramedic. Build the ladder from mopping floors to doctor. If you graduate medical school and become a doctor, you would have no student debt. Many a major league baseball star got his start in the minor leagues, living with a host family while riding in a beat up yellow bus.
The right way to stockpile
Have you ever noticed that stocking up is prudent, stockpiling is bad and hoarding is terrible, but they all mean the same thing?
Even a pre-storm rush puts a strain on a retail system designed for just-in-time delivery. Often, a factory has a production line with a worker stacking cartons on a pallet. When the pallet is complete, a forklift driver removes it to a waiting trailer. It goes that day, to the distribution center of a retail chain, and they unload it, count it, sign for it and then load the cartons onto trailers bound for their stores. Sometimes, a production line will run for a few hours, and the product is brought to a warehouse where workers pick from it to fill orders for two weeks. The cost of setting up the production line is balanced against the need to produce a variety of stock-keeping units (SKUs) while maintaining a minimum of inventory. It is up to you and me to maintain stockpiles for emergencies.
Under normal conditions, somebody could buy a tractor trailer load of hand sanitizer or toilet paper without putting a dent in availability. The factory would simply make more, to keep the supply pipeline filled. It is unfortunate that somebody who would invest a handsome sum on such a gamble would be punished for it when a disaster strikes.
In a way, we were quite lucky with this disaster. The factories are running, the power is on and the stores are open. The next disaster, there may be no warning, and whatever you have in your home, that is it.
Some people had all summer to stockpile toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and instead they spent the money taking trips to the beach. Other people never had a spare dime in their budget, due to rising rents, caused by zoning restrictions that prevent the construction of an abundance of new housing.
If you are saving for college or retirement, spend some of the money on emergency supplies from normal retail channels. If you lose your job, you can eat the canned food. The welfare office wont ask about how well you are stocked. As the expiration dates approach, either use it up or donate it to your local food pantry.
If you are stocking up on pasta, buy spaghetti, which is much more compact than pasta in other forms. If subsequent customers have to settle for elbow macaroni or shells for tonights dinner, theyll live.
The U.S. Postal Service
Big shots at the U.S. Postal Service are crying for a bail-out. There is a better way.
First of all, eliminate all discounts. If it costs me 55 cents to mail a letter, it should cost everybody 55 cents. No more 5-cent discount just for using a postage meter. That discount is a result of their intense hatred toward stamp collectors.
Youll see that hatred when you send a package, if you try to pay the postage with stamps. You may wind up doing battle with a trigger-happy window clerk who just cant understand that stamps are valid for paying postage.
First, you need to know how much postage is required. Then you need to buy stamps totaling that much. Then you need to affix the stamps. Then you can mail it. Right?
Guess what: Once you say you will send it for that price and take your eyes away to count the money, they consider themselves entitled to issue a postage meter tape. Sometimes theyll even ask you for twice as much money, the total of the stamps you are buying plus the postage meter tape the pothole is about to affix to the package. You may have to snatch the mailpiece away and observe, No matter how much you hate stamp collectors, I still have a right to use stamps as postage.
Imagine a poll worker automatically giving his or her favorite partys ballot to undeclared voters without asking which partys ballot the voter wanted.
Dont blame the window clerk if the post office doesnt have any $5 stamps. The window clerk isnt the pothole. The local postmaster isnt the pothole. The potholes are at 475 LEnfant Plaza S.W. in Washington, D.C., and they didnt send any $5 stamps because they hate stamp collectors.
End all pre-sort discounts and marketing mail rates, because postal workers should sort the mail, and because every piece of mail deserves a postage stamp, a legible postmark and a cancel. Junk mail will cost more to send, and with economies of scale, it will cost less to send letter mail.
Second of all, there is no sensible reason for all the different classifications of Periodical Class Mail. Was the magazine mailed by a professional society? Does it contain more than 75 percent ads? What difference does it make? It still costs the same to deliver it.
6.2 Publications of Institutions and Societies
Every piece of mail should be franked with one or more postage stamps that show the amount of money. The piece should be postmarked by postal employees, none of this U.S. POSTAGE PAID AT NEW YORK, NEW YORK PERMIT NUMBER 12345 nonsense. A postmark on the envelope of a bank statement helps the customer locate the right statement.
Too much mail, especially large envelopes, arrives with uncanceled stamps, illegible postmarks or both. What is wrong with those postal workers anyway? They need to practice revenue protection. When a mailing arrives, they need to inspect it once for correct postage, then cancel the stamps, and start sorting. Too many mailpieces with proper postage have been returned to sender by idiot postal workers who were uninformed about new stamps. The 20th Universal Postal Congress imperforate souvenir sheets come to mind. There is no way to trace the problem back and hold the idiot accountable. Mail with insufficient postage should be returned by a supervisor, with a tracing number allowing blunders to be traced back to that supervisor, who can be held accountable. Once the mailing is accepted, thats it. The carrier, before leaving in the morning, can report insufficient postage and the accepting post office can be held accountable.
Self-stick stamps should have a water-soluble primer between the paper and the adhesive so collectors can soak the stamps off with water, not other chemicals.
U.S.P.S. needs to pick up the mail at the U.N. post office every afternoon at closing time, not the morning four days later, after the holiday weekend.
Every time there is a postal exam, U.S.P.S. is flooded with applicants. They are called up in descending order of their test scores. Many who get a passing grade never get called because applicants with higher scores are called first and then another test is held, leaving them like a runner on base when the inning ends. This means U.S.P.S. is paying too much for labor, which a wage freeze would solve. It also means the best and brightest minds are being put to use sorting letters instead of curing COVID-19. Its true that a lot of people who get hired dont last, particularly as carriers. Not everybody is cut out for that.
A.P.W.U. always demands more than U.S.P.S. management is willing to offer. The so-called collective bargaining agreement always goes to arbitration, a job which should be done by Congress. I say so-called because neither side agreed to it, and it is written by the arbitrators and not by the bargainers.
Readers are encouraged to visit the A.P.W.U. website for their side.
Congress should freeze the wages until supply meets demand. Thats only fair to the customers paying the postage, and to the applicants who need a job. In some areas, the labor market indicates higher wages than in areas of high unemployment. U.S.P.S. could help balance the market by sorting mail addressed to an area of low unemployment down to the five-digit ZIP Code, or even the carrier route, rather than the first three digits. The receiving facility where a labor shortage exists would have less work to do. The sending facility in an area of high unemployment would have more work to do.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, postal workers deserve a safe workplace and protective equipment.
Supermarkets and motels
If you work for a supermarket or motel, please pass this on to the boss. Motels are being hit hard and have vacant rooms. They need to install small washing machines. Add a microwave oven and refrigerator if it is not already in there. I say this because each supermarket employee has a unique family situation. For some, a motel room is the best option. When the worker tests positive and requires isolation, a motel room with an exterior door facing fresh air, (unlike a hotel room where the door faces a common hallway) will provide the perfect isolation. The employee, upon testing positive, will proceed to the motel and move in for two weeks. The room will need to be pre-stocked with food and other necessities. The sight of wet bed sheets hanging to dry will drive the patient to take a long walk outdoors, which is fresh air and exercise. Supermarket chains will need to make arrangements with local motels. As for the cost, the supermarkets are enjoying exceptional sales now, facing a crush of customers, and there is nothing wrong with increasing prices to reflect increased costs.
Supermarkets ought to prepare for a strong demand for money orders and stamps, as more customers will stroll into the joint to cash unemployment checks and paychecks from new jobs, before direct deposit kicks in. They cannot renew their car registration in person, so they have to mail in the payment. Starting today, when somebody cashes a check, you should ask, Do you need any money orders? This may increase if the U.S. Government starts mailing out four-figure checks and the customers are uneasy about carrying so much cash.
Businesses should also consider buying machinery similar to the farebox that accepts coins and displays the total. Folks could stock up on $1 coins at the bank and pay for their pizza delivery much more conveniently with $1 coins than with quarters; and coins are much easier to disinfect by immersion in a disinfectant than notes are.
Speed up the economic recovery.
The best way to speed up the economic recovery is for the State legislatures to wipe out all the local zoning restrictions. Immediately, there will be an abundance of new jobs in demolition and construction, and with the glut of new housing, — meeting the modern code — landlords will have to slash rents to find tenants. Folks will be able to save up for down payments and for college. Folks without cars wont have the cost of a parking lot added into their rent. Some poor, suffering billionaires will look out their bay windows and see working class people, minorities and immigrants moving in. Some real estate investors will lose everything, same as some plantation owners lost everything when the slaves were emancipated and Confederate money became worthless.
If you cannot afford to live in an affluent town, because of the zoning restrictions there, you also have no say in those restrictions, because you dont live there. That is why zoning restrictions need to be abolished at the State level.
Saying that cities and towns shouldnt have this forced upon them, is like saying slaveholders shouldnt have emancipation of slaves forced upon them.
Read more in Reason. Today would be a good day to tell your State legislators to eliminate all local zoning restrictions.
Prioritize your resources.
First, take care of yourself and the family members for whom you are responsible. This is not inconsistent with helping others out. You can volunteer at a food pantry even as you depend on it. Many charities right now need both volunteers and money to deliver supplies and services.
If you have more than you need, you can share with people who are seriously struggling; but use your head. Dont try to bail out the economy. Order a pizza if you actually want one, and tip the driver. Dont drink a pallet of beer just to provide seven minutes of work to a forklift operator at the brewery. Spend your money more wisely, building up a reserve of supplies. Spending money on home repairs provides somebody with a job, and increases your homes resale value.
If you think things are bad in your area, imagine how bad they are in Haiti.