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Old 23rd March 2020, 12:41 AM   #41
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Old 23rd March 2020, 12:41 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
One way to pay for grocery delivery is to give people money to spend as they need to. One of the ways that they need to right now is to pay for grocery deliveries.

They are probably better situated than a central planner at figuring out their current needs.
The UK is asking high risk people to stay at home for 3 months e.g. transplant recipients, some cancer patients. Whilst there is an expectation that families will support them, HMG has said that those who are socially isolated, and have no support will have free food packages delivered and social support systems will be put in place. Initially food packages are just going to be staples, enough to survive on but with minimal choice. I assume in due course supermarkets will take on responsibility, but deliveries will be free for those required to self isolate.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 12:45 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
The UK is asking high risk people to stay at home for 3 months e.g. transplant recipients, some cancer patients. Whilst there is an expectation that families will support them, HMG has said that those who are socially isolated, and have no support will have free food packages delivered and social support systems will be put in place. Initially food packages are just going to be staples, enough to survive on but with minimal choice. I assume in due course supermarkets will take on responsibility, but deliveries will be free for those required to self isolate.
That seems entirely reasonable to me.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 08:24 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Menial schmenial, and no one is forced.



The difference between the great depression and what I'm saying is that those were make-work jobs with some possible general societal benefit.



The problem with this economy is not cash flow, which is what Keynesian economics tries to deal with. This economy, i.e. the one that is about two weeks old right now, involves a very specific problem that is not money related, but is preventing people from working.



I'm saying actually use the money to attack the problem. The problem is the spread of the virus. It's not lack of funds. The virus is spread by people hanging out together. Make it possible for people to stay in their homes where they cannot contract and cannot spread the virus.
If the work needs to be done just pay for it as usual, why would anyone have to forced?

And simply pay a salary support payment, UK are paying 80% of salary up to 2500 a month.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 08:53 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
If the work needs to be done just pay for it as usual, why would anyone have to forced?

And simply pay a salary support payment, UK are paying 80% of salary up to 2500 a month.
Part of what triggered the thread was my attempt to use the existing grocery delivery service, which charges a reasonable fee (10.00). You go to the online store. You select your items. You put in a credit card. Groceries come to your door.

Oh, there's one more step. You schedule a delivery time. I was doing this Friday morning.

Friday 8:00 am - 10:00 am - unavailable
Friday 10:00 am - 12:00 pm - unavailable
etc.

Saturday 8:00 - -- no need to go on. You get the idea. I simply couldn't use the service. They also have pickup for $5.00. Unavailable. I went to the store. Next week, I'll know whether that was a bad idea.

And I started thinking about all this. They could hire tons of people, but they don't have the trucks.

Eventually I concluded that this was a case where somehow, the ability to deliver groceries would be a great way to help people maintain social distance, but the private sector, by itself, just couldn't meet the demand.

To make it work, you have to cut regulations and provide liability protection, so that they wouldn't have to worry about what sort of truck they used. I also imagined an army of people reading lists and trying to find what brand of canned spinach was available, and decided that wouldn't work, which is where my distribution centers idea came from. The modern grocery store is tailored to people who want lots of selection, but that isn't really needed right at the moment.

The real point of the exercise was not to provide a detailed description of exactly how it would work, but to note that the problem was a solvable one.

We have a problem. We want to maintain social distancing, but people have to buy groceries and household supplies.

We have resources. Lots of newly unemployed, lots of unused buildings, and a trillion dollars. Somehow, we ought to be able to help alleviate the germ spreading that is undoubtedly happening at the grocery store.

How to make that happen? Get some guy on the ground that has authority to spend money to make it happen. Would he pay Meijer and Shop-Local to hire people? Would he hire drivers and assign them to grocery stores? Would he commandeer a gymnasium and some refrigerators and arrange delivery from there? I don't know....or care. I just know that the resources exist to allow it to occur.

Get some people around a conference table and say, "I want deliveries happening tomorrow morning. Here's some money. We'll be watching. If you waste it, you'll be replaced. If you steal it, you'll go to jail, as soon as it's safe to put you there."

And would this be efficient? Not in the usual sense, but if it ends up costing more money, that's stimulus. If people steal from the system....and they will...try to catch as many as you can, but if the deliveries are being made, it's ok. Work on improving as you go.


Or.....throw money in the air and hope for the best.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 09:12 AM   #46
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When would you be ready to be press ganged?
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Old 23rd March 2020, 09:26 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
When would you be ready to be press ganged?
What a stupid question.

Sorry, Darat, but it is a stupid question.

I'm not saying press people into labor. I'm saying, "Jobs available. Drivers. 10.00 per hour."


(Or food baggers. Or whatever.)


There are lots of people who are newly unemployed because their old jobs are simply non-existent until the virus goes away. They used to ask people what sort of food they wanted, tell someone to cook it, and bring it to the table where the people would eat it. That's forbidden now.

And some of them weren't waitresses. Some of them were software engineers. Want a job? The government is hiring. Or the grocery store is hiring using government money.

There is a need to keep people separated. There is a trillion dollars that the government is willing to spend. How do we put those together to solve a problem?


No one would be compelled to take a job, any more than they are now.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 09:58 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
What a stupid question.

Sorry, Darat, but it is a stupid question.

I'm not saying press people into labor. I'm saying, "Jobs available. Drivers. 10.00 per hour."


(Or food baggers. Or whatever.)


There are lots of people who are newly unemployed because their old jobs are simply non-existent until the virus goes away. They used to ask people what sort of food they wanted, tell someone to cook it, and bring it to the table where the people would eat it. That's forbidden now.

And some of them weren't waitresses. Some of them were software engineers. Want a job? The government is hiring. Or the grocery store is hiring using government money.

There is a need to keep people separated. There is a trillion dollars that the government is willing to spend. How do we put those together to solve a problem?


No one would be compelled to take a job, any more than they are now.
Well there are bound to be a large number of qualified drivers laid off because their companies are shutdown and a lot of vans just sitting around doing nothing. pay the drivers, hire the vans, put a hard cap on the quantities of frozen goods people can order and use the extra manpower to up the number of deliveries. Now that wouldn't just require government money, it may also require regulations to be put in place, or removed. Here in the UK they relaxed competition rules so supermarkets could pool information and resources.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 10:16 AM   #49
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I don't know why frozen food is getting so much attention LoL. They make those cheap bags that will keep the food cold for an hour or two. I'm not sure how long it takes to deliver food, but you'd never want to send someone out with more than 2-3 orders anyway.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 10:21 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
And more to the point, if you gave people money to spend as they wish, would they spend it on grocery delivery? Obviously not, because they could right now, but they aren't.
Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Part of what triggered the thread was my attempt to use the existing grocery delivery service, which charges a reasonable fee (10.00). You go to the online store. You select your items. You put in a credit card. Groceries come to your door.

Oh, there's one more step. You schedule a delivery time. I was doing this Friday morning.

Friday 8:00 am - 10:00 am - unavailable
Friday 10:00 am - 12:00 pm - unavailable
etc.

Saturday 8:00 - -- no need to go on. You get the idea. I simply couldn't use the service. They also have pickup for $5.00. Unavailable.
So people ARE spending money on grocery delivery, then?
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Old 23rd March 2020, 10:27 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by ZirconBlue View Post
So people ARE spending money on grocery delivery, then?
Err uhmm...yeah...but.


Yes I realized the contradiction. It's the internet. You get what you pay for.


The more complete answer is that if you give people money, they'll spend it on something, but that something may or may not have anything to do with mitigating virus transmission. (They might go pick up craft supplies at Hobby Lobby.) I'm saying spend money on something that will definitely cut down on virus transmission.

The actual situation right now is that stores offer delivery, but they are overwhelmed. Some people don't use the delivery service because they don't want to wait. Some don't use it because they don't want to pay the fee. More people will use it if you cut the fee and lower the wait time, and you can do that by hiring drivers and handlers at government expense.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 10:28 AM   #52
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Most* grocery delivery in my area is by companies like Shipt, that are basically Uber-style groups of individuals who shop and delivery for you using their own personal vehicles. No fleet of trucks or licensed drivers needed. And, in my experience, they usually/always keep a cooler or insulated bags in their car to keep stuff cold.

*Whole Foods' deliveries are handled by Amazon's delivery contractors.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 05:29 PM   #53
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It seems that there's an issue where the capacity for delivery built in to the system isn't enough to meet current demand, because demand has increased a great deal in a short time span. To increase that capacity will take time (and capital investment).

To the extent that there are regulations that are preventing that expansion of capacity, those should be put aside as soon as possible.

It's possible that companies might expect the demand to return to normal in a short time frame, in which case it might not make sense to invest in this shift in capacity, given that the upfront costs of making the shift might not be recuperated by the profits accrued after having made it. Given the severity of the issue and that it seems we're in for a relatively long term situation, and what seems to me to be relatively low capital costs, I don't expect this to hold it back. But as Meadmaker mentions those costs might be exacerbated by regulation: if you're hiring an army of new delivery people for a short term crisis, you should be able to lay them off when the crisis is over. You should be able to hire people driving their own cars, rather than having to buy a whole new fleet of trucks that a year from now will have to be sold off, etc.

To the extent that there are issues of capital availability to make this shift, I'd be in favor of government stepping in to help.

I expect the market to start to make that shift, to meet this increased demand, but the sooner it happens the better and if government can help to speed that along it can make a difference to the spread of the disease.

I'm not sure about the specific solution Meadmaker is suggesting, but I understand a little more clearly the issue now, and am not opposed to some sort of targeted approach.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 09:27 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I'm not sure about the specific solution Meadmaker is suggesting,
Neither am I.

But your post summarizes my thinking pretty well. I just put a bit of thought into a couple of specific aspects of how something could be done. I wish some people who could actually make it happen were doing the same.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 11:21 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
Neither am I.

But your post summarizes my thinking pretty well. I just put a bit of thought into a couple of specific aspects of how something could be done. I wish some people who could actually make it happen were doing the same.
I was thinking of those spaces they have outside Target designated for Parcel Pickup so you never leave the car. Target is overpriced for groceries though.

I signed in to my grocer to see what is offered.

Delivery & Free Pickup! (it says)

Pick-up - Not Available at this location (what?!!)
Delivery- Not available within the next 3 days
Ship: 1-3 days $35

I have always just bought groceries the normal way but I think I would prefer pickup to delivery. Plus it is free while delivery is $9.95. And shipping? From down the road? What is that even about?

No pickup at my store but did give me the option to drive to Indio. Just 90 miles away!
Seems they are having some inventory shortage and are looking to hire workers. Maybe if I work there I can get my groceries curbside?

Good stuff: The 65+ crowd get the first half hour of the day to shop!
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Old 23rd March 2020, 11:41 PM   #56
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This would have been better than typing it out!

s by , on Flickr
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Old 26th July 2020, 08:41 PM   #57
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Well this thread is very old, but I was reminded of it today.

Congresscritters are busy trying to send us more money. It's quite shameless, really. Use newly printed money to buy votes. That's all it is.

This thread put forward a specific idea that could have been done at that point in the epidemic. Was it a good idea? Probably not, but the epidemic was young. Meanwhile, grocers did start doing pickup, and it worked.....ok. At the time I started this thread I could never get a pickup time, but after a bit I discovered Gordon Food Service. They were awesome. In some ways, they were a little bit like what I advocated in this thread. GFS doesn't have as much selection as lots of other places. There aren't thousands of items. There's a much more limited selection, but I got plenty of hamburgers, and chicken breasts, and eggs, and lunchmeat and tomato sauce and oranges at very reasonable prices, delivered to my car parked outside the store, by a guy wearing a mask. And without any government intervention, I might add.

But, really, the thread wasn't really specifically about groceries. It was about a government willing to throw money at the problem, but not willing to solve the problem. The thread was started on March 24, and here we are, four months later, in darned near the same situation. I'm still in my basement, and the GOP is still showering us with money.

I've read that the GOP is working on fixing one aspect of the last stimulus bill. They're going to keep the give money away for nothing aspect, but they don't plan on giving extra to people who are unemployed.

I can't even wrap my head around what they are doing. Do they think money grows on trees? Give it to everyone, but don't give too much to the people that need it?

You know what I would rather have than 1200 dollars? How about if, instead of that, I could go into my Ace Hardware store and buy an N-95 mask? Wouldn't that be cool? I'll bet someone could figure out how to make that happen if they had a trillion dollars to work with, but instead, here we are. Oh, well. I'll take the money, for what it's worth.

In general, I wish they would try to solve the problem instead of buying votes. Put together a plan that actually involves pushing the virus down far enough that we can go back to work with only a little bit of fear. I guess that's not what government is supposed to do.

Last edited by Meadmaker; 26th July 2020 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 26th July 2020, 09:58 PM   #58
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Those who believe that the virus is overblown and not as much a threat as claimed are in control of Congress right now. No one is going to even attempt to "push the virus down" because it's a liberal hoax made in China to put Biden in the White House.
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Old 26th July 2020, 10:18 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
My brother makes garage doors. They have lots of orders for garage doors. However, they are not making any garage doors. Why not? Because in order to make garage doors, the employees have to breathe on each other.

Give people a million dollars, and they still aren't going to be able to buy a garage door right now, and the garage door assemblers still won't have jobs.

And while the garage door market is no big deal, the same is true for cars. No one is making cars right now in the US, and cash is not the problem. Worker safety is the problem, but closing all those plants, and all their suppliers, is a huge deal, but no one can buy a new car with their stimulus check if no one is willing to go to work and make a new car.
Everybody is not an out of work garage door maker.

Everybody is not getting food delivered. I, for one, have only had dog food delivered once because there was a first time buyer discount.

I still have a business I expect to return to. When dentists and elective surgery get going fully, they call me for needle sticks. I cannot take a "menial" job because my clients still need me to be free to come if they call.

I am also very high risk (multiple factors) and I'm not going to risk my life because some conservative minded persons can't stand the idea anyone is getting something they supposedly didn't earn. No matter I've paid into the federal tax coffers since I was 15 and not taken out anything close to what I've paid in.

And no matter the corporate trough where they eat tax funds runs deep and for some reason that is mind-bogglingly hard to comprehend, those same conservative voices rarely if ever speak up against or resent corporate welfare. And how many of those same corporations pay very little if anything the way I've paid taxes my entire adult life.

All those people collecting enhanced unemployment have probably paid into the tax coffers their whole adult lives as well. They are not getting a free lunch. And all those rich bastard-legislators in the GOP and Trump who are making up an excuse to blame the low level workers or people like me that have or had a successful business for the economic bull **** that is 100% Trump's fault are PIGS!

In case anyone has sigs turned off or doesn't read them, this is in my sig that is incredibly relevant right now: This is how that pig Mnuchin made his millions:

Privatize the profits and socialize the losses. It's the American way. That's how Mnuchin got rich. Worse, he did it on the backs of elderly people who had been conned into reverse mortgages. Mnuchin paid zero, took on the debt then taxpayers bailed him out.

Do you get that? He took on the debt of reverse mortgages people had been promised they weren't really giving up title to their homes when they signed up for a reverse mortgage. Mnuchin paid zero. The government gave him millions.

The Hill: The real story on Trump's Treasury pick and reverse mortgages
Quote:
In the reverse mortgage industry, foreclosure and eviction are not synonymous. In fact, foreclosure—but not eviction—is a common resolution for a reverse mortgage loan.

Yet, little distinction has been made between the two terms in news coverage of Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin’s leadership of OneWest Bank and Financial Freedom, which foreclosed on tens of thousands of mortgages, including more than 16,000 reverse mortgage loans during his tenure.
Grandma can live there until she dies but however much equity is in the home at that time becomes the bank's.

These elderly people are tricked into taking these reverse mortgages. After all, Tom Selleck is sure these scams are a good safe deal. He's on my TV every night telling me so.

Mnuchin is one of the men who insist people on unemployment are making too much of his tax dollars. But when the government bailed him out to the tune of millions, well that was just a smart business deal.
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Privatize the profits and socialize the losses. It's the American way. That's how Mnuchin got rich. Worse, he did it on the backs of elderly people who had been conned into reverse mortgages. Mnuchin paid zero, took on the debt then taxpayers bailed him out.
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Old 26th July 2020, 11:03 PM   #60
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Here's a better run down of Mnuchin's ripping the elderly and taxpayers off -- a twofur.

Democracy Now: “The Federal Government Actually Paid Him”: How Steve Mnuchin Profited from the Housing Bust
From the interview:
Quote:
Part 1: Homewreckers: How Wall Street, Banks & Trump’s Inner Circle Used the 2008 Housing Crash to Get Rich
Part 2: “The Federal Government Actually Paid Him”: How Steve Mnuchin Profited from the Housing Bust
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ORANGE MAN BAD? Why yes, yes he is.

Privatize the profits and socialize the losses. It's the American way. That's how Mnuchin got rich. Worse, he did it on the backs of elderly people who had been conned into reverse mortgages. Mnuchin paid zero, took on the debt then taxpayers bailed him out.
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Old 27th July 2020, 05:25 AM   #61
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One thing that should have been funded (or still should be funded) is a massive testing program.

Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Romer has a workable plan: https://roadmap.paulromer.net/paulro...map-report.pdf

Quote:
To control this pandemic, and any future pandemic, the U.S. should make the investment necessary to test people every two weeks, which would mean 25 million tests per day on an ongoing basis. It should also have a surge capacity of twice this amount, which would allow us to test every Amer- ican every week if needed. At the moment, the U.S. is testing around 150,000 people daily, and to make matters worse, we are testing the wrong people. Instead of testing those with symptoms, our urgent priority should be to test people who might be asymptomatic spreaders of the virus.
Achieving this level of testing is difficult, but entirely feasible. The sooner we focus our efforts towards the necessary steps to making testing ubiquitous, the sooner we can reopen the economy and restore people’s confidence in the future. It is the only path to certainty that makes it safe to return to work, safe to visit your grandparents, safe to put your child back in school, and a myriad other things that have become dilemmas during the pandemic.
Quote:
At scale, a reasonable estimate would be a $10 cost per test for labs. 20 million tests per day translates into about $73 billion per year. Along with other costs for infrastructure, training, and production of supplies, I estimate the government will need to allocate $100 billion to the development of a testing strategy. I urge Congress to include the $100 billion in the Phase 4 coronavirus stimulus bill to generate a revenue stream for labs as soon as possible. The market cannot independently solve this problem. The need for a new revenue stream that creates neces- sary incentives for labs to innovate at the scale possible is inescapable.
For each month of lockdown, the U.S. economy suffers a loss of $500 billion from lost output that month and lost capacity to produce in the future. Lifting the lockdown without a clear containment strategy will have relatively little financial impact due to continued fear and uncertainty (we may cut the loss to $400 billion a month) and will undoubtedly carry extraordinary human cost. A temporary relaxation of lockdown will offer little economic benefit because it won’t give consumers or firms the necessary confidence to plan and invest.
The economic argument for investing in an approach we know will provide certainty and safety is undeniable. A $100 billion annual investment in testing until all Americans have been vaccinated would pay for itself many times over, and it would provide the necessary revenue stream for labs to rapidly expand testing capacity.
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Last edited by Roboramma; 27th July 2020 at 05:35 AM.
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Old 27th July 2020, 06:44 AM   #62
Craig4
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What about a system where you can keep the unemployment checks coming with the $600 a week kicker but you work at testing stations or get trained to be a work from home contact tracer? We'd have to fix the supply chain issue for testing supplies and components to make it feasible. We'd need a system so you didn't have to call from your own phone number but neither problem seems insurmountable.
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Old 27th July 2020, 07:37 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by ZirconBlue View Post
So people ARE spending money on grocery delivery, then?
I've been using the curbside pickup, which has zero fees attached. I could use the delivery service, which is also free, but that would mean that my dog doesn't get to go for RIDES! and where is the fun in that? Currently, it's a two day lead time for the free pickup or delivery. Order Sunday for a Tuesday pickup. And the really good news is that after I order and up to 4 hours before hand, I can add up to 20 items! Up from 10! up from 2! Never understood that, I get the time window thing, but if I add 30 items with a 24 hour lead time, I'm not sure how that would break the system.

Even after this is all over, I'm probably still going to do the pickup thing and only run into the grocery store to grab something I need right now. I still get amused when someone asks me where I want them to put my groceries? The trunk is open, the meathead dog is in the back seat. Yes, put it next to the pitbull. It will be fine.
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Old 27th July 2020, 07:48 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by Craig4 View Post
What about a system where you can keep the unemployment checks coming with the $600 a week kicker but you work at testing stations or get trained to be a work from home contact tracer?
Wouldn't both of those be jobs, and thus no longer unemployed? In the federal system, I'd put the starting pay in the GS4 GS5 range. Possible a ladder to 7.

https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-over...eral-schedule/

So everyone out of work, can do the math and see if 14 to 15 and hour (depending on locality) with benefits replaces the wages they lost.
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Old 27th July 2020, 07:59 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Craig4 View Post
What about a system where you can keep the unemployment checks coming with the $600 a week kicker but you work at testing stations or get trained to be a work from home contact tracer? We'd have to fix the supply chain issue for testing supplies and components to make it feasible. We'd need a system so you didn't have to call from your own phone number but neither problem seems insurmountable.
Exactly the sort of thing that could be done. The sort of massive testing program that Roboramma referred to is completely doable. It's just expensive. However, it's not as expensive as giving away money to all of us, and "expensive" actually means "workers have to be paid", which means that people are working and earning income.

As Leftus said, it wouldn't really "keep the unemployment checks coming", it would be more of a "start the employment checks coming".

And oh, by the way, raise the taxes needed to pay for it. It has become a religious belief among the GOP that taxes kill jobs, but that's nonsense. I call it a religious belief because it is irrational and faith based, as opposed to evidence based. Taxes fund jobs. Ok, fine, we might have to have some sort of deficit, even a rather large deficit temporarily, but right now we're throwing money all over the place, hoping someone catches it and does something useful with it, and pretending that it never has to be paid for.

It's madness.

And when it's all said and done, it's vote buying.
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