Politics Open Thread, Oct 21-27

A longish article by Andrew Sullivan on opiates, submitted by WCE

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/02/americas-opioid-epidemic.html

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134 thoughts on “Politics Open Thread, Oct 21-27

  1. I’m pretty unimpressed with the Sullivan article so far. People take drugs to escape existential dread! Well no shit, Sherlock. That’s not a new insight. And your own discussion of the use of opiates in American history undermines your claim that it’s all about contemporary circumstances.

    These drugs completely screw up your brain chemistry, and we need better ways to unscrew it. Those ways will be pharmaceutical. Things like Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone have to be more widely available, and we have to move away from the worshipful attitude towards 12 step programs, which haven’t been shown to work.

    An online acquaintance once described kicking heroin, which she had done multiple times before eventually quitting for good. When they say “flu-like symptoms”, that makes it sound like you have a sore throat and feel tired. She described how the constipation from opiates suddenly stops, so you sit in the shower for days, vomiting and having diarrhea, and occasionally showering yourself off before sitting down and waiting for the next round. And of course you feel utterly miserable, like there’s sand under your skin and every nerve is raw and inflamed, and your limbs are in constant pain, and you’re in total emotional free-fall. It sounded like total misery.

  2. I think Andrew Sullivan’s essay is too pat. The reality is that opium and its relatives the opioids are almost impossible to resist. Several generations of Chinese were decimated by the stuff, dumped on them by the British colonizers. Opium has been a scourge in many countries and at many times. It is a worldwide problem.
    http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2017/June/world-drug-report-2017_-29-5-million-people-globally-suffer-from-drug-use-disorders–opioids-the-most-harmful.html

    If people have access to the stuff, some substantial number will succumb. I think the problem is easy availability. The Chinese realized this early, and tried unsuccessfully, during the Opium Wars, to demandan end to the opium trade. The Communists, once they had power, executed opium dealers, eradicated opium crops, and forced addicts into treatment. They knew they had to make opium unavailable to solve the problem.

  3. When I was in college, I was good friends with a junkie from Spain. It was not pretty. I saw him shooting up, I saw the dealers, and I saw him in withdrawal. When he was normal, he was really interesting and talented, but that wasn’t very often. He eventually got caught and was deported.

  4. The other part of this is that opioids are prescribed for chronic pain, because we have nothing better to offer. I watched a close relative become dependent on opioids because of unrelenting back pain. Opioid drugs are not even that great for pain but they work better than anything else. We desperately need more research into effective chronic pain control

  5. The other part of this is that opioids are prescribed for chronic pain, because we have nothing better to offer. I watched a close relative become dependent on opioids because of unrelenting back pain. Opioid drugs are not even that great for pain but they work better than anything else. We desperately need more research into effective chronic pain control

    Yes, this. In many cases, there isn’t any better option.

  6. One wonders whether *anyone* in Warren’s circle counseled her against the DNA test disaster.

  7. IMO, it’s become harder to have been a politician for a while and then run for President. The more of a track record the worse it is to get people to focus on your achievements, more opportunity to go off message.

  8. Berkeley report on the benefits of rent control in California that ignores the unfortunate fact that more people want to live in many high rent areas than there are residences for them. It’s good to know that the Berkeley economists have overridden the law of supply and demand. :)

    https://haasinstitute.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/haasinstitute_rentcontrol.pdf

    Money quote:
    As discussed previously, the housing crisis is not
    a simple matter of supply and demand. The key
    concern is timing. Tenants need immediate relief
    from extreme hardships they face, and we cannot
    afford to stand back and hope that new housing
    “catches up” to demand and “trickles down” to create
    enough affordable housing. If our goal is to stop
    further displacement and expand access to places
    of opportunity in California, relying solely on the
    market simply will not work. In fact, any production
    strategy that does not include rent control and other
    protections will be insufficient.

  9. It’s good to know that the Berkeley economists have overridden the law of supply and demand.

    Sigh. That article is idiotic. But I really do expect “land reform” eventually, where houses (such as mine) are redistributed to the needy. That will be what happens in Santa Cruz if Measure M passes. Tenants will have 100% property rights to the house. They can stay forever, without paying rent, and sublet it if they want to, and the owner has nothing to say about it. You think I’m exaggerating? Read the text of the measure. I am concerned that even though we don’t rent out our house, it will be appropriated for the needy. Not that tenants have to be needy, mind you. Any Silicon Valley billionaire could rent a house and then sublet it for higher prices, never move out, etc.

    If we are able keep our house from being redistributed, DH and I were joking around about forming a corporation, putting the house in the name of the corporation, then renting to ourselves, and THEN subletting it. That way we’d retain our property rights, because we’d be tenants.

  10. RMS – I have heard that CA is so tenant friendly now, that’s amazing that they are trying to make it more so! Why would anyone become a landlord any more? I like your and DH’s idea ;)

  11. “DH and I were joking around about forming a corporation, putting the house in the name of the corporation, then renting to ourselves, and THEN subletting it.”

    Were the measure you described to pass, my guess is that many property owners will do something along those lines, perhaps rent it to a relative who can then sublet it.

    Any thought to putting it into a trust now? I’m guessing that between you and your DH, you already have a trust or trusts.

  12. Finn, we have a general family trust that holds our assets, but we don’t have anything specific for the house. If we were to rent it out, it would be wisest to put it into a corporation, but then we wouldn’t technically be allowed to have our mortgage. Technically it would have to be a business loan, with higher interest rates and more complicated rules.

  13. RMS, you could rent it to your DSS, who could then sublet it.

    I wonder how that would affect housing units that have been converted to full-time short-term rentals, e.g., Airbnb. Would there be a big rush to rent places when the measure takes effect?

    My guess is the more savvy owners would do something similar, but some less sophisticated owners might lose control of their property.

    I’m also guessing that were the measure to pass, there’d be a quite a bit of housing displacement, e.g., landlords ending rental agreements before it takes effect.

  14. I wonder how that would affect housing units that have been converted to full-time short-term rentals, e.g., Airbnb. Would there be a big rush to rent places when the measure takes effect?

    Santa Cruz already has sharp restrictions on short-term rentals, with accompanying high fees and taxes. And the neighbors will turn you in in a heartbeat.

    landlords ending rental agreements before it takes effect.

    Too late! Months ago they passed an “emergency” ordinance that basically is the same as Measure M, because the housing crisis is an “emergency”. A lot of landlords got trapped.

    If your tenant is over 62 or disabled, you cannot evict them for any reason, ever. So they can move in, fail to pay rent, and live out their lives on your property. Again, if you think I’m exaggerating, read the pages and pages of the actual measure.

    So if you already have a place rented, and you’re 62 or disabled, you’re set. Forever. Meanwhile, what landlord in his right mind would ever rent to new tenants who were disabled or, say, over age 55? The idiots supporting this measure refuse to see that it’s going to drastically reduce available housing for the population they want to help (not at their own expense, of course — someone else’s money/house will do.) It’s insane, and of course all the dopey leftist university students support it because they’re dopey leftist students.

    This is my punishment for having once been a dopey leftist college student, I think. On the other hand, I’ve always been sympathetic to landlords because I watched my poor beleaguered father deal with renting out houses. He desperately wanted to sell them, but Mom wouldn’t let him, and of course also wouldn’t help with the landlord/tenant stuff. Ultimately it was a brilliant financial move, but being a landlord sucks rocks.

  15. “Meanwhile, what landlord in his right mind would ever rent to new tenants who were disabled or, say, over age 55?”

    More generally, I’d think a lot of property owners are rethinking renting out their properties.

  16. More generally, I’d think a lot of property owners are rethinking renting out their properties.

    Absolutely. There have been rumors that landlords are already putting houses on the market to sell to people who will reside in them, but I haven’t seen any actual numbers, or any reports that are trustworthy. But right, rent control, and more importantly, the “just cause eviction” laws, will reduce the amount of rental housing in any given area. This is well-established.

  17. RMS, has there been any court challenge to that emergency measure?

    From the report to which WCE posted the link:

    ” The US Supreme Court and California courts have consistently ruled that owners of rent-regulated properties have a constitutional right to a fair return on investment, so no rent control policy will eliminate the right of a landlord to turn a reasonable profit.”

    That would seem to be inconsistent with how you describe measure M.

  18. Finn, we will find out. There is also a statewide measure that would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, passed by California lawmakers in 1995 and restore the ability of cities across the state to enact strong rent control laws. What will happen? Stay tuned.

  19. RMS, I’m curious as to whether the consideration of measures that would lead to rent control is constricting the rental markets.

    Kinda like how when Obama was elected, gun sales went up.

  20. RMS,

    Are you sure it’s not like what they do in Germany? There +60% rent and corporate owned rental properties are a major asset class for German totebaggers. But the rules are that once you enter into a lease you have the right to renew in perpetuity and the rent increases are limited.

    It works pretty well as far as I know.

    I would be shocked but to hear totebaggers have a conniption about their neighbors renting out their homes, it seems most people already think your rights to rent your property should be under extremtly burdensome local regulation.

  21. I don’t follow your question, Rhett. This doesn’t just apply to corporate-owned properties.

  22. Home country laws were made tenant friendly. Pure disaster. The landlords couldn’t raise rents and later couldn’t evict tenants who were not paying. The tenancy passed to heirs who refused to leave. The result was crumbling apartments and flats. Horrible. In the end apartments were left empty rather than be rented out. Now, with greater protection for landlords, availability of mortgages many more people can obtain loans and prefer to buy apartments. Landlords can charge market rates and maintain their rentals.

  23. This doesn’t just apply to corporate-owned properties.

    Right, but your right to rent your property was (apparently) never that strong to begin with. So under a new regulatory regime presumably you’d have fewer mom and pop landlords and more corporate landlords.

  24. WCE,

    They haven’t repealed the law of supply and demand. They very clearly say what they want on the first page.

    this crisis is about who belongs— who has the ability and right to stay in their community.

    They want to slam the door and lock in and privilege those who already live there.

  25. “So under a new regulatory regime presumably you’d have fewer mom and pop landlords and more corporate landlords.”

    Or maybe just fewer landlords.

  26. Or maybe just fewer landlords.

    Fewer owning more properties perhaps? If you had a lifetime lease that could only rise by a fixed percent and your rent was half your mortgage, would you have bought a home? Or would you just rent and bank the difference? It would certainly change things at the margins.

  27. Under the regime being proposed, my guess is that there would be fewer properties available to rent.

    As Louise points out, there are downsides to that sort of lifetime lease agreement. E.g., what’s the incentive for the landlord to maintain the property?

    OTOH, with that sort of lifetime lease, I might be willing to maintain the property.

    But on the third hand, my neighbors might be less willing to maintain the property in which they live if they don’t own it.

  28. OTOH, with that sort of lifetime lease, I might be willing to maintain the property.

    Princes Diana’s brother (the Earl Spencer) owns Spencer House in London:

    It’s currently leased to a hedge fund for an office on a 99 year lease. Part of the terms of the lease include the requirement that the lease holder completely renovate and restore the state rooms,along with other updates, at a cost of £70 million.

    I think that’s not unheard of with commercial leases.

    And now that you mention it, as anyone who has Watched House Hunters International knows m, German apartments don’t come with kitchens. You need to bring your own.

  29. German apartments don’t come with kitchens? And how can you bring your own kitchen? It’s an entire room with huge appliances.

  30. A 2017 report from Harvard professor Raj Chetty said that just 3 percent of students at Harvard came from the bottom fifth of the income ladder, while 70 percent came from families of the top fifth of income earners in the country.

    Although I “knew” this, it’s interesting to see these numbers.

  31. “But right, rent control, and more importantly, the “just cause eviction” laws, will reduce the amount of rental housing in any given area. This is well-established.”

    The new policy created a powerful incentive for landlords either to convert rental units into condominiums or to demolish old buildings and build new ones. Either course forced existing tenants — especially younger renters — to move. Landlords affected by the new 1995 policy tended to reduce rental-unit supply by 15 percent.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-01-18/yup-rent-control-does-more-harm-than-good

    And NY is no slouch with tenant friendly regulations. One relative here lived across the street from a house where the renters paid nothing for about a year while the owner tried to evict them. The renters were loud, messy, and overall a detriment to the neighborhood.

    When we hear that investing in rental real estate is a smart wealth building strategy, these horror stories influence us otherwise.

  32. July, in the past year there has been a lot of analysis of universities in terms of their low income to high income ratios. We do way better than that. Less than 1% of our students are from the top 1% whereas 47% are from the bottom 60% (making less than 65K) . This stat is from this site

  33. RMS,

    Germans also are much more likely to live long-term as tenants than in the UK or USA. Some two-thirds of Germans rent their residence, many for decades. So they are happier putting in a kitchen that suits them, rather than just taking whatever the landlord decides to provide.

    As for how you’d move a stove or fridge, you’d move it just like you’d move a large chest of drawers or whatever.

  34. There has to be a balance between property owners’ rights and renters’ rights.

    Renters should not have a right to live in a certain place indefinitely. Owners should have the right to charge market rents once a lease expires. Owners should have a right to evict people who don’t pay rent.

    I also get fired up about the theory that rising property values are somehow horrible for property owners because they can’t possibly afford the rising property taxes. The sob stories about the little old lady who can’t possibly pay her rising property taxes because her house tripled in value in 5 years to $1MM – no. I’m sorry – borrow the money against your valuable asset or sell your house, pocket the proceeds and move.

    And this is why I am not a “progressive activist”.

    “When we hear that investing in rental real estate is a smart wealth building strategy, these horror stories influence us otherwise.”

    No kidding. Being a landlord sounds like a nightmare to me.

  35. Renters should not have a right to live in a certain place indefinitely.

    Should owners have a right to rent out their property?

  36. Owners should have a right to evict people who don’t pay rent.

    Evictions and foreclosures both take about the same amount of time. Why should renters have less protection against landlords than homeowners have against banks?

  37. There are a lot of nasty tricks that landlords pull when they want to get rid of renters. Not maintaining the building so you get rats or the heat fails is a common one. There are supposed to be legal protections against this kind of thing but the reality is that cities rarely enforce them.

    On the other hand, things can swing too far towards renter rights. When DH went to the Netherlands for a few months back in his university days, he found it really easy to rent a room (furnished with a kitchen) in an extremely tight rental market because he was going to be LEAVING. Evidently it was really hard back then in the Netherlands to get rid of problem tenants.

    And in Italy in the 80’s, even squatters had rights. I don’t know if this is true anymore or not, but after an earthquake, the family of an Italian friend of mine had to rush back to Italy (they were living in the US at the time) to keep squatters out of their house. They explained that if squatters established residency in their house when they were away, it would be very hard to get them out.

  38. “Evictions and foreclosures both take about the same amount of time. Why should renters have less protection against landlords than homeowners have against banks?”

    Where is this the case? The laws being discussed above are making that process much harder & longer. Plus, it depends on the nuances – can I just throw my tenants stuff on the street and change the locks, legally? Or do I have to have a law enforcement officer serve the eviction? How long does that take & what are the fees involved. It’s much more variable based on local regulations.

    How long should I, as an owner, have to put up with someone living in my property that hasn’t paid or isn’t fulfilling the terms of the lease in some other way? Why should it be harder for me to kick out a renter than it would be for the bank to kick me out if I don’t pay my mortgage?

  39. Rhett, because foreclosure rates are a lot lower than eviction rates, the amount of time the owner spends with unoccupied property is a lot higher if evictions and foreclosures both take months to conclude. Maybe both those processes could be expedited, in which case I wouldn’t have an issue with their taking the same amount of time.

    Homelessness will continue to increase if paying 1 or 2 months rent entitles you to remain in a residence for the next few months during extended proceedings. Lots of people need the threat of eviction to prioritize paying the rent.

  40. Why should it be harder for me to kick out a renter than it would be for the bank to kick me out if I don’t pay my mortgage?

    It’s not harder, it’s equally hard.

    Typical foreclosure:

    Hawaii

    As of the second quarter of 2018, Hawaii had the longest foreclosure timeline, coming in at 1,553 days (over four years).

    Florida
    The foreclosure process in Florida took on average 1,166 days.

    New Jersey
    New Jersey had the third-longest foreclosure timeline, averaging 1,161 days.

    Utah
    Foreclosures in Utah took around 1,108 days to complete.

    etc…

    That’s far far longer than even in the most tenant friendly states/cities.

  41. On the flip side, for the second quarter of 2018, the foreclosure process in Arkansas was relatively quick, averaging 152 days. Virginia, New Hampshire, Mississippi, and Minnesota also had shorter timelines during this period, generally averaging several months to around a year to complete the process.

    Do you all agree with parity? If you want renters our for not paying rent in 30 days not paying your mortgage should have you out in 30 days as well.

  42. I should amend my statement.

    It’s not harder, it’s equally hard.

    It’s much much much harder to evict a mortgagor for non-payment than it is to evict a renter.

  43. Do you all agree with parity? If you want renters our for not paying rent in 30 days not paying your mortgage should have you out in 30 days as well.

    Not interested in parity.

    We are talking about individual contracts here, and in any case, the landlord or the mortgage holder should be able to take steps necessary to minimize their loss. The landlord/mortgage company is the injured party. If the tenant/mortgage holder had fulfilled their side of the contract (paid the rent or mortgage payment) then the landlord/mortgage holder would be bound by their side of the agreement. The tenant would stay in the rental and the homeowner would eventually pay back their loan and own the house outright.

  44. Amazing that the experts in the Harvard article define economically disadvantaged as under $80K income. That is well above the national median.

  45. If my wastrel adult child lives in my home and I want to force her to leave, I may need to go through a formal eviction process. It certainly applies to the under the table renter in the illegal apt over the garage, who cannot be forced to leave without legal proceedings even if the property is sold. This can become a serious issue with an adult resident caregiver for a senior, family member or not, if there is no well drafted employment contract linking the housing to the sevices rendered and a history of full tax and employment law compliance.

  46. And if we do go back to unfettered property rights, a single family home neighborhood will have no protection from having a commercial establishment or apartment building built on any corner. Zoning restrictions have as much to do with a shortage of rental housing as laws protecting renters rights.

  47. Scarlett, I think the $80k number in the Harvard article is a realistic assessment of the divide. When I read about how few students come out of the bottom one or two household income quintiles, I think, “Those two quintiles are mostly filled with retirees and young adults. Few middle aged parents, especially in stable, married families, have household incomes below the 40th percentile, which is currently $45k. Immigrant families are the main group that will have well-qualified children but low incomes. Families where the breadwinner became ill/disabled are another group.”

    My family’s income in the early ’90’s was a median household income. The only academic peer I knew with a comparable family income had parents who immigrated from Vietnam.

  48. Not interested in parity.

    Why not? Why should the law treat mortgagors so much more gently than renters?

  49. “The landlord/mortgage company is the injured party. If the tenant/mortgage holder had fulfilled their side of the contract (paid the rent or mortgage payment) then the landlord/mortgage holder would be bound by their side of the agreement. The tenant would stay in the rental and the homeowner would eventually pay back their loan and own the house outright.”

    Exactly.

    Renters can be protected somewhat by negotiating longer-term leases and other clauses if it is advantageous to both parties.

    I’m not for unfettered property rights, but I think there needs to be a balance. No, you cannot illegally rent your place on AirBnB avoiding taxes, regulation and condo association rules. No, you cannot mistreat renters by not having working heat, etc. But no, you also cannot assume that the landlord will want to renew your lease forever – especially if the market changes substantially over the years or if you are a crappy tenant. The devil is in the details.

    “Zoning restrictions have as much to do with a shortage of rental housing as laws protecting renters rights.”

    Yes, true.

  50. No, you cannot illegally rent your place on AirBnB

    So you’re saying the government can (and should) regulate minimum lease lengths (no AirBnB) but regulating maximum lease lengths is totally beyond the pale?

  51. One relative here lived across the street from a house where the renters paid nothing for about a year while the owner tried to evict them.

    Most estimates put the average length of the New York foreclosure process anywhere between 6 and 18 months.

    Seems like fairly equitable treatment to me.

  52. Scarlett, the site I posted, which lists similar data for lots of colleges, compares the top 1% to the bottom 65%.

  53. totally different political topic – the Khashoggi murder…
    I get why WaPo has pushed on this so hard – he was one of their own. One of the writers at the National Review said that it was the duty of WaPo to do whatever they could to find justice.
    But why is Erdogan also taking a lead on this? Yes, it happened in Turkey, but his government is taking every action they can to keep this in the news. And they are hardly a beacon of the free press. Does Turkey have some interest in taking down the Saudis?

  54. @MM – I was wondering the same thing. And I don’t know much about the relationship between the two countries. It just set off my radar a bit.

  55. The Saudis funded a lot of projects in Muslim nations. However, that money came with strings attached and countries found themselves dealing with their own citizens who had turned very conservative under Saudi influence. There has been an under current of resentment at this and the treatment of poorer nations.

  56. Also what’s the deal with chopping him up or Putin poising with polonium? I assume they want to broadcast that they did it? To put fear in their enemies? Surely with an older heavy set guy you could make it look like a heart attack at home without too much effort and no one would be all that surprised.

  57. Rhett, I had read somewhere that the Saudis were clearly sending a message, one targeted towards their own internal politics. They didn’t fathom that they were also communicating with the West. Evidently the crown prince is one of the few Saudi royals who never studied or spent much time in the West, so he may not have a good understanding.

  58. “Few middle aged parents, especially in stable, married families, have household incomes below the 40th percentile, which is currently $45k.”

    True, but then consider that about a third of college students receive Pell Grants, requiring household income below $50K or so. https://trends.collegeboard.org/student-aid/figures-tables/undergraduate-enrollment-and-percentage-receiving-pell-grants-over-time

    Many of those kids are NOT coming from stable, married families. Despite offering free rides to students with middle-class incomes, Harvard still can’t move the needle very much with this group; evidently, they have conceded that kids from truly low-income families are simply not a realistic admissions target.

  59. Scarlett, Pell Grant students are more likely to be financially independent- a 24 year old who spent time in the military would fit the profile, as would a single mother under 24, I think. The definition of “household” for many Pell grant recipients isn’t the same as it is for 18 year old Totebaggers.

  60. “Despite offering free rides to students with middle-class incomes, Harvard still can’t move the needle very much with this group; evidently, they have conceded that kids from truly low-income families are simply not a realistic admissions target.”

    I don’t think it’s just Harvard. My guess is that there aren’t a lot of kids from truly low-income families that have both a strong interest in attending schools like that as well as the academic ability to do well there.

    I also don’t see it as necessarily a bad thing. A common pattern I’ve seen here is generational steps. E.g., first college-going generation goes to public school, perhaps local CC then directional U; next generation goes to flagship U, then next generation might be in the pool for HSS.

    OTOH, a lot of the NYC exam school kids are from low-income families. I guess there aren’t enough of them to make a significant dent.

  61. they have conceded that kids from truly low-income families are simply not a realistic admissions target.

    All the people I know IRL who went to Harvard have parents that are way more into it than Finn. I’m not sold on the idea that they are able separate ability and tiger-parenting. Which isn’t to say that with IQ, capacity for effort, etc. being highly heritable, you’d expect far more students form the top 5% than the bottom 5%.

  62. WCE, you make a good point.

    More generally, looking at things like that by income group ignores that people moving between income groups over their lives is very common.

  63. “As for how you’d move a stove or fridge, you’d move it just like you’d move a large chest of drawers or whatever.”

    I wonder how German kitchens and stoves are wired. Here, stoves and ovens are hard wired, and most people would need to hire electricians as part of moving a working stove or oven from one kitchen to another.

  64. “Does Turkey have some interest in taking down the Saudis?”

    My admittedly very limited (and very possibly incorrect) perception is that they are in some sort of competition to be the unofficial leaders of Sunni Muslims in the region.

  65. Here, stoves and ovens are hard wired,

    In HI they are hard wired? Here they have a plug like a dryer plug.

  66. “The sob stories about the little old lady who can’t possibly pay her rising property taxes because her house tripled in value in 5 years to $1MM – no. I’m sorry – borrow the money against your valuable asset or sell your house, pocket the proceeds and move.”

    I’m more sympathetic to such sob stories because of one I know.

    My dad’s best man and the best man’s wife bought a strip of property between the ‘highway’ (a dirt road at the time) and the ocean when it was in the boonies and affordable to them. BM built a small house himself, and added on to it as their family grew. It was a great place that I liked visiting. Their backyard literally was the beach, and their front yard, perhaps several hundred feet deep, was full of fruit trees behind a mock orange hedge that provided privacy from the highway. It was their dream home, and they planned to retire and grow old there.

    However, tourism-driven development eventually reached their home. Their property zoning, which I believed had been agricultural, was changed to allow hotel development just as they retired, and the property taxes jumped high enough that their retirement income (she’d been a teacher, he a mill worker) couldn’t cover it.

    They were forced to sell. Yes, they pocketed a bunch of money, but not enough to buy and pay taxes for anything close to what they had to sell, especially since they didn’t want to leave the island they’d lived on their entire lives, and where their two sons still live. They ended up in a generic house in an inland subdivision, comfortable, but nothing close to what they had to give up. It was really sad to see them have to give up their lives’ dream.

  67. “In HI they are hard wired? Here they have a plug like a dryer plug.”

    They are in our house.

    OTOH, I realized I am seeing this through my lens; we have a built-in cooktop and a built-in oven. For rentals in which the kitchen appliances would be renter-supplied, I guess they’d more like just use standalone ranges with plugs.

    I guess their dishwashers are also likely to be plumbed with hoses like washing machine hoses, not hard-plumbed like our dishwasher.

  68. European kitchens are usually much more lightweight than ours. And they aren’t really into the fancy designer kitchens like we are.

  69. Finn, A typical German apartment has a small (11 cu ft or so) refrigerator and no dishwasher.

  70. “Which isn’t to say that with IQ, capacity for effort, etc. being highly heritable, you’d expect far more students from the top 5% than the bottom 5%.”

    I think that this is true, but it’s not politically correct for universities to concede that point. The high-achieving but low-income kids enrolled in the NYC exam schools seem to be mostly from immigrant families.

  71. “But it does have a washing machine where the dishwasher would go.”

    And no one’s come up with a machine that does both functions?

  72. “I’m not sold on the idea that they are able separate ability and tiger-parenting.”

    I’m doubtful that any kid could get into a school like that based on tiger parenting alone.

    I’m curious as to how common it is for tiger-parented kids to have difficulty adjusting to being self-directed in college.

  73. The typical european apartment washing machine bears very little resemblance to a US family washer. Often it is an all in one if there is a drying function at all.

  74. I think that this is true, but it’s not politically correct for universities to concede that point.

    It’s not politically correct for anyone (left or right) to say that. The right doesn’t want to admit some (most?) people are at the bottom through no fault of their own anymore than the left wants to admit it’s not because of underpaid teachers or a lack of good schools or inadequate transfer payments or whatever.

  75. I am still annoyed at the rent control. Rent control, land redistribution, large scale nationalization of industries didn’t work.

  76. Not sure I agree that *most* people are at the bottom of the income scale “through no fault of their own.” Especially because, even over relatively short periods of time, households move into and out of the income quintiles — it’s not the same 20% of the population that is stuck at the bottom over time. http://www.aei.org/publication/income-mobility-in-the-dynamic-us-economy/

    I do agree that low cognitive ability is a bigger factor in suboptimal school performance, and poverty, than most people want to admit.

  77. I’m doubtful that any kid could get into a school like that based on tiger parenting alone.

    Certainly not. But I bet you could tiger parent a 135 IQ into a HSS where the same person with disinterested parents might need 155.

  78. “disinterested parents”

    I.e., parents who didn’t play favorites with their kids?

    A self-motivated kid with a tiger parent could probably make it with a lower IQ.

  79. “disinterested parents”

    I.e., parents who didn’t play favorites with their kids?

    ?

    Disinterested: having or feeling no interest in something.
    “her father was so disinterested in her progress that he only visited the school once”

  80. Oh tcmama, you beat me to it!!!!

    But her emaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiils….

    “Mr. Trump’s aides have repeatedly warned him that his cellphone calls are not secure, and they have told him that Russian spies are routinely eavesdropping on the calls, as well. But aides say the voluble president, who has been pressured into using his secure White House landline more often these days, has still refused to give up his iPhones. White House officials say they can only hope he refrains from discussing classified information when he is on them.”

  81. It’s so ridiculous. Yet he still has the crowd chanting “Lock Her Up!” at his rallies.

  82. “They said they had further confidence he was not spilling secrets because he rarely digs into the details of the intelligence he is shown and is not well versed in the operational specifics of military or covert activities.”

  83. The classic “we don’t have to worry about him leaking secrets because he’s lazy and uninformed” defense. And this man is our president. Unbelievable.

  84. I keep watching the clip of Gillum in the Florida debate saying, “Now, I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.” Great line.

  85. Seattle, I saw that quote and started giggling! “He won’t give away any state secrets because he doesn’t know anything!”

  86. WCE – that was an interesting article. What do you propose as a solution?

    When I’m at my in-laws in rural Iowa (county population density 17.8 which is lower than the county primarily discussed in the article) I haven’t had issues with internet, but they live in town and not on a farm. I’ll have to pay more attention if this issue gets discussed in their local news. If there isn’t an economic case for businesses to invest in rural internet, then it seems like the government would have to step in.

  87. Lack of broadband Internet is definitely a huge issue in many rural areas, especially in high poverty rural areas. I have been in lots of areas of Appalachia that did not have Internet or even good cell service. It is just part of the overall lack of infrastructure that holds these places back – they don’t have good roads either.

  88. tcmama, I’m not sure it’s a problem that needs to be solved. People that care about fast internet will move. Cell/satellite service should eventually improve.

    In my church small group, we are some of the only people that have access to cable internet at our house. Others use a slow microwave connection. One woman’s husband works in Internet access and lots of people in small towns don’t have internet or only through their cell phones.

  89. I feel like the article unnecessarily writes off satellite. It’s what my parents use. It’s expensive and you can’t stream much without going over their data limits, but they can sell crap on eBay, browse craigslist and do all the facebook in the world (if they turn auto play videos off). They can’t get good sushi, acupuncture, or a decent microbrew. I don’t know that not having Netflix is the biggest tragedy. You might need to live in a small town in Iowa if you want to teach English in China.

  90. I totally disagree that it is a problem that doesn’t need to be solved. It’s a big infrastructure issue. It’s not about Netflix, but it IS about teaching English in China. Big pieces of the economy – including many job options – are just not available without fast internet speeds.

    My parents live in the part of the state with good infrastructure – small town, but near small cities & on major highways. There is a lot of difference within the state – as the article states.

  91. “You might need to live in a small town in Iowa if you want to teach English in China.”
    Not getting this…

  92. I read that article on the coding boot camp in KY. I have so many huge issues with that article. My big issue is that these kids are being trained for the sort of low level IT work that will leave them high and dry as soon as the technology changes. I am pretty familiar with these bootcamps. They tend to teach the students exactly one way of doing things, and don’t give them enough background so that they could do anything differently. They cite the story of the guy who ended up making 50K as an app developer. I am sorry, but that is an extremely low salary for an app developer which tells me that he couldn’t get a job at the good places. I look at those photos of those kids, and they do seem to be kids, all eagerly lined up in the classroom, and they look just like geeky kids at any college. They would have been far better served by getting a 4 year degree in CS at Berea College (which has a fine CS program – I have friends there) or at EKU, or getting an associate’s in IT at Southeast KY CC. Those are all good, solid, lowcost programs that would get them a lot more.

  93. My big issue is that these kids are being trained for the sort of low level IT work that will leave them high and dry as soon as the technology changes.

    Wouldn’t they be working as trainers, customer support, QA, documentation, etc. rather than writing actual code? That seems like something that’s pretty transferable from one technology to another. The who focus on “coding” seems very buzzwordy.

  94. They need high-speed internet!

    While true, I’m surprised he was able to land a work at home job with no experience/track record. If he can make it work – more power to him. I’d be concerned that if he looses this job he’s going to have a hell of a time landing a new WOH position. If I were advising him I’d say save your money so you can get out to a place with more opportunity.

  95. “Wouldn’t they be working as trainers, customer support, QA, documentation, etc. rather than writing actual code? ”
    Well, first of all, those coding bootcamps don’t teach any of those skills, so they wouldn’t be qualified. A AS degree from Southeast in IT would give them those skills, but NYTimes reporters don’t find community colleges sexy enough to write about. Secondly, some of the positions you mention, like trainers and documentation (tech writers) are the first to be eliminated when layoffs start. Trainer positions tend to be highly technology dependent too, so once no one needs say Novell trainers any more, you are gone. Boy, remember Novell?

  96. Trainer positions tend to be highly technology dependent too, so once no one needs say Novell trainers any more, you are gone.

    Then you get a job with the next new thing. In my experience they are teaching from a script and aren’t really all that familiar with the product.

    like trainers and documentation (tech writers) are the first to be eliminated when layoffs start

    While true, the ageism is far less of an issue compared with writing code.

    I agree with your point about community colleges. But, maybe the buzzwordiness of a “Coding Bootcamp” gets them in the door in a way a CC associates degree doesn’t.

  97. Meh. In my experience, the trainers are also kind of the salespeople. You don’t fire the salespeople.

  98. And interesting you should mentioned Novell.

    Novell’s decline and loss of market share accelerated under Eric Schmidt’s leadership, with Novell experiencing an across-the-board decline in sales and purchases of NetWare and a drop in share price from US$40.00/share to US$7.00/share. Analysts commented that the primary reason for Novell’s demise was linked to its channel strategy and mismanagement of channel partners under Schmidt.

    Schmidt then went on to be the CEO of Google. I was just reading about the firing of Athenahealth’s CEO and it mentioned the Chairman of Athenahealth was Jeff Immelt. Really? You run GE into the ground and you can still find a job? Glad to know the ruling class is so generous with second chances.. to their own kind.

  99. So how do you even go about getting out of your town if there is no high-speed internet? Online classes are going to be a problem. Searching for jobs. Doing research. Banking.

    If you have to drive 2 hours round trip, during library or coffee shop hours, every time you need a reliable internet connection, how do you do those things?

  100. “You use your phone.”
    Oh Rhett, sometimes you are such a card!
    My entire neighborhood has no cell phone coverage on any carrier without boosters or wifi calling. And my town is not even considered rural, technically. When the power goes out, we are literally cut off. No texts, no email to phone, no calls. So I imagine places that do not have reliable high speed internet also do not have reliable cell phone coverage.

  101. “”I totally disagree that it is a problem that doesn’t need to be solved. It’s a big infrastructure issue.”

    I’m in the middle on this. The libertarian part of me agrees with WCE, but I lived for a bit in a rural area and empathize.

    I would suggest that governments provide a minimal amount of connectivity in rural areas, perhaps broadband access in places like post offices, libraries, and schools, including 24/7 wifi, and run some fiber optic trunks and set aside some strands for private providers to use at low cost if they will use them to provide reasonably priced broadband access.

    There are often opportunities for governments to inexpensively build in infrastructure to support broadband access. When building roads, bridges, etc., some conduits can be included for little additional cost, which can be used to house fiber trunks. Those can then be used to provide access to rural areas as well as leased out to offset costs, of that access as well as the cost of construction and maintenance of those roads, bridges, etc.

  102. “When the power goes out, we are literally cut off. No texts, no email to phone, no calls. ”

    No landline coverage in your neighborhood?

  103. IIRC, when we’ve had large area electricial outages, we had no internet access via our cable company and no cell phone service, even if we had an UPS for our cable modem and wifi router, and fully charged phones and laptops. The cable and cell phone providers not having electricity made those moot.

    IIRC, we still had landline service.

  104. We have a VOIP landline, and it goes out when the power goes out.

    There is no battery backup? The people I know with Fios had to get some big battery that’s connected to the Fios box.

  105. Finn,

    Sometimes in rural areas, landlines are not terribly functional. For a few years before we got rid of the landline, it was impossible to keep it working. The phone company would come out every few weeks to work on it,but never got it working for more than a day or two.

  106. There is no battery backup?
    No, but that certainly would be a good idea. I’ll look into it.
    Finn, Century Link is here, but I haven’t been willing to pay the extra $80 a month to get their landline service. I prefer just to complain.

  107. The need for broadband in rural areas is for more than netflix…There are minimum speed requirements to transmit weather/evapotranspiration data that is used for irrigation scheduling. Basically, probes in the soil combined with weather monitoring stations send info which determines when the next irrigation is scheduled. And then a signal goes to the servo to turn on the pump. This doesn’t work without high enough speed internet.

    And that is just one application. The government requires that most payroll tax forms and many other forms are filed electronically.

    I have a couple of different companies that provide internet access so that as long as I have power, I have internet, but it isn’t cheap. And I am not really out in the middle of nowhere.

  108. “Sometimes in rural areas, landlines are not terribly functional.”

    That’s too bad.

    If cell coverage sucked at my house, and landline service were reliable, I’d probably have a landline for voice calls. And if there were no broadband service, I’d look into dialup. I think a number of those things mentioned don’t require high-speed internet, and a combination of reliable dialup and high-speed hot spots might be a more economically feasible alternative to broadband to everyone in rural areas.

  109. @Cass – Right. Lack of broadband holds back the productivity of a farming operation as well!

  110. Lack of broadband holds back the productivity of a farming operation as well!

    Then we should rely on farmers to pay the free market rate, shouldn’t we?

    Personally, I’m all for rural mail delivery subsidies, rural electrification subsidies, rural internet subsidies and all the other subsidies that make rural life in the 21st century possible.

  111. Then we should rely on farmers to pay the free market rate, shouldn’t we?

    If we could stop being foot soldiers in the trade war that would be just fine for us to pay the free market rate.

  112. People who want to teach English in China need the kind of internet that can be found in the small towns of America, not in the rural areas 5 miles from a gas station. People who live in towns >5-10k residents tend to do just fine (outside of Alaska).

    If you need to look for a job, rent an apartment, etc. – satellite internet will do just fine. I love me a government subsidy, but I don’t feel the need to get my parents unfettered access to Game of Thrones.

  113. Our piano teacher’s daughter had a ~$15-$20/hr work-from-home job booking travel when she lived near Reno and had fast Internet access. She moved here and has been largely unemployed because her weight and health (she’s early 40’s like me) make her unsuited for the available positions, which are at Walmart or small manufacturers and require a lot of time on your feet. She is unwilling to move 10 miles to better Internet where she could likely resume a job like her previous one.

    I think that type of remote service job is realistic for some people who would otherwise be on disability or unemployed. The woman mentioned above whose husband works for a rural ISP works in Portland 2-3 day/week and 2-3 days/week from home in some sort of purchasing/compliance role, I think.

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