Feuding with Jimmy Dore about vaccines
Last week this self-described "comedian" and YouTube guy started an argument with me on Twitter about whether the flu is more deadly to kids than Covid. Much to my surprise he then made an entire episode of his video show recapping the argument and repeating the exact same incredibly obvious mistake I had explained to him before. Weird!
Fight fire with fire, I always say. It's a silly, melodramatic premise of course but I tried to make it more broadly useful by digging into basic pandemic mathematics and making as strong an argument as possible for universal vaccination:
For some reason I find video production way more compelling than normal writing these days, despite the fact that it takes like 20 times as much work and I'm starting virtually from scratch audience-wise. So my next video is going to be based on a chapter from my book – making an argument for Medicare-for-all!
As always, you can subscribe to the newsletter here, find my latest podcast episode with Erin Pineda here, and pre-order my book here. On to the articles!
One nice thing about electric vehicles is it means eventually no more clockwork freakouts about gas prices (also, this article got a bizarre amount of attention – I did appearances on The Majority Report and Chris Hayes' show discussing it):
The price of electricity, by contrast, is much more predictable. For most power utilities, customers have long-term contracts that specify prices that change only once a year or so. (Variable rate contracts do exist but they are terrible and not likely to catch on.) What's more, electric cars are vastly more energy efficient and so typically cost a lot less to operate. A recent study estimated that an electric car will have a lifetime fuel savings of about $7,750, though it will vary quite a bit depending on location and time of charging. The price of power does vary, but usually on a set schedule — it is often cheaper at night to incentivize people to spread out their power demand. With the rise of dirt-cheap solar and wind power (particularly rooftop solar owned by individuals) it will only get cheaper.
The biggest line item in the Biden agenda is a huge tax cut for the rich:
As a policy priority, boosting the SALT cap to $80,000 is utterly indefensible. If you are paying $10,000 in state and local taxes you are by definition doing very well indeed. If you are paying $80,000 — substantially above the entire household median income — you are in all probability in the top 1 percent. The Postestimates the bottom 40 percent of Americans will see no benefit whatsoever from this change and the next 40 percent almost nothing, but the top 1 percent will average $14,900 less in taxes per year.
The media and Democratic elites need to stop freaking out about inflation:
Now, I'll admit I didn't anticipate inflation getting this high. But 6 percent annualized price increases for one month is not even close to what happened in the 1970s, when inflation averaged over 6 percent for half a decade between 1973 and 1978, and over 10 percent between 1979 and 1981. And that 70s inflation, while a big problem for many, was still a much, much better economic performance in terms of growth, jobs, and incomes than what we saw between 2008 and 2018. (Gas shortages are better than a decade-long mild depression.)
Democrats are in denial about the character of their opposition:
As the writer Michael Sweeney suggests, the ridiculously high approval ratings for Republican governors in blue states like Maryland, Massachusetts, and Vermont — where these men often register higher approval among local Democrats than they do among Republicans — suggests a deep desire among rank-and-file liberals for an opposition party that isn't composed of violent lunatics. Democratic leadership, almost all of whom came of age in a time of bipartisan comity and collaboration that couldn't be more dead, has alternately pandered to and cultivated this delusional belief. During the presidential campaign, President Biden repeatedly promised that he was a guy who could reach across the aisle and get things done. Just this week, his administration took a victory lap over his bipartisan "achievement," and in doing so implicitly instructed liberals that Republicans are a normal party.
Much of Africa is going to need more than just doses to get fully vaccinated:
My point is that much of the continent will need outside help to have a prayer of getting fully vaccinated. The DRC has a population around 100 million, the 15th largest on the planet, and something like 1,900 miles of paved road in total (compare to over 98,000 in South Africa). As I've argued over and over, it is gravely immoral for the rest of the world to let most of a continent go unvaccinated, and it is hideously short-sighted because of variant risk. The longer the world lets the pandemic fester, the more chances the coronavirus has to mutate into something that gets around the vaccines. It would be worth paying virtually any price to head off that possibility.
Get your coronavirus booster vaccine! It will give you better immunity than 2 doses ever did:
A recent study on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine showed that with a booster, effectiveness at preventing infection jumped back to 96 percent against Delta, and other vaccines seem to show the same thing. Data from Israel and the U.K. prove that boosters do indeed raise immunity and slow the spread. If Portugal could get to 90 percent boosted, then the math says that ought to be sufficient for real herd immunity.