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Many Americans are getting more money from unemployment than from their job (fivethirtyeight.com)
62 points by paulpauper 5 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 101 comments





Were getting. The article is from May. The CARES Act benefit, which it describes, expired today. https://www.cnet.com/personal-finance/extra-600-cares-act-un...

And also having an incentive for more people to stay home during a pandemic might even be wise.

And apparently some people still haven't gotten anything because the state systems still haven't gotten around to processing their claims.

I hope people are saving their temporary unemployment benefits. State budgets are tapped out and even the most generous states only give ~9 months worth of benefits. Come January/February whatever Congress passes will expire again and so will state benefits. Right in time for what amounts as the worst months for virus contagiousness.

Strap in everyone, 2021 might be worse than 2020.


This is a broad generalization, and for most unemployed Americans, wrong.

The New York Times did a very large, good chart about this a few months ago. Only people in about half of the American states might possibly end up getting more while unemployed than they did at work. The way some states' unemployment systems are set up, it's simply not possible.

Further, it can only happen if the unemployed person qualifies for the maximum benefit in their state, which the vast majority of unemployed people do not.

The whole "Americans are making more money from not working" is not only a three-month-old meme, it's only true in a small percentage of cases. The only thing it is good for is getting people like my mother riled up with, "People aren't working because they're getting too much unemployment!" Completely ignoring the fact that there simply are no jobs to be had, and businesses are still shutting down left and right.

But, each to her own bubble.


What’s the point of looking at the number of states? Most people are getting more in unemployment than they made before.

> A new analysis by Peter Ganong, Pascal Noel and Joseph Vavra, economists at the University of Chicago, uses government data from 2019 to estimate that 68 percent of unemployed workers who can receive benefits are eligible for payments that are greater than their lost earnings


> eligible

Do you read eligible as "getting"?


Two words:

Health care.

The folks arguing this in Congress seem never to have faced the practical issues that come with loss of employment.

Plus, I'll gander that among the 32% who qualified for the benefits noted, but whose income was still not replaced during the relevant time period-- the shortfall probably was 50% on average or more. So we cut that benefit because many low-wage-earners are receiving too much? Really? Sometimes it's hard to believe political discussion in the U.S. has devolved to this.


> Further, it can only happen if the unemployed person qualifies for the maximum benefit in their state, which the vast majority of unemployed people do not.

This is backwards. The lower the income the greater the relative benefit from the fixed $600 assistance since as a rule of thumb unemployment pays a little over half of the replacement wage.

The simple solution would be for the government to also pay employed low-wage workers. Then, everyone can continue to buy food and pay rent and no one is earning less while working.


The $600 UI benefits were mostly done as a means of practicality, because our unemployment systems were so out of date to efficiently calculate someone's actual wage. It's sorta a general broad stroke implimentation that figured that sure, some people may be "overpaid" compared to their regular wage, but the political necessity of passing it ASAP was so great that any delay would be immensely costly.

> The $600 UI benefits were mostly done as a means of practicality, because our unemployment systems were so out of date to efficiently calculate someone's actual wage.

It wasn't about actual wages, which state unemployment systems already handle just fine. It was that many systems are too difficult to rapidly change to incorporate complex formula adjustments, but a flat +$N is more easily doable.


Not necessarily so! Gig (and self-employed) workers were included to participate in UI under CARES act, who normally are not eligible for UI benefits [1].

You are correct however in clarifying my statement above.

[1]. https://www.marketplace.org/2020/06/05/when-does-the-expande...


> Not necessarily so! Gig (and self-employed) workers were included to participate in UI under CARES act, who normally are not eligible for UI benefits

Sure, and handling them is a potential system problem, but not one addressed by the flat $600 vs. a more complex add-on choice.


Everyone seems to be acting as if this was ever going to be a permanent thing rather than an extraordinary measure for extraordinary times.

The people who should have something to say here are the ones making less who didn't lose their "essential" jobs.

That points at an even simpler solution: toss some free shit to everyone. Yes, it's ultimately paid for by everyone's taxes, etc, etc, but there's no way around this pandemic having a very high economic cost. It's just a question of tackling it actively and having that cost go towards productive programs, or paying to deal with the disaster that's resulting from our government being incompetent.


I don't see how having only 50% make more is any less ludicrous.

Should anyone ever make more money while unemployed than when employed?

Won't that completely alter the valuation of work and with that the proper functioning of the economy?

PS I know people that own businesses that can't reopen because people that usually would work for them don't want to come back as the salary he pays is less than the unemployment benefit.


Isn't the ultimate goal of technology for no one to have to work unless they want to, while providing utopian material abundance to everyone regardless of whether they work? Of course this isn't possible with our current level of technology, but isn't that what we are striving towards?

I mean, what's the point of building AI and robots and advanced energy sources and bio engineering if they don't fundamentally improve the quality of life for everyone? I certainly don't think there's some moral requirement to force everyone to work.


People thrive when they have a purpose in life and problems to solve. Take away their problems and purpose and:

1. they'll invent problems

I.e. "first world problems". We (in America, anyway) live in an incredible utopia by any historical standard. But I read on the news every day about an endless series of phony crises. (The coronavirus thing is a real crisis, but even so, by historical epidemics it is not that bad. The bubonic plague, for example, killed something like 35%.)

2. they'll be miserable and self-destructive

This is a well known problem with the offspring of very wealthy people who never had to try at anything.

3. they die

People often die shortly after their retirement. They don't survive the loss of purpose.


Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg never need to work another day in their lives. Are you arguing they are miserable, self destructive, have lost purpose and will soon die?

People don't need a Sword of Damocles hanging over their head threatening them with homelessness, loss of medical treatment and hunger solely because they didn't find purpose in life.

How is being miserable and self destructive and losing purpose, as a worst case scenario, worse than homelessness, drug addiction, loss of friendship, family, self respect, health and medical treatment?

I mean, I don't see the connection. Are you saying that unless people are literally threatened with homelessness, starvation and death they won't find purpose on their own?


Some people do find purpose on their own. Many do not. I recall a story about a guy in his 90's who got a job as a Walmart greeter. The reporter asked him why not just enjoy his golden years? The fellow said he needed a reason to get up in the morning. He worked at that Walmart until he died, living many more (by all reports happy) years.

I don’t get it. Why would having his basic needs met stop him from being a Walmart greeter? If someone wants to be a Walmart greeter they can still do that. Basic income and social support doesn’t stop that.

Imagine your 30 year old son is living in your basement playing video games, which is all he's done since high school. You can easily afford to continue to support him - but how would you feel about it?

It's funny you mention that, because using video games as an example says more about the era you were brought up in than anything else.

The top video game streamers in the world today make millions of dollars a year:

https://www.esportsbets.com/news/highest-paid-twitch-streame...

I'm guessing you wouldn't look down on your son for playing football hard in High School and trying to go pro. Would you berate your child for dreaming of playing for the NFL if they had some talent for the game? Well, nowadays, your son could go pro in video games. Tyler Bevins, for example, from the article, was entertaining over 14 million fans and was making over $500K per month.

If it's between my kids dreaming of going pro in eSports vs being a quiet Walmart greeter for 30 years - you can bet I'd encourage them to get good at those games. Play that Nintendo, son.


> football hard

I'd council him that football is a career with a very small chance of success, with a high probability of brain injury and/or other debilitating injuries, and a profession you're forced out of young.

> Play that Nintendo, son.

If he's 30, still living in your basement and hasn't made a dime yet, that ship sailed long ago.

> a quiet Walmart greeter for 30 years

Somehow I escaped being a Walmart greeter :-)

Hey, you can advise or support your son however you wish. But don't ask others to pay for his Nintendo dreams.


Applying the logic of household economics to government never, of course, goes wrong.

its true, a lot of people need something to do, or to find some meaning in life

i guess the point is, at least as i understand it, we should be able to find the mission in life without that "sword of damocles" as the other poster said

maybe we can have jobs, or communites, or organizations that we serve in and contribute to them without necessarily needing to be compensated by them, but because we believe in them we contribute (our time, mind, effort etc)

also, the "need for purpose" might be a very mondern concept, i wonder how traditional societies (sorry for the loaded word) go a about life in that respect...


> the "need for purpose" might be a very mondern concept

You'll find it in religious work ethics, too, as well as "idle hands", etc.


This is very narrow minded. Firstly, you imply that people find purpose in their jobs. Secondly, you seem to ignore that this purpose can come from other aspects in life than wage labour?

It blows my mind that people that are so prone to speaking about freedom wrt Capitalism always seem to be very uncomfortable with freedom in its literal sense.

This also reminds me of the opening lines of Bertrand Russell's essay "In Praise of Idleness":

"Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying “Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.” Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told and acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment."


> This is very narrow minded.

I expected a negative reaction for my post.

> you imply that people find purpose in their jobs

That's true for an awful lot of people. Even if their purpose is simply to take care of their families.

> you seem to ignore that this purpose can come from other aspects in life than wage labour

Labor is often a means to some other purpose.

> freedom in its literal sense

Freedom has many, many meanings, which should not be conflated with each other. "Free markets", for example, doesn't mean everything should be free of cost.


> That's true for an awful lot of people. Even if their purpose is simply to take care of their families.

And for an awful lot of people it's not. It will also be significant portion that finds purpose due to no other options as they try to make the best of their situation. I would not call getting paid to providing for ones family a purpose, since it would end if the person would be able to provide in some other way. If that was true, people would find purpose in standing in rationing lines.

> Labor is often a means to some other purpose.

That purpose-giving labour doesn't need to be economically coerced wage labour for someone wealthier. Especially if the scarcity is artificial it's most likely seen as an injustice and an insult.

> Freedom has many, many meanings, which should not be conflated with each other. "Free markets", for example, doesn't mean everything should be free of cost.

Yes, the term is used as propaganda. Which is at its most clear as soon as less work is discussed.


You sound like you have really high-quality opinions

Not sure what you mean by that.

Under capitalism, no, that's not what anyone is working towards.

Which is a primary reason for the push against capitalism

America isn't strictly, for all time, and to the absolute exclusion of all other systems, capitalistic. No society is, for any system.

No, nobody should ever make more unemployed than unemployed, and that just shows that we need to raise the minimum wage -- not lower unemployment benefits.

if everyone's salary is raised by $600 what do you think happens?

I'll tell you, $600 is the new zero that gets you nothing.


That isn't actually how that works, for a lot of interesting reasons, but the most objective answer I can give you is this. Since the 1970s, the M2 money supply has 15X'd, but inflation has only divided value by 7. Just increasing the supply of money in an economy doesn't cause inflation on a 1:1 scale. If everyone made an extra $600, they would more than likely obtain an additional $280 in added welfare.

I think it's not an unrealistic way of looking at it to say that our floor is $280, and in reality, we could see up to $600 or more in net welfare added.

What you're actually doing is bringing the poor and the wealthy closer together, reducing inequality. In places with a $15 minimum wage, standard of living actually goes up for the poorest citizens.


Ok I'll bite.

How much do you think would entice someone to be a cashier and work 8 hours a day when someone on unemployment in the current system gets say $3600/month. Imagine a poorer state where you can easily make do with $3.6K per month.

My question is pretty much what would you have to pay someone to show up for a somewhat unpleasant workplace when they don't need an income for a decent life already? (and they would lose their previous income if they did work)

I think the math is not so simple there.


> My question is pretty much what would you have to pay someone to show up for a somewhat unpleasant workplace when they don't need an income for a decent life already? (and they would lose their previous income if they did work)

Market rates.

Without answering your question directly, that's my answer. Somewhat unpleasant workplaces should be automated, and people should be paid a living wage. If you want them to go to work pay them market rates, or make it pleasant. That's a society I want to live in. The market rate should be determined as whatever they need to pay you above a basic existence to motivate you to do a specific job -- not above death.

I'm not sure why you're advocating a society that, out of some moral imperative around the value of work, creates unpleasant workplaces at wages you can barely live on, and considers that a job well done. Mandatory and uncomfortable is a minimum standard most developed nations left behind a long time ago.

Yes this may cost me more, but you know what, if that means I don't have to stumble over heroin needles and homeless encampments on my way to work, that's a fair trade.


How does arithmetic work under this system?

If $600 gets you nothing, then what does 2 * $600 get you?


Because we don't have any efficient way for states to figure out exactly how much people were making before. Lawmakers have been on a campaign to defund, stifle, and keep unemployment insurance hard to access. This has resulted in ancient systems (even by government standards) that makes it very hard to figure out how much people make.

I cannot find the specific reference for it, but I believe I heard people saying some of these systems were having a hard time paying out over $1,000 a month because they were so old and outdated.

This is the case of "don't let the enemy of the perfect be the enemy of the good" that is repeated a lot in policy making. Sure, we could create a more perfect solution, but what are the costs associated with crafting that perfect solution under the specified given time frame?

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/19/outdated-technology-may-slow...

https://www.marketplace.org/2020/06/05/when-does-the-expande...


>Should anyone ever make more money while unemployed than when employed?

No, but of course the fault lies somewhere between unemployment being too high and wages being too low.


So, what I hear you saying is that he can't compete in a seller's market for labor.

[flagged]


Good news for him, then! Starting Monday he doesn't have to. Give it a couple of months and he can probably hire at $2 an hour, or maybe just room and board. There's a whole lot of people about to get evicted, after all. He might have a bit of a hard time getting customers, what with everyone being either broke or terrified into hoarding whatever they've got or both, but what the hell, right? They say a rising tide lifts all boats. What do you think happens when the tide goes out and stays out?

If you're not scared shitless, I have to assume you cannot possibly be paying attention.


you talk exactly like someone that has no idea what it is like to run a small business that serves a community around them.

you are jumping to conclusions that he must have been exploiting his staff etc. and you are disregarding the fact that you are punishing the most entrepreneurial, whose entire livelihood depends on this. He built the business for 20 years, has 8 trucks, garages, equipment, loans etc all goes sideways if he has to double his prices especially in this environment. He now has to compete against an unrealistic, government set salary that ironically, is paid partially from taxes imposed on him.

Maybe he should go on unemployment, and ta-da all is solved, he is now making a good salary



It just means that they’ve all been wildly underpaid, not that unemployment is overpaying

[flagged]


$600 / week is $15 / hour. I'm not sure why you are saying that's a high paying job when it's a long overdue proposal for a minimum wage.

They missed it because they were too busy enriching themselves at the expense of the poor while patting themselves on the back and calling it rationality.

This seems like a flawed, and emotional, interpretation.

Edit: I say flawed because, of course, the point stands regardless of how difficult it is to raise wages.


Salary aren't dichotomous to high and low.

They are when you’re making under $600 a week in America

> Should anyone ever make more money while unemployed than when employed?

Yes. During a pandemic or other disaster where they are intentionally paid to stay at home like the one we're currently in.


The more interesting question is whether wages were too low to begin with. Plenty of evidence points to wage stagnation in the lower-wage jobs starting in the 1980s and continuing to today. A huge number of americans collecting SNAP benefits actually work at companies like Walmart and Amazon. Is it possible the answer to the question is "we should pay workers more"?

consider what you are saying,

that the economic policy for raising salaries is to introduce an artificially highly set unemployment benefit


No, the economic policy for keeping our economy from entirely imploding, instead of just partially imploding as it actually has done, has been to introduce an unusually high unemployment benefit. Raising wages has been a beneficial side effect.

I say "has been" because, again, the CARES Act supplementary benefit expired today, with no clear replacement plan in sight, and no equivalent replacement plan anywhere on the horizon.


The massively high unemployment payment is a large part of why we saw a 33% drop in GDP last quarter. You can argue whether it was good or bad that we [over-]paid people not to work, but the obvious effect is that GDP cratered because working would make most people lose money.

That's a remarkable claim - namely that the GDP hit was primarily due to supplemental unemployment, rather than to a collapse in consumer demand across many sectors as a result of the pandemic.

You'll understand, of course, that I'm going to need something more than your unsupported assertion to be convinced that this is the case.


think about what you are saying

artificially raising salaries in an imploding economy with high unemployment is beneficial

uh, no, it is a recipe for economic disaster.


I'm not unsympathetic, although I admit I've sounded that way just now. Terror will have that effect on a person, I suppose. Glibness aside, I spent enough years working in a company with three total employees counting myself and the owner to have a sense of what things must be like for someone trying to operate on a shoestring in this kind of environment. In a word: desperate. I'd imagine it's a familiar feeling to people who have been paid so poorly in the recent past that they find $15 an hour a step up.

Ideally, you'd see living-wage unemployment in a situation like this one matched by the kind of substantial, ongoing supplemental loans to small business owners that'd enable them to pay a living wage directly, and thus successfully compete in the labor market. But our shitshow excuse for a government - and that's not partisan; I'm indicting all sides equally here - has been no more successful at that than it has at supporting workers. And now it looks very much as if we're going to have an economic disaster no matter what anyone does.

Well. Judging by yesterday's GDP figures, I suppose I should say more of an economic disaster.


I will keep this short but I think paying predermined sums like the $600 is a terrible idea.

the number of people for whom this is exactly the right amount is tiny,

all it generates massive imbalances between those for whom this is too much and those for whom this is too little (or causes all kinds of unintended consequences)

I read the a story with the two cashiers, one got laid off, the other not. The one that did not get laid off had to show up to work during the early pandemic when everyone was freaked out, worked eight hours a day then, at the end of day took home less than the second one that got laid off and stayed home all the while.


You're not wrong. It's been a clusterfuck. Where we differ is that you seem to argue what makes sense is to return to status quo ante, and I don't see how that makes any kind of sense when the clusterfuck we're arguing about is a side effect of the order-of-magnitude larger clusterfuck that is the economic effect of the ongoing pandemic, and the US government's ongoing and in my opinion frankly treasonable mishandling of said pandemic.

Please excuse my language. At the moment I can find no word in my lexicon which is both less vulgar and still able to capture my depth of feeling.


> for most unemployed Americans, wrong.

It's 100% wrong as of today (the article is from May), as the $600 supplement has expired and won't be renewed. In fact I'm not sure why HN is discussing an expired, won't-be-renewed program as if it is current.


Because it's actually being debated right now as to whether to replace it with the same, less, or nothing, and setting perception about particular ways is in the interests of people who want a particular outcome of that debate to either occur and not have its supporters politically punished at the upcoming election, or, OTOH, to not occur and have its supporters punished at the election.

Eh, it'll do plenty to trigger the "You WORK FOR A LIVING and if you aren't working you should be eating shit!" people.

I thought that was intentional, to make sure that people stayed home instead of looking for extra work.

Pretty sure it was because the states had outdated computer systems to send funds to the right places:

> Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in March on Fox News that the $600 bonus was chosen because states' computer systems are more than 30 years old. Reprogramming the computers to achieve what he described as a more nuanced distribution of money would have taken too long.

> “In certain states, that might be a little bit too much money. In other states, it’s less money. It’s not a perfect system, but the president’s objective was to make sure we get money in people's hands,” Mnuchin said.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/04/13/fac...


Yeah I'm mystified that people are harping on this. The entire point of overshooting wages is that the economy isn't ready to fully reopen and so we want to create incentives for people to stay home.

That'd make sense only if everyone had that option. Right now this led to people who are risking their lives and out there working potentially earning less than the people who are at home not working.

Putting my "free market" hat on for a moment, the people who are risking their lives are in an advantageous situation for bargaining. To some degree, it worked too! Lots of stores and delivery services appeared to be paying more.

I think people often look at this with the "glass half empty" viewpoint though. "PERSON A MAKES MORE THAN I DO! THEY SHOULD GET LESS!" Why not think "PERSON A MAKES MORE THAN I DO! I SHOULD MAKE MORE!"


Anecdotally, no.

My sister was able to re-open and she had the hardest time convincing her workers to return simply because of this fact.

Some never returned. Why would they?

Has nothing to do with safety or trying to keep people at home.


I don't quite understand how this happens. I'm under the impression that when you are offered your job back, you have to either take it or go off of unemployment.

There's no way to enforce that.

"In Ohio, which has encouraged businesses to report employees who don’t come back to work, approximately 600 employers have already turned in about 1,200 workers, the state’s labor agency said."[1]

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/08/workers-u...


Many do not. I know a fellow with his own gardening store where prospective employees refused jobs because their unemployment checks hadn't run out yet. He didn't rat them out, I doubt many did rat because the candidates were so open about why they refused the job.

Sure, employers and states aren't enforcing the rules as much as they could.

Does no one think that these types of articles are a distraction while larger corporate entities get that majority of the bailout monies? Small businesses and the general public are fighting over the scraps of these bailout bills while the lion's share go to the larger corporations and to prop up the stock market (which, according to quite a few has been in need of a correction since Clinton - though economics is not my area and I defer to those who are more knowledgeable). It seems to me a bottoms up approach would work better to stem the tide of oncoming homelessness and broad housing/business market crashes that stem from failing systems, rather than putting our faith in "trickle down economics" during a pandemic where the only viable means of shopping is delivery, thus ridding the service sector which is a major vacuum in the whole "trickle down" web.

Admittedly, I could be wrong on several points and do look forward to correction. Please do point out my mistakes.


...because unemployment checks are the only thing preventing a broader, systemic collapse when millions can’t pay for their housing, healthcare, and consumer demand implodes. Now that the extra benefit has expired, we’re in for for some real uncharted waters.

> ...because unemployment checks are the only thing preventing a broader, systemic collapse when millions can’t pay for their housing, healthcare, and consumer demand implodes.

One of many necessary things, but not the only thing or sufficient by itself. Eviction protections, etc., are also part of the mix.


Maybe, just maybe, this is a good indication that their earnings were criminally low to begin with. Might have something to do with the relationship of exploitation between employers and employees.

> The question is whether this will be a problem as the economy starts to reopen.

Isn't the question whether the economy should reopen?


1. You also need to take into account non-wage compensation (e.g. healthcare).

2. This also provides a certain amount of "rough justice" for replacement of unreported wage income. While ordinarily that would not be an appropriate use of the UI system, these are not ordinary times.

3. Excess UI benefits will not last forever, while the effects to lower wage workers in food/hospitality and other industries will leave financial scarring for years. Giving people a little more upfront, then slowly phasing it out, gives laid off workers a reasonable opportunity to plan on a career change, if needed, or to reduce household expenses going forward. (E.g. finding a cheaper apartment).


This is true because a large portion of working people live in poverty in the U.S. This reflects poorly on our human-jackal employers that extract wealth from the labor of the poor (Walmart, Amazon... restaurant chains, etc.).

Having just tried to hire some trade persons. The going rate seems to be 1K-3K/per day in Canada.

1) 200 sqft laminate flooring in a square room. Quoted $1500 for installation. One day job.

2) 2 day job to install a minisplit system I bought separately. $6000+

My sister was quoted over 1k for replacing a valve by a plumber, for less than an hours work.

These were not even labour intensive or high skill dependent things. Just basic trade person type of things.

Your $10/hour job can buy you plastic things made in China at the dollar store.

So I think these are the real wages in this economy.


Tradespeople can make a lot of money. I've started to do as much house repairs/installations as I can by myself after realizing it would cost hundreds of dollars for even very basic plumbing jobs.

That's probably going to the person who is managing it, I would assume? The actual people doing the unskilled work are likely making minimum wage.

"The question is whether our totally antiquated systems will be capable of pulling that off."

COBOL anyone?


Easiest thing to do at this point would be an excel spreadsheet and a single employee who venmos everyone their unemployment manually.

I had a COBOL class and sort of liked it. The debugging wasn't great and the JCL can be tricky, but it wasn't bad.

The real problem is that companies/goverments didn't anticipate the retirement of COBOL resources. Nobody wants to train anyone or give them a career. They all want to hire senior people.

I see a similar trend emerging in other technologies. I see tons of senior positions but very few positions where the company will provide training. Even internal transfers at my company provide zero training.


> The real problem is that companies/goverments didn't anticipate the retirement of COBOL resources.

Yes, they did. What they didn't anticipate was that major system change would not be driven by policy changes that they were free to time (and, if necessary, take the time to make it a replacement of major system components or whole systems with newer technology), but that there would be an emergency causing simultaneous needs across the nation which would exhaust the limited (mostly contract) resources that everyone reliea on for major changes to major systems.


That's pretty much the same as what I'm saying - demand has outpaced supply and nobody is willing to train.

Policy changes are never able to be timed more than the duration of the election cycle. And frankly, neither party will pony up the money for a technical upgrade that the constituents could care less about.


> That's pretty much the same as what I'm saying

“Didn’t anticipate retirement of COBOL resources” is what you said.

That's very different than “anticipated and have been dealing with retirement of COBOL talent with strategies that didn't accommodate an unprecedented black swan event creating a massive simultaneous nationwide demand surge.”

> Policy changes are never able to be timed more than the duration of the election cycle.

Yes, they are; it's very common for new laws that would have system impacts (either to the adopting government, or externally entities, or both) to come with implementation timelines that are long to provide time for system implementation, which certainly often cross election cycles. Sure, intervening elections sometimes change those plans, but almost exclusively to eliminate the requirement or extend the timeline, not accelerate it.


The retirement of COBOL resources across the nation, whether anticipated or not, has no difference on the outcome of situation - management did not adequately plan for the scarcity of the resources.

You can only plan based on what you know. You could plan based on implementation timelines in legislation. You can't plan on what may or may not come in the next 2-4 years. Waiting indefinitely for modernization plans is not realistic, although that is what happens in many states.


> The retirement of COBOL resources across the nation, whether anticipated or not, has no difference on the outcome of situation

Sure, but I'm not the one who claimed that the problem was “failure to anticipate the retirement of COBOL resources.”

I agree that retirement of COBOL resources is basically irrelevant.


LOL ok. I guess resource scarcity is not the primary driver of the lack of COBOL resources (what else could it be?).

FYI: Americans = Really poor people who will probably never get their job back.

The way it's always worked in southern Europe, hence the high unemployment rates.

Naval Ravikant (of AngelList) nailed the problem with government pay subsidies on a podcast with Joe Rogan.

"A slippery slide transfer straight into socialism. The moment people can start voting themselves money, combined with democracy it's just a matter of time before the bottom 51 votes themselves into the top 49. By the way, the slippery slope fallacy is not a fallacy; they haven’t thought it through.”

"The moment you start having a direct transfer mechanism like that in democracy, you're basically doing away with capitalism which is the engine of economic growth. You're also forcing the entrepreneur out, or telling them not to come here."

"People who are down on their luck, they're not looking for handouts. It's not just about money, it's also about status and meaning. The moment I start giving money to you, I've lowered your status and made you a second class citizen.”

"You have to teach a man to fish, not to basically throw your rod in and eat the leftover scraps."


That sure is a pile of quotes. I love the assumption that the problem is people just not wanting to learn how to fish. What has he, or have you, to back that assumption up? Evidence, please, not more assertions that read as if they fell through a hole in time from the red-baiting 1950s, when you really could just up and get a job that paid a living wage most places.

> What has he, or have you, to back that assumption up

I'm not exactly sure what you mean, but Naval does talk about his very modest upbringing, basically coming from nothing. His single mom, being a minority in a tough neighborhood in New York. However, his thirst for knowledge, status, and hard work has built a great amount of peer respect, economic output, and success.


Thirst for knowledge, status, and hard work, huh? Sure, those count for something. Do you think having had the good luck to win the dotcom boom lottery might count for more?



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