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Far from full up
Posted:Apr 10, 2019 5:32 am
Last Updated:Apr 15, 2019 7:49 am

We need more people and workers! Growth is good for the economy and to support Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid! Trump is ignorant and lying, as usual.

Trump Says the U.S. Is ‘Full.’ Much of the Nation Has the Opposite Problem.
An aging population and a declining birthrate among the native-born population mean a shrinking work force in many areas. President Trump has adopted a blunt new message in recent days for migrants seeking refuge in the United States: “Our country is full.”

To the degree the president is addressing something broader than the recent strains on the asylum-seeking process, the line suggests the nation can’t accommodate higher immigration levels because it is already bursting at the seams. But it runs counter to the consensus among demographers and economists.

They see ample evidence of a country that is not remotely “full” — but one where an aging population and declining birthrates among the native-born population are creating underpopulated cities and towns, vacant housing and troubled public finances. Local officials in many of those places view a shrinking population and work force as an existential problem with few obvious solutions.

“I believe our biggest threat is our declining labor force,” said Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, a Republican, in his annual budget address this year. “It’s the root of every problem we face. “This makes it incredibly difficult for businesses to recruit new employees and expand, harder for communities to grow and leaves fewer of us to cover the cost of state government.”

Or if you look at a city like Detroit, “many of the city’s problems would become less difficult if its population would start growing,” said Edward Glaeser, a Harvard economist. “All sorts of things like the hangover pension liability become much more solvable if you’re actually looking at new people coming in.” This consensus is visible in official government projections. The Congressional Budget Office foresees the American labor force rising by only 0.5 percent a year over the coming decade, about one-third as fast as from 1950 to 2007. That is a crucial reason that economic growth is forecast to remain well below its late 20th-century levels.

And that, in turn, is reflected in the national fiscal outlook. There are now 2.8 workers for every recipient of Social Security benefits, a rate on track to fall to 2.2 by 2035, according to the program’s trustees. Many state pension plans face even greater demography-induced strains.

In smaller cities and rural areas, demographic decline is a fundamental fact of life. A recent study by the Economic Innovation Group found that 80 percent of American counties, with a combined population of 149 million, saw a decline in their number of prime working-age adults from 2007 to 2017.

Population growth in the United States has now hit its lowest level since 1937, partly because of a record-low fertility rate — the number of born per woman. The United States increasingly has population growth rates similar to slow-growing Japan and Western Europe, with immigration partly offsetting that shift.

The Trump administration has portrayed the surge of asylum seekers at the southern border as a crisis, and applied aggressive tactics to deport undocumented immigrants already in the United States. But it has also announced plans to issue up to 30,000 additional H-2B visas for temporary workers.

“That immigrants keep showing up here is a testament to our freedom and the economic opportunity here,” said Matthew Kahn, an economist at the University of Southern California. If immigrants weren’t trying to come — if they believed the United States to be full — that would be a problem, Mr. Kahn said.

A particular fear, said John Lettieri, president of the Economic Innovation Group, is that declining population, falling home prices and weak public finances will create a vicious cycle that the places losing population could find hard to escape.
He proposes a program of “heartland visas,” in which skilled immigrants could obtain work visas to the United States on the condition they live in one of the counties facing demographic decline — with troubled counties themselves deciding whether to participate.

Although some of the areas with declining demographics are hostile to immigration, others, cities as varied as Baltimore, Indianapolis and Fargo, N.D., have embraced the strategy of encouraging it.

“One of the key solutions is to welcome immigrants into these communities,” said Brooks Rainwater, director of the National League of Cities’ Center for City Solutions.
Many parts of the country that are growing in population and that are more economically dynamic have depended on the arrival of immigrants for that success.
Sun Belt metros like Dallas and Phoenix have been built on the logic of rapid expansion — of quickly built homes, of poached employers, of new highways paved to ever-newer subdivisions. Their economic development strategy is growth. Their chief input is people — the more, the better.

“Growth cities need immigrants to continue their growth,” said Joel Kotkin, executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism, which promotes policies to help cities grow.

“The older historically declining cities need immigrants to reinvigorate their economies. And the expensive cities need them because, frankly, white people, African-Americans and middle-class people are leaving for more affordable areas.”
As many industrial cities have lost population since the mid-20th century, Americans have built whole new metropolises on land that was virtually empty then. The Las Vegas metropolitan area, with more than two million people today, had barely 50,000 in 1950.

Still, only about 3 percent of the country’s land is urbanized.
America’s metropolitan areas remain among the least dense in the world, said Sonia Hirt, a professor of landscape architecture and planning at the University of Georgia. Nationwide, the United States has less than one-third of the population density of the European Union, and a quarter of the density of China.

“Factually speaking, the country is not actually full — that’s impossible,” Ms. Hirt said. “The real question is, if you continue on the current path of immigration, does this bring more benefits than it brings costs?”

Economists, too, argue that countries, or even cities, can’t really fill up. Rather, communities choose not to make the political choices necessary to accommodate more people. At the local level, that means neighbors may be unwilling to allow taller buildings or to invest in more schools or improved infrastructure. At the national level, it means that politicians may be unwilling to take up immigration reform, or to address workers who fear unemployment. The president’s comments echo such local fights.

“We’re full” has often been a motto for people to keep out poorer renters, minority households or apartment buildings, among both conservatives and liberals. The claim can be a way of disguising exclusion as practicality. It’s not that we’re unwelcoming; it’s just that we’re full.

When it comes to the economy, at least, the country looks more like one that is too empty than too full.
Posted:Apr 9, 2019 7:36 am
Last Updated:Apr 9, 2019 7:37 am

Sadly the immigration process is being turned into an illegal mess for political purposes.

Facts and law are being ignored. The radical anti-immigration forces are cheating and breaking the laws. This is fascist and violates Due Process.

Those who would follow the law are being driven out of government. Trump is seeking those who will do illegal stuff to inflame his base.

The courts will keep granting injunctions as each new violation is uncovered. Trump will rail, but most of the damage will be contained. Still the silent improper acts will be damaging the rule of law in the guise of discretionary decisions.

In 2020 the key decision is up to the American voters. Continue chaos or vote for the rule of law. We need an electable Democrat to stop the madness and fascism.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are well known but too old and have too much baggage.

We need younger, smart but still somewhat moderate sane Democrats to win.

I hope Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania have learned that Trump is no good. In 2018 they knew. Lets hope they remember in 2020.

Democrats need to fight voter suppression and ballot machine rigging.
Posted:Apr 8, 2019 11:49 am
Last Updated:Apr 11, 2019 7:04 am

Some have compared dating to a job interview, but more personal. It does have some of the same ego bruising. You have to accept lots of rejection and still persevere.

A job is a necessity unless you have a skill to sell as an independent contractor. A relationship is not a requirement, even for sex these days. there are virtual experiences that come pretty close.

So why do people bother? The data suggests many are not any more. The decreasing pregnancy rates point to less sex happening.

So give me a reason takes on new meaning...
1 comment
Posted:Apr 8, 2019 8:10 am
Last Updated:Aug 20, 2019 8:31 pm

I used to hate politics, but always feared what a bad person running the show could do to kill our values. With Trump we got to see it up close and personal.

I do immigration law, so I daily see the carnage Trump creates in this area. The rule of law is twisted to hurt immigrants. Totally unfair and un American. Hard to advise people when the rules keep changing daily. We need consistency and values, for a change.
Key is to get a Democrat president and Senate...
Posted:Apr 8, 2019 8:07 am
Last Updated:Aug 20, 2019 8:31 pm

given the unAmerican values of Trump, the key to Democrats is to elect a Democrat president in 2020. Any Democrat. The left wing will push for radical ideas, and the middle will push for incremental success.

I don't care as long as a Democrat is elected. I feel that Bernie and Biden are too old, but if they win the primaries the voters will say they are not too old. Mayor Pete is surprisingly smart and charismatic. He may be too young, and more acceptable as a VP than prez. None of the women candidates seem strong enough to beat Trump.

At this point a woman VP may be more acceptable than as prez given the macho attitudes of many. I like Kamala Harris and do not blame her for being a DA. Many fine people are in law enforcement and that is a plus in my view, as she knows the problems of criminal enforcement.

Again, I do not care which Democrat beats Trump as long as someone does!

We also need to take control of the Senate, so get out and vote in 2020!
Posted:Apr 7, 2019 5:11 am
Last Updated:Apr 8, 2019 7:58 am

Many people are confused about the Freedom of Speech protected by the First Amendment. The Federal government and the States and local government are barred from regulating speech and writing based on its content. Private individuals are free to fire an employee who says nasty stuff, like racist rants. Contracts can contain a moral clause that allows a company to fire a star who acts or speaks immorally.

The law has various exceptions to prohibitions, naturally. Governments are allowed to punish defamatory words, curse words, threat to kill, hate speech, obscenity, etc.

There are exceptions to the exceptions too. The US Supreme Court in 1966 made it much harder for politicians and famous people to sue for slander and libel. The Court said the First Amendment protected critical speech of public figures unless they printed false facts with intent or reckless disregard of the truth.

Trump wants to make it harder to criticize him, and more expensive, but the Supreme Court is unlikely to agree with that idea.

Obscenity has become a dead letter as community standards now accept about anything.

Only in Utah or a few other places could a porn king get punished for nudity.

There is also no protection for porn, which can lead to a long prison sentence.
1 comment
Less sex
Posted:Apr 4, 2019 3:44 pm
Last Updated:Apr 5, 2019 3:10 pm

Americans are having less sex and more internet and porn experience.

It’s partly a result of a decline in stable relationships among Americans aged 18-29. But it also seems to span nearly every age , including teenagers and middle-aged married couples.

One factor is technology: People are spending more time using social media, playing video games and, yes, watching pornography, instead of interacting with each other in the real world.

In a cover story for The Atlantic last year, Kate Julian pointed to a 20 Journal of Population Economics study, which found that the introduction of broadband internet explained 7 to percent of the decline in the births to teenage mothers between 1999 and 2007. “Signs are gathering that the delay in sex may have been the first indication of a broader withdrawal from physical intimacy that extends well into adulthood,” she wrote.
1 comment
older people and weight lifting
Posted:Apr 4, 2019 3:34 pm
Last Updated:Aug 20, 2019 8:31 pm

Weight training by older people may build not only strength and muscle mass but also motivation and confidence, potentially spurring them to continue exercising, according to an interesting new study of the emotional impacts of lifting weights.
The findings intimate that people worried that they might be too old or inept to start resistance training should perhaps try it, to see how their bodies and minds respond.
We already have plenty of evidence, of course, that weight training can help us to age well. By our early 40s, most of us are losing muscle mass, at a of about 5 percent a decade, with the decline often precipitating a long slide toward frailty and dependence.

But older people who lift weights can slow or reverse that descent, studies show. In multiple experiments, older people who start to lift weights typically gain muscle mass and strength, as well as better mobility, mental sharpness and metabolic health.
But lifting helps only those who try it, and statistics indicate that barely percent of older Americans regularly lift weights.

So, as part of a larger study of weight training and the elderly, scientists the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland recently decided to see if they could discover how weight training changes the minds as well as the musculature of people who had not done it before.

To start, they turned to 81 older men and women who were part of their health database and who had agreed to begin resistance training. These volunteers were all between the ages of 65 and 75 and, like many Finns, healthy and physically active. But they did not lift weights.
For the full study, they began a twice-weekly program of supervised, full-body resistance training at the university to familiarize participants with proper technique and build a base of strength.

After three months, the was randomly assigned to continue training once, twice or three times a week, while a separate, untrained served as controls. Periodically, the researchers checked the volunteers’ strength, fitness and metabolic health, and also their attitudes about the workouts, including whether they found them daunting or inviting and how difficult it was for the volunteers to find the time and resolve to show up.

This routine lasted for months, by which time the people lifting weights had almost all gained strength and improved various markers of their health, even if they had lifted only once a week.

But then, after the months of supervised lifting, the exercisers abruptly were on their own. The researchers explained that they could no longer have access to the university facilities and provided them with information about low-, suitable gyms in the area. But any subsequent training would be their own volition.
The researchers waited months and then contacted the volunteers to see who was still lifting and how often. They repeated those interviews after an additional months.

They found, to their surprise, that a year after the formal study had ended, almost half of the volunteers still were lifting weights at least once a week.

“We had estimated a of 30 percent,” says Tiia Kekalainen, a project researcher the University of Jyvaskyla who led the psychological study with the senior author, Simon Walker, and others.

Also surprising, the researchers discovered little direct correlation between muscle and motivation. The people who had gained the most strength or muscle mass during the study were not necessarily those most likely to stick to the training.
Instead, it was those who had come to feel most competent in the . If someone’s self-efficacy, which is a measure of confidence, had risen substantially during the study, he or she usually kept lifting.

In effect, Ms. Kekalainen says, people who discovered that they enjoyed and felt capable of completing a weight-training session subsequently sought and joined a new and showed up for workouts, despite no longer receiving nudges from the researchers or encouragement and companionship from their fellow volunteers.
“They found out that resistance training is their cup of tea,” Ms. Kekalainen says.
Most of them also told the researchers that weight training had provided them with renewed confidence in their physical abilities beyond the . “They could do things that they thought they could not do before,” she says.
Skin flakes
Posted:Apr 1, 2019 7:01 am
Last Updated:Aug 20, 2019 8:31 pm

Another reason not to be an astronaut: skin flakes off in space and floats around. They have to vacuum it up to avoid clogging the sensors and instruments. So they are breathing in that stuff. Not a pleasant thought.
April fools?
Posted:Apr 1, 2019 6:59 am
Last Updated:Aug 20, 2019 8:31 pm

Some are fools on April 1, and some are fools all the time. Pranks are funny sometimes, if no one gets seriously hurt. See the Darwin awards for some not so funny ones.
Posted:Mar 31, 2019 10:45 am
Last Updated:Apr 11, 2019 7:03 am

The Brits continue to harm their future and their faith in government. Like us, but worse.

Brexit is the British equivalent of the election of Trump as US president. A slim majority bought a pig in a poke, based on clear lies and Russian influence. Now the deal on Brexit shows it is much worse than remaining. If Britain wants access to the European market for goods and services it must allow access to immigrants. Thus stuck with rules and policy regs with no say on them. Much worse than the present situation. The % decrease in GDP for the UK from Brexit means stay is much better than go.

Trump is a temporary disaster that may be gone in 2020. Brexit could last for decades and undoing it cost much more in the future. The worst part is pride stops Britain from doing the sensible thing and staying. So idiocy may prevail.
I am getting a new car
Posted:Mar 29, 2019 7:33 am
Last Updated:Mar 31, 2019 10:41 am

Should be on Saturday as the discounts and incentives require purchase by April 1.

My car is described as a unicorn by the salesman. They are driving it out from Arizona. My Mustang GT premium coupe is a performance oriented car. I wanted the upgrades for performance and suspension including the performance pack 1, which comes with ten speed auto trans, and magnetic damping computer controlled suspension with adjustable modes for track, drag strip, normal or snow conditions.

The hard part was getting in Ruby red, the closest color to my current candy apple red. Seems as the boomers age they prefer dull colors like metallic grey. Not me. I like bright red exterior and jet black interior. Like a Ferrari, but much cheaper to buy and maintain. So they have to get one from 400 miles away to find the options I want with my ruby red exterior. I still got $5750 in discounts and incentives, so I feel good about the purchase. With tax, license and transport, after my trade in, costs $43,541. Not bad as I use my car for work so some is tax deductible and can be depreciated. Finance for 5 years but I usually off sooner.

The performance upgrades mean I do not have to modify it to get excellent performance reasonable cost. I may increase the size of the anti-sway bars as Ford did on the performance pack 2 which only comes with a stick shift. I have to see if it needs tighter suspension given the driving I doing these days...

Too bad I did not get more for my trade, but I do not have the patience to sell my car privately with all the tire kickers out there wasting my time. When you are young you trade your time and energy for money . When older you give money for convenience and efficiency.

Red mustangs for life...
1 comment
Posted:Mar 27, 2019 7:02 am
Last Updated:Mar 31, 2019 10:43 am

I was going to wait for the 2020 Shelby, but maybe I will buy a 2019 Mustang GT first. They are throwing money at me... Discounts may be too much to resist. The dealership is going to make me an offer on my car and if it is good I may not be able to resist. Too bad I just restored my car to hold it for another two years! Someone will benefit from the care.

Life is funny. You plan one way and then events take a turn you did not expect.
1 comment

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