Category Archives: Business

When policy is disconnected from reality?

IMF calls for a tax on “excess profits” made by some companies during the pandemic The IMF also calls upon countries to increase their top income tax rates. But, as the article notes “The IMF’s call comes despite the fact that most countries are not facing a crisis in their public finances.”

In other words, this is just an excuse to collect more taxes?

Source: IMF proposes ‘solidarity’ tax on pandemic winners and wealthy | Financial Times

Many retailers likely to go out of business

The U.S. has far too much real estate devoted to retail:

According to Credit Suisse, the United States has more retail space than any other country in the world. With more than 21,500 ft² (2,000 m²) per 1,000 people, the U.S. leads similarly developed nations by a wide margin, not to speak of emerging markets.

Source: • Chart: How Much Retail Space Is Too Much? | Statista

Take a look at the chart, here. Most of the world has 1/5th to 1/10th the square footage devoted to retail.

U.S. Supreme Court rules: Oracle loses its Java copyright case against Google

Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote the majority opinion in the case, agreed that Google’s use of the code was protected under fair use, noting that Google took “only what was needed to allow users to put their accrued talents to work in a new and transformative program.”

“To the extent that Google used parts of the Sun Java API to create a new platform that could be readily used by programmers, its use was consistent with that creative ‘progress’ that is the basic constitutional objective of copyright itself,” Breyer added.

Source: Supreme Court rules in Google’s favor in copyright dispute with Oracle over Android software

Surge in good news: United Airlines to resume pilot hiring, training

Last month’s volumes are still less than half of March 2019 levels with business and international travel still mostly stalled, but leisure demand is starting to climb. United CEO Scott Kirby on Wednesday told an industry conference that domestic leisure demand has almost completely recovered.

Source: United Airlines tells staff it’s hiring hundreds of pilots next month as carrier plans for a travel recovery

Predictable: Due to eviction ban, some landlords selling properties

This was predictable:

A federal ban on evictions is putting the squeeze on smaller landlords, who are unable to directly access Covid rental relief funds, and some are starting to sell properties to recoup some losses.

This will likely reduce the much-needed, affordable rental stock in an already unaffordable housing market.

Source: Covid eviction ban forces some landlords to sell properties

Last week, a preliminary panel of the 6th Court of Appeals ruled that the CDCs ban on evictions is unconstitutional. More expected on that in a few weeks.

Face masks and lock downs forever: Even when fully vaccinated

This seems to be the goal:

March 30 (UPI) — Even with COVID-19 vaccines widely available, people must still wear masks, practice social distancing and stay away from crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces to suppress the virus and avoid future lockdowns, a study published Tuesday by the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Source: Masks, distancing still needed as cities reopen, even with vaccinations, researchers say – UPI.com

It’s not based on real world data but on computer models.

For this study, scientists at the Universities of Cambridge and Liverpool in England used computer models of virus spread under different potential control scenarios.

Their model, in spite of real world data and published papers saying otherwise, says lock downs, school closures, staying at home and wearing face masks forever, works.

The nice thing about a model is you can use any assumptions you want and it will be true for virtual worlds having the same virtual assumptions.

Domestic air fares rising and projected to continue rising into summer

Domestic airfare prices are expected to rise 4 percent to 5 percent every month until summer 2021, said Adit Damodaran, an economist with Hopper, a travel search tool. “A lot of that is based on the vaccination roll-out,” he said.

And this increased demand might combine with decreased supply. Airlines scaled back routes and flight frequency in 2020, parking aircraft and furloughing staff. They may be slow to return capacity to pre-pandemic levels, even as bookings pick up steam.

Source: To book or not to book? Fares edge up as US travellers make plans

So what was the point of all the mitigations then? “Half of England’s population has antibodies against coronavirus”

If half the population has had the disease, then our mitigation steps were a failure. At best, all they’ve done is delay the process – while causing actual harms.

Source: Half of England’s population has antibodies against coronavirus, says statistics agency – MarketWatch

As noted in a comment to that report, 8x more people had the disease than ever tested positive.  That is a stunning figure.

History will not look kindly on the public health response and especially not kindly on the failure of epidemiology.