The best path

He dead-on accurately forecast the nation’s newest, shocking, budget deficit. As such, the man (John) calling himself TANSTAAFL won the right to write, then stand naked before the steerage section as the rabble passes comment. That moment has come.

Who is he?

“I am a GenX engineer by training who has lived across this great country from Annapolis Valley to Vancouver Island before landing in Alberta.  As for the dog, I am still looking, but it will be a lab. I believe in balanced portfolios of low cost ETFs and have paid the price in the past for thinking I was smarter,” he tells me.

And how did he know exactly just how deep Chrystia’s well of ruby red ink would be?

“I could claim omniscience and shill my opinions on cable but the truth is I came to my deficit estimate by reviewing the September PBO estimate, adding a politically optimistic accounting of the promises since then, and added a decimal place to give it the air of precision and accuracy.”

So, what do you have to tell us? – Garth

.
  By  Guest Blogger TANSTAAFL
.

This post will most certainly prove to be more pathetic than usual and for that I offer condolences to our mighty host and his legions of fans. To those yearning for financial insights or desperately seeking permission to buy a house sure to bury them in debt and eclipse their other assets the answers, just for today, will have to wait.

TANSTAAFL – There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!

When money falls from the sky to defeat a virus and the chaos it has wrought, someone has to pay. While pandemics are temporary, debt has a way of sticking around and comes with a real cost now and into the future. With a $381.6 billion federal deficit and combined provincial and federal debts approaching $1.8 trillion those costs are epic. Remember the quaint days just a year ago when a $28 billion deficit was staggering?

How did we get here?  Politicians, faced with hard decisions and limited evidence, shut society down to avoid overwhelming the health care system and save lives. This destroyed the ability of employees and businesses to make money and came with a moral obligation to fill the void and avoid an even larger scale destruction of the economy.  While we may disagree on the amount of money required, or to whom and how it was distributed, as a society we had no choice but to share this burden. The majority had failed to heed the advice of this blog to avoid over extending on housing and to invest for the future leaving them financially unprepared for this crisis. Governments spent more than they collected in the good times and now, here we are. Buried in debt and facing growing inequalities in our society only accelerated by our response to the pandemic.

I am not an economist or politician but as a citizen and tax payer I have to ask, what’s the plan to get us out of this financial mess? Hoping that interest rates rise more slowly than economic growth indefinitely while building ever larger structural deficits seems a questionable strategy to leave to the next generation.

What are the impacts on public services as debt servicing costs inevitably rise or job creators as the unpopular answers to those questions demand revenue? How do we support employment opportunities for those disproportionately impacted by the shutdowns or ignite growth given our questionable record of supporting innovation and R&D investment? How do we address the growing inequalities in our society that left unattended will eventually lead to social instability?

These are significant questions without clear answers and many potential policy directions. What are the insights I have to offer to the esteemed readers of this blog?

Critical thinking matters now more than ever and listening to voices that don’t simply reinforce our own opinions builds better solutions.  While everyone should be an equal participant this does not mean embracing “alternative facts” provided by your BIL after a couple of drinks as the truth.  This is something we all intuitively understand.  I have carefully considered the facts provided by a variety of experts with differing opinions on the value of rate reset preferred shares in a balanced portfolio, how safe they are in a traditional sense compared to fixed income, and their benefits in a rising rate environment. I do not provide equal weight to the evidence provided by [email protected] or the resulting recommendations for my investments and I would be shocked if anyone else reading this blog did.

It is time to expect more from our politicians and raise the level of debate in this country.  We all have a civic responsibility to think critically, ask difficult questions, assess the quality of evidence, and remain open to changing our minds. It is going to hurt everyone but together we can find the best solutions to manage the debt.  With strong leadership and innovation we can transition to a greener future while still recognizing the importance of our fossil fuel industry and holding it up as an example for the world. We can have important debates about policy wonk issues like ranked voting, giving a real voice to the regions of this country, and the ever more evident concentration of power within the PMO.  Once we move past debates looking like shouting matches between counter-protestors we can deal with the really hard issues, like reconciliation and the impact of AI on employment.

Now, having shredded my credibility as a pessimist and realist, I have just one more offering.  I knew what the deficit was going to be and having considered the evidence I know how to keep it and the virus from getting worse;

Wash your hands, wear a mask, and when the time comes get vaccinated.  Don’t stumble on deciding which one is the best or if you really need the second dose. Decide now to stand-up and get jabbed, likely twice, it is the best path to stopping this insanity and getting this blog back to the COVID-free financial and canine insights we crave.

247 comments ↓

#1 Classical Liberal Millennial on 12.04.20 at 1:13 pm

A great post, sir! I tip my cap to you. Unfortunately I don’t believe our current leadership is equipped to get out us out of this fiscal mess. I believe they will only contribute to it until the time comes they are finally voted out of office. I’m not convinced O’Toole and the CPC are also the right people so either way I believe we are pooched for the foreseeable future. Stay invested and stay liquid, my friends.

#2 WDL on 12.04.20 at 1:13 pm

Nice blog. I will my hands, wear a mask, but they are NOT jabbing me with some experimental vaccine rushed through in months. I’ll let you and others be the guinea pigs…….

Must be comforting to be selfish. Less to worry about. – Garth

#3 Lunch on me on 12.04.20 at 1:22 pm

That was all so sensible… like an engineer! can you run for politics now?

#4 greyhound on 12.04.20 at 1:26 pm

I am not an economist or politician but as a citizen and tax payer I have to ask, what’s the plan to get us out of this financial mess?

Likely answer: financial repression, debase the currency.

#5 Ben Smith on 12.04.20 at 1:29 pm

Ok I enjoyed this post. Quite a bit. Thanks John. Well done!

#6 crowdedelevatorfartz on 12.04.20 at 1:34 pm

Well done.

Unfortunately expecting our current crop of politicians to be honest, brave and willing to make financially difficult, unpopular decisions ….. is like expecting SNC Lavalin to turn down another lucrative Liberal govt contract….

#7 Father's Daughter on 12.04.20 at 1:40 pm

Honestly, it wasn’t that pathetic, good job.
Love the name.
I support those who choose not to get their free vaccine (I sure as hell will be getting mine, my kid too) under one condition – their public health insurance is null and void should they require it for COVID. Or at least to the back of the line. Might be a good strategy to reign people in in places like AB where health care resources are truly running thin. Want to opt of of rules? No problem. Quick scan of your health card and you’ll be on your way. But hey, shouldn’t be a problem for them as they’re not worried about the virus.
That will never happen but let me wish you anti-vaxxers /maskers/whatever you are a health care team that is not beyond burnout and exhausted, actually qualified (not repatriated from some random department who has never seen a real life ventilator except over their flash ZOOM inservice) when it is time to save your stupid ass.
#staysafe

#8 farmer4 on 12.04.20 at 1:46 pm

DELETED

This is not an anti-vax site. Bug off. – Garth

#9 Moses71 on 12.04.20 at 1:46 pm

No need to apologize to the readers as you probably just made a couple million friends lol.
And crazy anti-vaccers like to tout how unnecessary it is to vaccinate but if everyone thought like them Covid would be a walk in the park. They rely on everyone else’s vaccinations to keep them safe. Hypocrites.
Unbelievable

#10 AB Geerhead on 12.04.20 at 1:47 pm

As a fellow ‘Gen X’ engineer in ‘Berta who would categorize himself as a fiscal conservative and a social progressive, I think this post really and truly represents the silent majority who live here and decide not to raise their voice in the constant arguing that has become the norm.

I may be a bit more pessimistic than John about the long term financial prospects of our Country, but I agree with his message and salute his willingness to speak up.

Cheers!

#11 Apocalypse2020 on 12.04.20 at 1:47 pm

The Canadian debt will mean little in the times ahead. Basic survival, safe refuge and availability of canned goods and clean water will Trump all of that financial hand-wringing.

“Michael Flynn Wants Trump To Declare Martial Law And Redo The Election”

or else…

“we will also have no other choice but to take matters into our own hands and defend our rights on our own.”

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/michael-flynn-martial-law-new-election_n_5fc7d3e6c5b6f3fe59724a45

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2020/12/02/calls-for-martial-law-and-us-military-oversight-of-new-presidential-elections-draws-criticism/

The ducks are lining up.

PREPARE

#12 Drank The Koolaid on 12.04.20 at 1:47 pm

Garth and denizens,

Finally bit the bullet and drank the kool aid…

“You can’t rent income” but you sure can rent a place to live, a nurse to take care of your doddering health and more… just not income.

Cashflow is king!

Vive le Roi!

#13 Northone on 12.04.20 at 1:55 pm

Thanks, a good, balanced post!

I hope more engineers enter public service! We need to start dealing with real issues, starting with facts to build a better Canada! Photo ops, selfies are not policy

#14 Paully on 12.04.20 at 1:55 pm

I wish more engineers would run for political office. They tend to get stuff done, rather than just talking about it.

#15 Bill on 12.04.20 at 1:56 pm

Well said indeed. As you stated John the gov operates no differently than the private citizens. In good times they blow more than they spend and then when a black swan touches down they have no ammo and no plan.
We have children in power that spend more energy on keeping that power and virtue signaling then managing the country like a business that it is.
As for me and mine we have done embarrasingly well through this S-storm.
I wish there were more of us l, then the carring through would be way less difficult. Less house porn and instant gratification for oneself. (Become a budist) We need more people like John. Cheers

#16 Joe Schmoe on 12.04.20 at 2:00 pm

Well written!

I think we have similar thoughts on this stuff…

#17 Nicolas G on 12.04.20 at 2:01 pm

Kudos, well done.

#18 friend of the Mayor on 12.04.20 at 2:05 pm

Sorry Garth your Out.

#19 Purolator on 12.04.20 at 2:07 pm

Hello to this Blog,

We have a Priority Shipment of emergency-grade adult diapers to deliver to a Mr. TANSTAAFL.

He will require these immediately once he begins to sh*t himself upon reading the comments here.

The tracking number is 381.600.000.000

Please convey these items ASAP.

#20 Handsome Ned on 12.04.20 at 2:08 pm

If it was not for that horrible Conservative minister Bev Oda and her 16 dollar orange juice, our 381.6 billion deficit would only be 381.599999984 billion dollars.

#21 Left GTA on 12.04.20 at 2:10 pm

I love the post! Spot on! I work in healthcare in a hot spot for COVID and the ICU is getting busier and the doctors are becoming burnt out. Staff are becoming overwhelmed. Surgery is slowing down and patients are waiting long. Please everyone wear their masks.
On another note I am considering retiring soon. I was surprised to learn that Dec 1 new formulas were implemented to calculate the CV of DB pensions. Overnight it seems my CV went down by almost 25,000. So I sit here crunching numbers trying to decide when to retire and if I should commute my pension or not. As I am making formulas in excel and and projections I realized it is very complicated. I came to the conclusion that if I retired and commuted now and shifted some into rrsps etc after taxes at a 4% rate invested as per Garth I have projected that I would get more money in total if I lived for 30 years than if I worked for 5 more years and then took the projected CV and invested as per Garth at a 4% rate. I am no engineer… is there anyway this is possible or is my number crunching really horrible. The reason for all my effort in this is that if I leave my money in the pension and allow them to pay me monthly then my kids will most likely never see a dime of all my hard earned money if I am lucky to live long enough. Anyone have any thoughts?

also there is this link:
https://www.investmentexecutive.com/news/industry-news/new-formula-may-reduce-db-plan-payouts/

#22 binky barnes on 12.04.20 at 2:18 pm

Well done, sir. I applaud you.

You asked: “what’s the plan to get us out of this financial mess”? I can answer that one for everybody.

The ‘plan’ is something that our PM has been working on since this pandemic infiltrated our borders. He has been working tirelessly on this ‘plan’ as nothing is more important to Mr. Justin Trudeau than the economic well-being of Canadians. Nothing. The ‘plan’ will be unveiled at the correct time. Sleep well everybody.

BB

#23 cto on 12.04.20 at 2:21 pm

Nice post,…i would have believed it 10-15 years ago.

Seems logic, critical thinking and prudence have no place in society, politics or Central banking anymore.
Its been this way for a very long time my friends.
If you try to predict an outcome based on the above, unfortunately you will be highly disappointed in 5-10 years.
One thing>>>>
Be care full about how much cash you have saved.
You will be the one whos targeted for $$$ extraction. This process to provide for those that are currently blowing their wad on everything under the sun!
Good luck!…

#24 Brian Ripley on 12.04.20 at 2:24 pm

My Toronto Housing chart (Nov data) is up:
http://www.chpc.biz/toronto-housing.html

and my chart comparing Vancouver and Toronto housing:
http://www.chpc.biz/compare-toronto–vancouver.html

Condo prices are dropping but townhouse and detached prices are getting support from the FOMO 2.0 crowd.

The biggest spread is in the absorption rates based on TOTAL sales and inventory:

Inventory Sold Each Month: TOR = 64% VAN = 28%
Months of Inventory: TOR = 1.6 VAN = 3.6

VAN SFD is valued 45% higher than a TOR SFD
10 year inflation rate of SFDs VAN: 119% TOR: 118%

VAN T-House is valued 24% higher than a TOR T-House
VAN Condo is valued 8% higher than a TOR Condo

Average Annual Payroll Earnings (SEP Data)
ON: $59,860 and BC: $56,826

If earnings matter to how location might serve lifestyle:

​Since the crash into MAR 2009 earnings have increased 40% nationally, 43% in QC, 40% in ON, 38% in BC and 33% in AB.

I will be updating my Calgary housing chart tomorrow, but spoiler alert, housing prices in all sectors (Detached & Strata) continue to drop and yet employment earnings in Alberta are are $62,622 and:
5% above Ontario​
8% above the national Canadian average
10% above BC and
15% above Quebec (no typo).

#25 Shirl Clarts on 12.04.20 at 2:24 pm

Great post, John! I was looking forward to it, and as a gen-x you did not disappoint.

#2 WDL on 12.04.20 at 1:13 pm
^^^^^^^
As for WDL, you are trolling for a response. Here’s one, for you and others like you.

If you so choose not to take the vaccine, go live in a bush. Or just stay quiet.

Assuming you will also decline an ICU bed, a ventilator, and treatment? Probably not.

Also, have you seen how many nurses, doctors and hospital staff it takes to ‘turn’ a sick patient on the brink? Vaccines prevent that.

Honestly, I think there is more to be worried about in a bottle of Febreze, or a pack of Christmas decorations soaked in fire retardant. Store receipts are coated in BPA. Teflon coated fry pans. Microwaves, 3G, 4G, 5G, Retina damaging LED headlights. lead in the glaze of your morning coffee…JFK, BLOWN AWAY, WHAT ELSE DO I HAVE TO SAY!!

I think the vaccine is a good thing. It will get us back to dying the old fashioned way… slowly.

#26 Kurt on 12.04.20 at 2:24 pm

Very nice post. Fellow engineer here – it’s interesting how much your approach agrees with my own.

You are quite right that if people want to make things better, the best thing they can do is infection prevention now, followed by taking the risk on the vaccine later. I’ve discussed this with friends, and we agree that we don’t want to be first, but we wouldn’t be considered for first anyway (too young, too healthy, too sheltered.) As for being second, we’ll stand up. Every year in November we celebrate those sacrificed in the name of liberal democracy – limiting the spread of this thing is the least we can do to return the favor.

#27 TurnerNation on 12.04.20 at 2:26 pm

I’ll have what he’s having. A guest blogger dispensing and ordering blanket medical advice for all, while claiming “We all have a civic responsibility to think critically, ask difficult questions, assess the quality of evidence, and remain open to changing our minds. ”

**Note I did not state whether or not I agree with said Medical advice, not seeing his creds.

#28 Wicked as it seems on 12.04.20 at 2:28 pm

Good first effort! This pathetic site requires occasional double entendre humor, this Van islander is home most of the time these days reading the comments section.

#29 Heregoesnothing on 12.04.20 at 2:38 pm

That was really good, John! <3!

#30 Stan Brooks on 12.04.20 at 2:39 pm

Too late, the horses have left the barn.
This mess can not be cleaned by any means.
The time to give advices was 15 years ago, at the beginning of the credit orgy.

Now is Jack Daniel’s, watching the show from the sidelines time. Asking logical questions after the fact is not enough. Being proactive before that is everything.

I am glad John, that you believe you have the answers and can address the predicament that we are facing, I on my part would have been scared crap-less of what is facing us around the corner… But hey, it is always amusing to see some naivety and good intentions being crashed by life as some know it.

I have been repeating for many years what waits us if direction is not changed and here we stand, clueless, confused, with very little options left.

Believing that honest discussion now, after the facts will change something and life will go on as we know it is a delusion.

Cheers,

#31 Barb on 12.04.20 at 2:44 pm

TANSTAAFL
Good post, John.
And thank you for NOT making it 8,000 words.

You need not fear, the majority here agree with you.
Except for the Alberta part.
Now go get that Lab.

#32 Shirl Clarts on 12.04.20 at 2:44 pm

#25 TurnerNation on 12.04.20 at 2:26 pm
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
One is Civic Duty, the other is called Science (or clinical trials)

New cars are also tested to be safe. By comparison, if this vaccine were a car, it would be the safest car ever built, resulting in ZERO deaths from accidents.

#33 TurnerNation on 12.04.20 at 2:44 pm

I’m posting this as there is WAY more going on that meets the eye. The guest blogger glosses and skates. Where (the puck) — is he going?

And from a financial (small business) perspective. Note I live in a designated Red (communist red) globalist war zone thus am unable to patronize my usual businesses.

Think…is this about our health? What do a ‘variety of experts’ make of this? This all about Control not health
Quotes are all from another site. Not mine:

…….
“”Got back from lunch w/ wife, we were asked for ID to show we lived together so we could sit at the same table. The couple that came in after us said they lived together but couldn’t prove it so they were forced to sit apart. Lots of open tables luckily…@Gov_NB

[In] New Brunswick, Canada. There is not one coronavirus patient in the hospital in the entire province.””

…..

“”Last night picking up take out)only 5 @ restaurant @ a time After ordering I had to write name & contact info With 1 Community PEN & No Hand wash provided It’s getting annoying. We have 117 cases No hospitalization Majority ppl are following protocol why the nanny state then””

…..
“In our town there are four employees at the local A & W.
Three of them live together. They were taking a lunch break when the covid police came in asking for id. The one who worked with the others all day long was asked to go sit at a different table. People need to wake up”

……

#34 SunShowers on 12.04.20 at 2:45 pm

Great post, John.

Level headed, unbiased, stuck to the facts, and you seem to have pissed off some anti-vax goons.

#35 Kathy on 12.04.20 at 2:52 pm

Bravo, how brave of you to enter the contest and win! And a Lab sounds like an excellent choice.

#36 Bob Scheele on 12.04.20 at 2:54 pm

Excellent Post !!! Sign him up for at least a once a month blog gig.
My wish here is that 75% of the people who call themselves true Canadians would have the time to read this post . . . . and let it really sink in.

#37 WDL on 12.04.20 at 2:57 pm

Nice blog. I will my hands, wear a mask, but they are NOT jabbing me with some experimental vaccine rushed through in months. I’ll let you and others be the guinea pigs…….

Must be comforting to be selfish. Less to worry about. – Garth

Selfish….wise….prudent….what ever you want to call it. I’m more than happy to let you be the experimental lab mouse! —WDL

#38 Alberta Ed on 12.04.20 at 3:04 pm

Amen! Staple this column to Trudeau’s and Freeland’s foreheads (print side in).

#39 The West on 12.04.20 at 3:06 pm

Well done.

:)

#40 mike from mtl on 12.04.20 at 3:08 pm

Well logic and critical thinking from my point of view is not compatible with any political stance.

We could crack that enormous and dangerous housing bubble years ago by raising rates to a normal level, and in cases where we need to lower like recently. Sure lots of idiots and the banks/CHMC would take a bath but we’d be done with it. But no, current policy to keeping it going forever if possible.

This virus thing has been one stupid policy after another, logic and “the science” has nothing to do with any mitigation efforts. Last I checked “science” is based on evidence and repeatability.

Apparently it’s all our selfish fault the oldies are dropping like flies in the LTC, and even for a second time! Like this was magically going to disappear over the summer… the ‘pros’ put the blame to the ‘community’ rather than practices they’re supposed to adhere.

Mask mandate, pretty questionable on a general population, especially if not done properly; might as well consider it a face decoration. We’ve had this mandate since July, does not seem to be making any difference. Personally I don’t really have an issue with wearing one in public, but really does not appear to be effective.

Shutdowns, forced closures, this one is completely idiotic. Didn’t work the first time (peak was May well into it), and is not going to work now. But hey, we’re the Government we have to “do something”.

#41 BlogDog123 on 12.04.20 at 3:11 pm

To all the anti-vaxxers out there with your wild anecdotal ‘evidence’, listening to has-been celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and discredited doctors and pseudo-scientists…

Get your head outta your arse please… Weigh the horsecrap you spew vs. decades of peer reviewed science journals. Fear and mis-information is what you’re selling and the rest of us aren’t buying. Not much different than the 9/11 truthers…

#42 Linda on 12.04.20 at 3:12 pm

Excellent Guest Post:) Kudos to ‘John/tanstaafl’. Was looking at when vaccination might be available. Best estimates will be June or July 2021 before we might be able to access same, as we thankfully do not fall into the most vulnerable/critical categories.

The debt. As stated, it will have to be dealt with. Question I have is how long the can will be kicked down the road, because I’m pretty sure there will be opposition to turning off the largesse taps. I also expect the financially naive to think this party can continue indefinitely & that ‘the rich’ will pick up the tab. ‘Interesting times’ look to continue in the foreseeable future.

#43 Dolce Vita on 12.04.20 at 3:12 pm

You’re a gentle soul John, never change.

————————–

New cases dropping fast, an Rt of 0.5 nationally and what did Gov Italia do today?

Tightened restrictions more (no travel between Regions, neighboring towns, no Christmas guests just those living there, 1 hr added to the evening to early morning curfew, etc.).

Gov Italia:

“Il Grinch che a rubato Natale.”

Jan. 7 we can go back to skiing. Lucky us.

#44 KNOW IT ALL on 12.04.20 at 3:12 pm

“Critical thinking matters now more than ever and listening to voices that don’t simply reinforce our own opinions builds better solutions.”

You should have lunch with GARTH and beat this into him. He only has a one-sided coin.

NO Crypto, NO Gold

Just the same old way we been doing things so we keep on getting into the same trouble over and over again.

But I get it – Old Money breeds more Old Money.

#45 espressobob on 12.04.20 at 3:12 pm

I think Garth should make this dude a regular in the posting department. Good read.

#46 Humin on 12.04.20 at 3:18 pm

Nice post!
I agree with mostly all of it, maybe except AB ( too damn cold :).

but, maybe some of us should learn a bit of humility…
I mean, it your choice to get vaccinated. Or not.
But, whatever your decision is, I am sure you think is the best for you. And your family.
But that does not mean that I think the same. That doesn’t make me, nor you, a hypocrite. Or a bad man. Or lack of civic spirit..
Just remember that the worse people in history “knew for sure” that were right..and we had Stalin, Mao etc…
so, again, maybe a bit of humilty will be ok. From everyone.

#47 Hawk on 12.04.20 at 3:25 pm

Dear TANSTAAFL,

Most of your post was actually pretty good and well written. Nonetheless the very last bit was quite disappointing.

1. Whether wearing masks works or not is debatable, and not just by the average citizen such as you and me, but even by medical professionals throughout the world. Only recently a report came out from Denmark, one of the most left leaning and compliant nations on the planet, that wearing masks does not have any material impact on preventing the spread of the virus.

2. Most successful vaccines have a track record of development over long periods of time; they are not launched in haste.

The only “insanity” lies not in people exercising independent thought and scepticism —-(exactly what you encourage in the earlier part of your post ironically)—–but in adopting whatever is thrown at them like submissive lemmings, by the establishment.

May I suggest that you extend the independent thinking that you recommend, to other aspects of life well, i.e. not just portfolio management!

#48 Joseph on 12.04.20 at 3:25 pm

Well Done!

*** Slow Clap ***

#49 Prince Polo on 12.04.20 at 3:28 pm

Kudos sir, on the bravery to stand in front of the blog dogs and expose your ideas to this ravenous crowd of misfits.

You write, “I am not an economist or politician but as a citizen and tax payer I have to ask, what’s the plan to get us out of this financial mess?”

Unfortunately, I don’t think that there is a plan from the Liberals, except maybe, deep down, they hope that when the day of reckoning comes, they will sit smugly across from the Cons and decry the evil PC’ers for having to resort to austerity:
“You see”, says leader of the opposition, Justin Trudeau, “when i was in charge, we had all the programs we ever needed and then some! How could the Cons screw it up so badly?!”
*applause from the Lib back-benchers and Pierre Poilievre faints*

#50 Ken on 12.04.20 at 3:32 pm

Good job…enjoyed the read.

#51 Leichendiener on 12.04.20 at 3:35 pm

Brilliant post except for the last paragraph.

#52 Bezengy on 12.04.20 at 3:42 pm

Well done John. You’re an inspiration.

#53 Stealth on 12.04.20 at 3:45 pm

Thank you, excellent post, I echo most of your views (eng as well.)

Garth, please consider allowing this type of post from an anonymous person in the future, it has added value to this blog.

Mr TINSTAAL, you mentioned analyzing preferred shares. What are your thoughts? It was certainly a challenge holding them in the last little while.

Once again thanks.

#54 calgary rip off on 12.04.20 at 3:45 pm

Most of your post was good.

Sadly though like many you are uninformed. Yes hand washing and masks, however you forgot Vitamin D3 and C. I find it truly amazing that the mainstream public isn’t understanding the power of these two vitamins, and this is during the internet age when anyone can look the information up.

The authorities are fools for not advocating Vitamin C and D3. As such they have thousands of deaths on their hands. One must ask why so many have died? Covid 19 is like flu on steroids. If you have a weakness it WILL tear you apart. This is why young and old have fallen victim. I have seen the hospital admission page for the Peter Loughheed Hospital in Calgary. It was a page long, 2 weeks ago, with ages of patients 25-90. How does one address inherent immunity and reducing cytokine storm? Very very simple, Vitamin D3 and C. Physicians are hesitant to recommend these vitamins as the response is not consistent across patients. And as such the response is not uniform. Most physicians require randomized controlled trials to even consider using a protocol. This is foolishness. And people are dying from such reliance on evidence based mentality. Instead, physicians should be willing to do ANYTHING to save lives, even if it falls outside typical medicine. Some physicians are willing to risk their licenses. Most are not. And this is specifically why deaths are so high in the USA. There is no clear protocol, just masks, hand washing and social distancing. People are told to stay at home. And do what exactly? This is not explained. Dr. Hinshaw also has done poorly in advocating measures for health in Alberta. The North American response has been pathetic.

From statistics I have seen and Harvard Grand Rounds I have watched, I believe the vaccine is less risky than the virus itself. As such when it becomes available, Im getting it. I still believe in vitamins. I still believe in alternative measures. However, 1/3 having heart effects due to covid is bad, likely worse than a vaccine. And, RNA is not going to reverse transcript the DNA in the cell nucleus. The covid vaccine is NOT like HIV in its ability to build lousy DNA in a cell nucleus.

The above post was ok, but seemed rather surface level knowledge. Good attempt, I prefer Garth.

For those interested in science to fight Covid I recommend Dr. Richard Z. Cheng MD PhD. Currently there is no vaccine. Dr. Chengs research is worth the read.
https://isom.ca/profile/richard-cheng/

#55 earlybird on 12.04.20 at 3:46 pm

That was really good! Garth is a true wordsmith and it is not as easy as it looks!

Raise rates to normal levels and come clean on the true rate of inflation would be a good start.

The vaccine is very experimental with long term risks unknown, liability waived for damages, but the potential is incredible.

Another option should be offered. Intentional exposure and infection followed by a 2 week personal lock down for all that are not going to get vaccinated, with your doctors evaluation beforehand. I would take my chances with the latter…

#56 I am incompetent on 12.04.20 at 3:47 pm

Lunch:
Was that a reset? It sounded like a reset.
I have been reading a bit about MMT that I somehow missed in Economics 101. If we Canadians print more Canadian currency to use in Canada how will that hurt us? We can’t go bankrupt. Our exports may be cheaper but isn’t that a good thing? And if all the other countries are printing more of their currency perhaps we will not be so uncompetitive, relatively speaking. Help me, please…

#57 DON on 12.04.20 at 3:51 pm

Good logical post John. Nice to have you around.

”It is time to expect more from our politicians and raise the level of debate in this country. We all have a civic responsibility to think critically, ask difficult questions, assess the quality of evidence, and remain open to changing our minds. It is going to hurt everyone but together we can find the best solutions to manage the debt. With strong leadership and innovation we can transition to a greener future while still recognizing the importance of our fossil fuel industry and holding it up as an example for the world.”

Fully agree.

Critical thinking and determining the quality of evidence are keys. Also a good memory, comes in handy. Less we forget, the wheels on the economy were wobbling pre-covid. How will people manage these debt levels. Context and nuance matter when trying to follow in your parents’ foot steps, expecting to cash in on the house in the same manner.

So John do you have control of the delete button today? If you do…I wish I was you!

#58 Axehead on 12.04.20 at 3:51 pm

Good post but devoid of a solution to Federal debt burden and dependence on government intervention. I do not think there is a solution, thus I suspect systemic dependency on government aid, increased socialistic policy, and perhaps future CAD currency devaluation.

#59 calgaryPhantom on 12.04.20 at 3:51 pm

Well done John.
The leaders of a nation are a representation of its people.
Sadly, kicking the can down the road and feasting on debt is what most prefer in our society and that reflects in our leaders’ decisions.
As the saying goes, charity starts from home. As a society we must learn to live within our means and earn before we buy.

This is the only way OUT!

#60 Lunchlady Freeland on 12.04.20 at 3:53 pm

Great post! Far better than I could’ve done. Even threw in a BIL acronym – someone is as devoted to this blog as dogs are to their owners… Nice work Garth’s Best Friend.

Can someone spell out (quite literally) what the hell [email protected] means? I just started reading several months ago and I can make sense of most of the acronyms but I’m totally stumped on this… wth?

#61 SoggyShorts on 12.04.20 at 3:58 pm

#102 Cheekm on 12.04.20 at 6:31 am
The VAX has never defeated the FLU so why do you think it will stop the VID
**********************
People keep posting that, and I’m disappointed at the lack of critical thinking.
1. “The Flu” is actually several strains for which we haven’t made a catch-all vaccine.
2. Nowhere near enough people get the flu shot for us to eradicate it.
3. We’ve never been at 2020 levels of technology before.

I mean really you could keep going with that list but those are the major factors that make it different.

#1&2 are VERY important reasons why anti-vax, vax-hesitant people are a potentially huge problem:
If not enough people get the vaccine early enough then Covid could have time to mutate into many different strains some of which we might not be able to vaccinate against, wasting all efforts.

@#44 Humin on 12.04.20 at 3:18 pm
@#35 WDL on 12.04.20 at 2:57 pm

#62 Slim on 12.04.20 at 3:59 pm

How ironic these anti-vaxxers expect to be taken care of, if or when they end up at the hospital.

Excellent post by the way!

#63 SoggyShorts on 12.04.20 at 3:59 pm

#53 earlybird on 12.04.20 at 3:46 pm
Another option should be offered. Intentional exposure and infection followed by a 2 week personal lock down for all that are not going to get vaccinated, with your doctors evaluation beforehand. I would take my chances with the latter…
**************
Really? There are proven cases of long-term side effects from catching the virus and you’d choose that over possible side effects from a vaccine? How does that compute? The “devil you know” might not be a super-smart strategy here…

#64 SoggyShorts on 12.04.20 at 4:02 pm

#90 steve on 12.03.20 at 11:01 pm
Nonplused, what line of work has had the starting salary double since 1995?
*****************
Pretty much every single job that requires steel-toe boots and a hard hat for starters. Also, every single minimum wage job has not only seen a doubling, but rather a tripling of wages which obviously pushed the salaries of those making more higher as well.

#65 Bguy1 on 12.04.20 at 4:02 pm

Canada has no choice but to double down on exports – find more customers, make more and diverse things, especially given the way the US and China now just make up trade policies as they go.

The fiscal policy response was appropriate for the circumstances, the deficit is clearly unsustainable and will have to be dealt with, “come hell or high water”. Sorry, MMT is not “new”, just a recycled idea (ask the Social Credit party)

#66 espressobob on 12.04.20 at 4:02 pm

#58

[email protected] is an acronym for the ‘ The Nice Lady at The Bank’.

Greater Fool thingy.

#67 earlybird on 12.04.20 at 4:02 pm

#52 Calgary Rip off…
Vitamin D3 and Vitamin C are a no-brainer! A must have, especially in Northern Climates.
As an almost Vegan, I am hyper-aware of required nutrition and glad you put it out there. You would think with a pandemic, this would be a part of the solution too…Ironically the money we save not eating meat all goes to investments, plus no blood pressure, heart meds for us forever really…more savings! Best investment ever!

#68 George S on 12.04.20 at 4:04 pm

Good article.

I think I have experienced how the government can get out of this debt problem. About 8 years ago we went to Greece for a few weeks. We bought a few hundred dollars worth of stuff. People told us to save our receipts so we could get our tax back when we left. I didn’t pay much attention to it because I figured “what, 5% tax, why would I care about wasting time standing at a window to collect a little bit of tax, it seemed kind of petty.
So when we got to the airport I saw people all lining up and wondered what the hell was going on and looked at one of the receipts that I had in my pocket and realized that their GST is 27% and it is included in the price you pay, not added on when you pay so that you know how much you are paying. Then I looked into it and realized that most countries that have reasonable social programs and single payer medical care have very large GST, HST, VAT, or some kind of T on almost everything that you buy and that is how they keep their budgets balanced. It varies, I think Britain is something like 19%, Germany about the same and Sweden is 25% I think.
My prediction is that soon we will have a 20+% VAT hidden in all our prices of non essential items. And motor vehicle fuel will be about $2+ per litre just like Europe.

#69 Ponzius Pilatus on 12.04.20 at 4:05 pm

Brain in politics is good.
But sometimes the heart has to take over.
Kudos to the Manitoba Premier.

#70 vanreal on 12.04.20 at 4:09 pm

TANSTAAFL for prime minister!!

#71 Lisa on 12.04.20 at 4:10 pm

For those who think the vaccine has been rushed, it really hasn’t.
https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/health-55041371

#72 Mike in Cowtown on 12.04.20 at 4:20 pm

Well done! Perhaps Garth has recruited a new occasional guest blogger. :)

#73 When Will They Raise Rates? on 12.04.20 at 4:20 pm

Well done!

#74 Amok on 12.04.20 at 4:23 pm

Great post, John
Thank you

#75 Stan Brooks on 12.04.20 at 4:28 pm

Another idiotic policy in order to boost the housing market – the only thing left in this ‘economy’:

https://ca.yahoo.com/finance/news/federal-liberals-boost-firsttime-home-buyers-incentive-and-plan-foreign-buyers-tax-204818131.html

Yes, that is right, in order to keep bank profits and propel house prices even higher, the government now will co-own the ‘house’:

The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is a shared-equity mortgage to reduce payments, with the Government of Canada taking on 5-10 per cent of the loan on a new home and 5 per cent on a resale home or mobile home. It’s being expanded for the high-priced Toronto, Vancouver, and Victoria markets.

A broken government will print some more money in order to boost delusional valuations in a place with no real economy.

Taking all my assets out on time was the best decision of my life.

Burn Rome, burn.

#76 ambiVasu on 12.04.20 at 4:29 pm

#20 Left GTA on 12.04.20 at 2:10 pm

This is how I have done it:

We understood the pensions were created to help us live comfortably. So we took the option of selecting the pension plan that will pay us till we live…..

As for the kids, they have been taught to work hard and be better than us, so they should not expect a handout from their parents……

#77 Flop... on 12.04.20 at 4:29 pm

This blog dodged a bullet.

I knew the other day when John wrote I wasn’t going to be a total incoherent train wreck.

Maybe he was pre-screened?

Well, as pathetic as this blog is, I’m glad that there are some decent folks that put pen to paper( or is that finger to screen ,nowadays.) to write about how the post of the day makes them feel or whatever has been going on in their hoods, all across this strapping land.

The vaccine?

I don’t have to worry about that yet.

My wife works in education and will be miles ahead in the line before me.

Construction workers were deemed essential workers, mainly because we’re too dumb to follow rules and also the government needed someone to tax to help try and pay for all this.

I expect to be at the back of the line, but could be bumped up a little if the housing market gets the wobbles.

My wife is normally my Guinea pig for spicy food that might put me on the toilet, I don’t see this being much different…

M46BC

#78 Gramps on 12.04.20 at 4:34 pm

Amen

#79 I’m stupid on 12.04.20 at 4:39 pm

Hi Garth. Today I was offered first in the line for the covid vaccine. The price $250 per dose. I’m not a front line worker or a in a high risk category. It’s not legal, I naturally refused on principle.

I’m just letting everyone know that there are back room deals going on to bypass the line. I hope the person offering it to me was talking shit but I highly doubt it.

If anyone else is is being offered to skip the line for a few please don’t. There are others that need it more. Wait your turn.

#80 cuke and tomato picker on 12.04.20 at 4:43 pm

George very interesting when we were in Greece we bought some things and when we asked for a receipt we were waved off and they then appeared not to speak english.

#81 R on 12.04.20 at 4:43 pm

Excellent post. Interesting factoid is most of the Chinese politicians are engineers. Western societies prefer lawyers, Asian societies prefer engineers . One is good at arguing, the other is good at long term planning and getting the tasks at hand done .

#82 Stone on 12.04.20 at 4:44 pm

I believe in balanced portfolios of low cost ETFs and have paid the price in the past for thinking I was smarter.

———

I like John.

B&D 10.74% YTD. Nothing to complain about. Rub tummy!

#83 Robert Harrison on 12.04.20 at 4:46 pm

Nice summation of your political beliefs, but what about the Leafs!!

#84 DON on 12.04.20 at 4:46 pm

More updates on vaccines in the last couple of days. Are we getting what was originally promised.

Fauci had to apologize to the UK about approving that quickly. The UK did processes in parallel without affecting the integrity of the process. Fauci s apology wasn’t exactly an outright apology.

#85 Thomas on 12.04.20 at 4:51 pm

“…avoid overhelming the healthcare system and save lives….”

The way to hell is paved with good intentions.

May I remind you that communism was initially a good idea, where all people would be equal? Everybody knows now that because of the human nature, there will always be a small percent .01% of people that will be more equal than the rest…..

It always work like this:
– “they” create a huge society problem
– “they” will solve that problem – with a plan that in normal conditions would have not been accepted: read debt, vaccination, surveillance, repression of liberties, confiscation of property, etc.

Since John is an engineer, can he come up with a way to measure the extent to which a business is essential? How about an art gallery? Or a baseball match? Or a marthon event? Or a church? How come a Costco or Dollarama are essential?

Govt. has no business in deciding which business should stay open or not! Or to decide that I don’t have the right to share a glass of wine with a friend on Xmas night, in my own house!

#86 Simon Chalkland on 12.04.20 at 4:53 pm

Here here,
In particular the thought line “This is something we all intuitively understand.” was well placed, when we stop paying attention to temporal rules there is always hell to pay. It appears that MMT is about to be tested big time we do indeed live in interesting times. We simply do not know if it will still be a theory a decade from now.

#87 HPVictoria on 12.04.20 at 4:53 pm

Excellent post, John. Extremely well-written and balanced. I strongly agree with your concerns and suggestions!

#88 T-Rev on 12.04.20 at 4:57 pm

Yet more evidence of how Alberta has either bred or attracted our nations brightest and most sensible individuals.

Classic liberals, though we won’t use that word around here: We don’t believe in free lunches, but we’ll give you one when you’re hungry and send a few more home with you for your kids. Small government, but pragmatic and smart enough to suppress the worst of our more libertarian instincts and recognize that during a crisis strong centralized leadership is sometimes necessary.

Ya’ll should spend some time here on the eastern slopes. Like TNSTAAFL, you might just stay.

#89 WTF on 12.04.20 at 4:58 pm

Great Observations young man.

This just in, from President soon to be Indicted Bonespur: Garth, Your fired!

#90 Felix on 12.04.20 at 5:02 pm

You lost me at…

“As for the dog, I am still looking, but it will be a lab”

#91 Axehead on 12.04.20 at 5:04 pm

#65. I eat a primarily meat and fat based diet (over 10 years) and am in excellent health with low blood pressure and no cholesterol issue proven by testing that reveals no plaque in my bloodstream. I question a low meat diet as superior for health. I do agree with vitamin D supplements (especially in winter) and vitamin C for health and to improve immunity.

#92 NOTRUB on 12.04.20 at 5:08 pm

Good Post you had just the right anount of sucking up, repetative garble and original thought. Just like a ballance portfollio you’ll get there slowly and surely.
I believe we need bigger thinking but even more important is bigger thinkers that can get things done and not just for themselves.

#93 Interstellar Old Yeller on 12.04.20 at 5:09 pm

Good job on the guest post, TANSTAAFL.

#94 Cici on 12.04.20 at 5:09 pm

Amazingly great guest post, so glad you won TANSTAAFL!

You are very bright and knowledgeable!

And although I’ve never said this to anyone before, for the sake of future generations, I sure hope YOU are a breeder!

#95 Sask to AB on 12.04.20 at 5:12 pm

Great post, John. Thanks!

F57AB

#96 Dustin on 12.04.20 at 5:17 pm

It’s like open mic night at the comedy club (back in the day), you’re nervous when they start talking because this could get bad, but it works out, and everyone has a good time.
Honest conversations with people with different opinions are difficult, and I’m too agreeable to pull them off. I just end up fake agreeing, so I’ll grow a spine and keep trying, thanks John!

#97 Drunk citizen on 12.04.20 at 5:21 pm

Must be comforting to be selfish.

Really, Garth? Who is not selfish? Having a different opinion is now considered a bad thing?
People who feel most vulnerable can chose to be vaccinated and those who disagree will expose themselves to the risk of the virus. What is wrong with this approach?
Aren’t people forcing others to vaccinate against their will not even more selfish?

It’s an out-of-control pandemic, dude. Too late to be a wuss. – Garth

#98 Chicken and Ginger Dumplings on 12.04.20 at 5:22 pm

I was hoping we’d have cats this time.

#99 MDQ on 12.04.20 at 5:24 pm

#59 SoggyShorts

> 3. We’ve never been at 2020 levels of technology before.

And yet, here we are.

We have the ability to send people to space, talk to anyone around the world with a device that fits on the palms of our hands and yet we were unable to stop and co-ordinate the “flu”.

The main reason this has been a disaster is because we are humans, and we are unpredictable.

Even with a 100% safe & effective vax there will be problems.

Besides, what makes you think that the vax results were going to show? That they don’t work?
In case you haven’t noticed, there is no plan ‘B’.

Its the vax hope or we are screwed…

Time will tell.

#100 Tarot Card on 12.04.20 at 5:28 pm

Thanks for the blog Garth
And thank you for allowing john to post
Dear a john
You have and excellent post well written covered lots of bases and a few jabs like over the counter debates love it!

Not sure on the negative comments on the last paragraph,
Just noise. Was reading that about 20 percent of the population was against going to war and angry over shortages and government limiting their rights which by the way came under the war measures act. Gosh I just wish they would do the same now for the stupid people in Canada.

I agree with your post.

Everyone remember one thing if you believe you have rights remember I have rights as well so respect mine if I make the choice to conform to restrictions, it’s my choice. It is not your choice to spread germs to infect others you are all selfish. No problem if you don’t wear a mask stay home.
Tell me this honestly do you all yell and spit at people when the sign says no shirts no shoes no service?
Respect others!
Look at the men’s hockey players returning to BC from Alberta infections are now over a 100. Did they consider my rights to be safe and virus free. They should all be fined.

Volunteer to conform to the rules before the government makes you.

Respectfully submitted.

#101 Arcticfox on 12.04.20 at 5:32 pm

From one engineer to another, great job “John”! Here’s a couple of more engineers discussing macro. Lyn(electrical)is very impressive! I agree with Lyn, ycc and forced duration real negative yields will be overt policy approach to stall for time in the hopes that nominal gdp will catch up ala 1940’s. This was doable in 40’s as US was only industrial might standing after WW2. Could something like AI, etc, facilitate this time? We are living in fascinating times for those of us that follow this stuff closely! Ps..only one day but did you note that disappointing jobs number=‘d yields up today(stagflation comith?)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=dxB3eZINXGo

#102 Mike on 12.04.20 at 5:34 pm

I agree with everything you had to say. The only problem is that your solution requires strong , intelligent leadership. We all know we do not have that right now. In fact we have the opposite, and thus we are screwed my fellow GT reader.

#103 SoggyShorts on 12.04.20 at 5:42 pm

#95 Drunk citizen on 12.04.20 at 5:21 pm

People who feel most vulnerable can choose to be vaccinated and those who disagree will expose themselves to the risk of the virus. What is wrong with this approach?

******************
The “most vulnerable” are those with underlying medical conditions for whom vaccines are least effective if they are even able to take them.

It’s as simple as that, you protecting others by getting vaccinated is good for everyone.

You not getting vaccinated could mean that you pass it on to others, burden the healthcare system, or even worse: the virus uses your vaccine-free body as a host in which to mutate into a strain that the vaccine doesn’t protect against.

#104 SoggyShorts on 12.04.20 at 5:46 pm

#95 Drunk citizen on 12.04.20 at 5:21 pm
Oh and obviously when they say “95%” effective that means that for whatever reason the vaccine simply doesn’t work on 5% of people and they need us to protect them.

#105 raisemyrent on 12.04.20 at 5:50 pm

Great post. I knew you had it when I read engineer.
funny, I was taught TINSTAAFL in high school (!) but I couldn’t figure out the first A.
I am floored by people being aprehensive about the vaccine. Been having talks with friends. Someone asked if I would get it? I said wtf do you mean? Of course, I would. But everyone says side effects! A friend of mine in the states quoted an anesthesiologist being worried about side effects himself. So, you get sick, or sicker. or it doesn’t work. What are we talking about, mercury again? FOINASOKNM<– I just made that up, but that's how I reacted. And people in south/latin america are taking chlorine dioxide or whatever it is…
I can't understand the human mind, I concluded. I did mention pascal's wager. Sometimes, though, no one knows what I'm talking about, or the other way around.

I did mention here the other day that my cohort/crew/friends/zoom mates think this debt is not "real" money anyway…

#106 G on 12.04.20 at 5:57 pm

Nice John I mean TANSTAAFL, I’ll 2nd #3.

#107 ole Doberman on 12.04.20 at 6:07 pm

I thought part of great reset will be wiping off government debts?!

#108 Odif on 12.04.20 at 6:15 pm

Wow, Garth got lucky, your post was awesome! I was worried some lunatic from the comments section would write some nonsense or conspiracy theory, but glad to see you wrote some good points! Looking forward to getting a vaccine and going back to normal (or whatever normal means moving forward).

#109 Ustabe on 12.04.20 at 6:15 pm

I’ll assume that most of us wear/use the seat belts in our vehicles. We strap our children into government approved child seats. A minor inconvenience that just may save our lives.

However when faced with another minor inconvenience, the wearing of a mask during a pandemic, that might protect those you come into contact with, a significant portion of our citizenry resists and rebels.

Tells me all I need to know when they will inconvenience themselves to protect themselves but proudly declare they don’t give a care about others.

#110 Adc on 12.04.20 at 6:17 pm

Critical thinking is a theme here: Why crucify those who wish to be cautious about a vaccine that has been rushed and otherwise still adhere to all the other protocols? Priority is going to those who need it the most.

To a more important point is the long term effectiveness of these (Pfizer and Moderna) vaccines: the existing studies speculate that these aren’t going to provide a long term immunological response based on the similarities to MERS. That said, it may become a semi annual or yearly vaccination.

#111 Faron on 12.04.20 at 6:26 pm

#77 I’m stupid on 12.04.20 at 4:39 pm

Sounds like expensive saline. Just wow. I’m not amazed that someone is trying this scam, but am amazed and saddened that you appear to believe it. Thanks for the heads up that this is coming down the pipe. I wonder how many millions will get fleeced off of people purchasing black market “vaccines”. This world sux.

#112 SoggyShorts on 12.04.20 at 6:27 pm

#108 Adc on 12.04.20 at 6:17 pm
Critical thinking is a theme here: Why crucify those who wish to be cautious about a vaccine that has been rushed and otherwise still adhere to all the other protocols? Priority is going to those who need it the most.

To a more important point is the long term effectiveness of these (Pfizer and Moderna) vaccines: the existing studies speculate that these aren’t going to provide a long term immunological response based on the similarities to MERS. That said, it may become a semi annual or yearly vaccination.

**************************
How about you apply that critical thinking to your own two paragraphs?
“Not everyone should have to get the vaccine + it may only last a few months?”

Think about that a little.

If the vaccine only gives protection for a few months, what would happen if everyone got vaccinated in the same few months? Where would the virus go?
Gone forever, that’s where.

How about if only 50% of people get it and the other 50% keep it alive until the vaccinations wear off?
Everyone is vulnerable again. Great.

#113 Nonplused on 12.04.20 at 6:29 pm

Not bad, TANSTAAFL, not bad.

However I am not as optimistic that Trudeau and Freeland have any intention of putting financial restraint in their plans anytime soon, covid or no. Some of these changes are meant to be permanent.

And as for political discussions, I don’t know how much progress can be made when we can’t even agree on the fundamental roll of money in society. The left is in charge now, and I don’t think they agree on any constraints to government spending.

#114 Lisa Barlow on 12.04.20 at 6:32 pm

There is hope

#115 spoon_man on 12.04.20 at 6:34 pm

The pandemic and the financial system are so very similar. Anyone who thought that young, strong, and healthy automatically lead to no risk of getting ill was wrong. Its all about inter-connectivity. Similarly, you can only be well holding quality financial assets as long as the financial system itself remains status-quo. There is always someone else on each side of each trade… or so it is said. Market dynamics are not just about trading volumes but about market participation. That is what has been failing for sometime now within capitalism. The number of market participants has been going down steadily for a while. Fewer and fewer people can afford to become investors. Sure many politicians are clueless as to how to go and try improving this situation. But so be aware of certain messiahs dressed up in financial advisor’s clothes. John’s statement from above and quote: “Critical thinking matters now more than ever and listening to voices that don’t simply reinforce our own opinions builds better solutions.” applies both ways… Everybody needs to stop criticizing the actions of the other party and find a common front of action to move forward in a meaningful way.

#116 The Awakened One on 12.04.20 at 6:35 pm

Great post TANSTAAFL.

Like all sages out there, you look a bit ruff in the profile pic: you need a haircut man. But we all do these days, don’t we?

#117 Nbe on 12.04.20 at 6:39 pm

Extremely well done. You should enter into the weekly lineup.

#118 Ordinary Blog Dog on 12.04.20 at 6:42 pm

Not bad, not bad at all … a guest blogger candidate to consider Garth. It is a bit scary – as I already believe much of what he wrote and pleaded for – and I have similar sentiment(s).

Freeland was asked on tv today in NS how we were going to pay for all this, she said Canada could afford it and fawned over how cheap debt is today. We all know what that answer means. We are paying for it, the working class – almost all of it. I hope the real economists give her good advice.

As for the vaccine, I think we will get to see the results elsewhere long before it gets to us in Canada. It will probably be ok, not to worry about it today. Stay tuned, roll up your sleeve and be ready. The more we resist following the current precautions the more the restrictions will drag on. So buck up you tough guys – put on a mask and keep away from me, surely you tough guys can handle that.

#119 CJohnC on 12.04.20 at 6:42 pm

77 I’m stupid on 12.04.20 at 4:39 pm
Hi Garth. Today I was offered first in the line for the covid vaccine. The price $250 per dose
******
The criminals and scammers are at it already. For $250 a dose you would just get a shot of pee from Felix

#120 Rural Rick on 12.04.20 at 6:43 pm

Thanks for the column tonight. Well done.
P.S. Don’t limit yourself to just Labs. I have had great Labs but I have also had amazing mixed breeds and a standard poodle who was just awesome. Look around. You never know your next partner might be waiting for you at the pound.

#121 Tron Light on 12.04.20 at 6:50 pm

You had me until the last paragraph.

#122 Dmitry on 12.04.20 at 6:51 pm

Must be comforting to be selfish. Less to worry about. – Garth

Garth, I am also selfish and proud of it. Shame on you for shaming people for respecting their bodies. You are naive if you are trusting any man made experiment more than the outcome of hundreds of millions of years of parallel experimentation that resulted in what we are. Notice that that parallel aspect is far more important than time. Nature sampled countless variations and tested them thoroughly. Human processes work sequentially. Even computers work sequentially. Which is why you won’t find any CPU on export restrictions list but you will find FPGA there- those are the parallel processing devices.

I know many people who don’t wash their hands any more than they did 10 years ago. People who accept live for what it is without being arrogant about it. I respect those people. They have the simple perspective that majority of the population lacks.

Having said that, thank you for doing this experiment with a guest blogger. Great choice!

And to the eloquent dude who wrote this post. Thank you for your effort. Now go read your own words. Critical thinking, just like science, is not a flag to be stuck in people’s faces without actually practicing it. Apply some of that critical thinking to vaccines. And, while you are at it, apply it to masks too. Learn a bit of how complex immune system is, how it works on keeping you alive every second of every day and then think whether you should be messing with it by introducing artificial stimuli or withholding natural stimuli. Our bodies are immensely complex. It is lack of appreciation of that fact that tricks people into looking for simple solutions. You seem to have an enquiring mind, so spend a month studying biochemistry. Then come back and tell us about what your critical thinking tells you. Seriously, I challenge you to dig a bit into biochemistry and all the loops that take place in your body.

#123 Drinking on 12.04.20 at 6:53 pm

Excellent, well done, and genuine concerns that most of us have. Sigh, we will all through this!!

So glad to hear that you are searching for a canine as opposed to a feline, sorry Felix! Labs are great, start buying tennis balls on wholesale!

Stay safe everyone!

#124 Blair on 12.04.20 at 6:56 pm

Good post.

Garth, please keep this guest blogger on your roster!

#125 Pete from St. Cesaire on 12.04.20 at 6:56 pm

DELETED

#126 KS on 12.04.20 at 6:58 pm

Love the post, so curious as I’ve never landed on a solid conclusion; rate reset or regular preferreds?

#127 YouKnowWho on 12.04.20 at 6:58 pm

DELETED

No anti-vax posts will be published here. Don’t even bother. – Garth

#128 COW MAN on 12.04.20 at 7:02 pm

Sir Garth:

You repeatedly muse about shutting down the comments section. And then by chance, from the Comments Section, you have sourced someone, by the post John has written, who seems to surpass the requirements to be our Prime Minister. We undoubtedly would be better off if TANSTAAFL were our Prime Minister, than the one we currently have. That is why genetic selection processes do not benefit society. Let all voices count.

#129 truefacts on 12.04.20 at 7:05 pm

DELETED

No anti-vax comments will be published. – Garth

#130 Nonplused on 12.04.20 at 7:11 pm

#11 Apocalypse2020 on 12.04.20 at 1:47 pm

The Canadian debt will mean little in the times ahead. Basic survival, safe refuge and availability of canned goods and clean water will Trump all of that financial hand-wringing.

“Michael Flynn Wants Trump To Declare Martial Law And Redo The Election”

or else…

“we will also have no other choice but to take matters into our own hands and defend our rights on our own.”

———————————–

I love a good conspiracy theory as much as anyone but Trump isn’t going to impose martial law. If he loses his court cases (or “when” he loses most would say) he will leave the White House peaceably (he will have no choice). If the republicans win the Georgia runoff elections Biden will basically be twiddling his thumbs for 4 years. Then in 2024 they shall do the whole thing over again, only with tighter election rules in most states and probably no voting machines and hopefully no covid. So it is too early to forecast the end of society as we know it.

PS. The bad news for people with TDS is that Trump probably isn’t going away. He’s still having huge rallies in support of the republican candidates in Georgia. He’ll probably be doing that in 2022 as well. And there is nothing stopping him from running again in 2024 or at least campaigning on behalf of the republican candidates.

#131 Pete from St. Cesaire on 12.04.20 at 7:16 pm

DELETED

No anti-vax comments will be published. – Garth

#132 YouKnowWho on 12.04.20 at 7:16 pm

BANNED

#133 Reynolds 531 on 12.04.20 at 7:16 pm

Was I the only one wishing he’d write a post saying “buy gold”, just to get a rise out of management?

Great post, I only wish there were 38 million voters who thought the same way.

#134 Flop... on 12.04.20 at 7:17 pm

If the vaccine roll-out doesn’t go smoothly in Canada, then I don’t see it going smoothly anywhere.

Tim Hortons should probably be the place to administer the vaccination.

Think of all the cost savings from not having to produce public service announcements.

What else was all that roll-up-the-rim stuff for…

M46BC

#135 Genbizx on 12.04.20 at 7:18 pm

DELETED

No anti-vax posts will be published. Got it? – Garth

#136 Nonplused on 12.04.20 at 7:21 pm

#13 Paully on 12.04.20 at 1:55 pm

“I wish more engineers would run for political office. They tend to get stuff done, rather than just talking about it.”

As flattering as that is I know a lot of engineers (and am one myself) and about the last thing any of them would want to do is run for office. Heck we can’t even get any girls to come to our parties. Not much chance we’d do well on the campaign trail. We don’t understand how to influence people without math and graphs.

#137 YouKnowWho on 12.04.20 at 7:25 pm

DELETED

#138 baloney Sandwitch on 12.04.20 at 7:25 pm

Good post. As a fiscal conservative and a social liberal, I agree with what T2 is doing. The concern about debt is for another day. The govt. can borrow for 30 years at <1.4%. It should do so to support the public through this pandemic.
https://www.marketwatch.com/investing/bond/tmbmkca-30y?countrycode=bx

#139 Anonymous on 12.04.20 at 7:28 pm

https://apple.news/A00F8EGMHTSKNzF5S9PJuow

0.99% mortgage rate, it’s going dooown

#140 Ponzius Pilatus on 12.04.20 at 7:29 pm

#79 R on 12.04.20 at 4:43 pm
Excellent post. Interesting factoid is most of the Chinese politicians are engineers. Western societies prefer lawyers, Asian societies prefer engineers . One is good at arguing, the other is good at long term planning and getting the tasks at hand done .
———–
Generalize much?
Canada’s arguably best Prime Minister was a Jesuit Philosopher, Harper was a Economist and JT is a model.

#141 Drill Baby Drill on 12.04.20 at 7:32 pm

TANSTAAFL from one engineer to another great post.

#142 Diamond Dog on 12.04.20 at 7:33 pm

#40 Linda on 12.04.20 at 3:12 pm

Trudeau announced a week ago that vaccines would be expected in September “if all goes well”:

https://ca.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-canada-idCAKBN28726Z

Since then, Pfizer announced snags in delivery and offered guidance of 50 million vaccines produced in 2021, down from 100 mil expectations. One should expect more snags to come. It’s plausible that it could be be late Q4 before the masses get vaxxed in Canada. (was hoping for sooner, not in the cards)

There are other highly important question marks to consider, such as longevity and efficacy of the vaccine as well as vaccine participation. These variables will determine how many years it will take to achieve herd immunity, if possible in our borders. Dr. Tam has decided to answer the question on what percentage it will take to achieve herd immunity with a “we really don’t know, models are models” but we can take a back of the envelope guess.

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/its-unknown-when-canada-will-reach-herd-immunity-from-coronavirus-vaccine-tam/ar-BB1bDLLL?ocid=ACERDHP17&li=AAggNb9

I think we would be foolish to believe efficacy will be 90% or greater (somewhere in the 70’s, possibly less is more realistic) and I doubt that vaccine participation rates will be much greater than 42% in Canada at least, in the first flu season. 2019’s participation rate among adults for Influenza was 42% (the U.S. doesn’t have hard data, thank Trump).

Vaccine longevity is critical with this. The longer the vaccine lasts, the higher that number will go up over time. If the vaccine lasts for 2 years or more, vaccine rates could jump to 60+% over 2 years and keep rising as an example but for that first year, vaccine rates are unlikely to be much higher than vaccine participation rates for influenza mainly because its new and voluntary.

Back of the envelope, lets do it. 80% efficacy (optimistically) times 50% vaccination rate (optimistically) among adults in the first year is 40% herd immunity (not factoring in ages 0 to 18, if we did herd immunity numbers would drop but the immune systems of the young are resistant so we’ll leave this out, once again optimistically). By next year we could see 8% of the gen pop already having herd immunity but only half will know it and be vaccinated bringing herd immunity up to 44% (optimistically).

Lets suppose we only need 60% for herd immunity (optimistically). We won’t get that next winter. We will get a reduction in cases and hospitalizations, likely enough for media to stop talking about it (optimistically) and people will assume this pandemic has ended because of it, but it won’t be the end until we achieve herd immunity not just in Canada, but around the world. Even if we achieve herd immunity here, if vaccines are short lived, the virus can still fly in from elsewhere and re-ignite so longevity of the vaccine is highly important.

What I’m trying to say in a nutshell, is that there will still be a domestic and world wide economic drag on the economy because of this bug going well into 2022 and lessening into 2023 and thereafter. Hopefully. By 2024, we should start to see minimal impact from the virus (optimistically). There is still a risk of mutations, but one has to hope for the best.

I know this isn’t what money managers would like to hear, optimism is what greases the wheel but Q4 2021 won’t be the great panacea of earnings/consumption we’d hoped for. This coupled with lost momentum from this winter’s economic disruption and perhaps… just perhaps this is the reasoning behind Fed chair Powell suggesting we won’t see 2019 level prosperity for at least 3 years or more.

One final thought, masks reduce the initial viral load of infection. A reduced viral load means less sick time and less fatalities. Masks even at 60% efficiency will have a marked effect. We can see this in the first two world charts of daily confirmed cases and deaths below. The spike in daily deaths in April was mostly “mask off” cases. Dailies have gone up 500 to 600% since then, while deaths have gone up a mere 50%? Why. Well, because of reduced viral loads of infection.

Social hygiene, distancing, masks, it all works. Sure, mask quality standards could be better, blame Trump and look for Biden to do better. Sure, we could use tech better (GPS cel apps of infected, temp guns at box store entries and airports etc.) if we were more willing to accept the science and make the sacrifices that China did. And Taiwan. And Singapore. And South Korea. And Japan. And Australia. And New Zealand. These nations are virus free or near it. There is obvious room for improvement but to say masks, social distancing, washing hands, contact test and tracing and technology we aren’t embracing like cel apps and temp guns at stores and churches doesn’t work at this point is to ignore the data and the successful models of nations that are virus free because of it.

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

#143 YouKnowWho on 12.04.20 at 7:36 pm

It’s an out-of-control pandemic, dude. Too late to be a wuss. – Garth

Oh, so now you’re not only selfish, you’re a wuss? Seriously, who are you Garth? And are you 7 years old? What’s with the name calling? Rule #1 – Stop digging Garth. No one is selfish, and no one is a wuss. There is a small chance that people are critical thinking. Imagine that!

#144 Mr Canada on 12.04.20 at 7:37 pm

Wow — glad I did not win — such a well written post..

#145 ERTW on 12.04.20 at 7:39 pm

Well done TANSTAAFL. Classic engineer perspective to recognize that systems must have a long term balance between input and output. Actions have equal and opposite reactions. ERTW!

#146 Nonplused on 12.04.20 at 7:39 pm

#62 SoggyShorts on 12.04.20 at 4:02 pm
#90 steve on 12.03.20 at 11:01 pm
Nonplused, what line of work has had the starting salary double since 1995?
*****************
Pretty much every single job that requires steel-toe boots and a hard hat for starters. Also, every single minimum wage job has not only seen a doubling, but rather a tripling of wages which obviously pushed the salaries of those making more higher as well.

—————————–

Thanks for having my back Soggy. But to answer your question, Steve, according to Indeed the average entry level engineer in Canada makes about $30/hour, or $62,400/year. When I started in 1990 my salary was about $30,000. Mind you $30,000 got you a date to the prom in 1990 whereas it wouldn’t today.

#147 willworkforpickles on 12.04.20 at 7:44 pm

With new government support/intervention in play, economic projections will consistently boomerang over the next 2 to 3 years as inflation rises.
Without a solid guarantee new vaccine’s will provide the fix idealists from A to Z prematurely are sold on at this early stage even without mass testing data, the fix that is projected to stabilize the economy and the health of humankind realistically speaking is not imminent. Long term effects are unknown. Duration of the effectiveness of immune response is also unknown. Then with so many who will refuse the shot over these worrisome factors, 2 to 3 years out at a minimum set point where all will take the vax can easily be expected (if all goes well).
What could go wrong over the next 3 years with all the uncertainty?
Has anything gone wrong in the last 4 years…a time already past of all time unprecedented uncertainty.

#148 Ponzius Pilatus on 12.04.20 at 7:45 pm

#119 Tron Light on 12.04.20 at 6:50 pm
You had me until the last paragraph.
————-
See, as long as you feed them the Pablum , they are happy.

#149 Axehead on 12.04.20 at 7:46 pm

So why is the CAD on a tear?

#150 Linda on 12.04.20 at 7:47 pm

#7 ‘Father’s’ – spouse & I totally agree, but as you say not likely to occur. First, even if you absolutely know that said person is anti-vax to the max & have witnessed them marching in anti-mask rallies to boot, they would still look you straight in the eye if they came in sick with Covid & state they ‘did’ wear a mask, take precautions etc. & how long before the doctor arrives? And what do you mean, I have to wait & there isn’t a bed available?

I will say that yes, there are some individuals who may not be good candidates for vaccination because their systems are already compromised & even a mild reaction might be fatal as a result. Most of us thankfully have no such concern. So if someone refuses vaccination, contracts Covid & then dies from it, seems to me that they are Darwin Award winners & far be it for me to deny them. Sadly, their lack of thought is all too likely to harm others.

#151 Ballingsford on 12.04.20 at 7:47 pm

Well done John! I realized this post was going to be well thought out when you mentioned at the beginning you would be getting a lab. Smart choice! We love our 1 year old choc lab! Friendly to everyone and all animals.

#152 Earlybird on 12.04.20 at 7:50 pm

#61 Soggyshorts
Yes…long covid is a big risk, survival for my health and age is 99% If the researchers can figure out why and who is at risk for unusual dangerous syptoms/inflamation/damage, intentional exposure may earn an immunity pass. We will know much more in time…
#Axehead
Excellent to hear…most of the comorbities are reasonable preventable. If you question health without animal protein…then you should go discover…you may find some value in it.
We need to prevent virus cross over in the future…clearing for agriculture and animal husbandry will ensure we go through this again….

#153 CalgaryCarGuy on 12.04.20 at 7:52 pm

That was a great column John. Thank you especially for sticking up for Alberta. Canada needs to have all of it’s provinces firing on all cylinders to be able to try to crawl out of this financial hole the Liberals have put us in. That includes Alberta. We can make a lot of money….if you let us.

#154 baloney Sandwitch on 12.04.20 at 7:53 pm

Anti-Vaxxers are impervious to common sense as #120 Dmitry proves. They come up with their own uncommon sense to counter any argument you can come up with. If he so with living with nature, why does not he go back to live in cave and adopt a hunter/gatherer lifestyle? I think there is a nice tropical island in the Andamans he might to buy some waterfront RE. https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/who-are-the-sentinelese-the-tribe-who-allegedly-killed-us-national-in-andamans/320597

#155 Left GTA on 12.04.20 at 7:54 pm

#120 How about a date? You and me together for the night shift on a COVID floor tonight? I will show you how the masks, gown, visors and hand washing works. The proof is in the pudding.

#156 Drunk citizen on 12.04.20 at 7:55 pm

Garth, in a way you are right about vaccination, but it seems to me there is a deeper issue at play.

The current leadership has done things like lying to people, misappropriated billions in public funds and sold the future of our children in order to buy voting blocks.

There is a deep credibility issue here and now the same leaders want to inject us with stuff.

If it were someone like you, Garth, leading this country, I would have taken the vaccine without thinking twice, but those in charge of Canada make Bernie Madoff look like an honest person.

I feel very unease letting them put anything in my body.

#157 Steerage on 12.04.20 at 8:02 pm

Ah craaaaaaap.. the anti-vaxxers are back

#158 cmj on 12.04.20 at 8:02 pm

Thanks, John. Your post was refreshing. It emphasized the need for all of us to do our part to prevent deaths and get the economy on track. The continuum of rights and responsibilities comes to mind. Everyone needs to wear a mask and get vaccinated. If you decide not to, you are selfish and should stay home and not infect others. Our health system is overburdened and stressed.

#159 Steven Nicolle on 12.04.20 at 8:10 pm

A great post and one in which I totally concur. Your optimistic post and ideas are what we need to hear these days. Congratulations and best wishes!

#160 westcdn on 12.04.20 at 8:14 pm

A story of mine. I tried to make friends with a son of my father’s group – union. We were of the same age, 5. He decided to take out windows and I was there to witness.

The parents where upset with the vandalism. I denied any responsibility and was innocent but my “friend” blamed me. The fathers could not tell who was telling the truth.

For some god dam reason they decided we should fight and let the chips fall where they want. They formed a ring around us.

So on the appointed day we both enter the ring with boxing gloves. I say to my “friend” we don’t have to do this. I get nailed with a punch to the nose. The fathers broke it up and plugged my bloody nose.

Let’s just say round 2 was ugly for him and the fight ended. I didn’t get an apology from the jerk. Things you don’t forget about people.

#161 YouKnowWho on 12.04.20 at 8:25 pm

BANNED

#162 Andrew on 12.04.20 at 8:28 pm

Solid post. Points taken. Cheers

#163 When Will They Raise Rates? on 12.04.20 at 8:30 pm

I guess no valid questions are allowed then, even among the pro vaxxers?

You could have at least afforded me a DELETED :P

#164 Bob Barker on 12.04.20 at 8:30 pm

DELETED

No anti-vax comments will be published. – Garth

#165 GrumpyAuldScott on 12.04.20 at 8:32 pm

Hire that guy!

#166 Frank N Beans on 12.04.20 at 8:35 pm

A pragmatic, eloquent engineer with a strong interest in personal finance and politics… swoon! Fantastic post. I was really looking forward to this.

#167 Michael Bruce Chase on 12.04.20 at 8:43 pm

DELETED

No anti-vax comments will be published. – Garth

#168 Elon Musky on 12.04.20 at 8:45 pm

DELETED

No anti-vax comments will be published. – Garth

#169 YouKnowWho on 12.04.20 at 8:46 pm

BANNED

#170 Brad Karal on 12.04.20 at 8:46 pm

In that case, I vote we call the program
“Roll up the sleeve to win”

132 Flop… on 12.04.20 at 7:17 pm

If the vaccine roll-out doesn’t go smoothly in Canada, then I don’t see it going smoothly anywhere.

Tim Hortons should probably be the place to administer the vaccination.

Think of all the cost savings from not having to produce public service announcements.

What else was all that roll-up-the-rim stuff for…

M46BC

#171 YouKnowWho on 12.04.20 at 8:48 pm

BANNED

#172 the Jaguar on 12.04.20 at 8:53 pm

A thoughtful and intelligent piece. I especially liked this bit:

“Critical thinking matters now more than ever and listening to voices that don’t simply reinforce our own opinions builds better solutions.”

While entirely sensible , the current environment doesn’t always support or encourage that freedom of expression. Alternate views or ideas offered are under threat of humiliation, reprisal, or cancel culture by a growing Progressive Mob ( o.k.,.. let’s just call them Marxists). Social media is the favourite assassin sent by that mob when other methods of extortion fail. There was a time when journalists stepped up to play devil’s advocate for the good of public debate, but both media and corporations now ‘kowtow’ in fear and pay their penance to the social media rackateering outfits. Solving difficult problems often involves having difficult conversations. There has to be political will to take it on, not just from the politicians, but from the citizenry.

I liked this bit as well:

“What are the impacts on public services as debt servicing costs inevitably rise or job creators as the unpopular answers to those questions demand revenue? ”

Those who see Work From Home and order everything under the sun from Amazon as part of the new ‘ GREAT RESET” we’re hearing so much about don’t seem to consider what falling transit revenues, falling demand for retail store fronts, falling demand for services such as the travel industry, and most of all falling demand for energy. I would call it the ”GREAT UNWIND”. Unwind and find yourself living back in the 1970’s the way it is going, folks. Energy output equals growth. If the average person did their homework on what fossil fuels contribute to everything in our lives including food supply, medicine, they would be humbled. But you’re an engineer, John. Pretty sure your math is even better than mine on this issue. Your handle says it all:
TANSTAAFL- There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Never was.

#173 Upenuff on 12.04.20 at 9:00 pm

Lovely read John! A great start to the weekend of staying away from the masses and ensuring the mask is on good and tight!

Upenuff

#174 Keen Reader on 12.04.20 at 9:02 pm

Nice write-up, and pretty quick turnaround time for a blogdog without a history of endlessly babbling… Good questions brings good science; well done. But what happened to being given the moderation hammer??

Last paragraph: gutsy to open your kimono like that, but I have to side with #25 TurnerNation for once… Blindly trusting all vaccines is just as questionable as being anti-vaxx altogether. Yep, I get it, immunity requires broad acceptance. I fully expect to be forced to get jabbed, sooner or later, be it by decree or job requirement, so my reluctance is likely moot. Still, let’s see some real data and longer-term studies, instead of focussing on the hype of press releases!

#175 Hookshott on 12.04.20 at 9:03 pm

#151 CalgaryCarGuy on 12.04.20 at 7:52 pm
That was a great column John. Thank you especially for sticking up for Alberta. Canada needs to have all of it’s provinces firing on all cylinders to be able to try to crawl out of this financial hole the Liberals have put us in. That includes Alberta. We can make a lot of money….if you let us.
…………
You might need to consider a little diversification!

#176 Tron Light on 12.04.20 at 9:05 pm

DELETED

No anti-vax comments will be published. – Garth

#177 Diamond Dog on 12.04.20 at 9:06 pm

#120 Dmitry on 12.04.20 at 6:51 pm

You seem to have an inquiring mind, so spend a month studying biochemistry. Then come back and tell us about what your critical thinking tells you. Seriously, I challenge you to dig a bit into biochemistry and all the loops that take place in your body. – Dmitry

Done and done, If no one minds, I’ll answer this one for you John. Hi Dmitry.

Vaccines have historically worked out well. It’s an uphill battle to say vaccines for Corona virus’s won’t follow the historical trend with the wave of a hand. There will be a few flops internationally (Sputnik raises red flags for me as an example) but by enlarge, most will work. I trust what the FDA approves, they know the risks if they approve a flop.

Any tactic that reduces the initial viral load of infection is a winner (masks, washing of hands, social distancing, cel apps, temp guns, test and trace, it all works). Covid19 is a class 4 virus that is also preying on the deficiencies of Vitamin D, Zinc and to a much lesser degree Zinc Ionopores and Vitamin C. This cannot be stressed enough and the marketplace is largely ignoring it, I think foolishly. Physical health = economic health and a healthy immune system is key. (sleep, diet, exercise, stress levels, healthy teeth etc., all plays a role)

Vaccines don’t give an excuse to ignore one’s health but there are variables one can’t escape such as the viral load from sharing a ride with an infected individual in a car or looking after someone who is sick (look at the percentage of health care workers getting sick and tell me vaccines shouldn’t play a role). To say vaccines don’t play a role here is to ignore the science.

The longer this virus has a chance to ping pong its way around the global population, the greater the numerical chance it has to mutate. The quickest way to reduce the chances of mutation outside of what nations that are virus free have done, is?

Vaccines.

The greatest threat Covid19 has on the world economy is not this current strain believe it or not, its a future mutation with a different Serotype. The world needs to attempt herd immunity through vaccines or try it old school like China. And Taiwan. And Hong Kong. And Singapore. And New Zealand. And Australia. And South Korea. And measurably speaking, Japan. There is a plan B if this thing mutates and vaccines can’t control it. We need only to look at nations that are virus free to see this truth (I prefer old school myself). If we didn’t know this, then we aren’t paying attention.

The reason why the rest of the world is suffering from this virus while virus free nations are not, is because the rest of the world isn’t experienced with Corona virus’s like China, Singapore and South Korea have been previously through SARS and MERS. Taiwan, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Japan (to a degree) piggy backed from these proven models of success. The rest of the world can at any given time choose to do the same and at some point, may be forced to for any number of reasons (vaccine disappointments, viral mutation, poor vaccine participation etc.).

But wait, there’s more. When SARS-2 (Covid19) initially broke out in China, China was slow to react but once centralized government became aware, there was a highly effective plan already in place to deal with it. This plan was, once again, the result of past experience with SARS and MERS but there’s more to it. When we look at education rankings by country:

https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/education-rankings-by-country

What do we see? We see that the top 10 nations with the highest education rankings are as follows:

1) China
2) Hong Kong
3) Finland
4) Singapore
5) South Korea
6) Japan
7) Canada
8) New Zealand
9) Taiwan
10) Australia

Only 2 of these top 10 nations are not technically virus free, Finland and Canada. (Canada has per capita more than double the cases in Finland and Japan is on the fence but for the most part they are virus free). Coincidence? Nope! The lesson is, we are in the top 10. We are in general, educated enough to pull it off but educated isn’t the same as smart, we have to choose it. I can think of 381.6 billion reasons why we already should have and its still not too late. Singapore for example, reported 9 cases today and never shut down their economy. (Big hint, follow proven models of success or wallow in failure, the choice is ours)

#178 Ponzius Pilatus on 12.04.20 at 9:10 pm

#143 ERTW on 12.04.20 at 7:39 pm
Well done TANSTAAFL. Classic engineer perspective to recognize that systems must have a long term balance between input and output. Actions have equal and opposite reactions. ERTW!
———–
Are you saying that running a country (which is a living breathing entity) is the same a designing and building a bridge ?

#179 When Will They Raise Rates? on 12.04.20 at 9:17 pm

#168 Brad Karal on 12.04.20 at 8:46 pm

In that case, I vote we call the program
“Roll up the sleeve to win”

—-

Comment of the night!

#180 Nonplused on 12.04.20 at 9:17 pm

#170 the Jaguar on 12.04.20 at 8:53 pm

Those who see Work From Home and order everything under the sun from Amazon as part of the new ‘ GREAT RESET” we’re hearing so much about don’t seem to consider what falling transit revenues, falling demand for retail store fronts, falling demand for services such as the travel industry, and most of all falling demand for energy.

————————-

No worries Jaguar I will just put more gas in my boat! If you want to keep energy demand high probably nothing does it like a speed boat. Floaty boats no, but anything that planes just sucks up the fuel.

#181 YouKnowWho on 12.04.20 at 9:17 pm

BANNED & GONE

#182 Frank Blood on 12.04.20 at 9:27 pm

To those posters suggesting that people who refuse to get the vaccine should not get medical care should they become ill, then would you suggest smokers, drug addicts, alcoholics not receive treatment?

#183 south slope gardener on 12.04.20 at 9:28 pm

Thank you John for a thoughtful post. completely agree with your last paragraph.
“Wash your hands, wear a mask, and when the time comes get vaccinated. Don’t stumble on deciding which one is the best or if you really need the second dose. Decide now to stand-up and get jabbed, likely twice, it is the best path to stopping this insanity and getting this blog back to the COVID-free financial and canine insights we crave”

#184 Faron on 12.04.20 at 9:30 pm

#147 Axehead on 12.04.20 at 7:46 pm

So why is the CAD on a tear?

Hint: XEG
Hint: DXY

#185 Flop... on 12.04.20 at 9:42 pm

#168 Brad Karal on 12.04.20 at 8:46 pm
In that case, I vote we call the program
“Roll up the sleeve to win”

132 Flop… on 12.04.20 at 7:17 pm

If the vaccine roll-out doesn’t go smoothly in Canada, then I don’t see it going smoothly anywhere.

Tim Hortons should probably be the place to administer the vaccination.

Think of all the cost savings from not having to produce public service announcements.

What else was all that roll-up-the-rim stuff for…

M46BC

//////////////////////

Well Brad, at least one person got my latest Flopperism.

I will guide you to the door.

Can’t make you walk through…

M46BC

#186 Blutterfy on 12.04.20 at 9:45 pm

@2. The vaccine actually has the same amount of testing as every other vaccine – the reason it came out so fast (and why we probably won’t have another this fast for awhile) is that no researcher had to wait to get their study and finding permits approved (often takes months to wait for your stamp on your application so you can go to the next step of testing – no waiting with this one!)

However my belief in personal liberties allows me to be tolerant of others undoubtedly selfish choices. It’s dilemma that we all face at one time or another.

#187 Dave from St.Thomas on 12.04.20 at 9:48 pm

John… Congratulations on a thoughtful post. Hope to read more of your literary output in future editions.

Bandit would have said to Garth: “Great Post, Boss!…And I ESPECIALLY like how swift and hard you’re swinging the anti-vaxers Deleted/Ban Hammers tonight!”

#188 Tron Light on 12.04.20 at 9:48 pm

DELETED

No anti-vax comments will be published. – Garth

#189 short horses on 12.04.20 at 9:56 pm

Great post, John! Very sensible suggestions: wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid crowds, join the vaccine queue.

Every Canadian public figure should echo your sentiments in every greeting & sign off.

#190 Wise Guy on 12.04.20 at 10:12 pm

Mask analogy:

If both of us drop our pants and I pee on you and you pee on me, our legs will both be soaked in pee. If I put on my pants and you try to pee on me, my pants might get a little wet, but for the most part, my legs will stay dry. If you put on your pants and I put on my pants, if you try to pee on me, your pee will only wet your own legs and if I try to pee on you, my pee will only wet my legs. Masks work in a similar fashion! WEAR A MASK!

Oh yes. 95% of adverse events with vaccines occur in the first 24 hours. These companies have over 6 months of data. These vaccines are very safe and effective. The only issue that delays these drugs and vaccines coming to market is because in normal time, there is a Phase 1,2,3 that aren’t allowed to occur at the same time, so regulatory boards often delay new drug submissions for years. That is why vaccines and other drugs take so much time to come to market.
Get vaccinated!

#191 Nonplused on 12.04.20 at 10:31 pm

#176 Ponzius Pilatus on 12.04.20 at 9:10 pm
#143 ERTW on 12.04.20 at 7:39 pm
Well done TANSTAAFL. Classic engineer perspective to recognize that systems must have a long term balance between input and output. Actions have equal and opposite reactions. ERTW!
———–
Are you saying that running a country (which is a living breathing entity) is the same a designing and building a bridge ?

————————————

Designing a bridge actually takes a lot more training and if the bridge fails you get sued.

There is a long history of learnings and research that go into bridge construction. Every civil engineer gets to spend some time in the lab crushing concrete with a hydraulic press. Politicians, on the other hand, are more like a bunch of clowns trying to see how many of them can fit in a VW Beetle.

#192 Adc on 12.04.20 at 10:31 pm

#110 Soggy Shorts
How many people get the flu shot every year? Does everyone get it? 90% of the population of the earth have to take this vaccine within a 6 month time frame, if we’re going by the speculation of researchers. Do you think that’s possible?

I hope you have more Optimism I do.

#193 Fortune500 on 12.04.20 at 10:32 pm

Hey good work! I enjoyed that a lot more than Garth’s other guest bloggers. I particularly appreciated mention of civic responsibility (something everyone seems to ignore nowadays as they worry about their rights) and the emphasis on the importance of nuance from our politicians and in our decision making. This was a good idea Garth.

#194 crowdedelevatorfartz on 12.04.20 at 10:36 pm

@#176 Ponzie Prattle
“Are you saying that running a country (which is a living breathing entity) is the same a designing and building a bridge ?”

++++
Only ponzie could claim a camp fire is too hot when toasting marshmellows….

#195 Johnny D on 12.04.20 at 10:40 pm

I would just like to say GREAT POST. Garth’s got competition for someone as eloquent as you and that’s saying a lot.

#196 milbay on 12.04.20 at 10:44 pm

…, but deficits dont matter

#197 Bertabusiness on 12.04.20 at 10:45 pm

“Critical thinking matters now more than ever and listening to voices that don’t simply reinforce our own opinions builds better solutions. ” Yes! I salute those that are willing to take the time to consider opinions that differ from their own. Lets all take the intellectually honest approach to solving our problems

Also, AB Gearhead.. couldn’t agree more.

Nice work John and thank you for the post

Berta marketing guy

#198 Morrey on 12.04.20 at 10:46 pm

Dear John. Thanks! An enjoyable read. Well reasoned and written.

And I support you statement.
Wash your hands, wear a mask, and when the time comes get vaccinated.

amen!

I had two good drams of laphroaig as i read your post.

PS i propose that Grath consider having you occasionally post. Perhaps tai-semesterly.

#199 Hans on 12.04.20 at 10:47 pm

I strongly believe that the deficit contest was rigged and this was just a clever way to introduce a new guest blogger (who will be invited back) while the boss drifts deeper into retirement… I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

#200 Dmitry on 12.04.20 at 10:53 pm

#153 Left GTA

I would take you up on it, gladly, if I were in the same geography and if protocols allowed that. I am in Vancouver. And protocols don’t allow visitors, do they? If I am mistaken and if you’ve got a colleague in Vancouver area who would agree to host me as a guest I am game to volunteer inside of a covid ward for a full shift. If you could arrange that in the next few days I would appreciate it.

#201 Dmitry on 12.04.20 at 10:55 pm

#152 baloney Sandwitch

pretty ambitious of you to declare monopoly on common sense

#202 Tyberius on 12.04.20 at 11:01 pm

Now, I’m not anti-Vax or anything (so hopefully allowed), but I do wonder if we’re appoaching ‘health’ in general, properly.

What I mean is this:

We, homo sapien sapien, have been evolving along with the viruses/bugs on Earth for hundreds of thousands of years. Obviously it was successful and that’s why we’re still here and we did it without vaccines or synthetic drugs (other than plant-derived potions and medicines).

So why is it that we think we can do better than that with laboratory derived potions – and thus play God?

Anyone out there with an enlightened comment or answer to this query to appease this troubled mind?

#203 No Highway on 12.04.20 at 11:04 pm

“….added a decimal place to give it the air of precision and accuracy.” – never would have guessed you were an engineer!

#204 Ael Idich on 12.04.20 at 11:09 pm

#79 R on 12.04.20 at 4:43 pm
Excellent post. Interesting factoid is most of the Chinese politicians are engineers. Western societies prefer lawyers, Asian societies prefer engineers . One is good at arguing, the other is good at long term planning and getting the tasks at hand done .

Sooo… The Chinese system is therefore more desirable? this comment and it‘s absurd ‘factoid’ is dangerously ignorant. Literally every sentence you have written is false. Good grief. Let me tell you the one about the drama teacher and a lawyer and a telephone call, haha.

Oh, and, to keep it blog relevant. Houses in China are more expensive and cheaper and some are nice and most not so nice.

#205 u on 12.04.20 at 11:25 pm

#180 Frank Blood on 12.04.20 at 9:27 pm

To those posters suggesting that people who refuse to get the vaccine should not get medical care should they become ill, then would you suggest smokers, drug addicts, alcoholics not receive treatment?

Smokers, drug addicts and alcoholics generally only impact themselves medically speaking. With a pandemic it only takes one to fubar the whole thing…recall Typhoid Mary.

#206 espressobob on 12.04.20 at 11:28 pm

To all the anti vaxxers out there, all I have to say is my sleeve is rolled up in anticipation to protect you.

Why? I have no idea.

#207 Ael idich on 12.04.20 at 11:28 pm

175 Diamond Dog on 12.04.20 at 9:06 pm

Most of the countries on your list are….. physical islands or socio-political islands. A tangibly effective vaccine is now the only solution. Or, old school, as you say, let the virus romp until it burns out. Everything else is political theatre.

#208 Psydney on 12.04.20 at 11:38 pm

Hear hear brother, wise words.

#209 fishman on 12.04.20 at 11:43 pm

Where’s Economystic? The Garth has given free reign to a TANSTAAFL. Of course there’s a free lunch. An ex deckhand gets a free room in a Victoria motel,cleaned once a week, two free meals/day, don’t know if he’s still getting his $2000/month free money,was this summer when I last talked, free methadone. “Economysticism Forever”. “A free lunch for everyone with nobody in the kitchen”. The junkies got it figured out except the dope is sooo good their moving up (or down) to a free’er place. Who cares about the free lunch.

#210 Keyser Soze on 12.05.20 at 12:11 am

Well done, John. Was looking forward to this post. You did not disappoint.

#211 Sydneysider on 12.05.20 at 12:33 am

Good post.

I also like the idea of having discussions about Canada’s problems, and come next election will ask the candidates their views on proroguing, filibustering, and information redaction.

#212 Stan Brooks on 12.05.20 at 12:37 am

It is interesting that getting vaccination or not is in the center of the debate.

The facts are that a few countries with predominantly big cities population apparently can manage the pandemic pretty well even without a vaccine – top 10 list is provided in the comments above.

It also seems that vaccines can have short term effect and might need to be applied each season. That is a problem considering the price tag of the vaccines and the logistics associated with it. The flu is around for quite some time and one has to vaccinate each year + in many cases the vaccines don’t work as only include most popular types of the virus.

What if this thingy starts to frequently mutate and adapts?

I am not an antivaxxer, I have been vaccinated many times and will get the new shot as well, but is the vaccine really the easy and final solution for these problems?

Why we keep looking for simple solutions to everything when it becomes increasingly evident that such do not exist?

Time will show but I am starting to get that feeling based on increasing evidence and experience that we will get some very new normal, where social distancing will be part of life combined with enforced entirely new paradigms like sustainable and green living which all combined with failed and exhausting their potential monetary policies, automation and outsourcing, loss of jobs will render big cities life largely obsolete.

Mostly north American style cities which are mostly giant labour camps where people go to find work.

What if those jobs are gone?

A note that European cities are very different, they are built on sustainability principles, with centuries and are surrounded by villages.

Bottom line:

Stating that vaccination and accountability of governments will solve the issues and things will return to normal is simplistic.

It is popular and politically correct as it shows from the comments. But is not addressing the key issues:

The limitation of monetary/not fiscal policy
The outsourcing of labour and jobs
The advance of AI
The development of classes of haves and have nots increasingly incentivized by governments and insistence on keeping old structures and policies in rapidly changing world
The resource limitations.

Simplification helps build false confidence that things will return to the old good known normal.

They won’t.

You might not like it but those are the facts. History is not made up by going with the popular votes.

Cheers,

#213 Sara on 12.05.20 at 12:53 am

#180 Frank Blood on 12.04.20 at 9:27 pm
To those posters suggesting that people who refuse to get the vaccine should not get medical care should they become ill, then would you suggest smokers, drug addicts, alcoholics not receive treatment?
=================================

Not saying I agree with those posters you refer to, however your comparison is not valid. Smokers, drug addicts and alcoholics have a mental health issue which is not a matter of choice, whereas refusing a vaccine is a choice.

#214 Sara on 12.05.20 at 12:58 am

84 Blutterfly on 12.04.20 at 9:45 “… my belief in personal liberties allows me to be tolerant of others undoubtedly selfish choices.”

Even when those “selfish choices” have the potential to cause physical harm to others?

#215 Keith on 12.05.20 at 1:31 am

I can’t fathom how Garth can come up with 6 blog posts a week, it’s an amazing output. I wonder if it’s worth offering people an opportunity to send posts to Garth, he can pick one a week that he wants to share. Garth you would get a break in writing, some fresh ideas for future posts, and reviewing the posts would be a different creative process. Or they would top up the comments cesspool

#216 OwlEyes on 12.05.20 at 1:35 am

@TANSTAAFL – good post, well done!

#217 CalgaryCarGuy on 12.05.20 at 1:58 am

Re #173 by Hookshott
That includes Alberta. We can make a lot of money….if you let us.
…………
You might need to consider a little diversification!
—————————————————————–

you need to investigate more before you comment. Alberta is quite diversified. What we need is our energy industry to become unshackled. Alberta has massive energy reserves. The world still needs energy and will still need fossil fuels for many decades into the future. A prosperous Alberta will go a long way to digging Canada out of it’s financial hole. That realization will come.

#218 Goober on 12.05.20 at 2:22 am

The answer to [email protected] (and more) is all contained in the GarthFAQ

#219 ERTW on 12.05.20 at 2:24 am

#176 Ponzius Pilatus on 12.04.20 at 9:10 pm

Are you saying that running a country (which is a living breathing entity) is the same a designing and building a bridge ?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not really. I’m saying that there are basic fundamental rules of conservation and equilibrium that apply to any system, even a living breathing entity or an economy. While living organisms and economies are too complex to fully model, the engineering mindset promotes analysis of the consequences of changing inputs to the system. And it promotes decision making to attempt to optimize the outcome for the system as a whole. Unfortunately it looks like our current economic direction is driven by leadership that prioritizes short term political benefit far above optimal economic outcome. And by manipulating the populous with “free money” and “a pony” for everyone, our leaders distract people from analyzing anything. Looks and feels good in the short term, but we’re grossly lacking long term sustainability and people don’t seem to mind or even think about these things.

#220 DonnyO on 12.05.20 at 2:24 am

Well done John. I enjoyed your post. Be kind everyone and cautiously shop local whenever you can.

#221 Wait There on 12.05.20 at 6:52 am

OK what was done was SWAG. All good engineers know this with experience… the dumb ass newbie ones always have the look of awe! until they get experience!

It is called SWAG.

SOPHISTICATED WILD ASS GUESSING.

It is exactly what it is when he added the decimals to give an “air of precision”.

Any engineer with experience knows how to SWAG.

#222 Wait There on 12.05.20 at 7:03 am

#217 is correct.

Economics is a cakewalk for old engineers trained in general engineering and required math for such. You will find that math/calculus in economics is very basic for the good engineer ( and we used to laugh at the complexity that other economics students were having with this.)
What is missing in most engineering curriculum is psychology and political science. With this many engineers can be savvy, intelligent etc.

The reality as this blog has pointed out so many times is that the general population are ignorant of finance and for them math is HARD. Really hard. This means that the masses are befuddled by numbers and logic that flows from this. They instead think with the opposite side of the brain and respong to ponies and free lunches.

So any engineer wanting to lead the masses will easily get frustrated because the people they lead don’t get it.

So it comes down to trusting a person who claims to know what they are doing or trusting a person who gives ponies and free lunches. Hey….you know the answer…or do you?

#223 Wait There on 12.05.20 at 7:19 am

Less that 80% of the population will need to get the vaccine for it to be effective.

The discussion of having everyone needing to be vaccinated came from where?

Herd immunity for an extended period is what we need. However we need to have GLOBAL herd immunity for a length of time. The real question everyone should be asking is how do we achieve GLOBAL herd immunity. It is not good for just developed nations to have herd immunity….the poor nations must also have it.

Remember it all started with one case over a year ago. The press is not discussing this aspect at all. Sure we get herd immunity in NA but do we close our borders to people from countries that have not been vaccinated? and if immunity is temporary. One needs to understand the global ramifications of ” temporary”. Again, no one is asking the correct questions.

Same for Asymtomatic transmissions in March. If we had addressed this issue we would not be where we are today. The medical experts failed us completely because they feared bringing this topic up back in March and the “press” are too ignorant.

Back in April, many people understood that the key driver of spread was the ones with asymptomatic conditions, exhibiting no signs of illness whatsoever. This aspect was “masked” over when the experts did not want to openly bring up the issue. Had they done so, then there would have been less anti maskers but much more difficult policy decisions about opening up would have surfaced.

The medical people failed us early on in COVID and they don’t want to admit it.

#224 Another Deckchair on 12.05.20 at 7:44 am

@189 Nonplussed:

“Politicians, on the other hand, are more like a bunch of clowns trying to see how many of them can fit in a VW Beetle.”

AND these people determine the money flows to the engineers….

(Saw a lot of obviously stupid stuff in my decades as a Scientist/Engineer, kind of depressing to tell you the truth)

#225 Bob on 12.05.20 at 8:05 am

Thank-you for your post. Well done

#226 I hope (or wish) on 12.05.20 at 8:17 am

Great post and I know what you say to be true… the unfortunate fact is that there are too many people out there that don’t want to spend the time and effort needed to do what you propose – read, think and engage… they just jump directly to the engage part (online comments) without doing the first two.

We need to wake up and understand the cost of decisions (government and personal). Life is filled with risk and you need to be educated about it and make choices. I WISH (at least part of me) that we would turn away anti-vaxxers from access to health care and send them the bill for others when they transmit it to others. Alas, we will not for technical and ‘humanitarian’ reasons.

Selfishness will not get us out of this mess but the burden should not be placed fully on those who, like TANSTAAFL identifies, have thought critically, made sound decisions, invested in a balanced portfolio and lived within their means.

#227 crowdedelevatorfartz on 12.05.20 at 8:18 am

@#211 Sara
“Smokers, drug addicts and alcoholics have a mental health issue which is not a matter of choice, whereas refusing a vaccine is a choice.”

+++++

Cigarette smokers have a mental health issue?

Is that what we’re labeling nicotine addiction now ?
“Its not an addiction its a disease”.
I guess that’s why the cigarette companies quietly replaced the nicotine with other addictive additives…

“All for that cool refreshing taste….”

https://www.healthcare-administration-degree.net/10-evil-vintage-cigarette-ads-promising-better-health/

Nah, Hollywood and advertising are to blame for smokers jumping on board ….and the nicotine kept them hooked.

What’s next in excuses for smoking?
Freuds “oral fixation” theory?

#228 crowdedelevatorfartz on 12.05.20 at 8:41 am

@#200 Tyberius
“We, homo sapien sapien, have been evolving along with the viruses/bugs on Earth for hundreds of thousands of years. Obviously it was successful and that’s why we’re still here and we did it without vaccines or synthetic drugs (other than plant-derived potions and medicines).

+++++

Back when you were still Ceasar , leading the Roman Empire the entire planets population was about 200,000,000 people.
And diseases ravaged the population.
Yellow Fever, bubonic Plague, and the most successful killer of them all…. Malaria.
I’m sure every citizen back then would have sacrificed their first born for a vaccine shot.

https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/world-population-by-year/

Now, with a planet bursting at the seams with 7,700,000,000 potential elevator riders rubbing elbows…..the stakes are much much higher.

Almost 8 billion people.
There wouldnt be enough able bodied people to become grave diggers to bury 25-50% of the population if another virus ravaged civilization.
The Romans would burn the plague victims when the death rate became too high.

A mass die off? In the billions?
It would end democracy pretty quickly if people were starving, looting, whatever.
We’d be too busy trying to figure out how to make shovels, matches, candles, soap, food, etc etc etc.
Nah.
I’ll stick with vaccines. The alternative isnt pretty.

Let the antivax people go quietly into the night. I’m thinking if this virus doesnt get them, the next one will.

Darwinian theory at it’s most elemental…..

#229 Mark on 12.05.20 at 8:48 am

I suspect the vaccines will more or less become mandatory for the population – this structure already exists in schools. If your kid doesn’t have the required vaccines now, then they are not allowed to go to school. I can see this extended to every aspect of life – flying, working, taking transit…

#230 the Jaguar on 12.05.20 at 8:55 am

This mornings National Post. Snippet from Conrad Black’s post:

‘Monday’s economic update by federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, though it was larded with the usual peppy remarks intended to persuade Canadians to lift up their hearts to a brighter post- COVID future, was in fact an unrepentant confession of the absolute intellectual bankruptcy, as well as acute financial embarrassment, of this government.’

#231 Tsharpoon on 12.05.20 at 9:09 am

Garth,

Hope that you invite him back. Perhaps you can hire him. That was a good read.

#232 Penny Henny on 12.05.20 at 9:37 am

@#211 Sara
“Smokers, drug addicts and alcoholics have a mental health issue which is not a matter of choice, whereas refusing a vaccine is a choice.”
///////////////

What about fat people? You know, the obese?
Should they be denied health care because they made a choice to have that second bag of chips every night and become chubba?

#233 Steven Rowlandson on 12.05.20 at 9:50 am

No jab for me either. Self determination and interest rules all. No RFID chip either.

#234 just a dude on 12.05.20 at 9:51 am

Apologies for not piping in yesterday.

John, that was an outstanding post. Well done and thank you!

Garth, thank you for allowing John to share his thoughts. I hope you invite him back.

#235 Dharma Bum on 12.05.20 at 9:59 am

TANSTAAFL, that was a well thought out post. Congratulations on estimating the correct deficit number. The only thing I ever guessed correctly was the grand total of the giant meal we have at our year end hockey team banquet in Niagara Falls. I got it right twice. The prize was I didn’t have to pay my share. The second time I won, one of my team mates – a natural hothead – was hammered, and went ballistic claiming that it was rigged.

Anyway, I so agree with the desperate need for critical thinking in these frenzied times. It is a term that has increasingly risen to the forefront of the vernacular recently. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, though.

Critical Thinking is a concept that was introduced to me early on in the undergraduate days of university. It was drummed into our heads by numerous professors and teaching assistants as being a necessity for academic success. Our papers were reamed over and over until we started to catch on. Eventually, most students caught the drift, and learned how to think critically. Assess the evidence, objectively analyze the studies, understand the bias, and submit to the scientific proof or logical soundness when it’s apparent.

Sadly, the percentage of the population that has acquired the ability to think critically is astoundingly low. Always was, and always will be. Generally speaking, most people are hopelessly stupid. Combine mass stupidity with bad luck, and what do you get? A society of dunces. That is the world.

A minority of people are lucky (i.e., when they’re born, where they’re born, to what family they’re born, how wealthy their family is, their genetics, etc.), reasonably intelligent, educated, and ultimately successful. This minority for the most part become the critical thinkers. They do well for themselves and their families as a result, and protect their interests. They survive and thrive.

I estimate that minority to be somewhere between 5% to 10% of the population. Within that group, there is also a huge variation of intelligence, ability, and wealth, but that’s a different analysis. The group, as a whole, stands apart from society at large as the successful, logical, smarter than average critical thinkers of the world.

The rest of the people are, through no fault of their own, hopelessly mired in the cesspool of uncontrolled emotions, stupidity, poverty, propaganda, instant gratification, social media hype, fake news, idol worship, religious fervour, bad health, smoking, opioids, daytime television, McDonalds, lottery tickets, Tim Hortons, fad diets, get-rich-quick schemes, antifa, alt-right, conspiracy theories, antivax, Dr. Oz, Fox news, cable, pyramid schemes, Wheel of Fortune, shopping in malls, Kardashian worship, the Bachelor, Payday Loans, crystal meth, white bread, pasta, Coca Cola, wokeism, cancel culture, pitbulls, leasing luxury cars, and believing the narrative of their own echo chambers.

They are doomed. The enlightened – the critical thinkers – the 5%-10% of society are the only ones who ever had a chance to thrive, and are the only ones who ever will.

The rest will continue to struggle hopelessly and be the victims of the mainstream media, slick politicians, employers, corporations, drug dealers, religious charlatans, social media influencers, advertisers, bad television, fast food, and i Phones.

#236 NoName on 12.05.20 at 10:21 am

Never got around to congratulate Jon dude on great post. Your prize is to press play.

https://youtu.be/7wNsWftgQVQ

#237 just a dude on 12.05.20 at 11:00 am

#176 Ponzius Pilatus on 12.04.20 at 9:10 pm

Are you saying that running a country (which is a living breathing entity) is the same a designing and building a bridge ?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#217 ERTW responded:

Not really. I’m saying that there are basic fundamental rules of conservation and equilibrium that apply to any system, even a living breathing entity or an economy. While living organisms and economies are too complex to fully model, the engineering mindset promotes analysis of the consequences of changing inputs to the system. And it promotes decision making to attempt to optimize the outcome for the system as a whole. Unfortunately it looks like our current economic direction is driven by leadership that prioritizes short term political benefit far above optimal economic outcome. And by manipulating the populous with “free money” and “a pony” for everyone, our leaders distract people from analyzing anything. Looks and feels good in the short term, but we’re grossly lacking long term sustainability and people don’t seem to mind or even think about these things.

************************************

I rarely read the comments but John’s excellent post compelled me to skim through them this morning.

ERTW: Damn! Outstanding response! In just a few words you’ve done a great job of summarizing how great engineers I’ve had the privilege of working with think. Well done!

#238 Frank Blood on 12.05.20 at 12:48 pm

Re: Sara #213#180 Frank Blood on 12.04.20 at 9:27 pm
To those posters suggesting that people who refuse to get the vaccine should not get medical care should they become ill, then would you suggest smokers, drug addicts, alcoholics not receive treatment?
=================================

Not saying I agree with those posters you refer to, however your comparison is not valid. Smokers, drug addicts and alcoholics have a mental health issue which is not a matter of choice, whereas refusing a vaccine is a choice.
?? You are kidding right.. that first cigarette, that first snort of coke, that first drink is not a choice? The information on the perils of all are freely available and taught. They are all choices.

#239 Diamond Dog on 12.05.20 at 1:22 pm

#207 Ael idich on 12.04.20 at 11:28 pm

Most of the countries on your list are….. physical islands or socio-political islands. A tangibly effective vaccine is now the only solution. Or, old school, as you say, let the virus romp until it burns out. Everything else is political theatre. – Ael idich

Worst option is let the virus romp (not an option :). Vaccines may not be the only solution, we don’t know how long they last for. If vaccines lasted for 10 years or better yet for life with efficacy at 70% or higher, definitely without a shadow of a doubt vaccines would be the way to go. If they lasted for just one year, vaccines as an only solution becomes quite problematic. Vaccine longevity is a big deal.

Mutations can throw a wrench into it as well (best option for this also, is old school). We either need herd immunity (through vaccines) or go old school the way of virus free nations and the choice is not black and white, we may still need to do both, its really up to the efficacy and longevity of vaccines themselves at this point and these factors are still unknown.

Looking at a world map, you are right except for China, but we knew that. One could make an argument that China is cooking the numbers, except for the empirical evidence from expat videos that their people haven’t worn masks this year since April except for bad episodes of smog and those episodes were way down this year from having 100 year flood rains. Economic production doesn’t support cooked numbers either. Lets remind, China is bordering the likes of India and Russia, #2 and 4 in the world for confirmed cases and still has a virus free zone.

The argument with islands holds water until one factors in all of the other world islands that are infected. Why, for example, is the UK infected? They are an island with the 6th most cases world wide. What makes them so different than the rest? Level of education? (once again, not a coincidence)

Another thing to consider is air traffic passenger loads. In 2018, China had the second most air passengers in the world. Japan is 6th. Singapore and Hong Kong had the 4th and 5th highest flights per capita in the world. Did you know that flight volumes in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan are still largely unchanged from pre-pandemic levels? (helps to have neighboring nations that are virus free zones) There are 2 week quarantines for all passengers grounding in nations that aren’t from virus free zones. It’s not perfect obviously, but what they are doing is smart because they don’t have to shut down any parts of their economies. (and rack up 20% public debt to GDP in one year like Trudeau did, that makes me hot)

https://www.citypopulation.de/en/world/bymap/AirTrafficPassengers.html

One final thought, the numbers are creeping up in Japan (a nation that has tried to maintain high air passenger traffic loads throughout post pandemic). It’s well worth watching to see how they deal with community spread there now:

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/japan/

#240 Alberta Nomad on 12.05.20 at 2:02 pm

That was very well thought out, thanks for writing that John.

#241 FriedEggs on 12.05.20 at 8:55 pm

No, I will not.

#242 Steerage on 12.05.20 at 11:41 pm

241 FriedEggs on 12.05.20 at 8:55 pm
No, I will not.

FRIED BRAINS strikes again

#243 Rob Wong on 12.06.20 at 9:03 am

[email protected]

what does the above mean

#244 EastCostMoose on 12.06.20 at 12:15 pm

Wow! Pretty great post for a rookie blogger. Garth might actually have another candidate to pass the reigns onto once he decides to “retire”.

#245 P.Ooched on 12.06.20 at 2:21 pm

|| This post will most certainly prove to be more pathetic than usual and for that I offer condolences to our mighty host and his legions of fans.

Absolutely no need for apologies here sir, your post was ‘top shelf’ in my books.

After reading through the first 100 comments, I would have to say that would also appear to be the ‘consensus view’ among the blog dogs in the steerage section as well.

Unofficial stat – 65 of 100 the first 100 comments were positive, even Garth has to be on his game to get those kind of numbers.

Kudo’s to you for taking the time to share your views and doing such a fine job of it and praise be to Garth for making it happen!

ps – For the ‘suggestion box’ – perhaps a monthly contest of some sort, for a ‘guest post’, seemed to be a lot or audience interest in this one – I mean what could possibly go wrong?

#246 Between genX and millennials on 12.06.20 at 11:21 pm

Hey everybody freaking out over civil liberties, look at Australia now. How many days with no new cases and the restrictions are lifted. They are not, as I write this, living in a permanent police state.

Seems like a lot of people are praising the common sense wisdom and problem solving of engineers cause this guy was hand-wringing over deficits, if we look to the south, America has yet to go into hyperinflation. The alternative to this would look like the 30s. The bargain of “higher taxes in future but no 1930s” seems obvious.

Another fun fact about engineers, by profession, there are more terrorists who are engineers than any other profession. Just saying.

#247 Jenn on 12.07.20 at 8:14 am

I have to say that I expected this ‘guest blog’ to be a joke. Instead what we got was a well written, thoughtful and insightful post. Well done indeed.