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CSotD: Monday in the New Normal

A soft start to the week, as Rhymes With Orange (KFS) mirrors my life. While my necessary early-to-rise schedule does require an early-to-bed end to the day, I often find myself looking at the clock and thinking perhaps I’ve overdone it.

Even the dog stays in the recliner in the living room for a few more hours before joining me. When she’s maintaining a more sensible schedule than I am, perhaps it’s an indication of something or other.

 

Speaking of whom, The Other Coast (Creators) hits the “It’s funny ’cause it’s true” button today, and it’s a running joke at the dog park that we know people by their dogs’ names rather than their own.

It’s like kindergarten, where you say “Ask Kaitlyn’s mother if she can come to play” and then realize you have no way to get in touch with the woman yourself. (The dogs are also just about as dependable at carrying messages.)

But enough, alas, of this frippery. Don’t you know there’s a war on?

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Marian Kamensky – Cartoon Movement)

 

(Michael Ramirez – Creators)

No surprise in Kamensky’s take on today’s Victory Day Parade in Moscow. As I write this, I’m beginning to see reports on what Putin had to say in his address, but they seem very incomplete except to agree that his speech seems very incomplete.

As Kamensky notes, the Russians have, for all their war crimes and looting sprees, been taking a beating in Ukraine, and while Putin continues to fool most of his people most of the time, I’m also hearing reports of a brain drain of talented people leaving Russia, as well as of people there downloading anonymizers so they can continue to use the Internet to find out what’s really going on.

Perhaps someone should fill in the Pope, because Ramirez is dead on target with his commentary.

According to a very deferential and friendly Italian paper, His Holiness is indeed blaming the victims:

And then, as if to prove that there is no situation so grim that it can’t produce a bit of dark humor, the Pope reportedly chastised the Russian Orthodox Patriarch, saying “The Patriarch cannot transform himself into Putin’s altar boy.”

Which is striking very close to the matter if he meant it in the way your filthy mind took it, but I suspect otherwise.

Though I’ll admit I did snicker.

 

Not a lot of humor to be found in this commentary from Emmanuel Del Rosso (Cartoon Movement), and I don’t blame Biden for being furious at the leak, and the story in the NYTimes, about the extent of our intelligence sharing with Ukraine.

As an advocate of the Free Press, I’m not against publishing leaked information if it serves a purpose: The Pentagon Papers came out at a time when opening the curtains could make a difference in our government’s honesty with its citizens, and, while I suspect the leak of Alito’s opinion was intended to make sure the justices didn’t think twice and behave more moderately, I’d have published them in the interest of an informed citizenry.

But I see no value in disclosing what Russia likely knew anyway.

True, it could help quiet down some of the “Why aren’t you doing more?” criticism, but that was already dying down in the face of increased and more advanced military aid, as well as humanitarian assistance. And the MAGA crowd is, when not directly on Putin’s side, certainly not going to cut Brandon any slack.

As I see it, this leak had one purpose: To give the reporters bragging rights.

And one potential outcome: To back Putin into a corner where he would have to respond to something he’d so far been willing to tip-toe around.

Here we are being inundated with information that might have benefited the nation if reporters and White House employees had released it at the time instead of waiting until they had books to sell, and these folks feel obligated to blab about something that indeed might better have been saved to become part of history.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Joe Heller)

 

(Greg Kearney)

This is actually a juxtaposition of three generations, because Heller is riffing on my own cohort, much as I hate the Madison Avenue buzzword “Boomers.”

But it’s true that many of us at the center of that way-too-disparate group couldn’t wait to retire once the pandemic made the work world an unpleasant place to be. However, my own IRA — which is programmed to be less vulnerable to the ups and downs of active investment — has still plunged nearly 20% since December.

It wouldn’t matter if I were 40, because these things straighten out over time. But, having retired, I’m now drawing from that account and, in fact, the government requires me to.

Not a good time to discover a hole in the bucket.

Meanwhile, Kearney contrasts a somewhat younger age group with their children. I’m going to assume the kid with the loan is out of school and struggling to repay student loans, so I’ve decided she is 28 and so was born in 1994, and, further, that she’s the eldest and her parents bought a house that year.

The median price of a single-family home was $106,021.97, or, in current Consumer Price Index dollars, $205,957.71. A pretty substantial burden.

The median price of a home today is an adjusted $371,448.82, a leap of about 80%. She’ll never own one, though, as Kearney suggests, at least her parents have something to show for their debt.

Here’s a link to that interactive graph, in case you’d like to depress yourself by comparing more personal dates.

As for student loan forgiveness, according to this poll, 64% of the public support some level of relief.

 

But don’t uncork the champagne yet, kids. The 0.1%, as seen in Mr Boffo, count on your continued indebtedness.

And this is, after all, Lotto Nation. Yesterday, I listened to a 2020 repeat of a Hidden Brain broadcast about “preference falsification,” which is the difference between what we say we want and how we really feel.

I have an unpleasant sense that those 64% might be less generous in the privacy of a voting booth.

Of course, student loans won’t be on the ballot in November, but they’ll be implicit in the choices we are given.

You snooze, you lose.

 

Community Comments

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#1 Mark B
May/9/2022
@ 9:12 am

I wonder if student debt forgiveness would go over with voters easier if it were combined with tax deductions for those who paid their loans off already.

FWIW, like you, I’m a “Boomer” (in my case, a Late Boomer from the end of Ike’s administration). I finished 10 straight years of full-time college with a grand total of $2,000 in debt, which I paid off in a year with my first job. What we’re doing to my students, loading them down with mountains of debt, is a crime. But as a prof it’s not going into my pockets. Adjusted for inflation I’m making in 2022 about what my professors made in 1980. And a lot of my colleagues are adjuncts, making what boils down to minimum wage for their efforts. OTOH, the number of well-paid administrators had increased several-fold. I’m convinced that’s a huge part of it.

#2 Neal Skrenes
May/9/2022
@ 9:57 am

If the government requires you to withdraw from your retirement pension you must be older than your early 70s. Are good aging genes common in your family?

Just how much longer do you expect to live?

Having rather recently dealt with the expenses due to full-time nursing care for my elderly mother I can assure you that few peoples retirement savings plan has allowed for expenditures, depending upon where you live, from 50 to almost $250,000 each year.

If you manage to stay in your home even that sort of care is expensive According to Genworth Financial’s Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of in-home care in the United States is $4,957 a month. For home health care, the cost is higher, at an average of $5,148 a month.

#3 Mike Peterson
May/9/2022
@ 3:01 pm

As noted in the link, mandatory withdrawal begins at 72.

#4 Douglas Hawley
May/10/2022
@ 7:06 am

It took me 7 even years to work my way through a BA. In the early ’70’, state universities cost about $4000 per year.

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