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Building a Successful Marketing Plan
2020.09.28 10:34 parth770Building a Successful Marketing Plan
Every business, small or large, will be more successful with a business plan. One key component of a business plan is the marketing plan. A good marketing plan summarizes the who, what, where, when, and how much questions of company marketing and sales activities for the planning year: · Who are our target buyers? · What sources of uniqueness or positioning in the market do we have? · Where will we implement our marketing spending plans? · When will marketing spending plans occur? · How much sales, spending, and profits will we achieve? The financial projections contained in your business plan rest in large measure upon the assumptions contained in your marketing plan. It is the marketing plan that details when expenditures will be made, what level of sales will be achieved, and how and when advertising and promotional expenditures will be made. Here are the major elements of a marketing plan: · The situation analysis describes the total marketing environment in which the company competes and the status of company products and distribution channels. · The opportunity and issue analysis details the major external opportunities and threats to the company and the internal strengths and weaknesses of the company, along with a discussion of key issues facing the company. · The goals and objectives section outlines major company goals and the marketing and financial objectives. · The marketing strategy section provides the company's marketing strategy statement, summarizing the key target buyer description, competitive market segments the company will compete in, the unique positioning of the company and its products compared to the competition, the reasons why it is unique or compelling to buyers, price strategy versus the competition, marketing spending strategy with advertising and promotion, and possible R&D and market research expenditure strategies. · The sales and marketing plan outlines each specific marketing event or action plan to increase sales. For example, it may contain a summary of quarterly promotion and advertising plans, with spending, timing, and share or shipment goals for each program.
Effective Planning Requires an Accurate Situation Analysis
The situation analysis section of a marketing plan describes what is happening in the markets in which the company competes, and analyzes the company's product and distribution trends. Information in this section provides rationale and support for the marketing objectives, plans, and strategies. Use a simple, common-sense approach to organize and provide only relevant information. Because the situation analysis covers a wide range of topics, it should be divided into subsections. These subsections should start at the "big picture" of macroenvironment influences on your business down through total market descriptions, the competition, target buyers/end users, and, finally, product trends and your company distribution channels description. Thus, the key subsections include: · Macroenvironment situation. The macroenvironment subsection presents information on trends that affect your company in the following areas: o demographic o economic o technological o political o social o cultural o material supply · market situation, which includes size, growth trends of total market, and key segments · competitive situation, which provides a description of major competitors with size, goals, market share, product quality comparisons, marketing strategies, marketing spending, etc. · target buyer or end user situation, which analyzes the identification and behavior of target buyers/end users and consumer wants and needs · product situation, which includes sales, prices, and contribution margins; net profits of each company product line are shown · distribution situation, which provides information on size, trends, and importance of each distribution channel for the company's products
Situation Analysis Begins by Examining Macroenvironment
The initial section of the situation analysis, the macroenvironment, sets the stage for the detailed analysis that will follow. Make sure that you capture only relevant information on macroenvironmental trends that might affect your business. Here are some aspects of key macroenvironmental forces that you should consider. · Demographics. How will the demographic factors of your geographic locale or your target market affect demand for your goods or services in the future? For example, as the baby boomers age, the fastest growing demographic in the US is the over-65 segment. Does this have an impact on your business? For example, a home-building contractor should begin to pay closer attention to the needs of people over 65. Another example, in some areas the number of recent immigrants from non-English speaking countries is significant. Are there new products you could add to your line to attract these customers? Would having bilingual staff help your business grow? · Economics/business conditions. No matter how depressing the economic news may be, the savvy business owner can not ignore it. Spend time getting a feel for the economic climate—not only of the nation, but of your region or city. What is relevant to your business? How does the economy affect what you will need to do to market your business and grow your revenue" · Technology. Innovation can create or wipe out industries and businesses in less than a year. The popularity and convenience of CD players all but eliminated the sale of record players and seriously depressed the manufacture and sale of vinyl records. Are there similar disruptors facing your business? Are customer expectations—social media, 24/7 online ordering—going to affect your business model? · Political and legal. Health care and handicapped legislation affects all businesses, large or small. Increasing costs and mandatory provisions for buildings, walkways, elevators, etc., significantly affect the overhead for a small business. For example, a new restaurant with a basement may have to have an elevator (e.g., $20,000 or more) for handicapped employees, despite the fact it is unlikely that physically handicapped employees will need to go down to a basement storage area. · Social and cultural. Especially if you are in the consumer goods market, you need to be aware of cultural and social trends that affect your customers (and potential customers.) For example, there is a sweeping trend for Americans (and the world) to dress more casually, with function and comfort driving new clothing and shoe trends. People are cooking less and are more concerned about nutrition and fat in their diets. And today, American business people are less willing to sacrifice family life for business careers. What does this mean for your small business?
Situation Analysis Subsections Delve Into Specific Areas
The "MarketSituation" subsection of the situation analysis provides information on the size, growth, and trends of the overall market and any relevant segments of the total market or category. Rationale should be provided for estimating the trend of the market, including key industry developments, introduction of new technology or new products, increased marketing spending by key competitors, etc. For example, a small business could include local industry sales or volume for the last five years and estimated total market for this year and the following year, with company sales and share of the market.
Outline Your Competitive Landscape and Challenges
In the "Competitive Situation" subsection of the situation analysis section you provide succinct and relevant information about key competitors: · description of key competitors and their market positioning · size of key competitors in units/dollars · market shares of key competitors · sales trends of key competitors · strengths and weaknesses of key competitors compared to your company's product or services · perceived marketing strategies of key competitors and their probable impact on your company
Describe Your Target Buyer or End User
You provide actionable information on your target buyers, as well as information on the ultimate end users if necessary, in the "Target Buyer" subsection of the your situation analysis. Key questions answered in this subsection include: · description of target buyers or end users in demographic, psychographic, and lifestyle terms · target buyeend user wants, needs, attitudes, and perceptions of category products and services · where target buyers/end users are located and how to reach them · which segments of the total market or category are growing or declining and why
Capture Key Metrics About Your Business and Products
The "Product Situation" subsection of your situation analysis section provides company information on: · sales · profit · product trends · cost-of-goods history (five years) · marketing spending history (five years of advertising, promotion, PR spending) · distribution trends and developments · description of the sales organization (for example, company or brokers)
Detail Distribution Channels and Costs
The "Distribution" subsection of the situation analysis section describes each distribution channel and its relative importance to the company in terms of: · percent of company sales · company volume · cost to distribute products and services · growth potential · competitive status
The "Opportunity and Issue Analysis" section of your marketing plan analyzes the major external opportunities and threats to the company and the internal strengths and weaknesses of the company, along with a discussion of key issues facing the company. · External opportunities and threats to the company should be described with possible programs to capitalize on the opportunities, and possible solutions to potential threats to the company. · Internal strengths and weaknesses of the company should be described in a competitive context. · Key issues addresses decisions to be made by the company, based upon the analysis of these external opportunities and threats and internal company strengths and weaknesses, and helps to determine objectives, strategies, and tactics. External opportunities may be seen in an analysis of the macro environment the company operates in. Other factors affecting your company may come from the market situation or the competitive situation that your company faces.
Marketing Goals and Objectives Are The Heart of Your Plan
The "Marketing Goals and Objectives" section of your marketing plan outlines major company goals, marketing, and financial objectives. All objectives should be carefully quantified, where possible, especially in terms of an achievable time or date. Objectives should be reasonable and attainable. Major company goals could include both short- and long-term goals. For example: · company definition (e.g., "to be a manufacturer of 100 percent all-natural snack food products") · market definition (e.g., "to attain leadership in dollar market share and volume for the healthy, all-natural snacks segment of the salty snacks category") · technology (e.g., "to become known in the industry as the leading developer of new vegetable protein products") Financial objectives are generally described in quantitative terms for at least three years in the future: · gross sales (increase) · cost-of-goods (decrease) · gross margin (increase) · net income (increase) · return on investment · return on income Businesses seeking outside funding and capital should provide a minimum of five years of projected income statements, although these are usually located in the financial section of the business plan rather than the marketing section. Marketing objectives are quantitative translations of the company's financial objectives, in marketing terms. For example: · sales dollars · sales units · market share · distribution levels/channel · advertising awareness · key account distribution
Well-Articulated Marketing Strategy Focuses Valuable Time, Resources
Every business owner should develop a written guideline that sets forth the business's marketing strategy. This document is used to judge the appropriateness of each action that the business takes. If a company has to take an action that is off-strategy, it may indicate a temporary emergency action prompted by competition or other factors beyond normal management control. Or it may indicate the need to change or revise the company's marketing strategy. A good marketing strategy provides specific goals and can include: · a description of the key target buyeend user · competitive market segments the company will compete in · distribution channels · the unique positioning of the company and its products versus the competition · the reasons why it is unique or compelling to buyers · price strategy versus competition · marketing spending strategy with advertising and promotion · possible research and development · market research expenditure strategies. An overall company marketing strategy should also: · define the business · position the business as a leader, challenger, follower, or niche player in the category · define the brand or business personality or image that is desired in the minds of buyers and end users · define life cycle influences, if applicable Use the following checklist to help create your own marketing strategy. Marketing Strategy Checklist · define what your company is · identify the products or services that your company provides · identify your target buyers/end users · establish the marketing category (e.g., fast food purveyor, high-end audio equipment sales, etc.) · determine whether your company will be a market category leader, follower, challenger, or niche player · describe the unique characteristics of your products or services that distinguish them from the competition. · define whether your pricing will be above, below, or at parity with your competitors and establish whether you will lead, follow, or ignore changes in competitors' pricing · identify the distribution channels through which your products/services will be made available to the target market/end users · describe how advertising and promotions will convey the unique characteristics of your products or services · describe any research and development activities or market research plans that are unique to your business · describe the image or personality of your company and its products or services
Test Drive Your Strategy Statements
If the statements in your strategy are measurable and actionable and work to differentiate your company and products apart from the competition, congratulations! If they are not measurable and actionable and do not differentiate your company from the competition, revise them until they are. A good working marketing strategy should not be changed every year. It should not be revised until company objectives (financial, marketing, and overall company goals) have been achieved or the competitive situation has changed significantly, e.g., a new competitor comes into the category or significantly different or new products emerge from existing competitors.
This section of the marketing plan outlines each marketing event or action planned to increase sales. The plan will generally cover a calendar year, broken down by month or by quarter. For example, it may contain a summary of quarterly promotion and advertising plans, with spending, timing, and share/shipment goals for each program. Sales and marketing plans should be a logical outgrowth of short- and long-term company objectives and your marketing strategy. In the business plan, the sales and marketing plans provide an outline of each marketing event for the year, covering the following information: · description of each event vehicle (for example, media, promotion, trade, sales) · timing of each event · event goals and objectives (for example, volume, share gains) · cost of each event About Us:- Delivering Outstanding Returns Through Field sales, Data Insight And Brand Engagement. Your Brand, Our Passion Everywhere, Every Day, We Are local marketing and sales agency.” Contact Us:- Get in touch with us, we would love to discuss your marketing needs.We love a good coffee and a challenge, so would be happy to meet up with you face to face.
2020.09.27 18:35 nothingfunnytoofferA Long Ass Bangin' Buds
Static starts. THE MYSTERIOUS MAN is alone in a control room that looks like a sci-fi server room from the 1980s. He speaks into a similarly teched-out microphone. MYSTERIOUS MAN: The following podcast is not real. If it were real, it would most certainly not be dictated by a script written by a fan. Enjoy the show. Static interrupts the feed and changes the view. MUNDEL THE GRUNDEL starts the musical intro, some bar noises heard in the background. Patrons move around the Vermillion Minotaur as the shot pans to that very table where the human from another world, ARNIE, the shapeshifter, CHUNT, and USIDORE, the Blue Wizard, drink and do their podcast. ARNIE: Hello from the Magic Tavern! Mundel trills A(CONT): A weekly podcast from the magical land of Foon. I’m your host, Arnie Niekamp. If you never listened to the podcast before, don’t worry, this one is inconsequential. About… insert time frame here, I fell through a dimensional portal behind a Burger King, in Chicago, into the magical, fantastical land of Foon. Luckily, I’m still getting a slight Wi-fi signal from the Burger King, through the dimensional rift and I use that to upload a podcast I record every week here in the tavern, the Vermillion Minotaur, in the town of Hogsface, in the land of Foon! And I’m- USIDORE: What do you mean “inconsequential”? A:(stammers) I-I’m-just saying- U: Everything we do is VERY CONSEQUENTIAL!!! A:(sighs) And I’m joined, as always, by my co-host, my bud, and my boon companion-You know, I haven’t called you guys my boon companions in a while-Usidore the Wizard. U: I AM USIDORE! Wizard of the 12th Realm of Ephysiyies, Master of Light and Shadow, Manipulator of Magical Delights, Devourer of Chaos- A: Spaghetti U:-CHAMPION OF THE GREAT HALLS OF TERR'AKKAS! The elves know me as Fi’ang Yalok.- A: Feline Zelig U: The dwarfs know me as Zoenen Hoogstandjes- A: Hooba- U: Shut up. And I am also known in the Northeast as Gaismunēnas Meista- A: Glass anus. U:(glares) And there may be other secret names that you do not know about. Aye, names so powerfully, so profound and unimaginable, that if you even utter the words underneath your breath, if that wind passes your lips, it would cause a fervor of murderous emotions within the female populations, destroying all the homes and villages within the surrounding area until it concludes in an orgasmic raging scream. Usually lasting 5-7 days with the last days being much lighter. A: Wh-what?!? U: Oh yes, it has happened once before in the tourist town of Cancon. A man found out my name and etched the whole endeavor. A: That sounds really creepy. U: It was more dangerous than creepy. It’s not the best to be that close when those Girls Go Wild. A: I just hope their covering themselves up with a Red Tube, at minimum. U: Impossible! A Red Tube would be much too small. Also, why would you put these women in a Red Tube? Seems rather impractical to have a singular item to protect them from the elements. But I am not one to judge. Unlike you, Arnold. Hashtag FREE THE NIPPLE! CHUNT: Hey, are we talking about emails already? I got a new Bangin’ Buds story a fan sent! A:-oh, and I’m also joined by my other co-host, Chunt, the talking badger! C: Awww yeah baybee! A: How are you doing, buddy? C: Doing pretty good. I met up with a friend, Mrs. Puff. She is a puffer fish. A: Mrs. Puff? C: Yup, Mrs. Puff. U: Oh, how is the Mrs.? A: Wait, not with Mr. Puff too? C: No, she’s a widower. U: Yes, don’t be insensitive, Arnold. C: So, I was hangout with Mrs. Puff. She’s a sweet little lady with a little blue hat that teaches a carting school. But she’s been a little lonely lately. Coming at me pretty hard. But as a gentle-badger, I kept my boundaries and told her I didn’t want to take advantage of her grief. A: That’s nice, I guess. C: Yeah, but she got really mad and made a face about it when I left. Really glad I didn’t stay. Could you imagine? Seeing me as a Huffled Puff? A: Wh-Was the story really trying to lead up to that? C: What do you mean? I just don’t see myself as a Huffeld Puff. Although, I think I would probably look adorable in a black and yellow tie. U: I hear Huffeld Puffs are great finders. A: Well as long as you don’t end up like Cedric Digory. U & C: Who? A: It-uh-it’s a guy on Earth that turned into a vampire. And then made a series of subpar movies. Maybe one good one snuck in. C: I didn’t know they had vampires on Earth. He should come to Chunt for Red October and we can do an interview with him about what it likes to be a vampire on Earth. You know, make him feel at home. A: Well I hear he hates it. U: I would too if I were him, but then I Remember Me. C: It would suck to be The Devil All the Time. A: I don’t think I’m supposed to know that reference. C: What reference? He’s your Earth person. U:(Whispers to Chunt) I always wonder if Arnold has even a small Light in that House, if you know what I mean. A: It’s Arnie. U: Now, correct me if I was wrong, I thought you have told us that you world was devoid of magic and magical beings. A: There aren’t any. C: What about those Gatherings on Earth? A: There’s nothing actually magical about it. It’s more fun at first, then gets really sad when you spend all your money and potential on the cards and forces you to move into your mother’s basement. U: Ah, so there are magic cards in your world. A: I could’ve sworn I told you about this before. U: Arnie, you tell us a lot of stories we only halfheartedly listen too. C: Sometimes zero-heartedly. A: Aww… C: Hey Arnie? A: What? C: You’re my best friend. A: You’re MY best friend. Usidore coughs. A(CONT): Oh! And Usidore?(Usidore perks up.) I like you a lot. U:(smug) Oh, why thank you! A:(pauses) So you’re not gonnna-know what, nevermind. Hey guys, I actually don’t have any guests invited to the podcast today. I thought we would have a classic Boys’ Night! C: Ooooooo U: Wonderful! It has been so long since we had a Boys’ Night here, in the Vermillion Minotaur. Let us start at once! C: Mmmmm Boys’ Night! A: Boys’ Night! U: BOYS NIGHT! C: Bing Bong! Arnie, Chunt, and Usidore start to mumble to themselves about what to do during Boys Night. A HEAD GHOST starts approaching the table. HEAD GHOST(OS): Hello? C: Hey-Hey guys! Check it out. A: Is that a ghost? C: It is! It’s a gh-gh-gh-ghost! A: Jinkies HG: Yeah, nice read, Velma. Just kidding, I stole that from Archer. You’re Arnie Niekamp, right? A: Uh, yeah. Do you know me? HG: Of Course. I know all of you. I’m actually a new fan of Hello from the Magic Tavern. Mundel trills HG(CONT) : Awww. Thanks, Mundel; you’re a sweetheart. Mundel plays vibraslap. A: Oh, we already did a fan episode, sorry. CHEST TRÜNKBORN pops up from underneath. CHEST: Maybe even two if you count when the Cockticklers came to research their play. HG: Are you even available to talk today? CHEST: Nope. Chest pops back down under the table. A: Hey, we don’t normally have guest asking to be on the show- HG: I didn’t ask. A: Okay then. Goodbye. HG: NO NO NO! Sorry, I have really important questions for you guys. I wanna be on.(pouts) Please. A: Well, sure. Welcome to the podcast! U: Yes, thank you for ruining Boys’ Night. C:(somberly) Aww Boys’ Night… HG: Oh, Chu chu…sorry. A: So, um, ghost, come up to the mic and tell us a little more about yourself. HG:(exhales) Okay! Well, my name is Metabeth- A: Metabeth? METABETH: Yeah, Metabeth. U: Sounds about right. A: Don’t you mean “Meredith”? C: Arnie, are you man-plaining her own name? She clearly said Metabeth. A: Well I didn’t mean it like that! It’s doesn’t sound like a name-I mean doesn’t sounds like a name I expected to hear. M: As opposed to Arnie Niekamp? Doesn’t even have the word “Knee” in it. U: Ha HA! Good one! Arnold, you might as well be walking on stubs since you have no knees. M: No knees? No toes? C: But he does own elbows. M: So he can’t be nubs. C: It helps that he’s not totally rad. M: It would be fun to call him nubs. A: Now who’s being insensitive? M: Hey, that song is pretty body positive. And apparently based on a real person. A: Really? M: According to Reddit and Wikipedia, yeah. But who believes all the trivia nerds say on the internet? So yeah, my name is Metabeth. It’s Greek. A: Wh-what? Like Greece? M: Yeah, I’m from Earth, too. U: Oh, really? C: So, you can tell me what’s a Danny DeVito is and why everyone on Earth wants him to be a pi-ka-chu? M: Dude, that’s reference is, like, two years old. What brought that up? Oh wait, first, he’s a short, grumpy, loveable old man that would be adorable to play an anime mouse. C: So if Arnie and Usidore’s love child got lil’ squished. Chunt uses his hands to show a compressing motion. U: And what’s an anime? A: Guys, hold up. She just said she’s from Earth. How did you get here? And why are you a ghost then? M: Oh, well, about two weeks ago I traveled to Chicago and entered the front door of a Burger King- C: Who phrases it like that? M:-I was heading back to my car to go back to my friend’s place when I dropped my phone through a dimensional rift in the parking lot. Not sure if it was the same one as yours, but the size of the portal was fluctuating. I debated how far I wanted to go to get my phone. Started with a finger to slip through the hole, then when I felt I was ready, I put a second one in, wiggling it around until I could feel it. U: So your phone was on a spot on the ground in Foon, a ground spot or g-spot, if you will. M: Sure. The portal opened up enough so I could actually see my phone, but it was further away than I thought- A: Oh, no. M: Yeah, you’re catching on. By the time I was at a length to reach my phone. Bloop. Dead. My head and arm were on this side of the portal and the rest of my body is at that Burger King. A: Wow, I am so sorry that happened to you. U: I’m not. You got a good deal on a beheading. Why, here in Foon it would cost you an arm and a leg. M: Well my arm is somewhere by the portal entrance if the asshole who closed the portal wants it. The morgue on Earth probably has the rest. A: And you’ve been here for two weeks? M: Yup! Two weeks. A: What have you been doing with your time? M: Well the first week I have been lying on the ground, sobbing uncontrollably about my death. Tried to hit myself with my own arm to numb the pain. U: Your arm on this side? M: No, my ghost arm. I don’t know how ghost work on Foon, but my head got a ghost and my arm got a ghost. A:(turns to Usidore) Usidore, is that really how it works? U: Oh yes. Remember Snaken Freshgrave? His foot is a ghost. C: I think his foot is only part ghost, so everybody would have to cut the Foot Loose to make it a full ghost. U: That’s right! Let us Hear It for the Boy. C: Eyyy let’s hear it for my baybee. A: Hey, stop Holding Out for a Hero. M: Why bring up Shrek 2? It was subpar compared to the original. A: That’s in Shrek 2? They made a Shrek 2? M: Yeah, when I was like ten. You probably know it, right? A: How old do you think I am? Metabeth pauses almost ready to count but does not trust that any answer is right. M: Hmm…that’s a trap. Arnie looks incredulous. He turns to his co-host, hoping to find some sort of meaning in this response, but they provide no such insight. M(CONT) : Anyway, this past week I’ve learned that Foon is real and I wanted to find you guys. When I found you guys the first time, it seem like you just finished your podcast and I didn’t want to stalk you for a week, so I’ve been trying to learn how to be a floating head. A: So you’ve been waiting so you can get your chance to be on the podcast? I don’t know if I should be grateful or weirded out by this. You, kind of, effectively stalked us anyway so you could be on the show. M: I guess. It’s a little of a “Notice me Sempai” moment for me. A: A what? M: “Notice me Sempai”? Like finding your heroes and getting them to recognize you. It’s like a weeb version of that. C: Arnie, what’s a weeb? A: What? I don’t know. U: Arnold- A: It’s Arnie. U:-You are supposed to be our guide, our liaison, to the other world that you’ve come from. How can you claim that you don’t know these basic terminologies? A: Well it could be slang from her generation. I’ve been gone for years now. M: I guess it could be more slang that not slang. I just chalk it up to me being weird. I feel like I’m being a damper to all this. Maybe I’ll just go. Metabeth turns away sadly. Arnie starts to jump out of their seats to reach out to the ghost. He does not actually leave his seats, just enough the bend their knees a little so the chairs make a scrapping noise. A: No, you’re fine! You can stay! C: See what you did Arnie, you hurt her feelings. U: There, There, sad Metabeth. Would it ease your pain to hurt Arnie with your words like he has hurt you with his? C: Or try to hit him with your ghost arm? A: Hey… M: I can’t. My arm kind of just does what it wants these days. Hey, if I can’t control my arm and it acts on its own, does it really belong to me? Is it still me? Whoa. Philosophical questions, man. C: A real Existentialism on Prom Night. U: I suppose there would not be any relations if the arm has sentient and independent of use. Perhaps if we can find this phantom limb, we can see if it responds to our questions without your assistance. M: Sounds easier than hitting myself with my own skull. A: That doesn’t seem physically possible. M: Well I am a ghost and that reference was just for me. So, I think that’s a great place to start. Find ghost arm and you guys can teach me how to ghost! A: But we’re not ghosts. Wouldn’t it be easier to find other ghosts to help you? Chunt, isn’t your dad a hunger ghost? C: EW I’m not trying to set up my dad with someone else.(turns to Metabeth to solely talk to her) Um, by the way, he’s a really nice guy and very funny. M:(to Chunt) Oh I’ve heard. Not sure if I’m ready to date other ghosts yet, though. So, um, thank you? C: But hey, this seems like a good opportunity for us. It’s been a while we’ve been on a real quest. U: We’re always on a quest TO DEFEAT THE DARK LORD! C: I’m just saying, we don’t have much going on in the immediate future. Arnie even said that we didn’t have guest today. We could head out, leave the tavern, and find Metabeth’s arm. A: You lost me on leaving the tavern. C: You lazy shit. A: Chunt!...(exhales)…You’re a good friend. C: You’re a good friend. M: Um, can we still put a pin on finding my arm or my arm ghost? A: Oh yeah sure. Arnie pulls out a pen and paper starts to scribble down on a piece of paper. A(CONT):(mumbles) Find Metabeth’s dead arm. M: Oh, and ghost arm. A:(mumbles)...and ghost arm. U: I wouldn’t put too much faith in finding her physical arm. It has been two weeks after all. M: Aww… C: Usidore! Now you hurt her feelings. Chunt now pulls out a pen and paper and starts to scribble. C(CONT): Now I have to put your name down for who Metabeth has to hit with her arm. Arnie…. Usidore…. M: But you guys will help me find my ghost arm, right? Arnie, Chunt and Usidore give wearily looks and reluctantly agree. M(CONT) : …You didn’t actually write it down, did you? A: It’s on the list! C:(sarcastically) Yeah, right above defeating the Dark Lord. Arnie, glares at Chunt. C(CONT): What? A: It’s. On. The. List. And guys, I got a system on the best way to get all these tasks done. Every item is important. U: Of Course, of course. We will most certainly aid you on your quest. We will always help those who need it because it is good. And I am devoted to defeat evil. FOR I AM USIDORE THE BLUE! And I swear on the conspiracy of wind, fire, earth, and birds, and lightning, and rocks, and frogs, and mud from which I was born from, FULL FORMED AND STARK NAKED, to be champion of Foon and return your missing limbs to you because that is what was right and just in this land! M : It’s really only one arm. A: Why are you focused on just finding your arm here? Wouldn’t you want to return to Earth where the rest of you and your family is? C: Weird to hear that come out of your mouth. M: You see…I never really believed in ghost until I became one. I guess I’m a little scared that if I go back to Earth, I may not exist. I mean the portal was still open when I died and I didn’t see my body produce a ghost. C: ARNIE! The portal is still open, you can return home! M: Oh no, it’s gone now. At least I didn’t see it open while I was crying on the ground. Such an ugly cry. A: Well you probably couldn’t see through the tears in your eye. M: So, yeah, no, the portal is gone. And I still don’t know if ghosts exist on Earth. C: Yeah, I would hate if you broke the show with that revelation. UGH. A: I love to return to Earth to- C: No no no no, I just remembered I described your and Usidore’s love child and I threw up in my mouth. A and U: What? M: It was a bit and a half ago. Eyy the power of editing. A: So, Metabeth, can I call you Beth? M: No. A: So, Metabeth, it seems like you’ve learned a few ghost tricks like floating in the short time you’ve been here in Foon. That’s pretty impressive, even if you’re just a floating head. M: Yeah. It did take some time. I rolled around a lot. Got some dirt and shit up my noncorporeal head. So, the transparency was nice. Once I learned how to float, the world did open up more. A: Have you been traveling a lot then? M: Uhhh kinda. I was a little lost when I first came out. And no one could fucking see me for a while since I haven’t learned how to be visible yet. U: You should see Germ then. She’s a makeup artist that can highlight ghosts. M: Is she still alive? I’m not caught up yet. U: Then I won’t ruin it for you. M: Might’ve helped. I was kicked in the face a whole lot. I wanted to ask around for directions and actually learn where I was. A: Then how did you know that this was Foon? M: Mostly assumption. Travelers love to say “Here in the land of Foon”. U: Ah, yes. People here in the land of Foon are known to say that thing. M: I’m still 70/30 that this is all a dream of my dying mind though. C: That’s very M. Night of you. A: What’s M. Night here in the land of Foon? C: It’s between L. Nights and N. Nights where everything ends is a twist. At first it was amazing, but now its predictable. M: It’s a whole Shama Lama Ding Dong. A: I had a dream that I was Delta at a toga party. M: What? A: Shit, are you too young for that reference? Everyone gives a puzzled look to Arnie. A(CONT):(whimpers)…Animal House? Metabeth hesitates, then blows raspberries. A(CONT): Oh god… Arnie puts his hands on his face in depression. Chunt and Usidore holds off giving a similar aged face but are still relieved that they are not as old as Arnie is in comparison. C: Metabeth, let’s get to know a little more about you. How old are you? M: I’m mid 20s. Arnie slumps lower into his chair in sadness. M(CONT): I’m actually a little curious about you though, Chunt. You said your age fluctuate with the shapeshifting, but how old are you actually? You were born in a Foon year, how many Foon years ago was that? C: I rather not kiss and tell. M: I don’t think that’s how that phrase works? C: Are you sure? M: Pretty sure. C: Well it might be different on Earth than it is in Foon. M: So what’s “kiss and tell” on Foon? U: “Kiss and Tell” is when two being, man, woman, child- A: Don’t say child. U:-rock, bird, elf, etcetera agree on when they were blessed by the kiss of life. Then they tell people about it. A: So you need two people to determine an age? U: Don’t you need two people on Earth to determine the age? At the very least it can be between the person who was asked and a complete stranger. M: That does make sense, I guess. And not that far off from Earth “Kiss and Tell”. C: So what’s Earth’s “Kiss and Tell”? A: Don’t bother with more Earth stuff Metabeth. M, C, and U: Aww…. A: Oh fine, you can talk about Earth stuff if you want. C: Awesome! So, Metabeth, what’s “Kiss and Tell”? M: Ehhh…I don’t wanna talk about Earth stuff right now. C: Dammit. M: Nah just kidding. I always wanted to say that. It’s like your “Kiss and Tell” but more actually kissing than telling. C: Ew. U: Gross. M: Oh, I suddenly regret the phrasing of that statement. Can I explain it again? U: No. It’s too late. You already said it. M: God dammit. A: Alright let’s take a quick break- M: Really? You want to put in your sponsor after that mess of an explanation. It just included children in kissing and telling. The group talks at the same time. A: Jeez C: Nooo… U: Boooo A: Well now I can’t shift it over like that. We’ll lose our sponsorship. U: Dear Listeners of the podcast, the opinions of our guests do not reflect the opinions of the hosts. M: So, I get a redo? A, C, and U: No! C: It’s funnier this way, trust us. M: Are you sure? It mostly feels like a One Person Amateur Hour? Like you think you’re being funny but it’s really jokes you’re writing to yourself? C: Mmmmm…no. A: It doesn’t have to be funny. U: Maybe your jokes are just overtly meta. A: Okay, now should be a good time take that break. C: I’m going to grab a drink from the bar. You guys want anything? U: I shall take an ale, of course. Why thank you, Chunt. A: I’m feeling a little bloated- U: Little? C: Feeling? A: …I’m good with water. M: OH! I can finally try a rainbow bowl! No hallucinogens though. Does not work well with me. A: But ghost can’t eat anything, right? M: Really? Fuck. U: Haven’t you noticed that you weren’t hungry during the last two weeks? That you didn’t eat or drink anything or felt the need? M: Well, once again, that first week is a little of a mulligan. So what things…can I have at the bar? C: Well you don’t have to get anything. U: I believe that during the Dark Lord’s reign over Hogsface, there may be a stash of tingle in the back. If you consume it, the that should protect the mere mortals of the tavern and take the power away from the forces of evil. M: And what would that do to me? U: You should be more ghostly and see your brain. M: Would you guys still be able to see me? U: I’m pretty sure. M: Then I will try that! C: Well Usidore, that will on your tab then. A: Okay let’s take a break for real. The scene changes and Mundel plays the sponsor theme. A spotlight shines on a single vendor, PODLEY, in fairly peasant garb ready to talk. PODLEY: Hello, my name is Podley. I am a temporary work for my company until I pay back my master, which is a large sum. I am here to offer the services of me and my compatriots for several odd end jobs. So, if you have been having trouble paying close attention to details or difficult tasks, constantly lose things, and cannot perform structured tasks, come find us with RIDALIMB. With RIDALIMB, you can get the assistance you need with simple task like finding your way home, locating your child, remembering you have a child, cooking food without leaving the fire on for too long. We understand that even easy tasks are hard. We’re in Foon; living is hard. So, hire us. My family is in desperate need for food. Our master asked paid for this advertisement in hopes to make up for my incompetence. If you don’t hire me or any of my peers, my master will get rid of one of our limbs in order to offset the debt. Ask my master if RIDALIMB is the right choice for you. But I hope it is, and I hope it’s me. The music stops and the scene rolls back to the Vermillion Minotaur. Arnie, Chunt, and Usidore are back at the table with their drinks while Metabeth is floating around and rolling in the air. A: And we’re back. I hope everyone had a good break. M:(still rolling) WooOOOooo U: Do not worry. I will go contain her. Usidore stands up from his chair and his hands meet up with Metabeth’s head to grab her. He brings the head down to the table and paces the head on the table. M: Aww… A: How are you feeling, Metabeth? M:(sadly) I mean, I’m sobering up pretty quickly. C: Yeah, and you went through the whole tingle stash all at once. M: Yeah, was that really safe? It was my first time doing all that. A: Well it’s not like you can overdose on it or anything. M: I’m already dead, asshole. A: That’s what I mean! I mean, realistically, what’s the worst thing that could happen as a ghost? U: You can get addicted to it. It’s still a drug by the way. C: I think my dad was in rehab for his tingle addition. M: Yeah, why did you guys let me take so many at once? A: Hey, when you say stuff here, foresight is 20/20. C: Isn’t it hindsight? A: Alright, 60/40. U: You didn’t even change the term, just the number. A: Oh, you know how bad I am at math. U: Is that really the crux of the argument? A: But hey, we still have a guest. Normally, we just ask how they spend their time in Foon, but since you already summed up your experience before the break, I guess we can ask about your life on Earth? C: So is this technically an Earth Stuff Episode? A: We already had an Earth Stuff Episode and we’re halfway through this one. C: But it’s been decades since we did an Earth Stuff episode. A: It’s more like years, not decades. What was the time I said in at the top of the podcast? It’s about that amount of time. C: But we got a score to settle with the time between Earth Stuff episodes! M: Are these just year puns now? U: Oh, pointing out the theme of the banter. Such a millennial move. M: Oh, OK Boomer. Wait, what’s a millennial here in the land of Foon? U: Someone that lives within a single millennium. Easy enough. Now what’s a Boomer on Earth? M: A crotchety, nasty old man that won’t let me do what I want. U:(gasps) How DARE you!?!? A: Alright, lets focus up again to the interview. C: Arnie focusing us up? U: That doesn’t seem right. Did you get a free sample from Ridalimb? A: What’s that? U: And he’s back. C: Yup, no need to go back to the marketing for this. U: Unless it’s for BETTER HELP! A: Anyway, Metabeth M: Yup. A: If it’s not too much trouble, can you tell us your life while you were alive? C:(gasps) Arnie, you can’t just ask what people did when they were still alive? U: So not fetch. M: Shit, now I’m struggling with what today’s date is. C: It’s October 3rd. M: Nice. A: There’s got to be a limit to how many times we can get off track. U: The limit does not exist, Arnold. A: It’s Arnie. M: I’m sorry, are we still doing this? A: Oh right! So Metabeth. M: Yup. A: What was your life like back on Earth? M: Oh yeah, so I was born in New Jersey- Arnie, Chunt, and Usidore give a collective groan. M: You have a problem with Jersey, Ohio? A: There’s just a bunch of jokes about New Jersey. M: I’ve heard almost all of them. A: That people live there to commute to the better states. U: And the people are Orange and full of trash. Arnie and Metabeth stare at Usidore. U(CONT): Are we not talking about Old Jersey? A: No, there’s a New Jersey on Earth, and probably an old Jersey. C: Oh, and what’s Jersey like on Earth? A and M: It’s about the same. M: And to make fun of where you came from, I see why you left. A: I don’t know what you mean. Just because the last place I lived on Earth was Chicago, doesn’t mean I don’t have fond memories of my home in Ohio. M: Well most of the astronauts came from there and the left to get away. A: They were astronauts! They left the entire Earth! M: SO DID YOU! U: She’s got a point. C: Does she? I mean the whole thing seems forced. U: That’s true. A: Well, we can talk about something else- C: No more Earth Stuff? M: I mean, what do you need to know? C: Why are all the adults on Earth tired of hangout out with their kids this year? M: Jesus Christ. If I had control of my hand, I would palm myself on the forehead. A: Then you could’ve had a V8. U: And why are people trying to flatten the curb? Surely curves are supposed to have their peaks. M: This might be where I have to pull the “I don’t want to talk about Earth stuff” card. A: Then now that you’re dead, what are you gonna do next? C: Is that your “What’s next?” version for other Earth people? M: I think I’ll settle down by the city of fish. A: The city of fish? U: Like Fish City? A: Fish City? C: Fish City. M: Yeah, keep going. A: Fish City. C:(giggles) Fish City A: Fish City. Fish City. Fish City. Fish City. Fish City. Fish City. Fi-OH GOD DAMMIT! M: Ah HA! Gotcha! Yeah, I don’t know what I want to do. Maybe I’ll do something I always wanted to do on Earth that now I have all the time for. A: What’s that? M: Screenwriting. Well I guess it would be play writing since you guys…don’t have movies. C: Ooo any stories you have in mind? M: That’s the thing, I’ve always been an outline person. Coming up with a compelling story is not really in my wheelhouse. Same with improv and causal, lighthearted conversations that last more than 30 minutes. I just write ideas and then never come back to them again. U: I guess you do have all the time in the world to practice the craft. M: Exactly! Although I did explore other options. Like there is an actual science community here. I have a rudimentary understanding of math and science, and sanitation, and hygiene that I could share with this world. Prevent diseases here common on Earth and the abundance of child death. So, so much child death. A: Yes, so much child death. M: But, you know, I just want to do entertainment. U: Oh sweet child- M: I’m in my mid 20s. U: You can use your gifts that you have acquired here in Foon and develop the world closer to how it is on Earth. But with Magic! Is it really worth abandoning this knowledge? You have so much potential. A: I’m from Earth, too. U: Well, you have such little potential. M: And I do have a plan when I’m here longer. I still need to grasp how to grasp things as a ghost. I plan to go to that science center, write down small tidbits of science on a piece of paper, put that paper in an envelope, and write down “magical revelations” on it. That should confuse the shit out of them. Chunt finishes his drink loudly. A ghost of the drink starts to float up. M(CONT): Oooooo can I drink that? C: Yeah, go ahead, it’s a ghost after all. M: SERIOUSLY?! Metabeth rushes to the ghost drink and tries to chug it like there’s no tomorrow. A: Chug chu-oh she’s already finished. C: Damnnn M: I MISS BEER!! U: Don’t get too overzealous about it or you’ll be forced to go to AA. A: AA? U: It is-uhhh-Ad-Adventurers in Abbeys. C: Yeah, that’s when you go to an abbey drunk, find a pipe, and collect all the coins and mushrooms. U: And you can’t return to the surface until you sober up. A: Do you get to keep the coins and stuff? C: Only if you make it back to the castle. You will have to start over if you trip or fall or get hit by a hammer. U: Unless you ate one of the mushrooms beforehand. A: And which castle would you have to return to? C: I’m pretty sure it’s the castle with the peaches. Oh, and it has a flagpole you have to touch. U: Try not to be on the adventure during the wintertime. I knew someone who got their tongue stuck on it. A: Why would you use your tongue? U: It wasn’t me. It was Chris.(sinisterly) I dared him to do it. C: I know this. This is A Chris-Must Story I have to hear every year. U: I tell it all day at Tavern Be Salty. C: The TBS? U: That’s the one. C: Well, I know what I’m doing next Chris-must. Arnie, you should come with. A: Well I would like to B-B with you, but I might shoot my eye out. M: Booo A: You better be practicing your ghost. M: Sure, why not. Mundel trills A: So guys, this would be the time that I would read out the emails sent to us. As always, you can reach me at [email protected], yes it’s a real email address. And you can continue to email all of us there, but right now I don’t have any emails to read out today. U: Really? A: Yeah, don’t read too much into why I don’t have any. Hopefully, we’ll have more emails to read next podcast. C: Wow, you didn’t come prepared for a guest, you don’t have any emails, you ruined Boys Night- U: Actually, Metabeth ruined Boys’ Night. M: Still here by the way. U: You heard me. M: You wanna fight, mate? U: What’s with the accent all of a sudden? C: I think Metabeth is still on that tingle buzz. A: Tingle. Not Even Once. C: Well sure, mortals will die when they take it. Chunt shuffles some papers around to find his emails. C(CONT): Luckily for you guys, I have an email with me. You can email me at [email protected]. That is Chunt with six T’s. You can also reach me at chuntttttt, also with six t’s, on Twitter. U: And you can reach me on Twitter at usidoretheblue. C: Okay, the email is from OP: “Hi Chunt, Arnie and Usidore. I started listening to you guys around the beginning of September 2020. I was the one that asked you to bring Clayton and Chris from Hell to be on the show.-“ U: Who are they? C: Baby don’t know. I guess people from Hell she wants you to summon. U: Well if they are evil, they will go back to the depths where they belong. C: Alright, okay. Um: “I’m not sure when you read these emails, so I wanted to give a frame of reference…. besides the timestamp of the email, I guess. Anyway, around halfway of my binging of Season 2, I started to write a fan fiction script. Note: I am not a writer, this is still a #philthevoid type of amateur content, but I hope that when you read this, you’ll get a good chuckle on the overload of meta jokes and how much fans, even recent ones, appreciate what you do. Even if you can’t read any of this on the podcast, I’ll see if I can put the full form on reddit! Hopefully when you read this, I’ll be completely caught up to the whole series. I’m excited to see what you guys do next. All the Best, OP” And then there was a Bangin’ Buds attached, and oh boy, it’s a fucking novel. A: Let me see? Arnie takes the papers, including the script from Chunt. A: Holy shit, how fucking long is this? U: It seems to be the length of a standard podcast episode. M: Or at least an attempt to be. One pages doesn’t necessarily equal one minute. Even during edits, you can’t really gauge how long scripts could be. U: Spoken like a true novice of the art of writing. A: Is there even a bit you can read off? C: Well, I started to try to find something we can say, but the beginning is weird: “The Mysterious Man is alone in a control room that looks like a sci-fi server room from the Earth’s 1980s. He speaks into a similarly teched-out microphone. The Mysterious Man: The following podcast is not real. If it were real, it would most certainly not be dictated by a script written by a fan.” Like why include this “mysterious man” in the first place? U: That is strange. A: Well we do get some emails directed to him. I always thought that people were referring to another podcast but maybe she included that part so we don’t confuse it with a transcript of the podcast. U and C: What’s a transcript? A: Oh geez…um okay, it’s like if someone took our words and wrote everything down from start to finish. C: Like every time I say “Baybee. Making Baybee. Nasty boi”? A: Uh, yeah. If you said it would be written out for other people to read. U: Wait, we do have that here in the land Foon, but you really think someone is listening to the words I speak at this very moment and writing each individual word? A: Yeah, that’s how it works. U: Waste of time, but okay. Usidore creeps up to the podcast equipment as if to sneak up to the mic. U(CONT): Dear listener on the other side of the microphone. I am not sure why you wish to write all that I speak, but do not be misguided FOR ONE SECOND that you can control me with your words. STOP. YOUR. RECORDING. STOP IT! I alone dictate my words and you cannot predict anything for you are, most likely, a powerless human with nothing special about you. I am a wizard of awesome power that CANNOT BE CONTAINED! For this magic you are performing, this Dark Magic, must not continue whist the Dark Lord ruins amuck in all dimensions. Try to stop me with these words. Pineapple. Storks. The ale filled with spiders. Dicks and Balls. Squizzle nugget. Moist. Dosodorph. Hungry, Egg shells Usidore shifts his tone from his threatening voice to his sensual recipe reading voice. U(CONT): Ham Sandwich. Slow dried Jerky. Deviled eggs, seasons with the most exquisite spices. Carefully laid on top of some crisp lettuce and carrots. Served cold with a side of rooster feet imported from Fingeria. And smothered wit- Arnie snaps his fingers in front of Usidore. A: Usidore! Usidoore! C: I think he’s in the Recipe State again. U: Uh UH AH! Ah, what was I saying? A: I think it was just random nonsense. U: Do you think the audience could follow that? C: Usidore, we couldn’t even follow that if we tried. U: Ah, good. Suck on that TRANSCRIPTOR! M: OH, I almost forgot! Usidore! I have a secret name for you from Earth! U: I would like to know one of these names. M: The average human knows you as Matt Young. U: I will add it to the list. M: Just only use it when you want one less wall. A: Alright, so Metabeth, thank you for being on the show. M: Yeah, thanks for having me. C: Maybe we’ll see you again and help you find your ghost arm. M: Ehhhh, it might be a one-time deal. But hey, I’m always open for if you need me. Well….kinda. Maybe I’ll figure out this ghost thing first. U: You should also find the Cockticklers to collaborate with them and train yourself to the art of playwriting. M: Even I’m just a head, I can probably still be a good Cocktickler. C: They could benefit from a good head. U: Just try not to use too much teeth. M: But I can still use my tongue, right? A: Oh God Dammit. The scene zooms out from the table. Mundel starts to play the outro, but static cuts in and shifts the scene back to the bunker. Different blips and bloops are played in the back and we focus on the Mysterious Man again in his broadcast room again. MM: Well isn’t that a fan’s wet dream. Ugh, I’m so glad I don’t have to humor that dribble anymore. You can even tell that the script was just a random stream of thought. But then again, that makes it no different than the garbage made from the improv nonsense we’re all used to by now. Arnie Niekamp was played by Arnie Niekamp, because I don’t mention it enough that all of this is even faker than it usually is. Usidore the Wizard was played by Matt Young, who wasn’t sure any of his monologues was long enough. Chunt the Shapeshifting Badger was played by Adal Rifai, which the screenwriter had to look up to make sure his name was spelled right. It’s easy, it’s R-I-then you let google autofill the rest. Metabeth the Head Ghost was played by Special Guest OP. She wrote the entire script instead of studying for her licensing exam. Shame on you! She doesn’t really have any sharable social media in fear that she will fall back into depression when she sees all her friends are having fun without her. Podley is played by whoever wants it. And Chest Trunkborn was briefly played by Travis McElroy, in hopes we can get two snip bits from him. It also says the Mysterious Man is played by Tim Sniffen, but I play myself. Go back and fact check your actors. Produced by Arnie Niekamp, Matt Young, and Adal Rifai. Edited by No One since OP does not believe in the concept in proofreading. Theme music by Andy Poland. Logo by Allard Lamban. Whew. One fan script down, about hundreds more to go. Have any of these newbies taken an English Class in their life? Static shifts to Mundel starts to play the outro music again.
2020.08.14 21:17 mr_tyler_durdenNotes and Highlights of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s Live Update August 14, 2020
Notes and Highlights of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s Live Update August 14, 2020 Notes bymr_tyler_durdenand Daily Update Team Note: We may need to paraphrase, but the notes are accurate Watch here:
New deaths by county: 83 F Jefferson, 85 F Bell, 82 F Franklin, 92 F Franklin, 85 F Casey, 75 F Hopkins, 77 F Lewis, 63 F Christian
The first part is absentee voting by mail. This is gonna be giving every Kentuckian, who is concerned with contracting or spreading the coronavirus, the option to request an absentee ballot to vote by mail. That means that either if you are concerned about your own health or you are concerned about those you come into contact with and spreading you have this option. Here’s an even bigger, better point, the portal to request that ballot is going to be open within 7 days. So by Friday of next week, you’ll already be able to request your absentee ballot that will be mailed to your home and then we want you to complete really fast and return. The ballots need to be postmarked by election day, Nov 3, but this is important, they also have to be received by November 6th. I think this was a compromise on both wanting to know the winner of an election within a period of time and also wanting to give people the most options to get that ballot in. Drop boxes - this was an idea from the Secretary of State from the primary. They turned out to be very popular. People would know that their ballot was in. They are gonna be available for Kentuckians to return their mail ballots if they are concerned about postal delays, county clerks will determine these and set them up. A robust opportunity for ballots by mail. The portal will close on a date to be determined in October. After that point you can still request them by their traditional means, but this is important so the clerks can get them out, because there’s going to be a decent volume, to everybody, and it will give them time to get them back in.
Sec of State: The cure process enables us, I don’t have a hard count, but I know anecdotally- of about 1,000 voters whose votes were counted who otherwise wouldn’t have had their votes counted because we had a cure process built in for signature mismatches. We’ve expanded that cure process now to all sorts of errors. So the CURE process will take care of that and we have specifically required the county clerks to take a highlighter and highlight all the spots that need to be signed by the voter. So my goal here is to have fewer spoiled ballots We’re going to do our best to fix that.
Alright, it’s Friday 4 o’clock, we didn’t think we’d be here today, but we got some big news. Let’s start with our school spirit today, which is Harlan County Public Schools. We appreciate them making sure that all of their students are safe, both at home and when they get back to in-person classes. Harlan county is a special place, where I have a lot of friends, they got a lot going on there, a great public school system, we appreciate that mask.
I am standing here with our Secretary of State Michael Adams, we have reached an agreement on how to conduct the general election. Let me say that I don’t think this was too much of a negotiation going back and forth. I think we both wanted a successful election where we could protect people’s health and get what we believe will be one of the larger turnouts that we have seen because there are so many options to vote. I wanna make sure that I acknowledge that our secretary of state came with a very good starting plan, we were only negotiating some of our finer points and I want to commend him for putting, what I believe is ideology, on the shelf to make sure that we have an election that both stresses health and enfranchisement. So I’m really excited about today’s announcement and it shows that Democrats and Republicans can agree on something whether it’s in Washington or here. But I believe that this agreement was easy to reach based on a relationship of trust where we both knew that we were trying to get to a good place for the voters of Kentucky. So I believe that this plan which was based on a formal proposal by secretary Adams, that I have now signed into an executive order, creates the most options to vote that we have seen in an election. We just have some of the major points, I’m going to go over them, and then our Secretary of State can correct me and all the mistakes I make which will make this like a normal 4 o’clock press conference.
The first part is absentee voting by mail. This is gonna be giving every Kentuckian, who is concerned with contracting or spreading the coronavirus, the option to request an absentee ballot to vote by mail. That means that either if you are concerned about your own health or you are concerned about those you come into contact with and spreading you have this option. Here’s an even bigger, better point, the portal to request that ballot is going to be open within 7 days. So by Friday of next week, you’ll already be able to request your absentee ballot that will be mailed to your home and then we want you to complete really fast and return. The ballots need to be postmarked by election day, Nov 3, but this is important, they also have to be received by November 6th. I think this was a compromise on both wanting to know the winner of an election within a period of time and also wanting to give people the most options to get that ballot in. Drop boxes - this was an idea from the Secretary of State from the primary. They turned out to be very popular. People would know that their ballot was in. They are gonna be available for Kentuckians to return their mail ballots if they are concerned about postal delays, county clerks will determine these and set them up. A robust opportunity for ballots by mail. The portal will close on a date to be determined in October. After that point you can still request them by their traditional means, but this is important so the clerks can get them out, because there’s going to be a decent volume, to everybody, and it will give them time to get them back in.
Thank you Governor, I’ll just make a brief statement and give you my own summary of the agreement. I’ll stay until the governor is done with the rest of his press conference and maybe take any questions that you all have here. I’ll be available the rest of the day also for any other media.
The governor and I spent about a month going back and forth in stages. It was at all times a professional and cordial exchange. He has principles, I have principles too, a lot of the times they are the same sometimes they are different. From the first moment, he and I have put party aside completely. We’ve looked at the facts rationally with two goals. How do we make sure everyone’s kept safe, and how do we make sure people aren’t disenfranchised during this virus. That is what we did back in April for our June primary plan. That’s what we did in July and August for November. I actually think this agreement takes the best of what we did previously. It spots the kinks in what we did previously that in practice didn’t work as well. It improves on what we did in the past. When the governor said that he wanted to repeat what we did in June I took that to mean let’s take what worked and make it even better, let’s take what didn’t work and let’s fix that. That’s what I’ve endeavored to do, and I believe this agreement does exactly that.
To reiterate the major parts of this plan - first off, who gets to vote absentee. Kentucky law has by statute about a dozen exceptions for people. We are taking one of those exceptions and broadening it. Currently a voter is able to vote absentee on the basis of age, disability, or illness making that voter not able to vote at the polls in-person. We’ve expanded that to include any voter of any age or health condition who believes is at risk for COVID-19. You can vote absentee. If you’re concerned about your health, you can vote absentee. You don’t have to tell your County Clerk your health condition or me or anyone else. We don’t ask your age. I didn't have any arbitrary range of ages. There’s no age limit, it’s consistent with the current statute. It’s the voter’s subjective decision, whether the voter is of an age or health condition that makes the risk unacceptable to that voter. We have one degree of separation, the eligibility to vote absentee applies to voters who are in contact with these vulnerable populations. We are not going to encourage everyone to vote by absentee ballot like we did previously. That is based on a concern that is bipartisan that was raised by county clerks of both parties, by the state board election staff of both parties. That we might overload our mail system, overload our county clerks, the postal service. That doesn't mean that we don’t want people to vote absentee, we do, we encourage them to do that if they are at risk. Again that is a subjective decision on part of the voter. #2 I got a lot of feedback, if you want to call it that, about people voting absentee ballots in an expanded way for the first time in KY history. The reviews were positive or negative depending on your politics but here’s one thing that everybody loved; in person early voting, I didn’t get any single negative feedback or comment from a county clerk in any county, or voter anywhere. We get a lot of feedback on our election system, no complaints on that, so we’re actually expanding that, the goal here is to transition toward a more normal style of election. We are not going to have a traditional election with 98% of voters voting in-person on election day, we just can’t. We also can’t have 75% of voters mailing in a ballot like we did in June. We can’t have that either, this will be somewhere in the middle of that. To make that feasible we are going to have expanded early in-person voting. Starting Oct 13, every clerk’s office will be open, whether it’s that clerk’s office location or some other location, at least one location in the county for voters to come in during regular business hours and vote in-person. We are also going to explicitly require in this agreement that Saturdays be made available. This is really good for voter convenience, but more to the point, for this plan, it’s important to keep people spaced apart. Our polling sites can’t handle everyone voting in-person on election day. We can handle some people mailing it in, some people using the drop box, some using the early voting in person, and some using the election day in-person. 3rd, to talk about Senate bill 2, I’m proud I ran on, wrote on, helped write, and helped pass, Senate Bill 2, KY’s photo ID law. Now in KY, you have to have a photo ID to vote as a general matter. When this law was a campaign promise of mine, drafted in the legislature in the early months of this year it was before the pandemic. I actually asked for an exception in the bill, but wasn't able to get that at the last minute, we’ve added one for the purposes of this election. Any person who is not able to get a photo ID due to COVID-19 will be able to vote with a non-photo ID. Before I was elected, before senate bill 2, that was the legal standard- a non-photo ID was sufficient. Now it’s not going to be sufficient for the vast majority of voters. But if you can’t get a photo ID through no fault of your own, because of the threat of coronavirus or because the government office you would like to go to to get your photo ID has been closed due to the pandemic, either they’re closed now or they’ve been closed for a while, and they’re reopen but there’s a big backlog, there’s long lines, we’re not going to expect you to go through all that. I’m proud we’ve made free ID’s free to our poorer residents. It can change their lives getting an ID from the state. It’s a wonderful thing, however if they can’t get it, they can’t be expected to get it in order to vote, so we lifted that. We’ve also lifted Senate Bill’s 2 requirement that you have a copy of your photo ID provided with your mail-in application for an absentee ballot. The portal makes that largely unnecessary because the portal, through an agreement between the Beshear administration and my administration, allows for the drivers license database to be linked into the portal so we can verify your identity that way, it’s actually how we did it for the primary. We’re not going to expect people who are at risk to go out and vote, to then take the same risk to go out and get an ID or go out to get a photocopy of an ID. So that’s the relief that’s in here for Senate Bill 2.
Just really quickly, the Governor said we’re going to have a voting supercenter in every county, voters like to have one central location where they can vote conveniently. It’s an idea I actually had in permanent legislature earlier this year that I offered before the pandemic. I think it’s a good idea, something I’m going to bring back to the legislature next year. I don’t want voters to only have a supercenter, I want them to have other precinct locations to go vote at but we are going to have at least 1 place. This is for voter convenience, to enable social distancing, but here is another good benefit from that: I can’t tell you how many people every election, are disenfranchised, cause they go to the wrong precinct to vote and they were told by their poll workers, they can’t vote- the law doesn’t let them- You gotta vote at your precinct, it’s been the state law for a long time. But with the supercenter model, you can go vote at the supercenter and every person in the county can vote there. It’s a good thing to have regardless of a pandemic. Another thing we’ve addressed is the cure process. Kentucky law does not have a cure process for when a voter has a mismatch of a signature on their absentee ballot envelope versus the voter’s signature of record on a driver's license or voter registration card. The cure process enables us, I don’t have a hard count, but I know anecdotally- of about 1,000 voters whose votes were counted who otherwise wouldn’t have had their votes counted because we had a cure process built in for signature mismatches. We’ve expanded that cure process now to all sorts of errors. We’ve had thousands of ballots in the state that were not counted due to voter error. It’s no one’s fault but the voters, but frankly, it’s something we want to avoid, the voter doesn’t sign where the voter is supposed to sign, etc. So the CURE process will take care of that and we have specifically required the county clerks to take a highlighter and highlight all the spots that need to be signed by the voter. So my goal here is to have fewer spoiled ballots, you’re going to have a greater risk of spoiled ballots, with the absentee system, than the election day system- cause the poll worker can help the voter, give them a new ballot if they made a mistake, they can’t do that with an absentee system. We’re going to do our best to fix that. Governor said we’re going to have a reduction of polling locations, it’s inevitable. Not every location in our state is able to handle election day at this time. Some of them are churches or schools, some of them are actually nursing homes, we’re not going to have precinct voting in nursing homes this year. I don’t know if we are going to have 3,000 voting locations but we are not going to have 170 or 180 as we did in June. I’m not sure what that number there is in the middle but here is what I can tell you: The governor and I were both very disappointed to see so many counties overly reduce their polling locations, obviously we heard a lot about Jefferson and Fayette, but it was a statewide issue. This time the counties are empowered to reduce locations based on need because they can’t get locations or they can’t get poll workers or both. But this time, those decisions are subject to the review and approval of the Governor and Sec of State, both he and I were held accountable for some of those counties decisions. This time we are going to be accountable because we’re going to have the ability to approve or veto that. Very last point, the biggest complaint my office got about the last election, even though we got rave reviews in the state and across America- The biggest complaint was voting locations, I think we’re going to fix that. We just launched a new portal this week to find volunteer poll workers. The same portal (http://govoteky.com) that will open soon for your absentee ballot request is open now to register to vote and to volunteer to be a poll worker. But the 2nd biggest complaint was it taking a week to figure out who won the elections. Voters of both parties don’t like that. I don’t like that either. The candidates really hate it. We wanted a faster count so we’ve made a couple changes. This time we’re explicitly requiring all the counties to report all their votes received on election night. We’re allowing votes to come in if they’ve been postmarked by election day, so we’ll allow a few more days for those to come in. So the results on election night, won’t be final, but they never are, they are always unofficial results. I expect we will have the vast majority of the vote in, all the early in person, all the election day in person, and we’ll have most of the absentee votes in by election day. Under this agreement those will all be counted, those will all be tallied, those will all be publically reported. I believe we’re going to have not just those things that worked so well in June that I’m so proud of, and I know the Governor is as well, but improvements to the things that people didn’t like as much. So, with that I want to thank you for your attention. Thank you very much.
Governor takes over:
Alright, we’re going to quickly give today’s COVID update, and one other piece of news and we’ll open it up to questions, which I imagine will be largely on today’s election announcement. Today we continue to see high numbers of COVID cases, not as high as a couple days ago. It does look like by the end of this week we will have more cases that we will report than last week. While I don’t believe that number will be 10% more, it does show at best that we are at a plateau thanks to people’s wearing of facial coverings, we still need more time to reach a decline, which will result in a decline in our positivity rate. To get this state in the place we really need to be to do so many activities that we want. If we are as close at the end of the week that I think that we will be, it will be at this point compelling evidence that we have at least for the time being, prevented that escalation and reached a new plateau, the one that is higher than we would like for it to be.
Today we’re confirming 679 new cases of COVID-19. We are always going back and improving the data, after removing duplicates, our total state count is 38,298. Today we have 656 in the hospital, for 147 in ICU, 97 who we need to be praying for who are on ventilator, including one of my friends in Northern KY.
Positive cases today: 679
Probable cases: 2,733
Total confirmed cases: 38,298
Children Under 5: 77 kids under 18, when we talk about when we are seeing an explosion of younger people, school-aged children. They include 3 school age children in Barren county, one that would have been in middle school, two that would have been in high school, by age would have presumably would have been starting school if they had gone ahead with their current plans instead of virtual learning instead of waiting until we get this thing under control, and open up at a time when I believe we can do it successfully in September. Today’s report includes another 3 school-age children in Hardin County. With the 6 yesterday, that’s 9 in the last 2 days that would be positive and at this point, could be potentially spreading inside of a school.
Total tests conducted: 743,500 (PCR: 697,909, Serology: 44,926)
Positivity Rate: 5.68% - I’m glad that is below 6, which we only reached for a couple of days. We have got to get that lower. Certainly the White House said for regular reopening, we need to get that number under 5 percent. Those are their doctors giving their opinion, not just ours.
Total hospitalized: 4,158
Currently hospitalized: 656
Total in ICU: 1,296
Currently in ICU: 147
On a ventilator: 97
Total recovered: 9,021
New deaths today: 8
Total Deaths: 804
New deaths by county: 83 F Jefferson, 85 F Bell, 82 F Franklin, 92 F Franklin, 85 F Casey, 75 F Hopkins, 77 F Lewis, 63 F Christian
That’s most likely Moms, Grandmoms, Sisters, Aunts, Loved ones. Let’s make sure that for them we are strong, we light those green lights, we ring the bells everyday at 10am.
All losses are a loss for Kentucky. Let’s light those houses up green and let’s ring those bells at 10am. This is a reminder that we are thinking of the Kentuckians we’ve lost, their families, and their communities. It’s the color of compassion and renewal as their souls move from their bodies to a better place.
Racial breakdown of all cases: 78.71% Caucasian, 12.53% Black or African-American, 2.20% Asian, 5.96% Multiracial
Ethnicity breakdown of all cases: 86.95% non-Hispanic and 13.05% Hispanic
Racial breakdown of all deaths: 81.54% Caucasian, 14.42% Black or African-American, 1.48% Asian, 2.56% Multiracial
Ethnicity breakdown of all deaths: 96.19% non-Hispanic and 3.81% Hispanic
So, again we are seeing significant increases in our school-aged children. I hope that makes everybody pause. Commit to not experimenting with our kids. Make sure we are learning best practices from other people making mistakes. We don’t want to make them with (our children). In my core, I wanna get our kids back in class, I wanna get my kids back in class. My job is to tell people when I don’t believe it is safe, even when it’s unpopular, and it causes people to call you names. It is my job to make sure I do the best I can for Kentuckians. I hope that schools that are going to make different decisions, whether public or private, are going to be honest about clusters or cases once they start, but also, about ones they’ve had over the past several weeks or several months. It’s critically important that parents with kids going back know what experience they are having.
One other piece of information and on Monday we’ll go back to the full report with LTC- A little bit of good news, little bit of dollars going into our agricultural communities to help them grow- to promote what we’re looking at, a sophisticated agriculture, agritech economy in KY that is so important especially what we’ve saw during COVID-19 and the hit on our food chain. This is an area where we can lead the country, but we have to be innovative. We can’t just do things the way we’ve always done them, and think the way we’ve always done. This is an area where the next breakthroughs are as important as any other industry. So today we had loans going out to approved projects, there are 7 projects, there’s more details in our release, Harrison County $143K, Trigg County $150K, Clinton County $250K, Hardin with a little over $300K, Madison $135k, Taylor $201K. At a time when we’re worried about our economy, where we’re seeing short term record unemployment. These are the types of investments where we’re not just playing catch up, we are creating an industry, fostering the new ideas that can employ so many people moving forward. When we come out of COVID, I don’t wanna walk, I wanna run towards a brighter future and the investments we’re making are going to help us get there.
Shelby asks Sec Adams, can you give us an update on how poll worker recruitment is going? -- My goal is 15k. That’s a pretty high goal. That’s what it takes in a normal election. We’ve got nearly 4,000 precincts in the state. Each one takes 4 poll workers. I’m learning how to do this, the question was “How is it going with poll worker recruitment?”. I’d like to have 15K poll workers if we can. It takes that many to have a traditional election. The fact is, most of our poll workers, the average age is retirement age. The people that we are trying hardest to protect, because they are most at risk, not just from catching it but from premature demise, those are the people who we typically ask to go work the polls. I testified to the legislature last year before I was inaugurated, that we have a poll worker crisis in our state. We’ve got the greatest generation that is a very civic and service minded generation, and they’re aging out of being poll workers and they’re not being replaced. The younger generations, my Generation, Generation X, we’re not stepping up enough, we need that service mentality among Gen-X, baby boomers, millennials, and so forth to replace our retiring poll workers. So it’s gonna take 15k to open up every location, as I said earlier, I don’t think we are going to have every location open, I don’t think that’s feasible. Because some of them are nursing homes and so forth but I want as many as we can possibly have. I’ve been lobbied this week by the counties saying that they want to open up all their locations. That’s great with me, if we can get the locations, if we can get the poll workers. As i said my office opened up the portal this week, we already have a thousand volunteers- that’s great, but just a drop in the bucket of what we’ll actually need. It’s only August, but we have plenty of time. I'm very confident that Kentuckians will step up. People are looking for a way to give back and I appreciate that and this is a great way to help. I am hopeful that we’ll have as many open as we possibly can.
2020.07.30 06:18 bomerrExperimental 22 yr generation split.
Before everyone flames me, hear me out. 15-20 year generations are too short. The historical average marriage age for a women was 21-22 so this is the more accurate generational cohort. The ancient Romans measured time using the saeculum 110/22 = 5 generations exactly. I've also seen 105 which is 21*5. I created this chart using 1998/1999 as the split between Y and Z with 22 year cohorts.
This generational split might look weird at first, especially compared to Pew or Howe but they work pretty well if we consider major wars. Obviously the biggest change is that the silent generation gets deleted.
Age 18 @ End
Age 26 @ Start
Age 34 @ Start
According to this list the most ages for military service are 20-22 followed by 23-25 and 18-19. Based on this data:
The split between Gen X and Y is around the mid 70s. I can believe this because people like Alicia Silverstone (1976) feels proto-millennial.
The split between Gen X and Boomers is around mid 50s. That is the difference between being old enough to get drafted into Vietnam and not.
The split between Greatest Generation and Boomers is late 20s. If someone lied about their age then theoretically a 15 yr old born in 1930 could have served in 1945. Someone born as early as 1943 could have been drafted into Vietnam. Younger people born in the 30s could have served if they were part of the military so I would argue 30s babies are closer to boomers than greatest gen.
The split between Greatest Gen and Lost Gen is kinda difficult beause most eople that served in WW1 were born in the late 1880s or 1980s while more people who served in WW2 were born in the late 1910s or 1920s so people born in the 1900s were born between the wars (similar to 1930s babies). Ultimately I clustered these people with the earlier lost generation 1880s babies because they were involved in managing the WW2 war effect (e.g. Albert Speer)
I haven't gone to the Civil War or Rev War yet but the dates do seem to match up with observed generational differences in that era.
2020.07.09 07:02 tamiraisredditingA panhandler followed me through every city, convinced we were dating—When I went to stay with my brother, he came to “rescue” me.
Wendell was a panhandler near my college. I always gave him my change when I had extra. Usually I keep a hard rule not to give money to individuals because I give it to known local charities instead, where I can be sure the money is going to a specific cause. This one panhandler though, he always sang opera music. Quite beautifully, all things considered. Even though it was clear he was begging for money due to poverty and homelessness, not busking for tips, I always thought it was admirable that he was trying to perform a service in exchange for the money, and I don’t like carrying coins, so gave what I could (it wasn’t much. Barely a dollar each time.) I would occasionally strike up conversations with Wendell even if I didn’t have any money for him. He liked to make students laugh with funny impressions or jokes. He was a bit older (I’m an undergrad, he was probably 40s-50s) so we’d mostly have quick chats about the news or the weather or whatever. Nothing deep. Sometimes he’d randomly share something so intimate that I’d feel obligated to reciprocate with something at least superficially personal. (e.g., he’d blurt out that he almost went to college on a baseball scholarship but drugs ruined everything.) I’d be like... “Oh, wow. Sorry to hear that... I play volleyball. Not for a scholarship though. See you around, ok?” Once Wendell called me over while I was walking with a professomy advisor, and I didn’t want to be rude, so I went over just to say a quick hello and introduced my advisor. When we walked away my advisor was pretty clearly horrified and asked why Wendell knew me by name. I explained our little friendship. He said the homeless in this city weren’t like the homeless in my smaller town back home. I figured he was being elitist and I think he could tell I hadn’t taken him seriously because after we’d dropped the subject, just before I left, he reiterated that I shouldn’t forge friendships with the homeless population in this city or even give them money because the chronically homeless, (the ones on the streets enough that you could get to know them), tended to have criminal or addictive histories. I was surprised because my advisor is usually pretty progressive and compassionate so I appealed to him with “Wendell is a victim of a post-capitalist society,” and all the other things I’d learned in his very own classes, but he wasn’t having any of it, basically saying however Wendell became chronically homeless, now he was and I should act accordingly. So my professor strongly implored me not to continue even talking to Wendell at all. I kind of shook my head thinking “Ok boomer,” and if anything, felt fortified by the warning. Like it was a confirmation that I was a radical doing the right thing, leading a new path, breaking down barriers, bettering society. I got closer to Wendell and shared more about my life with him. But the very next time I talked to Wendell he was really irritable and distant and I wasn’t sure why. Until he said, “So your boyfriend, you two live together or what?” And I had no idea what he was talking about. I said, “What boyfriend?” And he said “The guy I met from yesterday you were walking down the street with.” And I laughed, explaining it wasn’t my boyfriend, it was just my academic advisor. Then all of a sudden he wasn’t irritable anymore. He was as chatty as he’d ever been. I probably should’ve taken that as a red flag, but I didn’t think about Wendell much at all then. I only saw him once or twice a week, and only for a few minutes. It was around then that Wendell started bringing me gifts. I’d pass him and he’d have a flower for me or a metal machine piece. I never refused, because I figured it was a means of preserving his dignity when accepting money, like with his opera singing. One of my roommates did remark on the flower once, and when I explained she said it was weird. I thought she was also just being elitist and that I was enlightened, bridging the class divide, and superior to her neoliberal paranoia. I mean, come on, it was just a flower. My advisor clocked all this so brought it up with me again a while later, saying he was worried I was being manipulated. I tried to tell him about Wendell’s opera singing and impressions and how he even almost went to college but then I remembered the reason he lost his baseball scholarship and I stopped short. Looking at it through that lens kind of made me reconsider the whole thing. I thought about what my professor had said (sparing the details, we did talk for like half an hour, and I finally connected the dots that Wendell did have a history of drug use, and he did sometimes mention how a previous girlfriend “overreacting” to something he’d done had derailed his life besides the drugs) so I decided maybe I should think about distancing myself a little. But very shortly after, the pandemic hit and classes went virtual, so to save on rent I went home to my parents’ house. Still in the state, but not near campus at all. About three weeks into being home I was watching a friend’s insta story when I heard Wendell singing opera in the background and I thought “Aww, I forgot all about him. Hope he’s doing alright.” And that was that, I kept watching different stories. Later that night, something about the story kind of stuck in my gut. It had popped into my mind a few times subconsciously and I’d ignored it, but it kept coming back, so I decided to go and watch it again. That’s when I realized my friend’s video wasn’t from our college town. It was from my much smaller home town, which is nowhere near my college. That freaked me out a little. But I figured, everyone moved around when the pandemic hit. My town isn’t that small. It isn’t that far from the college. It was probably a coincidence. I really wanted to mention it to my parents, but they had always warned me against talking to homeless people (besides, like, “can I buy you a meal,”) so I felt too embarrassed to explain the situation to them. Especially since it was probably a coincidence and I would sound so conceited if I were like “He definitely followed me because aren’t I just so great that he’s probably obsessed with me?” We have a type one diabetic in the family, so we took quarantining very seriously. I figured “I’ll never see him, anyways. I‘m not going out anytime soon. It doesn’t matter where he is.” And nothing happened. Well, one thing. A girl from my high school who also ended up at my college called me and, in summary, said “This is going to sound really weird, but I feel like I should say something. I was downtown and a beggar asked me about you. Like, specifically, you. He knew you were on club volleyball. He knew your major. I didn’t tell him anything. But I thought you should know.” I was pretty alarmed at first, because, how would he know I know this girl? But once we talked I learned she’d been wearing a sweatshirt from our college. So I thought about it and decided he probably saw that sweatshirt, figured she might know me from college since we were both from this town, and was just trying to find out how I was doing. I thought it was sweet. Also a little weird. But he was a little weird, that was part of his charm. I thanked her but told her not to worry about it. Besides, I wasn’t in town much longer anyways. I had decided to go live back near campus. It was impossible to get my coursework done with my whole family around all day. So I went back to campus a while later. Didn’t think about Wendell at all. Until I saw him back on the same corner just a week after I returned to campus. Ok, even I knew at that time that something was wrong. I stopped giving him money, stopped talking to him, but I was so humiliated by how high and mighty I had been insisting that nothing was wrong and everyone else was being paranoid and elitist, that I decided not to tell anyone what I had noticed. I was already barely leaving my apartment, never going on campus, and his usual spot was right by campus. I felt bad about potentially hurting his feelings or reading too far into the situation, but I figured he’d get the message, and better safe than sorry. After finals I decided to visit my brother. In a different state. His roommate had moved home, leaving an extra bed, so I drove up to his place to celebrate the end of the year and get away from it all. About the ninth day in, I was woken up way earlier than usual (when my brother isn’t working or in school he sleeps until noon) to the sound of my brother talking at the door. I got up to see what was going on, because we weren’t seeing anyone, we stayed totally quarantined, his state was being hit hard. My brother was talking nicely to someone outside through a crack in the door, but when he turned he looked royally pissed at me. He turned back outside and said, “Hold on here.” Closed the door, despite the other guy protesting, but I couldn’t hear what he said exactly. My brother immediately got in my face and, whisper-yelling, said, “Mom and Dad are gonna kill you!” I had no idea what he was talking about, but my first thought was the cops had come to arrest me for something. It was the only logical thought I could generate first thing in the morning. The only thing I could imagine being arrested for was my fake ID (which I only even use to get into concerts, and obviously none lately) so I was really in shock. But my brother was still going, as best I can remember because I was panicked at this point, he was saying, “And I’m gonna kill you! This is so not cool. You didn’t even ask? I wouldn’t have said yes anyways. But you didn’t even think to ask?” I realized that didn’t align with being arrested so finally I was like, “What are you talking about!?” And he said, “You’re dating a 40 year old guy? Older? 45 maybe? Of all the people out there, I mean, Jesus. Dad’s gonna kill you and then have a heart attack and die. Which will kill mom. And you invited him to my house while we’re supposed to be social distanced?? You two can go to a hotel, because he isn’t coming in here. I wasn’t a dick to him, out of respect for you. But if he doesn’t leave now, that’s gonna change.” So, I had no idea what he was talking about. None. I hadn’t connected any of the pieces yet. Because, you’ve got to remember, Wendell was such a small part of my life until this point. I almost never saw him or thought about him. My whole world had been turned upside down by a pandemic in the preceding few months. He was background noise. Faint background noise. Compared to all the other stuff I had going on. So I just said the first thing that came to mind. “Dude, I don’t know why you’re getting so mad at me. I don’t have a boyfriend. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Someone’s got the wrong house.” My brother looked like he was ready to rip my face off. He said “We’re adults, come on, don’t fucking lie to me. I’m not Mom and Dad. We can’t deal with this if you’re going to lie to my face.” And I said I wasn’t lying, and I think he could tell from my expression and tone that I genuinely was serious. So now he was as confused and irritated as I was and he was like, “He didn’t just vaguely say he was here for his girlfriend. He used your name, he rattled off a ton of very exact info... I think he said you... uh... Yah. He said you guys had a fight and he was here to work things out?” Now, I’ve been looking for a boyfriend for a long time, so I was half thinking, “Huh. Maybe dreams do come true. Might as well see who it is.” But I was also starting to feel a bit sick, in the pit of my stomach, because it would be one thing if this happened on campus or back home. But I had changed states. My brother moved to this state for school and I don’t know anyone here but him and his friends. So I finally did the obvious thing and looked through the peephole. I almost didn’t recognize him at first because he had showered, shaved, and changed into clean clothes, for the first time since I’d known him. But sure as shit, it was Wendell standing on my brother’s doorstep, hundreds of miles from his original corner. I was so scared I couldn’t speak. My heart was pounding like I was slipping under deep water with my legs tied. I just backed away from the door and sat down on the couch and tried to collect myself. My brother thought this was my affirming that there really was some secret older boyfriend who had just made himself known, so it took a minute for him to cut off his ranting and his dramatic “What will grandma think?” Stuff. Finally he realized I was tearing up and he sat down, calmed down, and apologized and said we’d figure it out, and I whispered, still out of breath, “No, you don’t understand. He followed me here.” My brother still didn’t get it. “What? You didn’t want him to come here? What was your fight about?” He asked, still thinking the guy was my boyfriend. I managed to repress my panic enough to explain the broad strokes to him. But I don’t think he fully grasped how creepy it was in the moment, because he was like, “You’re shitting me. That’s hilarious. I’ll take care of this.” He went to the door and called from behind it, “Yo, just checked, she’s not here. Must’ve packed out this morning. You should do the same. I’m taking this social distancing real serious.” And winked at me. That’s when, as my brother says when he tells this story, it got real. Wendell said “You’re lying. I heard her in there. Tell her I’m sorry. I don’t know why she’s been avoiding me but I got cleaned up for her and I’ll take her anywhere she wants to go. Tell her that. Tell her. And don’t lie. I’ll know if you lie.” That rubbed my brother the wrong way, and he said back, “Bro, you’re not taking her anywhere, now get off my deck before we have a problem.” And Wendell sounded like he was walking away, but instead, he was going over to the window. When I saw him staring, he looked different than I’d ever seen him. Even than a few seconds earlier when I’d glanced through the peephole. His clothes were clean, but they didn’t fit or match. Eyes bugged out of his head, white stuff caked on the corners of his mouth I hadn’t noticed at first, shaking, just kind of disconnected from reality. He started banging on the window shouting things like “That’s my girlfriend, you can’t keep her in there. You little bitch ass! Let her out you bitch ass! Let her out! Let her out! I’m coming baby! I’m coming!” I couldn’t tell if it was meant as a threat or a reassurance. I was so scared, I was too scared to run, or even move. I think my brother was almost as surprised by the sudden outburst. He was rolling up his sleeves like he was preparing to go out there, and I was trying to make my voice work to beg him not too. But I was so anxious, scared, embarrassed, and sad that I had missed all the signs leading up to this, all the opportunities to prevent it, that our friendship was never the wholesome thing I thought it was (though of course that’s something I had already begun to grapple with before this day), and had so many thoughts swirling in my head, fear being chief among them. All I could do was scream. Not words, just, “Aaaaaahhhhh!” And cover my ears to drown the whole situation out. Before my brother could charge out the door (he’s an athletic guy, but I don’t think he’s ever actually been in a physical fight) Wendell punched through the window. Nothing actually happened when he punched through, and there was an eerie moment of silence where nobody moved, I think even I stopped screaming. But when he pulled his hand back, all hell broke loose. A fair amount of blood started spurting out when he pulled his hand back through the glass. The things he was shouting started to make even less sense—along the lines of “Look what you did to me! This is a test! I told you I couldn’t be stopped, bitch ass!” And the look in his eyes got even more distant. I think the sight of the blood, which has always made my brother really squeamish, made him realize this was real, and he finally yelled “Damn it Sis, call 911!” While he leaned against the door which Wendell was now repeatedly running into (even though he was nowhere close to breaking it down.) I don’t even remember making the call, but apparently I did, because within ten minutes the police arrested Wendell without resistance. He kept trying to tell them his girlfriend was trapped in the house and he’d come all this way to save her. My poor brother was even momentarily handcuffed and had to explain he hadn’t taken me hostage. Probably one of the most haunting memories of the whole event is, as they carted Wendell away for arrest, he started singing opera music. I’ve learned a lot of important common sense and life lessons from this saga. But most of all, Wendell, let’s not meet.
2020.07.01 05:46 ThatOneParanoidGirlEat shit and die
My retail career just unexpectedly ended due to COVID cuts. I’ve been in retail longer than I care to admit. I always joke about the things I’ve seen and say I should write a book or be a comedian. ( I think many retail workers feel the same. ) So here are the imaginary skits I wrote when I was having a bad day. Now that I’m no longer in retail I feel like I can finally say them out loud without consequences. ( Also I typed this at night on a phone so there are a lot of typos, sorry) I use to watch stand up all the time and this one comedian. John Maloney would talk about these weird ass conversations strangers would have with him. I worked retail at the time and the next day when I went to work this old guy came up to me and he said you never write you never cal you never send flowers.... and I realized omg ..... I’m a comedian. But really. what the fuck happened to the baby boomers? Am I right? Because it’s always the old baby boomers that are weird as fuck and feel like it’s completely appropriate to just say random shit to people and they think they’re fucking hilarious. Man ... retail. Retail is the worst. Who in here has worked retail? Yeah .... you know that counts towards hell time? No no if only But retail. It use to be something great. Something magical. Retail was an expirence. A treat. People would treat themselves to going out and buying clothes but we ruined it collectively. It’s an endless cycle of hate. Right? Everyone’s done it. Everyone’s gone through it and then we get mad at other people going through the same fucking thing because they aren’t doing what we did right? Every year the retail industry says what can we do to make it better? Just stop. It’s done. People don’t deserve it. People go to retailers and they loose their god damn minds. Really they do. And it’s disgusting. People eat there, fuck there and shit there all things you’re not suppose to do there. It’s like I’m bored today what should we do ...well we could shop but we really don’t need anything ... let’s see if this random person working minimum wages knows what I want and then yell at them when they’re wrong I don’t know what it is about retail that brings the worst out in everyone but it does. No one is immune. Babies are crying and slobbering over everything. Parents . Parents are the only group of shoppers I don’t get mad at and let me tell you why. They’re dead on the inside. You can see it in their eyes they’re just so fucking done. You can tell the difference between a first time parent and an expirenced parent because the first time parent tries. You know or a parent who has just young children. They’re like a kid in the army. No idea what they’re doing. They resort to bribery and then begging and then they just give up. They let their kids do anything. Tear off tags. Knock over clothes. Shit on the floor. Some of you are thinking okay you’ve mentioned shit twice in retail where are you working. Let me tell you I did retail for over 10 years two different states four different cities and nine different retailers and 12 different stores. There is always shit on the floor no matter the store. I have worked at stores that do a million a year to stores that do 60 million a year. There is always shit! What is wrong with you people? At what point in your life do you think you know what I should do? Take a shit in this fitting room? I could go to the bathroom but have you seen the bathrooms here they are disgusting. This seems much cleaner. Much more private. The first time you see shit in a fitting room you think... okay .... kid ... dog.. really old person. Someone had an accident or someone was really pissed. You think it can’t happen that often. But when I tell you it’s a regular occurrence . To the point people that work there aren’t even surprised anymore then there’s a problem. Guys..... I’m one person and this is 12 different stores. I think it’s more than just a few people and it’s not an accident. I’ve seen it all, shit on the clothes, shit on the floor, shit on the bench, shit on the wall, shit in the elevator, yes the elevator of a two floor store so there wasn’t a lot of time to get that finished or there was a lot of planning going into it. So now some of you are starting to realize that nothing I’ve said has been a joke. It’s all funny. But we are really just laughing about my life. Some of you feel bad now but don’t because we laugh about it. Trust me. First your mad but then you become so delirious with rage that everything is hilarious. Let me tell you one of my favorite jokes. One of my first jokes. Maybe the only joke I’ve ever written. I thought it was hilarious. No one else liked it. In fact they said maybe you shouldn’t tell that to anyone else. But I did. So here’s the joke. We were doing inventory. Everyone knows about inventory even if you don’t work retail everyone has the general idea down. You count stuff. So we are 14 hours into inventory at this point. It’s a nightmare, again no one is surprised. So 14 hrs in. We had an inventory team they quit around midnight. They brought in back up they quit around 4am and then they ran out of people so they hired a temp agency. I want you to think about that. Who do you hire at 4am to do a job they’ve never done before? And who wants to accept a new job at 4am? So these people who come in have no idea what they’re doing and they’re coming to me. I didn’t hire them. We have a third party all in blue polos hired here to do this and they’re asking me not in a blue polo. So my associates are laughing and saying when did you start working for them? And remember I’ve been here for 14 hrs and I said I’ve been overnighting! Guys... guys..... it’s 4 am it’s night ..... Ahhhhhhh It’s funny. You just have to be sleep deprived to get it. Think about this next time you have insomnia. Anyways so now I’m a comedian and people are terrible. Which I feel like everyone here can agree with. So kids are terrible. Parents .... you made bad choices and then teenagers I don’t even need to tell you do I? Let me tell you, nothing is romantic about fucking in a department store. Ladies. Young ladies. I am not supporting or suggesting you have sex before your of legal age. But let’s be real IF YOU DO .... not in a fitting room for a number of reasons. One you’re better than that. You are BETTER. I don’t care how bad you want the dick. You deserve a bed. You deserve a room. You deserve not to have to worry about being arrested! Unless you’re into being caught ...and if you are no shame just be smart. Don’t set yourself up to get caught. So not only do you deserve the respect to not have to be in a fitting room, parking lot, elevator, wherever you are.... but PEOPLE SHIT IN THERE! Do you want to fuck in a toilet because the whole building, the whole perimeter is a fucking toilet! What is it about the world where we’ve created serial shitters. I know what you’re thinking oh that’s not a thing. But it is. There was this time where the same guy shit in the same fitting room three times in a week. I know what you’re thinking. How the fuck didn’t you catch him? First off when it happens the first time you don’t expect it to happen again or if it does not in the same room right. After the second time same room same time you’re like what the fuck.... could it be the same person? But you think no way no way is someone so shitty .... see what I did there .... no way is someone so shitty they shit in the fitting room multiple times and go out of there way to develop a pattern. So you just think it’s bizarre but after the third time you’re like okay what the fuck. First time shame on you .... second time .... shame on you.... third time? Seriously a third fucking time? I think it was the same guy I don’t know we never fucking caught him . On the fourth night we were waiting for him. Kept checking. Probably scared him off but what are the odds three nights in a row in the same room ? You know how Japan thinks we are weird because our bathroom stalls don’t go all the way to the floor? Our fitting room stalls don’t go all the way to the floor. Not all of them. Can you imagine being in the next room? Or just nearby? Surely they wait till it’s empty right? Wrong! Thus one time I interviewed. Yeah. Interviewed! That’s not what you were thinking was it?! I interviewed this young lady for a management position. I’m going to let that sit for a minute. Really think about it. I’ll skip ahead and say she didn’t get the job. But her response was to go upstairs and piss in a fitting room on a Saturday middle of the day. People could hear and see and smell it. She had no escape. We had people knocking on her door asking her to stop. We had to call the cops. Once the door open she bolted. Quality candidate right? I mean when you attract a certain kind of customer ..... the talent follows. So we’ve talked for what 45 mins now and all I’ve talked about is piss and shit. And you probably think we’ll that’s as bad as it gets right? The worst of the worse? Surely if she can complain for nearly an hour on one category that’s got to be it. But no. The worst is the old people. That’s right. The old people are the worst. They’re so entitled. They have this concept of what retail was 20 years ago where stores were adequately staffed and reasonably paid. They bitch about everything. And I know for a fact because guess who got to be in charge of customer service. The numbers don’t lie my friends and all the complaints are from customers over 65. They complain the store is too hot, too cold, the coupon doesn’t work, there aren’t enough styles, there are too many styles, there isn’t free shipping, shipping takes too long, shipping cost too much, we don’t have anything they like anymore, the toliet paper is too thin, the fitting rooms are messy, the bath rooms are too dirty and they can never find anyone. Let me update you on a couple of things. We can’t carry every style because not enough people will buy you’re double zero petite item to cover the cost of owning it. A coupon is intended to make a sale of something that isn’t on sale and you shouldn’t assume that it covers everything. Everything has exclusions especially coupons and you should read them if you’re angry about not knowing. The people making the mess in the fitting rooms and in the bathrooms is you! It’s fucking disgusting! We are disgusted too! And you can’t find anyone because retail has changed and the person who rings you up is the person who checks the fitting room, the stock room, cleans the floor and puts the new product out so when you see someone ringing up people and complain there is no one there to help you it’s because they are busy. Also personal shoppers is an outdated concept. It’s something small speciality stores do. Large stores cannot train everyone on everything and do not have the staffing to have someone follow you around and make suggestions to you while you complain. If you don’t know what you want, we certainly don’t know what you want You’re hot were hot too, you’re cold we’re cold too. But come on you think giving a zero and putting that the store is too cold is going to change anything. We have no control of that. Any big store is set by corporate we can’t change it and it doesn’t have anything to do with customer service. Not only do you complain about things we have no control over while we are doing our best to please you because our jobs are literally on the line. You make outrageous demands. I had a woman out of state make a $600 purchase on her card that she never uses because we didn’t have a location near her. Which is no big deal. But when she goes to make a second purchase it raises some flags so theres a call from credit to verify that it’s her and no one has stolen her card. You would think people appreciate that kind of extra precaution but no. She had a fit she was insulted that we dared to question who she was and that her card was hers because of how much she spent over the years and how she was going to the top and we were going to pay her for this. In fact she wanted 200 off her purchase right now for the inconvenience. Mam.... I don’t know what era you’re from or what unrealistic shopping experiences you’ve had where stores pay you for problems you have with your bank but that’s ridiculous. Despite that, we had scams all the time. People would call card holders and say your grandchild is in jail or your assets are being frozen by the ira and the only way to stop it is to email is $1000 in gift cards from said store. .... I know you’re old and entitled but you really think the IRA or Prison is going to wave your fees for a shopping spree? And then they would come to us and want a refund because they’ve been scammed! That’s like if a seagull stole your food and you went back to the store and asked for free food because of it. That’s a wild animal! The store has no connections to that animal! And that’s what people are, wild animals and yet people expect other people to deal with their mistakes. People would have items stolen and want us to refund them. What? I mean .... once you purchase it, it’s your property ... we aren’t an insurance agency. The things people expected from us was insane. Do you know how many times people came in to complain about their credit cards? Some of you may not realize this but credit cards come from a bank. They are a financial institution. Just because you opened the card at our store or used your card at our store, doesn’t mean we own the card. I hate people. It’s hard to believe that so many people can be so stupid. You know I use to want kids. But after dealing with customers..... I mean it was like having kids. It was like being a foster mom everyday. They’d fight with each other, break things, steal, shit on the floor and then cry to mom to fix it. Not even a thank you. Or maybe like seniors with dementia. Have you ever had to stop Middle Aged men and women from bickering about who took break when and whose working harder and whose talking too much. So the customers suck. The employees suck. And I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m just a disgruntled employee and I probably sucked. I did not. I went above and beyond, in fact I truly enjoyed helping people when I started. I wanted to help people. People would say how do you stay so calm and so nice and I would say well you never know what they’re going through or you can kill anger with a smile. By the time I left every day I was thinking about all the things I could say and that no one would ever believe it. It’s true. I’m naturally soft spoken and customers would get angry with me and say you don’t have to use that voice with me. You don’t have to act sweet with me. No ... no this is just my voice. No one wanted the building to burn down more than me. I talked about it so much I joked if it ever did burn down I would be the number one suspect. I also wanted appendicitis. Can you imagine hating a job so much that you wanted to be in the hospital in pain? Not just off but in pain and spending money not to go there? It wasn’t really the job. The job was easy it was the people that were terrible. In the beginning you tell yourself it’s just this store and that other stores will be different. It’s like growing up and finding out there’s no Santa. All the stores are the same and the people are terrible and because the people are terrible the employees are terrible and because the employees are terrible the people are terrible but it starts with the customers. I cannot tell you how many customers I’ve been called to help and I’ve gone over with the intention of just giving them whatever they ask for because I don’t have the time to argue or it’s not worth an argument or I just didn’t care and they would cuss me out before I could even introduce myself or offer my assistance. Let me help you! Give people a chance to help you before you assume they won’t and if you assume they won’t you’re probably doing something you shouldn’t be doing to start. But it’s not worth it. The fact that the return policy is expired or the coupon says it’s excluded. We were so afraid of customers we just gave them what they wanted. I don’t know why we even had policies in place because as an entire company we didn’t follow them and the Ultimate rule was make the customer happy even if it’s wrong. The customer is never right by the way. The customer is lazy. The customer doesn’t read the coupon or the expiration date or listen to the announcement or read their emails. You know how many people try to return stuff that’s expired by years? I can’t return that you’ve had it ten years! But it doesn’t fit . Yeah because you’ve had it for ten years! How is that fair to a company they can’t sell that item now even if you haven’t worn it. And that’s why there are exclusions and that’s why prices keep going up and up because you have to pay for everyone else being a dick. As a community we’ve destroyed an entire industry. We say it’s the internet but let’s be honest where do all the online returns go? People actually will come in store try something on and then buy it online so it’s “not worn” I hate to break it to you those online orders are fulfilled by stores. You’re just wasting everyone’s time and it’s less money we get for in store staffing so we can staff to fill online orders. It’s an endless cycle and you’re thinking if it’s so bad why did you stay there? Well couple of reasons first reason money, second reason bills, third reason is once you start you don’t really know where else to go what else to do and I felt obligated to the people I worked with. I felt like someone needed to be there to speak up for the employees who were getting shit upon and didn’t know better or didn’t know what to say or do or that they deserved better. You know there’s someone worse than the old people the people who say I use to work retail are worse SHAME ON YOU. First off if you use to work retail you know enough of this to know stuff has changed even if it was last week. If you’ve worked retail you know the pattern you know why and how things end up the way they do so don’t shame someone for trying their best. You got out they didn’t. Maybe pray for them. And if you say you work there well there’s a special place in hell for you. My husband and I would shop at other stores, not my own because no one would leave me alone. They didn’t care I was off. I could come in a bikini sipping a martini and they would shout across the store Could you... just for a minute ... real quick ... anyways I wouldn’t shop at my own store and when I was checking out I would never say I work here. My husband would try to tell them I’d tell him to shut up and he’d say why it’s not even your store. I just didn’t want to be that person, even if I didn’t have anything bad to say. Now I’ve held a lot of stuff back at work. But when someone says I work here all bets are off. I would tell them well if you work here you know better. The politeness right out the window I would start out nice saying well this is why and maybe we could ... oh wait ... you work here? What store do you work at? Oh I was relentless when they dared to try and bully me into breaking the rules because they knew it could be done Now there’s one special type of person I haven’t talked about. Someone I’m sure you’ve all waited for. Shop lifters. Wow. You’ve seen it all when you’ve seen shop lifters. And let me say anyone can be a shoplifter. I’ve seen children steal, teenagers, men, women, families, grandparents I have seen every type of person you can think of steal. And I’ve seen all kinds of things stolen testers, cotton balls, toliet paper and theses things you’re like okay these are basic needs. Yeah ... some of them are but you’d catch people and they’d say id just want to see if I could. Or I did it because I didn’t think anyone was watching. Shoplifters will do some crazy things. I’ve seen them throw fixtures at people, I’ve seen them jump over escalators, I’ve seen them just play possum just right there on the ground like we suddenly aren’t going to see you and yes ....I’ve seen people shit themselves in an attempt to get away.
2020.06.26 10:50 jayen23I attempt to explain U.S. economics, policy and politics in the simplest possible way
Hi /economy, after spending some time studying the way the U.S. economy and the U.S. dollar works, I'd like to attempt to explain it in the easiest possible way. This might take awhile to read but it's meant to be easy to understand. Let me know if you like this analysis or how it can be improved. It's meant to be unbiased. Let me know if you have any questions! I think the best place to start is understanding the U.S. debt, which is needed when the country is spending more than it is collecting in taxes. The government needs to borrow money, so it works with both U.S. treasury and the Federal Reserve for that with two main sources of funding, selling treasury bonds and selling bonds to the government with interest. So a person, or a foreign government can fund the U.S. government, since the U.S. dollar is a "reserve currency" and has innate value to it (treasury bonds return are inherent wealth), or the Federal reserve can simply print more money in exchange of bonds and give it to the U.S. government and the government promises to pay the Federal reserve back with interest. When a person buys treasury bonds, the U.S. treasury "promises" to give the money back with interest on the maturity date, and the way the u.s. treasury funds the original investment + profit (e.g. you invested $100 in treasury, and treasury paid you $102, so $100 +$2) is through U.S. taxpayers which is named in the budget "interest on the debt". This is the main source of revenue of government. The interest on the debt is paid by U.S. tax payers, and this money is then used to pay the treasury bond holders who need to be paid. in case the U.S. does not receive enough taxes to cover the interest of all bond holders, it can always print more currency to pay the treasury bond holders. The fed can be paid later, but treasury bond holders must be paid at the maturity date of the bond. The U.S. dollar is kept as a "reserve currency", although fiat, simply because the U.S. hold many favorable positions that makes it inherently valuable, such as being the only currency that can be used to purchase oil, being an inherent foreign exchange currency (since if country x wants to trade with country y, they use the dollar as a "buffer" to exchange each others currencies and be able to trade), being able to invest in the U.S. stock market as these accept dollars to raise equity, and use it in real estate investments, since U.S. government accepts dollars as tax payments. The U.S. ability of printing money is what makes the U.S. default rate 0 (you are guaranteed to receive a return on investment, and this return is guaranteed to have value and be used to exchange goods and services), which adds to the value of the currency, and what enables it to be the superpower it has been for a long time. The default rate being 0 means this system is not going away at any time and governments throughout the world can comfortably invest in U.S. treasury bonds knowing they will be paid back eventually. The chance of default being 0 with guaranteed returns is yet another point that makes it a reserve currency that can be used for FX, purchasing oil and much more. Many countries have their debt based in U.S. dollars, and have a big part of their investment portfolio as treasury bonds because of the safety in returns. All in all, this system is not really going away. Which is why the U.S. has so much leverage over countries. If it ever sanctions a certain country, it not only blocks that country from ever doing business with the U.S., but also the rest of the world, as for example, no one uses South Korea Won in Brazil, and no one uses Brazilian Real in South korea, so they need some kind of exchange and the main currency of choice is going to be the USD which is accepted nearly everywhere. A U.S. sanction could block a country from doing business with nearly every country in the world. However, although this system gives the government immense borrowing power as the whole owner of the most sought after currency on Earth, it is not unlimited. If the amount of debt increases, the interest on the debt will also increase, thus squeezing the U.S. budget. Everything in the U.S. budget is negotiable and can be cut to pay the interest. The interest rate is negotiable, however the interest itself is not (e.g. we can choose not to fund healthcare, but not funding the interest is not a choice). Lastly, it's important to know we are no longer paying for the spending of what is happening now. We can actually consider all the borrowing done currently (including, say CARES act), and just like the government sees itself unable to support Millennial's college bills, or the citizen's health care due to rampant military spending in the 90s, future generations will pay for the borrowing and spending being done today. On this note, Millennial's who fight for "debt forgiveness", are again, unaware the economy we live is known as an "IOU" economy, which means someone needs to owe someone, something, and assets need to be equal to liabilities plus equity. Their loan simply cannot "go away" or be "written off" and cannot be removed from the "assets" part of the balance sheet. This means the U.S. government must foot the bill for them, which means, of course, the children of children's of the citizens must pay for this, which will culminate in the then government cutting expenses in education, and other areas in order to pay the then-very-high interest on the debt. Pay your loans today, and future generations look at the current generation as privileged for having $6000/yr FAFSA grants. Baby boomers had no idea things could be as bad as it is today, and people today have no idea how bad things can be for the future generation. Of course, this is only a problem to those who seek to remain in the U.S., not really a problem for dual nationals/multinationals or people who can relocate, but more on this below. Based on this I make an analysis of current economic issues with the U.S. economy and what the current administration has tried to do to fix it. Prior administrations would try to raise corporate taxes to increase revenue and balance the budget so we don't need to borrow as much from the Fed/Treasury. However, because the U.S. has lost a lot of leverage, not many corporations remain physically within the United States, and they can always relocate offshores where they no longer need to pay taxes to the U.S. government, and can still operate here at low costs, as less employees are hired locally and less payroll tax, and other types of taxes are avoided. Back in the 1960s, the world was divided (business-wise) into either United States (capitalism), or rebuilding from World War 2 (Europe and other countries), Third World Countries with 0 infrastructure to conduct business, and Socialist nations. Which is why back in the 1960s the U.S. could charge high amount of taxes and regulations to companies, and could fund its own government very well. It had leverage over business owners. If they wanted to make money, they had to be here. This leverage has deteriorated vastly once China opened its markets, and the rest of the world built infrastructure to compete with U.S. capitalistic hegemony. Business owners now had options, and the U.S. government had to decrease taxes in order to remain competitive. Because of U.S. policies to expand capitalism (mainly, the free access to its markets guaranteeing anyone profits if they want to sell things to U.S. by adopting capitalism, the protection of trade routes, and protection), the U.S. had no choice but to see its leverage wane while other countries rapidly gained creating their own unique selling points to compete with other countries for investment. The U.S., with the fall of the USSR, did not change its foreign policy of expanding capitalism, focusing its efforts on Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran and some other countries currently in the sanction list. The results of the resulting foreign policy ended up with a huge increase in U.S. debt for campaigns of expanding capitalism further and securing energy only to find itself in a huge money sink that was mostly wasted after it went through the "Shale revolution" and became a net oil exporter in 2019. The ever decrease of businesses being in the U.S. together with decreased government ability to sustain its budget due to its military campaigns gave rise to many dissidents, some clueless (ala occupy wallstreets, and delusional socialist supporters who are simply children too gatekeeped to ever understand what is happening), to what is today known as Trump supporters. Trump's platform is essentially a nuclear option the U.S. government always had, but never used because it was never intended to be used. The U.S. owns the capitalistic system as explained above, and holds huge leverage against all countries partaking it. However, during the cold war, countries partook it with the promise the system would work on their behalf. If it was blatantly obvious the system was mainly meant to work for the U.S. and not for others not many countries would have aligned with the U.S. against socialism. However, because the USSR was dissolved, the U.S. citizens became more and more concerned with domestic policy, culminating in Donald Trump's "America First" policy, that seek to use the leverages built to benefit U.S. citizens. Since U.S. is the greatest consumption power in the world (which essentially rebuilt Europe and is the main force behind China's growth), the U.S. has an enormous amount of leverage in the expansion of a country's economy. Trump's strategy is then focused on using this leverage to eliminate the advantage of being overseas, and increase leverage of the United States. By taxing foreign products, this eliminates the advantage of being outside of the U.S. and rewards companies for making their products within the U.S. The deficit is sustained by our borrowing power, but would then pay off by having a multitude of companies coming to the U.S. and hiring U.S. citizens. By renegotiating trade deals, in a way that U.S. would have free access to markets (say, Europe), this would mean a company hiring US citizens has a higher chance of being successful by having greater, duty-free market share while having access to U.S. consumption power at lower rates. As a result, investment power would be rerouted from overseas back to the U.S., where more companies pay taxes without reasons to leave. (A strategy of 100 companies paying 10% tax while holding leverage vs. 10 companies paying 35% with dwindling leverage, and more companies leaving). The increase in leverage is furthered by reducing immigration. Talking strictly on a supply and demand basis, because more companies would move to the U.S. (due to being cheaper being here), more citizens would be needed to fulfill these positions resulting in a rise in wages, and the so-prized $15hr minimum wage being an easily achievable reality. Taxes, regulation, and immigration are all cut until U.S. government (and as a result, citizen) has leverage back to its hands. Taxes can be raised, regulations can be put in place, and immigration can increase to the extent it benefits the citizens of its nation according to the current leverage it has. Thus, the current administration's idea of "Great Again" is to return America to its 1960s state, where it had economic leverage over the whole world, and all of the world's finances, trade, manufacturing and everything to do with wealth and money would culminate and converge in the United States, making its citizens very rich, and enabling them to enjoy a golden age. Trump's strategy has a success rate of nearly 100% (which is unsurprising), which explained his pre-coronavirus jobs report and economic record. This, of course, does not hold well for other powers that now has to compete with an "awakened" United States. Thus the whole world is against the current administration, in favor of old school politics (currently represented by Joe Biden and the current democratic party) that seeks the further expansion of capitalism, destabilizing countries and never-ending borrowing money from the grand-grand-grand-children of U.S. citizens. In a way, for example, ISIS was an inherent U.S. asset of this "old school politics" (willing or unwilling) because it was a tool to further destabilize Syria, aiding in the eventual dethronement of Bashar Al-Assad. Trump's efforts in fully eliminating ISIS, showed that it's existence was a choice of previous administrations as they used and possibly armed them ("unknowingly") in order to take down Assad. Assad's victory in 2019 was perhaps the greatest slap in the face to all politicians who took place in the strategy regarding Syria's civil war, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Ending U.S. involvement in Syria by destroying ISIS is a Trump America First platform, while destabilizing Syria, through ISIS, ending Assad's regime, implanting a democratic system, together with U.S. friendly central banks that can used to take loans and further increase the value of the USD resulting in Syria having a McDonalds in every corner is a policy of "oold school politics" represented by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and some players in the Republican party, mainly the Bush family, and more notoriously and now-deceased, John McCain. Overall Trump shows the power U.S. republican supporters, aided by the popularity of the second amendment, has on the U.S. and U.S. foreign policy. He showed the extent of influence a president can have in swinging the country's leverages (e.g. consumption power) to its advantages, and because he keeps using these leverages, however, he threatens many alliances built in the previous century. No ally likes being leveraged against, and Europe is correct in being angry at the United States for getting itself in non-profitable, reckless wars, and now using the system it created to help pay its bills, imposing on European countries. However, the U.S. truly has no choice if it seeks to better support its citizens in a way that is self-sustainable and long-lasting. The current Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump is a fight against people who have short term interests in the U.S. (e.g. dual nationals, and foreign actors) willing to make the U.S. continue to expand capitalism in currently sanctioned countries, while borrowing money from its own citizens' grand-grand-grand children to support current citizens (which as we've learned, is not sustainable, as cuts have to be made to pay interest on the debt), vs Citizens who have a long term interest in living in the U.S., as these citizens turn out to be overwhelmingly white, its opponents spin the narrative as nativist, nationalist, or racist, when its inherently about survival on a long term. As the U.S. cannot continue borrowing money forever while losing its industries to foreign nations. Which is why said foreign nations has a huge stake in intervening in U.S. elections, and why there's such a huge interest in dethrone Trump. No country wants to lose its investments and see the money return to the United States. The way to fight Trump's movements, is to, then, convince citizens the movement is racially motivated, and making it about culture, when Trump's platform is inherently economic. As Trump's opponents desperately try to grab power once again to go back to how things used to be. And all countries in the world can be relieved as Joe from Idaho working at AT&T call center will eventually see its job moved to India. Along with his payroll taxes, and other money that will no longer be used to fund the US government and will now fund India's. Finally, it's interesting to see the current George Floyd's protests as nothing but "theater". These protesters are keen to destroy everything but stay far, far away from the U.S.'s main sources of power and stability --- The IRS and the federal reserve. It's all very useless and in the end only hurts average people. People who waste away their lives with socialism (who don't understand what default rate being zero actually means) make a fool of themselves protesting against wall street, making of these players the boogeyman together with Elizabeth Warren, only to show themselves as the gatekeeped fools they really are. "Hating the player, not the game" is futile, as these left-wing supporters are seemed completed "curbed" and kept under control and completely ineffective in accomplishing their own goals. Which is why corporations pander to them since they are inherently harmless (due to being clueless and gatekeeped) and making George Floyd's protests seem like children playing in the park, hence why the governors and mayors observing said protests never took them seriously. Again, only harming small, common people, yet never truly accomplishing their goals of improving life for anyone. Not even blacks. Where the alternative, which is returning the country to when money would converge within its borders, would grant all blacks (and immigrants who seek to remain in the U.S.) the golden age white caucasians had gone through in the 60s, thus granting blacks the same "privilege" whites had. Instead, America fights against its own long-term best interests, and against the interests of all communities that seeks to remain here on a long term, including African-Americans. This, of course, is antagonistic to the current republican party, who is very effective in achieving its economic goals, making itself a threat of corporations who seek higher profits (they can relocate to the U.S., but the old style politics benefit them more, and higher taxes make no difference since they're now mostly overseas), a threat to countries who seek to destroy Iran, Syria and other remnants of the old world order, a threat to all countries who seek to protect its investment revenue from leaving the country, a threat to countries who seek to protect its own manufacturing against American competition (e.g. Europe and Canada), and a threat to people who seek to immigrate to the U.S. for the higher salaries and first hand access to U.S. dollar in order to better invest in their own home countries. Essentially, the Trump movement puts itself as antagonists against anyone who is not willing to live in America for the rest of their lives, invest here, or seek to leverage internationalism and a global economy to higher profits (of course, only individuals with high amounts of investing power could ever take advantage of this). Highlighting the importance of the second amendment, and the strength of Trump supporters in being able to shift the whole world to their own self-benefit, all while maintaining the trigger on the government that holds leverage against the rest of the world (civil unrest backed by militias = instability = possible u.s. default = world economy gets nuked) which is why it's very difficult to deal with them politically, and also why there's an increase interest in disarming the U.S. population to increase stability of the world economy.
Hey everyone! I have been a lurker of the sub for a while. I just graduated (3 days ago from writing this post) from university with a degree in finance and I focused on classes where we analyzing companies as I find it very intriguing and I have actually found fun. This last quarter I took an equity analysis class and was pretty limited in what I was allowed to analyze, no FI's, or any equity analyzed in the last 4 years by another student. I ended up choosing Verizon as I thought it would be a start on learning and practicing. Here is my analysis and my hope is if any professionals out there would be willing to go through and give their input, advice, and be a critic on how to improve on my future analysis. Some formatting may look funky as this was originally in a word doc that didn't exactly transfer over well. Also I was forced to delete some tables and graphs due to the 20 picture upload limit, specifically I deleted MV of Debt calculations, some tables in the appendix representing WACC and cost of Equity, industry average statistics, which can be googled, my calculation of FCFE, as well as a few other minor tables, if the text refers to a table that isn't there that would be why, and I can provide to anyone upon request. Thanks to anyone taking the time. I greatly appreciate it. Student ResearchTelecommunication Verizon 6/16/2020 Ticker: VZ Recommendation: HOLD Price: $56.92 Price Target: $64.42 Highlights · In the beginning of a 5g upgrade cycle, a significant opportunity to be a growth driver in the North American wireless market for Verizon. · Verizon’s profit margin is at 14.61%, double compared to their competitors · Stock market fluctuations low relative to the general market, a beta of .7, and a safe industry that many consumers deem as essential, relatively “recession proof” · A dividend yield of 4.5% Investment Summary Dividend Growth: The company is in its mature stage cycle with an established industry and market presence. Verizon has stable revenues with limited opportunity for growth outside of an acquisition of a smaller mobile carrier. This allows us to value Verizon mostly from its’ dividend growth. Historically, Verizon has a growth rate of 2.6% in the last 10 years, in the last 5, they have a historical growth rate of 5%. A growth rate of 3.5% is estimated to be Verizon’s growth rate moving forward. Fortunately, the industry business model allows for constant cash flow and sustainability in the mature stage cycle. Expansion: 5g is the one of the few areas for growth still available to Verizon, 5g refers to the next generation in wireless data transfer technology. This new technology will increase data transfer rates by up to 100-fold. The last technological advancement with 4g impacted Verizon by increasing revenues by up to 5% one year and averaged revenue growth 4.3% annually for 4 years. This effectively doubled Verizon’s revenue growth average of 2.3% annually. Outside of 5g Verizon still has expansion options including expanding its wired FIOS network, and its online presence under Verizon Media Group. Stability: Verizon is a stable cash flow company with an adjusted beta of .7. This illustrates the safety of the company’s stock. Verizon has little room for growth in the saturated wireless telecom market, meaning Verizon’s stock price is not likely to explode in value in the future. However, historically Verizon’s stock price does not fall substantially relative to the general market when macroeconomic forces cause the market to fall. Verizon is not currently competing with other equities as it is with safe debt in our current economic environment. This is because of the current interest rate environment on the U.S. 10-year being less than 1%. This causes investors to look for other high-quality investment alternatives that deliver better yield. Verizon satisfies this type of investor with a yield of over 4% as well as providing market exposure from the general market. Execution: The biggest potential obstacle currently facing Verizon is their execution of rolling out 5g technology. Any hinderance can result in missed revenue, with next year’s iPhone coming out with 5g capable technology, which the iPhone has over 50% market share alone in the smartphone market, could cause many customers to switch to a competitor if Verizon cannot meet demand by that point. Let alone the other half of the market, largely denominated in various android devices, already has 5g capable technology. Should Verizon miss the mark, it could potentially hurt the company for years. However, according to Verizon’s CTO, as of the end of May, they are ahead of schedule deploying 5g. Verizon has a history and reputation of being on top of deploying new technology quickly, while being ahead of schedule, it is plausible to see many customers switch over to Verizon to take advantage of their 5g if Verizon’s competitors can’t meet the 5g demand. Verizon management needs to be able to take advantage of this new technology by charging higher prices to their mobile customers. Any lack in the execution could result in bad revenues and earnings. Business Description Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is the parent company to Verizon Consumer Group and Verizon Business Group. Verizon provides services such as communications, entertainment, and information to consumer, business, and governmental customers. Employing 135,000 people, 96% are located in the U.S. and over 2,300 retail stores open, and headquartered in New York, NY. In 1877 the bell system was created in the name of Alexander Graham Bell, over time the company slowly expanded across the U.S. and Canada over the next 100 years. Over the years the system evolved to AT&T controlling a bunch of regional company’s providing land line service. In 1982 the U.S. government broke up the monopoly AT&T had into the regional companies, this plan was originally proposed by AT&T. This event was known as the breakup of the bell system and the companies post breakup were known as the “baby bells”. Two of the companies as a result of this breakup were Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp. Verizon was formed in June 2000 with the merger of Bell Atlantic Corp. based in New York city and GTE Corp. based in Irving Texas. Both firms were some of the largest in the industry, and both were heavily focused on the eastern side of the U.S. Table 1 below shows Verizon’s consolidated revenues for the years 2019 and 2018. Revenues are broken down into their three subsidiaries of Verizon Consumer, Verizon Business and Verizon Corporate. Eliminations refers to the exchange of cash between these segments as it is not new revenue. Below explains each segment and where each segment gets their revenue broken into a percentage. Table 1 https://preview.redd.it/hsgf8wyy7c551.png?width=380&format=png&auto=webp&s=dd1a1d8429db611f6b999fa859a3ad03e1417c96 Verizon Consumer Group offers wireless and wireline communications, branded the most extensive wireless network in the U.S., North America is where over 95% of their revenue comes from geographically, the other 5% comes from overseas in Japan, Central America, and selective parts of Europe. Wireline is provided in North Eastern and Mid-Atlantic U.S. over fiber-optic lines through their Fios brand, or wireless services provided nationwide on hotspot devices or mobile phones. Both wireline and wireless can be prepaid or postpaid, the majority are in the postpaid segment, paying monthly for the services. The consumer segment provides data connection to 95 million wireless mobile connections, 6 million broadband connections, and 4 million Fios connections: making up 68.8% of revenues. https://preview.redd.it/o1ev1ca08c551.png?width=349&format=png&auto=webp&s=4a2545cd65fb5a525145e02c3ba157034c8a0b60 Verizon Business Group provides the same services to corporate and some governmental agencies with additional services such as “video and data services, corporate networking solutions, security and managed network services, local and long distance voice services and network access to deliver various Internet of Things (IoT) services and products including solutions that support fleet tracking management, compliance management, field service management, and asset tracking” according to Verizon’s 2019 annual report. In all, Verizon’s Business Group is in a position to solve more complex problems that may come up at a business compared to their Consumer Group. Verizon Business Group provides 25million wireless connections and 489 thousand broadband connections: making up 23.8% of total revenues. https://preview.redd.it/kti6a3118c551.png?width=324&format=png&auto=webp&s=c266d890d992d21d01c48ec7a351e4abc28a749d Verizon Corporate includes media business, investments in businesses, and financing expenses outside of the regular course of business. The biggest section here is Verizon Media which provides third party entertainment services such as email, news, and streaming services to customers. Verizon Corporate makes up 7.4% of total revenues. Verizon plans to position themselves into future growth trends such as increased expansion of their wireless network, high-speed fiber, and the new introduction of high-speed 5g connections on mobile devices or in-home. With over 17.9 billion invested for capital expenditures at end of year 2019 for 5g technology release. Environmental, Social, Governance and Management Quality Environmental criteria include the company’s impact on the environment such as energy use, waste output, and pollution production. In the last 10 years so called “green bonds” has been discussed more about and demand for them has slowly been rising. These green bonds are any bonds issued by a company, where all the money raised from the bonds goes towards any ESG related goal. Verizon in February 2019 issued their first green bond to the total of $1 billion, this is the first green bond issued in the telecom industry as well. Verizon has stated they are committed to being completely carbon neutral in their operations by 2035; this propagates their current goal to “generate renewable energy equivalent to 50% of our total annual electricity consumption by 2025”. Finally, Verizon has stated that they are committed to setting an annual emissions reduction target by fall 2021. Social criteria include the relationships the company has with business partners, local communities, employee health and safety, and any other “stakeholder” that the company impacts. Verizon claims to focus on their customers upmost before most other stakeholders, they reinforce this through their actions and from their goal of being the best and most reliable network in the U.S. and serves this goal mainly through delivering high quality services through their wireless segment at a reasonable price. Outside of customers Verizon is aiming to contribute 2.5 million hours of volunteer work through their 135 thousand employees, these hours are aimed to improve “digital inclusion, climate protection, and human prosperity”. In Cleveland, Ohio the company is launching 5g enabled classrooms to deliver instruction in struggling middle schools and aims to expand this effort to 100 middle schools in total by 2021. Additionally, to evaluate the employee side of social criteria using a website called Glassdoor is used. Glassdoor is a website where current or past employees can rate the company anonymously on salary, benefits, satisfaction, outlook of the company, and their experience at the company; however, Glassdoor has been known to be biased at times. Verizon has over 21 thousand reviews on Glassdoor, from this large amount of reviews it can be taken with some accuracy. Considering all 21 thousand reviews they are rated at a 74% satisfaction rating, and 68% approve of the CEO, whereas AT&T has a 68% satisfaction rating and 51% approve of the CEO. At Verizon a controversial subject among employees are work-life balance with a 50% split on it needing some improvement or that it is adequate. Over 8,000 reviews claim that Verizon is a good employer when relating to pay and benefits. Governance criteria includes how transparent and accurate the financial statements are, avoiding conflicts of interest among the executives and board members, and ensuring the company is not engaging in any illegal activities. As far as engaging in illegal activities Verizon has a good track record and no one suspects any major allegations against Verizon, with Verizon being a U.S. dominant business they mostly just have to obey rules and regulations within the U.S. and not balancing between international laws. Verizon has been clear in all of its financial reporting, obeying all GAAP rules and even going above the mark to provide additional information that is non-GAAP with disclosures. Conflicts of interest among the board members meet all laws and guidelines from the NYSE and NASDAQ. Verizon’s board members also meet the “heightened independence criteria” rules from the NYSE and Nasdaq. Regarding the green bond discussed above, they have and will report on how much of the green bond money has been spent and on what projects the money is going to until the note matures. Overall Verizon is a quality company with quality management, among the 9 board members currently, 3 are African American, and 2 are woman. The company CEO, Hans Vestberg has been with the company since 2017, and CEO since 2018, a noticeably short amount of time compared to peers at AT&T whose CEO has been with the company since 2007. Verizon’s CFO, Matthew Ellis, has been with Verizon since 2016. Verizon’s management is relatively new and most likely experiencing a learning curve still, but so far, they have made strides in redefining Verizon and shows promise to be a strong team long term. Sustainalytics is an ESG rating company who rates companies on a scale of 0-100, they rate VZ at a score of 20, AT&T with a score of 19, and T-Mobile with a score of 25. This is a low score, however, ESG scores are highly subjective and vary widely among different ESG ratings companies. Verizon does not participate in any of the “high risk” ESG industries such as oil or mining, meaning in the grand scheme of company’s they are a relatively sustainable company. While the company can always do better, they aim to bring diversity to the company and strive for transparency. Demographic Trends Companies should be aware of demographics and which ones their customers fall under, this information can provide to a company who their core customer base is, and which segments they can expand into. There are many demographics out there, each with their own preferences, tolerances, and taste. Gender, race, and age are the three big demographics, however, there are many more than those three and each can be combined or divided into bigger or smaller groups. Of particular importance to Verizon is age as there is a dilemma currently with an aging work force and how the transition to retirement will be in our society. Called the “Baby Boomers” they are by far the largest section of our population with the most buying power, many of them are about to enter retirement age. Many of these baby boomers are going to start to wind down their portfolios they’ve built up over the course of their lives. Over the next 50 years this population will naturally fade out and their immense buying power will switch to the younger generations. Currently the buying power of generations, while different studies vary on exact numbers, annual spending roughly comes down to about $550 billion for baby boomers, $350 billion for Gen X, $320 billion for Millennials, and $160 billion for the silent generation. The youngest generation, Gen Z, has little to no buying power of their own, however, their parents buy much of what they want with over 93% of households say that they influence purchasing decisions. Gen Z buying power will increase substantially in the future as they enter adulthood. Younger generations have been becoming more acclimated with technology as it has become more readily available and introduced at a younger age. Younger people (under 25) tend to use social media much more than older generations, most of these social media apps can only be accessed through mobile devices. As we observe these younger generations using technology more and becoming more affluent in them, we can assume that these kids will be more accepting of smartphones and other technologies; possible making these devices “essential”. By looking at Verizon’s customers we can predict where much of their revenue in the future will be coming from. Verizon’s customers, broken down by age, are as follows: 24.3% of customers in the 18-29 range, 26.1% in the 30-49 range, and 31.58% in the 50-64 range. Totaling our age groups, this accounts for about 82% of Verizon’s customers, the other 18% comes from the ages on the tail end of either side, so the under 18 or 65+ and the corporate customers who are unaffected by these aging demographic trends, there is not any percentage breakdown for these groups. As the 50-64 age group enters retirement they will want to stay in touch with relatives and try to keep busy, a phone is a good way to do this and it can be reasonably predicted that this age group will rise as the Baby Boomers enter retirement. Although this will most likely saturate the market completely and leave no more room for growth for Verizon in the U.S. market, aside from stealing customers from other providers. This effect will most likely be in the next 20-30 years, but at the 50-year time horizon this generation will have dwindled and the largest age of customers will shift to a younger age group. “Younger people are getting phones”, says the CFO of Verizon at a Morgan Stanley investor meeting. At a younger age many kids are getting cell phones, this ingrains cellphones into kids’ heads and makes it an essential item. Under 18, the generation titled “Gen Z” (born after 1997) is now the largest population in the U.S. with over 90 million, larger than the millennial and Baby Boomer population. Who this generation chooses to have as their cellphone provider will likely depend on who their parents used, or other factors such as environmental sustainable governance ratings which seems to be a top factor within this age group. With this information we can assume that the under 18, and 18-29 age group will increase as young people get more phones due to an increase in population in this age group and the increasing likelihood that this group will obtain phones at a younger age. The Pew Research Center conducted a study in February 2019, they found that 96% of people in the U.S. have smart phones and that ethnicities, genders, education, and age seem to have smartphones at about the same levels; in the 91%-100% range. There is likely little market share to be gained by looking at demographic's trends over time other than the extremes of age, as the under 18-year-old are at 92%, and over 65 at 91%. Currently with the Covid-19 virus shutting down the economy it can be safely predicted that Verizon will have a reduced earnings report through either Verizon delaying payments customers need to make to the company or writing off losses. Although many people see phones as a form of entertainment and people are craving entertainment now more than ever. As for long lasting effects coming about from the change of Covid-19, there may be a few that affect Verizon that are yet to be known. Industry Overview and Competitive Positioning At the beginning of 2020 in the Telecommunications Industry there were 4 big players, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. T-Mobile and Sprint have merged as of 4/1/2020 into the company name of T-Mobile. Outside of Verizon the only one bigger than it is AT&T which is diversified outside of telecommunications such as AT&T owning streaming service and entertainment subsidiary HBO, and DirectTV a cable provider. With the T-Mobile and Sprint merger they are still the smallest of the 3 companies, but they are able to compete effectively with Verizon and AT&T. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are the “900-pound gorillas” of the industry. The industry business operation consists of a provider offering data (or internet connection), and cellphone services to customer on a mobile connection, such as phones. Most of the company’s customer base pays month to month for service, included sometimes in the cost of the service will be a phone or other accessories (such as mobile hotspots, TV plans, or in home internet) that the customer bought with it. However, this makes it easier for a customer switching between providers for the better service as there is no commitment on the customer side. Verizon’s revenues shown in the table below illustrate stagnant growth in 2018 and rather lackluster growth the other years. Verizon attributes this growth to expanding into new segments and upgrading infrastructure, as well as spending nearly 35 billion on new 5g technology, which is claimed to be revolutionary when it comes out. https://preview.redd.it/yg5h5ap48c551.png?width=460&format=png&auto=webp&s=85433067a52a645b3823c6e70b663973647803f4 Shown in the table below, Verizon has the lowest Trailing Twelve Month (TTM) P/E (Price/Earnings) ratio of 12.46, with AT&T being slightly higher at 15.14. T-Mobile absorbing Sprint has created a very high P/E ratio of 22.59. We can also observe that not only does Verizon have a lower P/E ratio, but they also boast higher return on equity and profit margins compared to their competitors. https://preview.redd.it/wyu8huh68c551.png?width=294&format=png&auto=webp&s=ec0a7a130d4377227ff957e02c2bfc1eb388c6b1 Valuation The discounted cash flow valuation methods used for Verizon consist of the dividend growth model, a free cash flow to firm (FCFF) model, a free cash flow to equity (FCFE) model, and a multiples analysis. The cost of equity calculation is shown below, calculated to be at 7.62% using a 3% risk free rate and an expected market return of 9.6%. Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) was calculated to be 5.4%, highlighting the extensive use of cheap debt, about 50% of their capital structure. Their average cost of debt on outstanding bonds was about 3.64%, much lower than what the required return on equity is, bringing cost of capital much lower. https://preview.redd.it/ljdspim78c551.png?width=476&format=png&auto=webp&s=a61cbd5e67267f974ec86708c216fcc7c0523012 Dividend Growth Model – Constant Growth: Using a constant growth of dividends, and picking a growth rate of 3.5%, taking the average of the last 10 years we see an average increase of about 2.6%, and a 5.1% annual growth during the last 5-years. This will likely decline over an infinite time horizon, using historical data, as such an estimate of 3.5% is used to accurately reflect the economic environment. A 2.6% 10-year growth rate reflects the reality of coming out of the 07-09 financial crisis which does not reflect the current economic environment. This gives an intrinsic value of $60.79. Dividend Growth Model – Two-Stage Growth Model: In the past Verizon has had periods of high dividend growth for a year or two. The last time this happened was briefly after the widespread release of 4g in 2013 and the subsequent increase in earnings growth. From the recent developments of the highly anticipated release of 5g technology, in the two-stage growth model a dividend growth rate of 5% is assumed to be the average for 6 years and then settle at a constant growth of 3.5% indefinitely. This gives an intrinsic value of $65.77 for the two-stage model. Dividend Growth Model – Three-Stage Growth Model: As for the three-stage growth model an assumption of an average of 7% dividend growth over the next 2 years, as in the past Verizon has experienced up to 11% dividend growth after the release of this new technology. After this, Verizon will settle into an average 4% dividend growth for 4 years, after which point, a 3.5% constant growth. This gives an intrinsic value of $66.25 for the three-stage model. Free Cash Flow to Firm Model: Verizon’s free cash flow to the firm (FCFF) represents the cash flow available to all of the company’s capital providers, this includes bond holders, common shareholders, and occasionally preferred shareholders. Verizon’s actual FCFF is very volatile at first glance, fluctuating between -43% to positive 226%. Most of this volatility is from high amounts of investments of working capital into projects, as is the nature of the business. However, it seems that the cash flows are also very unstable due to Verizon’s taxes in 2017 with the huge tax cuts Verizon was able to get -$9956 (mils), FCFF was significantly affected. Substituting the 2017 tax number to a Verizon average tax payment of $5000 makes FCFF seem much more stable. Averaging out over the course of 5 years, an average of 8% growth in free cash flow to the firm is calculated. In the constant growth model, a growth rate of 3.5% is used. This is from an assumption that one day Verizon will wind down working capital and be able to achieve more stable cash flows. In the two-stage and three-stage models a slightly higher growth over the next 6 years because of the release in 5g technology significantly increasing the growth is used. The average growth rate for the two-stage model is estimated to be at 5% before settling back down to 1.5% growth rate. In the three-stage growth model an estimate of 8% free cash flow growth for 3 years, a 2.5% average for the next 5 years, and then settle back into 1.5% growth. This gives an intrinsic value for constant growth, two-stage, and three-stage models of $110.57, $146.38, and $153.58, respectively. Free Cash Flow to Equity Model: Verizon’s free cash flow to equity (FCFE) holders represents all cash flow available to common equity holders after all operating expenses, bond payments, investments into both working, and fixed capital have been made. Over the last 5 years FCFE has grown on average at 4%, however, the per year change is also very volatile, much like FCFF. Three separate years had negative FCFE of around -70%, and our other two years had positive 1,393% and 307%. This is mostly due to paying down debt rapidly or taking out a lot of debt to fund new projects such as 5g rolling out, mainly the latter. Taking out net borrowing from the calculation creates a more stable model, as such net borrowing is taken out and a growth rate of 10.3% is calculated. As such FCFE growth rates are estimated to be slightly lower than the average because while taking out net borrowing shows more stable cash flows, repaying the debt will lower cash flow available to common stock. That said, in the constant growth model a growth rate of 4% is used. The two-stage model a growth rate of 7% for the next 6 years, then settling to 4% for terminal value. In the 3-stage model an estimate of a 10% return over the next 3 years and a 6% return for 5 years, before settling into the terminal growth rate of 4%. This gives an intrinsic value for the constant growth, two-stage, and three-stage models of $106.35, $124.20, and $135.29, respectively. https://preview.redd.it/ukhi1sz88c551.png?width=274&format=png&auto=webp&s=9c8761d9ce904b86e360b273707e782d1561523b Multiples Analysis: In this valuation approach a price/earnings (P/E) ratio and enterprise value/EBITDA (EV/EBITDA) ratios are used. Through the P/E approach, Verizon currently has a P/E fluctuating between 12-13 and historically they have had P/E’s up to 20 in the last 5 years. Their competitors AT&T and T-Mobile have P/E ratios roughly around 15 and 20 respectively, and the industry standard is P/E is 15. Verizon has an earnings per share of $4.43; however, with 5g technology becoming widely available, a modest earnings growth to $4.90 per share (a 10.6% increase) is estimated for next year. This calculation leads us to an intrinsic value of $73.50. As for the EV/EBITDA approach, Verizon’s current EBITDA is $47,152 and with a ratio of 8.2. With an estimated EBITDA value of $49,500 and a target ratio of 9, this calculation gives us a value of $76.08 one year from now. Valuation Summary: Verizon is a company with stable cashflows and without much room for significant growth. This makes Verizon perfect for a dividend growth model valuation and is the most accurate of the three models. FCFF is confusing and hard to estimate because of the massive tax changes year to year. FCFE is misleading as the huge amounts of borrowing throws off calculations as net borrowing is not typically used as funds available to shareholders, as such net borrowing has been taken out of the analysis. A growth rate reduction of 2-3% is used for FCFE to account for the reduced cash flow available to common shareholders resulting from paying off the debt in the future. The multiples analysis shows that Verizon may be undervalued currently with a P/E ratio hovering around 12, significantly lower than the industry average and peers. In all the dividend models are most accurate as investors in this company value the stable cash flows and dividends. To arrive to the final intrinsic value estimate, a blend of the three dividend growth models is used, with a 30% weighting on the constant and three-stage growth models and a 40% weighting on the two-stage model. This weighting provides a final intrinsic value of $64.42. Financial Analysis Liquidity – As of March 31st, the most up to date financial statements available. Verizon’s liquidity is poor, Cash as a percent of total assets is only 2.3%, although slightly higher than the last 5 years of around 0.9%, this influx of cash is most likely a response to the Covid-19 epidemic. The cash came from 7.5 billion of new debt, all of which expires before 2020. Doing a Current Ratio, and Quick Ratio for Verizon (Current Assets / Current Liabilities and Current Assets – Inventory / Current Liabilities respectively). This calculation provides poor numbers, with the current ratio being at .991, and the quick ratio being at .952. This shows that Verizon has way more in liabilities than assets, and if they needed to sell off assets quickly and liquidate the company, in case of a bankruptcy, they would not have enough to meet their obligations. Although due to the nature of the business this is extremely unlikely and as discussed below the debt is manageable. This is further reinforced via the Net debt to EBITDA ratio, a common way at to measure if the amount of income generated is available to pay down its current debt. Any number higher than 4 or 5 typically raises concerns, however, Verizon is well below that number as of now and shows adequate debt management. https://preview.redd.it/68daoex98c551.png?width=624&format=png&auto=webp&s=55aa21cd7d157c7cdb04c75af305b3a96ec9aae3 Profitability Ratios – Verizon has a profit margin of 14.6% in 2019, effectively doubling their 2014 profit margin of 7.6% shown in the table below. Return on Invest Capital is also very high number at about 46% and Return on Equity slightly lower at 31%; however, these ratios have fallen the past 6 years from 114% and 78% respectively. This dramatic decrease is attributed to the payoff of massive investments into 4g technology in 2014, and now we have much lower percentages due to massive investment increases into 5g spending. These ratios will most likely return to much higher numbers over the next 2-3 years. https://preview.redd.it/hwbq4dra8c551.png?width=624&format=png&auto=webp&s=85c8a3f9b7757a4b8d6559429158c16aa5ca5caf *Equity Multiplier* refers to Assets / Shareholder Equity-1 and Sustainable Growth Rate g* uses Equity Multiplier* instead of Equity Multiplier, Equity Multiplier uses Assets / Shareholder Equity of the same period. Debt - Verizon is levered at about 2 currently, although they have reduced that from 9.2 in 2014. This means that Verizon has double the amount of debt than they do equity. Their debt ratio is at .79 currently, although that has dropped substantially from .95 in 2014. Debt ratio illustrates what portion of the company’s assets is owed to creditors. Currently most of this debt is used for various infrastructure costs for 5g, as well as introducing a new “Green Bond” for environmental social governance, the first in the telecom industry. Using market values rather than book values, Verizon has a capital structure of 53% equity and 47% debt. The times interest earned ratio is currently at 6.44, meaning they currently make more than enough in operating income to pay for interest, so they are not currently at risk of defaulting. As well as their times burden covered for 2020 at 5.28, allowing Verizon to be rated as investment grade bonds. https://preview.redd.it/sx243mqb8c551.png?width=425&format=png&auto=webp&s=52c304559d11207967a4af28fefe61a75f1827ec Asset Management Ratios – Shown above in the second table, asset turnover is at about 45.2% currently, although this number is misleading as they sell a service and accumulate assets over time without having to sell them to customers. Shown in the table below is collection period, inventory turnover and payables period, with collection period and payables period having risen between 2014 and 2019 from 40.19 to 70.39 and 40.92 to 51.52, respectively. This shows that Verizon has been extending receivables at a faster rate than payables, ideally, Verizon would like to see that reversed. Supplier terms are currently unknown for Verizon, however, payables period being under 60 days, they are still getting favorable terms. Inventory turnover has decreased slightly from 43 to 38 since 2014, which is promising and shows more inventory going out the door. https://preview.redd.it/4r23e4uc8c551.png?width=511&format=png&auto=webp&s=544c39a03ca456f837b97f1ad1593040c738c321 As for industry averages, it is shown that Verizon has a much higher quick ratio and a lower times interest earned (TIE). The leverage ratio, and debt to equity ratio is about the same as the industry average. In some ways Verizon company is close to industry averages with the exception of being slightly more levered currently. Investment Risks Debt Levels and Credit Rating: Verizon currently has debt levels equal to about its market capitalization, meaning the company nearly has just as much debt as it does equity outstanding. These high levels of debt represent significant risks via Verizon’s obligations. A single quarter of abrupt cash flow disruption could force Verizon into default on much of its outstanding debt. The high debt levels Verizon currently deals with could potentially lower their credit rating with the credit rating agencies. This would be detrimental to Verizon as it would affect their ability to introduce new debt at low rates, and hurt Verizon’s profitability. Geographic: Currently Verizon mainly operates in North America. This provides significant systematic risk on the part of Verizon. Terrorist attacks, regulation change, or any other factor that could negatively affect the North American region is a significant risk to Verizon. 5g: Any delay in the release of the 5g network could significantly hurt Verizon’s business. This technology is new and is creating rapid change within the industry that Verizon must be a part of moving forward or risk losing customers to a competitor. Introducing new technology also means that they must phase out old, unprofitable technology on a cost-effective basis or else Verizon is at risk or having reduced profitability. Competition: With the recent merger of T-Mobile and Sprint into T-Mobile there is a much more competitive landscape for Verizon. Before the merger, the only real competitor in size was AT&T, now with the merger Verizon has two competitors of similar size. The merger is particularly dangerous to Verizon as the company is not diversified outside of the industry like AT&T, and a new significant entrant into the industry could pose a huge threat as T-Mobile will be able compete with Verizon on a more cost-effective basis than previously. Sensitivity Analysis: The two biggest factors affecting Verizon’s stock price are identified as the change in the cost of equity, and the change in the dividend rate. This is because in the dividend discount model the future dividends are discounted by the cost of equity and the annual dividend rate shows how the stock price will change given all else is equal. Shown below are the changes in the cost of equity and dividend rate plus or minus 2% and 1% and how it effects the stock price. For the cost of equity calculation, it is important to realize that rising interest rates, changing expected return in the market, or a change in the volatility (beta) of the stock could affect our cost of equity, and in turn, our intrinsic value. As for the change in dividend growth rate, will easily affect a change in our intrinsic value calculation by changing the projected future cashflows. Below in table 1 illustrates both possibilities and the potential impact on the calculated intrinsic value. The most probable of these two is a change in the cost of equity as the economy is currently in an extremely low interest rate environment, and the cost of equity calculation assumes a 3% interest rate. Changing the rate to the market risk free rate could substantially raise intrinsic value; however, our 3% assumed risk free rate more accurately reflect what investors expect, and not the artificially pushed down price shown in the market right now. Table1 https://preview.redd.it/r1ditggf8c551.png?width=624&format=png&auto=webp&s=b808e9b709a1a88ceb54aa19bf444405a880a984 Appendix Financial Calculations https://preview.redd.it/zvxnf0om8c551.png?width=2200&format=png&auto=webp&s=b8b47a20da3ccc7ca24d6e67675cc52aacf214e1 https://preview.redd.it/pv2xr9sp8c551.png?width=624&format=png&auto=webp&s=77d56631f373eba3694d5faf825603b68584098d Income Statement https://preview.redd.it/yvgzjq7t8c551.png?width=624&format=png&auto=webp&s=5b81afacac130023b3330373d09541d0919415dc Income Statement Proforma https://preview.redd.it/7yqpug2u8c551.png?width=624&format=png&auto=webp&s=382147a66441814f3e9f8b3b8b340969b5781b3e Balance Sheet https://preview.redd.it/gjlerbsu8c551.png?width=601&format=png&auto=webp&s=5a661d4817c1dc3fa1a01a37f0f4edec8467c93e Balance Sheet Proforma https://preview.redd.it/kg894tvv8c551.png?width=590&format=png&auto=webp&s=09f62e46f6d1962ea6ac7a7fe838f81600ea7dad Cost of Equity Calculating the cost of equity by using a risk-free rate of 3% as current U.S. 10 year bond rates are at all time lows and has a possibility to not accurately reflect the actual cost of business within the U.S. for Verizon. Using an expected return on the market of 9.6%, which is the average annual return in the stock market going back to 1928. Finally, using an adjusted beta of .7. The cost of equity is calculated to be 7.62% Weighted Average Cost of Capital https://preview.redd.it/muvvv6yy8c551.png?width=423&format=png&auto=webp&s=da894b6b772e237884412105680fed7112ccd45a Finding the market value of long-term debt by taking 43 long term bonds Verizon currently has outstanding and took the current price each bond trades at. Using this information, the market value of long-term debt from these bonds was found but does not reflect *all* debt. Taking the average price each was selling at, weighted by amount outstanding, multiplied this average by the book value of debt to comes to MV of LTD of $129,747.73 billion. https://preview.redd.it/uvu33x709c551.png?width=397&format=png&auto=webp&s=e5e6a11260876b172978c42fea8a4241abee8d12 To find the pretax cost of debt by taking the yield on each bond weighted by percent of total debt, summing this up a cost of debt to Verizon of 2.69% was calculated. To find the weighted average cost of capital follow the above formula. Spelled out is: weight of equity x cost of equity + weight of debt x cost of debt x 1- tax rate. The calculated weighted average cost of capital to be 4.7%. This accurately reflects the cheap use of debt Verizon takes advantage of as the cost of equity is significantly higher at 7.62%. This is how Verizon should be funding its operations as this substantially lowers their cost of capital and they can sustain this sizable amount of debt through the stable cash flows as is the nature of their business.
2020.06.11 22:07 PotatoesWithMolassesI emailed about Atl FY 2021 budget and this was the response (long copy paste)
Ok so this is a copy past from the email I received from Jennifer Ide. I addressed my email to Ide ([email protected]) Bottoms ([email protected]) and my city council rep. Thank you for reaching out with your concerns about law enforcement and how the City of Atlanta is approaching policing. In light of nationwide police misconduct from Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, to Georgia’s Ahmaud Arbery, there is reason for reflection of our decision making and priorities. Moreover, the public outcry we are seeing through protests happening across our city, state, and country have given elected officials, including myself, pause for asking whether our current approach to policing is serving all of our communities. I have been spending time educating myself on approaches to public safety that strive to eliminate police killings, including Campaign Zero and 8 Can’t Wait, the National Police Accountability Project, and a World Without Police. I’ve also been in dialogue with our police department on where we are in our continuing efforts to better serve our communities. Apologies for what is going to be a lengthy email response, but I want to make sure I accurately describe what we have done in the immediate aftermath of recent events, what policies and practices the Atlanta Police Department (APD) has in place today, what the APD budget looks like this year, and what I would support doing going forward. What We’ve Done in Response to Last Week’s Event While I remain supportive of Chief Shields and the Mayor in their handling of the protests within Atlanta, I acknowledge there have been mishandlings of situations throughout the past week by particular officers. I believe that both Chief Shields and the Mayor have responded appropriately and are working to remedy the approach that APD takes in responding accordingly. With respect to Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim, the City promptly fired 2 of the officers and placed 3 others on desk duty, and with respect to Amber Jackson, the officer is on desk duty while the incident is being investigated. Six officers involved in the Young/Pilgrim incident have been charged by the Fulton District Attorney. With regard to the protests in general, a full post-mortem needs to be conducted, including how crowd control was done, how APD requested and worked with other law enforcement agencies, and the use of curfew. City Council will be asking APD to report on these issues. We have issued a formal call for review of our existing use of force policies. Atlanta’s Police Department certainly is not perfect, but it strives to hold itself accountable, and continues to evolve and address concerns as they are raised. Just this week, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an Administrative Order to convene an Advisory Council comprised of community members and partners to examine the City’s use of force policies and procedures. The Advisory Council will make recommendations for operational or legislative changes to the City’s existing use of force policies. The Advisory Council will develop strategies to prevent misconduct by law enforcement officials while engaging the communities they are sworn to protect. The Council will make recommendations to Mayor Bottoms within 14 days of the issuance of the Administrative Order, followed by a more comprehensive report no later than 45 days from the date of the Order. Listening to our residents and implementing the changes they wish to see is how we will develop stronger bonds and safer communities. What Policies APD Has Instituted for Safer Policing As for how APD is currently approaching policing, I support the reform approaches we have taken, which include the programs described below:
Philosophy: APD has made a formal commitment to an evidenced-based framework to policing - President Barack Obama’s Task Force On 21st Century Policing. APD is one of 15 law enforcement agencies out of 18,000 in the nation to be recognized for implementing the 21st century policing methods. APD obtained a model city designation for our efforts to implement and follow the 59 recommendations.
Hiring: We are committed to hiring officers who reflect the demographics of our city. Nearly 60 percent of APD’s sworn officers are people of color. The department looks like the city it protects – a simple, but effective tool in furthering community relations.
Training: Our officers are mandated annually to attend training on cultural awareness, use of force and de-escalation tactics. Atlanta Police Leadership Institute (APLI) trains every APD officer from recruits through the Command Staff, offering courses and mid-year training by experts and specialists in community relations, communications, and cultural awareness.
Social Justice and implicit bias training are foundational subjects designed to educate APD officers to the range of social and racial demographics that make Atlanta one of America’s most culturally diverse cities. APD officers study at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, one of the world’s leading institutions focused on social justice. Courses explore the history of the American civil rights movement, the role of non-violent protest, and the often-fraught relationship between rights advocates and law enforcement. Officers receive training from university-level professors in building generational trust, from Millennials, to Gen X, Gen Y and Baby Boomers, as well as the psychology of dealing with community bias that can stem from egregious high-profile situations such as Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. APD training requirements are outlined below. Recruit Training:
Use of Force (8 hours)
Cultural Diversity (8 hours)
Implicit Bias / Fair and Impartial Policing
LGBT Community Policing (8 hours)
De-Escalation w/ Role Playing (80 hours)
Effective Tactical Communication (8 hours)
Stress management (12 hours)
Annual Recurring Training
Use of Force (6 Hours)
De-Escalation (3 Hours)
Cultural Awareness (2 hours)
Accountability with Body Cameras: Chief Shields has made outfitting every Atlanta Police officer with a body-worn camera a priority since she became chief in late 2016. To date, all of our active officers in the field have one (roughly 1,800 personnel with camera), and we have policies in place that require them to have the cameras on when engaging the public.
Additionally, we outfitted our officers with technology that automatically activates the body-worn camera when their firearm is removed from their holster. We agree that body-worn cameras help provide accountability. We have relied heavily on our body-worn cameras to review the behaviors of officers, to ensure that patterns of negative behavior are not being exhibited. After APD investigator Sung Kim fatally shot Jimmy Atchison during a joint task force in January 2019, APD tightened its camera policies (https://www.atlantapd.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=3243). When federal agencies indicated that they would not bend on their “no camera” policies, Chief Shields and Mayor Bottoms announced APD would pull out of joint task forces with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service rather than have APD officers working without cameras.
Acknowledging the Role of Law Enforcement in Past and Present Injustice: All Atlanta Police Recruits spend a day at the Center for Civil and Human Rights learning the negative role of law enforcement, during the civil right era and presently, on community/police relations. The future officers learn of broken trust with segments of the community they will protect because of injustice and discrimination by law enforcement. Recruits learn the importance of building trust and effective police practices within diverse communities. All officers receive training on implicit bias (https://fipolicing.com/)
Being a Partner to, and Part of, the Community: The City of Atlanta and APD have worked with the Atlanta Police Foundation to create a variety of community engagement programs designed to further APD’s strategic operating objective of “community policing,” the cornerstone of building a productive relationship between law enforcement officers and citizens. Over the past decade, these programs have connected police officers with the people in the communities in which they work, and imbued APD rank and file with greater cultural awareness, community knowledge and a shared sense of purpose with the citizens they’re sworn to protect.
APD’s continual march toward social justice progress is reflected through the following initiatives:
At-Promise Youth Centers, which have engaged more than 1,500 of Atlanta’s youth in custom-designed programs of mentorship, counseling, tutoring, educational enrichment, and athletic programs.
Over the past three years, APD officers have spent more than 11,700 hours mentoring youth, creating one-on-one relationships with young people in the neighborhoods in which they live and go to school.
The Westside At-Promise Center opened three years ago. A second, on the southside, will open in August; a third, on the southwest side, will open in 1Q 2021.
More than 30 social service agencies participate in the At-Promise program, which has successfully diverted young people from petty criminal activity to more productive lives, achieving a recidivism rate of 4 percent v. the national rate of 70 percent.
Secure Neighborhoods provides affordable housing to police officers, enabling them to live and work in the city they protect. In exchange for a reduced mortgage, qualified police officers are required to patrol their neighborhoods, establish personal connections with their fellow neighbors, and establish a visible presence as a resident and a police officer, thereby creating community trust.
Making the Department Open to a High Level of Scrutiny Both Internally and Independently: APD has an Office of Professional Standards that investigates complaints against officers. APD welcomes anyone who is concerned about officer conduct to reach out to us https://www.atlantapd.org/i-want-to/comment-on-an-officer.
And, since 2007, the City of Atlanta has had an independent review process through the Atlanta Citizens Review Board, whose mission is to independently investigate complaints against police. https://acrbgov.org/ Many of these approaches have been put in place since APD officers killed 92-year old Kathryn Johnston in her home in 2006 while executing a “no-knock” warrant, a particularly dark moment in APD history. That criminal event uncovered significant problems with APD and was a watershed moment in APD’s history on addressing corruption and other failings. Finally, I will note that, unlike many jurisdictions in other states, the City does not have a collective bargaining contract with a police union. While there is a local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Police in Atlanta, we are not bound by a union contract. APD’s Proposed Budget for FY21 City Council is in the process of reviewing the Mayor’s proposed FY21 budget, and we are mandated to pass a budget by June 30, 2020 for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2020. The proposed APD budget this year does include an increase, which is driven by two factors. Primarily, it is a reflection of police raises legislated after an independent review and assessment of police pay that found APD officers’ pay was significantly under market. This was supported by both the Mayor and City Council. Treating our officers well—including paying them a market rate—is essential to employee morale. If we wish to hold our officers to the highest standards, then we must remain committed to paying them a fair wage or risk attracting substandard officers. The second component of the departmental budget increase is an expanded body camera contract. We have embraced this technology and the accountability it brings, as demonstrated this past weekend during protests when officers were caught violating APD procedures on camera. The increase in spending reflects the cost of accountability. I am committed to reviewing the APD budget again carefully before passing the overall budget. Proper screening, training, supervising, and providing multiple avenues for oversight come with significant costs, as do the community programs we have in place and plan to expand. A large reduction in the budget would necessitate significantly reducing the number of police officers, which would require a thorough analysis, and I do not anticipate that we would take that action in this FY21 budget. That being said, I commit to reviewing where the budget could be directed toward community building programs. What More Should We Do and What Should We Be Doing Differently? As I stated at the beginning of this email, I have been reading and discussing approaches to safer policing, and there are certainly additional reforms we need to consider, such as changes to de-escalation policies, implementing a duty to intervene, and requiring comprehensive reporting. I am committed to having these conversations with Chief Shields and identifying where we need to legislate change. But, more so than making changes to operating procedures, we need to start a community conversation about what we mean by “public safety” versus “law enforcement,” and whether there is a better way to serve our communities. We all want our neighborhoods to be safe, but we clearly need to do a deeper examination of what being safe means to all Atlantans. All of our communities need public safety support, but we need to talk to them to understand what that means to them. There may be police departments across the country that are so far off base that they need to be abolished and replaced by something totally new. I do not think APD falls into that category. We have come a long way in our approach to policing, and I think we have a police chief and officers who are committed to a better course. I am committed to a city budget and operations that support our communities. We need to improve our work source program to provide training for jobs that pay a living wage. We need to add more affordable housing within the city and preserve legacy neighborhoods. We are in the process of closing and repurposing our city jail and focusing those resources ($18M in operations annually) on restoring and strengthening the communities disproportionately harmed by over-incarceration. Early in mine and Mayor Bottoms’ term, we worked together to eliminate cash bond in Atlanta, ensuring that no one languishes in jail because of an inability to pay, yet another step Atlanta has taken to reform our criminal justice system. We continue to examine further reforms we should make as a City and will do so with input from the community such as yours. Thank you again for reaching out, and I hope this gives you some additional context to the Atlanta Police Department and our FY21 budget. I promise that I will do a full review of the budget before we pass it to identify where we may find additional funding to support our neighborhoods and communities and that we will start a community conversation on how we provide public safety in our city. Yours truly, Jennifer Ide Atlanta City Council, District 6
2020.06.11 21:43 DestinyMarketing123ECOMMERCE SEO SERVICES
We turn digital audiences into dollars for your business and help you scale. https://preview.redd.it/opwnr2b02c451.jpg?width=957&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=c7a25c14593918795f3c43180d0bd358bec95c44 Sid, the owner of an eCommerce store that sells baby products, found himself struggling with getting better ROI. He was frustrated because the cost of his ads is way higher than the number of sales and the net profit he gets after deducting the ad costs. However, Sid decided to subscribe to an eCommerce SEO services package that he found online, and a few months later, not only did he get 100% FREE organic traffic from Google and other platforms, he was also able to build brand trust and reputation. Now Sid is happy because he can generate massive profits, he doesn’t spend a dime on advertising and people are finding his products organically. His conversion rate is amazing, he doesn’t have to worry about getting traffic to his online store and he can sell it consistently, doubling his net income. Because Sid is now generating insane amounts of revenue from his eCommerce store with organic traffic, he is now able to hire an advertising agency to run ads for his products while keeping the cost low, helping him multiply his profits even more. Put simply, Sid is now able to scale his eCommerce business while keeping his costs low and profits exceptionally high. Isn’t this exactly what you want for your eCommerce business? Wouldn’t it be great if you could get FREE organic traffic to your online store and scale your eCommerce business? This is where our eCommerce SEO services company comes to the rescue. At Destiny Marketing Solutions, we have been helping eCommerce stores build their online presence, grow their traffic, and increase their profits using SEO. Our goal is to help you land your website on the first page of Google results for several different keywords, which will dramatically increase your traffic and ultimately lead to more sales and leads. We take pride in being one of the best eCommerce SEO agencies. Our SEO services for eCommerce are not limited to any specific industry. We have clients from various markets whom we offer our search engine optimization SEO work and digital marketing for their site. Contact us today to discuss the details of your project.
Rank Better, Maximize Revenue and Enhance the User’s Shopping Experience
https://youtu.be/7r5IPXFdRQY Our eCommerce SEO isn’t only about the traditional on-page and off-page stuff. We think way beyond that. We focus on every nitty-gritty aspect of your online eCommerce store. From web design to SEO factors, our integrated capabilities, unparalleled skill, and years of industry experience will not only help you rank better, but also achieve a better ROI. We will not work with you solely as a digital marketing company, but as a strategic partner that will help you improve your customer journey through analyzing the analytics and all key metrics, ensuring successful conversion.
Experience Our Industry-Leading eCommerce SEO Services
https://youtu.be/T1_dQBn2O6M We have been in the SEO business for the past several years and know it better than our competitors. Our SEO experience is backed with years of testing, trial and error, and proven methods. Now, we are so confident in our expertise that we have been able to deliver results time after time to each one of our clients. The reason you have landed on this page is that you searched for “eCommerce SEO services” and our company popped ahead of thousands of other companies. Growing your eCommerce business through search engine optimization will have a major positive impact on organic visibility and our SEO agency will ensure that you get the desired results you have been looking for. Our professional search engine optimization SEO agency fully understands the technicalities of search engine algorithms and we also have a solid track record of results and happy clients.
Industry Experts: Our eCommerce SEO agency has been at the forefront even before the industry was a thing. Whether you need to just optimize your existing eCommerce store or build a brand-new eCommerce site, we can help you. Give us the chance to apply our proven SEO methods and strategies to help scale your store.
Team of SEO Experts: We are one of those SEO companies that have a full team of SEO experts who have years of work experience and provide result-oriented eCommerce SEO. When you collaborate with us, we will have a dedicated team allotted solely to your eCommerce project. This includes web design experts, content writers, and SEO strategists who will deploy advanced techniques that will result in a positive return on your digital marketing investment.
Data-Driven Results: We don’t believe in having the same SEO strategy for every type of eCommerce site. Every business industry is different and so is the competition of that industry. Our SEO company keeps track of the latest SEO trends and we have a proven track record of what works and what doesn’t. We don’t make decisions based on guesswork. Our strategies are always backed by data-driven results.
Our eCommerce SEO Guarantees an Increase in Sales
https://youtu.be/dKQrhKQTJ7w Undoubtedly, SEO is one of the most effective ways to drive targeted traffic to your website. It not only boosts your visibility but also results in more revenue and growth. Our eCommerce SEO service and a team of experts will help you rank your website higher in Google results for your target keywords that bring in the right audience. We will not only help you rank for a couple of terms, but for multiple keywords and their variations, which will increase the chances of getting more qualified customers that will click on your products and increase your conversions and revenue. It is time that you work with us and grow your business. Our SEO firm has an amazing client retention rate, client recommendation score, and industry trustworthiness that has helped us grow significantly over the years. If you want to speak directly with an eCommerce SEO specialist, feel free to contact us today on our phone number.
An Inside Look into Our eCommerce SEO Services
https://youtu.be/pmnQRbuSJ-Q eCommerce SEO isn’t as simple as local SEO or affiliate SEO. It is pretty complex and multi-faceted. Here is a quick brief of what our SEO services for eCommerce include:
Google Search Console setup
Google Analytics setup
Custom eCommerce SEO strategy
Project management schedule
Content promotion and marketing on social media platforms
Product image optimization
Product SEO copywriting
Professional blog and article copywriting
Customized digital marketing strategy
Whenever you start an eCommerce site and are doing its marketing, one of the most important things to take care of is how to be found by the right type of customer. Platforms like Google, Bing, and Yahoo rely on matching words that users search for words that are present on your site. So, if your site has those words that the user is searching for, you will have more of a chance to be found on the first page. However, it is quite difficult to figure out the right type of words to add to your site and how to make room for all the different phrases. This is why, when you start an eCommerce search engine optimization process, it is crucial that you know the exact keywords, their variations, and other phrases to target. Let us dig deep into the details of our eCommerce SEO services and how they can help you rank higher in search engines!
Keyword Research and Identification
https://youtu.be/luPf0nL-wnw The first thing we do is identify the right set of keywords and phrases that you need to include in your content. We do this by using highly advanced keyword research tools along with asking your customers how they describe your products. We also work with you to find the keywords that you think are already successful. For example, if you are selling eco-friendly pet products, your target keywords will likely be along the lines of “eco-friendly cat products,” “eco-friendly dog toys,” and “eco-friendly pet products.” Similarly, keywords will also be determined by the unique features of your company. For instance, if you are focusing on the harmful products found in cat food, you may target the keyword phrase, “bad ingredients in cat food.” Although it may sound too simple, identifying the right type of keywords is a critical part of eCommerce SEO services as it helps to establish a strong SEO strategy for your business.
Once keyword research has been conducted, the next step is to implement those keywords on the website. And not just implement them, but place them in the right spots so they are well optimized both for the users and search engines. These keywords are used in different places on your eCommerce store like the homepage, page titles, meta descriptions, product descriptions, image alt text, and much more. This is an important part of our SEO strategy. If your site is not properly optimized for relevant keywords, it would become difficult for search engines and users to figure out whether or not your website is relevant to a particular search query.
Product Page Optimization
If you have a 50-page eCommerce site, optimizing the homepage alone would not help rank your inner product pages or blog pages. You have to optimize every single one of those pages to hit it hard. Moreover, optimizing your product pages is extremely important because they are more likely to rank for specific search phrases, otherwise known as long-tail keywords. For example, if your eCommerce site sells pet products and you have a fur comb for a dog, you are probably not going to optimize your website’s homepage for the long-tail keyword “fur comb for dogs,” rather you would be optimizing your category page or a specific product. So, to ensure that your product page gets a high ranking in search results, our eCommerce SEO experts will ensure that each of your product pages is fully optimized. Optimizing a product page includes creating a page title, a few paragraphs of keyword-rich copy, and adding relevant keyword variations to the page. Moreover, adding relevant product images and optimizing them is also important and benefits your online store. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing cannot read the images. They rely on the image’s filename, image alt text, and the nearby content to understand it. For users, product images provide them with an overview of the product, its size, color, and uses. On the other hand, search engines will get insights into the context of the product page. This is how our eCommerce SEO services will benefit you. We will conduct an in-depth analysis of every product page, make sure that your page is not missing out on any crucial SEO elements, and put forth a perfect optimized page that both users and search engines will love.
One of the most important aspects of eCommerce SEO is making your website user-friendly. Your online store must be easy to navigate for the users, especially if you offer a wide array of products. Our eCommerce SEO experts will ensure that every section on your eCommerce website has an appropriate section or categories and that there is a link to each top-level page from somewhere in the menu section. Your navigation should be easy to use and understand by the end-user. If it isn’t, then your site users will find it hard or confusing to even scroll through your website and will eventually bounce away from it. If your eCommerce store has a very high bounce rate, search engines will think that your site is not relevant for the search term that it is ranking for. This is why web design is an important feature of our eCommerce SEO. A great way to improve your eCommerce SEO is to use breadcrumb navigation. Breadcrumbs are basically small links that usually appear on top of the website’s menu, category, and product page.
Content development has always been a challenging task. But, it is also one of the best ways to improve your SEO score and attract more buyers to your eCommerce store. Content for eCommerce websites includes blogs, press releases, ebooks, articles, and much more. At our digital marketing agency, we have expert content writers and copywriters who will craft a content marketing strategy that serves two purposes: to feed search engines with more content to crawl for keywords and variations and to inform your potential customer that your business is trustworthy and knowledgeable about its industry.
Why An eCommerce Website Needs SEO
https://youtu.be/5XUMx3IG91I SEO, a.k.a. search engine optimization is all that any website needs, whether it be a local business website, an eCommerce website, or a random blog. For eCommerce websites, SEO has a great impact on sales and brand reputation. If you opt-out of doing proper SEO for your eCommerce site, it can never reach its full earning potential. No matter how brilliant of a web design you have, your eCommerce website will only be able to convert a small fraction of traffic from search engines. Whether or not it converts is another concern. SEO will help drive more traffic to your website, and more traffic means more sales. To make it a little more precise, more targeted traffic will bring in more sales and help you maintain or increase your rate of conversion. As an eCommerce business owner, you may already be running paid ads to drive traffic, but you will be missing out on a chunk of potential traffic without doing eCommerce SEO. Our eCommerce SEO company uses a precisely-targeted eCommerce SEO strategy that attracts the right type of potential customers who are interested in your products. So, if you are not doing SEO for your eCommerce business, you are certainly leaving a big chunk of sales on the table. Above all, with SEO, your eCommerce store will build its online reputation and authority among users and search engines, which is important. Although doing SEO does take a while, it surely pays off in the long-run.
eCommerce SEO is Our Passion
https://youtu.be/2jSQesZB0FE The majority of SEO campaigns are often capped by geographic region, market size, and the size of the company itself. For instance, when we do SEO for a local business owner, a dentist, for example, our SEO campaign will be limited to that particular geographic location. However, with eCommerce, there is no limit. Your audience could come from anywhere and make a purchase.
eCommerce SEO Can Change a Small Business Owners’ Life
If you are a small business owner, eCommerce SEO can certainly change your life. We want to help small business owners accomplish their sales and revenue goals.
eCommerce Revenue Can Be Easily Tracked
When you spend a monthly retainer on our eCommerce SEO services, you will notice a significant growth in your overall revenue. Our aim is to help you generate at least 10 times the average return on eCommerce SEO services that you paid for. So, if you pay us a dollar, we will help you make $10 by the end of our SEO campaign. Ready to put your online store sales on steroids with our SEO services? Schedule a free SEO consultation today by calling us and we will answer any questions you may have.
What Makes Our eCommerce SEO Unique?
https://youtu.be/KEERrMZvdiA nlike other individual SEO consultants or SEO agencies, Destiny Marketing Solutions is unique. While we offer eCommerce SEO packages, we are also a full-service digital marketing company and have been in the industry for well over a decade now. We have eCommerce clients and business owners who have been with us for years. This is only because we helped them achieve what they wanted and developed a strong work relationship with them by delivering outstanding results every year. This is what makes our digital marketing agency’s eCommerce SEO unique:
Years of Experience
We were studying and doing SEO even before our current competitors knew what SEO was. Our decade’s worth of experience combined with our unparalleled expertise and SEO team will instantly put you ahead in your industry. Our agency stays up-to-date with the latest search engine algorithms and SEO techniques that will help you rank better, see better results, and experience increased revenue like never before.
Advanced SEO Tools and Software
To be the best, you have to have the best tools and resources. We take pride in having access to some of the most advanced SEO tools and software, which helps us dig deep into the technicalities of advanced eCommerce SEO and deliver our clients with guaranteed data-driven results.
Our company is better able to gain insight into your eCommerce store, which allows us to improve its overall performance and make it stand out from its competitors.
Full Team of eCommerce SEO Experts
As we mentioned, we are a full-service digital marketing agency and we work professionally. We have a full team of SEO experts who have at least five years of work experience each and are always ready to help you grow your business. Best of all, we put together a dedicated team of SEO experts for each project. They then demonstrate their passion, creativity, and dedication to take it to the next level.
A very unique trait of our company is its transparency and our clients love us for that. We are so transparent that we give our clients access to our dashboard so they can easily track the progress of their SEO campaigns. Moreover, we provide 100% authentic and transparent monthly reports and are always ready to answer any questions at any point during the campaign. This is what makes our company stand out from others.
We never rely on any cookie-cutter templates for doing SEO. Our agency believes that each client has its own requirements and industry and each industry has its own demands. This is why we always focus on customized strategies and techniques that allow us to effectively boost your store’s online presence.
Our experts will spend time learning about your business, industry, and product line-up. We also partner you up with a dedicated manager who will collaborate with you to learn about your business and industry. Once that is done, we will put together a solid eCommerce SEO strategy that will give you a competitive advantage right off the bat.
Our agency is all about performance-driven strategies. We have generated millions in revenue for our eCommerce SEO clients and we hope to do the same for your business. Whether it be growing your product line, improving brand reputation, expanding your service area or anything else, we are ready to help you.
Our eCommerce SEO services will help to improve your online visibility in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Boosting your online visibility is usually the first step towards making it easier for end consumers to find your website and products. Rather than you appearing on page two of search results, your website will show up on page one, which will help drive more targeted traffic leading to more conversions. On the contrary, if you ignore SEO, your business will suffer from lower search result ranking, extremely low conversions, and less revenue. Unless you are driving laser targeted traffic to your website, forget about making any sales. Eventually, your business will bring in very little profit and would not be sustainable. Destiny Marketing Solution promises an effective eCommerce SEO strategy that will maximize your search visibility and boost your profits. Our team will spend extra time learning about your business and industry and the target audience and then craft the perfect strategy that guarantees maximum results in the least amount of time.
Easily Find High-Ticket Customers
You may have some high-end products in your online store that your average consumer isn’t buying or cannot afford. So, how will you find the right customer for those products? Which terms should you rank for so that you land a high-ticket customer on that specific product page? This is where our eCommerce SEO services come into play. We know how to optimize your store so that it is visible to almost every type of consumer. Whether they want to buy a $100 product or a $1000 product, we will help you place your eCommerce store in front of the right type of buyer.
Optimization of Your Entire Product Line
When we SEO optimize your eCommerce store, it will optimize your entire product line. If you have an expansive product line, it is important that your target audience finds your goods when they search online. Our eCommerce SEO strategy will help optimize every single one of your products. Our strong on-page optimization techniques are one of the best to enhance your search results. We also make sure we provide the best SEO content to our clients and distribute that content on various social media platforms. So, if someone searches for “memory foam cat bed,” they will not only find your website but also your products. )
Compete Against Your Competitors
If you are not doing SEO for your online store, forget about beating your competitors even 10 years from now. No matter how amazing your website looks or how attractive its web design is, without a solid SEO marketing strategy in place, you will never be able to outrank your competitors. This is what makes us stand out from other SEO companies. We also analyze your competitor's SEO work, on-page optimization, and content strategy to boost your rankings. Our eCommerce SEO agency will help you outrank your competitors every single time and for every search phrase that you're going after. When you work with us, we will develop a customized strategy that instantly places your business on the front line.
Paying a monthly retainer for our SEO services right now may not seem pleasant to you, but a few months from now, you will be thanking us. Moreover, you will have a close rate of almost 15% of all the leads that come through SEO. This is the bare minimum. Also, SEO is an ongoing process and not an overnight ride. But one thing is for sure, it works and guarantees long-term sustainable results. This is perhaps one of the many reasons as to why digital marketing is becoming a more trusted choice for eCommerce stores nowadays. When you decide to work with our agency, you will notice the steady growth of your online store over time. Our goal is to help your company achieve its long-term goals, and we know that our SEO services can help you.
The Cost-Effective Way to Market
Do you know that traditional marketing strategies only have a 1.5% closing rate on average? They also happen to be extremely expensive. On the other hand, search engine optimization is an extremely cost-effective way of marketing as it focuses on the keywords that your target audience is using. All you need to do is optimize your website for those keywords and watch the results roll in. You could be saving hundreds and thousands of dollars that you are currently spending on expensive traditional marketing strategies and using them to grow and expand your online store. You can use SEO PPC advertising or email marketing to increase your overall sales and revenue. This is what makes us stand out from other SEO companies.
Useful Facts About eCommerce Stores
https://youtu.be/zu36Y9fyM7I If you have recently started a new eCommerce business or have been doing it for a while, here are some amazing facts about eCommerce that you may not know:
The eCommerce industry is currently growing at a pace of 23% per year and roughly 67% of Millennials prefer to buy online than in a store;
About 80% of Americans have purchased something online during the past month and 51% prefer to shop online; and
59% of Baby Boomers have made at least one purchase online during this year.
Above all, a whopping 43% of all online retail sales go through Amazon and 46% of American small businesses do not have a website. Simply put, you have already taken the first step to be ahead of the competition, all you need to do now is optimize your website and make it stand out from your online competitors.
We Want to Be Your Long-Term Strategic Partners
We don’t just want to sell you another SEO package. Rather, we want to be your long-term eCommerce SEO agency that helps you consistently grow your business every year. We have a very efficient SEO reporting platform and you will have access to it to view monthly SEO reports that highlight tasks completed, upcoming tasks, statistics, progress reports, and much more. Moreover, you will be able to see which one of our team members completed each task. Simply put, we will not leave you in the dark to wonder what’s happening with your SEO campaign and what’s going to happen in the future. The custom monthly reports will give you meaningful insight into the KPI metrics, organic search traffic, audience behavior, conversion, and many other factors that play an important part in improving your overall SEO. We will make sure that we separate organic revenue from your SEO PPC campaigns and we can even customize your reports as you like. Best of all, you will have 24/7 access to our amazing customer support. No matter what type of questions you have, our SEO team is always available to answer your calls or emails. We also schedule monthly calls with all of our clients to walk them through a quick review of the campaign’s progress and assure them that everything is going smoothly. Because we provide you with step-by-step business goals and how we intend to achieve them to help your business grow, you will feel confident and optimistic about your eCommerce SEO campaign. By the end of each month, we will review our goals and whether or not they have been achieved. This way, we stay on the same page as our clients and make sure that they are successful.
We Don’t Brag, We Deliver
Destiny Marketing Solutions puts together customized strategies that meet the unique needs of each client. We believe in delivering proven results rather than bragging about our success stories. Your success is our success. Our team of SEO experts will determine what exactly it will take to achieve your goals. Once we have crafted a high-level strategy, we will break it down into small processes and start implementing it. We promise that we will help you grow your eCommerce business in terms of sales, conversions, revenue, profits, and brand authority.
What is eCommerce SEO?
eCommerce search engine optimization refers to SEO for eCommerce websites. As compared to the traditional SEO techniques used for local businesses or affiliate websites and blogs, eCommerce SEO differs in the strategies and techniques that are used. It helps to improve the website’s ranking in the search results of search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Why is SEO important?
In the past, not ranking for your most important keywords was considered OK. Now, it is a marketing must for every website, especially eCommerce stores as their conversions and revenue rely heavily on it. Think of your website as an interactive multimedia advertisement for your business. You cannot expect this advertisement to be effective unless you put it in front of the right audience. By doing SEO of your website, it becomes easy for the users to find your site and see what your business is about and what it offers.
How much do eCommerce SEO services cost?
The price of eCommerce SEO varies and depends on the agency and its plans. However, when you work with Destiny Marketing Solutions, you can expect these services to vary depending on the size of your eCommerce business. We also have customized plans for larger online stores.
How long does it take to see results?
There are several different factors that explain the time it takes to notice any significant results. For instance, the competitiveness of the industry you are in, your website’s age, where you currently rank, how strong your existing SEO profile is, whether you have been hit by a Google penalty in the past or recently, and your brand’s authority all affect how quickly you will see results. Also, the fact is that the majority of people never scroll past page two, meaning that even if you rank on page three for your main keywords, you cannot see any significant increase in your traffic until you hit page one. We mostly give a time frame of three to six months to our clients for seeing increased rankings and traffic.
Which online stores can use our eCommerce SEO marketing services?
Almost any type of online store can benefit from eCommerce SEO. At Destiny Marketing Solutions, we have been doing eCommerce SEO for the past several years and we have helped several brands from different industries reach page one of Google. We have worked with clients who use Magento, Shopify, Wix, Weebly, BigCommerce, Squarespace, Miva, WooCommerce, 3dcart, and Volusion.
Are there any guarantees?
While we promise our clients that we will take every possible step to deliver results, we believe that any SEO company that promises you guarantees for rankings is probably shady. Why? Google algorithms change frequently throughout the year, and unless we optimize your website as per those algo changes, you cannot see any improvements in your search rankings. However, we do provide a commitment to quality work, plus we have a solid track record of helping our eCommerce clients achieve measurable results.
What is the benefit of SEO for eCommerce stores compared to paid ads?
You might be wondering why not simply use paid ads and start driving traffic to your website? But, what about testing, lowering your ad cost so you are profitable, hiring an ads manager, setting a budget for your ads, and scaling your business? With SEO, you will be able to tap into the best source of traffic, which is absolutely free and highly-targeted.
What if your website has been penalized by Google?
Don’t worry! We have a solid experience in recovering websites from search engine penalties. Although it takes a bit longer to deliver results, as a lot of time is spent recovering the penalized website, especially if it is an eCommerce one, we will surely get you out of the hole and get you to page one.
What happens once you are ready to start working with us?
Once you have discussed the details of your projects on the FREE strategy call with us, the first step would be to estimate the monthly retainer for your campaign. This is based on the information you provide us with. We usually get back to you on this the same day to gather more details from you. We will then work with you to map out your long-term goals and match up the deliverables to help you get there.
What ROI can I expect?
Our goal is to help your eCommerce website get more target organic search traffic from search engines. Once the traffic increases, you will notice an immediate boost in your conversions. And, as we scale and grow your traffic every month, your ROI will keep on increasing.
Let Us Help You Increase Your Traffic, Sales, Revenue, and Conversions
Our eCommerce SEO company has helped hundreds of eCommerce business owners increase their organic traffic, sales, revenue, and conversions. We not only help you achieve better rankings but also maintain them consistently. With our years of expertise, advanced SEO tools, and a strong passion for eCommerce SEO, your business can achieve new heights of online success. Leverage our expertise for your eCommerce marketing campaign. Contact us today at (888) 846-4937 and book your FREE, no-sales strategy call with us.
May 26, 2020 “The End is Nigh.” 📷I am an aging rapidly deteriorating “Baby Boomer” who will turn 68 this year. I no longer work or make a meaningful contribution to society. I have been called out for extinction. Do to the harmful effects of the coronavirus society must make some difficult but necessary choices. The experts charged with making these calls are demanding that older people and those with debilitating disease pass on, allowing the younger generations to survive and rebuild without destroying the economy. The natural selection manager has punched my ticket. It’s time for me to go to make way for a new world order that will take shape once the plague relinquishes its hold on humanity. Farewell fellow boomers. Bye Bye Boomers I’m not too upset about passing on, since I doubt that I could survive a bout with Covid-19. I have several morbidity factors that very likely would have produced a date with the ventilator. Like a lot of men my age I medicate for hypertension and cholesterol. And since retirement I have put on a few unwanted pounds living the good life. With four morbidity factors going against me the triage manager would have sent me home with a DIY ventilator and a link to the YouTube setup video. Let’s review the scenario for clarity. I am to vacate because boomers with high morbidity factors are being sacrificed so the economy is not irreparably harmed, the healthcare system is not stretched beyond capacity and the surviving generations will not have to bear the burden of exhausting limited resources on elderly care. Put in other words; when the supply chain of resources is overextended and the prospects for short term solutions remain inadequate, decisions must be rendered on where these resources are to be expended. In still other words; we can best fight the pandemic by getting rid of the most costly and least productive members of society. I believe and accept that there are historical precedents for these actions. When a tribe is threatened with extinction, only the younger warriors are assured a seat at the table. Life and death issues during a pandemic must be viewed through the prism of natural selection and the survival of the tribe. To put it in context of the lessons learned in Vietnam, “We have to destroy the village to save it”. If there is any disappointment it’s in not knowing what will become of the mess being left behind. The global shift away from enlightened democracies toward authoritarian regimes is frightening due to both 📷the accelerated pace of change and popular acceptance of an unknown outcome. Americans tend to put their faith in political parties even though the goal is to smother the agenda and destroy the opposition party. This in itself threatens what is still a fragile, if not broken, democracy. I will not be sorry to have missed living through these fundamental changes to our rule of law and way of life. WWDD – What would Donald Do? When faced with a moral dilemma it’s common to look to leaders who have demonstrated inspiring moral authority for advice. The current moral dilemma is the imperative to restart the economy, while protecting the health and welfare of most Americans. The CDC has issued guidelines to mitigate the risk of a recurring surge in coronavirus cases, while asking every American to do their part by wearing a mask in public. What’s in play is the need to strike a balance between livelihood and safety. Or, how do we go back to work without taking unnecessary risks that might result in a spike of Covid-19 cases and deaths. So now is the time to ask, “What would Donald do?” And unfortunately the answer is all too clear. For the President the pandemic is over and life has returned to a time when weekends were made for golfing. The President shut down the coronavirus task force only to reopen it under pressure and shifted the focus to reopening the economy, miracle drugs and vaccines. The daily televised briefing has been cancelled as the environment became too contentious to hold meaningful sessions. Cancelling also served to take Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx out of the daily limelight, a place the President does not like to share with others. The lessons learned is that Trump has strong-armed the economic reopening over public safety and is gambling with the lives of America’s workforce. Reluctant to use Presidential authority to fight the pandemic, Trump now relishes using his authority to override governors who are apprehensive about reopening essential services. What Donald will do is whatever is expedient, self-serving and advantageous to his overriding priority - his re-election. In the early stages of the pandemic Trump surrogates floated the trial balloon of sacrificing the elderly for the sake of the economy and our children’s future. It was met, as expected, with intense skepticism. Some prominent Americans expressed their willingness to drink the Kool-Aid, although none did. This commentary was not written as a suicide note, but intended to mock such ideas as “Generational Cleansing” and raise awareness that Americans might one day face the real possibility that such an order would or could be approved. It’s been almost two decade since “Enhanced interrogation techniques” was approved by the U.S. Government allowing for the torture and mistreatment of detainees. I was wrong about that eventuality becoming the policy of the Federal Government. I will not be surprised when “Generational management techniques” allows the Government to send Grandma and Grandpa to an early grave. You shouldn’t either.
2020.04.28 09:44 removalbot04-28 07:44 - 'CONSPIRACY THEORY INCOMING. yOU'VE BEEN WARNED MEOW! / Hmmmm this couldn't possibly disapear into presiden't trumps next campaign fund could it? / First the bill is writen in a language that allows corporations to get these ba...' by /u/DualtheJerk removed from /r/news within 29-39min
''' CONSPIRACY THEORY INCOMING. yOU'VE BEEN WARNED MEOW! Hmmmm this couldn't possibly disapear into presiden't trumps next campaign fund could it? First the bill is writen in a language that allows corporations to get these bail outs. Then they predictably send it back, but it has to change hands. Usually chaning hands is where the republicans make their money by skimming off the top. Is there any service charges to these transactions? Maybe only MOST of the money successfully changes hands but therse probably service charges the banks, loan handlers, etc get for handling the money and allowing these transactions to actually get through. It's the republican way, no money in america is allowed to change hands without them being a middle man that unfairly profits. No, if we really want to be equitable the banks that charged ANY fee for ANY of these transactiosn has to give up those handling fees as well or face just as much criminal prosecution. They shouldn't get to profit off of their actions that they clearly knew were illegal but thought they could get away wiht because of how used to they are t Republican corruption. In fact there should be punitive damages for them not respecting the spirit of the law. Luckily for them our law system is corrupt as fuck with built in loopholes. All we can do is just watch because americans are complacent little comfort monkeys that like being abused for all their cash. That's why everyone goes to starbucks, cause their lives are so boring they need to feel some danger by OD'ing on caffeine so they'll feel SOMETHING. Anyways, Well corruption only exists in the darkness. Now that there is some sunlight anyone that's shaking hands in the dark should be worried. I hope they decapitate every single one of these fraudsters in a grand public execution. Other countries threw their bank leaders in jail after the banking housing fiasco, but in america the people who lead the recession are in teh white house on the cabinet, writting the laws, and handling the bail out money. They get to prosper in Republican america, and the democrats are too pussy to ever take on this problem and are just appeasers and pleasers. They already got rid of Bernie who could pose any real threah the current establish ment, and its Bernie's own fault for not knowing how to properly manage his image. His supporters were all blind morons, including me. He just didn't have enough of a pair of balls to be a champion and win at all costs. Now were stuck with moron light, Biden, so were globally fucked cause his mind has its foot half way in dementia already. Hopefully one day America will re learn what leadership is, cause what we have now is fucking pathetic. I dare anyone to go up to a politician and ask them how much they think a dozen eggs cost, ask them how much money does a person need to feed a family of 5? My guess is they're so disconnected from the American public they don't even know what a fucking dollar bill is. I double dog dare you to ask your politician if they even know what your real everyday life is like, cause I bet they dont since they all grew up with siver spoons. Anyways it's all over already. Either we fall into fascism when trump suspends elections, or Biden wins and the minute trump realizes he's lost and he'll just retarget all the nukes to the "disloyal" states and blow them up. Though he doesn't use half measures. ALL the nukes are gonna go. Hello nuclear winter and TRUE social distancing. Don't think it can happen? There's no legal thingy stopping the president from redirecting and launching nukes. He's the one person with his finger on the button and in order for us to threaten the world and have peace, the president's access to nukes must be total. we're already fucked, his cabinet like his male childs have no balls. All they know is how to lap at the orange sweat dripping off daddy. That's what we got running this country, the orange and his obidient orange ball lickers. They salty from over indulging and swollen. That's the spirit in america right now. So just chill, we'll all be blown up soon. No law will pass to stop this. The Mad King is in power and has consolidated it so much that he no longer has to worry about respecting the constitution, the rule of law, or any sort of god diety or after life. If you want a god worship the nuclear missile, cause that's the last thing well see, or not, as its the ultimate mercy. We're just down trotten useless dogs to this narcissitic dictator, and now that we've out loved our useful ness it's time to get taken behind the shed and say hello to a critical mass explosion that will end our lineage of ancestors once and for all. It was a nice ride America, but there will be no slow Roman decline of this empire. Death will be instant and may even happen tomorow. As long as the orange bandito has his fat cheeto fingers on the button and a cleanly licked pair of balls we can all be fucked any day, and any minute. We don't even have to wait for North Korea to fuck our shit up, the real terrorist is already in the white house. NOW WATCH KINGS LANDING BURN DOWN YOU COMPLACENT PIECES OF SHIT, your inaction caused all of this. So complacently watch for the end. I did what I could but no one ever listens to me until its too late. Meow. Have fun blowing up. I'm good, i never even got the chance to enjoy life in america cause I was too busy successfully running out of money for college and dropping out even though I'm a legitimate creative genius. I couldn't compete with the kids of the people that have the whole system locked down in their favor to the exclusion of an outsider like me, even if I am in the top 1% of talent globally. I just don't got much to lose. Just gonna milk any last shred of happiness I have left in life. It's not much, but it's all I got left. I literally don't have a single dollar to my name right now, and eventually my last bag of rice will come and so will my end. That's just life in America for me and how it will always be. Those 25 cent candy machines, those are FAR FAR FAAAAAAAAR out of my price range right now. That's about how much my life is worth in capitalist orange america: 25 cents. I should just fucking die already so someone can profit off my death. Forget about ever getting married, a cup of coffee on a date costs 5 to 10 dollars. That's 40 times higher than my total net worth right now. So fuck it. I'll just stand still til I starve cause I got nothing to offer the gods of capitalism in exchange for labor, so I shuld just fucking die instead. I don't have enough money to ever show anyone that I'm worth loving, cause I can't pay the upfront costs of happiness: a cup of coffee. All I would ever need is for an alpha female to see that I'm a legit alpha and sweet male that could make her proper and take care of her and all that good stuff, but I just can't afford to ever convince anyone. I'm just not worth more than a quarter, so in this society I don't exist. I'm not even entitled to food for basic survival because I have nothing to offer in a nice conceivable package. I had already reached my end in America the quarter second after I was born a burden. This is my America where I should just have never tried. I would have been way happier just impregnating without thought and being broke and living off welfare without a single future thought in the world. That's my flaw, I'm just driven to succeed in this system that wants nothing to do with meritocracy. Our system exists to proect the kids of the already rich at hte expense of hte rest of us. My boss gets to go on vacation after vacation while I keep getting kicked off insurance after insurance. He and his wife tell me about their 60th baby boomer vacation cruise accross the atlantic. Last year it was the pacific. Here I am not even knowing what a fucking single vacation feels like. At least I can live vicariously for a second as they tell me how they spend 99% of the wealth I generated with my two hands at less than minimum wage, because they refuse to pay for my 5 hour travel time to their home to fix stuff, where they sit in front of a computer screen clicking on things and keeping 99% of the pie I baked. Why even fucking try. I could have kids and a shitty wife by now living off welfare. My cousins who never had a responsible bone in their bodies get to at least continue through their children in spirit. Me I'll just fucking die and hopefully I'll find enlightenment once the carbon bonds holding my body together cease to covalently bond. ''' Context Link Go1dfish undelete link unreddit undelete link Author: DualtheJerk
2020.03.31 02:56 MitaAltairLove In the Time of the CoronaVirus
Saw this article and thought it would be helpful and provide some perspective #StaytheFuckHome & read Dr. Susan Block's missive from edge of the Coronapocalypse, including Mother Nature's perspective, fighting a war without bombs (the Bonobo Way), SEX in isolation (let's all cheer for masturbation) and LoVE in the Time of Coronavirus: Click Link for Full article with pics => https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/03/27/coronavirus-spring/ by Dr. Susan Block. It’s Spring, and nature is blooming. Coronavirus has done (temporarily, at least) what no Paris Agreement, Green New Deal, man, woman or even that scrappy teen, Greta Thunberg (who may have also contracted COVID-19), could do. It has shut down a huge amount of the industrial, transportation and pollution-belching business activity that is destroying life on earth. Tragically and terrifyingly, this comes at the expense of thousands of human lives (so far), the health of millions and the mental health of billions. Ironically, it comes—like an ecogasm—to the benefit of the rest of world. With so many Anthropocene operations shut down, the air is noticeably cleaner in many areas. We can see the difference—at least in waves. As the disease overtook China and the government ordered the shutdown of factories and other businesses, the smog lifted, nitrogen dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions lowered, and the skies brightened so much you could see the difference in satellite images. Now that the Chinese seem to be getting a handle on the virus, people are back at work and pollution is resurfacing. But at the moment, almost every other country is struggling to contain the viral varmint with quarantines, handwashing tutorials and shelter-in-place virtual sing-a-longs, trying to heed the medical experts’ advice to (despite our Trumpublican representatives pushing us to get back to “normal” and #DiefortheDow) scrap all nonessential activity and #StaytheFuckHome. So, throughout the planet—notably in Europe—the skies, streets and waterways are clearing up from human-generated debris. In Thailand and Japan, gangs of monkeys and deer roam streets now devoid of tourists. Dolphins and small fish are swimming in the Venice Canal (or just some canal near Venice, but it’s still impressive). It’s Mother Nature’s own Homemade Green New Deal. It’s a Coronavirus Spring (with apologies to Rachel Carson). Sounds almost lovely. However, unless you just hate human beings, it’s not lovely at all. A War Without Bombs As the virus spreads throughout humanity, it is waging a vicious World War that, despite all our bombs and Pentagons, we are not at all prepared to fight. Yet fight we must—for our individual lives, and for our neighbors whose lives are deeply intertwined with ours. They always have been, of course. Humans, like bonobos and common chimpanzees, are an intensely social, interdependent species. But thanks to the power of capitalism that enhances our feelings of competition, greed, desperation and jealousy, we’re not usually very cognizant of our inherent communal connection. Now that truth is laid out—or sprayed out—in “droplets,” statistics, “community spread,” sickness and death. This despite the misleading, self-adoring, stock market-fellating, “I don’t take responsibility at all” putrid blather the Trumpus pulls out of his Rumpus (where’s that toilet paper when we need it?) at these unsafe press conferences he tries, in vain, to turn into rallies. Though he does fancy himself to be a Wartime President. Of course, we started this war. And I don’t mean Mr. Tomato Head’s trumped up wars with China and whoever disagrees with him; I mean humanity’s war on the rest of nature. Over the past few thousand years, especially the last century, we have made the Earth and its atmosphere sick as a COVID-19 patient, feverish with global warming, hurricane sneezes, fiery coughing fits, the damaged lungs of the rainforests and atmospheric shortness of breath. In short, human civilization has been a plague upon the Earth. Now, in a science fiction-like way, the Earth appears to be fighting back against its human plague by dropping this horrible modern plague, Coronavirus. Like a bomb. On us. The Coronapocalypse is a war of wars, yet everything we *know* about war does not apply. Wars are typically fought with guns, grenades and guided missiles; the war against COVID-19 is fought with swab tests, ventilators, face masks and hand sanitizer. In traditional wars, the old send the young to fight and die for their corporate investments. In the Coronavirus War, the old are most likely to die, as the young alternate between fighting valiantly on the hospital frontlines and spreading the virus willy-nilly. This is almost always inadvertent; many are contagious for days before symptoms appear. But sometimes it’s deliberate with active “Boomer Removers” spitting on fruit in your local Ralph’s. Ironically, as the virus spreads, more young people are getting sick and dying in this war too. That Mother Nature is such a trickster. In other American wars in the past 80 years, except for the occasional “terrorist,” the U.S. military has been doing the killing and dying in some faraway place, while here at home, we continue life as usual, barely aware of the havoc America wreaks on other nations. Now we know what it’s like to shut ourselves into our homes, crazed with fear and boredom, waiting for the bombs to drop. Another difference between this war and others is the folks in uniform. I have never felt like thanking our troops for fighting, killing and helping to perpetuate our Perma-Wars; they don’t “protect” us from anything except the good will of other peoples. But I get down on my proverbial knees to thank our doctors, nurses and medical technicians who are facing this “enemy” with as much courage as the most decorated soldiers have ever faced combat, and with a lot more integrity, life-saving value and genuine service. Wouldn’t it be great, smart and very bonoboesque to take 95% of the ridiculously bloated U.S. military budget and spend it on COVID-19 tests, ventilators, respirators, masks, gowns and other necessities? While we’re at it, let’s bring most of those troops home to help the first responders and medical teams fight this real-life enemy of the people. Short of that, American billionaires ought to stop worrying about Wall Street and start buying supplies. Some are doing that, but their contributions are far from enough. It’s one thing to hoard toilet paper; it’s quite another to hoard billions of dollars when, due to a lack of basic medical necessities, your fellow citizens are dying in such high numbers that stacks of bodies are being hauled away in freezer trucks. Love in the Time of Coronavirus What about sex? Sadly, the coronavirus is, in a way, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), a plague of human physical intimacy, as are all viruses. Not that we need to have sex to *catch* these colds, flus and viruses; all that’s required is that we be close to each other, inhale each other’s breath, somehow ingest each other’s germs or even just pick up each other’s phones. How can we have sex without being close? How can we connect as we self-isolate? How can we make love in the time of Coronavirus (with apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez)? As a sex therapist who counsels others to explore and enjoy the pleasures and healing benefits of consensual touch, it feels odd to advise people, including myself, to do the opposite in order to save their lives. Talk about an about-face! But here we are. Not that you can’t have any sex, but I, a proud bonoboesque pansexualist, must agree with the New York City Department of Health (NYCDOH) COVID-19 guidelines that say it’s better to just “love the one you’re self-isolating with,” at least when it comes to in-person sex. That means just one or, as the NYCDOH liberally suggests, “a small circle” of sex partners that you can really trust (how you know whom you can “really trust” is another story). Monogamy may be unnatural for humans, but it has never been so sensible. Having in-person casual sex is playing Russian Roulette… at least until they make a special sex-friendly hazmat suit, which is coming, I’m sure. But not soon enough. Fun Fact: COVID-19, though swimming in saliva, has not been found in semen or vaginal fluid. Unfortunately for the analinguists out there, it has been found in fecal matter. Therefore, NYCDOH guidelines warn: “No rimming” (don’t you just love that kinky specificity in a metropolitan health office?). It’s great that the NYCDOH is hip to rimming. But does that mean other kinds of oral sex are okay? And how do we even get to that point if we’re staying six feet apart? Nobody’s that well-hung. What do we do if we’re single and dating? It sounds cumbersome, but maybe the exhibitionists among us could set up plastic booths and perform peep shows for our dates. There are other ways to handle the six-foot rule. Personally, I think it’s a good time to eat raw garlic because 1) it’s good for your immune system and 2) it keeps people from getting close to you. Of course, when we say “close,” we mean physically close. We simply can’t (or shouldn’t) get physically close to someone we’re not self-isolating with. A tale of two cities during the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 1918 demonstrates how important it is to play “keep away”: After a few cases of the deadly virus floated into Philadelphia and St. Louis, Philly held a big, crowded, military parade while St. Louis shut everything down. Within days, the City of Brotherly Love was overwhelmed by the “Spanish Flu” (which was really the “Kansas Flu,” as that’s where it started, but the WWI-neutral Spaniards were the first to report on it, so got stuck with the name), killing more than 12,000 Philadelphians in six weeks, while St. Louis “flattened the curve” and kept their death toll under 700. My father was one of the thousands of Philadelphia children who caught the influenza of 1918. Obviously, he survived and lived a full life, but he contracted Parkinson’s Disease towards the end; it is said by some that H1N1 may have led to Parkinson’s, so this hits me close to home. I wonder what scars might be carried by those who “recover” from COVID-19. “Kissing through the Waves of the Web” So, here we are playing physical “keep away” on a grand scale. Really, “social-distancing” is a misnomer. It makes it sound like we have to stop socializing, communicating or caring about one another. That’s not very bonobo, or very human. It also sounds rather anti-socialism (even Democratic Socialism). I prefer the term “physical distancing,” which is bad enough, but not as bad. To “flatten the curve,” we need to “physically distance” ourselves from each other, but we can maintain, expand and deepen our social relationships through our otherwise demonic devices to our social-lite/influencer hearts’ content. Yes, our devices can be vices—bad habits, stupefying sources of alienation, depression, misinformation and a host of other ills. But in our war against COVID-19, they may prove to be lifesavers, a vital means of communication, a loneliness balm, a means to let off steam, and a way to stay in touch without touching. Alas, we don’t all have balconies from which we can sing our solidarity, like the Italian flash mobs… though as balcony scenes go, the New York couple getting married on the sidewalk under the minister’s fourth floor apartment window is a good one. Not that we all should be singing through the pandemic, as evidenced by the cringe-worthy ruination of John Lennon’s “Imagine” in the voices of Gal Gadot and her clueless celebrity cohorts. Celebrities in general tend to be tone deaf on these global concerns, but exceptions to the rule include Fran Drescher Nanny-spanking “capitalism” and the surprisingly socialist pop princess-turned-MILFBritney Spears exhorting us to “write virtual love letters… learn to kiss and hold each other through the waves of the web. We will feed each other, re-distribute wealth, strike.. Communion moves beyond walls” (italics mine). Amen and Awomen, Comrade Britney! And thanks for the three rose emojis, a Springy symbol of the Democratic Socialists of America. Still, it’s so sad we can’t kiss. Kissing could be one culprit, besides intergenerational housing (another lovely Old World tradition), in the deadly COVID-19 spreads of Italy, France and Spain, countries where everybody kisses everybody else, at least once on each cheek, sometimes twice. Those gentle pecks on the cheek are so delightful, and now… fatal. Bonobos love to kiss, showing us how basic to our Great Ape heritage is the desire to lock lips and swap saliva. But with COVID-19, a simple smooch can be the kiss of death. So, we must try to “kiss… through the waves of the web,” express solidarity through social media, convey compassion, organize efforts, send money and wave to each other from our Microsoft Windows. We can communicate harmony and disharmony, share poetry, ideas, frustrations, kinship. We can cry with each other on the phone. We can make each other laugh online. Laughter is a mental orgasm, and almost as important to human health as consensual touch. Deprived of the latter, we’re going to need plenty of the former. The interesting thing about “sensory deprivation” is that it makes our un-deprived senses even more acute. When you can’t see, your ability to hear is heightened. Without touch, our other senses might rise to the occasion, helping us to make love, or a kind of love (there are many kinds), through the sticky juicy interwebs, the Erotic Theater of the Mind. We can have phone sex, webcam, or sext each other. It’s not for everyone (though after a few more weeks of isolation, maybe it will be), but it’s possible to have a very “close,” intimate yet “virtual” conversation—even a long-term relationship—over our vice-filled devices. And yet… physical touch is so vital to mammalian—especially primate—life. Most primates don’t have as much sex as bonobos, but almost all thrive on grooming, petting, hugging, playing with and touching each other. Infant monkeys deprived of touch won’t eat, get sick and die. The human primate is not much different. Tragically, COVID-19 is not only a human virus, but also deadly to great apes, including bonobos. A shred of good news is that China is closing its wild animal markets, and other countries are following suit, but poachers in the Congolese Rainforest are still murdering bonobos and other endangered species as “bushmeat,” even though it’s illegal. It pains me to say it, but if bonobos catch Coronavirus, they will almost inevitably give it to each other, as touch is integral to their lives. Consensual touch is pretty integral to human life too, but we can force ourselves to forego it, with willpower and, let’s call it what it is, tremendous self-repression. This is a big sacrifice—much bigger than the Dow plummeting—that we as humans all must make. So… don’t touch your friends, strangers, neighbors, anybody except your significant other(s). And scrub those hands raw before and after you do. And whatever you do, don’t touch your face! Though everyone does, even Dr. Fauci. But you can touch yourself. And in this case, below the belt is better than above the neck. Isolation Sex Back to the NYCDOH which is downright effusive in its unequivocal support of masturbation: “You are your own safest sex partner.” I’ve been extolling the virtues of masturbation for decades, as has my mentor, the Godmother of Masturbation, Dr. Betty Dodson, and other sexperts, often to sniggers, hypocritical outrage and Puritanical censorship. When Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders suggested that masturbation be considered a safer sex alternative in school sexuality classes, President Bill Clinton fired her (he, of all people, should have taken her advice). No, Dr. J didn’t mean the gym teacher conducts a circle jerk; she meant that school sex education programs list solo sex, along with condoms, dry-humping and abstinence, as a way to avoid STDs. I guess it took a lethal pandemic to turn the authorities around to our point of view, but here we are. The NYCDOH is officially begging you to masturbate. Hallelujah. You may think of sex as “dirty,” but as was always the case, even before the pandemic, wash your hands before you start choking the chicken or polishing the pearl. As my mom used to say, “Your hands are dirty and it’s clean down there!” Everybody’s self-pleasuring now, even Trumpublicans. This is a good thing, except maybe when former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee tweets out that he really likes shoving corn cobs up his ass: “Those of us from rural south know how to handle toilet paper shortage. Eat more corn on the cob! The corn isn’t important, but the cobs are free and work great! (Just don’t flush them!) You’re welcome!” Corn cobs: Mother Nature’s own dildos. Though I prefer cucumbers. But don’t you still need that human connection? While maintaining scrupulous “physical distancing,” you can put the old AT&T jingle into practice: Reach out and touch someone (virtually)… while you touch yourself. Phone sex is a lot sexier than abstinence, safer than a hazmat suit and very stimulating in a sapiosexual way. It’s aural sex. I adore the romantic mystery of the phone, but if you’re visual, bump uglies on webcam. If you’re self-isolating in the family room with your parents or kids, get into sexting. On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t be masturbating in the family room… Nobody said this would be easy. But, to quote an oft-used cliché right now: We will get through this! Actually, only some of us will. The cold, breathless truth is that cases and fatalities are mounting every day, and any one of us could be next. Hopefully, those of us who do “get through this” will have learned something about love, ecology, caring, sharing, communication, masturbation and our entire society’s need for universal healthcare (thanks Bernie!). Hopefully, the survivors of the Coronavirus Spring (and Summer?) will have learned how and why it’s important to get back into Mother Earth’s good graces. Now that you’ve read this dirty article, wash your hands and get busy!
Episode 7. All figures are approximations. For the degenerates, TLDRs have been given at the end of each section. Allright boys, strap in! The following article should give you a pretty decent overview of the FMCG sector in India, some of the major players as well as factors to consider before investing/trading in them. Feel free to skip to particular sections if you so wish. However, I would recommend you read this in its entirety. This is now as retard friendly as possible.
FMCG and India.
The rural segment.
Millenials and boomers.
Entry of new competition.
Early 2020 data.
Coronavirus and the current climate.
Companies and their valuations.
Companies in focus.
FMCG and India.
Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) is the fourth largest sector in the Indian economy. This segment is characterised by high turnover consumer packaged goods, i.e. goods that are produced, distributed, marketed and consumed within a short span of time. FMCG products that dominate the market today are detergents, toiletries, tooth cleaning products, cosmetics, etc. The FMCG sector in India also includes pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics, soft drinks packaged food products and chocolates. Since the sector encompasses a diverse range of products, different companies dominate the market in various sub-sectors. India's long term consumption story seems to be intact as India is expected to be the fifth-largest consumer products market in the world by 2025 with a size of $262 billion, according to an EY India report. https://preview.redd.it/ck4m3hyezup41.png?width=732&format=png&auto=webp&s=dd626e6640ae5d514ae46926b5982302a368ed9f TLDR: Fourth largest part of economy. Refer chart. Great potential.
The rural segment and its importance.
Now, most companies in this segment are leaders in different sub-categories and have strong brand value and consumer recollection. This, along with factors like increased competition, better supply chain, the growth of supermarkets and online shopping platforms, makes it comparatively easy for good corporations to grow in the urban segment. The influx of the middle class to cities is another factor too. India's demographic works in their favour. Hence, this pushes the battle to the rural sector. Companies which want to grow have to target the rural markets and attempt to grow their base. This isn't easy. Especially due to low switchability costs. It doesn't take much to go from using Colgate to Sensodyne. https://preview.redd.it/kt92wo3hzup41.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=d4dc3926c492c91252ee0cfd94a3a711c1a2c1be TLDR; Look for companies performing well in rural areas.
The Government of India has approved 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the cash and carry segment and in single-brand retail along with 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail. It has also drafted a new Consumer Protection Bill with special emphasis on setting up an extensive mechanism to ensure simple, speedy, accessible, affordable and timely delivery of justice to consumers. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is beneficial for the FMCG industry as many of the FMCG products such as Soap, Toothpaste and Hair oil now come under 18 per cent tax bracket against the previous 23-24 per cent rate. Also rates on food products and hygiene products have been reduced to 0-5 per cent and 12-18 per cent respectively. The GST is expected to transform logistics in the FMCG sector into a modern and efficient model as all major corporations are remodeling their operations into larger logistics and warehousing. Government consumption has also been rising. TLDR; Government measures help FMCG.
Millenials and boomers.
"Consumers under 35 differ fundamentally from older generations in major ways. They tend to prefer new brands, especially in food products. Millennials are almost four times more likely than baby boomers to avoid buying products from “the big food companies.” And while millennials are obsessed with research, they resist brand-owned marketing and look instead to learn about brands from each other. They also tend to believe that newer brands are better or more innovative, and they prefer not to shop in mass channels. Further, they are much more open to sharing personal information, allowing born-digital challenger brands to target them with more tailored propositions and with greater marketing-spend efficiency. Many small consumer-goods companies are capitalizing on millennial preferences and digital marketing to grow very fast." McKinsey Report In short, millennials have different spending habits, are not very brand loyal and they like being quirky. They are far more likely to choose off brands or newer ones. However they are also very quality conscious and prefer fresh food over packaged goods. Also, smallenewer brands are slightly better at reaching this customer base via IG and social media. This could cause problems for the traditional FMCG elite. They also have smaller households, again giving them more opportunity to switch. TLDR; Millennials are weird. More likely to switch brands. More open and susceptible to social media marketing strategies. Bad news for FMCG behemoths.
Entry of new competition.
A few factors make a category ripe for disruption by small brands and the FMCG sector is one of them. High margins make the category worth pursuing. Strong emotional engagement means consumers notice and appreciate new brands and products. A value chain that is easy to outsource makes it much easier for born-digital players to get started and to scale. Low shipment costs as a percent of product value make the economics work. And low regulatory barriers mean that anyone can get involved. Most consumer-goods categories fit this profile. In this regard, the US market could be a precursor of things to come. New makeup brands for instance, have been attracting a ton of interest from venture capitalists and the general public. These brands have sponsors, high user engagement and their marketing/advertising strategies are now leaving well known brands in the dust. While these factors might seem small when viewed individually, on a macro level, they have the capacity to disrupt companies that fail to keep up-to-date aggressively. TLDR; Newer, smaller companies might invade this space. IG hoes matter.
Overall, growth witnessed a slow down to 9.7 per cent growth last year from 13.5 per cent in 2018. In December, this figure was at a three year low to 6.6%, staggeringly less than 15.7% a year ago. In 2019, the growth was slow for more than a dozen categories with many segments witnessing growth rates reducing to half. This indicates that the consumer demand was weak despite price cuts. The growth rates of the soaps, shampoos, biscuits, tea, hair oil, skin cream and toothpaste, among other categories, fell to low single digits in 2019 as compared with double digits in the previous year. The rural demand witnessed a slow-down. It was majorly affected because of lower farm incomes. A shift towards branded products was seen from the unorganised market by the companies, which in many commoditised segments account for more than half the overall consumption. According to the Nielsen report, nearly 5,500 manufacturers, or about 14 per cent of all consumer firms, exited in 2019, against 4,200 or 11 per cent of the overall universe a year ago. "Following the implementation of GST, a lot of unorganised players have exited the market across different FMCG categories," said Mr B Sumant, ITC executive director of FMCG. "As a result, there has been a clear shift in consumption trend from unbranded to branded products." TLDR; Growth was slow before coronavirus. Unorganised sector is leaving - Good for brands.
Early 2020 data.
The fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) market grew 1% during January, a sharp fall from 2.4% the same month, a year ago. In fact, unlike previous quarters where slowdown was largely led by rural markets, latest data revealed that urban growth, at 0.2%, dragged down the entire segment even as hinterland consumption remained that same at 1.8%. Growth in several categories such as soaps, laundry, toothpaste, shampoo, skin creams and biscuits more than halved during January and February, compared to a year ago. Despite sales soaring since a week, especially for food items, due to panic buying, it will still be difficult to compensate for the tepid growth companies witnessed over the past two months. However, India's consumption story should stay intact long term. Once this pandemic (hopefully) passes and we should be on our way to be the fifth-largest consumer products market in the world by 2025 with a size of $262 billion. (Numbers according to EY India). Crude oil is another factor in the FMCG segment, since a lot of products use oil and its derivatives as a major ingredient. If the fall in prices remains consistent, as they should since the OPEC-Russia shows no sign of slowing down, then profitability should rise. TLDR; FMCG slowing despite stockpiling. Crude price fall helps.
Coronavirus and the current climate.
This sector could well be the best performing index this year. Mainly due to it being one of the few industries which haven't completely shut down. Most FMCG companies also have relatively clean balance sheet with strong cash flows, which would help them forge ahead in these turbulent times. Most consumers have been stocking up. Instead of the usual 10 day advance purchases, most households will store a lot more. This should directly impact FMCG revenues by over 10%. Do note that this revenue % shift will take place in the basic essentials segment and not discretionary items. Products that support overall health and well being should also be in vogue. (Products essential to reactive care and public safety like masks.) Eventually, lives should return to normal. But the effects of the Coronavirus should be permanent.A renewed focus on Healthcare. Permanent shifts in the supply chain. The rise of e commerce, especially in rural areas. Customers will be seeking greater reassurance that the products they are spending money on is of the highest quality when it comes to safety standards and efficacy, particularly with cleaning products, antiseptics and foods items. In this climate, a company's product portfolio become of increasing value. Companies producing a large percentage of essential items will be able to better handle the slowdown. Essential service industries could also receive tax breaks from the government. They could also hike their prices in the near long term. A recurring theme through every sector DD will be liquidity and debt. Stay away from corporations with either of those issues. All these parameters will ensure that the companies who thrive right now will be well positioned to succeed in the future. TLDR; Could perform okay despite recession. Essential products and wellness/cleanliness items in portfolio? Stonks. Survived this, good sign.
Hindustan Unilever Limited: Hindustan Unilever Limited HUL's products reach 9/10 households in India. With a shift towards hygiene in the public eye, its revenue could go up. However, with the recent surge in share price, there could be limited upside. ITC: With roughly 70% of its products being in the FMCG category now, ITC has done a decent job diversifying. However, a majority of its profits still come from cigarettes. Those factories have all been shut down. 25% of revenue is from its FMCG sector. Two factors to be mentioned here, however. A fairly decent valuation after its 30% drop in price along with a high dividend yield. An investor should pay attention to both in the future. Nestle: Nestle India Limited Portfolio Almost the company's entire product portfolio is based on essentials. Hence they could witness sustained demand. Only confectionery items (12.5%) will see a decline. Their products have strong brand recall, especially in cities. This is shown by 85% of their revenue coming from there. Premium portfolio and niche food categories provide strong pricing power, which should enable them to sustain margins and insulate them from any volatility in input costs. Dabur: It's home and personal care segment forms 50% of domestic sales. Do note that Dabur is diversified location wise. Only 72.9% of its revenue is from India. 45.7% of its revenue is from personal care. Health supplements are also a huge part of their portfolio. Britannia: Brittania Product Breakdown Marico: This company has been a consistent compounder for decades now. Despite muted growth recently, there is every historical reason to believe that Marico will make a comeback. VST Industries: With shutting down of manufacturing facilities during the lockdown period of 21 days, expect VST Industries to be severely hit even beyond the lockdown period. With a complete dependence on tobacco, this should serve as a barometer for India's health goals following the coronavirus. Varun Beverages: Varun Beverages Product Breakdown Varun Beverages is shutting manufacturing facilities for its carbonated, juices and energy drinks, making it clear that the company’s financials would be severely hit for at least two quarters. Only bottled water (which is 10% of revenue) could see its revenue rise during this period. Overall, the company would be negatively impacted. Godrej Consumer: Godrej Consumer Products Segment Jyothy Labs: Jyothy Labs Portfolio With most of its categories falling under essential items such as detergents and soaps, the company could benefit to a larger extent. However, as 40% of sales comes from rural regions, without revival in rural demand, growth will remain a challenge. If you guys want a DD on any particular company in this sector, do let me know in the comments.
2020.03.10 15:41 Passit2Madden[News] Everything new in healthcare, week of March 10, 2020. Amazon wants to cure the common cold, interoperability rules get finalized, Coronavirus updates, the top current healthcare trends, and more.
Current trends in healthcare. Here are some major points of interest in healthcare right now. Let me know if you have any to add. Global:
Consolidation is happening industry-wide - to name a few sectors: physician practices, imaging centers, and home health.
~100,000 cases worldwide. Here's an interactive map from nonprofit HealthMap. Conferences like HIMSS and SXSW are getting cancelled. Airlines are cutting flights. South Korea is a coronavirus testing machine. The U.S. funded an $8 billion emergency package, part of which lifts Medicare's restrictions on telehealth. On that note, Teladoc's stock is surging on the prospects of virtual care. Biotech firms are tapping into (WSJ paywall) A.I. to speed up drug development. A mass produced vaccine/drug will still take 18 months to get here. Meanwhile, stocks are tanking across the globe.
Super Tuesday dropouts. Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg dropped out after poor Super Tuesday showings. It's a 2-man race at this point between Biden and Sanders. As you can imagine, it's now also a 2-horse healthcare race on the Democratic side between Public-Option-Biden and Medicare-for-All-Sanders.
After Biden's big Super Tuesday showing, healthcare stocks - particularly, payors - screamed into the stratosphere. UnitedHealth had its best one-day performance in a decade. Of course, pretty much every gain known to man was wiped out yesterday.
Biden has a double-digit lead over Sanders in the latest CNN Poll.
Policy Corner, week of 3/9/2020
Sharing personal health data across providers is about to get WAY easier. For better or worse, HHS released its final interoperability ruling Monday (catch up on interoperability here). The ruling will ease the ways that personal health data can be shared across electronic health record platforms like Epic and Cerner.
Because the rule standardizes data sharing methods AND mandates that consumers will have access to their own health records online, the final interoperability ruling is expected to have huge effects on the health data industry.
Think about it like this: every provider has its own health records system. This system acts similar to a 'walled garden' for providers, which keeps patients coming back to them. With the final HHS interoperability ruling, these walls are coming down. In my mind, that makes it much easier for the patient to switch between providers.
Things to consider: This news ALSO means that new entrants, a la, Amazon/Apple/Google, will have an easier time competing with traditional players like Epic and Cerner. And there's also that whole patient data privacy thing, too. If sharing personal health data gets easier, that means less privacy over your health data. Is this ruling too big of an administrative burden on providers? After all, almost 70% of hospitals still use some sort of mail or faxing for sending and receiving records.
The WSJ includes some helpful graphics in its write-up (WSJ)
Long-awaited interoperability rules finalized by Trump admin, prompt industry ire (Healthcare Dive)
OK, reddit, so I (18M) am in a situation that I truly never expected to be in. Last week, I was browsing /vomitporn and furiously masturbating as I do every five to six hours, and, shortly after blowing my load to Jenevieve Hexxx (33F) throwing up a partially digested shrimp taco with mayonnaise onto Flash Brown’s (39M) BBC, I came across a video of a small toddler (2F) falling into the street and getting crushed into a bloody pancake by a road roller while her mother (28F) watched helplessly. I commented “/wholesome” and thought nothing of it. The next day, I realized my karma had plummeted from 180,978 to 180,976. I rushed to my most recent comment and realized that I had been downvoted. At this point, I was already extremely angry because I had lost so much of the karma that I’d worked so hard for, so I checked my comment to see if there were any response. Sure enough, some random woman claiming to be the child’s mother had replied and called me all sorts of terrible names that I won’t mention here for decency’s sake. Noticing that her enraged tirade was poorly formatted, I commented “/foundthemobileuser” and decided to blow off some steam by jerking off to /whiteboyextinction. To my surprise, I received an email later that night from someone also claiming to be the child’s mother. She said that I was being unreasonably rude and begged me to apologize. I’m not sure how she got my email, but I imagine she got it off /sounding, where I posted my email publicly so that I could buy 200 milligrams (1.37 × 10⁻⁵ slugs, for you inbred Americans) of marijuana shaped like Keanu Reeves (55M) to smoke at my grandfather’s (85M) funeral next week. It was only £7,000,000 ($8,000,000), which is a pretty good price, all things considered, but Bernie is going to erase my college debt when he wins in November, so I used my payment money to buy it instead. My grandfather was a World War II veteran, but he was a boomer who voted for Brexit, so he deserves the disrespect. Anyways, by this time, I was getting pretty pissed off, but I managed to restrain myself and merely told her that if her toddler weren’t so fucking stupid and could actually walk like a functional adult, she probably wouldn’t have gotten run over by the road roller. I then looked up her voter registration and discovered that she was a Republican, so I took the opportunity to kindly inform her that overpopulation was a serious issue in the modern global society and that her child’s death was probably a net positive for society at large, anyway, hence the “/wholesome” comment. She did not seem to understand the greater issue facing society as a collective and told me that I was a truly hateful person. I also told her that I would be suing her for doxxing me and impersonating the child’s mother, so I called up a friend (15M) from /legaladvice, who agreed to take the case. I missed the first court date because I had to take my wife (13F) to our bull’s (52M) house for date night, but I rescheduled, and it was all good. During the court case, I learned that, much to my surprise, the woman was actually the child’s mother. She would not stop crying during the court case, which was super annoying. I also don’t think she doxxed me, but I missed that part because I found a really funny Baby Yoda meme on /sounding. Anyways, the judge (71M) told me to stop vaping in the courtroom, but I told him that marijuana vapes actually have numerous medicinal properties and that my vape was a legally registered emotional support animal, so he had to let me keep vaping. He gave me one more warning, but I told him to fuck himself, so I got charged with contempt of court. I was pretty pissed at that point, especially since I was missing my favorite episode of Rick & Morty, so I got up to leave the courtroom. When the police tried to restrain me, I told them that they actually couldn’t detain me without probable cause, but those fascists arrested me, anyway. After I was sentenced to community service, I realized that I wouldn’t have time to play my Nintendo Switch, which sent me into a depressive slump. I’m trying to get a therapist, but I honestly just can’t afford it because I’m pretty tight on cash at the moment. Big Chungus doesn’t even make me laugh anymore. I just think that maybe I should have done something different, but I’m not sure what, and I think I’ve been treated pretty unfairly, regardless. So, reddit, AITA?
Total joint arthroplasty (TJA) is one of the most successful treatment options for patients with painful degenerative joint disease . Pain relief has historically been the primary indication for total joint replacement and there are expected and relatively predictable gains in functional activities of daily living. Worldwide, more than 500.000 total joints are implanted yearly , with approximately 300.000 knee replacements performed in the U.S. alone . Pain relief is no longer the main goal for TJA and more and more patients also ask for surgical interventions to restore their ability to participate in various athletics . Higher levels of physical activities are associated with reduced risk of metabolic disease [5-7]. Patients have higher expectations nowadays for an active lifestyle. However, defining reasonable levels of activity is difficult and depends on the type of TJA. Little evidence is available regarding TJAs on recreational and objectively aerobic fitness. The extent of symptoms or limitations during physical activity (PA) and the long-term effects of such problems are unclear. Valid predictions of return to recreational sports or other aerobic PA cannot be made . Evidence of the long -term benefits of physiotherapy guidance is also lacking . Nevertheless, your orthopedic surgeon will tell you the operation went okay, and you can go for another10-15 years. In this mini-review some matters and expectations will be placed in perspective in relation to the type of TJA.
TKA is successful for decreasing pain and functional performance, but less is known about the influence of TKA on restoring overall physical activity [10-12]. Functional performance strongly influences quality of life and is limited by osteoarthritis (OA) and following TKA [13-15]. Paxton et al.  reviewed the literature concerning physical activity after TKA. Eighteen studies were published since 2002 that met their selection criteria. Several studies utilizing self-reported outcomes indicate that patients perceive themselves to be more physically active after TKA then they were before surgery. Accelerometry- based outcomes indicate that physical activity for patients after TKA remains at or below pre-surgical levels. Differences in the use of instruments, duration of follow-up and characteristics of the subjects studied all contributed to these variable results . In addition, these studies failed comparison of daily physical activity with healthy controls. Another review by Arnold et al. looked at physical activity after TKA or total hip arthroplasty (THA) . Eight studies were included with a total of 373 participants (238 TKA,135 THA) were included. The best available evidence indicates negligible changes in physical activity at 6 months after TKA or THA, with limited evidence for larger changes at 1 year after surgery. In the 4 studies that reported control group data, postoperative PA levels were still considerably less than those of healthy controls. The authors concluded improved perioperative strategies to instill behavioral changes that are required to narrow the gap between patient-perceived functional improvement and actual amount taken after THA and TKA . Barber-Wetsin and Noyes determined physical activity (PA) and recreational sports resumed after primary TKA, symptoms or limitations with these activities, and the effect of postoperative rehabilitation of achieving fitness and sports goals . A systematic review of the literature from 2005-2015 was conducted using the PubMed database. There were 5179 TKAs (mean age 67,5 years) followed for a mean 4,8 years postoperatively. Marked variability was present between studies regarding the percentage of patients who resumed recreational activities (34%-100%), most of which were low impact. Only 2 studies used accelerometers to measure PA. These reported a low range (0%-!5,5%) of patients who met American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines. Few studies determined whether symptoms or limitations were experienced during PA. None described rehabilitation exercises or factors that would influence patients ‘ability to return to recreational or fitness activities. The authors concluded there is little evidence available regarding the effect of TKA on return to recreational activities and objectively measured aerobic fitness. The extent of symptoms or limitations during PA and the long -term effects of such problems remain unclear. Valid predictions cannot be made on factors that may affect return to recreational sports or other aerobic PA after TKA . Could physiotherapy guided exercise help? May be.
Rehabilitation with an emphasis on physiotherapy and exercise is widely promoted after TKA. During the hospital stay, physiotherapy targets mobilization and achievement of functional goals relating to hospital discharge. Further postdischarge physiotherapy and exercise-based interventions promote re-training and functional improvement. However, provision of these services varies in content and duration. Arzt et al.  performed a systematic review and metaanalysis of physiotherapy exercise following TKA. Searches identified 18 randomized trials including 1739 patients with TKA. Interventions; compared were physiotherapy exercise and no provision, home and outpatient provision, pool and gym- based provision, walking skills and more general physiotherapy, and general physiotherapy exercise with and without balance exercises or ergometer cycling. Compared with controls receiving minimal physiotherapy, patients receiving physiotherapy exercise had improved physical function at 3-4 months (SMD-0,37;95% CI-0,62.-0,12) and pain (SMD -0,45;95% CI-0,85.-0,06). Benefit up to 6 months was apparent when considering only higher quality studies. There was no difference for outpatient exercise compared with home-based provision in physical function or pain outcomes. There was a shortterm benefit favouring home-based physiotherapy exercise for range of motion flexion. There were no differences in outcomes when the comparator was hydrotherapy, or when additional balancing or cycling components were included. In one study, a walking skills intervention was associated with a long-term improvement in walking performance. However, all these studies were underpowered individually and in combination . Future research should target improvements to long-term function, pain and performance outcomes in appropriately powered trials. So, indeed a maybe.
In a large review Witjes et al.  showed that return to sports (RTS) and physical activity is possible after both TKA and unicondylar knee arthroplasty (UKA), with percentages varying from 36% to 100%. Participation in sports seems more likely, including higher impact types, after UKA than after TKA, although after both surgeries patients tend to return to lowerimpact types of sports. Time to RTS took 13 weeks after TKA and 12 weeks after UKA, respectively, with low-impact sports making up more than 90% of cases. However, overall study quality of the included studies was limited due to confounding factors being insufficiently taken into account in most studies.
A marked increase in participation in four common types of recreational exercise, such as walking, cycling, cross-country skiing and swimming after THA was shown by Visuru et al. . Preoperatively only 2% performed regular walking, and this increased to 55% postoperatively. Cycling increased from 7% preoperatively to 29% postoperatively, swimming from 13% preoperatively to 30 % postsurgery and cross-country skiing increased from 0% to 9% postsurgery . Athletic activities may pose, however, special risks to an arthroplasty patient. These include acute injuries, such as periprosthetic fractures and dislocations, as well as more incipent problems that arise from repetitive loading and wear of the joint, such as osteolysis, a leading cause of aseptic loosening. Consequently, high impact activities have, traditionally prohibited by surgeons after TJA, unlike low-impact activities, which are typically encouraged for maintenance of good health [2,4]. While general recommendations can be helpful when counseling patients regarding safe athletic participation following arthroplasty, ultimately, each case has to be evaluated on an individual basis [4,20]. The most important determinant of the likelihood of sport participation after both THA and TKA is preoperative participation in the sport itself [21,22]. Bradbury et al. reported that no preoperatively sedentary patients took up athletics after TKA, while 65% of those, who participated in athletics preoperatively returned to athletics after TKA. The investigators also noted that participation in athletics the year before surgery was specifically predictive of a return to athletics after TKA . Surgical factors may affect athletic performance. In hip arthroplasty two important surgeon-controlled factors are the type of surgical approach and the amount of soft tissue dissection. Anterolateral and direct lateral approaches require partial detachment of the abductors from the greater trochanter, which may result in temporary or permanent abductor weakness. This factor may affect athletic participation, because the abductor muscles are important in many sporting activities. On the other hand, the low rate of dislocations after anterolateral and direct lateral approaches makes these techniques an attractive option for THA in patients who plan to return to athletics [22,23]. The posterior surgical approach to the hip is less used due to earlier reports of a 4, 6% risk of dislocation, but capsular repair reduced this risk to less than 1% [23-25]. However, the discussion about the various procedures is still going on. In a recent small study (n=30) Petis et al.  found no difference in 3D measured gait analysis after THA between the various procedures 6 and 12 weeks postoperatively. Polyethylene wear is another major concern after THA, as polyethylene spacers are used in most traditional joint arthroplasties. These materials are built to withstand large cyclical forces, but the wear rate of this plastic is related to the amount of use, which has been established by in vitro  and in vivo studies . Therefore activities that potentially expedite the wear through increased frequency or magnitude of loading, such as high impact sports, stays a primary concern. To date, there is limited information on the specific relationship between wear and sporting activities . There is a lack of empirical data to support the type of activities that are safe and feasible for patients after THA. In general low-impact activities such as swimming, bowling, stationary biking, dancing, rowing and walking were allowed. Downhill and cross-country skiing, weight lifting, iceskating and pilates were activities that were allowed with experience. There was a general consensus that raqueball/squash, jogging, contact sports, high impact aerobics, baseball/softball and snowboarding were not allowed. All 169 surgeon surveyed admitted there was no scientific base for these recommendations . In 2012, Delasotta et al.  evaluated whether patients who underwent THA adhered to these recommended activities of the 62 patients surveyed only 2 patients said they participated in activities that were discouraged by their surgeon (jogging and squash). When the other 60 patients were asked why higherimpact activities were not resumed, the main reasons were fear (28,6%) and physician recommendation. Pain, fatigue and lack of interest were not the primary reasons for stopping higher level activities. The impact of fear was also reported by Abe et al. . Sixty-one percent of patients did not return to jogging after THA because of anxiety, while only 15% reported that pain kept them from returning. Huch et al.  found that 56% of 285 patients stopped participating in sports “as a precaution, to go easy on the artificial joint”. So, fear of movement and patient education are important considerations in postoperative rehabilitation. Factors other than endurance and pain need to be considered when evaluating patients who wish to return to sports. The number of THAs continues to increase and it is estimated that the annual incidence of primary and revision THA will exceed 575.000 by the year 2020 with the number of patients younger than 60 steadily increasing . With the burgeoning “baby boomer” generation and older athletes, who wish to return to competitive levels of sports, understanding how sporting activity affects THA outcomes is becoming more and more important. Conversely, understanding how undergoing THA may reduce or increase an individual’s likelihood of continuing sports is equally important. In this world of social media there has been considerable press about athletes who return to sports after this invasive procedure. The list includes professional ballet dancers, worldranked tennis players and master-level golfers . Some of these professional athletes have been able to return at levels of function that met or exceeded preoperative ability [34,35], while other athletes have been significantly less successful . British (Scottish) Andy Murray, aged 31 and two-times Wimbledon winner, had hope to play at Wimbledon again this year after THA in January 2018, but did not manage, despite high training intensity. Of greater importance, however, is how the hip responds when Murray starts up the intensity of his oncourt sessions and begins to play practice sets against other ATP-players .
Many patients want to return to sports following shoulder replacement surgeries, including total shoulder arthroplasty, reverse total shoulder arthroplasty and hemiarthroplasty. While activity levels after THA and TKA are somewhat defined without a scientific base, studies in the field of shoulder arthroplasty are even more limited . Information about activity levels and the rate of return to sports following shoulder arthroplasty would help both patients and surgeons more accurately manage expectations . TSA has been shown to be a highly effective treatment for degenerative shoulder disease, with good medium -and long -term outcomes [39-41]. The number of TSAs has risen rapidly over the last decade. Since 2004, TSA has increased by approximately 3000 cases each year in the U.S., compared with an annual increase of fewer than 400 cases each year period . There is however little literature focusing on return to sports after TSA [43-45]. The largest study by Bülhoff et al.  examined return to sports in 154 TSA patients at an average follow-up of 6,2 years. This cohort included 105 TSA patients who had participated in sports preoperatively (group 1) and 49 TSA patients who had never sported (group 2). At the time of final follow-up 60 patients (39%) were participating in sports, and all 60 patients were from the first group. The authors concluded that patients who had not recently participated in sports are unlikely to do so after surgery. Among patients who had participated in sports preoperatively the rate to return to sports was 57% in their cohort. Furthermore, of the 45 patients who participated preoperatively and did not resume the activity postoperatively, only 18% cited shoulder problems as the reason . Other studies used a mailed self- questionnaire or are all small and underpowered [44,47-49]. Sports allowed after TSA are following therefore the recommendations discussed above .
It is obvious that the orthopedic society has a lot to do answering questions regarding starting or resuming physical activity (PA) or sports after TJA. The statement “everything went okay and you can go for another 10-15 years” is not enough anymore. TJA patients are getting younger and want answers to the possibilities of PA and sporting after any type of TJA and discussing this before and after surgery. Despite the number of these procedures will exceed more than 1million/year in the U.S. alone, the Orthopedic Societies still cannot provide valid scientific based answers. Research concerning this subject has been of an underpowered nature, both in trial design as well as in interest of orthopedic surgeons in patient needs. For more Open Access Journals in Juniper Publishers please click on: https://juniperpublishers.com For more articles in Journal of Physical Fitness, Medicine & Treatment in Sports please click on: https://juniperpublishers.com/jpfmts/index.php For more Open Access Journals please click on: https://juniperpublishers.com
2020.02.24 13:20 holographicbiologistSomething is up... After somehow, almost inexplicably getting through the worst decade of my life and being a devout atheist, I am feeling strongly drawn back to God. It feels instinctual and magnetic. Now I need your help reconnecting and finding a church. (I apologize for the length)
Saying that the last ten years was the worst decade of my life is both accurate and powerful, as I'm 27 years old and will be turning 28 at the end of April. That's about 1/3 of my life. I was raised as a Christian--Methodist specifically. I loved it! It was a huge part of my life until I went to college. Then things started happening. Things happened that I NEVER thought would happen to me. Bad things. Traumatic, life-altering things. That before and during that I was with my ex-fiance. You noticed the "ex" part, right? GOOD! I stayed with him for so long because it's what I knew. I trusted him. I'd made a fool out of myself to everyone else, I felt, and I was a huge disappointment. Daily I would find myself thinking, "If this person from high school/church/etc. saw me now, they'd be shocked. It might even hurt..." A few weeks ago I was at the depths of that despair. I'd just broken up with my fiance after feeling for months that something just didn't feel right. He told me that he'd been planning on breaking up with me when the lease was up (about five months from now) because he wanted me to keep paying the rent, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the pets. Yeah... Yeah... He introduced me to drugs and alcohol, I'm was and still am a recovering alcoholic. I got a DWI on Valentine's Day of last year with a 0.22 BAC. I'd been drinking because I'd spent all of my money and my whole day preparing a dinner and handmade gift. When he got home I was so proud of myself. I usually would bathe once a week at the time or less, but I had cleaned and done all of that in a DAY! He smiled and said, "Thanks, baby. What made you want to do that?" Um, well... Look at the date... It's Valentine's Day. His reply? "Oh... Sorry... HAHAHA!" Damn it. That seed of doubt was planted and it continued to grow. It finally bloomed. I was desperate. I was drinking even more suddenly, after about eight months of sobriety and massive leaps and strides in improving my situation and mental health. I felt the distance between us continue to grow, but I'd met him and was so enamored that I dumped everyone from my life before him. I thought he was everything I'd ever wanted. I had no friends. I still have none. I'd done the dumbest things I'll ever do and tore up the hearts, minds, and spirits of the only people I have left... My parents and my little sister, seven years my junior and my biggest fan for life. I knew I had to get out, though. He wanted me gone but I had no where to go. I've been SO cripplingly depressed and anxious for so long... In the last five or six years I've spent over a year in psychiatric wards, sometimes staying for over three months at once. This has happened a dozen times. I have major depression, PTSD, severe anxiety, severe panic disorder, epilepsy, and I'm an alcoholic--but that part was my choice. I literally remember intentionally choosing alcohol, knowing I'd become an alcoholic and saying aloud when I saw my cart full of the stuff, "Well... I don't care! Here we go." It was my choice, but I now know that everyone makes mistakes and, especially when things happen for a reason. And regardless of whether or not we are aware or not of why something happened, the reasoning and purpose is still there. Something else life-changing happened too. Before opening the first bottle of liquor, I prayed for the first time in nearly ten years. I was so desperate I was willing to ask "the invisible sky man" for help. That made me feel crazier than ever because it was such a blatant contradiction of my concept of the universe and my existence, but inexplicably I felt compelled to. I knew that at least it wouldn't hurt. About ten days ago I stopped showing up for work. Eight days ago after a short time being sober, I decided I couldn't take it anymore. I had trouble getting my medications refilled, and for the first time ever I ran out. I've never felt anything like that, and I've felt terrible and insane for nearly the last ten years. But nothing I'd ever felt came anywhere close to that... Not by a long shot. So I made a life-changing decision, although it didn't change things the way I'd hoped and anticipated it would. After staying up for about 48 hours straight crying, cutting myself, and being unable to sleep or eat due to the withdrawals from my medication, I decided to spent the last $100 in my bank account on alcohol. I adopted a dog about six months ago after feeling like I was about to be single and friendless. That dog is now my BFFF (best fur friend FOREVER!) and my service dog in training. I bought him the best, most well-marbled angus ribeye steak I could find to feed him something delicious before I took myself out of this world. It was supposed to be my final thanks to the last source of love and companionship I had. I felt so guilty... But I always feel guilty for being such a loser. So what's new? Let's do this. I had a little over 50 units of alcohol (from various sources) in a little less than 24 hours. I could feel myself slipping away... I didn't care. I knew it was probably going to be over soon... Finally... And I couldn't feel anything for once. It wasn't good, but it wasn't bad either. That was good enough for me. But that DOG! I love him so, but DAMN IT. All night he was waking me up by rubbing his face and paws into my sternum or putting his head under my chin and lifting it up. He'd paw me. I'd come to feeling worse each time with his tail wagging and a goofy smile on his face. "UGH! What do you want?" It was annoying at the time, but having a strong professional background with dogs, I know what he was doing. He was keeping me alive. Even even brought in a bottle of water and woke me up by dropping it on my face. I've never trained him to do that or anything similar. It was weird and he wouldn't stop bugging me until I finally opened it up and started drinking it. When I eventually did, he was elated. From there, he urged me to get up and moving and makes excuses to get me into my kitchen. In retrospect, I see that he was trying to get me to eat something. I hadn't eaten in about 72 hours at that point. I got some food into my system then passed out again. About 16 hours later I woke up with the worst hangover, remorse, anxiety, and guilt that I've ever felt. I no longer wanted to kill myself, but now I literally felt insane. I couldn't comprehend anything or think straight. It seriously took everything I had to just remember how to unlock my phone to take my next life-changing action. I sent texts to my Mom. The first one said, "helllpp.m" The second one, about 15 minutes later said, "Pleese. Help. i need help." She took off work early and drove over an hour to help me pack up, then brought me and Boomer back to their home. From there... Wow. We're all familiar with the saying, "It's all downhill from there." But it wasn't. It's all been uphill... But without the struggle. How? I have no idea. Something in my changed and I came out of that ready to go. I hit the ground running. They noticed the change immediately too. After talking together on the deck, my mom came in crying. I asked what was wrong. She said, "Nothing, sweetie. Nothing at all," but continued to cry. I asked my Dad if everything was okay. He smiled and laughed a little and said, "Oh, heck yeah it is!" Even more confused I asked, "What the hell is going on?" He said, "You, honey. We haven't seen you like this in about ten years. We can look at you and see the difference and just being near you we can feel it. I don't know what you're doing, but you're blowing our minds. Keep it up, sweetheart." The things that have happened since then... It just keeps getting better. I feel like I don't deserve it, but it keeps happening anyway. It's great stuff, finally, so I really am loving it. I look in the mirror and can see the difference already. My eyes are brighter, I'm not bloated from drinking. In fact, I haven't had anything to drink since coming home and don't even crave alcohol. I've seen it and been around it plenty, but I don't want it. And the feeling... I could never accurately describe it, but I'll give it a try anyway. I feel so realistic, but also optimistic. My head and body feel completely different. They feel light and as if a weight has been lifted. My body feels free. I swear I can feel the energy moving through my body. I feel naturally motivated, inspired, and I am so grateful for feeling this way. For a few days, I've felt like something was missing, though. And I kept thinking, "If only I could explain this feeling and somehow share it with someone." I told my parents, "I wish I could bottle this up and share a little bit with everyone in the world!" But now I think I know what's missing. It's Jesus. It's God. That's the entire point of this post. I get to share this experience and hopefully someone going through their darkest hour will find this post one day and it sticks with them. Also, I can get the much-needed help of an awesome subreddit community! You have taken the time to get through my wall of text and I thank you very much. Now all I need is this: How do I find my new church? I no longer live in my hometown. If anyone cares to make any very specific suggestions, I live in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro, NC area. Here are my questions:
How do I even begin to find a new church? I'm out of practice and just moved to my new apartment about a month ago.
I know what I believe and how I feel about God, Jesus, and church. I tend to be somewhere around the Methodist/Presbyterian part of the spectrum. Is that a place to start?
Do you think that church will accept me? What if they find out what I've done?
How do I make friends, either in church or outside of it? I know that I'm likeable with a great sense of humor, but after being so alone for so long the doubt lingers a bit still.
How do I show God that I'm sorry? I know that I can pray for forgiveness and I have. But I want to show it. Actions speak louder than words.
Thank you all for reading! The fact that someone I've never met and probably never will took the time to read this, and especially if you offer even just a little bit of advice to help me find my new home... I'm forever grateful and I will make sure to exemplify that gratitude. I hope that y'all are able to lift yourselves up even more because of what I've shared. I hope that you're able to help someone else using my experience and your own unique gifts and talents. We can come together and make some beautiful happen. Have a beautiful, blessed day! <3 Edit: Formatting Edit 2: I am so overwhelmed with your responses. Thank you all so very much! My parents have been reading through some of this thread with me. We've shared some tears and shared even more hugs. Thank you all for for taking the time to think of me, reply, and pray for me. I can feel the love and support coming from you, and it is incredible that a community of strangers cares about me--a total stranger--this much. It is so encouraging. I matter to people... People who don't know me and have never met me. Wow... It's made the hearts of my whole family swell--me included!
2020.02.19 07:01 MakeTotalDestr0iLook at this boomer article, now millennial's are destroying the economy by trying to save for retirement
How Millennials Could Make the Fed’s Job Harder They love the idea of retiring early. That could diminish Federal Reserve’s firepower. WASHINGTON — “They say millennials are lazy,” billboards plastered across 15 major cities declared last summer. “Retire early and prove them right.” That sentiment, reflected in ads for the investment manager Prudential, is the stuff of a 30-year-old’s fantasy — and the Federal Reserve’s nightmare. A young generation of aggressive savers could leave central bankers with less room to cut interest rates, which they have long done to boost growth in times of economic trouble. To leave the work force early, millennials would need to build up massive retirement funds and consume less in the process. That hit to demand could slow growth and force rates to drop ever lower to entice spending. And if today’s workers actually managed to retire young, it would exacerbate the situation by shrinking the labor force, further weighing on the economy’s potential. ADVERTISEMENT Continue reading the main story Millennials, who are roughly between the ages of 24 and 39 and have not lived through pronounced price spikes, already have the lowest inflation expectations of any adult generation. Their belief that costs will not increase could eventually slow actual price gains by making it hard for businesses to charge more. The Fed’s main interest rate includes inflation, so that would leave it with even less room to cut. It may not come to this. Millennials could become more worried about inflation as they age, giving companies more room to lift prices. Their difficult post-recession entry into the labor market means many are laden with student debt, so it’s unclear if they will be able to retire young. But many indicate that they want to leave the work force early — an ambition that economists say could spell macroeconomic trouble if realized. “It would lower interest rates — that’s certainly true,” said Joseph Gagnon, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “It would be a double whammy: It directly raises savings” and “it would further reduce the need to invest in factories and offices for these people.” Interest rates have been falling for decades, and demographics are a major factor in that decline, economists say. Once people are past middle age, they are living longer without working correspondingly later in life, so they have been saving heavily to fund extended retirements. Millennials, already accused of killing everything from paper napkins to mayonnaise, would happily exacerbate the drop in interest rates, which baby boomers have driven to date. ADVERTISEMENT Continue reading the main story Of millennial workers with an active 401(k), 43 percent expect to retire before the age of 65, based on data from T. Rowe Price. For Generation X — often defined as those aged 40 to 55 — that figure is 35 percent. While the T. Rowe Price survey targeted a privileged group, broader polls have turned up similar findings. Members of Gen X are short on savings, so they may need to work further into old age. But younger people have time to turn things around: While they got a slow start, they are still under the age of 40. Millennials have begun saving more as they work in greater numbers and benefit from a record-long economic expansion. There’s even a movement — Financial Independence, Retire Early, or “FIRE” — dedicated to frugality in pursuit of quitting the work force as soon as possible. Scott Rieckens, 36, and his wife Taylor, 35, began following a FIRE plan in 2017. The couple, who have one child, ditched their leased cars and $3,000-a-month apartment in San Diego to move to Bend, Ore. They save more than 50 percent of their income and aim to have the $1.7 million they think they’d need to retire by their early 40s, though Mr. Rieckens doesn’t plan to completely stop working then. He recently produced a documentary on the FIRE movement, released last year, which drew more than 10,000 people to screenings in over 200 cities. The audience skewed younger, Mr. Rieckens said, explaining that FIRE appeals to millennials partly because they have faced precarious jobs without pensions. “You start to get this sense of lack of control, and fear,” he said. “You can take control of your life.” The Rieckens may be extreme savers, but many millennials with means are prioritizing saving. According to a recent Bank of America survey, 25 percent of millennial savers had amassed more than $100,000, up from 16 percent in 2018. ADVERTISEMENT Continue reading the main story They have good reason. Millennials have grown up with dire warnings that Social Security will be exhausted by the time it is their turn to use it. They came of age in the worst downturn since the Great Depression, so they are no strangers to economic insecurity. But there’s a paradox to thrift: Saving, even if virtuous on an individual level, can cause economic trouble en masse. If ambitious cash stockpiling were to catch on, it could exacerbate secular stagnation, a term that the Harvard University economist Lawrence H. Summers repopularized to describe the low-growth, low-inflation state of many advanced economies. When consumers save a big portion of their income, they are not spending as much on dinners out, movie nights and cars. Businesses respond by investing less in equipment and technology, and productivity stalls. Bosses are unwilling to pay their workers more for the same output, and weak pay gains further restrain spending. Retirement saving behavior is not the only driver causing economic torpor and lower rates. Inequality has left a small number of people with more money than they can realistically spend. Slower labor force growth and more iterative technological improvements could also have an impact. The lower interest rates that result from high and unequal saving might sound great — think cheaper mortgages — but they leave economies vulnerable to shocks. In the United States, for example, rates are now in a range of just 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent, leaving the Fed room for about six quarter-point rate cuts in a downturn. Headed into the last recession, rates topped 5 percent. Fed officials think mass bond-buying and promises to keep rates low for longer can give them power to fight a slump. But the jury is out on whether such alternatives will add enough ammunition to make up for lost room on interest rates. Even Ben S. Bernanke, a former Fed chair with an optimistic take on the central bank’s ability to prop up the economy in a downturn, says officials could end up in a tight spot if rates drop substantially lower. ADVERTISEMENT Continue reading the main story It is anyone’s guess whether they will stabilize at low levels, rise or resume their descent. “A continued downtrend is as likely as reversion to normal,” Mr. Summers said. “Lots of the structural forces that are driving this seem likely to continue.” That’s what makes millennial retirement behavior so interesting: It is a wild card still, one that could slightly lift or substantially lower rates going forward. Policy could influence how things play out. The government could nudge workers toward later retirement or ramp up deficit spending on old-age benefits. Mr. Summers’s research shows that fiscal spending is already propping rates up. Alternately, uncertainty about the fiscal future — like whether the present complacency over large deficits continues — could spur millennials to save more now. What is clear is that rates are unlikely to head higher soon. That makes maintaining slow but stable inflation more important than ever. Doing so is proving difficult. The Fed’s preferred inflation index accelerated just 1.6 percent over the past year. It has never sustainably topped 2 percent since the Fed formally adopted that goal in 2012. That shortfall is threatening to derail inflation expectations. Americans who lived through the great inflation of the 1970s remember an era when services and goods were rapidly increasing in price, and they tend to have a higher outlook for future prices. Millennials and Generation Z are a different story. Rents and tuition have gotten pricier, but computing power worth millions of dollars a generation ago now fits into a $600 phone. Free entertainment abounds. As America’s collective memories of breakneck price gains fade, the nation’s younger people have become an anchor that threatens to drag down overall expectations. ADVERTISEMENT Continue reading the main story John C. Williams, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said in a speech last month that “there is still time to avert this fate.” Moving inflation up and keeping it there could convince millennials, he said. “In this case, it’s fortunate that the young are impressionable.”
2020.02.17 12:44 Buck_JoffreyWealth Formula Episode 198: When Is That Depression Coming Anyway?
Catch the full episode: https://www.wealthformula.com/podcast/198:-when-is-that-depression-coming-anyway?/ Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is a contributor to ITR economics specifically to their flagship publication ITR Trend Reports. Her name is Catherine Putney and she specializes in the applied research of business cycle, trend analysis, gross cycle analysis in implementing cyclical analysis at the practical company level. I'm not exactly sure all of what that means but Catherine welcome to Wealth Formula Podcast. Catherine: Thank you again. Buck: And you know we did have Alan Beaulieu on the show a couple years ago and that was that was really fun. We talked about his book but just so you know so we get a little bit of a background on you know where you're coming from. Tell us a little bit about ITR economics and you know what you do over there and you know some of the some of the highlights. Catherine: Yeah absolutely I mean we try to make economics as fun as possible as interesting as possible but here at ITR we were founded in 1948. We're the oldest privately held continuously operating research and consulting firm in the United States. So we deal a lot with with consulting and figuring out what's best for each company to make two decisions to make in regards to the economy so we we work with everything from small companies all the way up to the fortune 500 level. What we want to do is provide the best economic intelligence to ensure that we're we're instilling a good type of kind of background in an environment where the business can make those those profitable decisions to maximize themselves, essentially trying to to maximize those profits. So we're always trying to kind of give that information on an economic level to you know to the point where they can make that money they can they can take away that information which I'm hoping to kind of talk about today as well. Buck: Yeah absolutely you know one of the things that I thought was pretty impressive is you know ITR has been a lot around for a long time and the track record in terms of predictions has been pretty darn good. Can you talk a little bit about that. Catherine: Yeah absolutely I would definitely use the word darn good as well I think what we're you know we're very very proud of that accuracy and I think a big reason is that what separates us from some other of the forecasting firms that are that are in the US is that we don't necessarily do straight-up regression modeling. We have a touch of art to it because when you look at forecasting in terms of regression it's using all the historical data transit that we certainly look at but it doesn't build in the artistic factor that economics brings to the table right so knowing that we have you know we're in an environment where tariffs are something that are is causing inflation right now. That's something that a regression model cannot build into the future so we like to to kind of bring in that artistic work bring in the kind of the nitty-gritty specialties of what each company each company operates are you making price hikes in your business, what are we expecting from you know even and we'll talk a little bit about the coronavirus, things like that that regression modeling cannot predict in our system, our leading indicator trends really hit home and create some really great forecasts for us . Buck: Yeah and I remember Alan saying something like the accuracy was somewhere like 96 percent Catherine: Right now we’re at 95% Buck Yeah and I mean that's obviously pretty special especially when it comes to predicting the future you know it's not an easy thing to do. You know one of the things that Alan and you know the book I keep referring to this because I think a lot of the general theses come from this book is you know he describes this idea of this next decade being the Roaring Twenties followed by you know Depression of the 30s and I've heard ITR talk about this I mean for at least five six years now just in terms of various conferences I've been at as well. Does ITR still believe those targets and if so what are really the driving forces behind you know those respective decades you know the roaring 20s and the depression? Catherine: That's a great comment and question to ask I mean every time I talk about the depression of 2030 when I go on the road and speak I get a lot of groans and moans in the audience but it's always a good thing to know it's coming right that's the whole point is if we know it's there we can prepare for it. We can utilize the next 10 years of what we're going to call you know the essential roaring 20s to our advantage to make money because we make money in times of recession if you prepared for it the buy low sell high mentality. So as we are heading through this next decade we will hit this 2030 depression and some of the drivers too that I'll mention demographic trends right so we have 10,000 baby boomers each and every day retiring from now until 2030 that's a lot of that's a lot of people coming out of the workforce and entering into an age where they require medical attention essentially driving up inflationary cost when it comes to the medical industry which is already in a high inflationary environment on top of the fact that we are somewhat financially strained in the Social Security market. That's something that that is going to be very much constrained as we head through the next 10 years and it's not going to be one particular driver that's going to put this this depression into the you know the decline, it's going to be somewhat the aggregation and his sort of camel's back of a multitude of factors such as that booth demographic trends that we've mentioned the inflationary trends that we're expecting with with a booming economy for the next 10 years. I mean with Social Security there are ways to fix it I can get into that as well but that is definitely going to be one of the drivers and on not the Great Depression but another depression. Buck: When you look at the twenties is it what makes it roaring? Because obviously we're we're sitting here right now and there's so many predictions of okay we're in the longest expansion of GDP in US history and it's you know we're still doing well and you know half the podcasters out there or in the space or you know predicting a zombie apocalypse tomorrow what what what drives you know what is your opinion about the 20s that make it roaring? Catherine: So it's funny you ask that because I was going to bring up the fact you know when we look back to the roaring 20s of the 1900s that was labeled the roaring 20s there was actually three recessions during that time. During that decade there were three recessions they called it roaring because if you look at the overall trend line from the early 20th to the late 20s that it was overall ascent so it's actually a general rising trend but it was not impervious to recession at all so that is what we're expecting in the next decade that we will be still vulnerable to these downturns and our forecast for right now is we're kind of in the middle of it we're heading into the next couple quarters that's going to be a mild recession depending on which industry you're in and then another one in 2022 and heading into 23. So when I say roaring I mean the overall theme of the economy heading into that ascent. Buck: Let me ask you this in terms of those and I think this is a an important point to drive home because you know when we talk about a decade, a positive growth decade one that people can do well in I think you know your your point is taken well right I mean it doesn't mean you don't have some unnatural cycles but is it ITRs take that we're not you know this huge depression or not a huge depression but a huge recession or major depression is not really something that you're predicting in the next few years, I mean certainly some dips but nothing like we saw and say like a you know 2008 or something like that. Catherine: Correct yeah we're not going to be heading into that 2008 territory which steps that mean that recession was driven by the you know the housing market and things like that we're not expecting any type of trends going on there. We will go through our our rises and declines here and there especially in 2022 we will feel a little bit of a more severe downturn but it's not going to be comparable to what we went through last is the last decade or in early 08–09, 10 years ago. Buck: You know one of the things that I find fascinating about this again is you know these drivers that you've brought up that that lead to the 30s and stuff but these are you know these are some long-term predictions right and recently and certainly since the book was written there have been some substantial shifts in US foreign policy trade policy you know terrorists isolationism how do you factor in that kind of unpredictability in the long-term predictions? Catherine: Yeah I mean we definitely will if things if things get integrated or into the marketplace we will integrate them into our overall outlook. We're very transparent but at this point in time submit the catalyst the drivers that I discussed earlier with demographics inflation in our national debt those are long term fundamental trends that aren't being budged right now by by the foreign policy or the trade war or the recently ratified USMCA the new NAFTA 2.0 that those aren't really moving the needle on the fundamental drivers to this 2030 depression. So yes we could have near-term movement here and there that changes the growth or decline which we will work into our outlook you know the tax reform when it when it first was put into place did have a tiny bit of an extra boost on on the economy but normalized but it did move the needle a small amount enough for us to to mention it to the audience and mention it to everyone and say here we're going to work this in because you're right we don't just stick to the same exact forecast forever and ever but at this point in time 2030 work if we see something that's that pops up that could potentially change it will let you know but at this point we do not we still don't see any any type of aggressive movement in foreign policy or anything on Wall Street to change that this 2030 outlook but if it does well we'll make sure to let you know. Buck: So there's a couple things right now that I think you know just looking at you know the very short term, we're in an election year I generally as a business owner hate election years because fourth quarters it seems like everybody freezes and they don't know what to do. So that is happening you know that's coming up and then we've got this coronavirus and you know it sounds like it's really potentially freezing up China. How are these two particular issues right now? How do you see them you know affecting us in the short-term are these impetus or you know short-term recessionary activity or not so much? Catherine: So I think actually it's funny I was going to apologize earlier for my sniffles that I've been having I hope it's not the coronavirus. So just disregard that but as we have as we head into the cycle we always even before these tears even before the the not will no inner is an election cycle this was this was expected already this downturn that we're heading into it's really gonna it could potentially move the needle somewhat but the overall theme in terms of the tariff situation is that yeah it will cause somewhat inflation but it won't you know it won't really move the needle on the overall trend and when we look at the election I mean it happens every four years so it's normal to assume that let's say on a yearly basis that sales pick up in the Christmas time or the holiday season that's a normal thing to expect similar to every four years it's normal to expect that we will see some sort of movement depending on what's going on on in the who’s running and if it's more favorabe to red or favorable to blue that it could potentially either halt spending or catalyze spending. A big thing I personally believe in is that as we head into this election cycle with the tariffs going on right now if you know Trump's going out for for re-election he might take a look and say well are these tariffs causing a lot more good than harm in terms of my ability to get reelected or vice versa causing more bad than good and that could potentially move his his strategy with the tariffs. He could be more aggressive with them or he could be more reserved with them to potentially get to votes. Buck: Well payroll taxes I mean some of these things that there's still potential role for you know some tax mitigation things that might get people excited about that and then what about so you're you know you guys are factoring that in already and it seems like we've got this little bit of decline that as you mentioned by the way that we're already in you said that right you were kind of already in that do you think right now we are potentially already in some recession in some sectors? Catherine: It depends on the sector you're looking at. When I say decline I could potentially be saying a slow down a business cycle decline or recession so the US Industrial sector right now so if you're tied to let's say manufacturing or anything commodity related that is on the brink of entering into recession. The consumer economy when I when I say consumer I mean GDP because it's mostly Confessional consumption that is actually avoiding recession during this cycle but it is in a slowdown so we are on the brink of one quarter of decline in GDP but it will be back to the races again as we head into the second half of this year. So when I say general descent or decline it could either mean beat meaning slowdown or recession depending on your industry. Buck: Got it so that makes sense so basically we're talking about and to your point what most people think about when they think about recessions is this you know what you're describing right now is having a little bit of a slowdown and then probably picking up in the next quarter and then maybe we don't see another slow down or that kind of thing until 2022? Catherine: Correct yeah 2021 will be a great year 2021 will be a good year for the economy the slowest point in in anyone's business whoever's listening will it will be right right here right now in the first half of this year until 22 so next year will be good but that I will copy out that with the fact that that's if you move with the economy you could lead it you could lag it you could be in different points in your business do you typically move ahead of the game do you move behind the game that's important to know too because you have to make that mental shift whatever you hear you know the Wall Street Journal today about the economy may not pertain to your exact business at this point in time you have to figure out your relationship to the economy. Buck: Let's just go back to that coronavirus. What are your thoughts on this I mean is it going to affect anything in the big picture not so much? Catherine: I think on overall business standpoint depends what you're in. We have been seeing it you know cause a lot wreak a lot of havoc and people getting scared and holding back on going out especially in China but I think China is starting to try to mitigate that impact by there was recently they're cutting down and some of their tariffs toward us by they're cutting the slicing them in half to try to hopefully mitigate and increase some of the activity going back and forth because they are seeing a lot of pull back and spending patterns right, no one's going to go out and go to a restaurant or shop or Park because they don't want to go out and contract the virus but at the end of the day so the death rates between the flu and coronavirus are somewhat similar. So I think it's more of a more of a speculation on it rather than what the actual impact is. It definitely is impacting China more than us and we're not going to be sending our you know we're not gonna be importing anything from China as much as we used to given this virus especially in the agriculture industry. Buck: Yeah and I actually agree with that to it my background is, I don't practice anymore but I use am a physician and I am looking at a lot of this from the standpoint of the actual health implications are really not any more than the flu and so there's certainly a big it's a sexy thing to bring up in the media right now it's a vaccination you're probably in better shape from the flu. Let's go back to the 2030s because this is a thing that whenever you guys talk about and I know because you know I been in the audience and you know I'm part of the newsletter and whenever we talk about this, people's ears perk up. And so let's let's talk about what it looks like ok 2030s are here with predictions that come true is this some kind of a you know inflationary or deflationary or what does it look like? Catherine: yeah it will most definitely be inflationary as we head into the next year not in 2030 when you know everything hits the fan but for the next 10 years it definitely will be inflationary because of the increasing demand in this I don't want to say the roaring 20s but with higher demand come higher prices the law of economics. So that's what we'll be seeing as we head through the next 10 years on top of the fact that the medical attention that's going to be demanded from a huge baby boomer demographic cohort that's going to also increase a lot of the inflation as well. So we definitely think that there's going to be a lot of inflation as we head into 2030 and then I like to call it the next decade will be the stairway to heaven and then the highway to hell will be 2030 so we'll see that decline. Buck: In that Highway to hell though is that a deflationary environment I mean it not that you know when you're in the twenty when you're in the 2030s if you're holding assets do we expect those assets to you know deflate in value or do we I mean basically I'm looking at as it is like an inflationary depression or a deflationary depression? Catherine: I would say more on the deflationary side because people will not be spending so when you're not spending prices go down that causes the deflationary environment to take hold. Interest rates will likely be extremely low there because the government wants us to catalyze spending or create incentives to go out and spend so I would say there more on the deflationary side of things as we get into 2030 and then the 2020s will be more inflationary. So the big thing is to look at the US in general is a very reactionary economy and a reactionary nation. We wait for things to happen and then we fix them we are not proactive because because if we are proactive this would not be a problem right now and it’s a very good reference here. I'm not sure you've heard the seen the movie Armageddon with Bruce Willis and there's an asteroid coming to earth and basically they send out your crew out there and you have to blow up this asteroid before it crosses a threshold and if he passes that threshold the earth is done for. Similar to the economy in this 2030 depression if we don't fix things in the next few years we can do whatever we want in the few years before the Great Depression it's not going to solve it. Buck: And what will these things be? Catherine: I mean we have two sub eight so what we're looking at is the deviation in the Delta between the the tax receipts and our entitlement programs. So we have Social Security Medicare Medicaid because our national debt right now is you know over twenty two trillion dollars we need to move the needle somewhat by either raising taxes or decreasing those type of transfer payments by the government because if that continues our debt’s going to increase and increase and increase and there's easy ways to do that with especially with social social security. Right now it's a twelve point four percent tax employer employee contribution for social security. You increase that to fifteen percent as decades added to the Social Security ability to pay it to pay out you get rid of the hundred and thirty four thousand cap dollar salary cap that's on Social Security you add decades more on top of that but it's political suicide. So if it does that's something we'll let you know and integrate into our outlook but we really don't think that it's likely going to take place. Buck: The reason I keep asking you about this depression you know this deflationary versus inflationary aspect is that you know you mentioned a couple things about what happens in 2030s and you know all of a sudden you know the the feds gonna be you know the rates will be negative and when all of that happens and there's helicopter money in reviving reviving the economy at that point I'm just wondering what happens if I'm owning real estate at that point is that real estate go way up and in nominal value or does it go down? You see what I mean like that's and I'm not an economist I don't really understand this part but I you know it seems to me that with all the activity that would be necessary to mitigate some of the the pain in the 30s that you would need to print a lot of money right and then in that scenario would the value of assets nominally go up? Catherine: I think that there would that would be essentially mitigated by the fact that it's kind of we're going to be in this in this depression but assets such as real estate is something that we think you need to hold on to for this point in time. And the reason for that is because it you need to weather the storm with your assets especially on the real estate side on that land because we're coming out of it in the later parts of the 2030s so is it on a time frame basis you want to hang on to that for a full reason too. We look back at the at the O 809 recession that we went through they were the huge might shift away from single-family housing into renting multifamily because no one could qualify for a mortgage people were defaulting on their mortgages so they needed to rent instead so if you own housing in the next 10 years that's a source of income for you god forbid does you know a job is lost during that time in the 2030s if that's the case you still have assets such as housing takfir potentially to rent or if your kids are out of a job you can you can have a place for them to live things like that where you have these assets that you're able to kind of bring in that cash flow and then weather the storm through the 2030s and be back on your feet pretty well again. It's really so difficult for you know housing prices to really fall off a cliff because you know 08-09 was centrally housing it was all tied to housing. This downturn 2030 will not be all tied to housing so we don't expect a similar type of movement in the housing market than we did 10 years ago. Buck: Yeah although presumably you know rent rent will have to go down those kinds of things. I'm also assuming that you know and I'm focusing on real estate because we're such a real estate heavy show but the I would also assume that if you were gonna hold that real estate through the 2030s that you would be thinking you'd be best off probably having things with pretty low leverage. Catherine: Yeah absolutely well I think just was just weathering that storm in the in the early twenty thirty period independent it's different for every type of situation you want the you want the property by the water Canada is a big one too if you can get to the Great Lakes on up you know the north or south side of them those are the types of areas where you'll really come out on top because people will probably be looking to move in in the 2030s as you know if the economy is wreaking havoc with this depression people typically like to get up and move there at the job and that's when there's going to be more activity in the overall housing market. Buck: How about throughout the world is this will this be a global depression or is there any countries that will be spared or at least minimally hit? Catherine: Yeah this will definitely be a global recession our depression it will definitely wreak havoc globally. If you look at the US Europe China and Japan those four countries together are seventy six percent of the global economy. I mean that's a really really big number there. All those four are going to be going into this depression they're definitely going to be some safe havens which I'll get into but so we look at your pan there in that this is something I like to say is that you know what once Japan turns we know that the US is going to follow suit because Japan is in such a terrible population growth pattern they're popular you know with the one-child policy in China even all of Asia or most of Asia is just really really bad the sale of adult diapers has surpassed the sale of baby diapers in Japan it’s wild so once they're going to be the first to tip because you think you want in terms of population growth in birth rates you want you want an upside-down pyramid you want it funnily you want each generation to be larger than the other. I mean my parents my mother is one of nine you don't see that anymore. So who's going to be watch which who's going to be stimulating this economic growth with their taxes? We need to create some more ways to increase those taxes and I mean Japan also their government tax funded is sponsoring dating websites like tinder those types of random dating websites because they want people to have babies they need to have their baby so this will definitely be a global downturn in some of the areas that are opportunistic and I know that Brian and Alan Beaulieu our CEO and president here at ITR they talk about it in in their book Prosperity in the Age of Decline, Switzerland Canada Australia those three are some pretty good financially stable countries that may weather the storm a lot better. If we look at the difference between I mentioned earlier that our transfer payments in the US are much higher than what we're bringing in and tax receipts it's the opposite for Canada. They're taking in more than what they pay out in terms of transfer payments they're financially much more stable so is Australia and Switzerland they're going to be the winners or they'll win the most, I'm not going to say they're not going to fall but they're going to safe havens to you know once once Japan tips get out of equities go into bonds in those particular three countries those will be the safe havens as well as the countries that have a good younger population because those again won't be hit as hard with the with the younger generation being kind of picked it back on their feet again even absorb a lot of the assets when these older generations die off that's something that we think that could potentially buoy the impact of this depression is all the assets that are transferred in excluding the the death tax to the younger generation could put to mitigate some of the severity of the downturn with all of those assets being transferred. Buck: Interesting. Well it is always fascinating to hear about this I guess this demographic cliff really. So for real estate investors hold on to things maybe decrease your leverage etc during that period of time but in the meantime try to make as much money as you can in the next decade I think. So tell us a little bit more about where we can learn about your work and the work of ITR economics. I'm a subscriber to one of your newsletters but maybe you can tell us a little bit about that and how how people could potentially sign up. Catherine: Yeah absolutely so we offer some great quality products and emails and services so you can subscribe to our free services if you go to our website ITREconomics.com there should be a resources tab at the top and then you scroll down to the free enrollment for the updates and what we'll do is we'll just send out periodic emails of usually on a monthly basis of what's going on in the economy just kind of a blurb here and there. It's a really great piece of just you know insightful insightful information for what's happening and what's new in the economy today or tomorrow. Buck: Absolutely and you know one of the things I think is really interesting is being able to get ahead of stuff with the smart team that really is more unbiased than I think a lot of the economists that you hear in the press so again thanks very much for being on the show, Catherine. Catherine: Of course thank you I’m very happy to be here and happy to do it again. Buck: Thank you that would be great. We'll be right back
2020.01.23 18:10 InitiatePenguinThe Landscape on Paid Family & Medical Leave [MensLib / 1.22.2020]
Our Demographic here in MensLib tends toskew younger, and unmarried. So I wanted to bring some attention on these policies so that as we grow older and one day might choose to start a family, we can be better informed now, so these polices will be in place when that moment comes. This post will largely consider the American system, but please do not limit discussion to the U.S. or your personal experience with other programs below. There’s been a lot of consternation in the U.S. over healthcare policies and it tends to overshadow a lot of other related proposals. Policy-wise, when it comes to child care there’s generally two things progressives look at. First, how to make child care more affordable in the pre-school years through various initiatives and tax credits. Or throughdaycare facilities (private, government or employer sponsored) and private care workers. Second, how to make the process and financials of major life events mesh better with the expectations of work and economic stability – be it the actual birth of a child, or another medical emergency for yourself or a loved one.This post considers the latter, and assumes another system for child care after parental leave will take over. This is not the time to advocate for less working hours to stay home, for high enough wages to afford a nanny, for workers to get their share of leisure and wage growth fromincreases in productivity through technology and automation. In an economy that currently expects both parents to work without serious protections for workers and economic stability, and a country where child-rearing is still a heavily gendered responsibly, we must advocate for programs with clear progressive values, positive results and that already show the political will to enact. PFML = Paid Family Medical Leave FMLA (1993) = Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
What is Paid Family Leave and who does it affect?
Sometimes referred to as parental leave, paid family leave is a worker’s benefit provided by employers or the government to allow paid or unpaid time off from work for or a certain duration to parents for the purposes of recovering from child birth, parental bonding, and economic/job security. Paid leave typically provides a reduced wage replacement during this period that is administered by either the government or the employer. Most people in the U.S. do not have paid family leave. Only 19% of workers in the U.S. have paid family leave to care for a child or a seriously ill loved one. Sometimes parents can be covered by Employer Short-term Disability Policies, but still, only 40% of workers are covered in those cases. Access to paid family leave has only grown 6% over the last 5 years (13%-19%), where the highest wage workers have seen as 12% increase (22%-34%), and low-wage workers have seen a 2% increase (4%-6%). Nearly two-thirds of full-time employees (63%) who are parents did not take paid parental leave in the US and over three-quarters of women (77%) indicate their spouse/partner is not eligible for paid parental leave. Millennials (48%) are much more likely to take paid parental leave compared with parents of older generations when they had children. 7% of people who filed for bankruptcy cited the birth of a child as the cause. “Sandwich caregivers” are those who are caught between the demands of both childcare and caring for an adult family member. National Alliance for Caregiving cite these caregivers provide 22hrs a week of care and have to cut hours during prime working and long-term saving years. Sandwich caregivers are 19% Baby Boomers, 31% Millennials and 49% Gen X and often lack workplace benefits while juggling care.
A History of Family Leave in the U.S.
The U.S. is one of a very small number of countries (“one in two”, “only industrialized nation”, “one of three within in U.N.” “only rich country”, “only OECD Country”), that has no guaranteed paid leave of any kind. Often, we don’t think about it as economic security or support and that means people rely on a patchwork of state policies, other family members (and their employee benefits if they have it) vacation/sick time, or taking unpaid leave via 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, but there’s no standard or guarantee that says you deserve, and should have access to, paid family leave no matter where you live, where you work, the type of job you have, or whether you’re caring for a child versus an older facility member dealing with a serious illness. The U.S. culturally prioritizes work, and fetishizes hard work as the key to social mobility. It is the reason why you see work requirements in a lot of welfare programs despite them not working. PFML likewise is designed with workers in mind who will continue working. And unlike some European policies that are pro-natalist that historically (some still do) separated men and women because for gender roles, it’s critical that PFML in recognizes parents regardless of gender will work and will need leave at some point to take care of themselves, a child, or a family member. Traditionally, the movement for paid leave has largely centered on state and local policies or those voluntarily adopted by employers or negotiated through union contracts. The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 Prior to 1992, George H. W. Bush vetoed a FMLA twice. When Bill Clinton was elected it became a domestic priority. The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, signed into law by Clinton, provided the following measures. Eligible Employers:
Private-sector employer, with 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, including a joint employer or successor in interest to a covered employer; Public agency, including a local, state, or Federal government agency, regardless of the number of employees it employs; or Public or private elementary or secondary school, regardless of the number of employees it employs. Eligible Employees: Works for a covered employer; Has worked for the employer for at least 12 months; Has at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12 month period (~24hrs a week) immediately preceding the leave*; and Works at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.
This effectively restricted these benefits to 41% of the workforce. It entitles eligible workers up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for:
The birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care; To care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition; For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; or For any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status.
Some states picked up where the government left off. California was the first state to implement a state program for family leave in 2002 (effective 2004) , New Jersey the second. These two states have served as a model for much of the future legislation. Since 2002/2004 California has made several improvements and expansions and the overall effects have been: Improved Labor Force Participation, Improved Earnings (particularly for women, POC, and low wage workers), people are taking more care of their family members, reduced utilization of nursing homes by 11% (addtl. Medicaid savings), decrease in shaken baby syndrome diagnosis and improved outcomes around ADHD and Education. Plus, more men are spending time with their new children. Utilization for men have gone increased form less than 15% to 40% of all baby bonding claims, foreshadowing a cultural shift in gender equality. In Rode Island’s program 1/3 of all leave takers were men. When men takes leave it makes it easier for women to go back to work, there is less gender bias, and women have better outcomes. Nationally, among U.S. adults “who have taken – or who needed or wanted but were unable to take – parental, family or medical leave in the past two years” Pew Research says the median length of leave taken by new fathers is 1 week, compared to 11 for new mothers. Workers making more than $75,000 a year will take on median twice as much leave as those making less than $30,000. Ernst and Young places the average of paid leave at 4.5 weeks for women and 2.3 weeks for men. As of July 2019, eight states (California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, Washington, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Oregon) and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that grant parental leave as part of state paid family and medical leave insurance laws, with 4 being effective currently. As of 2016, 12 states (Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming) have passed zero legislation protecting working families since the FMLA in 1993. Originally California had a wage replacement of 55% and a cap of $1,000 a week, and New Jersey had a wage replacement of 66% and a cap of $500 a week. Both programs were found to be insufficient for low wage earners and the higher of both values became the basis for future legislation, including the National Paid Family Leave Act sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). Some states (Oregon, California, D.C. & Massachusetts) have benefits granted on a progressive scale - either where more wage would be received at the beginning weeks of leave to help workers transition or by giving more family leave benefits to workers with less income. There’s a new calling for a national standard: The Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act (H.R. 1185/S. 463) Every Year since 2013, this bill has been reintroduced. When it was first introduced it had support from 6 senators (all democrats) and 57 house seats. And now it has 37 senators and 203 house members, (including 1 House Republican! Chris Smith – NJ). You can see whether your senator or house member are Co-sponsors by following these links. Republicans oppose it because it is an increase in taxes. The FAMILY Act’s goal is to create a national Paid Family and Medical Leave program set up as a social insurance fund that would guarantee workers up to 12 weeks paid (at 66% of their wage, capped at $4,000 /month indexed yearly) to care for a new child - through birth, adoption, or foster placement, medical emergency and all the same considerations that already exists in the 1993 law without the eligibility restrictions and with pay. The Social Fund would manifest as a 4/10ths of 1% payroll contribution (a .02% tax increase a week on both the employee and employer side - equivalent to 1/18th of social security). It would look like social security in the way funds are taken out on your paystub and is conceptually and structurally similar. That cost would pay for the benefits itself and the administration, outreach, and education of the program. The Center for American Progress estimates that the FAMILY Act would make 77 percent to 84 percent of all U.S. workers eligible for paid leave. Employers will still be able to compete by offering workers more than this standard requires.
I heard there’s an Election, What are the Candidates Saying?
First off, they are listening to the people:
8 in 10 voters support a comprehensive national paid family and medical leave policy that covers all people who work (84%).
8 in 10 feel the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) needs an update (82%).
Voters prefer paying for a national paid family and medical leave policy through a shared cost between employers and employees.
Despite the makeup of the current support for the FAMILY ACT, it receives bipartisan support from Republican and Democratic voters.
The CATO Institute poll is unreasonable and an outlier. Median Wage workers can expect to pay between $76.85 and $97.72 depending on part-time work status. Most anyone will pay a year is $250 year for the highest wage. CATO’s poll still says 78% of Americans support a federal program and a majority of Americans (54%) support $200 on a federal leave program.
Small Business 7 in 10 in favor payroll tax contribution, family leave insurance
Almost all presidential candidates have policies. All of them who do use the FAMILY Act as baseline, but some have gone farther. Many candidates also have polices detailing other worker protections like sick/vacation days, childcare, and early education. I only researched candidates polling above 3% on average. Sen. Bernie Sanders – Co-Sponsor of the FAMILY Act Sen. Elizabeth Warren – Co-Sponsor of the FAMILY Act Former V.P. Joe Biden – How long should paid maternity leave last? 12 weeks. Should maternity leave be paid for by employers? Government? Combination? Government. (Note: Government paid is the least popular method according to polling) Mayor Pete Buttigieg – “enhanced” version of the FAMILY Act Michael Bloomberg – supportive. Details unknown. His company provides 6 months (27 weeks) of leave. Andrew Yang – How long should paid maternity leave last? Nine months to be split between parents; six months for a single parent. Should maternity leave be paid for by employers? Government? Combination? Combination. Sen. Amy Klobuchar - Co-Sponsor of the FAMILY Act Donald J. Trump – proposal includes paid leave for mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents. (only parental leave, no medical) The proposal provides six weeks of paid leave, is financed through state unemployment insurance (UI) systems in partnership with the federal government, and is paid for by offsetting reforms to the UI system. During his administration progress has been made for parental leave (no medical leave) for federal employees for 12 weeks. Notably, Kamila Harris, before she dropped out, advocated for a 6 month 100% wage replacement policy.
I don’t Like the FAMILY Act, What are the Alternatives?
Many of these alternatives only cover family leave. They do not cover medical emergencies and other exigencies. Do Nothing, Cost of the Status Quo Center for American progress estimates families aggregated lose 20.6 billion dollars a year because of inadequate or no PFML, babies not taking wellness visits and immunizations, 23% of people returning to work within 2 weeks, 95% of dads who are not even taking 2 weeks, low wage workers don’t have bargaining power to get similar benefits, costing $300,000 on income and retirement savings for older workers who leave work to care for aging parent, higher nursing home expenses, businesses with higher turnover, higher spending made by other programs and personal bills not being paid. A regulatory mandate as opposed to a social fund Where employers are required to provide it, the government won’t be in involved. This has the potential to allow employers to discriminate against people in the hiring process (example: women who might become pregnant, or workers who appear to have a serious illness) as a business is incentivized not to make these payouts when avoidable. There would also be reasonable exemptions for small business and a social fund instead of a regulatory mandate will provide more flexibility to how money gets spent. Even larger businesses are advocating for uniformity as they are forced to comply with multiple state regulatory processes making compliance expensive. Stating: “Legislation should provide uniform standards that apply to all covered employees and that adhere to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act requirements. Doing so would benefit employees needing coverage as well as help businesses challenged by the growing patchwork of competing and inconsistent state plans … Legislation should give employers flexibility in managing paid family and medical leave benefits”. They do differ on the particulars of implementation but do want the federal government to preempt these policies. Keep in mind though what business’ incentives are, Walmart received a gold star in a lot the press by offering leave 6 weeks for family leave … for full time workers … 60% of Walmart’s workforce is part time … Small business as mentioned are in favor of a government administered tax fund. Subsidize the Employer Marco Rubio was the first republican to come forward with paid family leave plan. It was a subsidy awarded to businesses as a “25% non-refundable tax credit that voluntarily offer at least four weeks of paid family leave, limited to twelve weeks of leave and $4,000 per employee each year.” and included raising the child tax credit by $2,500. A similar plan (Paid Family Leave Pilot Extension Act) ended up inside the 2017 Tax Bill by Sen. Deb Fischer, (R-Neb) which provided a tax credit of 12.5% (up to 25%) of what the company pays towards the worker for the company. It requires companies to offer at least two weeks (12 weeks to receive the full credit) of family leave where the employee both makes less than $72,000 a year and the paid leave covers 50% of their wage. This provision was designed as a test and lasted until the end of 2019. “Social Security Parental Leave Program” by the Independent Women’s Forum / “Economic Security for New Parents Act” introduced by Marco Rubio (R-FL) and sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO). A parent of a new child could take up to 12 weeks of leave per year and receive on average 45 percent of their pay. Individuals would need to delay their retirement by about 25 weeks for each 12 weeks of leave or see a cut in their Social Security retirement benefits if they retire earlier. In addition the Urban Institute states “Participants who take 12 weeks of paid leave would experience a 3 percent decline in lifetime Social Security retirement benefits, but losses would be significantly higher for people with larger families who take multiple leaves.” With Rubio’s version it allows for each parent to pull from their Social Security Benefit in order to take 2 months of family leave, with their respective weeks transferable. According to the Urban Institute, this would be an improvement, and “replace slightly more than one-half of earnings for parents who leave work for three months and about four-fifths of earnings for parents who leave work for two months”. Naturally you would be borrowing from your future self under the assumption you'll still be able-bodied to work past the retirement date. 58% of people oppose this plan according to National Partnership.org Why take leave, when you can pull out a Loan? The Advancing Support for Working Families Act……. Bipartisan duos, U.S. Reps. Elise Stefanik & Colin Allred and Senators Bill Cassidy & Kyrsten Sinema have proposed legislation where new parents can get an advance (one-time interest free loan) on the future value of their child tax credit. It would allow parents to claim $5,000 of their tax credit with a new child and then over the next 10 years receive& $500 dollars less of the aforementioned credit. I’m #ChildFree without any intent of having a child, why do Parents get all the benefits? It is paid family and medical leave. Virtually everyone will use this program at one point or another in their life. These things are combined for a few reasons. First, it makes sure everyone is able to have some sort of skin in the game, whether you’re a parent or that your parents will grow old one day and requires care – this makes support of the program go up, as well as builds more political will to make it happen. Second, birthing is still a medical process with a lot of expensive care required and even in adoption preparing a new home for a little one is costly on top of the actual process of adoption. Third, this program is about creating economic stability for families and low wage workers that requires a more holistic approach for the ways life interrupts our work. With the Family Leave Medical Act of 1993, approximately 55% of people used it to recover from their own illness, 21% a new child, and 18% for family care giving. The FAMILY Act will cover all the same reasons but workers will also be paid. By 2050 up to 20.2% of the American population is projected to be over the age of 65. According to Ernst and Young, 25% of millennials already care for another family member. Also, here’s a link the U.S. House Oversight Committee’s hearing on Examining the Need for Comprehensive National Paid Family and Medical Leave that happened just last month. Testimony are provided by:
Jacqui Silvani - Newfields, New Hampshire
The Honorable Robert Asaro-Angelo – Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Aaron Seyedian – Founder, Well-Paid Maids
Jennifer Tucker – Senior Policy Advisor, The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
Vicki Shabo – Senior Fellow, Paid Leave Policy and Strategy, Better Life Lab, New America
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