People want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to be part of something they’re really proud of, that they’ll fight for, sacrifice for, that they trust.

— Howard Schultz

By: Mark Glennon*

A massive social experiment is underway. How long will people stay locked up before more say, “Oh, the hell with it. I’m going out to live life as I want it.” It’s an issue that may become serious the longer shut-downs are in place.

Most people are social creatures. They love, more than they perhaps knew, their conventions, schools, churches, restaurants, concerts, parties, clubs, sports and all the rest. It’s part of the fabric of their existence.

They also like to work. Well, not everybody, but for most, work brings not just a paycheck but satisfaction and meaning. Many take pride in where they work and who they work with. “Everybody wants to be part of something bigger than themselves,” Starbucks’ founder Howard Schultz said, and he built the company’s culture on that principle. “They want to be part of something they’re really proud of, that they’ll fight for, sacrifice for, that they trust.” 

I sense that social distancing has unleashed another virus: cabin fever. It’s palpable, and it’s now compounded by spring fever.

We’re feeling suffocated by deprivation of our usual social stimulants. It’s too damn quiet. In my family, everybody overslept today, even my dog. He usually wakes me up by 6:30 if the noise and bustle haven’t. Not today. I’d like nothing more than to go to a crowded baseball game or restaurant.

Young people – no surprise – are feeling it worst. The Wall Street Journal has a great article Tuesday about how many of them are rebelling against social distancing, worldwide.

“Across Europe, where social life is shutting down faster than in the U.S., a divide is spreading between the young, many of whom say they don’t fear the virus, and their elders” says the Journal. “They’re preventing us from living,” said a 30-year-old statistician in France. “Life goes on,” said a young Hong Konger. Some, knowing they face little risk from Wuhan virus, call it the “Boomer Remover.” They’re just kidding, I hope.

And some of all ages question whether we’ve overreacted to the virus. The economic costs are indeed staggering and certain to induce a recession. “But where are all the deaths?” ask some. The number worldwide is officially about 8,000 – not much, so far. But that number is soaring quickly. Personally, I think the restraints in place are about right in light of the very dire projections for those numbers, but I am not surprised by the skepticism and I am keeping an open mind about the right policy. We need more data. On that matter, see this new article on how inadequate our current numbers are. We are driving blind.

Maybe sociologists somewhere have studied how people reacted under similar limitations. Maybe particular places have gone through it during wartime or other epidemics. China’s experience isolating people to stop the virus doesn’t count because it was forced, and Americans may or may not react as other cultures will to restrictions they, too, are facing.

It will be interesting to see.

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

 

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Douglas

It’s not cabin fever that is bothering me. I had my dad die over a year ago, and now have my widowed Mother with me who has copd and needs a shot from the doctor where history has shown a full waiting room. I’m petrified of her getting this, me loosing my job etc.

I’m already up nights with anxiety 🙁

Mike Williams

I was just thinking about all the issues I would be dealing with now if my father (also COPD among other issues) was still alive. Douglas, all you can do is the best you can under the circumstances. Maybe it will be enough and maybe it won’t. Some things are beyond our control and beyond human control. Some people find talking to others in similar circumstances helps with the stress while some find peace in religion. For me it was both.

Fed up neighbor

Douglas, things will be good keep up the good work. Just a note to all about funerals and services, my dad of 87 years passed Tuesday, we were at the funeral director yesterday and wakes are restricted to get this 10 people at a time for visitation, He will be buried at Abraham Lincoln cemetery, and there they are also restricted to 10 people at gravesite, this is just totally uncalled for, Makes my family so upset, how this will be enforced??? who knows.

Freddy

My Utmost Condolences!! My prayers are with you and your family. Take Care!

Fed up neighbor

For everyone on wirepoints, Just FYI just received a phone call from our funeral director, and now all national cemeteries are closed by the order of the federal government. The undertaker is the only one allowed to bring the bodies to the cemetery. This is just unreal, to keep smiles on faces I told him what, are they afraid all the honorable men and woman at Abraham Lincoln cemetery are gonna get sick. He laughed, let’s keep are chins up and humor going everyone

susan

Have you looked for visiting nurse/home healthcare provision, at least short-term?
Or try local health department, they may present alternative provisions in your area. Good luck.

James

Susan, your whining won’t likely work to get you what you want. You’ll have to put in some effort and massive amounts of it to get to your goal. Enlist others of a like mind, hope to recruit even more on the borderline of acceptance. I’m one who might be in that latter group in spite of your characterizations otherwise. Treat people as potential recruits to your cause and not as your enemies. In short, be smart.

susan

As you know, your attitude is repugnant to medical professionals.
Medical people do not want to cripple their community with obscene personal entitlements, medical people want predators with your entitled attitude to understand this point: if society cannot afford to give nurses what teachers receive, then society cannot afford to give it to teachers.
Your focus on the amount of ‘effort’ (is purchasing politicians’ favor considered effort?) you put in to achieve a self-serving entitlement at the expense of your community is baffling. Why would medical people want to destroy their community? Medical people risk their families’ lives to HELP their community.

Riverbender

The southern Illinois school district I am in pays school nurses just a bit more than starting janitors and considerably below teachers. A nurse can save your life; a teacher…

James

Susan, honestly I don’t know where you get all this venom you spew my way. I never once said I was opposed to your cause, yet you keep wanting to label in all kinds of trashy ways as some kind of enemy. I think your cause is a good one, but if your communications here are any clue I don’t think you should lead the pack on it. Give that process to someone with more savvy about how to get the job done. You throw verbal bombs at people you presume to be your enemies. You seem to have a… Read more »

Susan

Perhaps you take this issue too personally because it strikes a nerve? Guilt over ithriving at others’ expense due to improper political influencerather than equity?
Again, you decline to address the issue, choosing instead to attack the person threatening to disrupt your entrenched entitlements.
This issue is: if siciety cannot afford to accord nurses and doctors defined benefits similar to teachers and school administrators, society cannot afford such benefits for anyone .

James

Maybe I do have some underlying guilt, but essentially I’m no better nor worse than probably 95% of the American population in that I strive to do better in various ways–financially and otherwise, for that matter. To the extent that I can do so legally, then I do what I can do to improve my lot in life. The moral side of it is one person’s opinion versus another’s, so that’s of lesser importance to me. But, in my phoney Italian “I no makea da rules.” I simply use them to my advantage as surly 95% of my fellow Americans… Read more »

susan

That is exactly what is happening here.
Encouraging a frank public discussion about why society should reward one segment at the expense of another, at the very cost of community survival.
Your willingness to stay in the conversation is admirable.

Michael

May I offer a bit of light humor regarding my experiences growing up in Illinois which help me through this China virus shutdown? I learned that when a bad storm (blizzard, rain, or tornado) comes, I need to have meat in the freezer which I can cook on the gas stove, normal household supplies including candles and blankets if the electricity lines go down, situational awareness to decide if I need to head to the Basement (tornado), books to read during the daylight hours, and trust in God that we’ll make it through without depending on government assistance other than… Read more »

Douglas

This is extremely dangerous, and our hypocritical tyrant…oops, I mean “governor” expects compliance and obedience from his subjects. Don’t you dare think for a second that he should have moved voting to a different time. Your master (said governor) has said that long lines, lack of election judges to clean machines and lack of hand sanitizer wasn’t a risk.

I’m sure his hypocrisy isn’t noted.

debtsor

In most place countries throughout the history of civilization, the second or third (well, only second now, there’s a transgendered sibling in the family now) of a billionaire, of Jabba’s girth, would be a duke or a lord of a major duchy, probably pledging nominal fealty to a king 800 miles away on the other side of the country. These days, billionaires get stuck running the state of Illinois.

Richard Brroberg

If Hillary had won this election you wouldn’t be hearing one word about this virus.

Douglas

That’s because Hillary is herself a virus

Freddy

Prediction! Most if not ALL of the gas tax and license fee increases will somehow go to fund pensions/salaries or healthcare. Somewhere in that massive bill ($45B) there are probably some emergency powers that it could be used for events unfolding on a daily basis even though it is in a lockbox. Healthcare and an immediate property tax cut of at least 10% minimum would help. My tenants are having a harder time paying rent(this will be statewide soon) and yet when due I still have to pay tax’s to mostly school districts who are on paid furlough for probably… Read more »

susan

Rather than wasting days in quarantine twatting about nonsense, we can make time productive to medical professionals by spending an hour a day on factual research about the economic hardships burdening nurses and doctors relative to public workers who are guaranteed COLA defined-benefit pensions and taxpayer funded health insurance. If America insists on paying government workers like teachers a defined-benefits pension guaranteed for life with 3% annual inflationary increases, America should find money to give the same deal to nurses and doctors. No unions necessary, just look at any teachers’ contracts for template of the deal. Look up CPS teachers… Read more »

Freddy

Correct! One more thing to mention is that many teachers in school districts (2/3rds) have total or almost total pension pickup in their contracts. Rockford teachers are at 100% which means taxpayers are paying the entire 9.58% or so of contributions. On the checks it shows contributions but not coming OUT of their checks so S.S. and pensions are both “0” in reality. Chicago teachers pay 2% I believe and the rest from taxpayers.

susan

Thank you for making that crystal clear.

susan

And if you feel any true gratitude toward nurses and doctors who are risking their own families’ lives in public service, QUANTIFY your gratitude by becoming knowledgeable about the disparity in economic compensation between public workers and (mostly) private sector nurses and docs.
If society cannot afford similar defined-benefits compensation packages for nurses and doctors, society should re-think demanding nurses and docs bear the additional burden of funding them for others.

Freddy

I know first hand. My wife’s a nurse and in the middle of this mess at the hospital. I know teachers who are retired who make over $70K in pensions or about $40/hr which is higher that most nurses hourly salaries and they are less than 60 years old.

Fed up neighbor

Likewise, my daughter is a nurse also, all you can do is pray for there well being. It’s been said before, Illinois politicians care about one thing and one thing only. UNIONS. We are disposable in there eyes, this time I hope there pensions tank,tank,tank

Bob

My oldest is an ER nurse …the. Tip of the sword for the most part. I found it odd that she cant get tested yet unless she has travelled or been in contact with someone who travelled. Same questions anyone would be asked. Seems odd to me. I pray for her and my son in law and granddaughter.

James

Susan, some of what you’ve said here is simply not true but presented as factual apparently either because you think that’s the case or because you want to start the torch carrying pitchfork mobs marching. I won’t bother trying to educate you on what’s what in the way of truth but truly you need to be educated on some of the topics you’ve covered. My doing so would be of little interest here and would take far more time on my part to it than the value to come from the effort. Let me cover some of the basics without… Read more »

nixit

“That amount can be as high as 9.5% as compared to the 6% payable into SS.” So what? I also contribute 15% to my 401(k). So a total of 21% of my wages goes towards retirement. If I took what went into SSI and put it into an IRA instead, I’d have a retirement fund better than any pension. “when your SS pension is determined your wages from many decades ago are indexed with an inflationary factor…IL public pensions do no such thing,” That’s what you get for using only 4 years of earnings towards your pension calculation instead of… Read more »

James

Nixie, let me reply to this quote: “That’s what you get for using only 4 years of earnings towards your pension calculation instead of 35.” Yes, that’s likely part of how the whole process was bargained, and for pensioners who retire immediately after working the lack of an inflationary adjustment for earnings received very early in a long career is immaterial. But, it’s also true that for people who subsequently went to a career in the private sector many will not have their 35 years of work there causing a reduced SS pension due having a $0 entered for any… Read more »

Marcia

If you have 30 years of “substantial earnings” (This year around $25k) in Social Security, then there is no SS reduction due to Windfall Elimination Provision. That means if a teacher graduate from college at 22, teaches 10 years and gets a pension, leaves for the private sector where they work until 62 (30 years), they get both full pension and full Social Security without any deduction due to their pension.

James

Marcia, I agree. I didn’t go into that issue simply because in the case of teachers very few of those who quit teaching early work long enough for vesting as an eventual retiree from that pension system. Most who do quit early do so within their first half-dozen years. So, yes, they may get a full SS pension if working in that system for 35 years with”substantial earnings” each of those years, but any years less than required for vesting will deny them a teacher pension. That may require ten years of teaching depending upon the state. To get full… Read more »

James

Oops, you were correct to say you need 30 years of “substantial earnings” not to have your SS pension subjected to the WEP penalty. But, it’s also true that you need 35 years of work under SS to maximize your SS pension, or expect that pension calculation have $0 added for each year less than 35 you did not work in the SS system. If you had a teaching job decades ago any pension from it is likely to be small in IL even if vested in that pension system since there is no inflationary update to the wages you… Read more »

Marcia

I was refuting your position, that they were shafted 3 times over. If the person worked until full retirement age, 67, then they also would have 35 years in the private sector. Please don’t try to portray the victim due to the windfall elimination provision. I’m married to a future TRS recipient who has a very tiny future pension (probably $4k per year) who has 30 years of substantial earnings (which is why I looked up the details).

James

Marcia, please explain yourself a but more fully in relationship to your second and fourth sentences in particular. I can’t give a meaningful reply without you clarify what you are trying to convey. For example, that fourth sentence I take to mean your TRS-pension-eligible husband has 30 years or “substantial earnings” in the SS system. If its truly substantial and his SS penson is expected to be maybe $4k annually, that seems unreasonably small. Presumably that WEP not apply, so why is that SS pension so small? I don’t understand your second sentence as you chose to express the idea… Read more »

Charlotte Aines

First off, social security rate is 12.4%, employee pays 6.2% and Employer pays 6.2%. The Self employed pays the whole amount, 12.4%. If employer didn’t pay the 6.2% your taxable salary would be that much higher! The teacher pension contribution is 9.4% and taxpayer and investment gains makes up the difference. The Average Teacher total pension payout is 15 times more than what the teacher paid in. That’s a pretty good deal. the average teacher pension is $56k, average social security payment is $1500 month or $18k annually. This why the rest of us have to fund a 401k at… Read more »

James

All I can say that “cuts to the chase” is that comparing an IL public employee pension to a Social Security pension akin to comparing an rare tiger to an alley cat. We all know that. If you think they should be on par then you have two options: raise the lower one or reduce the higher one, or maybe do a bit of both for your sense of equality. Now, I suggesst you and others of a like mind get motivated, pound on doors, make telphone calls and generally go make it happen! The rest is just noise to… Read more »

Susan

1. Negotiated contracts by school boards comprised of households receiving income or pensions from school are akin to no-bid contract. 2. Teachers do Not pay any more than 2% into their pensions. Many pay zero %. This is called a taxpayer “pickup”.. TAXPAYERS put the pension contribution in on behalf of teachers. 3. As nurses pay 6.2% of salary over their careers, while as we just pointed out teachers pay zero-to-2% of salary over their careers, inflation works on both equally. However nurses are not given contractually obligated pension spiking to inflate final salaries which determine pension amounts. And as… Read more »

James

You keep inferring that I’m essentially against what you say, but that’s not the case. you seem to want what IL public employees have in the way of retirement rights. Good for you and for your colleagues, but its going to be very hard to get. First not all such medical people are public employees and in general are employees of the hospital, an entity not necessarily receiving public tax dollars directly and not in annually consistent way. Then, contrary to IL public employees you have no overall agency setting your retirements rights. Different medical agencies and hospitals likely have… Read more »

Charlotte Aines

No James, we are not complaining about social security benefits and many of us know that social security will continue to be cut as the fund is depleted, so we plan accordingly. What we resent is funding these outrageous pensions through our taxes and home equity for a benefit that was determined by politicians. To make it even more egregious, These greedy teachers will strike and hold your kids hostage to their demands if they don’t get what they want. The biggest mistake was letting public employees unionize. even Roosevelt understood that.

James

There is merit to the basic idea you state, but I have retired repeat what I’ve said already at least twice in earlier postings a few days ago. Blame those who make the rules, politicians at all levels who permit foolishness to result by the goofy or loop-hole ridden laws or rules they create. The employees might share a small part of that blame, but essentially they only do what smart people always do in every kind of job—learn both the written and unwritten rules if your employment, play by them religiously and make friends with the rule makers so… Read more »

Susan

Supposedly voters make the rules, also voters who are union members who determine their own rules.
As your attitude has repeatedly made clear: you are entitled no matter the cost to the community you inhabit. You are entitled to all the money in the community and you are entitled to servitude by medical professionals.
That attitude works well in non crisis situations but you may want to rethink it in catastrophic emergencies.

James

Don’t be so quick to bludgeon. Seek to entice people to your point of view. Show them why it’s in their interest to do so. Drop the weapons and think salesmanship. You say “voters make the rules.” In an indirect sense, yes, but you need to get at the people who do it directly. Give them what they want, and you’re closer to what you want for yourself.

susan

I keep hearing your entrenched attitude: create a self-dealing advantage at the expense of your community. To do so be a good salesman and use unions and politics to your advantage. Don’t you understand that medical professionals find your attitude repugnant?
What medical professionals is not obscene, unsupportable defined benefits that destroy communities What they want is for malignant narcissists who share your attitude to wake up and understand that you predators cannot survive once you have destroyed a critical mass of your prey.

James

You’re describing a world of fantasy, presumably shared by many. If you want something you have to work hard to get it. Its that simple.

susan

You have worked hard–if that is how you define purchasing political influence–to create a self-entitlement system which has destroyed your community.
My point is that nurses are not getting nearly what teachers are getting.
So how can you justify teachers’ entitlements?
It is that simple.
Difference between them and you: they are governed in personal behavior by senses of honor and equity.

Bob

The problem is all of these public sector contracts are “bargained” by corrupt politicians using taxpayer monies. Too bad we never had a real say in any of it.

Riverbender

The pitchfork marching will start when the eventual inability of the State to pay those pensions occurs.

Paulette Johns

‘Boomer Remover’?????
Just shows how self indulgent people can be.
What goes around, comes around.

debtsor

https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilhowe/2018/03/16/the-graying-of-wealth/#2f4fcbe8302d “The relative affluence of today’s elderly is historically unprecedented. Never before have the 75+ had the highest median household net worth of any age bracket. Today, the typical 80-year-old household has twice the net worth of the typical 50-year-old household. As recently as 1995, they were about equal. ” Just think about that for a second….quite frankly, I don’t blame younger people for disregarding the virus precautions. All of this destruction of the economy is to save old wealthy people. The rest of us are losing our jobs and businesses so an old rich person (who pays little to… Read more »

Pension lawyer

It could be interesting to explore this in greater depth if readers and commenters would accept facts without superimposing a “politically correct” filter. For example: 1) Net worth disparity may simply reflect that more old people have paid off their mortgages and are holding on to their houses at a time when many places have a shortage of housing. I expect more elderly people will continue to do that because moving to a retirement or nursing facility now involve risks that were not apparent previously. 2) While the aging demographic “means” that young people may be asked to pay greater… Read more »

debtsor

1) It’s the fact that *every investment* in your lifetime has gone up in value. Your house, commercial real estate, stocks, bonds, commodietes, art, rare books, beanie babies, you name it, it’s gone in value. The younger generations have only known investments to be expensive as the world has been flooded with fiat money that drove up the value of everything. 2) Elderly people have all the power and the money. You’re crazy if you think that young people voting will change that. 3) Inherited wealth will be split among heirs. And the fire sale devaluation assets make it easier… Read more »

Pension lawyer

Does prospective devaluation (#3) offset the value growth noted in #1? Certainly devaluation will advance the date when pension systems run out of money. Also, those systems must continue to sell assets in this down market to pay fixed or growing monthly pensions. What I’m asking is whether this health crisis could address some aspects of the Illinois financial crisis. How? By making it clear that public employee compensation and benefits are too high and that we have too many public employees protected by tenure and union contracts. While that is self-evident to many, the voters and legislators may finally… Read more »

Riverbender

Public workers have figured out how to redistribute the value of your home to their pensions.

Joe Blow

not sure how to get in touch with mark but thought this possibly true? story might be worth noting

Illinois, Ohio and California releasing prisoners early and not charging for petty crimes due to virus… lol

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8121651/Los-Angeles-County-release-600-inmates-cuts-daily-arrests-300-60-against-coronavirus-spread.html

Poor Taxpayer

The Corona Virus is doing everyone in Illinois a favor. Now you will run for your economic life.
What Destroyed Illinois is the Democrats and they never change.
Move to a zero income tax state and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
I am a multi millionaire just on the tax savings over the last 40 years.
It really does add up over a lifetime of saving and investing.
Illinois greedy cops, teachers and firemen have robbed the honest working taxpayer of their retirement.

Benicia

Prediction: If Cook County hands Gov. Toilets his income tax amendment, watch for the immediate bait-and-switch. It won’t be just for rich guys anymore.

Hank Scorpio

Mark, I have a request inline with the social-distancing theme: it would be nice if we had an “Ignore” feature that lets us hide all comments from certain users.

James

That’s always tempting, but basically you are startinig to show signs here of ignoring other points of view–at its extreme not a good human trait. We all do that, but we shouldn’t. I think Mark is absolutely on the right side of it, only excluding (or hiding presumably) comments that egregiously cross the line of decent forms of expression. I vote for free expression otherwise. Read it or not, but selectively “hiding” another person’s point of view so as never even to see it seems counter to American values (of old at least).

Hank Scorpio

I have no issues with people who have different points of view as long as it shows some level of substance. I welcome critical thought from all angles.

I’m really just referring to 1 particular troll: Poor Taxpayer

EDIT: Just to be clear, this would not be a global thing — each person controls their own list of who to ignore.

Mike Williams

What! No charts or graphs? Just messing with you Mark.

For many people, phones/tablets supply plenty of social interaction. Being stuck at home with no responsibilities and a good phone would be paradise for many people I know. You are correct though, at some point face to face will become a stronger instinct.