SocraticGadfly: 5/3/20 - 5/10/20

May 09, 2020

Why Jesse Ventura became chickenshit and
wouldn't run for the Green Party prez nomination and
why won't the Green Party provide a copy of the letter?

I probably should add "apparently," as I did to the header on my initial piece two weeks ago, about the first breathless Twitterverse rumblings that The Body was running.

That said, with that qualifier, the word "chickenshit" is indeed apropos. Is it surprising? No. The man who gave Trump a two-hour campaign strategy meeting in early 2016, and said he wouldn't mind running with Trump as his Veep, but then later said he didn't have a lot of things in common with Trump, does have being chickenshit in common with Trump.

In reality, here's what happened, as I see it, based off that initial post and related thoughts.

First, Jesse apparently had intermediaries (we call them "minions" here) submit a letter of interest to the Green Party's presidential campaign oversight folks on or about April 23. If you look at his Twitter timeline and parse it carefully, which you have to do with this Just.Another.Politician.™ par excellence, he apparently didn't write or send this letter himself.


Per the likes of Dwight D. Eisenhower and other prezzies since on national security issues?

Plausible deniability.

The idea would be something like:

"A lot of folks have been pushing me to run for the Green Party presidential nomination. I personally thought it was too late to get in the race this year, but, in case it's not, and to satisfy these political boosters, I asked some of them to draft a letter of interest on my part to the Green Party."

Since said presidential oversight folks at the Just.Another.Political.Party™ Green Party have NOT seen fit to make this letter public — I said on the GP's official Facebook page it should be done without the likes of me having to ask and beg for it — we don't know what's in it. So, I'm going to do a bit of speculation.

(Update, June 26: A week ago, I asked the party's Presidential Campaign Support Committee, by email not webmail, to cough up the letter. Hasn't happened.)

So, second, as the Jesse-stanning was already happening in 2018, and since, as noted in my first post, Jesse is dead meat to the Libertarian Party, he knew that the Greens — unless he wanted to go someplace smaller, like the Constitution Party, which would have rejected him — were his only real political choice outside of going independent.

But, by not writing the piece himself, he could look like a disinterested bystander.

In reality, I think the interest was 75 percent organic on Jesse's part, and 25 percent on various Jesse-stanners, many of whom, like him, may have conspiracy theory elements in their background, be haters of Howie Hawkins over his take on Russia, with which I agree more than I disagree, and similar things.

I think Jesse himself has eyed the GP nomination process enough to know that there is some dissatisfaction with Hawkins but that Dario Hunter hasn't been able to gain traction.

That's that.

Third, Jesse was a hypocrite on this. He called out Primo Nutbar for allegedly posting a clickbait Tweet, and claimed all he had done was endorse the Green Party and was being misinterpreted. Yet, he had "authorized" this letter.

(Update, June 26: Primo broke the news two weeks earlier that Jesse was crapping in the bed of the Green Party and would write in his own name for prez. Here's my take on not only that basic fact, but related, and ongoing, censorship by the Green Party, since their official Facebook group IS official that makes the censorship official.)

Third, part two: Who was playing good cop and who was bad cop? Were Primo, or a Bill Cimbrelo, in on this from the start?

Fourth, then, what was likely in that letter?

I suspect Jesse was asking, through his surrogates, if delegates that have already been chosen are formally bound and pledged to a certain candidate. I think he figured if he could pick off 20 percent of Hawkins' support, and most all of Hunter's, he could pull this off.

(Update, May 27: And, I think I know what particular reasoning was/is behind that. Libertarian Party presidential delegates are NOT bound. All LP state primaries AND caucuses/conventions are "beauty contest" only.  Given Jesse's Libertarian background, I think this explains why he thought he could see if something similar was the fact, or at least a possibility, among Greens.)

And, I have officially webmailed the party with a request for the PDF of the letter as well as spelling out whether pledged delegates are "bound" or not.

I have been told they are bound, but first-ballot only. I'd like official confirmation. And, I'd like clarification if that's a state GP rule, and if so, does national GP have ANY rule? (I've seen seen more that, while state parties make the rules here, with most states, they're bound, at least for that first ballot.)

I'd also like to see the letter for other reasons.

Did it ask if the convention, before voting for presidential candidates, could vote to suspend those rules?

Did it ask, "decentalization" key value aside, if the national party could intercede with state parties on any state party deadlines that were party-imposed, and not state officialdom imposed? This ties to the above. It also ties to other issues that are fixing to come to a head on this site and likely at the convention.

I have found an old set of rules for the convention, but can't find a thing about whether delegates are bound or not, or whether the national GP even has a rule if state parties do not.

Given the "decentralization disorganization" that the GP sometimes has, Jesse may have figured that it would be a lot of hassle to ask for "relief" from the rules with state parties that have already had conventions or primaries, and that, per my initial post, he'd have to hope for a lot of butt-kissing stanners in positions of power in several different state parties.

Fourth, a special sidebar: The reasons I'd like to see that letter have only been increased by new news as of yesterday. Jesse claimed "the logistics are not going to happen." He claimed he'd have to give up his job and lose health insurance. I have no idea what this claim means. If he means his RT talk show? The Fairness Doctrine doesn't exist, so no, he wouldn't have to do that, and it's questionable whether RT being registered as a foreign agent means he'd have to quit. If he means that he'd have to not work in order to actively campaign? That was always going to be the case.

This gets more "delicious" with another story from this announcement, where he says he's open to the GP nominating him at a brokered convention. Really, Jesse? But, wouldn't you still have to quit your RT job because it's RT, or else just to have time to actively campaign? In either case, the same limitations apply as if you decided to run now.

What a lying sack of shit. Or box of dicks.

Beyond that, Jesse is over 65 and thus eligible for Medicare.

There's also one other possibility. Maybe Jesse didn't want to have to file an FEC financial disclosure, for whatever reason. That TOO would make him like Trump.

Fourth, part two, whose names were actually on the letter?

Fifth, will I get an actual response? Heh, heh.

Sixth, will I write a follow-up if I don't? Heh, heh, heh.

Update to the last two points, May 16: On May 13, I got a "welcome to the Green Party" form letter email back. I immediately responded with this: "Hey, thanks for sending me a form letter. Now, send me a copy of the letter of interest that Jesse Ventura's minions sent the Party. I asked for it a full week ago or more."

Update, May 27: My response to that form letter has not received a reply.

May 08, 2020

Top blogging in May

Here's a roundup of the most popular posts with readers in the last month.

No. 1 was an old post about religious discrimination and colleges, perhaps triggered by people clicking tags on one of my two posts about how the government can rightfully close churches in a pandemic under the First Amendment. The second of those two posts, which more explicitly called out sinful pastors for disregarding Romans 13, was at No. 3.

No. 2? Me calling out all the bullshit behind Jesse Ventura's alleged interest in chasing the Green Party presidential nomination.

No. 4? An even older blast from the past. And yes, Timothy Treadwell really was fucking nuts, and as a result, he is really dead.

No. 5 and No. 6 are closely tied; coronavirus by death toll became very much "not just the flu" in April. Sadly, we have too many lefty wingnuts joining just plain wingnuts in COVID conspiracy thinking.

No. 7 was Week 6 of the coronvirus-related splitoff of the Texas Progressives weekly roundup.

No. 8 was from the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The oil price implosion means, if anything, it's more true than ever that there will be blood for oil.

No. 9? The Saudis are milking Arizona dry.

No. 10? Totally non-newsy. Baseball fans, especially St. Louis Cardinals ones, get to see me trace a nearly complete circle from the just-deceased Al Kaline to Don Denkinger of 1985 World Series fame.

Jobs report: Will 14.7 percent of Americans ...

The header comes from the new jobs report, putting the unemployment rate at 14.7 percent, the worst since the Great Depression.

With that in mind, some quick questions.

1. Will 14.7 percent, or more, of MAGAs finally realize Trump doesn't care about them, and simply is using them as tools and fools?

2. Will 14.7 percent, or more, of Democrats realize Biden doesn't care much more? And that Obama didn't before him? As if they needed more proof, per the photo?

3. Will 14.7 percent, or more, of either No. 1 or 2 realize that the answer is in third-party voting and that this third party is NOT the Libertarians?

4. Will 14.7 percent, or more, of coronavirus conspiracy theorists, including from that Green Party third party, stop it?

5. Will 14.7 percent, or more, in the various groupings above who consider themselves anarchists in some way realize that, while it might be fun at first, it's eventually puerile and sterile and doesn't actually solve anything?

6. Will 14.7 percent, or more, of Americans as a whole learn anything from all this?

Regular readers will recognized these questions as all being rhetorical and all expecting the answer "no." On 1 and 2, as long as neither duopoly party embraces national health care, they DO NOT CARE. Libertarian nuttery on deregulation is bad enough in general and horrendous at a time like this on No. 3. Unfortunately, as I've blogged before, on the horseshoe theory, there's too much of No. 4. No. 5? The only anarchists over 40 are professional philosophizing ones; that's the puerile. The sterile? As the Black Bloc has shown, by nature, anarchism only destroys. It doesn't create anything new.

No. 6? There's COVIDIOTS in the broad as well as narrow sense.

May 07, 2020

Greg Abbott, violator of the Texas Constitution?
And what's up with ConservaDem Kim Ogg?

And the Texas Supreme Court, an aider and abetter?

Abbott retroactively removed criminal confinement from his orders about closure of certain businesses, and therefore ordered that the convicted Shelley Luther be released. The Texas Supreme Court agreed.

But, is an executive order the functional equivalent of a law? Texas' constitution, like the federal one, explicitly prohibits ex post facto law.

Second question. Per the story link, why didn't Harris County DA Kim Ogg cite (and maybe arrest) the stylists who "serviced" Briscoe Cain and the other legiscritter? I'm presuming this did not happen.

Oh, and contra wingnuts? Shelley Luther is still a convicted criminal.

As for the rest of Abbott's statement? Texas still remains 48th in the nation in testing rate per capita, and still has many rural counties without hospitals and almost no other means of testing period. Meanwhile, he's flat-out lying on stats. Active cases and new daily cases both trended upward again starting near the end of April.

Meanwhile, the best EXTREMELY hot take?  Dale Hansen, of course:


Meanwhile, fuck Ted Cruz and his law-disrespecting privileged white ass.

As for poor titty baby Shelley Luther? Here's the info on her LLC-incorporated business. The Lewisville residence at which it's located? Valued at a cool $1.5 million.

Shelley herself owns other houses and properties. Suburban slumlord? A house, it seems, plus a mother-in-law cottage, or something, on the same site, both in Pilot Point. Combined value? $400K.

(Update, June 20: Somehow, I missed this late May Richie Whitt piece at the Dallas Observer. Beyond what I note above, it's a wild animal ranch as well as house at that Pilot Point site. She also gets child support money from not just one but two ex-husbands. And she took a Caribbean cruise during this time. The big house, though, is ex-hubby No. 2's, it seems.

That said, she now has a live-in boyfriends, and the Religious Right portion of her backers hasn't commented on her being a two-time marriage loser and now living with someone outside of wedlock. If a black person did that?

And found? Picture with story of nightclub singer/musician "Shelley Porterfield" before divorce No. 1, singing in Cleburne.)

Per the "Kim Ogg" headline? The place where Briscoe Cain got his hair cut? Cite the place if Linda Hidalgo won't. Better yet, call a grand jury. No, really. And see if you can't tie enough threads together to charge Cain with engaging in organized criminal activity, under the stance that an executive order that has the same penalties as a Class A misdemeanor IS a Class A misdemeanor.

Texas progressives are looking to get back to normal

But, once again this week, there was enough coronavirus news and stupidity from around the state, nation and world to split the Roundup into two. And, contra Gov. Strangeabbott reopening hair salons tomorrow, we're not looking to jump the gun on getting back there.

Here's the normal insights and hot takes from outside your normal political box.

Texas politics

Circle your calendars for June 23. That's when the state's 14th Circuit hears the appeal in the Dikeman vs Hughs case regarding third-party candidate fees.

Off the Kuff looks at that poll from PPP showing Joe Biden with a one point lead over Donald Trump in Texas.

The Texas Signal compares Greg Abbott's approval bump to those of other governors.


Learn the truth about Johnny Cash's first wife — if you knew he had one.

Helping the homeless in Midland. (I'm sure the problem's only ramped up with the oil crash and the refusal of landlords and realtors to adjust.)

Talking suburbs in Texas and beyond — myth vs truth, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Lawrence Wright talks about his new pandemic novel, which, by serendipity of some sort, while not about coronavirus, is out now. And, while it's a novel, it includes a very real Alex Jones.

Dos Centavos shares his tortilla recipe.


The 1619 Project winning a Pulitzer Prize in the face of its numerous errors called out by left-liberal and leftist professional historians — some of whom made their own errors, as I showed in my pox on both houses blog post — is about like Obama winning the Nobel Piss Prize. It's virtue signaling for who they're not, as much as anything.

Juanita checks in on Mother Pence.

May 06, 2020

Once more, Scott Santens is deconstructed

Unfortunately, as Politico noted with Andrew Yang, more than two years ago I noted in the past with Scott Santens, pictured above — he doesn't have the math.

And, he doesn't necessarily have the dope otherwise. (And, both he, and then UBI grifter Tulsi Gabbard, endorsed Biden rather than Sanders.)

As for Santens' "the robots will steal all our jobs"? As with Yang, that fear is probably overstated to a degree. Going beyond Politico, though, it's also misfocused to a degree. If computer software can write up sports briefs and county real estate sales into stories, and now, on the video side, Reuters has a VR bot newsreader for teevee, why can't I program a bot to scrape BI postings by others and create Schotte Ohnezehn?

Doug Henwood weighs in more on this at Jacobin.

That said, although Santens hasn't maybe written directly about that? I suspect he knows that. I suspect reason he's writing these BI articles, and as a libertarianish type in Class Three of different economic classes, touting the cures of cryptocurrency as well. Follow the money, even if cybermoney.

Finally, the fact that Santens has a Business Insider piece from 2016 saying that Trump might be the Basic Income Moses leads me even more firmly to the conviction that Santens is politically agnostic on many issues. As does the idea that he is a listed writer for the World Economic Forum. As in Davos, where all the neoliberal rich people play.

He's never, as far as I know — thus directly undercutting his claim that BI would fight climate change — addressed the stone cold reality that the energy consumption of cryptocurrency is a huge threat to our climate. (You say go green and renewable even more? Right now, we're just doing little more than running in place on that.)

Related? His past citing of Alaska's Permanent Fund of a good example of basic income is also problematic, or should be, especially to Green types. It's based on a non-renewable natural resource, Alaska's oil production, and one that is a direct contributor to climate change. Beyond that, as North Slope oil declines, Alaska governors have tried to cut the Permanent Fund but have failed to make major changes stick, with the result that Alaska has cut other services instead.


As for Santens saying many people eligible for TANF or housing vouchers don't get them? That's indeed true. As it is to a lesser extent (more the need to re-apply than never getting it) with SSDI. The easier solution, rather than creating a new bureaucracy, seems to me to be to fix those programs. The second half of the easier solution seems to me to be expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit as Howie Hawkins wants to do. As for other problems with SSDI, like the sharp cutoff in benefits? Again, fixing that program is the easier answer.

Contra Santens' false dilemma, I would prefer proper fixes to the various parts of the current system, which would definitely be cheaper, would not partially rob Social Security (Santens' BI plans propose this), would not totally rob disability (per that link above), and would not totally rob unemployment benefits (which he has said elsewhere he wants to do).

Santens may indeed really care about the racial issues behind food stamps today, and other things. But it's disingenuous to claim that slashing Social Security, junking SSDI and trashing unemployment benefits for an idea that's never been tried long-term and large scale anywhere in the world is "progressive." It's doubly disingenuous when, IMO, Santens ideas are designed in part to help skilled white-collar contract workers (and at the margins small business owners) who have consciously decided to accept the freedom of the contract world because they have in-demand job skills, but want protection against fallow periods.

He's wronger yet on other things.

Anybody who actually knowns anything about driverless tech knows that the idea that driverless cars on city streets will replace anybody in the next decade is sniffing Elon Musk's Tesla-tinted butt crack. It is true that small numbers of autonomous semis are "out there," but as of right now, and surely for years to come, they're "out there" only on desolate stretches of rural interstate.

As I indicated elsewhere, it's more likely that Santens as BI writer will be replaced by a web-crawler bot than that a driverless taxi will replace an Uber gig worker.

And, I haven't even talked about Santens' bad math. Oops, I did above. And I will again. A BI of $1,000 per month for a adult plus $300 per month for child will NOT "eradicate childhood poverty." It might not in two-parent households; it certainly won't in one-parent ones, especially if, per Santens, it's replacing rather than supplementing the current "safety net." From that same link, talking about BI for kids as vaccinating them against childhood poverty, with an explicit analogy to the polio vaccine? I now think we're in official intellectual dishonesty range. Ditto when he compares basic income to seniors on Social Security, which is means-tested and is at least somewhat linked to workforce employee and employer contribution amounts.

As for Santens' other mantra, that "Unconditional basic income is not left or right. It's forward."? First, that sounds like it could come out of the mouth of McKinsey Pete Buttigieg or some other tech-neoliberal type. Second, it's simply not true. A version of BI like Santens proposes is definitely not left. Since I consider it punitive in some ways, it's right. And thus, the phrase is again intellectually dishonest.

And yes, I'm at that point, more than I was two and a half years ago, the last time I dived deep on this issue. Beyond just bad math, I think Santens is ultimately guilty of intellectual dishonesty.

Oh, back to what I say is much more important than BI — single payer. Santens does support that, but even there, it's ultimately with BI wrapped in it. No. If we go beyond "just" single payer, it's gotta be to a British National Health System. (Overall, a Google of "Scott Santens" plus "single payer" got less than 100 hits. Substituting "Medicare for All" got less than 80.) And, as for Santens' claim that BI is neither capitalism or socialism? Well, I'm socialist enough to support a British-style National Health System in America. And that isn't even on Santens' radar screen. At all.

Overall politically? Santens may be on the left edge of tech-neoliberalism, rather than being more libertarian. But, it's no more than that. Beyond what I've said elsewhere, laughing about his claim that BI will help climate change? To the degree he has other ideas there, they're all tech-neoliberal salvific technologism.


If you can give me BI with honest math that doesn't penalize seniors, the unemployed or the disabled, and only AFTER the big apple bite of national health care, I'm with you.

Besides, in the coronavirus collapse, the self-employed are being made eligible for unemployment benefits. I'm OK with this in the future, with a national disaster declaration, one that's either nationwide, or for a specific area, say the Texas Gulf Coast after Hurricane Harvey.

Beyond that? There's a better option. It's Howie Hawkins' idea of expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit into a full negative income tax. And, under "neither capitalism nor socialism"? Hayek supported it too, as Reason notes in a rebuttal to Santens.

Santens would probably counterargue that a negative income tax is a form of means testing. He's right. But, if he rejects even that (and, like the current EITC, racist strings aren't attached to it, like they may be with food stamps), well, then the game is clearly up as to why Santens wants basic income.

And, if a negative income tax were also used as the basis to reduce withholding for lower-income wage earners, and also raise the income threshold for withholding, then that would put more week-to-week money in people's pockets, without the additional bureaucracy of BI.

May 05, 2020

SCOTUS gets halfway pro-environmentalist

And on a Clean Water Act case, no less, and with two conservatives — Roberts and Kavanaugh — joining the four Dems for a 6-3 ruling on County of Maui. This Texas ag lawyer's state Extension site blog has some excellent takes.

Given today's court tenor, especially, this is surely the best that can be expected.

Re the three dissenters, yes, the Supreme Court does sometimes make law.

Contra the three dissenters, this is nothing new. Statutory rules of regulatory agencies can't anticipate in advance every issue and, as the majority notes, if they tried to, they would set themselves up for evasion by loopholes.

The functional equivalent standard sounds reasonable, as long as future courts don't erode it. This court held that a functional equivalent DID exist in this case. (Oh, so much for all of Hawaii being pristine environmentalists, eh?) That said, let's note Roberts' joining the majority on Obamacare to set up a tool for later carve-outs.

Anyway, the case was remanded, presumably back to the district court level. But, with time and distance being the big standards, and given the district court's original ruling, I can't but see that it will hold for the environmental plaintiffs again and that the appeals court would refuse a new appeal.

Texas progressives coronavirus week 8

We continue to learn more about how the coronavirus works, both from its symptoms and from a history of past research on other coronaviruses.

Ed Yong has a lot more about what we know and don't. That includes showing that the current medical hero of The Resistance, Dr. Robert Redfield, was a quasi-denialist early on, along with refusing to use the testing kits that WHO already had.

Yong's biggest takeaway, though, is the problem with false positives in antibody-based testing. Based on how false positives and false negatives actually work, he shows that such tests could be wrong almost 50 percent of the time.

And, it's likely that, not only will it be a new problem in the fall, but also next spring and beyond.

Oh, and per how the CDC calculates flu deaths? COVID is FAR far beyond being "just the flu."

And, no, remdesvir is NOT the answer. It may not actually make things worse, unlike chloroquine, but it's not the answer. Orac calls out the hypesters, starting with Toady Fauci. And yes, N(ice) P(olite) R(epublican) Democrats, that's what he's going to get called here more and more.

With that, let's dig in.

Will grocery store heroes of today go back to being zeros tomorrow in the eye of much of the public, especially with their unionization efforts and how much how many Texans hate the word? Gus Bova ponders that and related issues. He adds comments which indicate many aren't thought of as heroes right now:
Jackie Ryan, a Kroger cashier in the Dallas suburb of Cedar Hill, says many customers are a long way from treating grocery workers as heroes. She’s been called a “bitch,” she says, because her store had placed limits on bread and milk purchases. “There’s the physical part and the mental part of your job,” she says. “You’re literally the human doormat. Someone can curse at you and you say, ‘Thank you. Have a nice day.’”
Wow. Cedar Hill, home of ethics-challenged former mayor Rob Franke. Maybe it's something in the water. AND? Even HEB sucks, Gus notes, cutting hours of current part-timers while hiring more temps. It doesn't suck as bad as anti-union Trader Joe's and anti-union Whole Paycheck, which was anti-union before Bezos bought it from Mackey.

Rural Texas counties don't have their own health departments. In many cases, they don't even have a hospital in the county. So, as Gov. Strangeabbott said these counties, with a list of standards that's pretty loose and won't be reinforced, could reopen at 50 percent instead of 25 percent, they don't even know if that's safe or not.

SocraticGadfly looked at some common coronavirus conspiracy thinking and how it shows the "horseshoe theory" is sometimes true.

Kenny Boy Paxton extends his grifting and grinding for campaign donor friends to out of state when rich Texans are told not to visit their Colorado summer home. Sadly, I'm almost sure the Gunnison County manager is lying about the why, and this WAS a cave to Paxton, whether as AG, or a personal "my friends will sue" lawsuit. Also sadly, why didn't Gunnison County contact Colorado Gov. Polis before caving?

The Cheating Astros can't even do right by coronavirus aid, instead being chintzers over a World Series ring.

All Texas state university system campuses, and major private universities, will be back in the fall.

In what is surely a disaster waiting to happen, some National Park Service sites are reopening this week — albeit, with visitor centers and restrooms closed in at least one case, Bryce.

It's temporary, and narrowly targeted, but Mittens Romney, of all people, supports a version of basic income.

Trump blocks Toady Fauci from testifying to the House, and what happens? The House caves in, rather than issue a subpoena. And Dems want me to support them, and not just Biden for prez. What a laugh.

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating the UT System over its ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and faulty disclosures thereof.

Ken Paxton is apparently willing to tell outright lies about voting by mail in the COVID era and judicial rulings.

Rural hospitals, you're screwed, if your future depends on a State Office of Rural Health, which is NOT inside the Department of State Health Services, but is instead inside Jesus Shotter Sid Miller's Texas Department of Ag.

Jim Schutze is willing to accept wingnut lies that sheltering-and-shutdown caused unemployment is entirely the fault of people ordering it, rather than Diaper Don's poor response, plus GOP Congresscritters, Strangeabbott et al, for not finding more ways to help people. He eventually gets better advice in the piece, but to call the first person a "smart Facebook commenter"? Jim, you travel in interesting company. Semi-contra another piece, I think it is morally right, and also tactically right with restrictions, to hope that Colleyville numnutz "get it." The tactically semi-right is that they painfully herd immunize themselves without spreading it elsewhere.

Better Texas Blog urges us to protect immigrants as they power our economy.

Eater Dallas explains the dangers of reopening for small restaurants.

Ken Hoffman finds that Hobby Airport is as empty as you'd expect right now.

Remember how Russia was allegedly fighting COVID well? Uhhh ...

Past weeks: Week 1 is here and week 2 is here. And for April 7 week, here. Week 5 is here. Ditto for Week 6. Here's Week 7. And, looking past this? Weeks 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13.

May 04, 2020

Lottery: Take the cash option after all,
especially in times of currently low inflation

This is an instance of a case where behavioral economics and behavioral psychology, exemplified in a book like Dan Ariely's "Predictably Irrational," can actually guide you to the wrong decision. (This isn't the only case. You'll see frequent claims that on pre-packaged foods, the larger size always will have the lower per-ounce price. If you check the shelving stickers, you'll find that is not true.

Back to where we were at, though.

Per the picture at left, and simple math? I can tell you that, at least right now, you should take the cash option on a lottery.

That's $30 million in inflationary adjustment for the annual payments. And, $30M divided by $115M is? 26.1 percent.

BUT, that's over 30 years!

Gotta divide again by 30.

Real answer? 0.87 percent. Yeah, it was that low in 2014 and 2015, but it's been almost twice that much every other year since the Great Recession. (More on inflation rates of the past century-plus, including monthly rates, here.) And, actually, the real answer isn't even 0.87 percent, because I didn't want to do the extra work of allowing for compound interest.

A quick teh Google to this site and dropping in the numbers of 115 and 30 years, then playing with percentages? It's actually 0.77 percent, compounded.

Uh, 2008 and 2015 are the only years since 1955 to have annual inflation rates below that.

Take the cash option.

And, if you win? Spare a brother a dime, or 0.775 percent?

Like food companies playing on a not always true truth, maybe lottery companies are doing this.

Or maybe they're banking on the post-coronavirus economy being that crappy for that long.

If THAT's the case, and actuaries are telling them that, you need to be doing other things. Maybe I do, too.