Monday, August 23, 2021

Monday Meanderings-August 23, 2021 Edition

Another edition of Monday Meanderings. Short insights on a range of topics that I found interesting recently that might better contextualize what is happening in the world.

Joe Biden Sinking Faster and Faster 

I predicted a month ago that Joe Biden had a lot to worry about. His positive approval rating with voters was in large part dependent on the withdrawal from Afghanistan and his Covid response.

I stated at that time that I saw large storm clouds on the horizon that could cause his approval ratings to drop quickly.

That prediction has proven true.

Biden's net approval in the Real Clear Politics poll average has dropped almost 10 points in 30 days.


The RCP poll average is also undoubtedly overstating Biden's support today because several of the polls were taken before the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle.

The recent polls in the average show Biden net approval sinking another 3 to 5 points beyond what we see above.

For example, a Civiqs poll released on Thursday shows Biden -8 with his approval at just 42%.

What I found interesting in that poll was the breakdown by states.

In particular, look at Biden's net approval in some of the critical swing states.

Florida  -6

Georgia  -14

Michigan  -10

Ohio  -19

Pennsylvania  -9

Wisconsin -9

Even more troubling for Biden, look at some of the states that should be of no concern to a Democrat based on recent elections.

Connecticut +4

Illinois +3

Maine  -4

Minnesota  -1

New Hampshire  -6

New Mexico  -3

Oregon +2

Virginia  -9

Washington  +2

Why So Much Hatred For So Few?

There is so much anti-Semitism spewed by so many you would think there are at least a billion Jews oppressing people all over the world.

Do you know have many Jews there are in the world?

When a recent well known commentator was asked this question he answered one billion. He thought about it a minute and revised his number down to a more conservative 500 million.

The real answer?

15 million.

That is just 0.2% of the world population of 7.9 billion.

6.9 million live in Israel.

5.7 million in the United States.

Yes, 84% of all the Jewish people in the world live in either the United States and Israel.

There are just 1.3 million in Europe and 1.1 million in the rest of the world.

In 1939 the Jewish population in the world was 17 million.

It was 11 million in 1945.

How many Muslims are there in the world today?

1.9 billion.

Does that put things into a little better context?

Pregnancy One of The Leading Underlying Conditions for Covid Hospitalizations

We hear a lot about various underlying conditions related to those who are hospitalized with Covid.

The CDC actually tracks all of the underlying conditions for someone in the hospital with Covid on its Covid-Net website. This data source gathers hospitalization data from a surveillance network of hospitals in 100 large counties in 14 states across the country representing about 32 million people (10% of the population).

This surveillance system is the primary source for data on Covid cases related to all documented positive cases of Covid for patients in the hospital.

Below is the most recent chart from the CDC showing the underlying conditions associated with those positive cases for hospitalized Covid positive patients.

As we have heard, hypertension, obesity and metabolic disease are generally present in 50% or more of Covid positive patients.

The numbers in the chart are much higher than 100% when added together because many Covid positive cases have more than one underlying condition.

However, have you ever heard that PREGNANCY is an underlying condition in 30% of all Covid patients who have been hospitalized since the beginning of the pandemic through June 30, 2021?

as of 8/22/21

When I first saw this data (hat tip to @Jackson90771068 on Twitter) I thought it surely could not be right.

However, I checked the CDC website and this is their data.

It might be a mistake. However, if it is correct doesn't it say that there are a lot of truths about Covid that we have not been told? 

If this is true, it is saying that a large portion of what we have been told are Covid hospitalizations since the beginning of the pandemic were actually women admitted to the hospital to give birth and tested positive for Covid at that time without knowing they were sick.

What would the reaction of the American people be if when this is all over they find out that 30% of all of what we were told are Covid hospitalization during the pandemic were really women who just incidentally tested positive for Covid while in the hospital to give birth?

Granted, some of the hospitalizations might have been pregnant women who were sick from Covid and went to the ER and were admitted. Let's say that was 1/6 of them. That still leaves us with 25% who were not admitted to the hospital due to Covid. They were admitted to give birth.

Let's follow one of my rules on data and submit this data to the "smell test".

The CDC surveillance data represents about 10% of the population. It shows about 200,000 as having been hospitalized with Covid from March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

That would equal about 2,000,000 hospitalizations from Covid for the total population.

That would suggest there have been 600,000 (2,000,000 x 30%) Covid cases with pregnancy with an underlying condition.

That sounds like a LOT.

However, over the same period, there were probably about 4.8 million births in the United States (calculated using rate of 300,000 births/month in 2020 x 16 months).

600,000 positive Covid tests among 5 million women who entered the hospital to give birth is only 12.5% of all pregnant women presenting at the hospital.

That does not sound far-fetched considering the CDC estimates that 120 million Americans had been infected with Covid  as of the end of May, 2021. That is over 35% of the population. 

50% of the infections have been in the age 18-49 age cohort that would include pregnant women. That is also a disproportionate share of the cases relative to their share of the population.

This is again CDC data. 

Estimated Covid-19 Burden by Age Group
Infections, Hospitalizations and Deaths

30% of Covid hospitalizations are attributed to an underlying condition of pregnancy?

I don't know whether to believe the CDC data or not.

However, is it any surprise that the CDC has lost so much credibility in all of this?

You might also notice in the CDC data table above that individuals age 65+ have accounted for only 10% of the cases but 80% of the deaths.

Those under age 50 have accounted for 72% of the cases and 9% of the deaths.

I am still trying to figure out how these numbers justify vaccine mandates all the way down to newborn babies (we aren't there yet but I don't know what is going to stop them from trying to do it). 

Never mind that based on the CDC data, a lot of those babies may have already gotten antibodies from their mother. 

After all, they were hospitalized for Covid!


The Unemployment Divide

Wherever I go I run into business owners who tell me their biggest challenge today is finding people to work.

I have heard it personally from a range of businesses---restaurants, retirement homes, grocery stores, lawn care companies, landscapers, manufacturers. The list is long.

Democrats almost universally refuse to acknowledge that the supplemental federal unemployment benefit provided in the Covid relief package has had anything to do with employers being able to find workers.

In fact, Joe Biden told a restaurant owner in Cincinnati last month who complained about his trouble in finding workers that he needed to pay more.

Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen also stated that she didn't believe that the enhanced government unemployment benefits weren’t incentivizing people to not work.

Of course, won't it always be difficult to compete for labor if someone else (the government) is paying people not to work?

It also seems pretty obvious that most people choose leisure over work. They work because they need money for rent, food and other things. Not many will work when someone is paying for these and they can also have their leisure at the same time.

On the other hand, many Republican governors moved to end the benefit when they saw what it was doing to the labor market.

The evidence is starting to come in.

Look at this chart that shows unemployment rates comparing Republican (red) and Democrat (blue) states based on primary political representation (Governor, State House, State Senate). 


What about the trends in continued claims for unemployment over the last two months?


Perhaps paying people to not work is not a good long-term idea.

To drive the point home we have actually reached a point in the United States that I don't think we have ever seen before.

In the most recent BLS labor report it was revealed that there are actually more job openings in the United States than there are those unemployed and looking for work.

Job Openings    10.1 million jobs

Unemployed       8.7 million people looking for work


It all leads us to a unique question that Mike Shedlock of recently asked that at one time was not such an unusual question.


What would the United States look like if that was the case?

Will we ever know?

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