Peter Coy | In Retirement, You May Not Need to Spend So Much – The New York Times

Opinion Writer

“If the recent rout in the stock market has you drastically cutting back your retirement spending plans, it probably means that you were counting too much on ever-rising asset prices. But a new research paper suggests that spending less at advanced ages is not necessarily a sign of failure to plan. Even people who plan perfectly do it.

Let’s back up for a minute. The notion that your spending should be consistent over your lifetime is known as consumption smoothing, an economic concept developed by Milton Friedman, Franco Modigliani, Robert Hall and others. The core idea is simple: No amount of luxurious living at age 60 compensates for living in penury at 25 or 85. So you should borrow when you’re young, save and pay off debts during your peak earning years and then spend down your savings in old age. If you do it right, you will enjoy an even standard of living throughout your adult life.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Great essay. I wish it had included, that if you reduce your consumption, you will probably reduce your carbon foot print, with just a little effort.
David Lindsay wrote “The Tay Son Rebellion,” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Alone in a New World With Vast Open Space, and Sheep – The New York Times

“ENGINEER PASS, Colo. — The baas, bleats and bells were fading ever so slightly, and the shepherd’s trained ear detected that his flock was veering off the path home, for this was the soundtrack of his life in the Rocky Mountains. “The sheep must be herded,” he said in Spanish, as he quickly ascended a hill overlooking a meadow.

Then the herder, Ricardo Mendoza, whistled loudly, commanding his two dogs to coax his 1,700 sheep closer to his campito, a tiny shed with a single sun-bleached word — “HOME” — over the door. His employer had hauled it up a winding, unpaved road used by 19th-century miners to this 13,000-foot pass shortly before Mr. Mendoza arrived with his horse, pack mule, dogs and sheep, ready to settle into the last outpost of his seasonal nomadic journey, about 65 miles north of Durango in western Colorado.

Mr. Mendoza, 46, has spent most of the past decade living in these rugged, remote mountains, herding sheep raised for wool and meat from spring to fall. “You live in complete solitude, just you, your animals and your thoughts,” he said, gazing at the windswept tundra below the soaring Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn peaks.”

David Lindsay: Good article, and comments. Here is one I liked:

Kevin Ott
Crested Butte, COSept. 23

This is a nice article romanticizing the grazing of domestic sheep high in the subalpine tundras of the American West. Just weeks ago, we backpacked across this exact area of the Uncompahgre Wilderness NE of Engineer Pass. Wilderness is no place for commercial animal grazing for any number of reasons. What the article did not mention are the demonstrable negative impacts of overgrazing and erosion caused by the grazing of large herds (hundreds to thousands) of domestic sheep in this delicate high elevation (12,000’ ) environment. This is Wilderness, or was. Also not mentioned is the very real impact on native Rocky Mountain Bighorns who populate these craggy locales. Domestic sheep transmit an ovine pneumonia (mycoplasma ovipneumonia) to the Bighorn population which is decimating Bighorn herds in the Rocky Mountain West. Keeping domestic sheep long distances away from the Bighorn herds is the only way to protect these dwindling, ever more isolated, majestic wild animal herds.

2 Replies75 Recommended

China’s Fishing Operations Raise Alarms Worldwide – The New York Times

“Over the last two decades, China has built the world’s largest deep-water fishing fleet, by far, with nearly 3,000 ships. Having severely depleted stocks in its own coastal waters, China now fishes in any ocean in the world, and on a scale that dwarfs some countries’ entire fleets near their own waters.

The impact is increasingly being felt from the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific, from the coasts of Africa to those off South America — a manifestation on the high seas of China’s global economic might.

A Chinese ship fishing for squid off the west coast of South America in July 2021. Isaac Haslam/Sea Shepherd via Associated Press

The Chinese effort has prompted diplomatic and legal protests. The fleet has also been linked to illegal activity, including encroaching on other countries’ territorial waters, tolerating labor abuses and catching endangered species. In 2017, Ecuador seized a refrigerated cargo ship, the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, carrying an illicit cargo of 6,620 sharks, whose fins are a delicacy in China.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Can the UN stop this behavior? Will the Chinese listen to reason? Will they only respect force? Do we have diplomatic chips to play? Maybe the US Navy and NATO and our Asian Allies should use these mother Chinese refrigerator ships, called carrier vessels, for target practice. First, we tell the Chinese Government to stop using them, then we disable or sink a few carrier vessels. This trouble shows the madness of Trump cancelling the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement set up by Obama. We need it now.
David blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Paul Krugman | War, Inflation and Squandered Credibility – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“What does Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, understand that Vladimir Putin doesn’t?

OK, I know that may sound like a trick question, or a desperate effort to offer a counterintuitive take on recent events. We may say that the Fed has gone to war against inflation, but that’s just a metaphor. Russia’s war on Ukraine, unfortunately, is all too real, leading to tens of thousands of deaths among both soldiers and civilians.

Yet the Fed and the Putin regime have this in common: Both took major policy actions this week. The Fed raised interest rates in an attempt to curb inflation. While Putin announced a partial mobilization in an attempt to rescue his failed invasion. Both actions will inflict pain.

One important difference, however — aside from the fact that Powell is not, as far as I know, a war criminal — is that the Fed is acting to maintain its credibility, while Putin seems determined to squander whatever credibility he might still have.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Did I write before that I love Paul Krugman. His columns are almost always excellent, and always challenging. It is good for the brain, like doing a hard jig saw puzzle, only you learn more reading Krugman than doing a jig saw puzzle,– about economics, politics and the world. The commenters here think Krugman has made a mistake in his assumption that a dictator has to worry at all about his credibility. They are wrong. Remember the French revolution. Where they might be on to something, it is hard to think of many examples were credibility is more important than raw power. There are more examples if you scrape. The Confederacy miss-estimated that England would support their uprising, because England valued their cotton more than it valued the human rights of slaves. My fear is that Putin will use these poor, pressed, 300,000 young men to secure the large eastern part of the Ukraine, and keep it. So I want NATO and the US to dramatically increase its support, and possibly even take over the Black Sea, for humanitarian reasons. The United States might have to go onto a war footing, without declaring war, to fight two wars at once. We need a war to slow the climate crisis, and a war to stop the spread of Putinism and fascist overreach. But we should not get confused. The climate crisis is the larger danger to our national and personal security. David Lindsay Jr is the author of the Tay Son Rebellion on 18th century Vietnam and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

Gina McCarthy: Businesses No Longer See Climate Action as Driving Job Losses – The New York Times

Ms. McCarthy is the outgoing national climate adviser and the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“This week, as the world’s leaders gather in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, the United States will deliver a message many thought was not possible: We are going to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, and zero them out by 2050.

Over the past 20 months as America’s first-ever national climate adviser, I have witnessed a paradigm shift: The private sector no longer sees climate action as a source of job losses, but rather as an opportunity for job creation and economic revitalization.

It’s a striking shift after four years of the Trump administration, which threw science out the window and backed out of the Paris climate agreement. In 2020 the future seemed grim. But today, states and companies across the country are running toward a clean energy future. How did what was once considered impossible become not just feasible, but at the core of America’s manufacturing and economic resurgence?

In my early days as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, auto dealers were predicting that shifting to cleaner cars meant vehicle costs would skyrocket and sales would drop, while the autoworkers and steelworkers talked about plant closings and layoffs. Even very early on in the Biden administration, when labor was fully engaged and squarely at the table, the old paradigm that cleaner standards meant job loss was hard to break. And unions worried that a big shift to electric vehicles could pose a fundamental threat to their workers.”

David Lindsay: Good news for a change. Here is one of my favorite comments:

Erik Frederiksen
Asheville, NC 6h ago

It has been obvious for a long time that the costs of not transitioning our energy sector are far higher. From the Nobel Laureate Yale economist William D. Nordhaus, the man who first came up with the idea in the 70s to avoid raising global temperature 2°C above preindustrial times: “the expected loss from certain risks such as climate change is infinite, and standard economic analysis cannot be applied.” Infinite one might ask? What price to put on coral reefs which are centers of oceanic biodiversity and supply half a billion people with protein, or ice sheets which hold the fate of most of our large cities, or Arctic sea ice which restrains global temperature, or permafrost which restrains global temperature, or the northern polar jet stream which affects weather where billions live, or deep ocean circulation which supports global biodiversity? https://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d16/d1686.pdf

Reply32 Recommended

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens | You Cannot Be Too Cynical About Trump (or His Imitators) – The New York Times

Gail Collins and 

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are opinion columnists. They converse every week.

“Bret Stephens: Hi, Gail. Any plans to hop a flight to Martha’s Vineyard?

Gail Collins: Gee, Bret, I think the Vineyard folks have had enough unexpected guests for a while. But I really was impressed by how gracious they were to the immigrant families that Gov. Ron DeSantis shipped there.

Bret: It’s a shame for the Venezuelan migrants that they weren’t on the Vineyard for long, because the community there is extraordinarily generous.

Gail: As opposed to DeSantis and his slimy attempt to score political points with the right wing.

Bret: It was definitely a stunt, but it was a politically effective one.

Gail: Are you still open to the idea of him as a possible president?

Bret: All depends on the opponent. If you were a Republican primary voter and your choice was between Donald Trump and DeSantis, who would choose? No fair to answer “Canada” or “euthanasia.” “

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Great conversation, thank you Gail and Bret. The one area I completely agree with Bret is immigration. We need to be pro immigration, with firmly closed and controlled borders. Uncontrolled borders just gives the GOP a winning issue, and they are in their current formation, a threat to our democracy.
     We do not want a billion climate refugees coming to this country, so we should abandon the asylum law we have now. It was written a long time ago, when the world population was, I’m guessing, 4 billion. Now we are 8 billion, and that, dear friends, is crazy and unsustainable.
David Lindsay wrote “The Tay Son Rebellion,” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Thomas L. Friedman | Putin Will Make People Choose Between Heating or Eating This Winter – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“While some Russian soldiers in Ukraine are voting with their feet against Vladimir Putin’s shameful war, their hasty retreat doesn’t mean that Putin is surrendering. Last week, in fact, he opened a whole new front — on energy. Putin thinks he’s found a cold war that he can win. He’s going to try to literally freeze the European Union this winter by choking off supplies of Russian gas and oil to pressure the E.U. into abandoning Ukraine.

Putin’s Kremlin predecessors used frigid winters to defeat Napoleon and Hitler, and Putin clearly thinks it’s his ace in the hole to defeat Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who told his people last week, “Russia is doing everything in 90 days of this winter to break the resistance of Ukraine, the resistance of Europe and the resistance of the world.”

I wish I could say for certain that Putin will fail — that the Americans will outproduce him. And I wish I could write that Putin will regret his tactics, because they will eventually transform Russia from the energy czar of Europe to an energy colony of China — where Putin is now selling a lot of his oil at a deep discount to overcome his loss of Western markets.

Yes, I wish I could write all of those things. But I can’t — not unless the U.S. and its Western allies stop living in a green fantasy world that says we can go from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energy by just flipping a switch.”

“. . . .  But the most important factor for quickly expanding our exploitation of oil, gas, solar, wind, geothermal, hydro or nuclear energy is giving the companies that pursue them (and the banks that fund them) the regulatory certainty that if they invest billions, the government will help them to quickly build the transmission lines and pipelines to get their energy to market.

Greens love solar panels but hate transmission lines. Good luck saving the planet with that approach.”

David Lindsay: Yes and amen. Here is one of several good comments:

Bruce Rozenblit
Kansas City, MOSept. 13

Electrical engineer checking in. Mr Friedman is 100% correct on this one. The most fundamental component to a green energy future will be a massive buildout of our transmission system. No matter what the source of power, it is useless without a means to transmit it across the nation. Now I’m not talking about making our grid smart. I’m talking massive towers with 345 KV and even 500 KV lines. Lots of steel, aluminum and concrete arrayed all across the land. And no, we can’t put these things underground at such high voltages. This is a matter of national security. We built the interstate highway system as a matter of national security. We needed a way to transport weapons and material all over the place. We used eminent domain to acquire the land for the highways. We should do the same for these new transmission lines. A few ranchers cannot be allowed to block our energy security. Pay them a fair price for the land and build away. Most people underestimate how difficult an undertaking this is. Not only will it take years to build out, it will take years to design. Plans have to be drawn up and contracts let. We are talking about tens of billions of dollars in contracts for thousands of miles of transmission lines. And then there will be all the substations and control equipment to hook it all together and make it work. We have to spend the money to do this and the federal government should fund it, just like they did with the highways.

8 Replies436 Recommended

David Wallace-Wells | Bill Gates: ‘We’re in a Worse Place Than I Expected’ – The New York Times

Opinion Writer

“There are not many more contested abstractions in the contemporary world than progress. Are things getting better? Fast enough? For whom?

Those questions are, in a somewhat singular way, tied symbolically to Bill Gates. By objective standards among the most generous philanthropists the world has ever known, Gates is seen more and more by critics, in a time of intensifying income inequality, as a creature of the Pollyannaish plutocracy — with the billions given each year by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation perhaps more significant as a symptom of the world’s problems than a potential solution. Even a partial one.

In 2015 the United Nations established 17 sustainable development goals — measurable benchmarks of human progress that might guide a path “to end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change by 2030.” Every year since 2017, the Gates Foundation has released a sort of progress report tracking key data points: poverty, malnutrition, maternal mortality and 15 more.”

This year, at the halfway point, how do things look? “Seven years in, the world is on track to achieve almost none of the goals,” Gates and his ex-wife, the foundation’s co-founder Melinda French Gates, write in the introduction to the latest report. On poverty, the goal was to eradicate extreme poverty, and since 2015, the percentage of the world living on less than $1.90 a day has fallen only to about 8 percent from just above 10 percent; on malnutrition, the prevalence of growth stunting in children under 5 is still above 20 percent; maternal mortality is more than twice as high as the standard set by the 2015 goals. “As it stands now, we’d need to speed up the pace of our progress five times faster to meet most of our goals — and even that might be an underestimate, because some of the projections don’t yet account for the impact of the pandemic, let alone the war in Ukraine or the food crisis it kicked off in Africa,” the introduction reads.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Is Bill Gates, who I admire so much, really ignorant of the importance of overpopulation to the climate crisis, or does the questioning of David Wallace-Wells just make Gates look impervious and out of touch with the elephant in the room, overpopulation. Probably the former, Gates is in denial about overpopulation. In his magnificent book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, he ignores family planning and population control. These words do not exist in the index.
David Lindsay Jr blogs at InconvenientNews.net

 Why Things May Really Be Different for This Midterm Election – Nate Cohn – The New York Times

“Just about every election cycle, there’s an argument for why, this time, things might be different — different from expectations based on historical trends and key factors like the state of the economy or the president’s approval rating.

The arguments are often pretty plausible. After all, every cycle is different. There’s almost always something unprecedented about a given election year — in just the last few cycles, the pandemic, the first female presidential major party nominee and the first Black president were all truly novel. There’s always a way to spin up a rationale for why old rules won’t apply.

In the end, history usually prevails. That’s a good thing to keep in mind right now as Democrats show strength that seems entirely at odds with the long history of the struggles of the president’s party in midterm elections.

But this cycle, there really is something different — or at the very least, there is something different about the reasons “this cycle might be different.” “

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Bravo Nate Cohn. This is an excellent and thoughtful piece, that also appears modest and humble. You seem older than your years.
I am not going overboard, and stopping all my political giving and work, for sustainability, democracy, and social justice.
Can anyone give me advice on the race in Arizona, “Arizona secretary of state race: Mark Finchem wins, Adrian Fontes (will be the Democrat). What are Fontes’ chances of defeating Finchem, a serious fascist-sounding Stop the Steal Trumpster? Will sending Fontes money make a difference? How come I can’t find polling data on this important lower down than congress race? Who is trying to track such races?
David Lindsay writes about the climate crisis at his blog, InconvenientNews.net

Charlie Finch, Art Columnist Who Polarized New York, Dies at 68 – ARTnews.com

“Charlie Finch, a cantankerous columnist whose gossipy writings were widely read in the New York scene, has died at 68.

Walter Robinson, a former editor of Artnet who hired Finch as a critic, announced Finch’s death on Instagram. Robinson said that Finch had died “by defenestration,” and that he had been battling cancer and other unspecified health issues.

Finch’s writings, which regularly appeared on Artnet Magazine for the better part of two decades beginning in the late ’90s, were frequently met with allegations of sexism, takedowns on competing art blogs, and general chatter about the vicious hearsay he reported. Many of his articles were politically incorrect in a way that seemed deliberate.”

Source: Charlie Finch, Art Columnist Who Polarized New York, Dies at 68 – ARTnews.com

David Lindsay:  I spent one and 3/4 years at Phillips Academy Andover, and Charlie Finch was one of my good acquaintances.