Peter Coy | I Got to the Bottom of All Those Flight Cancellations – The New York Times

Opinion Writer

“The rash of flight cancellations over the winter break — is it a major blunder by the airlines or the forgivable consequence of the outbreak of Omicron? I looked into this over the past couple of days and my conclusion is that it’s a little of each.

First, the case against the airlines. They’re running with a precariously low ratio of employees to passengers, leaving themselves vulnerable to surprises like Omicron, the more contagious new variant of the virus that causes Covid-19, which drastically thinned the ranks of flight crews.

This fall, some airline executives even bragged to Wall Street analysts about how they were able to do more with less — providing more flights per employee. “We estimate that we can fly a schedule 10 percent larger than 2019 with the same number of employees we needed in 2019,” Gerald Laderman, the chief financial officer of United Airlines Holdings, told analysts on the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Oct. 20.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you Peter Coy, this was interesting. The comments are not pleased that you point out the airlines viewpoint, but it seems clear, few saw the success of omicron coming. I do often hate the way I feel mistreated when I fly, so I enjoyed the anger your piece stirred up. FYI, we watched a show on PBS called, Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops, narrated by Richard Gere, a series of five short films featuring 12 world-renowned climate scientists, that was made in January 2021. It explains very well the feedback loops that are approaching tipping points, and there are more than I knew about, and this is my beat. I recommend this 58 minute film to everyone. It looks bad for humans. We should probably think seriously about flying around a lot less on carbon based fuels.
David blogs at InconvenientNews.net

Peter Coy | Cash Is Out. Crypto Is In. What’s Happening to Money? – The New York Times

Mr. Coy is a newsletter writer in Opinion.

“I felt two unexpected emotions — pity and guilt — one day recently while I was packing loose pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters into paper rolls to take to the bank. Coins, which were a big part of my childhood, have come to seem like inconvenient relics, as anachronistic as my grandfather’s stamp collection.

All over the world, people are abandoning old forms of money and adopting new ones, like cryptocurrency, faster than our brains and customs can process.

“We are at an interesting juncture,” Eswar Prasad, a Cornell University economist, told me. “It is a period of a great degree of concern about what happens to traditional forms of money and whether these technological developments we see around us are going to benefit us in some way or just create more disruption and turmoil.”

In much of Europe and East Asia you can go for weeks without touching paper money or coins. In 2013, a bank robber in Sweden was thwarted because the bank he targeted didn’t have any money to steal — the branch was a “cashless” location. Five years later, Cecilia Skingsley, then deputy governor of the Sveriges Riksbank, the central bank of Sweden, told The Financial Times, “If you extrapolate current trends, the last note will have been handed back to the Riksbank by 2030.” “

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
I vote against allowing bitcoin or any crypto currency any serious place in our system going forward. Bitcoin should be made illegal, until it reduces its enormous carbon footprint to something closer to zero. That mobsters, thugs and terrorists all like these untraceable systems, that allow the avoidance of any identification or taxation, should be enough to alert sensible people that you can’t run a town, state or country on an untaxable economy.

Peter Coy | A Spirit of Gratitude Is Healthy for Society – The New York Times

Opinion Writer

“Greetings as we approach the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving celebration. The Pilgrims in 1621 had much to be thankful for. They had arrived a year earlier with “no friends to wellcome them, nor inns to entertaine or refresh their weatherbeaten bodys, no houses or much less townes to repaire too, to seeke for succoure,” in the words of their leader, William Bradford. The Wampanoags, hoping the white settlers would help them fight other tribes, helped them survive the harsh winter. The wary allies celebrated that fall with a feast of turkeys, ducks and venison, although probably not cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie.

What does giving thanks have to do with economics? A lot, actually. I apologize if this sounds like an imitation of a David Brooks column, but the truth is that a spirit of gratitude motivates precisely the behaviors that a successful economy requires, particularly patience and generosity. For this newsletter I interviewed David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University (about 35 miles from where the Pilgrims landed), who is one of the leading authorities on the social effects of gratitude.

DeSteno’s recent papers include “Gratitude Reduces Consumption of Depleting Resources,” completed last year with Shanyu Kates, and “The Grateful Don’t Cheat: Gratitude as a Fount of Virtue” written with Fred Duong, Daniel Lim and Kates and published in Psychological Science in 2019. He published a book this year titled “How God Works: The Science Behind the Benefits of Religion.” I also recommend a talk that he gave at Google in 2018 on the topic of gratitude.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you Peter Coy. I just sent the following to your newsletter email:
I just turned 69 yesterday, and it is very tempting to say, What is there to be grateful for? I quickly smile, to communicate the intended humor, and my loving partner chirps back, Well, consider the alternative. I’m grateful for a beautiful partner, house, family, and friends. I’d like to include neighbors, but they refuse to speak to me, for not being just as Republican as they are, or something. I was never good at keeping my opinions to myself.
I am grateful for having Peter Coy in my life, first at Business Week, which I have subscribed to for decades, and now, at the New York Times. I deeply respect journalists who work hard to figure things out and explain them. That is what I aspire to do every day, as I read and write about climate change and the sixth extinction.
I’ve just added to my new manuscript, a joke reported the other day by Thomas Friedman, that he heard at the Cop 26 climate summit in Glasgow. Two planets are talking to each other, One looks like a beautiful blue marble, and the other a dirty brown ball. “What on earth happened to you?” the beautiful planet asks the brown one. “I had Homo Sapiens,” answers the brown planet. “Don’t worry,” says the blue planet. “They don’t last long.”
Yours, David
Author of: “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-Century Vietnam” Blogging at: InconvenientNews.Net,

Peter Coy | ‘The Most Important Number You’ve Never Heard Of’ – The New York Times

Opinion Writer

“There’s a good reason climate change is called the policy problem from hell. Several good reasons, actually, but let’s start with a big one: Fighting climate change forces society to spend real money today to reap benefits that will occur over hundreds or even thousands of years. We’re not set up to be that farsighted, either financially or mentally.

Ideally, we would know precisely how much damage each ton of greenhouse gas emissions does to the environment (we don’t). We would know how much each dollar of economic output contributes to emissions, now and in the future. We would know how quickly the population and the economy will grow, including how rich we’ll all be in the future. Does it make sense for us to deprive ourselves today in order to make the planet more habitable for our great-great-grandchildren? If you answer yes, how much should we tighten our belts — a little or a lot?

Trying to answer such questions is “totally ridiculous and no one in their right mind would attempt to do it,” James Stock, a Harvard University economist, said on Sept. 9 at a virtual conference put on by the Brookings Institution.

Ridiculous, yes, but also essential, as Stock recognizes. There is no alternative. Stock moderated a session on a new paper that attempts to calculate the social cost of carbon — that is, the economic harm done by each incremental ton of carbon dioxide. That paper, which draws on the wisdom of the world’s top experts in economics, climatology and other fields, aims to inform the Biden administration, which has promised to announce its own calculation of the social cost of carbon in January.”

The Best Way to Spur Growth? Help the Poor- Not the Rich – by Peter Coy – Bloomberg Businessweek

“Trickle-down economics” is a term liberals use when they want to disparage tax cuts for the rich. So on Nov. 9, when Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo asked Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin at an Economic Club of New York luncheon, “Do you still believe in trickle-down economics?” the prudent answer was obvious: “Of course not, Maria. That’s not what the Republican tax plan is about at all.”

Instead, Mnuchin said, “Uh, uh, I do.”

To be sure, Mnuchin is gaffe-prone. He was last spotted on Nov. 15 happily gripping a big sheet of uncut dollar bills while his wife, actress Louise Linton, struck a Cruella de Vil pose beside him. As the journalist Michael Kinsley once said, a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. And the truth is that Republicans have gone all in on the notion that if they pour tax cuts onto the very rich, the benefits will flow down to the mere rich, and from them to the middle class, and finally to the poor. Like a Champagne tower at a swanky wedding reception.

There’s a reason trickle-down is suddenly trickling from everyone’s lips. The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center calculates that the Senate’s version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would give the biggest benefits to people just below the top 1 percent of incomes in 2019 and 2025, measuring benefits as the percentage change in each group’s after-tax income. By 2027, as some of the law’s provisions expire and others remain, the top 0.1 percent would be the biggest beneficiaries, the center says. (To be fair, this preliminary calculation doesn’t take into account potential economic growth effects from the tax changes.)”

Source: The Best Way to Spur Growth? Help the Poor, Not the Rich – Bloomberg

David Lindsay:

I love Paul Krugman, because he can make complicated economics understandable. Peter Coy has that ability, and here he does a fine job of deciphering one of the right wing’s great canards.