Kotlikoff: How to Reopen the Economy in One Month

Forbes

The solution is PCR group-household testing of all American households every week. Doing so will require running only 6 million tests per week, which is eminently and imminently feasible. Group testing is used routinely to test blood donations. It’s also been used in PCR testing of animals. Its sensitivity to Covid-19 has been clearly established by Israeli scientists. Testing all American households every week won’t just save the economy, which is literally at death’s door. It will save tens of thousands of lives. More

Kotlikoff: Beating COVID-19 with Math

A strategy for extinguishing the novel coronavirus has been outlined by Cornell University’s Operations Research Professor Peter Frazier and colleagues. They developed a group testing protocol that could release 96 percent of the U.S. population back to society within four weeks, with this percentage rising even higher thereafter. Frazier envisions initially testing 62 households at a time, and assumes, to be conservative, a very high (30 percent false negative) test rate that would require some degree of redundancy to work efficiently. All told, though, the job could be done for the entire United States with only 6 million tests per week. That’s a large number, but just three to four times the test rate we’ve already reached. More

Five Financial Secrets to Surviving the Greatest Depression

Forbes

Here is the most important: Cut Your Spending and Tap Your Retirement Account Assets. Suppose you expect to be furloughed or laid off for the next two years. Using Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff’s one-of-its-kind life time financial planning software ( https://maxifiplanner.com/), you can adjust your annual spending downward by an appropriate amount and make two withdrawals from your IRA to tide you over. The CARES act lets you do this without penalty. More

America will Become a Nation of Savers

Vox

The effect of the coronavirus pandemic on our sense of economic confidence will have everything to do with how long we are stuck inside, how long we are out of work, and what safety nets fail us in the interim. Even if stay-at-home orders are mostly “over” by this summer, how many of us would risk our lives to frequent restaurants or go shopping? More.

Where Did the Paycheck Protection Money Go?

Forbes

Bank of America has been giving priority to large corporations who have connections to officials at the Bank who will process their loans in front of the line. Those large corporations are in far better shape to weather this, the Greatest Depression, than virtually all truly small companies for whom the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding and forgiveness represents the difference between economic life and death. More.

Kotlikoff: Back to work in Two Weeks

First, test everybody – the healthy and the sick. The “healthy” may be infected and asymptomatic, yet still spreading the virus. Hence, testing the “healthy” can help us quarantine those who are infected but so far asymptomatic. Second, the “healthy” who test negative can be allowed to return to work, attend school, shop, frequent restaurants, etc. Group testing makes this practical. More.

Kotlikoff: How Social Security is Conning Seniors

Forbes

Social Security has a policy of calling people close to 70 and making them an “offer” to start their benefits retroactively. Doing so saves Social Security money but hurts the recipients, who lose thousands of dollars of life time benefits. The bribe comes packaged with suggestions that if they die they won’t get their checks, so why not grab six months of benefits for sure. More.

Kotlikoff: we need group testing, every day

Forbes

With group testing, you take samples, say, from 20 people and test them all at once. If the result is negative, those 20 are free to go to work. If the test is positive, you divide the group into two and test 10 at a time. Using this method, you greatly reduce the number of tests needed to separate those who have the virus from those who do not. And we should do this every day. More.

Market Tailspin: How Bad Could Things get?

Forbes

Are we going to have another Great Depression? Hard to see why not. According to the BLS, roughly a quarter of US workers work at home each day. If that could be doubled, a big if, and if no one could otherwise work, we’re still talking a reduction in output of 50%. Yes, all kinds of remote-working adjustments will be made, so maybe 50% turns into 25%, i.e. the Great Depression. More.