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Apr 02 2020

Double Down

So in Blackjack you’re dealt 2 Cards, one Face Up and the other Face Down. The value of concealment is absolutely nothing because you’re not playing against anyone at the Table, only the Dealer and they have to Hit on 16 and Stay on 17 (Goal 21, anything over immediately loses).

But what about the Dealer’s Down Card?

They have to Hit on 16 and Stay on 17. If you’re not 18 or better you’re playing for a Bust, you’re not going to bluff them and nobody else matters.

But because there’s nothing like sucker money (ask me about Twists, I dare you) there are 2 common “Exotic” bets you can make to lose faster. One is “Splitting”, if you draw a Pair you have the option of doubling your Bet and playing each Card separately (Two, TWO, TWO! chances to lose) with additional Down Cards.

The other is called “Doubling Down”. Once again you double your Bet and you receive for your investment but a single Card, concealed, which again- so what? Dealer only cares about his Hand.

Now if you’re sitting on a 4 and a 7 or any other combination that makes 11 total you might consider it as there are tons of Cards (all the Face Cards and the 10, so 16 out of 52) that will Max you out and 12 more (7 to 9) that will make you a Contender instead of a Bum. Good odds, 54%.

Other counts? Eh… not so much.

Let’s Double Down on Unemployment Claims, shall we?

We badly need another rescue package. Here’s what should be in it.
By Paul Waldman, Washington Post
April 2, 2020

New weekly unemployment numbers were released Thursday morning, and they were absolutely stunning: 6.6 million Americans filed, not just a record number but a doubling of last week’s figure, which was itself a record. As The Post’s Heather Long noted, “The past two weeks have erased nearly all the jobs created in the past five years.”

The full scope of this crisis is just coming into view, so even though Congress just passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, an unprecedented rescue package, Democrats are already planning Phase Four.

So far, Republicans don’t seem particularly interested. “We may need a Phase Four, but we’re not even fully into Phase Three yet,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Over 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in March as economy collapsed
By Heather Long, Washington Post
April 2, 2020

More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — a record — as political and public health leaders put the economy in a deep freeze, keeping people at home and trying to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The past two weeks have erased nearly all the jobs created in the past five years, a sign of how rapid, deep and painful the economic shutdown has been on many American families who are struggling to pay rent and health insurance costs in the midst of a pandemic.

In March, more than 10 million Americans lost their jobs and applied for government aid, according to the latest Labor Department
data, which includes claims filed through March 28. Many economists say the real number of people out work is probably even higher, since a lot of newly unemployed Americans haven’t been able to fill out a claim yet.

The U.S. government has not released an official unemployment rate, but economists say it has probably jumped to 10 percent, a massive and sudden spike from February, when the nation’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.

The gravity of the job losses is staggering. During the Great Recession era, the U.S. unemployment rate only hit 10 percent for one month in October 2010.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Aaron Sojourner, a labor economist at the University of Minnesota. “The scale of the job losses in the past two weeks is on par with what we saw in two years during the Great Recession.”

Economist Heidi Shierholz has spent her life studying the job market and said she was shaking when she saw the “terrifying” number of job losses in March. Shierholz is predicting 20 million Americans will be out of work by July — the worst unemployment situation since the Great Depression. That is her “best case” scenario if Congress does another big stimulus package to aid the economy.

Many newly unemployed have said they weren’t able to apply for unemployment benefits, because the phone lines were so swamped they could not get through.

Gig and self-employed workers like barbers and hairdressers were also not eligible to apply until the end of March, after Congress passed the $2.2 trillion relief bill to expand who qualifies for aid. These workers are only just beginning to fill out applications.

More Americans will probably lose their jobs in coming weeks as companies that have been trying to hold on to workers are forced to let them go or reduce their hours to almost nothing.

Major retail chains including Macy’s, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney announced this week they are furloughing hundreds of thousands of employees, meaning they keep their health insurance but they do not get any pay because their hours are reduced to zero. These workers are also eligible for unemployment aid, but many are only just realizing they can apply.

But the pain is spreading beyond shops and restaurants. Mercedes Addington lost her job on March 23 at a company that sells trucking parts and supplies in Kansas City, Kan. Even though the business was considered “essential” during the crisis and orders were still coming in, the company laid off most of its employees.

There’s growing concern that workers losing their jobs due to the coronavirus won’t be able to return to their same position even after the health crisis ends. The longer workers are away from a job, the more they lose that attachment to their old bosses and companies.

Nations like Denmark chose to pay all workers so they would keep their jobs, even if they are at home. But the United States has largely left it up to companies to decide what to do. Economists say it’s best if companies furlough workers like Macy’s did because at least they keep their benefits and some attachment to the company.

“Don’t lay off your workers, furlough them,” Shierholz said. “The worker will still get benefits. They don’t lose their job. And companies don’t lose their workers.”

There’s a growing consensus among economists that the economy is not going to bounce back easily from this recession given how deep and widespread it is becoming.

Eric Rosengren, head of the Boston Federal Reserve since 2007, is predicting a slower recovery, since it will take more time for people to feel comfortable to go out to baseball games and restaurants again.

“The public health aspects of this have not gone as well as they have in some other countries, so the infection rate and the mortality rate is likely to be relatively high in the United States. That also means the economic impact is likely to be more severe than in some other places,” Rosengren said.

(note: I had to use this as part of the Soundtrack for a Video I made so I’ve only heard it a Bajillion times and hate it more with each repeat.)