November 26, 2020

November 25, 2020

My brain is much more powerful in those idle moments when I let it drift. It’s quite possible every good idea I’ve ever had came while walking, showering, or driving, giving space for all those background cycles that have been chugging along to report in to my conscious mind.

Jason Becker

November 22, 2020

Wow. The end to Avatar: The Last Airbender was really action packed, and quite satisfying.

Jason Becker

November 21, 2020

November 16, 2020

I think there are three groups that should be addressed at once by any policy looking to provide relief to student debt holders.

  1. Current student debt holders
  2. Future college attendees
  3. Non-college attendees

These three groups are more relevant than income brackets for understanding the moral basis for debt relief. Student debt relief is not about strict income redistribution, but instead about:

  1. Rationalizing the debt load that college attendees have taken on in the last twenty years with the costs to past generations. Recent college attendees pay significantly higher costs and have had two (or maybe 3 if you squeak in the tech bubble) major recessions that they have faced. The Warren plan of forgiving the first $50,000 of student loan debt works nicely here as a way to make the debt load of recent students better resemble the debt loads of previous generations of college graduates.
  2. We have to also tackle the costs of college going forward, because they are still too high, and debt relief does nothing to avoid recreating this problem. Here, we can imagine a number of policies that the federal government could pursue to curtail rising costs. I would love to see some combination of restricting federal financial aid and student loans to certain top-level caps and remove institutions from being eligible for federal support that raise costs too much year over year with an increase in Pell Grants. We need both more grants for low income college attendees and a reduction in the federal governments role in ensuring the higher education market can easily increase their sticker price.
  3. Federally guaranteed sick and paid family leave is long overdue, and will materially change the condition for non-college graduates most of all. College graduates are far more likely to have jobs that provide some form of paid sick and family leave as a private benefit, but these benefits should be universal. And although student debt relief is not about strict income redistribution, there’s no strong moral reason why we should provide large assistance to past college attendees without providing something to the many Americans struggling who don’t and haven’t attended college. Pursuing a parallel policy that will most impact non-college graduates helps to demonstrate that these policies are meant to provide relief to all Americans. An alternative policy that would also pair well here is a raise in the federal minimum wage and no longer excluding restaurant waitstaff from the minimum wage.

That’s how I’d pursue tackling debt relief as solid stimulus during COVID, while bending the cost curve on higher education and not leaving behind many Americans who don’t end up in higher education.

Jason Becker

I love my job and I can’t imagine leaving by my choice, but I have been worried about what I will do next practically from the day I started.

Just me or is this normal?

Jason Becker

November 15, 2020

This computer has been incredibly effective and still rarely gets in my way. But I really, really want a new one.

Jason Becker

November 13, 2020

November 12, 2020

The prioritization of restaurants and bars over schools when it comes to closures is a massive failure.

School systems leaders are some of the most important people to coordinate with as part of the closure/reopening efforts. Yet they have less voice than restaurant lobby.

Jason Becker

November 11, 2020

I am finding myself quite vulnerable to the psychology of monthly prices versus paid up front.

Jason Becker

It really bugs me how many reporters gleefully write about how unimportant high school math is compared to whatever they decided to learn in college.

Jason Becker

November 8, 2020

November 7, 2020

I have been watching Fox News to see how they covered the speech. I don’t think I realized just how sycophantic their coverage had become. Tripping over themselves to praise Trump and twist themselves to say “voter fraud could have happened!”

Jason Becker

November 6, 2020

Close elections are brutal, but they also help to dispute the narrative that your vote doesn’t matter. That’s always been a crap argument, especially since closer down ballot elections are hugely impactful, but all the more so when states are within 1000 votes.

Jason Becker

November 5, 2020

November 4, 2020

We just started watching Kim’s Convenience and three episodes in this is excellent self-care.

Jason Becker

November 3, 2020

At this point, whatever the ultimate result, it’s clear that America is completely broken. There’s no way this should have been close, and the lack of repudiation and clear defeat of Trumpism feels like a real doom scenario.

Jason Becker