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Anonymous Mailbag

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It’s Tuesday and time for the anonymous mailbag to save all of you from work or school doldrums.

As always you can send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Okay, here we go:

“I’m active military and today it was announced that all service members will be required to get the COVID vaccine by mid September.

I’m in good shape, take vitamins, under 40, and I’ve had COVID, I’m not scared or lack faith in the vaccine, I just don’t believe it’s necessary for me.

I’m fully aware when I raised my right hand I gave up a certain degree of individualism. My question is there a feasible loophole for those like myself, legally speaking, to not get stuck? Or should I simply suck it up and not raise any unwanted attention?”

I would imagine there will be lawsuits filed over military members being required to get the COVID vaccine. But this is one of those situations where I feel like there are probably many cases with strong precedent as it pertains to military exemptions since vaccines have been required for members of the military for a long time. That is, I think as a member of the military, you’ll have to get the COVID vaccine.

Here’s what I think needs to happen, however, — people like you and I who have already had COVID and still have COVID antibodies — should be able to count as vaccinated. The entire purpose of the vaccination is to give us the antibodies that we already have. There’s strong evidence natural immunity, that is, having had COVID and recovering from it, is a stronger form of immunity than vaccinated immunity. So why shouldn’t we be able to prove we have had the virus already?

Let me give you an example. As a kid, I had chicken pox. I never, to my knowledge, have ever received the chicken pox vaccine as an adult because I’d already had chicken pox as a kid. I understand we don’t know how long lasting the natural immunity for COVID might be since this virus is new, but, to be fair, we also don’t know how lasting the immunity is from the COVID vaccine either.

The evidence seems to suggest that the “COVID vaccine” is going to be much more akin to a flu shot — something that needs to occur on a somewhat annual basis for those at high risk — more than it’s going to be a one shot decade plus long virus eraser like many of the most effective vaccines are.

I really think we need a policy for people who have natural immunity from COVID — that is, for those who can prove they had COVID already as opposed to requiring them to get vaccinated on top of the natural infection. As Senator Ron Johnson pointed out recently on our radio show, there can be a danger in giving someone a vaccine for a virus they’ve already had. That’s why one of the first things they ask you before you get the flu shot is if you’ve recently had the flu.

Regardless, thanks for the service, and I hope the military takes this idea under consideration.

“Hey Clay, I work in a school. As of now, the school says masks are not required whether or not you have a vaccination. My question is when they inevitably tell us to mask up is it justified for me not to comply?”

If I were a teacher, I would have the most lenient mask enforcement policy of all time in my classroom. That is, I’d regularly pull my mask down to teach in the front of the classroom and when kids pulled their masks off, I’d never correct them.

I can’t imagine there are mask police checking classrooms, at least not regularly.

I think lax enforcement of the mask rule is the best way a teacher can combat the mask rule without creating a huge battleground inside the school.

Speaking of masks, I’m going to my local school board hearing this evening to speak as a parent against masks being required in school for my two elementary kids. If some parents feel strongly that their kids should wear masks, I’m fine with those parents making that choice for their kids, but there is no statistical evidence whatsoever that kids are protected by wearing masks.

After 18 months of abnormality, it’s time to return to some form of normalcy in this country, and school is a big part of that.

On Friday, my kids had a half day and I was able to enter the school building for the first time and walk them to their classrooms. I got to meet their teachers and see their classrooms and their classmates. It felt completely normal.

I never thought I’d be excited to go inside an elementary school with my kids again.

For the first time in 18 months, kids are able to go to the cafeteria and eat normally there. (Last year they all ate in their classrooms to limit large gatherings.)

COVID isn’t going away. Not even if 100% of people are vaccinated for COVID. It’s here forever. We have to learn how to return to normal life with COVID.

By the way, my wife, who has been far less mask averse than me, finally hit her mask breaking point last weekend in Las Vegas when she went down to the hotel gym to work out and there was an employee walking around in the gym telling people who were running on the treadmills to make sure their masks were up above their noses.

Leaving aside the fact that this mask policing does nothing to make anyone safer, how impossible is it for anyone to run full speed on a treadmill without a mask falling down beneath their nose? And how can it possibly be remotely safe to be running hard on a treadmill and trying to breathe through a mask? And how awful of a job is it to be in charge of mask policing in a gym?

This is all complete nonsense with zero scientific basis.

My wife, by the way, just left the gym because of the rule. She was too frustrated by the mask policy to be able to get a workout in. Now she’s in great shape and will be fine, despite missing a day of working out, but given the fact that we know the two top signs you’re going to be impacted by COVID are: 1. obesity and 2. age, do we really want to be discouraging anyone from using the gym? Given the fact that no one can adjust their age, getting in shape is the single best move anyone could make to help fight COVID.

Instead of ever mandating masks, we should have mandated exercise.

“Clay,

My 14 year old daughter was upset this morning that OutKick the Coverage is no longer on for her ride to school. She just said, ‘We used to listen to Clay Travis or sports talk everyday and now the liberals have taken over that (referring to Nashville sports talk radio).’ Please help.”

Download the OutKick the Show podcast episode from the afternoon before and play it on your drive in to school with her. That’s thirty solid minutes of sports reactions from me, and it’s available daily.

Boom, you’re taken care of.

You can also download the Clay and Buck Show from the day before and pick out segments you think she’d enjoy.

I’m a big believer, by the way, that within five years, if you don’t already, that you’ll sit down in your car and name your favorite audio talent and, boom, the most recent episode from that talent will start playing, whether it aired on radio or podcast.

In a few years, when my contract to do the new radio show is coming up, I have no idea where I’ll be doing audio. It could be traditional radio, it could be podcast exclusive, it could be a hybrid of both. The market is evolving so rapidly, it’s pretty fascinating to even think about.

But in the meantime, tell your daughter I’m sorry I’m not live on the radio for her drive to school any more, and I hope you can play the podcast for her.

“Clay – my wife and I are recovering Democrats who previously only lived in the bluest, biggest cities. We faithfully locked down and distanced for two weeks last March to ‘slow the spread’ but quickly became tired of the lunatic hyper-caution that followed in which cowardice was elevated to a virtue and all of life felt like a hospital we couldn’t escape from. Our companies switched to a remote-work-only model, and to try to get a brief respite from coronabros, we took a trip to Florida and Georgia. It was a revelation; the pain of daily life in a biomedical security state melted away, and we resolved to start a new life in a place like that rather than a blue coastal city like we previously always thought we’d land in.

The problem is that my wife isn’t sold on Florida, and still has some residual progressive aversion to certain areas of the South (she says she’d ‘never live in Alabama or Mississippi’ for reasons that I think have to do more with what people on Twitter say about those states than anything else). Atlanta is too blue; Savannah seems expensive (and also pretty blue). Tampa is cool, but I feel like Florida is a known and potentially overvalued location.

What I want to do is use Moneyball tactics: find under-valued assets that help me win but that have a less competitive market and a cheaper price. The problem is that my ignorance of places outside of the northeast and Silicon Valley means I’m short on intel – so I’m trying to gather intel from a ‘scouting department’ to fill gaps in my knowledge.

If you had the same options, what would you recommend? I’m looking for places where 2019-style normal is achievable, at least to some degree: I want to go to the gym, walk into stores unmasked, smile at strangers, go to shows and movies without showing my vaccination card (we both got the jab, as a way to keep coronabros off our backs). Attending live sports would be ideal – we love hockey, and my wife went to a school that’s won multiple college football titles so a place with vibrant fall Saturdays would be great. Our companies don’t expect anyone back in the office until 2022 at the earliest, so we have the entire rest of the year to work with. I’m primarily considering the South and Midwest, since those places seem to have pockets of normalcy. What cities do you think we should consider?”

I totally get the Moneyball concept of housing. And I think many people who can work remotely are making choices on where to live motivated by housing, in general, being far more expensive on the east and west coasts, for instance, than it is in the central part of the country.

Our property values where I live have exploded over the past year and a half as people from other parts of the country have sold their homes and relocated here. I know many of you have seen substantial increases in your property values too. That’s great on paper, but unless you move into a new market, you don’t end up saving any money when you sell your home and buy a new one. You just roll the money you made on your old house into a new house which you’re paying more for than you otherwise would have been paying.

The only way you really lock in a great profit on a house is by moving to an entirely new city, pocketing the money you made, and then buying a more affordable home in the new market.

One of my big theories about the changes wrought by COVID is it has helped to alleviate the massive differences in home costs across the country. How so? Because COVID has allowed many people the freedom to work remotely, especially if you’re in the top 10% of earners. The top 10% of earners have the most expensive homes, and many of these people have elected to sell their homes on the coasts and move to the center part of the country, paying cash for homes there and driving up the housing costs in those cities.

It always seemed like a strong market inefficiency that housing costs were so different based on markets. That is, why doesn’t a rich person’s house cost the same in most parts of the country? I understand the zoning and geographic variances at play, but it never made sense to me that I could buy a mansion outside of Nashville for what a small bungalow in LA would cost me. That seemed like a tremendous market inefficiency.

What’s happened in the past couple of years, at least based on what I’ve seen, is many top earners have cashed in elsewhere and rolled their money into much more affordable markets.

So your Moneyball example is happening in a big way, I think.

And this doesn’t even include another important part of the financial equation, which is the lack of state income taxes. If you make a million dollars and live in Tennessee, Texas or Florida, among other states, you’re saving around $130,000 a year or more in income taxes, just by not living in California or on the east coast. That’s a staggering amount of annual savings. The more money you make, the more incredible it is. This is why so many hedge fund and private equity guys have relocated to Florida.

As for where you should live, personally I don’t know why you’d pick one place. I mean, I understand why you’d pick one place if your goal is to make that your permanent home. But it doesn’t sound like that’s your goal. And even if that was your goal, why not pick multiple places to live over the next year and try out several different cities before you pick a new location?

You could get a nice rental home for a month or two at a time in several different states and cities and experience what life might be like in those places before you make a decision about where to live in the years ahead. As long as you have a reliable WiFi connection, which just about every place does these days, you can work just as easily anywhere.

With that in mind, here are my suggestions of potential places to live for a month based on my travels. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means, but I have traveled around the South quite a bit. (Other people can make suggestions for you in the Midwest. I don’t do cold weather, so I wouldn’t live in any of these places full time.)

This is in no particular order and is trying to balance out different sized cities:

1. Nashville (live in Brentwood or Franklin if you can, we are 100% wide open here)
2. Greenville, South Carolina
3. The Florida or Alabama gulf coast from Orange Beach through the Florida panhandle
4. Huntsville, Alabama
5. Raleigh, North Carolina suburbs
6. Austin, Houston or Dallas suburbs to see if Texas is for you
7. Charlotte suburbs
8. Lexington, Kentucky
9. Asheville, North Carolina
10. Charleston, South Carolina
11. Charlottesville, Virginia area
12. Knoxville, TN or mountain suburbs in foothills of mountains

And if you really want to take a chance on something cool, why not leave the continental United States? Housing is even more affordable outside the US, and there are many safe places you could live.

As long as the WiFi works well there too, you can be an expat for a year.

Good luck.

“I was recently at a local drug store where to my amazement they offer antibody test for $30. Why aren’t antibody tests — which determine if one has sufficient antibodies needed to naturally ward off COVID –mandated before giving someone a vaccine?”

I’m with you, I don’t know why these tests aren’t more popular or more widely discussed.

My local grocery store pharmacy offers antibody tests for $25. It takes ten minutes. They prick your finger, analyze your antibodies and then give you a result that quickly.

I wouldn’t have known about this at all if another parent in our neighborhood hadn’t told me about it. It seems like a great and cheap way to check to see if you have had COVID or not.

If you don’t want to pay the money, it’s my understanding that they test donated blood to see if you have COVID antibodies as well.

If I didn’t have COVID antibodies, I would have gotten the vaccine. But once I knew I had COVID antibodies and read several studies that reflect natural immunity offers as much or more protection than vaccination, I decided to wait on getting any vaccine.

Again, I think we need to be thinking about COVID immunity or non-immunity as opposed to vaccinated or non-vaccinated. Many non-vaccinated people are like me and have already had COVID. Certainly some people who have had COVID have also had the COVID vaccine, but we don’t know the total numbers in the United States.

But in England, where they have been better about testing for COVID antibodies, studies have shown that 92% of people in England have either had COVID or have gotten the vaccine. That has to effectively be herd immunity.

Which is the only way we’re ever going to end the COVID scourge.

Okay, I’ve got to hop in my radio chair and knock out today’s show.

We’ve got Senator Rand Paul at 2:05 pm et. That should be a great conversation.

As always, send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.

8 Comments

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  1. With regard to the school…
    I am a teacher. My school has yet to come out with our mask policy this year, and I’m on edge until then. Last year, I was a ‘candy teacher,’ and often passed out lollipops to the kids for a test or quiz or no reason at all. Why lollipops? Well, if you’re wearing a mask, there’s only one way to eat a lollipop… In addition, I never once mentioned the masks except to say, “Let me pull this down so that you can hear me.” And you know what? NONE of the kids mentioned masks to each other, either. Know why? Because they all hang out after school, maskless! By the end of the year, they were often seen swinging them around on a pencil. No one cared.
    This year, prepping for the inevitable, I found jeweled masks that look ‘real’ but are actually mesh. You can’t really tell, though, unless the light hits you just right (and, nobody is looking at you long enough to notice. I wear them to get into the gym, and then just pull it down once in there (as do the other patrons). I will continue to *not* police masking; I will continue to teach.

  2. To the recovered Democrat who has only lived in the Northeast and Silicon Valley – please quarantine in place for about a decade before moving someplace nice and voting to change your new home to the blue you escaped. If you feel the same way then, you can join us in sanity-land

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