Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2010:July:12 Monday <Sunday, Tuesday>
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2010/7/12-23 [Politics/Domestic/Gay, Reference/RealEstate] UID:53881 Activity:nil
7/12    Y.M.C.A. is renaming to Y.?  Why?  (Pun intended.)
        \_ because M is oppressive patriarchy in action, and C is a bad
           word.  Probably they will get rid of Y as ppl live longer.
        \_ it will turn into
        \_ They should go back to their old name, U.S. Soc for Eugenics.
           \_ Gay club and eugenics don't mix.  They don't reproduce.
2010/7/12-8/11 [Politics/Domestic/911, Politics/Domestic/SocialSecurity] UID:53882 Activity:low
7/12    "Debt commission leaders paint gloomy picture"
        "... everything needs to be considered . including curtailing popular
        tax breaks, such as the home mortgage deduction, ..."
        Housing market is going to crash again?
        \_ Doubt it, not with NSFW marketing tactics like this:
        \_ Probably not, but don't expect it to go up for a long
           time. Medicare benefits are going to have to be cut,
           it will be amusing to see which party decides to
           break the bad news to seniors.
           \_ Everything is going to have to be cut. Let's start with the
              DoD. I bet they can get by on half of what they spend now.
              My sister-in-law is in the Air Force Reserve and works in a
              civilian (federal) job at an Air Force Base and the waste is
              appalling. One example is that when she goes on training for the
              military she gets paid for that AS WELL AS drawing her
              regular full-time salary. So she volunteers for reserve duty
              all the time because it doubles her pay. That practice could
              easily be ended and would save taxpayers a lot of money.
              \_ From Business Insider:
                 "In the United States, the average federal worker now
                 earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private
                 Also, did you hear about the city manager of Bell who
                 just resigned over his $800K annual salary? He's going to
                 be drawing $650K/year retirement from CalPERS.
                 \_ Sure, the average federal worker also has more education
                    than the average worker and works in a higher skill job.
                    What is the apples to apples comparison on salaries?
                    \_"One thing we do know about public sector employees in
                       general, if you try to guess what they should be paid
                       ... on average they are overpaid," said John Matsusaka,
                       a political economist and USC professor in law,
                       business and politics.
                    \_ If Federal workers have more education and better
                       skills then why are they working for the government?
                       It is because the government pays better and is
                       viewed as more secure. The talented people need to go to
                       work in private industry to add to the tax base and not
                       for the government where they are a drain. My anecodotal
                       dealings with federal and state employees have not been
                       good. Sure, my bank is bad but the teller is making
                       peanuts compared to a government clerk and truthfully
                       doing a better job than the clerks in the windows of
                       most government offices. My sister-in-law (mentioned
                       above) is a good worker with a graduate degree and
                       some of her coworkers don't like her because she
                       makes them look bad. Certain items that were supposed
                       to be done same-day were queued up for four days when
                       she first started She worked off the queue and got one
                       of those "You're working too hard and raising
                       expectations" speeches from her coworker. Does that
                       surprise anyone who has had to deal with the IRS,
                       State Department (passports), Social Security etc.?
                       BTW, she is working for the Feds because it was the
                       best salary she was offered anywhere *BY FAR*, allowed
                       her to be paid double for her military duty (and
                       not get in trouble for going off all of the time
                       which many employers do not like), and had the best
                       benefit package, too. She just got a big fat raise,
                       too, (> 10%) for getting the department all caught up
                       (i.e., doing the job they should have been doing
                       all along). I am happy for her, but as a taxpayer I am
                       \_ People at the NSA, CIA, FBI and Joint Chiefs are
                          highly educated, skilled, and gov employees.
                          \_ And yet they still lag behind their peers in
                             private industry. I know this because my
                             girlfriend's dad was in the DIA for many years and
                             her mom worked for NIH. Both of them are educated,
                             but like a lot of people in government it was more
                             about a paper education than a real one. The
                             government views a BA from Florida State with a
                             Master's from James Madison's night school in
                             Public Policy about the same as a BS from
                             Stanford and a Master's from MIT in Economics.
                             Example: the current CIO of the FDA has
                             a  Master's Degree in Public Administration
                             from LSU and did undergrad at South Carolina.
                             This is pretty typical. Not that there aren't
                             people in government with degrees from
                             Harvard, but the typical upper level government
                             employee went to some directional state school
                             somewhere and then grad school at a place like
                             Santa Clara or Alcorn State or whatever. Joint
                             Chiefs consists of 6 people, so I don't think they
                             skew the mean upward. BTW, if you read the bios of
                             the Joint Chiefs you will find them surprisingly
                             undereducated in a conventional manner. (I am
                             sure they have extensive military training.) My
                             girlfriend's stepdad was career military with a
                             PhD in history from Yale. That was the exception
                             rather than the rule. He served as an advisor to
                             the Joint Chiefs and had connections to a lot of
                             the inner circle in DC. He said it is as much who
                             you know as what you know, which is why it is
                             called politics - and politics drives choices
                             for high level government jobs (many of which
                             are appointments) and also jobs for government
                             contractors to some extent (often worried more
                             about head count than actually fulfilling the
                             terms of the contract). I collaborate with a lot
                             of government employees and the military, too,
                             and let's just say I am not impressed by most of
                             them compared to our private industry and
                             academic partners.
                             \_ you know anecdotes may be interesting but
                                you cant really aggregate them into some
                                theory/general pattern. i'm sure i can
                                match you anecdote for anecdote ... i know
                                princeton english majors who worked at
                                investment banks and didnt know how to do
                                anything except dress well and schmooze.
                                maybe thy could calculate a simple NPV but
                                for anything complicated they would keep
                                calling my friend when he was home with the
                                flu [friend = berkeley EE/Business undergrad].
                                talking about "the govt" and "the private
                                sector" is ridiculous. walmart, google, the
                                federal reserve, the port of oakland, NIH,
                                dmv, el burrito restaurant, nsa ... covers
                                a lot of different ground. it might be worth
                                asking a question like "does the nsa get
                                second rate number theory/algebra people
                                compared to mit/princeton/berkeley" or
                                us army corps of engineers" vs "bechtel"
                                in civil engineering chops.
                                \_ Better to ask:
                                   Why are government agencies from the TSA to
                                   the DMV to the IRS to the SEC to UC so
                                   incompetent and difficult to do business
                                   with? Private business is not always
                                   competent and pleasant to deal with, but
                                   it's clear who gets more work done --
                                   and cheaper. Government is full of
                                   clerks earning $50K/year to shuffle
                                   paper who answer to nobody.
                                   \_ I never have any problem dealing with
                                      government agencies, perhaps you are
                                      just a difficult person.
                            \_ Government jobs are more likely to be in an
                               office and require computer skills that the
                               office and require computer skills than the
                               average job. Are you really this clueless?
                        \_ My wife just switched jobs from HUD to Citi and
                           almost doubled her salary. -one anecdote
                           \_ Did she work just as hard then as she does now?
                              \_ Yes, she is like that. She was a rock star
                                 at HUD and just average at Citi though. She
                                 left because it takes five years to get a
                                 promotion at HUD and the pay is less.
        \_ Cutting the home mortgage deduction might lead to an armed
           revolution. You have a better chance of me accepting an income tax
           increase than destroying the value of my home. Like Prop 13,
           the mortgage deduction is sacred.
           \_ Frankly, the mortage deducation is stupid, it's basically just
              an indirect bank subsidy. But, yeah, I admit it would
              be hard to eliminate now.  What about a slow ratcheting down
              over 40 years?  Just rachet down the amount you can deduct a
              little each year.  That way the current owners can pay off their
              mortgage before it affects them, and the new buyers just have to
              work it into their math before buying. -R homeowner
              \_ But opponents of the politicians suggesting it could scream
                 about ending the deduction without mentioning the fine points.
                 It's the impact on politics, not actual homeowners, that makes
                 things like the mortgage deduction and Social Security ("the
                 political third rail") difficult to withdraw.
           \_ People don't really take up their guns for things like home
              interest deductions. But they would go to the ballot box and
              throw all the bums out.
Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2010:July:12 Monday <Sunday, Tuesday>