Monday, February 19, 2018

Being a Good Mom is Expensive

VOX Gender Wage Gap Is Really a Child Care Penalty

I find this to be perfectly logical...  Life is full of choices and if a woman chooses to dedicate their lives to their career / education instead of having a family, it is logical that they will get promoted more often and make more than a woman who splits their focus between work and family.

And since often couples choose that the wife is the primary care giver for kids, of course that impacts her promotions and compensation more than the husband. 

I find it a case of folks wanting to have their cake and eat it to.  They want to have a rich family life, free time to support their kids and have the same income as those who choose differently.  That is part of why I find the furor over the wage gap over blown.


Trump Initial Best President Ranking

Sunday, February 18, 2018

MN Pre-School Funding

MinnPost Universal Pre-K Hurt Childcare Access Here are my first thoughts:
"We know which children need the most help if we really want to close the achievement gap and end generational poverty. And yet it seems people here are advocating for free Pre-K for all kids... Instead of making that money stretch further to help the truly unlucky kids through pre-k for low income household scholarships.

Now I understand that Ed MN wants more members, and middle income households would like free childcare. But wouldn't it be better to advocate for the unluckiest of kids who truly need the help?"
Useful Links:

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The DEMs Could Have Done That?

The Hill: Trump, the DEMs could have passed gun control
Wiki 111th Congress

Now I know that Obama and Congress spent much of their majority years on ACA and Financial regulations.  However I have often wondered why they did not do more on gun control, immigration, etc when they were in control?

I understand why they would not want to raise taxes given that the country was in the midst of a economic disaster....  But the other normally DEM hot button issues seemed pretty low priority at that time.

That was in my pre-blogging phase, so I really did not watch politics very closely.  Thoughts?

MinnPost Moderation

Time for my usual venting about MinnPost ModerationRB and BW replied to a comment of mine and I am simply not being allowed to post the following seemingly simple response.  You will have to go there to see BW's comment, however it was similar to RB's.
"For example, just think of the controversial things that have been said about rural voters when it comes to the Illegal Immigration, LGBT Rights, Mining / Farming Regulations, Abortion Rights, etc. Just to name a few." 
Why is it controversial to disagree on social issues? Should we just keep quiet about anti-Muslim fora on communities? Is it wrong to call out those who oppose illegal immigration while relying on that immigration for a cheap workforce. 
In any event, I thought voters chose Republicans because of economics and that the demagoguery on social issues was not all that important. This is the line that is used to try to convince suburban and even urban voters to go Republican--it's not about the gay bashing or the Muslim hating, it's about free markets! On the other hand, we've heard that the rural parts of the state abandoned the DFL because issues like LGBT rights and abortion have been "forced down their throats." Which is it going to be?" RB 
"To disagree regarding issues is fine, however just think how often Liberals here have referred to people that they disagree with as bigots, xenophobes, misogynists, racists, ignorant, hypocrites, polluters, irredeemable deplorables, etc. Now she made the claim that the educated urban Liberals she knows do not do put down the folks in the Conservative tribe, unfortunately it seems that many do though. 
And yes Conservatives do vote for more personal responsibility, lower taxes, less government mandated wealth transfer, more religious freedom, etc. However they also vote against people and candidates who insult and threaten then. They are just normal people after all." G2A
 Now can you see anything in the green text that seems to violate MP's guidance?  I even removed all links, names
MinnPost welcomes user comments on our stories and posts. MinnPost's mission is to engage the public in news analysis of issues in their community and to encourage interaction with our editors, writers and other posters. We intend for this area to be used by our readers as a place for civil, thought-provoking and high-quality public discussion. In order to achieve this, MinnPost requires that all commenters register and post comments with their actual names and place of residence. MinnPost reserves the right to remove postings that include the use of foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that may be libelous or interpreted as inciting hate or sexual harassment; however we are under no obligation to do so. User comments may be reviewed by moderators and may be included or excluded at our discretion.
Now they do allow both Liberal and Conservative views at times, so I am still happy to continue supporting them financially, however it is vexing to have to cross post everything over here because it may disappear over there...  I keep hoping to find a method to their madness.  😀

Thursday, February 15, 2018

MN a GOP State?

David Schultz posted and interesting possibility at the MinnPost Community voices section.
"This most Democratic of states in 2018 could finally turn Republican, following the path of Wisconsin and other Midwestern states. What happens in Minnesota this year could also decide which party controls the U.S. House and Senate."
Now I find it hard to believe, however it is an interesting concept. Will the rural and suburban MN voters say enough is enough, and vote for:
  • more personal responsibility / control
  • less government mandated wealth transfer
  • more improvement expectations for welfare recipients
  • smaller government and fewer mandates
  • more pay for performance / job complexity
  • less pay for unions, seniority and degrees
  • less regulation and lower taxes
  • better roads and less light rail
  • more religious freedom
  • a more business friendly environment
  • less enabling of illegal workers
I am not going to hold my breath the way the National GOP party is behaving, and with the poor candidates that the MN GOP seems to field, but it is an interesting idea.  Thoughts?

Here are some interesting links.
Wiki Right to Work States Grow (including Mich, Wisc, Indiana, etc)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Political Tribes Continues

From MinnPost Politcs and Tribes. Paul made some more Far Left comments that I just felt the need to reply to.
"You're producing garbage data. Again, you don't seem to be able to distinguish between economic systems and political systems and priorities. If you put garbage into an analysis you can only get garbage out no matter how much magical thinking you dump into the equation.

You can compare GDP to government spending ratios all day but it's not going to tell you what an optimal percentage is aside from the basic fact that those nations with higher ratios are more prosperous than those with lower ratios. At the end of the day you're just making this up. At some point you might want to consider the possibility that this "problem" might be beyond your capacity to "solve". Paul U.

"We have normal bell curve with clear majorities of the electorate distributed in the middle. Furthermore our majorities tend to cluster around liberal agendas like universal health care, civil rights, and environmental protection. What we don't have is a political party that is clearly and substantially devoted to servicing those majorities.

The Democratic Party is currently focused on resisting some Republican initiatives but beyond that they still haven't embraced any of the long term proposals that are supported by clear majorities of Americans. We can predict that they will "win" in the next election cycle, and then lose some more. It's kind of a one step forward, one step back affair with Democrats.

Bernie Sanders isn't an outlier in any way comparable to Roy Moore. Sanders is actually the most popular politician in America while Moore is one of if not the most reviled. These attempts by Republicans and centrist to portray Sanders's as some kind of "leftist" are simply facile.

Although a minority of American's get their information from unreliable sources, clear majorities informed by reliable information still manage to emerge somehow. The minority just keeps spinning ever further out into it's alternative reality, but that's a minority spinning out into an alternative reality, it's not a process of polarization wherein one group is spinning out into it's own reality while another spinning in the opposite direction." Paul U.

"So we know that spend vs gdp percentage isn't perfect, however it is pretty good. I mean we know that Welfare expansion, Medicaid, ACA, Public employee unions, Special education funding, etc have all flourished during the past 50 years. And these are clearly increasing the cost and control of government. And the cost of servicing the growing National Debt is also driving the ratio up.

So this makes sense...
1967: total government spend was ~30% of the GDP.
Today: it is about 38% of the GDP.

Therefore it seems pretty clear that our culture has moved further Left during the past 50 years. (not to mention Civil rights, LGBT rights, Environmental protections, etc) And if the Liberal tribe has their way by socializing healthcare and higher education, and passing many more regulations... It is pretty clear that the Spend vs GDP percentage will increase further. Just as it is much higher in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, etc. Seems logical to me.

As for the bi-modal distribution, and if you focus on the left hump. I agree that Bernie Sanders is popular amongst the Left side of that Liberal tribe. However that again is only maybe 1/6th of all American voters.

And as disturbed as Roy Moore was, there was a group on the Right side of the Conservative hump / tribe that supported him in much the same way. And if the young woman allegations had not surfaced he likely would have been a Senator now... (scary...)

As I have said elsewhere, I think we used to have a normal distribution of voters in the USA. However our freedom to pick our social network friends, our news sources, etc... It is clear that the 2 distributions/ tribes are growing more separate. The Liberal tribe who believes more federal government control/ wealth transfer / regulations are how to improve the USA. The Conservative tribe who believes that less federal government control/ wealth transfer/ regulations are how to improve America.

Both tribes have the same goal... Just totally different beliefs about how to attain them. :-)" G2A

Why We Give Our Money Away

This seems related to my last post:
CNN Bill and Melinda Gates: Why We Give Our Money Away
Gates Foundation Home Page

Any Epiphanies...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Money and Beads

I have been thinking about money a lot lately.  Not how to make it, how to spend it or even how much I have...  With 2 of our daughters in or approaching their college years, spending it is not a problem right now. :-) What I have been pondering is how different people:

  • perceive money / wealth / assets
  • make saving, investing and spending choices
  • balance labor / effort vs spending

Now you must remember that my rural Grand Parents, Uncles and Aunts pretty much saved and invested every penny that ever came their way. (other than charitable giving...)  And working seemed to be their passion. In fact when my Great Uncle Ike died in ~1979, he still had a hand pump in his kitchen for water, an outhouse out back and his car was a 1962 Impala that seemed to double as his farm vehicle.

I was conditioned pretty good into this life style, at least with regard to working, doing my own home renovations, saving, investing and giving to charity.  However after my anxiety attack in 2004, I had to really stop and reconsider this "all work, few toys and little play" lifestyle.  I had learned that it was just UNHEALTHY... From then on I bought more big toys and our family went on more vacations.

As part of my pondering, I created the following jar of beads. I liked beads because they are very scaleable... Each bead can equal $1, $100, $1,000, etc. And I believe that money can easily change forms. One hundred $100 beads can be a car, a boat, savings, stocks, bonds, a home improvement, etc. Please note that vacations and that coffee are not wealth exchanges, they are spending for joy, experiences, etc...

Warning: this exercise will not work well for people who have not saved and/or invested....  One does need an income and some savings to play effectively.
  • The blue beads represent the part of one's net worth that is made up of property that one owns and plans to hold for a long time. This could be your home, business, land, etc.  These are your fixed assets, therefore at the bottom.
  • The pink beads represent the part of one's wealth that is made up of savings accounts, 401Ks, stocks, bonds, boats, motorcycles, cabin, etc. Some of these hopefully are pretty well "fixed", where as some of them are what I call toys and tools. The top beads can easily be exchanged for green beads if one wishes.
  • The green beads represent income, capital gains, etc. Money that you choose how to spend, save, invest, etc.

It is the green beads and the top of the pink beads that fascinate me the most. I know people who:
  1. Find a way to spend every green bead instead of ever converting them into pink beads. They are great people who seem to just need that new motorcycle, that exciting vacation, Starbucks coffee, etc.  They may be having a "great time now", unfortunately they incur a lot of financial stress and will be very unprepared for retirement.
  2. Do a good job of balancing the desires of today while investing for college expenses, future big purchases, retirement, etc.  They seem to be able understand that experiences today are important, as is having wealth for the future.
  3. Are simply resistant to spending, they seem to have spent so much of their lives scrimping, saving and investing, that it is really hard for them to spend money just to make their lives easier. (ie Uncle Ike) These also are great people who's favorite words are "we really don't NEED that". My concern is that these folks are missing the best of what life can offer because they are working too hard and/or avoiding the cost of great vacations.
So what do beads mean to you?

  • Are more beads better? Do those who die with the most beads win? (what?)
  • Is making your life simpler more important than beads? (ie hiring things done, buying better equipment, etc) 
  • Are beads a waste to you? You want to live for now?


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Political Tribalism

These seem to be worth a read, though I typically find people are resistant to admit they are part of the "tribes". Thoughts?   Minnpost Tribalism     New Yorker Tribalism

Personally I liked this quote from the New Yorker.
"One of the great attractions of tribalism is that you don’t actually have to think very much. All you need to know on any given subject is which side you’re on. You pick up signals from everyone around you, you slowly winnow your acquaintances to those who will reinforce your worldview, a tribal leader calls the shots, and everything slips into place. After a while, your immersion in tribal loyalty makes the activities of another tribe not just alien but close to incomprehensible. 
It has been noticed, for example, that primitive tribes can sometimes call their members simply “people” while describing others as some kind of alien. So the word Inuit means people, but a rival indigenous people, the Ojibwe, call them Eskimos, which, according to lore, means “eaters of raw meat.”"

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

I Hope Our Kids Forgive Us

Personally I am so frustrated with how selfish the people living in America at this point in time are.  The Conservatives demanding lower taxes and higher spending.  And the Liberals demanding even higher spending, more programs and higher taxes.

Isn't anyone actually fiscally responsible anymore?  Don't our current citizens care if they are tying a big anchor to our children?  Think about it.
Well I hope our children will forgive us for this mess in a decade or so.  Or I hope they choose to discontinue SS and Medicare payments in retribution for all the greed we are and have been showing for the last 20+ years.

Just imagine the simple stupidity of this whole situation. We all know the National Debt is too High, and that the SS, SSD and Medicare programs are unsustainable as is. And people on both sides are pointing fingers at each other while demanding cuts or expenditures that benefit them personally !!!  One really can not make dysfunction like this up. 😖  When you see your kids or grand kids, I think you should beg their forgiveness.

CNN House DEMs Face Choice
VOX House DEMs Demand DACA Vote
FOX News Pelosi Demands
FOX News What Is In the Deal

Goal: Social Democracy?

Sean and I have been disagreeing about where Democrats want to take our country in the long run.  My argument is that they will not be satisfied until they make us like a Northern European Social Democracy and he disagrees. 

Below is an OECD Data Comparison Graph - Spend vs GDP You click on it to make it bigger or hit the link. Here are the values for the countries I pointed to... USA: 37.6%, Germany: 43.8%, Sweden: 49.6%. Please remember that if we "socialized healthcare", we may be at Germany's spend percentage.

My belief is that as Democrats accomplish their "reasonable" goals, they will just move the goal posts further Left like they have been doing for 50+ years. I think of them as a boat tied to a dock, and the GOP is the rope. The GOP gave a gave for decades, however now the rope is tight a strongly resisting further motion. And for historical reference.

And when the Conservatives push back even harder against the "newest goals", the DEMs will complain that the Conservatives are irrational and extreme!!!  (sound familiar?) When in reality it will have been the DEMS moving relative to the fixed datum of Spend / GDP... Thoughts?

Governor Race and Lynx

I have nothing today...  Maybe it is the winter doldrums, or it just feels like politics lately is like the movie "Grounds Hog Day".

So here are 2 topics.  One for discussion and one for fun... :-)

I just don't know why Jeff Johnson is running again, he seems to have no charisma from what I have seen. MPR MN Governor Race

Our family's North Shack is up between Grand Marais and Tofte. I have been going there since I was born and have never run across or heard about Lynx up there...  Usually just Moose, Bears, Deer and Wolves. :-)  These pics are pretty cool.
MPR Lynx Pics

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Flawed Democracy and Moderation

The USA is rated as a Flawed Democracy AND I am frustrated with the MinnPost Moderators again.  I have had comments not showing up again lately.

Here is some of the text from the piece.
"The U.S. scores, which used to be much higher, have been declining since 2006. The chief problem with U.S. democracy, as the EIU scores it, has been a decline in what it calls “social cohesion,” which has been diminishing for years, in part because of the increase in what is often called “polarization,” across partisan and political lines. As the EIU scores democracies, our poor cohesion led to low scores for “Functioning of government: 7.14” and “Political participation: 7.22.” 
As I’ve often mentioned, the United States ranks horribly against other democracies for voter turnout, which in an important factor in our poor “participation” number. But the low score for “functioning of government,” which obviously did the most damage to our overall number, reflects the fact that even with one party controlling almost all the levers of government, America borders on unable to enact legislation. 
The EIU’s writeup on our democracy said various kinds of polarization, social, political, economic and otherwise, undermine our exercise in self-governance, adding that, “If Mr. Trump is unable to reverse the trend towards increasing social polarization, U.S. democracy will be at greater risk of further deterioration.
In essence the scoring system has decided that a "Full Democracy" is one in which the majority agrees and can get things done.  And my unacceptable comment went something like this.
So apparently the BORG from Star Trek are an excellent example of what these folks value in a Democracy...  Most people share common opinions and have the power to enforce them on everyone in their country...  And if a large minority with different views have the power to stymie that action...  That is consider a bad thing?
Here are some interesting links that use the BORG concept.