Thursday, October 15, 2015

Democratic Presidential Debates

Well I tried twice to join this conversation, however the moderator appeared to have reservations about my thoughts.  Surprise...  I will never understand the method to their madness. MP Debates Eric's Spin

If Jerry thought 60 Minutes and Obama would be painful to watch, this would have been torture.  I could only take it for about 30 minutes...  These folks were espousing views so far Left that I was surprised:

  1. The common theme was that other people have more money than you, and that money should be yours. And if you vote for us we will take that money from them and return it to you through programs, services, etc. 
  2. The other interesting thing is that they repeatedly referred to 'immigrants or undocumented immigrants" and they seemed very excited to use a lot of that money mentioned above to provide these folks with free stuff also. I never heard them note that these sweet innocent "immigrants" had violated our border or over stayed their documentation. Or that they had taken low skill / low knowledge jobs from American citizens and put downward pressure on wages for these positions. Or that they had budged in front of legal immigrants who were standing in line to enter our great country.  It was almost surreal.
CNN Democratic Debate


Laurie said...

I believe when a candidate's positions on the issues are supported by the majority of the public that candidate should be considered moderate. (not far left)

Morning Plum: How far left is Hillary Clinton? (Not that far left.)

don't worry though, President Clinton will be quite limited in which policies she will be able to implement given nearly total republican obstructionism.

John said...

Thank Heavens !!! :-)

Remember: Survey results can be very misleading. Especially if they are written and conducted by people with a bias.

John said...

How Far Left is Hillary

Laurie said...

Here is a debate related link I am posting just because comments here often focus on high taxes and redistribution amd socialism.

9 questions about Denmark, Bernie Sanders’s favorite socialist utopia

I thought the chart on disposable income was very interesting, although it is only part of the picture as it doesn't include Danish benefits like free health care and college.

You can comment with only a brief rant, John, because your views on this topic have already been made quite clear. Maybe you could surprise me with something new to say.

John said...

That was an excellent article. Did you read it thoroughly and completely?

I thought section 9 was fascinating after our recent discussion the questionable US Education system and it's poor cost effectiveness. I really think we could be doing much better with the taxes we already pay. And the wealthy may give less to charity and more to government, if that government was more effective than the charities.

I also wonder what the US would look like if we changed our very caring immigration policies?

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Laurie said...

so who is against cost effective govt services? not me. I just think most services in the USA are delivered mostly cost effectively, including education.

I heard RT Rybek speak yesterday and one of his closing comments was to really reduce/ eliminate the achievement gap we need to reduce poverty. I bet the child poverty rate is Denmark is quite a bit lower than the USA.

Laurie said...

Tuesday night I said Clinton won the debate and I was right.

Sorry, Bernie fans: The polls are coming in, and it looks like Clinton won the debate

John said...

"I just think most services in the USA are delivered mostly cost effectively, including education."

CBS US Outspends on Education

John said...

From your source...

"American progressives typically try to sell the middle class on expanded public services with the argument that someone else will pay for it, while the Danish idea is more that the middle class should agree to pay high taxes because public services are more valuable than additional private consumption. One consequence that follows is Danes care a lot about trying to deliver services cost-effectively.

In Copenhagen, for example, the metro is driverless, the suburban rail network features one-man train crews, and many urban bus lines are run by private companies. These are all kinds of measures that US labor unions would normally oppose, and the US debate tends to be sharply polarized between liberal coalitions with labor interests at their heart and a conservative coalition that simply wants to cut spending and service levels. The idea of reducing labor costs in order to improve service frequency without increasing spending tends to go missing. Similarly, the Øresund Bridge from Copenhagen to Malmö was constructed at a drastically lower price than the United States is prepared to spend to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York even though the Nordic bridge is substantially longer and includes a major train component along with the roadway."

John said...

Just to make sure you did not miss this...

"These are all kinds of measures that US labor unions would normally oppose, and the US debate tends to be sharply polarized between liberal coalitions with labor interests at their heart and a conservative coalition that simply wants to cut spending and service levels. The idea of reducing labor costs in order to improve service frequency without increasing spending tends to go missing."

John said...


"Danish political economy places a greater emphasis on identifying and eliminating waste, which both improves the quality of public services and fosters greater willingness to pay for them. The United States is in a different political equilibrium where the service providers themselves are often the key political constituency for services, which makes it difficult to focus on cost-effectiveness"

As for your question...
"who is against cost effective govt services? not me."

Laurie if you support the Public Employee Unions Policies, Tenure, Employee Contracts and traditional Steps/Lanes, you are against cost effective govt services. The primary goal of these entities / policies is to ensure the employees are paid more money than market and are more secure in their jobs than they would be in the open market? This means extra costs are incurred to accomplish the same results.

Remember: Mpls schools get almost twice what your school does to do a similar task...

Laurie said...

about public employee unions - Laws Enabling Public-Sector Collective Bargaining Have Not Led to Excessive Public-Sector Pay You really should try to find evidence sometimes to support your opinions. It is really quite easy to do.

as for schools, I think mpls teachers are paid about right and can fill their openings with well qualified staff, while it seems the pay at my charter school must be much too low.

John said...

Personally I think the pay scale is too broad since most Teachers carry very similar responsibilities and workloads. How we can justify paying one teacher over twice as much as the teacher in the next classroom astounds me.

Otherwise I agree that the Teacher pay scales are about correct. The problem is that the wrong Teachers are making the wrong amount. Therefore there is waste.

Besides your source did note... "Collective bargaining has resulted in higher public-employee wages in the range of 5 percent to 8 percent. "

Now we are heading towards spending $1 Trillion on education each year.

Some simple math 5% times 1000 Billions would indicate that we could save ~$50 Billion per year. Now I realize that I am keeping this very simple, but the reality is that tax payers are footing a substantially bigger bill than is necessary. (ie not cost effective)

jerrye92002 said...

John, I can easily imagine one teacher being paid twice that of another. Unfortunately, that is not currently caused by the difference in merit between the two.

As for as efficiency of public services goes, I will repeat that we spend roughly $1T per year on means-tested welfare, yet the number on welfare stays the same or gets bigger, and is the equivalent of $60,000/year for a family of three. That's neither efficient nor efficacious.

Sean said...

" the equivalent of $60,000/year for a family of three"

Um, no. That was debunked months ago.

Laurie said...

current education is 634 billion dollars (not a trillion)
National center for education Statistics

and if you want teachers to have a more compact pay scale it will require more money to raise the bottom rather than cut the top of the pay scale. Teacher pay is one issue where I kind of agree with Jerry - the more experienced teachers should have more responsibility for higher pay.

Laurie said...

and fyi - teachers earn less than other similar non-teacher college-educated workers. Teachers working in the public sector who are represented by a union earn 13.2 percent less than other comparable college graduates.

Teacher Pay Penalty

John said...

That has to be one of the weakest comparisons I have seen so far.

A Teacher stays a Teacher, whereas an accountant, engineer, etc can be promoted to a Project Manager like me, or a Manager or a CEO. When I started I oversaw small details of a big project. Then I was promoted to be responsible for the whole project. And now I am responsible for ~40 projects simultaneously. Whereas a CEO may be responsible for the success or failure of a whole company.

If an accountant chooses to be a Cost Accountant for their whole career, their compensation won't change much during their career. (ie maybe 50%)

Now that would be a better comparison if Teachers who moved into Principal, Admin and Supt positions were included. That is if the Education System made it easy for them to do that like in normal industry.

John said...

Sources People...
Weekly Standard $60,000
WP A Misleading Chart
Senate Page
Heritage WP's Faulty Fact Checking

jerrye92002 said...

"Um, no. That was debunked months ago. " -- Sean

May be. Please debunk it again. Seems to me a matter of simple math.

jerrye92002 said...

John, my company had the same problem with engineers as you see with teachers, and fixed it. The problem is that when you promote a teacher to administrator, you lose your best teacher and get, maybe, a half-decent administrator. My company fixed that by allowing engineers to rise through junior, senior, (I forget the third) and "consulting" engineer status that paid the same as those engineers who wanted (and had the skill set) for management. They even allowed people to "try" management and bounce back to the engineering track by mutual agreement that they weren't suited for it.

Part of the problem with teacher pay is that the unions force them all into interchangeable cogs, differing only by age. If they could be distinguished by merit and paid accordingly, individually, it would work far better.

John said...

My firms have similar paths, however there are very few of those Expert Engineer positions. First the engineer must be very gifted and second a position of enough impact must be available. Like an expert who knows everything about fuel injectors, engine design, chip design, materials, etc.

Now the question is how does that work for Teachers?

In engineering there are usually 3 equivalent but different career paths.
1. Technical Expert/Steward
2. Project Management
3. Supervisory / Management

All 3 can have similar impact on the quality, performance, etc, therefore making it logical to pay them similarly.

John said...

Now how to apply that to teaching, that is the question???

Those Teaching Experts must be able to reach more children either directly or indirectly, or add much more value for the kids who really need an expert.

Sean said...

"May be. Please debunk it again. Seems to me a matter of simple math"

John posted it immediately above your post. Numerator includes non-cash benefits and counts it like cash income. Denominator only includes people below poverty line, when millions more receive these benefits.

jerrye92002 said...

"Numerator includes non-cash benefits and counts it like cash income. Denominator only includes people below poverty line, when millions more receive these benefits."

So, debunk it again. Non-cash benefits have to count for something, call it the "equivalent of" cash income. And yes, people above the poverty line receive the benefits, but all that means is we're giving it to people who already have OTHER income, on top of what government gives them. It's perfectly reasonable to say those below the poverty line are the only ones in poverty, is it not? Isn't that what "in poverty" means?

Or maybe the question needs to be asked more subjectively, as to why that $1T hasn't moved anybody OUT of poverty? If you spread that much money around, even on the whole US population, it's $10K for a family of three, and we're not ALL in poverty.

John said...

Personally I think both sides are being unrealistic.

The Liberals wanting ignore "non cash benefits" is silly. My company is very happy to remind me what my "total compensation" is, and this certainly includes what my benefits cost them. And if the tax payers were not paying for their healthcare they would need to.

The Conservatives implying that $60,000 could ever be available to the poor... Of course not since, people have to oversee that transactions and work against fraud. Not to mention the funny numerator / denominator thing.

Sean said...

Just for simplicity's sake, let's leave the numerator as it is, and let's just look at the denominator. The $60,000 is based on a denominator of 16.8 million households in poverty. In fact, 110 million individuals (or 42.6 million households at the average U.S. household size) received benefits from these programs. Break it down that way and your cost per household is down to under $24,000 per household.

This is where the health care issue comes in. Medicaid represents about half of the spending in means-tested welfare programs. Medicaid users -- by the very nature of the program -- are sicker than the population as a whole, which means we pay more for their health care than the average person in our population. The reality is that without Medicaid, most of these folks wouldn't be receiving any health care at all because they couldn't afford it. Sick folks who are uninsured actually tend to use very little health care because of that fact.

John said...

I think I would tweak that to say something like "means tests programs cost America $10,000 to $40,000 per recipient household. In these costs are operational and fraud prevention costs that make up about ??% of the benefit cost. (?? = 30?)

Sorry, my company pays that premium whether I am healthy or not... Just as the tax payers do... It is compensation.

Now what caught my eye... Why are Medicaid recipients less healthy than equivalent non-recipient peer?

Sean said...

"Why are Medicaid recipients less healthy than equivalent non-recipient peer?"

Because you can become eligible for certain Medicaid services based on what conditions you have.