Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Question from NumbersGuy

Since this got buried in the past, I thought I would resuscitate it.  See quote below.

As I said previously, I think they should keep it in house for at least the short term if they can compete.  If not, it should probably be contracted out ASAP.  Though I would prefer it be part of a bigger improvement where they sold off the ESC and Bus Garage facilities.  That is a lot of Capital/Overhead that could probably used more effectively.  (maybe New Hope wants a Walmart since Plymouth is dragging their feet...)

Of course, "compete" has to include both the Quantitative and Qualitative aspects. (ie not just the money)  So Numbers, what are other criteria at stake other than the $600K?
"NumbersGuy said...

Any thoughts on the bus transportation issue in RAS??

Does anyone think it is worth an extra $600,000 per year for in-house bus transportation or should that money be used in the classroom/touching the student to help get better performance and learning? "
Sun Sailor Disservice
Sun Sailor Middle School Format 
Sun Sailor Bus Drivers Plead case
G2A RAS 14Nov11 Work Session
G2A Full STE(A)M Ahead

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Could I be Mistaken?

I am taking some time to revisit my number 1 & 2 books. G2A Booklist  They do an excellent job of helping the reader to understand the challenges we all face when we strive to be self aware.  And how hard it is to challenge our own beliefs, especially when discussing a topic we feel strongly about.

An important first step is as follows.

“Have you ever been in a conflict with someone who thought he was wrong. If you are not wrong, then you will be willing to consider how you might be mistaken.”
― Arbinger Institute, The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict

Good Reads Arbinger Quotes
Arbinger Site

I thought this was a worthwhile note because it seems we all continually fall into our historical position instead of even considering the other possible shades of gray.  Then again, maybe each of us knows better than everyone else...  To believe that would be normal.
Interesting how us humans can believe so differently and yet we insist adamantly that our truth is the only correct truth.  I guess that must mean we are incredibly smart and everyone else must be stupid...
So my challenge to all: try being willing to look for how you may be mistaken...  It can provide for an excellent experience.

Per J's comment, here is more of the quote:
"“Okay, first of all,” Lou began, “I asked whether it makes any difference in a conflict if one side is in the right and the other in the wrong. So I ask again: doesn’t that matter?”
“Yes,” Yusuf replied, “it does matter. But not in the way you think it does.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Well, Lou,” Yusuf responded measuredly, “have you ever been in a conflict with someone who thought he was wrong?”
Lou thought of Cory and the boardroom meeting with his five mutinous executives.
“No,” he answered coolly. “But that doesn’t mean they’re not.”

“True,” Yusuf agreed. “But you see, no conflict can be solved so long as all parties are convinced they are right. Solution is possible only when at least one party begins to consider how he might be wrong.”
“But what if I’m not wrong!” Lou blurted.
“If you are not wrong, then you will be willing to consider how you might be mistaken.”
“What kind of twisted riddle is that?”
Yusuf smiled. “It only seems like a riddle, Lou, because we are so unaccustomed to considering the impact of what is below our words, actions, and our thoughts.”" 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Higher Tax Rates Are Good?

Les Wes asked an interesting question when I posted a link to the historical tax rates while commenting on the Patriotic Millionaires post over at MN Publius.  "G2A, I realize the rate was officially 90%. What I'm asking is if any individuals ever ACTUALLY paid 90% of their income?"
Almost Classical: 90% Tax Rate
MN Publius Patriotic Millionaires

He pointed me to the Almost Classical post to help me understand his question better.  And my initial answer was as follows:
"Just one quick note from the link. "The reality? On earned income, the richest U.S. taxpayers paid close to 40 percent of their earned incomes in taxes in 1944." It looks like the author jumped back to effective tax rate for this statement...

The rich could have paid a marginal rate of 94% on income above "top rate started at $200,000, which today is equal to $2,413,059.90 ", and still had a ~40% effective rate. (ie $2.4 @ 35% & $.22 @94%) Just a thought. I'll review further...

One more note: those right offs likely included a lot of charitable giving and other spending that help keep the economy churning. Not a lot of sense re-investing if you'll only have 4% to invest after paying 94% to Uncle Sam."
Now I have not done anymore research on the topic, however I would like to get the feedback from my readers.  Since it seems to relate to the discussion we were having on G2A $1.2 Trillion.  I am thinking that Les Wes has a point, a 90% top marginal rate would definitely promote certain behaviors.  Wealthy investors may be highly motivated to:
  • avoid dividend paying stocks
  • give deeply to charities
  • buy capital goods that could be depreciated
  • spend on expenses that can be written off
  • avoid short term investments (ie regular income)
  • other
Here is the latest from MN Publius on the topic.
MN Publius 76% Optimum Tax Rate

Maybe this is why the Rockefeller's, Carnegie's, Getty's and their peers were so charitable.  I mean 90% to the government, or 100% to your preferred charity and your name on a building.  Seems like a simple choice.

And how can invest and hold be a bad thing...  It seems it would drive people and companies to make better choices.

Thoughts?   Happy Thanksgiving !!!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

$1.2 Trillion in 6 Days

So what do you think will happen here?

Who do you think is being rational and why?

Who do you think is being irrational and why?

Other thoughts?

Of course, I am for significant cuts and tax increases.  I wish they were going for a lot more than the $1.2 Trillion.  So I think both the Left and Right are being a bit irrational...  The National Debt has apparently exceeded $15,000,000,000,000 !!!  I think I got all those zeros right.  Just servicing it at 4% is be $600,000,000,000/yr !!!  Cut up those credit cards people !!!

CNN Deficit talks to Blame Game
FOX News $15 Trillion and Counting
FOX News Taxes,Benefits stall committee
Huffington Post Move to Somalia
PBS News Hour Stymied
MinnPost Found Middle?

Monday, November 14, 2011

RAS: Full STE(A)M Ahead?

Well, the work session looks like it will have something for everyone tonight.
  • Budget Adjustments, 2012/13 Expenses
  • Transportation Survey
  • Middle School Schedule Changes
  • STE(A)M discussions
So what are your thoughts:
  • Should we cut deeper?  If so, where?
  • Should we outsource the transportation? Why?  Why Not?
  • Does changing schedules really make sense? Why? Why Not?
  • Do we really want another Magnet in RAS? Why? Why Not?
RAS Board Work Session Agenda Packet

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kelli's Hope for Children

My bright, beautiful and creative 8th grade daughter was recently recognized at the New Hope Mayor's Prayer breakfast and at last night's RAS Board meeting for a recent art project that she entered into a contest.  The topic was "Hope for Children".  She has agreed that I can share it with you.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What percent are you?

Here we go again.  A co-worker just showed me this cool calculator...

Wall Street Journal Calculator

Here is their data graphed.  Similar to the Hennepin County data, but different.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Abortion and Conservatives

Here we go again, some religious right group is trying to take another swing at it.  And in my opinion it is hard to argue against the premise that would "define life as beginning at the moment of conception".
CNN Mississippi Amendment

The problem I still have is that the Conservatives seem to want to take responsibility for the life of the unborn fetus. (ie force it's birth)  Yet when that unwanted child is born, abused, impoverished or neglected, they seem to run for the hills.  Worse yet they take their wallets with them.

I was having a discussion with a Conservative that was so happy that the Republicans were making headway in cutting the funding for Planned Parenthood.  However when I asked about additional funding for Early Childhood Education Funding, Parent Education Funding and other things that could help these kids, they in essence said that that was the Parent's responsibility...
Life Romney

Now let me repeat this again to help you see the hypocrisy:
  • The Conservative says that I am responsible to make sure your child gets born and will use the Government to do it, since you the Parent are incapable of making the Right decision.
  • The Conservative says that once the child is born I bear no responsibility for the life and well being of that child, and that the Government has to stay out of it because it is the Parent's job and they know best.
Now I whole heartedly agree that Men/Women or Boys/Girls should be capable of abstinence or contraception.  And if they screw up and conceive a child, they should be responsible for their actions.  But I am sure not smart enough to decide if abortion or neglect/abuse/poverty is the better of 2 bad alternatives.

Now if the Conservatives were Pro-Life before and after birth, I would probably have more in common with them.  But the bullets above are so inconsistent that I wonder how they sleep at night.  Then again we humans do have an amazing ability to rationalize our flawed logic.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What is a Good Net Worth?

So if incomes are somewhat taboo.  How about thoughts regarding this net worth data?

As a reminder, the median is the point where half the families are above and half below.

The median is where you add up all the net worths, and then divide by the number of families.  These mean values are higher than the median values because the distribution is not normal.  It is skewed to the right by the minority of families that have very high net worths.

The scariest thing I see in this data is that median net worths are very low for the baby boomers that are likely thinking to retire.  For their sake I hope Social Security will stay solvent, otherwise they will likely be working until their final days.

Beware these calculators and use at your own risk.  They may cause you to become despondent...
CNN Retirement Planner
AARP Retirement Calculator

Census Table