Linky Friday #56

Vikram Bath

Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1.

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89 Responses

  1. Bert The Turtle says:

    [C2] I’ve more or less given up on Facebook, but I introduced one of my close friends from college to OT a while back and he’s shared several links there. Most recently the first installment of OTU re: US presidents. Not sure if he comments here or not.Report

  2. Glyph says:

    That [I2] is good. It’s really depressing though. One thing I can’t figure – Ken B. correctly points out that in many cases, the bad consequences from talking to a cop come not from any particular special maliciousness on the cop’s part, but systematic/institutional pressures (they have a case to close etc.) But it seems to me that “don’t talk to cops” is a relatively recent phenomenon, and my parents or grandparents would, once upon a time, have thought this advice insane. Has something changed (knock-ons from drug war, for one, but what else)? Or are we really just that much smarter today than they were (presumably, cops have ALWAYS had a case to close)?Report

    • Kim in reply to Glyph says:

      Cops don’t always have a case to close. sometimes their job is systematic harassment.
      (Yes, I do mean job. As in people from the neighborhood call the cops to go get “those people”
      out of the neighborhood).

      I’m not sure whether or not talking to the cops in this case would help or hurt, honestly.
      It probably depends on how cute/innocent/well-meaning you can come off.Report

    • Vikram Bath in reply to Glyph says:

      I’m guessing it’s public awareness that has changed rather than the drug war, though I’m unable to cite evidence either way.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        Well, I said “knock-ons” from the Drug War. It seems to me that we’ve eviscerated many of our Constitutional protections in the process of fighting the Drug War, and precedents have been set such that now any conversation is ample pretext for further searching and fishing; whereas previously they would have needed more evidence to go on, and warrants and such.

        There’s also the whole “militarized” mindset – when cops get trained as warriors fighting an enemy, it’s natural they’d view us as such, and we them. Now there’s this popular conception of cops as embattled soldiers rather than as civil servants, as one of us, and it paradoxically leads us to both over- and under-trust them.

        But again, it’s sad. I think “don’t talk to cops” is excellent advice as things stand, but as an overall state of affairs it would be better for both citizens’ lives, and cops’ jobs, if this were not the case.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph says:

      T1 is written at such a high level of abstraction that it says nothing at all.

      This is not open to debate, is not part of some cute imaginary world where everyone’s opinion is equally valid or whatever. Windows 8 is a disaster. Period.

      Well, all right then.Report

    • Mo in reply to Glyph says:

      I wonder if part of it is that the relationship between the police and the majority of the populace has become more adversarial. Some of it is cultural, like zero tolerance pervading all walks of life. Some of it is incentive driven (like broader asset forfeiture laws).Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Glyph says:

      Wildly speculating here, but maybe metrics-based evaluations weren’t as common back then, so there wasn’t as much pressure for the police to close the case?Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Glyph says:

      We’ve horribly distorted the incentives of the career. Police are rewarded for the number of arrests they make. If their beat is relatively crime free, then obviously they are either not doing their job & are looking the other way too often, or they are obviously not necessary & their job is at risk.

      Ideally, police would be judged on how often people on their beat dial 911, why they dial, & how the officers respond, but since many departments have seriously damaged their reputations with their public (thanks to the drug war), the number of 911 calls is not representative of the crime in the community.Report

  3. Glyph says:

    [Reads C3]
    [Removes Valentine’s Mix post before anyone else gets hurt]Report

  4. clawback says:

    [E2] is amusing. Did Henderson really suppose that Krugman recognized no supply-side constraints on an economy? The mind boggles.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to clawback says:

      He’s specifically talking about high marginal tax rates causing people to work less. Do you believe that this is true? Do you believe that it’s true only for people with low incomes, or also for people with high incomes?Report

      • clawback in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Of course it’s true, but it has nothing to do with my beliefs; it’s empirical. The only question is whether the tradeoff is worthwhile.Report

      • Dan Miller in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        It doesn’t strike me as crazy that it’s more true for the poor than the rich. It could well be that being a CEO carries non-monetary perks that make working more enjoyable than it is for a janitor, even if the marginal tax rate they face is the same. What I’m saying is: more study needed, but to call Krugman out as a hypocrite is premature at best.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Are those the only two options, or are we allowed to talk about the sizes of the marginal effects and the revenue trade offs like normal people would?

        Jeez. This is why we can’t have nice things.Report

      • I think there is something to be said for what constraints you acknowledge and why. I think there are a lot of professional economists out there who look at the policy implications first and then decide whether to emphasize the constraints as all-important or hand-wave them off as trivial or acknowledge them but say that it’s all for the best anyway. To figure out who is being intellectually honest and who is not, you have to look for patterns of argumentation going across years of time.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        The questions are “Would you work an extra hour at a menial job for $9.00?” vs. “Would you work an extra hour at something challenging and rewarding, which gives you a significant part of your identity, for something north of $100?” They’re very different.Report

      • Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I’ve yet to read the piece Pataki’s publishing.
        (discl: i got the whole “go read this” from
        someone pushing samples at Costco.)

        But even liberals say that too high
        marginal tax rates are bad (I think the
        number he was quoting was 70%).

        [Sidenote: Econ/History professor passing out samples
        at costco? Life is weird.]Report

      • zic in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Honestly, I think they’re all missing the forest for the trees.

        For a long time, people have been held hostage to jobs because of the need for health insurance; so I’m not convinced that people will work less hours at a job because of any change in taxes on that income, particularly at the low end. But I can easily see people not working a second, part-time job or moving to a job without employer-provided health insurance; and I can easily see people opting for self-employment with options for insurance beyond the employer that aren’t so price gouging as they were before Obamacare.

        Taxes do have some impact on our decision making; particularly when there’s a lot of money being taxed. Charity, investment funds, etc. are all guided by tax policy for high-income individuals.

        But the argument on the low end of the scale completely ignores the insurance restraints on workers that kept them in jobs they don’t particularly enjoy, and the opportunity they have to move if there are other health-insurance options available.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Another good question is, Does your job allow you to scale your pay by working different numbers of hours, or is your job description, “We pay you a salary and you work until the s*#t is done and fire you if you’re away too often”?Report

      • Patrick in reply to Brandon Berg says:


        What, you think the world is complicated or something?Report

      • clawback in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        To figure out who is being intellectually honest and who is not, you have to look for patterns of argumentation going across years of time.

        Indeed you do. Have you done so? It would appear not, since you quote approvingly from a writer who is inexplicably surprised when Krugman acknowledges basic supply-curve reality.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Another useful question about this is how high the implied marginal rate is. Given that most subsidies are doled out based on tables rather than continuous functions, there’s a much greater chance that your effective marginal rate goes above 100%. Nobody who has a choice works a single hour for a marginal rate above 100%, especially if they don’t make much money in the first place. Empirically, it seems like a lot of people work for marginal rates at 40% or so.Report

      • Mo in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        There’s a huge difference between a 40% marginal tax rate and a >100% marginal tax rate that occurs for low income people.Report

      • Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        zic’s right.
        Added value to the economy from Entrepreneurs and Writers not fleeing the country for health care is HIGH.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I frequently see leftists exhibiting a dismissive attitude towards the idea that top marginal rates discourage work by high-income earners. If you guys want to talk about the magnitude of the effect, and not whether it exists, I’ll call that progress.Report

      • Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        it’s only an effect if they insist on getting paid.
        Otherwise, you hire corporate accountants
        and you don’t need to deal with the paperwork.

        (why, yes, I know someone who does this.
        Not sure how common it is).Report

      • Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Do you know why a rich person donates to charity?
        1) Tax Break.
        2) Leverage — he will later get favors/compensation from the charity.

        Rich folks can afford to spend a lot more dodging taxes.
        So, I think we can say that the affect of an equivalent marginal tax rate on
        the rich is less likely to hit them as hard as a poor person.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Actually, calling it “progress” isn’t fair, since I don’t know that any of you, personally, have ever denied this. But it’s certainly better than what I’m used to.

        It could well be that being a CEO carries non-monetary perks that make working more enjoyable than it is for a janitor, even if the marginal tax rate they face is the same.

        On the flip side, you have declining marginal utility of money. Work may be less unpleasant for the CEO, but he also gets less benefit from the additional money. People like to use declining marginal utility as a reason to raise taxes on the rich (“It won’t hurt them as much!”), but it cuts both ways—declining marginal utility means that the more money you already have, the more take-home pay you need to provide the same incentive to work.

        Given that most subsidies are doled out based on tables rather than continuous functions, there’s a much greater chance that your effective marginal rate goes above 100%.

        The government could be a bit less stupid about tapering off welfare, but to some extent high marginal tax rates are an inevitable consequence of high welfare spending. Suppose you want to set a floor of $30,000 per year in cash and noncash benefits. Housing, medical care, food, everything. If you want the government to break even (taxes and benefits equal) on some making $60,000 per year, then you need a 50% marginal tax rate on the first $60,000 of income. If you only have a 40% marginal tax rate, then the government doesn’t break even until $75,000 in income.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Brandon Berg says:


        I frequently see leftists exhibiting a dismissive attitude towards the idea that top marginal rates discourage work by high-income earners. If you guys want to talk about the magnitude of the effect, and not whether it exists, I’ll call that progress.

        On behalf of these unnamed leftists (and perhaps Paul Krugman, who apparently also ignores that supply curves slope up, if the press is to be believed), I apologize.

        Regarding CEOs and their marginal tendency to work for an additional dollar, I’m fairly certain that, say, AOL would not scale Tim Armstrong’s salary down from $12M to $10M if he wanted to take two months off. It’s pretty much a package deal. I can see professionals like doctors and lawyers taking on fewer clients and working fewer days, but executives and most other top-earning managers don’t really have that option. Early retirement is about the only choice there.

        I’d be all for some real empirical evidence that high earners are hugely responsive to changes in their top marginal rate, but it goes against my intuition and observations. We’ve survived with both much higher top marginal rates and much lower rates of pay for top earners in the past.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Krugman cannot be criticized; he can only criticize.Report

      • TF, I’ll tell you where it may make a difference: Working spouses. That anything I earn is at our highest tax bracket does factor in. When doing the calculations on how much I would need to earn to justify working, it’s right there alongside “transportation costs” and “daycare costs.”

        I can also imagine things like “Should I expand my business and take on the extra work?” being impacted by higher marginal tax rates.

        (I was going to mention that it matters for my wife as well, but you already mentioned doctors.)

        On the whole, though, I think marginal taxes do need to be notably higher than they are to have a really significant impact. I do think that rates going up to 70-90% would do that (as well as having other negative effects).

        It wouldn’t take going that high for it to suddenly become much more advantageous to start hiring tax accountants. Which is something we sometimes fail to account for when we talk about yesteryear’s 70-90% rates… the difference between posted rate and actual rate. Almost nobody paid 70% on any of their income. Nobody who could afford an accountant, anyway.

        On the other hand, posted rates do matter on a psychological level, and for back-of-envelope calculations. Should we ever decide to get back to the level of taxes-as-a-percentage-of-GDP that we had back then, we really shouldn’t want to do it the way we did it then.Report

  5. Brandon Berg says:

    C4: No, and from the article, it sounds like I was right not to guess that.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      You’re right. Its arguments make no sense.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        They make perfect sense. They just don’t support the claim implied by Vikram’s rhetorical question.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        The claim comes from the article itself:

        black dads are more involved with their kids on a daily basis than dads from other racial groups:Report

      • The issue at play here is that the study controls for whether or not the father lives with the children. Black fathers who live with their children spend more time with them than white fathers. Black fathers who do not live with their children spend more time with them than white fathers. ThinkProgress argues that this nullfies the notion of absentee fathers. Critics would argue that the primary driver behind the notion is that black fathers far less frequently live with their children, and as such this doesn’t actually address the underlying issue.

        I’d argue that it’s actually important and noteworth that black fathers are more likely to make the best of their situation (living with the kids, not living with the kids), though that doesn’t take us quite as far as ThinkProgress thinks it does.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        It may be a self-selection effect. If living with their children is the default for white fathers, but not for black fathers, then black fathers who live with their children may as a group be self-selected for high family-orientation. Conversely, white men who do not live with their children may as a group be self-selected for low family-orientation.

        Certainly I wouldn’t rule out culture as an explanation, but it’s not the only possible explanation.Report

      • Kim in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I agree with you. also want to know about “how far away” the father lives.
        Particularly with hispanics? (dunno?)Report

      • zic in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Once again, we get into binary measurement instead of spectrum.

        First, the most damaging thing of all to a child is living with an abusive parent. If the choice is between two a two parent household where one is abusive, I’d opt for the single-parent household. If both parents are abusive, the child may well be better off with someone else and little or no contact with his or her parents.

        Second, if both parents are loving and involved, there are some significant advantages to having them live in two separate households that rarely get mentioned. It teaches flexibility and adaptability; you learn two separate sets of rules and expectations. There is a good chance that one or both of those parents will still be in a loving relationship and have extended friendship networks, so there are more examples of love, friendship; more opportunity for mentors. This may matter even more in a world where extended family is scattered instead of living in the same geographical area, too.

        Just to be clear, I’m not saying a separated family is better; I’m saying that the condemnation of separated families deserves better consideration.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      yes: “Although black fathers are more likely to live separately from their children — the statistic that’s usually trotted out to prove the parenting “crisis” — many of them remain just as involved in their kids’ lives.”

      What the article left out was that percentage – the number of black fathers living separately from their children. (and the number of white, Hispanic and whichever other category desired who live separately)

      It’s a violation of the fundamental principles of statistical analysis to compare percentages of two different population sizes. (in this case, ‘fathers not living with kids’ – comparing the 12.6% to 8.6% is meaningless without an understanding or even mention of the ratio of ‘fathers living with kids’ to the ‘fathers not living with kids’ for each population segment.) That’s some Fox News level statistical malfeasance.Report

  6. zic says:

    I have a link. I’m not sure if it should be filed under ‘education’ or ‘culture,’ however.

    Megan McArdle wrote a book on failure. (Please hold your guffaws.) Out if it, she learned there are two types of people when it comes to challenges, and illuminates her topic talking about writing at The Atlantic

    Type 1 has a fixed mindset when it comes to challenges; they see their abilities (their talent) as fixed, and view challenges as a dipstick, measuring their performance on that fixed scale.

    Type 2 has a growth mindset, and views challenge as an opportunity to gain new skills and develop new talent.

    I found this fascinating, having spent much of my life with professional musicians. They’re definitely type 2 folk. I have struggled with the perception of ‘natural talent’ that belies the amount of effort involved. I find this particularly odd in a nation where ‘hard work’ is so encouraged. The people I see who actually work hard have that work viewed as play and natural talent.

    (And I’m a type 2, what are you?)Report

    • zic in reply to zic says:

      moderation, please.Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to zic says:

      I kind of like that way of looking at things. I’ve always seen failures and challenges as things to work on, but it does seem like a lot of people see them as absolute universal constants like the speed of light. I think it’s really obvious in children. Some kids seem like they would happily chip away at emptying a swimming pool with a teaspoon, and other kids immediately take the fact that they got their first long division problem wrong as evidence that they’re “bad at math” and should concentrate on other things.

      I’d like to hear what our resident educational professionals say about this. Is it a real and well known phenomenon? If so, how do you deal with it?Report

      • zic in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        Another piece of this is how we accept criticism.

        I loved working with editors when I was writing professionally. Every piece, I’d carefully chart my original submission vs. the published work, trying to understand what the editor did, and I’d often ask why they made the choices made. I learned more about ‘how to write’ from this then just about any other activity required to get a finished piece to print. So I viewed the edits as a form of constructive criticism; a method of examining my efforts with an eye toward improving.

        I repeatedly heard from editors that I ‘took editing well,’ and that it was far more common for writers to argue over edits; to feel they were a criticism without constructive force.

        How we hear criticism — you can do this better vs. you’re not worthy — plays into the notions of fixed vs. growth view of our skills.Report

      • Kim in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        yeah, I knew an editor who was intentionally inflammatory with his edits. Claimed if they were rewriting out of rage at him, it was better than being mired in depression at how much their writing sucked. (Imagine getting your copy-edited story back on a roll of toilet paper…)
        He was a good editor, despite zilch in formal training.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        The best tech people I work with are the ones I call “ego free.” They’re the ones who will argue fiercely with you in support of their designs until you make a good point, then immediately say, “Oops, you’re right. Let’s do it that way.” It’s something I try very hard to do, having learned it from the best. It’s hard, though, when we’re hard wired to win arguments in order to keep our monkey status high. A good organization will give high monkey status to people who drop an argument and switch sides when it’s clear that they’re wrong.

        I think that our monkey status seeking brain gives often gives us a bad idea of who “the enemy” is. In college, a lot of students seemed to think that the professor was the enemy because the professor graded them. Dude, the material is your enemy. The professor is your ally against that enemy. If you miss that, you’re in serious trouble.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        Dude, the material is your enemy.

        Actually, the material is your ally, too. Unless you believe in a pure signalling model of college.Report

      • zic in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        I’d say the material of one of your challenges to master.

        The professor, and his or her system of assessment is another challenge to master. Part of being successful is understanding the system within which your success is measured.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        The point of going to college is to learn the material so you can use it. Ergo it’s your ally. Unless you think the point of going to college is to get a diploma to impress people. Then the material is indeed your enemy.Report

    • Vikram Bath in reply to zic says:

      Carol Dweck’s book is a good one to read for the fixed vs. growth mindset stuff, as is this classic NY Magazine article:

      • zic in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        Thanks for that link, Vikram.

        My eldest suffered this syndrome, told he was smart, so he didn’t dare risks that might show he wasn’t smart; and I think I’m partly to blame here. My youngest is the opposite, he’ll work at something over and over, seeking out criticism, in an effort to perfect it to his satisfaction.

        With my eldest, I still spend vast amounts of time helping get past criticism as ‘you’re bad’ and moving toward, “this is what I want, how can I improve toward that goal?”Report

  7. Mike Schilling says:

    P1 — nominating big donors to ambassadorships is a practice that has been around forever. Don Siegelman, former governor of Alabama, reappointed a big donor to an unpaid position on a state hospital regulatory board, and is serving over five years in prison for honest services fraud because of it.Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      This looks like this may be the next big meme. I remember a great article from years ago (before Obama was President) that covered this phenomenon in detail. I Googled for it, starting with the search term “ambassador donor” and got 3 pages of results from the past few months excoriating Obama for it, so either it’s a constant complaint or it’s going to reach critical mass and show up in all of the blogs and Sunday shows at once pretty soon.

      Anyway, another interesting point is that we appoint rich socialites to these posts because they host parties and entertain lavishly out of their own pockets. I guess when you send an ambassador to Paris, it’s pretty unlikely that they’ll cause us to go to war with the French by accident, so you might as well send somebody you owe a favor to and who will make the embassy a great place for diplomats to hang out and drink together. Save the heavier hitters for China.Report

    • Here’s some background on the ambassadorship issue. It is something as old as time, as Mike says, though according to some sources (not just FoxNewsy ones) the current administration has been stretching the boundaries.Report

    • j r in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      The simple answer is that top diplomatic jobs don’t go to life-long foreign service professionals who know what they’re talking about. Instead, they go to political donors.

      This is from the NPR article and it is very misleading. There is a big difference between “top diplomatic job” and a cushy ambassador post. As Troublesome points out above, there is not a lot of heavy diplomatic lifting that the Ambassador to the UK or France has to do. These positions are largely ceremonial and whatever real diplomatic work needs doing gets done by the professional diplomats who serve on the Embassy staff. Someone with lots of diplomatic experience would only be wasted in those positions.Report

      • Kim in reply to j r says:

        Yeah, this is indeed the case. It’s people trumping up something that’s really hohum, and not doing anything too terrible.
        (I would be much more upset if Anyone from the DoJ was being appointed simply because they were donors.)Report

      • Mo in reply to j r says:

        I would like to quibble with this because typically the vast majority* of positions are filled with people with diplomatic experience or bringing something else to the relationship. That implies that the ceremonial type ambassadors are the real waste. Now, it might be the case that the really important/close countries are handled by DC (much in the way a US regional sales team would not handle a big customer like Walmart, but the relationship would be handled by corporate), but that different than saying that the vast majority of diplomats are a waste.

        tl;dr: Top diplomats are only ceremonial when they’re held by appointees because they have to be, it’s not inherent in the nature of the top diplomatic post.

        * Clinton and Bush II were at about 30% donor appointees.Report

  8. Dan Miller says:

    E3–that study seems to be comparing a group of lotto winners to those who “did not win or did not play”. So you’re comparing a group of people who chose to play the lotto with those who didn’t necessarily even buy a ticket. That seems like it could bias the conclusion a good deal. The intra-winner comparisons would still be valid (i.e. comparing smaller winners to bigger winners) but I’d take it with a grain of salt.Report

    • Kim in reply to Dan Miller says:

      Also, this study is idiotic.
      Anyone smart who wins the lottery doesn’t let their name get published.
      You send the lawyer to pick it up, and you don’t admit it to anybody.Report

  9. NewDealer says:

    C1: Has any other artist done such a remarkable career 360 as Ice-T? I remember when he was Culture War Public Enemy #1 for Cop Killer and for his very extensively noted criminal past including pimping. Now he is primarily noted for being being one of the good guys on Law and Order:SVU (no idea if he is still on the show) and apparently for doing Dungeons and Dragons audio books. George Carlin did a late-career stint in Children’s TV but his past was not quite as checkered as that of Ice-T. I think this is largely a good trend. It seems like for a while all of culture has been getting hipper and more with it including Children’s TV. I don’t remember if people like Katy Perry and Benedict Cumberbach did spots on Sesame Street when I was a kid. On the other hand, people know how to build their brands now as they say and there are whole armies of PR agents but that Cop Killer is largely forgotten is a good sign of heat escaping the culture wars.

    C2: I think if the Internet didn’t exist, I would be the type of person who clips out articles from newspapers or magazines and I would send them to people who would fine them interesting. So I put up articles and music all the time.

    P1: America has always used ambassadorships to reward either political donations or long-term party supporters. Spots like the Court of St. James (the UK) and Japan are considered to go to the long-term party faithful. Japan tends to politicians like Walter Mondale and Tom Foley but now Carolyn Kennedy. There was an article in the Atlantic about how we should ditch this practice and appoint career foreign service workers and diplomats but America seems to have a strong aversion to the idea of non-elected people receiving high political office. Europe does not seem to have a problem with the idea of non-elected people in high positions like judge, prosecutor, ambassador, etc.

    P2: I don’t fully buy the sympathy for the tech industry but it seems that it is human nature and people will often find themselves in positions where they are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. The NYC Board of Education was taking a lot of heat history for keeping schools open. When they explained that they did so because many students come from poor families and schools are where they get hot meals and a safe haven from stressful home situations, articles went up saying that the decision “demeaned” teachers by turning them into mere “caregivers”. So there is a lot of damned if you do, damned if you don’t and not pleasing anyone. That being said, techies especially the ones in charge of younger start-ups don’t do themselves any favors most of the time by being rather arrogant and condescending about how they explain everything.

    I know Snapchat is LA based but the attitude exhibited by their top staff seems to be common in the tech industry. They are not as revolutionary as they think they are and disruption is a rather callous word to use. My theory is that tech will be the 2010 version of the Wall Street “Masters of the Universe” in the 1980s, too many young people with too much power and money and without someone to teach them about humility and responsibility.

    I1: This seems to become a damned if you don’t but maybe damned if you do problem. College is expensive and the debt seems daunting and life-long but not going to college is largely still a bad idea.

    I2: I generally don’t like Popehat’s politics but this is something he is good at.Report

    • Chris in reply to NewDealer says:

      Going from “Cop Killer” to playing a cop on TV for a decade is pretty impressive, but several hip hop artists from back then have gone from gangster rap to completely safe for television commercials over the same span: Dr Dre and Dr Pepper, Ice Cube and anything Ice Cube has done in the last 15 years (movies, commercials), Snoop and all his commercials and appearances, and so on.

      Honestly, aside from the irony of the profession of Ice-T’s TV character, the one case that surprises me the most is Ice Cube. I mean, how long has it been since he last had to use his AK?Report

      • Bert The Turtle in reply to Chris says:

        Let’s just say that he’s had a lot of good days recently.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Chris says:

        Good points though even though Ice Cube did go up in South Central, I don’t think he ever really had quite the criminal career as Ice-T. Maybe I’m wrong but Ice Cube studied architectural drafting after high school. I think he was more persona than other gangsta rappers. Maybe they are all persona.Report

      • Mo in reply to Chris says:

        I’m somewhat certain Snoop actually murdered someone. It was joked about during his Comedy Central Roast.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to NewDealer says:

      Regarding the Snapchat story:
      1. See the update at your link.
      2. That auto-translated paragraph is surprisingly good.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to NewDealer says:

      I simply cannot get over how SPACE AWESOME it is that Ice-T is doing a Dungeons & Dragons audiobook.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to NewDealer says:

      “Has any other artist done such a remarkable career 360 as Ice-T? ”

      Only if D&D is now,again, on the bad side of the Culture War. 😉

      (watching a lot of freestyle skiing gets one sensitive to angular measurements)Report

    • ScarletNumbers in reply to NewDealer says:

      De Blasio made a Freudian slip by implicitly admitting that the NYC Public Schools are nothing more than holding pens so parents can work and children can get fed. Whatever education takes places is merely a coincidence.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to ScarletNumbers says:

        That isn’t what he said but you are not going to change so I don’t know why I am even bothering.

        Urban school districts serve a wide-variety of families from all backgrounds and socio-economic levels. This includes people from families where they are struggling economically and/or from emotionally fraught homes. Plenty of this exists in the suburbs as well, it is just more invisible and on the margins. It is easier to hide abuse and dysfunction and family turmoil behind gated community walls and not being near neighbors.

        In an ideal world, schools would not have to deal with these realities and teachers would be only educators but we don’t have an ideal world and need to handle situations the best we can. This means that schools and teachers also need to be for social work and safe havens sometime.Report

      • ScarletNumbers in reply to ScarletNumbers says:


        That’s why I used the qualifier “implicitly”.Report

    • ScarletNumbers in reply to NewDealer says:

      From the context of your post, I think that you meant to say that Ice-T did a career 180.Report

  10. Brandon Berg says:

    P2: Typical right-wing hyperbole. They could donate all their profits to left-wing causes, and that would probably keep the protestors happy for a while.

    I’m only sort of joking. The protestors—and some commentors on this site, IIRC—were explicitly saying that Google should be paying protection money in the form of donations to the public transportation system.Report

  11. Brandon Berg says:

    I1: You can get this effect from a pure ability bias model of college (which is to say, college doesn’t actually increase your income, but college graduates make more because they’re smarter and/or more conscientious). Suppose that everyone makes $20,000 + p * $100 per year, where p is that person’s percentile in the productivity distribution. That is, someone at the 0th percentile makes $20,000 per year, someone at the 10th percentile makes $30,000, up to $120,000 for the guy at the very top.

    If the top 10% of the population goes to college, the average salary for college graduates will be (110 + 120) / 2 = $115k, and the average salary for non-college graduates will be (20 + 110) / 2 = $65k, giving college a 77% wage premium.

    If the top 50% go to college, the average salary for college graduates will be (70 + 120) / 2 = $95k, and the average salary for non-college graduates will be (20 + 70) / 2 = $45k. Now college graduates earn a 111% wage premium.

    The difference is more dramatic if we factor in high school dropouts. Say the original distribution is 30/60/10 dropout/HS/college. That means an average income of (50 + 110) / 2 = $80k for high-school graduates and still $115k for college graduates, for a 43% premium.

    Now we change the distribution to 10/40/50, we get (30 + 70) / 2 = $50k for high-school and (70 + 120) / 2 = $95 for college, for a 90% premium. Now the premium has increased 47 percentage points and nearly doubled, compared to a 34 percentage-point increase without dropouts.

    This model is unrealistic in many, many ways, but it shows how an increase in the college wage premium can be a natural consequence of having more people graduate from college and high school. Basically the high school bracket loses its highest earners to the college bracket, and gains a large group of low earners from the dropout bracket.Report

  12. NewDealer says:

    The middle segment on the State Political Gabfest was about the disappearing middle class. One thing that struck me is that economics is entering a period of absolute chaos. According to the segment it was possible to look at two history majors from UCLA fifty years ago and see that they would have pretty similar economic trajectories. Now they will quite possibly be wildly divergent and 1/3 of all college grads could be doing worse than people with HS diplomas economically.Report

  13. Boegiboe says:

    [M2] I laughed out loud at that very well-written piece. Thanks!Report

  14. Mike Schilling says:

    P2 applies to immigrants too. They’re on welfare, or they’re driving down wages, or they’re taking away all the good jobs.Report

  15. ScarletNumbers says:

    I think C3 makes a whole lot of sense. I think a woman has to truly respect her husband in order to have a successful marriage. Otherwise, it’s just a lesbian couple.Report

  16. LWA says:

    I think the tech companies are experiencing grief for wealth inequality, mostly because they are visible and tangible.
    The Koch brothers and the Walton family don’t conveniently drive around town with buses emblazoned with their names.

    For that matter, who can name the 0.1%? Where do they live? How and where would one go to protest our economic policies? I didn’t get an invitation to Davos, did you?

    Its probably unfair to target Google, but as I mentioned before, public struggles- civil rights, feminism, gay rights- or for that matter, actual revolutions- are never clean neat affairs, with the guilty properly chastised and the innocent properly compensated.

    The anger against the tech companies is like the leftist flipside of the white resentment that is the stock in trade of the GOP- it isn’t rational, and doesn’t respond well to a cool logical response- even if you have all sorts of awesome charts and graphs.Report