Linky Friday #60

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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141 Responses

  1. Brandon Berg says:

    P2: When I clicked on this, I got one of those insipid page-blocking surveys. “We need more thought provoking journalism: Agree or Disagree?” Does anyone know what these are for? I can’t imagine that they’re actually collecting data on that particular question.Report

    • I’ve never answered, but I suspect the goal is to get information about the certain person who believes a certain thing. Or to send them to a website for people who believe a certain thing.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Will Truman says:

        The questions are so crazily one-sided though – often there is only one answer that doesn’t put you in with the nihilists in The Big Lebowski.

        I wonder if they might not be click-jacking attacks – they get you to click on a predictable rectangular area of the screen and hide the fact that they’re passing the action through to a facebook ‘share’ button or something.Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      I usually just close it. This time I clicked “disagree” in the hopes that maybe they’d shut up.Report

  2. Glyph says:

    [P5] – I believe ADHD is probably overdiagnosed, but nonexistent? And to replace its diagnosis with bipolar, as he does anecdotally in that article…well, that may help a number of mis-ADHD-diagnosed people who are actually bipolar, but it puts the rest of them in an even WORSE situation (hell, such a diagnosis is likely to depress them, and drugs to treat bipolar such as lithium et al are, IMO, much more problematic drugs than ADHD’s stimulants are).Report

    • Chris in reply to Glyph says:

      The replacing ADHD (and every other diagnosis) with bipolar disorder is becoming more and more popular on the fringes of mainstream psychology/psychiatry, because there’s a dude at Harvard (whose name I can’t remember at the moment) who thinks that’s the case.

      But the evidence for the existence of ADHD is overwhelming. The people like Saul who are arguing that it doesn’t exist are essentially just attention seekers or contrarians or both. Snake oil salesmen. And they piss me off.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

        I’m kind of glad this is on the fringe. I mean, if it turns out to be the case then we should know about it. But this is one of those “half-knowledge” problems. People reading “ADHD doesn’t exist!” and retreating into their bias that the kids are just lazy or that it’s a pharmaceutical scam. So I’d prefer this remain a relatively some-guy-says thing rather than experts-increasingly-say thing, until we have more information.

        (I realize, of course, that I am contributing to this. The first one was a product of liking to throw in links that I disagree with, and this one was following up on that one.)Report

      • zic in reply to Chris says:

        I will be interested to see what neuroscience and brain mapping turn up here in the next decade or so. I read everything I can find about Migraine, and one thing I see is some common nexus of migraine/bi-polar/seizure, perhaps ADHD and autism, too, of brain inflammation/nervous-system inflammation.

        Sometimes, it seems like they are all variants of some sort of flayed nervous system; like a faulty wiring system in a car. Perhaps I’m wrong, I’m only guessing, but I suspect they all have some sort of similar mechanism at work, and something about how we live is adding to the inflammation. I am more then willing to think this neural inflammation has always been there, too, that it’s not getting worse, that it’s possible more people survive it now, and we’re better at recognizing it as a spectrum of medical conditions and not just as weakness or lack of willpower.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Chris says:

        I especially like the fact he says it ‘doesn’t exist’ because it’s just defining a symptom, a set of observations, not a disease…but no fear, it’s really bipolar disorder. Which *also* a set of observations. Doh!

        *All* mental disorders are ‘merely observations’. That is how they are *diagnosed*. Yes, we’ve tracked down organic causes for a lot of them, but the fact we haven’t tracked down one for ADHD is not particularly amazing…we haven’t even managed to track down all organic causes for one of the most obvious malfunction of the brain, schizophrenia. Nor, I must add, have we got all the causes of *bipolar disorder*.

        But in the real world, mental disorders are *defined* by the behavior of people, not the organic problem…if your MRI says you should have schizophrenia, but you don’t behave as if you have schizophrenia, you do not have schizophrenia.

        Someone saying that ‘a specific mental disorder is not caused by something we can pinpoint, hence that mental disorder is not real’ is a *crackpot*, period.

        Especially if it’s something that is *demonstrably* helped with a specific medication. I am *not* in favor of drugging kids willy-nilly, but the simple fact remains that ADHD is labeling a brain difference that makes certain people *calmer* on stimulants, which is not a normal reaction. We may not know exactly what it is in the brain chemistry, but it is clearly *something* that really exists.

        Most annoying of all, this idiot is on my side. I, too, think ADHD is over-diagnosed, that doctors should look harder for the actual cause of the problems. And, on top of that, it’s over-medicated even when correctly diagnosed. As someone who had ADD in school and still has it, I feel that trivial accommodations at school, like *letting kids get out of their seat and walk around*, or, hell, not bitching and whining the kid is tapping their leg, would often greatly improve the situation. Stimulants are, quite possibly, *never* the correct response, or very very very rarely.

        But it is a *real* disorder, an actual medical condition.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph says:

      And to replace its diagnosis with bipolar, as he does anecdotally in that article…

      I’m of two minds about that.Report

  3. Glyph says:

    [G1] Portlanders live up to stereotypes.Report

  4. j r says:

    Some ladies are trying to close Wikipedia’s gender gap, which is a worthwhile goal.

    This is a pleasant-enough sounding assertion, but what is the ethical principle behind it?Report

    • Kim in reply to j r says:

      Perhaps a survey of “what’s important” ought to include what everyone thinks is important to define/explain, not just the guys?Report

      • Glyph in reply to Kim says:

        I never thought I’d say this, but Kim’s bang-on here.

        Assuming the goal can be met with no loss in quality* (a reasonable assumption), it is a worthwhile one to pursue.

        *- and for all the jokes we make about wikipedia, it IS pretty cool.Report

    • Glyph in reply to j r says:

      The same one that precludes a mineshaft gap?Report

    • j r in reply to j r says:

      Is there some proof that Wikipedia doesn’t already meet the standard of what “everyone” thinks is important? Is that even a reasonable standard? Wikipedia is decidedly about getting the people who know something best and have the inclination to put in the work. If that pool of people tilts heavily male, so what? Where is the harm? Who is being excluded? And is the end-product worse-off because of it?

      If your car broke down tomorrow and you wanted to take it to a couple of mechanics to get an opinion, would you make sure you went to one male male and one female? Is there a female understanding of car engines, or of any of the myriad of topics on Wikipedia, that is discernible from a male understanding? Is there a female perspective on the life of Aeneas Mackintosh (today’s featured article on Wikipedia) that is being underrepresented?Report

      • Glyph in reply to j r says:

        @j-r , I’d say what makes wikipedia different from a car mechanic is issue-framing etc. A mechanic either fixes the car and it runs, or doesn’t and it doesn’t.

        Is wikipedia more like a car mechanic, or more like a newspaper? I’d say the latter.

        You ideally want a mix of viewpoints (male/female/black/white/atheist/religious/gay/straight/etc./etc.) amongst wikipedia editors for the same reason you ideally want a mix of viewpoints amongst newspaper editors and journalists – because the subjects they choose to include/exclude, and their own views and word choices they make, in turn help shape the general public narrative.

        I personally believe that despite its efforts at political neutrality, the legacy US news media tends to tilt a bit left (with exceptions for some outlets/topics/journalists) and this is generally not through any nefariousness, but simple self-selection and perpetuation.

        I’ve told the story before of my friend who worked for the local Pulitzer-winning paper that A.) knew of only one Republican employee there, and they were on the Operations side, not Content and B.) was forbidden from putting campaign stickers on their car, because the paper knew it would look like they were in the tank for the D’s if the vast majority of the car bumpers in the lot showed that.

        That paper and its consumers would have been better-served if it had actively sought out more ideological diversity. That it can never perfectly achieve it would be irrelevant, so long as it put in the honest effort to try, and so long as its end-product wasn’t harmed by making the effort to diversify the viewpoints embodied therein. It’s possible to diversify without lowering standards of quality, and it’s generally a laudable goal to pursue, all else being equal.Report

      • Kim in reply to j r says:

        i’d go to women exclusively. But then again, I’m on top of some of the contemporary research on who’s more likely to get things right.

        AFAIK, the aspies on wikipedia tend to drown out the computer programs editing wikipedia, which is probably a good thing.

        That said, when you have crazy hobbyists (or dedicated geeks) you don’t exactly get something objective at the end.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to j r says:

        What @glyph says here. Wikipedia is about narrative and sorting out the pertinent and impertinent. You don’t want too much bias among the curators because the result will reflect those biases. Being male, or female, or white or a minority, is a bias.Report

  5. Kim says:

    Did the research study give them two drinks first? Honestly think this might have made it a better study, to have two groups of people. See how inebriation changes the processing of humor.Report

  6. Kim says:

    P3: beard wearers delight!Report

  7. Kim says:

    Comedians are manic-depressive? Color me unsurprised. I know one (well, a writer really), and he’s also psychotic, which is quite a difference from what this is measuring.Report

  8. LeeEsq says:

    Ed2-Can you provide any examples of Americans liking the tracking system used by the German education system? I know you spoken positvely about it in the past. Even if it has some worthwhile elements, I think that a more heavily tracked education system would be disaster if applied to the United States withotu significant changes of all sorts. One reason why trackign is more palatible in countries like Germany is that there more generous welfare state makes up for getting placed in a vocational tract. You might not get a lucretive job but you are guaranteed stable work, decent pay, three or four weeks paid vacation, and union representation including participation in management. Without the welfare state and high rates of unionization, a heavily tracked education system could lead to something that might be a bit more disastorous than imagined.

    I also think that a more heavily tracked education system would not fit well with our self-conception. European countries have a long history of acknowledging class differences. In America, we really like to ignore class for the most part. Its why tenant farmers and sharecropers were never called peaseants even though thats what they were. People that would clearly be called working class in most other countries are referred to middle class or at most realistic lower-middle class in the United States. We generally like to see ourselves as an egalitarian sort of people living in a place where everybody as the potential to achieve great things. A heavily tracked education system would make class realities even more obvious because I’m pretty sure that the children of college educated parents with professional careers aren’t going to end up in the vocational track and wind up as mechanics.Report

    • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

      My local high school apparently has some pretty good tracking.
      @ my old high school, “not tracking” students pretty much meant “history is for everyone”
      as is gym, and everything else is tracked. Also, there was votech for the problem students.

      Some people’s votech taught calculus!Report

    • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I really like apprenticeships for scooping up the “dregs” and the “outcasts”. Nothing like “yeah, he’s a felon, but I’ll watch over him and make sure he’s clean.”Report

      • Mr. Blue in reply to Kim says:

        “I want to be a plumber.”

        “You need to find an apprenticeship.”

        “How do I do that?”

        “Commit a non-violent class C felony or a non-violent class A misdemeanor with aggravating circumstances.”Report

    • zic in reply to LeeEsq says:

      A heavily tracked education system would make class realities even more obvious because I’m pretty sure that the children of college educated parents with professional careers aren’t going to end up in the vocational track and wind up as mechanics.

      You’d be surprised; this happens a lot.

      Tracking is not necessarily a bad thing, and if we progress toward a system of having an IEP for each student (not just those with obvious learning differences) there will be more votech integration in the schools earlier on — particularly more hands-on learning for those who learn best hands-on or are mechanically inclined.

      One of my favorite suggestions from our lack-luster governor, Paul LePage was this notion of combining high school and community college; five years, and you left with a high school diploma and an associates degree. I wish we had seriously investigated this, to be honest.Report

    • Mo in reply to LeeEsq says:

      The issue is that we’re getting rid of our even limited tracking programs, like GATE programs.Report

  9. Michael Cain says:

    A4: North Colorado, West Maryland, and Jefferson in northern California have all made the news on their own over the last 12 months. Nothing formal has been done in Nebraska and Kansas, but some county officials in the western parts of those states were in contact with the 51st State (North Colorado) organization. In recent polling, the proposal to split California into six is doing best in what would be “Jefferson” and “Central California” — the poor rural parts of the state. Central California would, according to the LA Times, be poorer than Mississippi and Jefferson not far behind. I need to double check, but I believe the North Colorado vote in 11 counties last November did best in the poorest counties.

    I grew up in small towns surrounded by farming and ranching. But I don’t know what’s going on in the heads of rural America these days. Granted, my background makes me a budget guy, and these movements don’t appear to have considered budget matters at all, but… They hate the urban/suburban areas so much that they are willing to trash their own school systems, let their roads fall apart, do away with social services? Except that with regard to the last one, they would still be states, still subject to federal laws, and (from memory): food stamps are not an optional program; UI is optional but if you don’t run a conforming state system, employers in your state will see a big jump in taxes; the nursing home industry has become dependent on Medicaid, so if you opt out you’re going to see a rash of homeless elderly; all of those come with requirements for computer systems (with lots of very specific complex federal audit hooks) that aren’t cheap.Report

  10. Kolohe says:

    A4: I personally wouldn’t have included Fredrick county in that graphic. It’s not MoCo or HowCo, to be sure, but it’s much more closely tied into the DC-Balt area than the others are. (which should indeed be West Virginia).Report

  11. dhex says:


    “Was this man, who was arrested and thrown in jail and then solitary for calling 911 to help someone in an accident, a victim of overaggressive law enforcement, or collateral damage to the San Francisco class wars (in infographic form)?”

    outside of obviously having grown up without “the talk” regarding how to interact with law enforcement, what’s the deal with tying this to whatever class wars they’re having over there? if i missed something obvious feel free to throw rocks at me (just don’t call 911).Report

    • Will Truman in reply to dhex says:

      The interaction with the cops sort of suggests that there was some Google Bus sort of resentment of him.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Will Truman says:

        Sometimes the abuse of power is its own reward.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Will Truman says:


        Sounds like you’re speaking from personal experience. 😉Report

      • Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

        In comments to the piece, someone links to SFPD salaries:

        Entry-level salary, before overtime and not counting benefits: $80,574 to $112,164.

        So…which side of the class war are these officers on again?

        Someone else commented that “being a dick about someone’s profession” is just kinda what police do. I’m inclined to agree with that, particularly once they have already decided you are a problem.

        For whatever reason, they decided this dude had a smart mouth or something and decided to fish with him. Not sure it has any greater class-war significance than that (if he’d been a punk kid with no money they’d likely have done the same and made fun of his barista job), though good on him for trying to publicize/pursue it, because if it’s as he says, it was total BS.Report

      • Someone else commented that “being a dick about someone’s profession” is just kinda what police do. I’m inclined to agree with that, particularly once they have already decided you are a problem.

        Uhh… dick heal thyself.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

        If it sounds like I am giving the cops a pass, that’s not what I mean, at all. I don’t particularly like or trust cops as a general rule, and this story comports nicely with my own biases.

        I am just pushing back against the idea that this had something to do with SF’s class war problems, rather than just garden-variety police dickery that could have happened anywhere, anytime to anyone.Report

      • dhex in reply to Will Truman says:

        “So…which side of the class war are these officers on again?”

        there are civilians and there are cops. some people, like the wee lad in the story, have to learn this lesson later in life.Report

      • Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

        yeah total bs. but I would have NEVER let someone say “don’t call 911”.
        Wrong Answer.
        Call 911 — then run (or retreat to a place where you can observe safely, like the establishment nearby). Provide medical treatment if necessary (hint: it’s generally not. Either you have someone bleeding out, in a heart attack/stroke, or you have something that can wait for the damn parametics. You do NOT need to reduce the dislocated shoulder, as much as it will give the person less pain and a better recovery.)Report

  12. NewDealer says:

    W1: This seems highly unethical and immoral.

    P2: This seems about right but plenty of people like handling their own stress/troubles by joking about it right away which was what causes a lot of social weirdness. People mourn and deal with stress and trauma in very different ways but society tries to create universal methods of mourning which seems dangerous and wrong.

    P3: Makes sense. I largely attribute this to the rise of rock n’roll and other non-squeaky clean music genres since the 1950s. Boomers and future generations do not want to give up their cool and this blurs the definitions of child culture and adult culture largely.

    P4: I am largely on the side of the people who think this is an over reaction on the part of Wellsley students. Then again, I went to the Seven Sisters school that went co-ed and think it is time for most if not all other single-sex schools to follow suit. I am very anti single-sex education.

    Ec3: I think it is a bit more complicated and Salon is not one of my favorite sites because they seem to strive to be very conservative’s view of what a liberal is and thinks. San Francisco is not going to become Republican anytime soon. There was always a battle between center-left Clintonian type of Democrats and people further to the left. This has largely been true since San Francisco became a Democratic town in 1964. You also have various ethnic blocs like the Chinese community. You have liberal icons like Harvey Milk and George Moscone and even Nancy Pelosi and more centerist Democratic types like Feinstein. No one is going to make an anti-pride or anti-Folsom Street Fair or Palinesque arguments in SF soon. I am largely okay with the nudity ban. You will see a lot more economic populism vs. technocraticism coming up in the next few years.

    New York Magazine just released a series of articles about this:

    L2: So the solution would be some kind of minimum guaranteed income or negative income tax? Sounds nice but I doubt it would happen anytime soon or without massively violent civil disturbances. Human society for thousands of years has been predicated on the concept of those who don’t work, don’t eat and the previous industrial revolution shows that there was very little sympathy with the initially displaced and it took 40-50 years for better paying jobs to spring up. This is the equivalent of losing two or three generations. The Charists were smashed down. A similar thing seems to be happening now though with a bit more of a concept of a social safety net and more complicated economics in place and maybe more of a voice. We also seem to have an era of elite overproduction and bread and circuses did not really serve the Romans very well.

    A5: I still think that there are good reasons for regulation that the sharing economy evangelists ignore or don’t care about.

    A6: Can’t disagree with this probably. How about Hamburgers and Hot Dogs?Report

    • NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:

      More on L2:

      This is also destroying a lot of skilled and highly trained work. I notice this most noteably in law. Much of the work that used to be done by entry-level attorneys can now be given to computer programs to do much faster and with a greater probability of success. This is document/evidence review and the computer program is called a predictive coding. A human still has to view the documents but you need much less labor. Clients are also more unwilling to pay for this when big bucks can be saved.

      The solution might just need to be sacrifice. We need to ask our selves whether it is more important to have maximum employment or maximum productivity and which is more moral and kind.Report

      • zic in reply to NewDealer says:

        The solution might just need to be sacrifice. We need to ask our selves whether it is more important to have maximum employment or maximum productivity and which is more moral and kind.


        Efficiency is not necessarily a good thing.Report

      • Dan Miller in reply to NewDealer says:

        @zic Neither is employment, necessarily.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:


        I don’t necessarily disagree with you but this is going to require a lot of societal and culture rewiring. Everyone talks about the post-work society and no one talks about the societal rewiring that would need to take place for it to happen.Report

      • Dan Miller in reply to NewDealer says:

        @newdealer Ultimately, I think the rewiring has to occur during and after the transition to a less-work society (not no-work, at least not until we hit Star-Trek level technology). Personally, I’d prefer to start by adding more national holidays, which gets around a lot of the problems with maximum-hour laws and other French-style measures. I’d love to see the Democrats be branded as “the party that gave you the day off on election day”.Report

      • Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

        that doesn’t get around the problem of having people who are basically too stupid to be employable. That’ll be an issue in 10 years…Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to NewDealer says:

        that doesn’t get around the problem of having people who are basically too stupid to be employable.

        We’ll have to bite the bullet and elect more Republicans to Congress.Report

      • Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

        gonna need a bigger congress…Report

      • j r in reply to NewDealer says:

        We need to ask our selves whether it is more important to have maximum employment or maximum productivity and which is more moral and kind.

        I actually think that this is a highly unethical statement. Maximum productivity is a rather obvious moral good. In real terms, increases in wealth only come from increases in technology. If last year, you could work ten hours a day for a loaf of bread and this year you only have to work eight, you are wealthier. Everything else is just a change in nominal prices.

        Increases in technology come from efficiency gains. And that increase in technology is what lifts the world’s population out of grinding poverty. If you are sacrificing efficiency to create make work for everyone in the United States or any country lucky enough to have a broad system of entitlements, you are sentencing lots of people in the developing world to additional years of misery.Report

      • Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

        I agree with you, but we’re looking at 50% unemployment WORLDWIDE in 20 years. Without a robust distribution system (and possibly even with one) we could be looking at a lot of trouble (lose the internet, for a start).Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to NewDealer says:

        j r:
        While I agree with you on the general principle, I think we can agree that it’s best to keep lawyers occupied with busywork so they don’t get into mischief.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

        This is an area where productivity is different than efficiency. If I spend five hours cleaning up the side of the road, that’s may be an economic inefficiency because it’s an inefficient labor allocation. But it is productive. (Another place you see it is in overtime. Efficiency continues to drop after you’ve worked 50 hours in a week, but it’s still likely more productive than going home. At least from the employer’s standpoint, until you’re actually creating more problems than you are getting work done.

        Anyway, so the question for make-work is whether or not things are actually being accomplished, or not.If they are, it seems to me that productivity is occurring. It may be inefficient, though, if this thing were better done by somebody else or a machine.

        If we reach the point where only 50% of labor is actually self-sustaining (its contribution to the economy or society warrants what is being spent on it) and we have to move towards increasing subsidy, I’d still prefer those subsidies be tied to work. However, the more efficiently we do things, the more subsidy we will have to pass around. We don’t want to slow the economy down just to keep people in work. There is a stronger case, though, to say that the spoils from the faster economy help the guy out who was displaced.Report

      • Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

        just a simple comment:
        Makework is often more productive than people think.
        A lot of FDR public works are works of art (architecture mainly) that continue to this day. And they are often far far cheaper to maintain than equivalent “current” roads.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to NewDealer says:

        If I spend five hours cleaning up the side of the road, that’s may be an economic inefficiency because it’s an inefficient labor allocation. But it is productive. (Another place you see it is in overtime. Efficiency continues to drop after you’ve worked 50 hours in a week, but it’s still likely more productive than going home. At least from the employer’s standpoint, until you’re actually creating more problems than you are getting work done.

        This makes me think of the Laffer Curve. The key takeaway from the Laffer Curve isn’t that we’re on the right side of the curve—it’s that taxation has diminishing returns. Each dollar raised in taxation takes more than a dollar out of the private sector due to deadweight loss. And the higher the current rate, the more deadweight loss there is for each additional dollar in tax revenue.

        For some reason, though, the people who think that we should stop working at the first sign of diminishing marginal returns rarely seem to want to apply that logic to taxation.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to NewDealer says:

      I still think that there are good reasons for regulation that the sharing economy evangelists ignore or don’t care about.

      True, but how about waiting until a problem requiring regulation (something the market fails to deal with) before regulating. It’s too easy to imagine a huge list of potential negatives that just have to be regulated.Report

      • I’m sympathetic to the complaints that the ride-givers are not subject to the same price regulations as taxis. If we tell cabbies that they must charge $x, it’s problematic when some new technology charges $.75x. What to do about it is a little trickier, though.

        On the other hand, there seems to be a lot more going into the objections than that.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        If we tell cabbies that they must charge $x,

        That’s not actually how it works, those regulated fares do not exist to protect the rider, but to protect the cabbie from negotiators. You don’t have to charge the customer that much. I usually did, when I was a cabbie, but on a slow night I was happy to give a discount to get someone in my cab; it beat driving around not making any money.Report

    • I still think that there are good reasons for regulation that the sharing economy evangelists ignore or don’t care about.

      I’m in the middle of planning my family vacation for this summer. Our options for lodging are either to pay $250 or more a night for a hotel room owned by a multi-national corporation that lacks a kitchen and also lacks a washer and dryer or to pay half that rate to rent an apartment owned by a soundly middle class local resident with a kitchen, washer and dryer, and separate bedroom. The money that we save on lodging will become money that we can now spend (and indeed will spend) on all sorts of otherwise unaffordable activities in the local area – shows, artwork, perhaps a personalized guided tour of some sort, etc. Indeed, it will (and in fact did) encourage us to stay a few extra days in the area, during which we will be spending more money on more activities The fact that we have a kitchen will mean that on the days we want a cheap meal we’ll choose to go to the local farmer’s market and buy locally produced food to cook at the apartment instead of finding something unhealthy at a muli-national corporate chain fast food restaurant.

      Hell, it’s conceivable that were it not for the lower prices and better lodging arrangements from the sharing economy, we wouldn’t be taking the trip at all.

      So what exactly are the good reasons for cracking down on allowing this sort of arrangement? Who, exactly, is being harmed by our choosing to stay in an apartment instead of a hotel? Am I getting a better understanding of the local culture (that is largely the purpose for the vacation) by staying in a multi-national hotel room, or in an actual local apartment? What, exactly, am I “ignoring” or “not caring about” here?Report

      • North in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        Agreed. My own jaundiced view of it is that it’s 50% vested interests (corporate and regulatory) trying to protect their gravy trains, 40% pure nannying and 10% substantive concerns about liability, insurance and similar practical questions*.

        *Though I feel I’m being highly generous with that last 10%.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        Baptists and bootleggers.Report

      • I forgot to mention that during the vacation, we will quite possibly be leaving our dog with someone through an online pet boarding service. Our alternatives to this are to leave the dog with a relative (which is what we’ve historically done, but we’re becoming concerned that the relative’s age is getting to a point where it’s unfair to foist that burden on them) or put him in a kennel (which we’ve never done and which our high-anxiety dog would have huge problems with). The person we would leave the dog with is fully insured.

        Where, exactly, is the problem with this? Why is such an arrangement so unacceptable that high additional costs need to be imposed on it?Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        The big issue with Air BnB if I recall correctly are latent racism about how much more black people were charged (not Air BnBs fault) and that it encourages landlords to take housing off the rental market and just turn it into Air BnB units.

        The problem with Lyft and such is that they rely on people using their personal cars and personal insurance and this is not going to cover anything if a Lyft driver gets into an accident. Lyft and Sidecar are trying to lower costs by lowering liability or not caring about accidents. Also I have a jaundiced view that this is a new economy job and it feels more like a return to sustenance economy and everyone doing a million task rabbit jobs just to try and make this month’s rent and have some money left over for food.

        There is also the issue that many Lyft and Sidecar uses seem to think that there is a plus in being able to avoid dealing with the Egyptian immigrant or Vietnam Vet who lives in the Tenderloin and they can interact with a young hipster person who lives with three or four other young hipsters somewhere else.

        But “DISRUPTION!!!!!”


        A lot of the existing regulations are the products of a time when we had slums and tenanment conditions that are not worth returningReport

      • Not just DISRUPTION!!!!! but also greater affordability and the options that come with Mark saving money and the owners of the apartment making money. The benefits are manifest, not just DISRUPTION!!!!! And they outweigh the costs that you outline.

        On the dog service that Mark mentions (if it’s the same one) we had no boarding options for our dog until we ran across that one. We didn’t even have friends or family that could look after her. Instead, we had a dog-lover looking after her instead of paying someone (just as much!) to check in on the dog 2-3 times a day. We were able to enjoy our trip more knowing that our dog had companionship.Report

      • Kim in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        the cabbies are worse, at least around here.
        If you’re in a bad (or even slightly sketchy) part of town, dont’ expect to be picked up until the cabbie doesn’t have ANYTHING better.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        @north I hope you don’t mind when I only give neoliberals 10% credit that any of their arguments are fair, as well.Report

      • The big issue with Air BnB if I recall correctly are latent racism about how much more black people were charged (not Air BnBs fault) and that it encourages landlords to take housing off the rental market and just turn it into Air BnB units.

        I think there needs to be some serious evidence that this is happening in a way that is meaningfully undermining housing supply. The evidence is quite clear that the vast majority of places rented out in this manner are people who are just renting out their place when they’re not around. What’s more, rentals made in this manner are hardly what can be termed a steady and reliable income stream such that it makes sense to take units that are easily rented off the rental market. There’s too much competition for too few potential visitors for more than a small handful of landlords to find it worthwhile to take a property entirely off the rental market.

        Which brings me to a final point – New York, which is one of the world’s most-visited cities for both business and tourism, has over 2 million households, but only 90,000 hotel rooms – and it’s not as if there’s many occasions where more than 70% or so of those rooms are fully booked. If all 90,000 of those hotel rooms disappeared because of places like Airbnb (which is never going to happen) – and were replaced by 90,000 rental units being converted full-time to vacation rentals (which ABSOLUTELY ain’t going to happen since there’s so much competition from people just renting their own places out when they’re not around), you’re talking about an impact on the local housing market of significantly less than 5%.

        And (now I’m on a roll) there’s this fact: on aggregate, places like Airbnb probably help keep housing prices for residents down. First, they obviously allow existing residents to subsidize their housing costs. But as importantly, they reduce the need for building new hotels, which means they open space for construction of new housing or at least help save existing housing from being knocked down to make room for new hotels.

        Seriously – the attempt to prevent people from taking advantage of places like Airbnb is nothing but a combination of protectionism for large corporate interests and regulation for the sake of regulation.

        As for your concerns about discrimination laws, to my knowledge people who use Airbnb to rent their places out aren’t exempt from existing anti-discrimination laws.Report

      • It’s actually not clear to me that it’s a problem if people are essentially converting apartments into hotel rooms. The space is the space, and it’s primarily trading supply on one scarcity (apartments) for another (hotel rooms). The problem is lack of real estate generally, which AirBnB may or may not be helping but isn’t really hurting. Hotels, apartments, is all rearranging deck chairs on a very undersized deck.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        The problem with Lyft and such is that they rely on people using their personal cars and personal insurance and this is not going to cover anything if a Lyft driver gets into an accident. Lyft and Sidecar are trying to lower costs by lowering liability or not caring about accidents.

        In your defense, it took me a solid forty-five seconds to find this. Who has that kind of time?Report

      • North in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        Jesse, if neoliberals made as few concrete measurable arguments in favor of their desired policies and as few concrete measurable arguments against an phenomena on a subject (as some liberals do against the sharing economy) then I would absolutely agree with your only giving them a 10% allowance that their arguments were fair and not just knee jerk kowtowing to their unconsidered biases on that subject. In fact, if I noodled it I am sure I could think of some subjects where neoliberals are that bad. Privatized prisons maybe; though I think that is fallen out of vogue with neoliberals now days.

        Newdealer, if you wish to assert that regulations like hotel taxes or new regulations against sharing companies somehow are the shining wall that helps protect us from tenements I’d ask, with affection, that you show your work.Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        “Who, exactly, is being harmed by our choosing to stay in an apartment instead of a hotel?”

        Whoever ends up paying for your share of the infrastructure, basically.

        Tourists use up a pretty big share of the roads, parks, public buildings, beaches, etc. in vacation destinations. The art and theater you talk about enjoying is probably subsidized by the city, and almost every farmer’s market I’ve been to is in a park or public street. Are you bringing a car? Because the city probably paid for your parking spot.

        That’s all funded by transient occupancy taxes–a major reason why your hotel costs more than renting some woman’s house. It’s usually the only practical way of capturing tax revenue from tourists. The alternative is to do things that discourage tourism and tourist business (high sales taxes, cut services) or to raise property taxes on local residents–and just because that woman is renting you her house doesn’t mean that her next door neighbor is.

        I’d have much less of a problem with airBnB if they paid Hotel taxes.Report

      • @alan-scott If all we’re discussing is whether shared economy sales should be subject to local taxes, I think that’s a bit of a different issue, and I’m certainly open to the argument there. Though I would point out that a good chunk of those expenses are already covered by the taxes the unit owner is paying from the outset – whether it’s me or the owner using resources shouldn’t make a difference. And of course tourism in general provides significant indirect benefits to the locale’s tax treasury – they’re still collecting sales tax on everything purchased, much of the cultural events are already priced (by the local government) specifically for tourists, etc.

        But taxes don’t seem to be the bulk of the issue here – it’s whether the shared economy should even be allowed to exist without essentially the same regulations and licensing as exist for large-scale enterprises.Report

      • It’s also worth mentioning that at least some of the units I’ve been looking at in fact include local hotel taxes in the cost.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        @north Well, I’d argue “education reform” as desired by the Democratic establishment, Michelle Rhee, and the like is 50% private interests trying to get their mitts in on hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money that is currently going to public schools, 20% upper middle class parents upset because they had one “bad” teacher, their kid had one “bad” teacher, or people they think are “less than them” making decent salaries and a pension when they themselves have no job security and a crappy 401k, 20% poor parents who have nowhere else to go except to support charter schools because of 40 years of neglect of inner cities from neoliberals (until it’s time to gentrify) and conservatives, and 10% somewhat shady studies where at best, the best charter schools might be mildly better than the best public schools for a variety of reasons, most of which that don’t involve the burning and slashing of unions.

        But, you probably wouldn’t agree with me, about that.Report

      • North in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        Dunno Jesse, my Dad was a teacher so I know that parents are lazy idiots who often treat schools as parking lots for their kids and are shocked -shocked- when the neglected brats aren’t good students. Then again my Dad was a union member so I know the absolutely idiotic kinds of things the Unions sometimes get up to. I don’t think there’s a good answer or a simple breakdown in the education thing. Also I think vouchers are a horrible idea since my skin crawls at the kinds of madrassas or God created fossils and carbon dating schoolhouses that idiot parents would likely funnel their dough into.

        Gentrification sucks for the people that live there.. the only thing that fights gentrification is all kinds of restrictions and liberals beloved rent control, both of which are even worse than gentrification (talk about creating slums and terrorizing poor people).

        But then I’m not a very good neoliberal so you and I probably part ways on education much less than you’d think.Report

      • zic in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        And since we’ve got Rhee here, as well as a post on ADHD, there’s this:

        Rhee’s policies linked to the increased diagnosis of ADHD.

        Using Centers for Disease Control surveys, Hinshaw and Sheffler found that when rates of ADHD diagnoses are broken down by state, it turns out that there are dramatic discrepancies. Based on the most recent survey, from 2011, a child in Kentucky is three times as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD as a child in Nevada. And a child in Louisiana is five times as likely to take medication for ADHD as a child in Nevada.

        And these states aren’t just outliers. The five states that have the highest rate of diagnoses — Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana and North Carolina — are all over 10 percent of school age children. The five states with the lowest percent diagnosed — Nevada, New Jersey, Colorado, Utah and California — are all under 5 percent. The disparity is even greater for kids prescribed ADHD medication. The same five states are at the top of the list, all of them with over 8 percent of kids getting medication. The states at the bottom of the list for medication — Nevada, Hawaii, California, Alaska and New Jersey — are all under 3.1 percent.


        What the team found was that high rates of ADHD diagnoses correlated closely with state laws that penalize schools when students fail. Nationally, this approach to education was enacted into law in 2001 with No Child Left Behind, which makes funding contingent on the number of students who pass standardized tests. In more recent years, similar testing-based strategies have been championed by education reformers such as Michelle Rhee. But many states passed these accountability laws as early as the 1980s, and within a few years of passage, ADHD diagnoses started going up in those states, the authors found, especially for kids near the poverty line.


      • LeeEsq in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        I’m a bit late to the conversation but isn’t Air BnB just a return to the time when people used to take in borders at least seasonal. During the last decades of the 19th century and first decades of the 20th century, when tourism started to become a thing to do, it was common for people who lived in sea side resorts to rent out rooms to tourists in the summer. BnB seems no different. I really can’t see any fault with people capitalizing on the space that they have.Report

  13. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    P4 – This one bugs me, a lot. Partly because the complaints of triggering seem insincere (it’s a doughy guy in his tighty-whities sleep walking – creepy yes, but if that triggers sexual abuse PTSD, I have to wonder how that person functions in society), but also because these are women basically telling everyone they can’t handle a statue. I thought the Victorian attitudes of women and vapors/hysteria were long behind us?

    Also, it seems a double standard is in play. How would people react if Veterans protested against fireworks or loud construction sounds, because they triggered combat PTSD?

    If a person has that sensitive of a trigger, they seriously need to get help, not try to fashion the world into a place with no triggers.Report

    • Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      If your specific trigger is “sleepwalking person who walks into my room and rapes me every night for six years” — then yeah. I can see not wanting it on the public road. [and how one can be a functional member of human society. Just Like Tesla!]

      But it strikes me that particular trigger ought to be sufficiently unusual that the art only needs to be moved if someone complains.Report

    • Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      I actually wouldn’t mind, if Veterans were asking for reasonable accomodations — “set the fireworks off on the other river, please” (okay, I’m spoiled).
      Or “can I work from home until construction is done? I’m sick of winding up under my desk and trying to draw a nonexistent pistol…”Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      Most people thought that the Wellesely students that were freaking out at this statue were being silly including other Wellesely students.Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Tesla was silly too.
        There’s an iconic story about what happened when someone threw women’s underwear onto the stage while he was giving a talk…Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Did he use them to generate static electricity for a demonstration?Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        no, he hid under the podium, peered out, ascertained (after a while) that there were in fact no women in the audience [he was terrified of them], and then came back out and finished the presentation.Report

    • j r in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      If a person has that sensitive of a trigger, they seriously need to get help, not try to fashion the world into a place with no triggers.

      Not likely. This is the generation that has been coddled since birth and their ideology tends to represent a form of reconstituted Victorianism.

      By the way, the troll in me really wishes that the artist had made it a black man walking in his underwear. It would be fascinating to see which form of progressive status signaling would dominate.Report

      • Kim in reply to j r says:

        Complete with PedoBear!
        Coddled. In the age of the Internet.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to j r says:


        Saying a generation has been coddled since birth is something that is said about every generation by the generations that came before it and is more of a sneer than an actually provable thing.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to j r says:


        Not really, more like this is just part of children learning to develop a tougher skin in the real world (and the internet putting the process out there for the whole world to see). I seem to recall my parents generation doing a lot of angsty bitching about military recruiters on campus, etc.

        I am glad that the overall reaction has been to call this out as silly. The modern outrage machine has made it too easy for little things to become big things at the expense of big things that need more attention.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to j r says:

        This is the generation that has been coddled since birth

        Exactly what the Depression/WWII generation said about the Boomers.Report

      • greginak in reply to j r says:

        People in Britain were saying their kids were soft in the years leading up to WW1.Report

      • j r in reply to j r says:

        Exactly what the Depression/WWII generation said about the Boomers.

        Thanks for making my point. Millennials are the worst generation since the Boomers, both completely narcissistic and entitled. It’s only us forgotten latchkey kids in the middle that had to grow up with the understanding that everything was not always about us.

        Anyway, can’t a man talk a little guff about this helicopter-parented, participation-trophy getting, bogus social justice affirming generation? It’s all in good fun. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go scoff in a corner while listening to old Mudhoney records.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to j r says:

        Bill James has compiled a list of old baseball players’ complaints that the current ones don’t respect the game, have no grasp of fundamentals, and care only about money. The earliest one is from 1916.Report

      • Kim in reply to j r says:

        to be fair, they were pacifists.Report

      • j r in reply to j r says:

        I was joking, but as with most things, “we laugh because it’s funny and we laugh because it’s true.”

        Pointing out that older generations called other older generations coddled is certainly a check against apoplectic reactionary “it’s all going to hell” type complaints. Mine, however, is just a garden variety wish that these kids would stay off my lawn with their privilege-checking, Tumblng, and putting trigger stickers on everything, like a Yuppie couple over childproofing their townhouse.

        And it’s true. Most generations are softer than the generation that preceded them. Is that necessarily a bad thing? No. I used to get beat with a belt. Most parents don’t do that anymore. That is a positive. I also spent a lot of unstructured time left to my own devices, whereas now it is quite normal to fill a child’s schedule up with structured activities. I don’t think that is such a positive. It is reasonable to have some normative preferences about these things, right?Report

      • Kim in reply to j r says:

        They called us Doughboys. Americans are always a good bit tougher than we appear.Report

      • Chris in reply to j r says:

        The name “doughboy” has nothing to do with toughness.Report

      • Kim in reply to j r says:

        I stand corrected.Report

  14. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Ed4: People have been complaining about this for a long time, & not just at the college level, but in primary schools as well.

    A2: I’ve read a lot on how CA can lower corporate taxes all they want, but if they don’t do something about the regulatory compliance burden, it won’t matter much to a lot of small businesses (those that are big enough to fall under the bulk of the regs, but still small enough that hiring a compliance team/service is still hard to afford).Report

    • Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      CA’s running a surplus now (check out calculated risk). Maybe they can get some lobbyists?Report

    • …but if they don’t do something about the regulatory compliance burden…

      California would be well served to lose a few million people. Given the load on the resources — remember that 40% of the land area and the water that goes with it is “off limits” due to federal ownership — the regulations necessary to make living there tolerable are substantial. I have a standing bet that I offer people that if Texas manages to grow another 12M people, bringing it up to where California is now, Texas’ regulations will be on a par with California today. Just to set the scale, another 12M is the equivalent of adding another DFW metro area and adding another Houston metro area. Texas at 38M people will be largely uninhabitable without really stringent rules on most everything.Report

      • That’s a suckers’ bet. If and when Texas gets 12mm more people, it’ll likely because they moved there from California and likeminded states. Who, if my experience with transplants to the south is any indications, won’t hesitate to do everything they can to turn where they moved to into the place that they just left.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Michael Cain says:


      • @will-truman
        Sounds like my Atlanta-area friend’s complaint about businesses relocating to Georgia: “The owner is a small-government conservative; most of the 500 employees that come with her are not.”Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Michael Cain says:


        I’m with Will here. Texas is absorbing a lot of people from CA, as well as from the NE, all of whom are (to hear some of my friends who live in Texas tell it) are experiencing a bit of culture shock.

        Still, Texas is larger than CA by 100K+ square miles, and hardly any of it is Federal land, so they can absorb a lot of people.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

      Thanks for the link, @newdealer I had missed it. It does seem to me that we would do well to try to shorten the process. My perspective is obviously biased, but my own nit to pick with the article is that it talks about the length of time required in the maximum – those that require the most training – when many of the biggest shortages are in primary care, which requires the least.Report

  15. Kim says:

    Ed3: College is free to pittsburgh residents, with a decent (not good) gpa and good attendance.
    A6: yeah, filled with ratshit!Report

  16. Kim says:

    Philly’s the opposite of NYC, well sheltered and less at risk.Report

    • NewDealer in reply to Kim says:

      Here I agreeReport

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Kim says:

      The impression we’re supposed to take away from the chart in the article is that the share of the economy that isn’t wages is corporate profits. The reality is that private profits peaked at 25.6% of GDI in 1965, when wages as a percentage of GDI were several percentage points higher than they are today. There’s an inverse correlation, but profits fluctuate between 20% and 25% of GDI, and don’t account for the secular decline in wages as a percentage of GDI.

      So what’s really going on? For one, non-wage compensation has increased by about five percentage points. This includes benefits like health insurance, but it also includes the employer share of payroll taxes. The other major growth category is consumption of fixed capital, which is money spent on replacing equipment, buildings, and other business assets. This increased fairly steadily from 5.3% of GDI in 1960 to 11% in 1992, and has more or less plateaued since then.

      Total compensation of employees peaked at 58.4% of GDI in 1970 and is now at 53%, and it was 55.3% in 2008. So there’s been a secular, peak-to-peak decline of about three percentage points, and another cyclical 2.3 percentage points.Report

      • Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        That’s a graph of GDP in the diagram. Your numbers are well appreciated, but I’m unclear as to how they fit into the article…Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Gross Domestic Income is essentially the same thing as Gross Domestic Product. They’re two different ways of calculating the same thing. GDP is calculated by adding up all expenditures in the economy, and GDI is calculated by adding up all income. Theoretically they should be the same, but they differ slightly due to measurement error. The NYT calls it GDP, but they’re actually using data from the national income accounts, which give the numbers as percentages of GDI.Report

      • Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        How come you say now is 53%, and the graph on the NYT says 42%?
        Or did they just start out with GDI, and then divide by GDP to make a bigger point?Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        The other 11% is non-wage compensation such as health insurance and employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Brandon, I’ve got some questions that might be right up your alley since you seem to know all this stuff (if it isn’t, no worries, I’ll try to figure it out on my own).

        1. Do the matching employer/employee contributions that hourly workers/employers pay apply to salaried individuals/employers?

        2. Consider a person who makes 50k a hear doing hourly work. What’s that person’s effective tax rate if we include the employer portion of the tax burden as part of individual income/compensation?

        3. How does that total tax burden compare with someone who makes, say, 250K on salary (I realize that their nominal rate is higher but also that they have access to all sorts of deductions that lower income and hourly employees don’t have)?Report

      • Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        by the time you’re at 250K, it matters a lot where you live, how much you give to “charity” (by which we mean extracting influence from said charity…), and whether you even bother collecting a salary at all (push it to capital gains, and you suddenly are paying a lot less)Report

      • @stillwater Is a chart like this what you’re looking for? It has effective tax rates by various quintiles and percentages. It doesn’t have the incomes, but gives you an idea of what the effective tax rates are across the distribution. The breakdown is:
        Lowest quintile:$12.4k a year
        Second lowest: $25k,
        Middle: $33.4k,
        Second highest: $66k,
        Next 10%: $100k
        Next 5%: $141k
        Next 4%: $245k
        Top 1%: $1.3m

        Brandon has said previous that these statistics – put out by a liberal advocacy group, though cobbled together by the government – do not include corporate taxes, which disproportionately affect the wealthy. Here’s the full report.Report

      • Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Will (& Brandon),
        Wealth nicely sidesteps any problems with not counting particular types of taxation (including sales tax, which hits the bottom tiers most harshly).
        It’s still looking pretty grim.Report

      • Linked chart shows state and local taxes, including sales taxes.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        1. Yes. Employers must pay FICA taxes regardless of hourly or salaried status.

        2. It varies widely depending on deductions. Counting the employer contribution in both the numerator and denominator, payroll taxes come to about 14.2%. Income taxes will be anywhere from zero to a bit under $6,000, depending on marital status (and spouse’s income), dependents, student loan interest, IRA/401(k) contributions, and mortgage interest. So up to 11%, if you’re single with no dependents, no IRA/401(k) contributions, and and only the standard deduction. Overall, somewhere in the 15-25% neighborhood.

        At $250,000, your Social Security contribution caps out at $7,050, as does your employers. Medicare contribution has no cap, so that’s $3,625 for each. Adding your employer contribution, that means your total income is $260,675, and your payroll tax rate is 8.2%. With only the standard deduction, you’d pay $63700 in income taxes, or 24.4%, giving you a total rate of up to 32.6%. Again, that can vary widely depending on deductions, but that’s the upper limit.

        Keep in mind that the rich don’t necessarily have better deductions than the middle class. In fact, many deductions and credits are phased out at higher incomes, including student loan interest, the child tax credit, and IRA contributions. Furthermore, you can make 401(k) contributions up to the lesser of 15% of your income or $17,500, so a person making $250,000/year can deduct only 7% of his income for 401(k) contributions compared to 15% for someone making $116,000/year or less.

        The tricky part is figuring out what assumptions to make about deductions and credits. The CBO publishes information that shows actual average effective federal tax rates for different income groups. The problem is that these numbers are skewed by retirees, who get most of their income from Social Security and investments.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:


        Thanks for the explanation and the link at the bottom. I have to say, the data in that link is interesting as well as pretty damn confusing so I can’t quite tell if it includes the one thing I was specifically looking for: what the distribution looks like if we include the employer’s contribution to payroll takes as individual income. The way I’m reading the CBO report, the data is complied based on tax burden imposed and paid on individual/household income tax which excludes the employer’s contribution for individual income tax purposes.

        Will, that’s a good linky as well. Wealth concentration is interesting stuff, but I was more interested in taxes and effective tax burdens.Report

      • @stillwater The link talks a lot about effective taxation. That’s where I pulled that first graph from. You have to go down a bit, though, which is why I linked to (and explained) the graph separately. I threw the link to the whole article in there just in case you wanted to know more about where it came from.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Keep in mind that the rich don’t necessarily have better deductions than the middle class. In fact, many deductions and credits are phased out at higher incomes

        Something my wife & I learned this year. In 2013, she went back to full time work, & we both got raises, which have us approaching $150K/year (not actually that much out here for a married couple, the Puget Sound area is expensive). We lost our student loan deductions, our child credit, our child care deductions, and we can barely deduct any of the losses from our rental property (write off about $2K of over $6K in losses). Next year we will clear $160K and we will not be able to take any deductions.

        We can start tucking money away into tax shelters, but not as much as you think (shelters have annual limits).Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        See on the bottom of page 4: “In modeling the effects of various taxes, CBO allocated individual income taxes directly to the households that pay them. It also allocated payroll taxes to the households that pay them either directly to the government or indirectly through employers’ contributions.”

        So it does include that. The problem is that these are averages which include substantial numbers of retirees and welfare recipients, and thus does not accurately reflect what is paid in taxes by a person working full time and receiving income mostly from wages.Report

      • @stillwater, my bad. The first link was supposed to go straight to the image.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:


        Yes, on your suggestion I read to the end of that linky, and you’re right, he does talk a bit about effective tax rates. Ironically, tho, he makes a big deal about how the progressive tax structure fails at the top 1% (because it decreases ever so slightly compared to the top 5%, which seems like pretty small potatoes to me.


        Thanks for highlighting that paragraph. I read the initial definitions and then moved directly to the graphs, so I missed it the first time thru.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:


        Yeah, you’re right about that. What I wrote earlier about having access to more tax deductions wasn’t correct, in part because I was confusing two things. Tax deductions as a function of income, and tax deductions as a function of independent contractor/LLC status vs employee status. What I would more clearly say about that (which still might be incorrect!) is that individuals who are higher on the income scale coupled with their being not an employee avails them of more tax deductions. There’re write-offs all over the place. How those write-offs materialize in terms of total effective tax rate is something I’m completely ignorant about (except anecdotally).Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I also wanna add that part of my curiosity about these issues is based on my abhorrence for the completely fucked up tax code we currently have, which is so opaque that figuring out what people actually pay across all the various tax regimes is pert-near impossible.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Brandon Berg says:


        It would also be nice (since we can not seem to have a very straightforward & simple tax scheme) if the tax code had some consideration for regionality built into it. Perhaps an adjustment to the standard deduction for people who live in major urban areas where the cost of living is very high. The amount I pay in sales, gas, property, & other taxes is much higher than the people living 60 miles east of me, as are the prices I have to pay for comparable basic services. The same goes for places like NT, Chicago, LA, etc.Report

  17. Patrick says:

    Re: Ed4

    I’m not a fan of administrative overhead, but a lot of administrative overhead at a modern research university is externally required.

    The amount of freakin’ paperwork you need to do to provide proper audit for NSF funds is truly obscenely ridiculous.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Patrick says:


      I guess that depends on the administrative staff being hired. More normal academic staff to handle the regulatory & grant paperwork is probably a good thing.

      A new $200K Director of Finding Better Ways to Limit Student Speech While Pretending We Want to Protect Speech, plus their staff (another $500K or more worth), is not.Report

  18. Brandon Berg says:

    E3: I know it’s unreasonable to expect any sort of rigor from an infographic, but saying that tax breaks for tech companies cost the city money is like saying that sales cost stores money.

    W4: Looking at those pictures, all I can think is, “Why?”Report