Feb 23, 2014

Balance of Power



Thought of the day…. I am glad that Americans are finally paying attention to what is happening in different countries. Venezuela or Ukraine is just a small taste of what has been happening since authoritarian governments were being "ousted" by their people for the last few decades.  Sometimes, it take a few tries (Egypt) or sometimes it creates worse problems and a massive death toll (Syria). Typically, these politicians utilize their power under the guise of promoting equality via central planning. “If you give us power, we will help you in some fashion.”  However, it ends up with the same result. This. Just because something sounds good, doesn’t mean it works. We have learned that from several attempts of promoting central planning (getting your government to solve social issues and disparities without considering alternatives that are not practiced). Government is needed, no doubt. Just not on this level. It just creates corruption, disruption of the economy and revolutions. Why are people still wanting to promoting government to have more power? Surely you can advocate for more infrastructure spending but why more? We already spend a lot on that and much of the needed buildings, roads, railroads, bridges and tunnels are already established. Whether it was from Jefferson and the Lousiana purchase or the Eisenhower Administration establishing a highway system, the big stuff is done. Maybe for green energy? That doesn’t work as well as it sounds either. The private market does a better job of innovation and price reduction….
Whether it sparks from a Coup d'├ętat with a sociopath like Pinochet or from the general people fighting their way through, it shows how far their people will go to earn their freedom(s). Maybe they’re already perceived as “free” but still crave for something more.

Feb 17, 2014

The Stimulus. What has it done?

Who wanted it? Why did they even try this? 

Krugman wanted a lot more. A lot. What we also forget is that this is not just 680 billion. Over the next few years, with interest, this upwards of at least a trillion, in overall spending. What is also left out of Obama's (and Reich, and Krugman, etc.) rhetoric is the mere fact that much of this money was hardly spent after it was signed. It has taken several years for this stimulus money to actually become circulated.

Keynesian logic: in case of emergency, break the glass. Parable of the broken window. ie: economic fallacy, so I'm told.
It will never go away. I remember trying to explain this years ago to people just to be shut it....

With that said, I would not call it "obamanomics" just like I wouldn't call something "reaganomics" or "bushanomics" or "trickle-down" when there are no such things.

Charlie, I thank you for your dedication to dispell such myths. You are certainly right about Krugman....after the recession was in full swing, even a 2 years later, Krugman would still defend it. Mentioning things like "well, it prevented a huge disaster from actually occuring" even though he and Obama called it the "Great Recession." What made it so great? Just like the great depression, Hoover set the stage for FDR to make it worse.

Reagan inherited a potentially worse recession from the Carter administration and did the polar opposite Obama did. Lower taxes that increased economic growth, which later....(economic policy can take a while to kick in sometimes) help the economic boom in the 1990's....
Although Reagan still spent money but let's not forget who had the majority in congress during most of his presidency.....:ahem: take a guess?

I'll answer for you. Republicans had a slight majority during 6 of his 8 years in the senate. It was less than a 60% majority which made override nigh on impossible....but
the House of Reps has Democratic majority that uh....you really couldn't argue with.

Feb 15, 2014

Chomsky Does It Again

When it comes to consistency, Noam will not disappoint.
When it comes to years without being questioned, even from experts in fields he isn't in, it's called Cognitive Dissonance.
Instead of listening to people who study economics their wholes lives or business professionals....instead, let's learn about a rather complex social science from a linguist professor.
Makes sense. 

Noam Chomsky. For being such a prominent intellectual, seems to have missed some several key things in his latest speech. For one, if millions of Americans are not working but "willing" to work because of the super rich hoarding the money, then he forgets about the fundamentals about creating wealth in the first place. Public spending is at an all time high, so why are you losing this argument already? Unemployment rate of 6.6% does not represent the Americans who have stopped looking for work or who have their unemployment benefits run out. Two, blaming banks for causing a domestic financial (and international) disaster is irrelevant without the back story of the federal and many state government's promoting banks give several million housing loans in the first place to promote home buyers. Blaming the government creating and subsidizing false incentives is something you should look more into, Professor Chomsky. This is not something so simply. It didn't take a year. It wasn't Obama's fault.... this is something that was years in the making...

Feb 13, 2014

Gender Pay Gap. Facts, Logic and Data? Check, check and check.



Yes. It exists. Yes there's still biases that are not accounted for. These biases include women making less because a man might be in charge and might have some prejudices. However, when accounting same education and experience in the same field, it still exists. What is not accounted for in this data is child rearing and the amount of time it takes "out" of the job field to take care of children.  So, it still exists, but nowhere near the level that everyone thinks of it as....


Generalizing here, it is true that women are paid 0.77 per every $1.00 a man will make but based off of the Government Accountability Office, they have interesting statistics to discuss the reasons for this. Now it would be nice to have a higher sample of people to research, but they did what they could.
I often hear from a multitude of reports of men being awful or sexist and keeping women away from high-paying jobs, or if they’re in these high-paying jobs, they’re paid less. Because men don’t allow women to be paid more. But is this true? When comparing women to men who have the same level of education, same experience, and don’t leave work, who don’t have children, tend to make slightly less and sometimes, more. Especially when younger. I know you probably don’t like hearing that, though. It’s dependent on whether or not the man or woman has the same exact experience in the same exact field and position, same level of credentials and education, they must not be married or have any children or have any along the way.
With that said, I will acknowledge that gender bias exists in all fields. All of them. Including the one I’m in currently.
Now, of course I’m going to verify this. In order to look at some facts, I would prefer using independent, non-partisan, objective data. The GAO was established by the government to find these facts. Why are women paid less than men, on average?
The rest of this information is gathered from various sources that I’ll post. What many articles from Huffington Post and Slate, Salon and others tend to ignore is the other perspectives. The Huffington Post article will bbaarreellyy mention the following points that I have gotten from other sources. Why not use the Huffington Post or Salon? They all argue the same thing, essentially: men are at fault for the gender pay gap. According to the hard data here, it’s not exactly that. If someone tells me to “look at the facts” but doesn’t bother to look at the hard data for these multifaceted causes of the gender gap like this….
….I tell them, “likewise to you, my tolerant friend.” 

Do Men Really Earn More Than Women?

Ok, here we go.
For one, In case you neglect to even read what these reports mention, you will find that it discusses that women often work less, in terms of overall hours. When comparing men and women of even the same field, women are often presented with less overall amount of hours per year. Even in the same position. This is generalizing, right? Well, even a well-placed and claimed fallacy has a solid nugget of truth behind it. Women, on average, not being sexist here, tend to work less overall hours. They may account to 50% of the workforce but they work less hours. If you work less hours, you make overall less money. That is what the Huffington Post articles do not really discuss.
Two, they also tend to pick professions that often make less than others. This isn’t a bad thing at all. Women who pick less-paying professions often have a different, more powerful yield to society: increasing someone else’s social capital and fulfillment. Example: Women are 80% of the teaching workforce for elementary and middle schools. They make the biggest impact on a child’s life. Though, they get paid less in these positions. But there’s a tradeoff here. For the less pay, they create a bigger impact on society. Should teachers get paid more for doing this? Sure. Should  
Three, women tend to take a longer leave of absence between children being born. We know why? Well, men typically in our culture work more hours as women tend to rear children (hence working less to stay at home more often than men). We know that. Other reasons for this? Men cannot breast feed. This renders men useless to an infant’s demanding feeding schedule (unless the mother has plenty of time to pump during her lunch breaks but we know this is really time-consuming).
Four, as a result of these longer absences, women often get paid less when they come back to the work force. Ok, this is where I will end up fighting for a woman’s right to have her old job back, at the same rate of pay. This happens more often, but in the past and still today, women come back to the workforce with a different job…..which means they’re not experienced in that particular field or the company has set wages for new workers.
Five, this is something of a harsh reality in society. As more children are born out of wedlock, they’re less likely to have that second parent earning an income. Any income. Child support barely makes a dent. Instead, you have a lot of single mothers that are left with children and trying to find work at the same time. Possibly going to school as well. This puts women at a further disadvantage as they typically are succumbed to less pay because of the lack of time to find a better job and better schooling…that results in a better job. There are public funds to alleviate this but they hardly make a dent.
Now, if you take this into consideration, even accounting that women are faaarrr more educated than men in this country (these days), they still get paid less. In fact, women are far more likely to get a degree (these days) than a man will. This also increases student loan debt. Guess what? This contributes to a reduction in net pay as well.... some employers will "cut" some of your pay to help you pay back your student loans.... Just another example of a reason of the pay gap....
The overall, over-arching reasons for this gender pay gap is women (1) choose different, less-paying positions and (2) because women tend to take care of children more than men in this country, they often need to be at home after the birth longer to take care of the babies….which means that (2) women are paid less because they work less hours.
Now, when the overwhelming amount of data discusses that women happen to work less hours per year on average to stay at home more often to take care of children, why is this sexist? We know, that it still exists and of course there are cases where women make less money than men when they’re pretty much equal in terms of education, experience, position in field, no children, not married, etc. I am not simply denying this. I am simply proposing a valid argument.
I am simply saying that the simplistic view that “women make less because of men doing something bad” is frivolous. If you believe in this, your own government hired people to find the best possible answers and as a result, have weakened that simplistic view. As of today, there are many changes in society
If you are going to comment on the fact that sexism still exists, then I will more than likely agree with you. Things are different now but some people don’t change. We get that. Now, go back and look at the data…..women work less hours, even in the same field….. Because of why? Children. 

Some sources: 

http://instructional1.calstatela.edu/mfinney/courses/491/hand/family.pdf   

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/11/magazine/the-opt-out-generation-wants-back-in.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/08/13/why-women-still-earn-less-than-men-its-the-kids-fault/

http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/585721.pdf

http://www.gao.gov/assets/290/287375.pdf   (this about federal workforce. There is still a 7% pay gap but it does not discuss amount of hours actually worked or involvement of child-rearing).

http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/581612 (podcast and here's the transcript--http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/581613.txt)

http://www.aauw.org/files/2013/03/Graduating-to-a-Pay-Gap-The-Earnings-of-Women-and-Men-One-Year-after-College-Graduation-Executive-Summary-and-Recommendations.pdf  (discusses everything that the Huffington Post/Salon articles discuss but doesn't discuss the other reasons. There is still a bias from men and this source discusses this.)

Feb 10, 2014

Russia Is Still In Transition

     A friend of mine posted an excellent article on why we shouldn't stab fun at Russia's standard of living. It is unfair for such a large group of people to have gone through such a rough transition. However, when I see this at their ceremony, I start to wonder if they've really transitioned? I've read about Putin mentioning the rise of small business start ups but this is hardly the case when most Russians do not want "capitalism," per se. I guess this is starting to change, finally. I know why: they're still culturally in tune with over-arching government, controlling much of the economy. It's a slow transition but this is normal. For a socialist country to transition is nothing short of amazing.
        However, they still strive to have their country compete with the global market. Guess what? They have to. No more nationalistic economies.They may have had "full" employment during the soviet era, they may have not experience a real recession but here's the deal: there standard of living is lower that a great deal of industrialized nations and not experiencing a real recession or depression is pointless if your country is in a constant one.... what would rather have? A constant recession, poverty, corruption with the mafia controlling your government or instead, a poorly informed housing committee (Barney Frank and Maxine Waters) that indulge in market socialism. causing a horrible recession? Well, I would pick the latter, as long as people were informed about this.
         It also reminds of Sweden. Once hailed as the socialist utopia of the world had to reform from a socialist/centrally planned market into....guess what...... yeah. You know what I'm going to say....

Feb 7, 2014

My Sources of News, if You're Interested

I currently have several subscriptions.

The Washington Post (online and free for students). This is excellent!

FOX Business (recently as of today). This is also excellent. It does show differing sides but always about businesses and economics.

The Economist. A UK-based news outlet. Similar to "The Week" but shows more various viewpoints. This is probably my favorite as they always mention differing views and make it easy to read on the go. Student discount available.

The Wall Street Journal. Yeah, I know this is favored towards more business/markets but a good overview, nonetheless. Their opinions are moderate-conservative. The news portion is excellent. I love seeing this at my doorstep!

Huffington Post. Despite their obvious biases, it's an excellent source of news and stories. I usually avoid their politics at times because they tend to focus towards one "side" of the fence.

MSNBC is something I have turned away from recently, due to the overwhelming amount of opinion.

The Nation is obviously leftist. They said it, not me! A good analysis of how right-wingers get it wrong!

DailyKos and Moveon I would actively avoid. Too biased for my test. Especially when they focus on making fun of people constantly. Cute internet memes are for children and satire, not politics!

The New York Times is obviously huge. It's an excellent source and features many differing sides.

NPR is great as well. They tend to discuss differences of opinion and they're fairly objective.

EconTalk is another personal favorite. Russ Roberts hosts the podcast and they provide expert, fact-based opinions as to what causes what in economics. Prepare to be bombarded with facts and sources.....




I will update this later. There are many many many more....

I have always wondered....

When applying for a new job, getting the interview and doing well on it...

I Get Emotional Over Paul Krugman

Yes, this is certainly true.
Over these last few years of reading from his blog, watching him debate other economists (which is rare for him), it is clear of what he's done for the "left." Along with Robert Reich, they have been a huge voice in not only promoting free trade in the early 1980's through the mid 1990's, they have been a different voice. Now, they have focused largely on inequality and the top 1%.
They seem to be a fuel for the "left" as I hear many of the best arguments are coming from them. Maybe not directly but every time I read something from them, they propose many of these issues.
People like them change political opinion.
I know Krugman for certain.

When Krugman debates, however rare, he is often confronted by lay people about his use of fallacies.

Economic fallacies are different fallacies.

So it's no wonder I get emotional when I read from his blog. I read his and wonder to myself, "How is it possible for conservatives and the republicans to be wrong every time?"
Statistically, this cannot be so simple but Krugman portrays this.

Feb 2, 2014

Huffington, FOX and Bias. I will edit later.

Over these last few years, I have used Huffington Post as one of my primary news sources, along with NPR (business/economics and news), The Economist (subscribed), FOX Business (not news or commentary), EconTalk for economics, Drudge Report, MSNBC, Forbes, Slate, Salon, Time, and many others.
What I have noticed is that Huffington Post will seem to portray anyone on the "left" in a much better light that anyone close to being on the "right" side of politics.
Bill Maher can get away with joking about mass shootings at a country music awards but if a conservative would say anything close to this, Huffington Post would....be...all....over....it.
Face it. Arianna Huffington is a known converted liberal and it makes sense that her pride and joy is a byproduct of herself.
Every time someone from the GOP says something remotely close to be being stupid, the Huffpost is all over it. When it comes to a Democratic politician, however, it's often ignored or portrayed in a different way.
Don't believe me? Then maybe if you're a liberal and wonder why I make this accusation, you should start seeing some of this.

If Liberals dislike FOX news so much for being biased, then why don't they even flinch when Huffington Post makes biased news reports? 

People make the claim that Drudge is center-right. Yeah, I can see why. There's a difference though: Matt Drudge and crew only select website and links to news stories on their webpage. Very different from actual "writing" a story or being a "journalist." Instead the Drudge folks pick out several different stories from several different sources. Usually it's because they think something should be more on the headlines that behind them. Especially when it comes to a Democrat or Liberal making a mistake. For that, I thank his crew for doing this. He was made famous from the Lewinski-Clinton debacle. I don't think people should really care about Clinton's personal life, to be honest. For this instance, Drudge was sick of people not reporting enough naughty things that Democrats were guilty of. Typically, the focus was towards the GOP.

The main problem of Conservative bias, however, lies in Conservative talk radio. This is prevalent throughout America but with one major exception: most people do not....do not...listen to talk radio.
I hear Noam Chomsky makes this claim quite often of media bias, which he might agree with me in that it works both ways. However, I know he believes that it works in the "right's" favor more than anything else. It's usually because of the talk radio. Chomsky's arch enemy. However, for being such a bright and intelligent person, it escapes me how he doesn't realize that most people don't use talk radio as a source. Pod casting, more so, when it comes to educational and political shows, maybe.

Here's an example of bias from Huffington Post. Here, the author portrays conservative bias in a negative light without mentioning hardly anything about liberal bias. However, the author makes the claim that "The supposedly liberal media are out to thwart Chris Christie's presidential bid, according to conservative critics. Please." Now that's cute. I wonder if this author is aware that he's just as guilty?

The author mentions a conservative sites that's a watchdog of liberal sites, The Media Research Center. Yeah, and they do a pretty good job about showing videos of liberals in tight situations with their own bias. It's an excellent site if you want to see this. If you're a liberal (that's probably you) then it make you pull your hair out. However, if you really want to be objective and realize how some liberals get their information from biased sources, you might realize something. If you're a conservative, I hope you don't point and laugh at them because I think treating people this is immature. What the author does not mention are the liberal sites that point out conservative bias. This one for liberals, Media Matters, is pretty decent as well. Just as the conservative MRC, this one is biased as well. They're meant to be.
What I notice is that Media Matters will focus on the little things like "FOX didn't say this important thing" or "FOX hides offensive comments from Hannity" from the small stuff. What they seem to focus on is the one this I despise from right or left wing sources: commentary. They don't bash much of the conservative news because they really can't. It's not based off of opinion.... so....the usually leave that alone.

With all due respect to Media Matters and their focus on conservative bias, they hardly touch the actual news. Hannity is not the news, people. The Media Research Center will not only attack commentary from Maher-types but liberal news outlets as well. Something Media Matters does less of.

Regardless, of what you think of this blog, Americans beleive the "media" in general skews more to the left than the right....even with FOX in the picture. Gallup Polls are known to be fairly accurate. Then why doesn't' Huffington Post or MSNBC report this excellent poll data?

Trend: Americans' Perceptions of Media Bias
  From Gallup. What is interesting is that Huffington Post did not report this, according to my search on their website.

 And here are some of other examples of liberal bias in the news the last few years. Some really good ones in there. Go figure, Krugman makes the top three of most biased people in the news.....

You think I'm being unfair? Well, yes. Life is. So are people who claim to solidly be objective or bash a "side" of politics.
Here are some examples of conservative bias. This one is about the election.
And FOX. You betcha!

Where I typically draw the line not in favor of liberals is the awful and distorted misrepresentation of several people in the media that, after that last few years of researching this, wrongfully accused of bias and hate speech. Andrew Breitbart is certainly one of them. The Sherrod case is an excellent examples. He was accused of being a whole bunch of things but those who accused him, didn't even read his actual article. It was about the NAACP audience applauding for Sherrods comments about being slightly racist towards a white farmer. Andrew focused on the audiences applause and remarks about Sherrod's comments. Sherrod herself was telling a story about her transformation about why eeeeeveryone should not be so divided. The crown had no clue she was telling a true story about her being biased towards white people and how she overcame this. Andrew Brietbart knew this and even mentioned her humanity with her transformation. He cared more about the NAACP crowd that is supposed to be...well....no racist....or at least they're not supposed to cheer it on, anyways. Well they did. Proof. Breitbart's focused, as was mentioned his original post, was about the crowd applauding her somewhat racist comments. He didn't edit the video, either. You see, this is how it all starts...
This is where I started to realize about bias in media culture. In general.

Breitbart was blamed for something that wasn't even remotely true. Even after his death, many liberals made harsh comments towards him and his family. Still, to this day, people bring this up without actually having a rational discussion about what he really said and how it was taken out of context.