Economics

"California may be the most desirable place to live in the US, but employers can't recruit 'high-performers' thanks to insane housing prices"

Another one in the ocean of pieces pointing to serious trouble coming from California.

Also see "California Cities' Pension Tab Seen Almost Doubling in 5 Years" and "Required Pension Contributions of California Cities Will Double in Five Years says Policy Institute: Quadruple is More Likely".


"8 Wage Gap Statistics To Shut Down Any Haters"

My wife teaches at a high school populated--both faculty and students--by a great many Liberals. (She would hasten to add that it is a very fine school staffed by many fine teachers who are also fine people and she greatly enjoys working there. Also, she is--sigh--mostly used to Liberal nonsense by now.) 

Recently, it has come to her attention that at least two of her colleagues--two of her more curious, open-minded colleagues it must be added--believe in the 20%-male-female-wage-gap-is-proof-awful-misogyny-is-holding-women-down story. (Even more distressing, perhaps, is that a great number of her female students seem to believe this as well.) When she mildly replied that it proves nothing of the sort her colleagues were shocked--shocked!--to find this out. But the wife of one of the said colleagues handed him "8 Wage Gap Statistics To Shut Down Any Haters" and said--I paraphrase--this fixes that!

No, it does not. It absolutely does not. I prepared a seven-page, single-spaced, document in reply. As a possible public service for readers who also need to answer such analyses, I'll post the first three pages here.

Start with yesterday’s “The Radicalism of ‘Equal Pay Day’”: short and simple. 

Two parts follow: a point-by-point series of brief replies followed by some stuff I accumulated for my lectures. (Which is a minimum of six years old, but I don’t imagine the elapsed time makes a difference to the substance.)

Part 1

  1. “The Gap Affects Nearly Every Field”. “The” gap encompasses wide variation in the gap across fields. Why?

In the source linked, women’s pay as a fraction of men’s overall is 81.9% (749/915). For “Medical scientists” it’s 93.5% (1169/1250), “Veterinarians” it’s 90.6% (1143/1261), but for “Physicians and surgeons” it’s 63.0% (1476/2343).

For “Elementary and middle school teachers” it’s 87.1% (981/1126), but rises for “Secondary school teacher” to 93.7% (1074/1146), and then, apparently inexplicably, falls for “Postsecondary teachers” to 85.0% (1152/1356). For “Postal service mail carriers” it’s 91.3% (931/1020), but for “Postal service clerks” it’s just 80.6% (805/999).

How does she account for these differences? More particularly, if the primary driver of the gap is our allegedly awful misogynist culture, provided the sample sizes are reasonably large, shouldn’t the gap be about the same across fields?

Continue reading ""8 Wage Gap Statistics To Shut Down Any Haters"" »


"California’s K-12 Pension Cost Crisis: Exacting toll on arts, CS, teacher raises, training, staffing"

Lord Keynes's "long run" arrives ahead of schedule in Cali.

More spending on pensions means less money for arts and computer science, teacher raises and training, and teacher and specialist staffing. Rising retirement costs are why you may be reading about district belt-tightening even though voters just passed another tax increase (Prop 55) and the state budget has been enjoying the fruits of an eight-year bull market.


"Trump’s intriguing idea: Cut debt by selling off federal assets"

As I noted here a few weeks ago, this seems like a good idea.

Let’s focus on a giant part of this: Mineral rights for oil and gas reserves. The IER report said they’re worth $128 trillion. But that was January 2013. Even though oil prices CLK7, +0.99%  have dropped 50% and gas prices NGK17, +0.03%  have fallen some 15% since, that’s still, as Donald Trump might say, a yuge amount of money.


"What We Mean When We Talk about Media Bias"

Kevin Williamson quickly demonstrates that Wired should steer clear of economcs.

Setting aside the fact that tax laws are written by Congress and not by the White House, the Trump administration’s budget proposal contains a 1.2 percent spending cut to the discretionary budget, i.e. a 1.2 percent cut to a portion of the budget that amounts to less than one-third of federal spending. A 1.2 percent cut to 29 percent of federal spending is not “gutting the federal budget” under any plausible interpretation of those words by a reasonably literate English-speaking person.