Morning LInks

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

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41 Responses to “Morning LInks”

  1. #1 |  SJE | 

    If the water usage chart had occurred in the USA, you would have the antitrust people looking into collusion.

  2. #2 |  Marty | 

    I didnt’ read the whole ‘myth of public service article’, but, many times, public workers try to hide wages with extra benefits. increases in vacation time, medical savings accounts, pension increases, uniform allowances, ‘free’ services (newspaper subscriptions, cable tv, etc) to make the workplace ‘more pleasant’, more sick time, life insurance, education allowances, access to tools and equipment that they can sign out for personal usage, ‘company’ vehicles (HUGE benefit!)… I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of scams, I mean, well-deserved taxpayer-funded benefits.

  3. #3 |  Marty | 

    I remember seeing Milton Friedman addressing the sweat shop issue and this was exactly how he laid it out…

  4. #4 |  Marty | 

    I hope Reason does a ‘Reason Saves St. Louis’ next. I love Drew Carey’s (and Reason’s!) documentaries- we have the kids watch them with us and then we discuss them… much better than sending them to school to memorize dates in social studies!

  5. #5 |  SJE | 

    Don’t tell Naomi Klein about the Chinese sweatshop workers. Her head might explode.

  6. #6 |  Mattocracy | 

    The comment thread at the bottom of the China article is so full of the same bullshit fallacy from the left. Despite all the evidence that competitive cheap labor has benefits that far outway costs, it still just has to be wrong. Richard Dawkins should write a book called the Living Wage Delusion.

  7. #7 |  Aresen | 

    Given that beer is the beverage of choice when watching hockey in Canada, I’m surprised that those end of period peaks aren’t higher.

    As a side note, it appears that the “valleys” during the game are deeper and last longer than the peaks, implying that the total water consumption for the day was less.

  8. #8 |  Matt | 

    one other thing to take into consideration on the public vs. private compensation issue is the actual hours in a work week. i don’t have any data, but i can confidently say that a salaried employee in the private market outworks their matched government worker with great regularity… both in total hours and actual productivity.

  9. #9 |  Mattocracy | 

    The whole liberal anti-sweatshop movement seems laced with a belief in laziness. The idea that the less fortunate should have to work harder to move up the ladder seems to unjust to them. Which then makes you think that they believe that all hard work is unjust, which I don’t think is true…at least I hope it isn’t true. I would also like to think that they just fail to see their hypocrisy and there isn’t a more malicious undertaking as alluded to in an Ayn Rand novel, but it’s really hard to dismiss this conspiracy theory sometimes.

  10. #10 |  Gm | 

    Ahhh classic…radley ripping on public service (which includes suh unimportant people such as firefighters, police, garbage men, and shook teachers) by liking to an article about overpaid federalworkers.

    You should find an article that compares the starting pay for a cop fresh out of the academy or a gradeschool teacher and compare it to your overpaid salary at Reason. Such a contribution it is to society for you to complain about everything on your blog all day and while ripping on ‘public servants’. Typical blowhard blogging bullshit. Radley rips on public anything, yet got his smug journalism degree at a public university. Oh the irony!

  11. #11 |  Cyto | 

    The sweatshop article had a nice example of where the “progressive” mindset has everything wrong. The example of the two men pooling $22,000 in savings to build a fishing ‘resort’ runs exactly contrary to every belief of the progressives.

    First, you work at a job for someone else, not a career or profession or heaven forbid create your own job. Then you organize with everyone else who works there to create a union. Then you work there for the rest of your life – safe and happy in your union protected job.

    These guys didn’t fit the program at all. First, they were not content to work for someone else. Second, they didn’t spend every dime of their “less than a living wage” paycheck – they saved for the future. Finally, they actually had the fortitude to spend those savings on a crazy idea like a fish pond that people would pay to visit.

    I wish I had been taught from an early age that there is an option beyond “find a job and work your way up.” Creating your own job is the true path to happiness because you are doing what you really want to do – and as a bonus, riches will often follow.

  12. #12 |  Peter Ramins | 

    LA Murder Rate, huh?

    “Hey I have an idea… unless we actually get a conviction, let’s not officially classify it as murder. I mean, you can’t have a murder without a murderer, right?”

    I wonder how much of that is going on. Or maybe I’m just REALLY distrustful of police, instead of healthily distrustful. (Or maybe REALLY distrustful IS healthy!)

    One thing I think we can all agree on is that I am not at all cynical, or sarcastic.

  13. #13 |  MDGuy | 

    “But National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley says the comparison is faulty because it “compares apples and oranges.” Federal accountants, for example, perform work that has more complexity and requires more skill than accounting work in the private sector, she says.”

    How convenient, the federal government’s massive spending coupled with it’s byzantine tax structure and general inefficiency justifies even more government spending!

    “Office of Personnel Management spokeswoman Sedelta Verble, says higher pay also reflects the longevity and older age of federal workers.”

    On other words, “federal employees enjoy more job security than anyone in the private sector, so they are deserving of greater compensation.”

  14. #14 |  MikeZ | 

    That Radley always ripping on the Shook teachers. It takes a very special person to teach parents how to shake they’re children and they never get any respect. Seriously though did you even read the article? It compared jobs that had private sector equivalents, which rules out just about all your examples.

    The Graphic Designer is the one that surprises me the most. Why would the government need the highest quality graphic designer? What are they trying to sell/brand?

  15. #15 |  Mo | 

    I’d be careful using those public vs. private sector stats because of a possible expertise gap. Public economists likely have a higher proportion of advanced degree holders than the their private counterparts*. And the clergy example ends up comparing a small town minister with a military chaplain. A military chaplain is on the officer pay scale and requires an advanced degree, while a small town minister doesn’t. That’s not to say that public pay isn’t too high, but this sort of analysis is very simplistic. You can’t critique gender pay imbalance stories for being oversimplistic and comparing different things and then go and to tout a view you find appealing, even though it has the same faults.

    * As an anecdote, I know a few people that are economists at the NY Fed. They could make, based on offers, significantly more at a bank doing much of the same work, but turned it down because they prefer the hours and the environment.

  16. #16 |  Peter Ramins | 


    You’re kidding, right, Mike? A significant portion of government spending is propaganda justifying and even glorifying government spending. You can’t make good propaganda with a mouth-breathing cretin who recently, in a major triumph, figured out how to get MS Paint to save in formats other than .bmp.

  17. #17 |  Wavemancali | 

    Is it odd that as a Canadian I am sort of proud of that graph?

  18. #18 |  Bart | 

    “Federal accountants, for example, perform work that has more complexity and requires more skill than accounting work in the private sector, she says.”

    Please, give me a break. Private accountants, civil engineers and 90% of the other careers on that list have the complexity of having to do more than just a finite set of tasks, included in their job titles like a government worker.

    How many public sector civil engineers need to handle marketing and business creation? How many have to handle budget creation and then actually meet the budgets they set? How many have to deal with keeping clients happy or they lose their job? How many have to meet deadlines or they don’t get paid? How many have to handle payroll, taxes, insurance, hiring, firing, and everything else that the majority of private small business people have to deal with every day?

    To make a comment like that is beyond insulting – its degrading, and shows either an ignorance or a prejudice against the private sector.

  19. #19 |  Mattocracy | 

    I can’t imagine Reason paying a generous salary. Mike, maybe you should look the starting salary of a grade school teached and a rookie cop. You might be suprised how high it is.

    Last I checked, we still have to pay for our education at public universities. He didn’t go there for free on the taxpayers dime. Oh, the failure of your own smug! Ass.

  20. #20 |  flukebucket | 

    I once heard Dick Cheney say he had spent the overwhelming majority of his adult life in public service and then I found out he was worth over 100 million dollars.

    So yeah. Public service ain’t a bad gig.

  21. #21 |  Juice | 

    Pay in the government sector is higher, and that makes these jobs more competitive. My profession is near the top of the alphabetical list (Chemist) with an average pay difference of $25k. I’ve been applying to federal chemist jobs left and right and I’ll be damned if I even get a return email to acknowledge my application.

    You’ve got to have an almost spotless background and be able to pass security clearances and such too.

    You don’t necessarily have to be an ace chemist, but you have to be good. What’s more important is that you are a good citizen. That’s tougher to come by than a great chemist.

  22. #22 |  J sub D | 

    But National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley says the comparison is faulty because it “compares apples and oranges.” Federal accountants, for example, perform work that has more complexity and requires more skill than accounting work in the private sector, she says.


  23. #23 |  Juice | 


    Tuitions at state universities are HIGHLY subsidized. That’s why in-state and out-of-state tuitions are so different.

    Research at ALL universities is funded by tax money. Many professors draw their salaries from these funds, not to mention all the grad student stipends, etc.

  24. #24 |  random guy | 

    Maybe its because of my age but I’ve never heard of the myth that government employees are self sacrificing. Throughout my entire life people have refereed to such jobs as:

    impossible to get (unless you know somebody)
    very high paying (with fantastic benefits)
    economy proof (the government never runs out of money)
    and impossible to get fired from (barring murder or embezzlement)

    For as long as I can remember they have been described as easy, even for office jobs. The only exception has been actual civil servants like firefighters, cops, and teachers. But as anyone who reads this site knows even the cops and teachers pretty much have indefinite job security and cop ‘benefits’ that border on the obscene.

    Pretty much the only civil servants that I have immediate respect for are firefighters.

  25. #25 |  PeeDub | 

    Research at ALL universities is funded by *grant* money. Sometimes it comes from a public source such as the DoD. Sometimes it comes from a private source. But it’s very often an external source.

  26. #26 |  Juice | 


    What percentage of grant money comes from the private sector? Uh, like 5%.

  27. #27 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Radley rips on public anything, yet got his smug journalism degree at a public university. Oh the irony!

    This is just silly.

  28. #28 |  SJE | 

    Juice: it depends what you do. One friend is an economist who gets more than 50% from private foundations, the rest is paid work for the UN. A lot of big names in the medical and pharma sciences get private funding, and the physics etc area gets a lot from the military and defense contractors.

  29. #29 |  Bernard | 

    The ‘former sweatshop workers made good’ article has one particularly instructive quote buried in it:


    ‘Medea Benjamin used to accuse Nike of exploiting factory employees. She says pay and conditions have improved because of worker demands, international pressure and compliance programs introduced by the shoe giant, Columbia and other brands. The days of indentured servitude are gone, says Benjamin, founding director of Global Exchange, a San Francisco human rights organization.

    “Workers have options,” Benjamin said. But she would prefer to see U.S. workers making Nikes for the American market.’


    So, as it turns out, her goal all along was to close down Chinese factories so that American manufacturing jobs wouldn’t go. What’s the betting that most of these ‘sweatshop’ pressure groups are heavily funded by 1st world labour unions who have zero interest in the prospects of the people they claim to be lobbying for?

  30. #30 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    and impossible to get fired from (barring murder or embezzlement)

    Even then, you still get your pension!

  31. #31 |  Chris Mallory | 

    Since the government doesn’t produce or create anything, 100% of the grant money comes from the private sector.

  32. #32 |  Marc | 

    See, I hate when these polls use poor data or sampling methods. They used the average? In our economy today, those at the top make WAAAAAAY more than the peons. This distorts averages. Much better is to use median income, where the guy at the top making 300x more than he should counts the same as the janitor for determining the 50th percentile that you look at.

    The woman quoted in the article also makes a good point. Federal employees probably are older and with more years at their “company” than the typical private sector employee. It would have been better if they grouped people into different experience levels and judged by that.

    For what it’s worth, I’m an entry level electrical engineer. Can’t find a job at all right now, but theoretically, if I could get one… :)
    …Private sector companies seem to generally pay $45-60 thousand starting. Federal seems to offer in the range of $35-50 thousand. A lot of variance in both, hard to judge, but in general private does pay more initially. 20 years down the road? With the guaranteed percentile increases and pay scale raises of the government, federal probably will pay more than private sector, except for the very talented cream of the crop that become company heads or have a major invention/discovery.

    Just my thoughts. As it is, I don’t think the poll was done well enough to make conclusions from.

  33. #33 |  Juice | 


    How many billions are spent on economics research? Probably around 1. Probably not even that.

    Federal grants for basic and applied science research are something like $30 billion (or more, I’m just thinking of NIH and NSF, but the DOE adds something like $4 billion to that, and I think DARPA-DOD, Naval Research Office and Army research office add a few tens of millions a piece.) Ok, so maybe over $50 billion.

    The private sector does not issue more than $1 billion in academic research grants. Why would they? Most of their research in done “in house.”

  34. #34 |  Juice | 

    #31, well ok. Private money funneled through the government.

  35. #35 |  shecky | 

    I’ve been pointing out the low levels of violent crime overall, and especially in L.A. on some other forums. I’ve noticed a very curious thing, almost a sense of disappointment. “Bu..bu..but what about gangs… what about illegal immigrants…?” It’s as if someone took away the favorite stick for flogging all the pet issues involving crime, culture, immigration, etc. It seems L.A. was such a good example to use, for whatever issue one wanted to make, about The Way Things Are Going In The World. And all of a sudden, the model broke. What will we do now?

  36. #36 |  travis | 

    Still kind of skeptical about that LA crime article. What are they leaving out?

  37. #37 |  Dante | 

    Have to agree with Bart (above).

    From the article:
    “Federal accountants, for example, perform work that has more complexity and requires more skill than accounting work in the private sector, she says.”

    Have any of you accountants out there ever called the IRS? What did you think of their skill level?

    Have any lawyers out there ever called the SEC? What did you think of their skill level?

    Bottom Line: Their skill levels SUCK, and that is why they still work for the Government. Any person with a modicum of talent leaves for the private sector as soon as they can. The ones that remain are the dregs.

  38. #38 |  Marty | 

    because the bulk of the accounting industry was built on our bullshit tax code, I could really care less if govt accountants are more talented than private accountants. I’d rather simplify the tax code and watch all of them scramble…

  39. #39 |  goober1223 | 

    I can’t +1 that enough, Marty. Income taxes ridiculously over-complex, and I’m an engineer, fer chrissakes! I don’t know how the idiots do it H&R block stay in business.

  40. #40 |  This is football-related. Sort of. « Get The Picture | 

    […] Sort of. Jump to Comments I don’t know what’s more awesome about this post (h/t The Agitator), the header or the […]

  41. #41 |  flukebucket | 

    The ones that remain are the dregs.

    But they make more money and have better benefits?

    I’m confused.