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The Next President is...


disgruntledemployee

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8 hours ago, Negatory said:

Your point is that easily acquired, skilled blue collar labor jobs exist

They literally do, though I’m not speaking for the entire US, but in my state, they’re everywhere. Maybe not where you are, and I’ll take your word for it. Though I’m also guessing we’re not the only state in the union with employers other than min wage fast food looking for workers.

 

8 hours ago, Negatory said:

No longer can you pay for your child and better yourself. No longer can you purchase a house on a union job. No longer can you support your family on one salary.

Hyperbole and false. Hard work can get you very far in this country. I’m not saying shitty circumstances don’t exist or people can’t have bad timing/a run of bad luck. This is victim mentality at its finest and serves no positive purpose. 

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On 10/9/2021 at 4:26 PM, Prosuper said:

Been reading all these comments, I wonder if it was like this for officers before the Civil War given orders to march to their home states. LT Col Robert E Lee USA being offered command of all Union Armies just to turn it down knowing that he would have been ordered to kill Rebel Virginians. Myself being retired and USAF civil service, being just given a ultimatum to comply  with the covid shot, I took it way back in Feb BTW but it was my choice and I am scared of what my long term health prospects are. I believe our Federal Govt leaders are corrupt to the core and pray the states call a convention of states just to start over. I'm just hoping I can make it to my Colorado cabin in a year and half and live out my days being left alone.

Left alone in Colorado? Apparently you haven’t seen the massive amount of Californians and Texans who have moved here in the past 10 years.

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26 minutes ago, Sua Sponte said:

Left alone in Colorado? Apparently you haven’t seen the massive amount of Californians and Texans who have moved here in the past 10 years.

Well, to be fair, about a third of Colorado, over half of New Mexico and even some of Kansas, Oklahoma and Wyoming were Texas at one point; so we're just taking back territory...

293a7c3c1d3441cc0cd6ea28cc37f0d7.jpg

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32 minutes ago, M2 said:

Well, to be fair, about a third of Colorado, over half of New Mexico and even some of Kansas, Oklahoma and Wyoming were Texas at one point; so we're just taking back territory...

293a7c3c1d3441cc0cd6ea28cc37f0d7.jpg

Can’t take over anything if you’re always in in the ditch of I-25/I-70 in the winter 🤣

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No other country in the world offers so much opportunity.  In this great country the only thing standing between you and wealth is hard work. 


I'll add that it's not just hard work. Just like in an AF career, luck and timing are also important, if not more so, and can significantly change your outcome in life.
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Yes, hard work is important, and having a good work ethic can open some doors. But luck and timing are important as well and often ignored, and good luck and good timing are often attributed to just working hard and being rewarded for that hard work. But there's also a lot of other factors at play, which may limit the opportunities a person can take depending on their tolerance for risk(aka how lucky do they feel).

Wages haven't kept up with increases productivity. Minimum wage hasn't kept up with inflation.

Another problem is a generation has been sold on college debt: having a college degree, any degree, would open doors to better pay and jobs. That might have been true when degrees were rare, but now the market is flooded with degrees and lessened their value. (This is why college for all would fail, and why I don't agree with calls to make college "free" for everyone. Plus most of the information can be learned for free online out with library resources, so it's not a access to knowledge problem) Unfortunately for the individual, they become saddled with debt they can't discharge via bankruptcy, and can drive getting stuck in a bad job because they can't afford to take a pay cut to transition to a better field of work or to restart in a new trade. That debt and need to meet basic necessities may mean they also don't have the means to save for their future goals, whether it's retirement, a house, etc.

Also related is that healthcare is tired to jobs in the US, so medical needs may cause someone to remain in a job because they can't risk losing medical coverage.

On the flip side, lots of jobs now want to see a 4 year degree in their applicants, even when it has no bearing on the job itself. This perpetuates the notion that you "need" a 4 year degree. For example, registered nurses. You can become an RN with a 2 year degree. Except most "good" nursing jobs want a 4 year degree in nursing (BSN). However, there's is nothing a BSN can do that an RN can't do, they hold the same professional certification as RN. You could argue they want the soft skills associated with a bachelors degree, but you'd be wrong, they ignore other degrees in hiring.

There's also lots of assumptions built into our way of life, such as transportation.

Housing is cheaper the further you get from desirable areas (and one of the reasons why we have suburban sprawl). This includes places of work, and generally drives people to require transportation to/from work. In a large city with a decent public transportation system, a person could get by without a car (which saves on several costs, including insurance, gas, and parking). But in smaller cities and towns, cars become more important, because they buy you time. A 15 minute commute by car could be an hour via public transportation, if it exists. Shortening the commute to something walkable/bikeable isn't usually feasible (ref. housing costs near desirable locations), so that's typically out. This could drive other hidden costs, like increased child care costs due to the extra time needed to commute to work.

None of these are easy problems to solve. But "work harder" is a gross oversimplification of the problem. (I think it's about as bad as telling AF pilots they should be happy in their job and don't need a bonus, and shouldn't complain about the ops tempo because it's what they signed up to do).

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Sorry but all I hear is a lot of excuses. 

Is there risk, absolutely but there are many thousands of millionaires and hundreds of billionaires that started with nothing.  Immigrants who arrived with $100 in their pocket and they somehow overcame all the drag of no college degree, low wages, housing and poor transportation. 

 

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Sorry but all I hear is a lot of excuses. 
Is there risk, absolutely but there are many thousands of millionaires and hundreds of billionaires that started with nothing.  Immigrants who arrived with $100 in their pocket and they somehow overcame all the drag of no college degree, low wages, housing and poor transportation. 
 


And there are many more who just don't make it, or just get by, but their stories aren't ones that books get written about.

Those aren't excuses, just obstacles that need to be overcome. Sometimes they can be overcome by hard work alone, sometimes it requires some fortunate timing and a little luck to overcome those obstacles. And no one likes to talk about what happens when risks are realized, it's much easier to celebrate taking a chance and winning.

But you are right in that our country offers great opportunity, and probably the most economic mobility.

At the same time, businesses need to work harder too. If they have staffing shortfalls, stop complaining and do the work to invest in recruiting and retaining talent. If people don't want to do the job you have open, you're probably not paying enough to deal with the job. And if you can't afford to pay what the workers are demanding, well, your business model probably has flawed assumptions and you're on the path to failure.
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About 6-9 months ago I was curious about this debate and dug into average annual pay on manual labor jobs in 1969 compared to the 2007.  Those years didn't have any real significance, other than having data that was easy to grab.

The average annual pay of all manual labor jobs had risen very slightly in real terms (43k to 44.5k).

The average cost of healthcare had risen 5.5% to 22% of that annual pay.  

The median home value had risen from about 400% to 3500%.

An average college degree has gone from 22% to about 100%.

Average car cost had gone from 60 to 69%.

Everything else stayed the same cost or got cheaper.

 

So there is a real something in medical costs, home costs, and college costs.  Any discussion about addressing those needs to actually look into the root cause of why the cost went up.  Throwing government money around doesn't inherently do that.

 

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2 minutes ago, jazzdude said:


 

 


And there are many more who just don't make it, or just get by, but their stories aren't ones that books get written about.

Those aren't excuses, just obstacles that need to be overcome. Sometimes they can be overcome by hard work alone, sometimes it requires some fortunate timing and a little luck to overcome those obstacles. And no one likes to talk about what happens when risks are realized, it's much easier to celebrate taking a chance and winning.

But you are right in that our country offers great opportunity, and probably the most economic mobility.

At the same time, businesses need to work harder too. If they have staffing shortfalls, stop complaining and do the work to invest in recruiting and retaining talent. If people don't want to do the job you have open, you're probably not paying enough to deal with the job. And if you can't afford to pay what the workers are demanding, well, your business model probably has flawed assumptions and you're on the path to failure.

 

Another fallacy in this line of reasoning is that all bottoms are equal. If you lack the timing and luck that are allegedly required to succeed in america, you still end up in a vastly better position than if you lack the timing or luck required in another country. And if you take one step up from the absolute bottom, you see an even bigger disparity. The second from the bottom quintile in America lead dramatically wealthier and more opportunistic lives than the second to the bottom quintile in European countries. And whereas our citizens in that quintile pay no taxes effectively, European lower and middle class workers pay quite a bit of taxes.

 

So while this system isn't perfect when compared to a non-existent perfect system, it is thoroughly more beneficial to those at the bottom than other systems that do exist.

 

There are only two valid comparisons. That which exists in other countries today, and that which existed in our country in the past. By both metrics, our citizens come out way ahead. Add in the opportunities for upward mobility, and the competition isn't even close.

 

I do agree with the problems regarding college debt, housing prices, and wage stagnation. But the boom times of the 1950s did not come remotely close to the level of regulation and interference we have today. College debt can be directly traced to government backing student loans. That seemingly well-intentioned policy completely decimated a lot of millennial and gen z lives with astronomical debt as teenagers. And we effectively derailed the progress black Americans were making with a series of well-intentioned but ultimately catastrophic programs such as affirmative action. Decades of progress making up for a true evil, completely lost. And now no one on either side has a solution for the glaring racial problem that everyone sees but is uncomfortable verbalizing.

 

The disconnect is that liberals generally see conservative resistance as some sort of lack of compassion. Incorrect. It's generally a realization that second and third order effects of seemingly innocuous (to liberals) government action can have quite devastating effects.

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Just now, jazzdude said:

At the same time, businesses need to work harder too. If they have staffing shortfalls, stop complaining and do the work to invest in recruiting and retaining talent. If people don't want to do the job you have open, you're probably not paying enough to deal with the job.

 

Do you have any idea how hard this is?  Maddening brother!

It is so easy to just wave a hand and say "just pay more" or "fix your business model."  Not trying to insult you but have you ever run a business? 

First, you have the federal government telling you who you can and can't hire and crawling up your ass if the employee population is not a perfect reflection of society.  I have seen companies go to extraordinary lengths to meet these government quotas but fall short and be punished when the reason the goal can't be achieved is there simply were no qualified applicants. 

Second, American kids are far more enamored with a liberal arts degree from Berkley that allows them the time to "find themselves" and identify social injustice rather than investing in the hard sciences and technical degrees.

For the record we have invested in recruiting and retaining talent.  We have gone to HBCs, opened paid internships ($23-$25 an hour for College Juniors), and offered to hire 30-40% of those interns.  We offer free lunch on site via catering and food trucks, tuition assistance, excellent benefits, box seats to sporting events and concerts.  In certain jobs we give $30K spot bonuses to keep talent and we still can't keep up. 

35 minutes ago, jazzdude said:

 And if you can't afford to pay what the workers are demanding, well, your business model probably has flawed assumptions and you're on the path to failure.

 

Simply not true...absolutely not true.  The government dictates many business models and I am sorry but I can't waive my hand and have a Berkley female studies major perform the same duties as a C++ or C Sharp Dev.  And, while I pay many new college grads 6+ figures eventually I run into the brickwall of the government telling me what my profit can and can't be.

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It's straight supply and demand. If you want engineers, you have to attract them, whether it's based on mission, location, or compensation, or a combination of the three. And there are many large companies competing for the same talent, on the software side places like Amazon/Google/Facebook/etc. Just like any other limited resource, the scarcer it gets the more it costs. And it's not like the US is producing less engineers with bachelor's degrees than in the past, just that there's more competition for them. Or you have people with engineering degrees exiting the field to go do something else (like fly military jets...)

Plus, I'd wager that many software development jobs don't actually require a comp sci degree, and that a lot of coding can be successfully be done by someone who's self taught. The trouble is it's hard to measure/gauge the abilities of someone that doesn't have a formal degree. I know when I interned at a major defense contractor that most of the work I did don't really have anything to do with my (EE) degree, outside of a few classes where we happened to use C and Java. But there's no vocational equivalent for software development, and unless you're needing to develop better methods of sorting data, a comp sci degree is probably overkill.

Plus there's a lot of other drags on business. Look at USERRA protections-great for manning the reserves (and I think we can all agree good for the country as a whole), and protecting a traditional reservist's primary civilian job helps ensure participation with their unit. But it's a cost that the business has to bear. Oh, and not hiring someone because of their reservist status is also illegal.

You point out going to Berkeley and getting a soft degree; it's a free country, individuals can study whatever they want (though some degrees have better returns on investment with less risk than others). And most engineering programs are competitive, with more applicants than seats available, so the pool of applicants is still strong. Yes, it would be great for our country to produce more engineers, but the incentives aren't there for colleges to rapidly expand their engineering programs, and the federal government can't really mandate colleges produce more engineers. And any federal incentives would cost money aka tax revenue, so that's got to come from somewhere.

Also, reaching kids in k-12 to encourage studying math and science is important, as well as teaching those subjects in k-12. Because if that educational background isn't built then, it limits the pool of students qualified to begin technical field of study. So investment in primary/secondary education is important, and funded through tax revenue (though at the local/state level). And students generally are only as good as their teachers.

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32 minutes ago, jazzdude said:

You point out going to Berkeley and getting a soft degree; it's a free country, individuals can study whatever they want (though some degrees have better returns on investment with less risk than others).

100% agree, but don't expect a living wage this choice.  As you said, supply and demand and there is very little high paying demand for the overwhelming pool of soft degrees.

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1 hour ago, jazzdude said:

You point out going to Berkeley and getting a soft degree; it's a free country, individuals can study whatever they want (though some degrees have better returns on investment with less risk than others). And most engineering programs are competitive, with more applicants than seats available, so the pool of applicants is still strong. Yes, it would be great for our country to produce more engineers, but the incentives aren't there for colleges to rapidly expand their engineering programs, and the federal government can't really mandate colleges produce more engineers. And any federal incentives would cost money aka tax revenue, so that's got to come from somewhere.

Also, reaching kids in k-12 to encourage studying math and science is important, as well as teaching those subjects in k-12. Because if that educational background isn't built then, it limits the pool of students qualified to begin technical field of study. So investment in primary/secondary education is important, and funded through tax revenue (though at the local/state level). And students generally are only as good as their teachers.

Your perspective is interesting, because I think the incentives are there. The incentives and consequences are showing up in our massive and mounting student debt crisis. That *is* the signal. It's a signal our government is sending by virtue of providing effectively unlimited student loan debt for degrees that provide no meaningful ability to receive a higher standard of living. Individuals who attain degrees that provide massive remuneration (CS, engineering, etc) are not having a hard time paying off their student loans. The solution is to get the government out of distorting the market for these other worthless degrees. There is that there is no market for much of what colleges produce. The *only* reason these colleges get away with it is because the government provides a funding stream for what is otherwise valueless.

So you're right, while the government can't *mandate* a school produce more engineers, they can certainly shape the incentive structure that these schools inherit.

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6 hours ago, busdriver said:

The average cost of healthcare had risen 5.5% to 22% of that annual pay.

I'd be interested to see more complete data, but I think our (American) average waistlines have increased by a similar proportion. Expect the cost of healthcare to continue to increase in proportion to how unhealthy we continue to become: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-29220000

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Just as an aside...I know why y'all are using UC Berkeley* in examples, but it's really a poor choice for "these graduates have worthless/useless degrees."

Berkeley is one of the very best universities in the country. It's top-20 in terms of "best universities" by whatever formula Payscale uses, #22 in US News rankings, and produces 42% STEM-related degrees.

So I mean yea, a BA in Underwater Basket Weaving from the University of Phoenix paid for by unsubsidized federal loans is probably the more apt example of what we need less of 🤷‍♂️

Another funny aside from that Payscale data...the military academies all score really well because of honestly quite high "early career salary" i.e. O3 pay, high-meaning career fields, and high % of STEM degrees, however anecdotally I have yet to meet a single academy grad that recommends their alma mater to anyone else 🤣

*I did not go to Berkeley nor do I know anyone who did.

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Just as an aside...I know why y'all are using UC Berkeley* in examples, but it's really a poor choice for "these graduates have worthless/useless degrees."
Berkeley is one of the very best universities in the country. It's top-20 in terms of "best universities" by whatever formula Payscale uses, #22 in US News rankings, and produces 42% STEM-related degrees.
So I mean yea, a BA in Underwater Basket Weaving from the University of Phoenix paid for by unsubsidized federal loans is probably the more apt example of what we need less of 🤷‍♂️
Another funny aside from that Payscale data...the military academies all score really well because of honestly quite high "early career salary" i.e. O3 pay, high-meaning career fields, and high % of STEM degrees, however anecdotally I have yet to meet a single academy grad that recommends their alma mater to anyone else 🤣
*I did not go to Berkeley nor do I know anyone who did.

As an Academy grad who has never recommended his alma mater…it had absolutely NOTHING to do with the quality of the education or the post-graduate pay, and everything to do with the integrity of the organization it was tied to. Just one data point…


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2 hours ago, ClearedHot said:

100% agree, but don't expect a living wage this choice.  As you said, supply and demand and there is very little high paying demand for the overwhelming pool of soft degrees.

As someone with a social science (Political Science) bachelors, a STEM masters (Cybersecurity), and worked for Apple and a software company I can tell you that “soft skills” of just being a people person completely outweigh any technical ability. I can always tell you to read a book and get smarter, I can’t teach you people skills.

I see this a lot of project managers in IT fields, the dorks that have people skills because they can speak nerd, yet know how to management projects and people. Reference Tim Cook with an industrial engineering degree from Auburn and an MBA from Duke.

Also, the push for nothing but STEM majors always made me laugh. Do you want a society of STEM majors? I sure as shit don’t.

In my experience the STEM educated pilots were the worst ones to fly with because they were over-analytical to a fault and had terrible skills. The good ones usually came from a “social science” background.

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5 minutes ago, Sua Sponte said:

I can always tell you to read a book and get smarter, I can’t teach you people skills.

People are born with people skills?

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26 minutes ago, VMFA187 said:

People are born with people skills?

Let me rephrase, not born per se, but some people naturally have them. Some people can develop them due to certain events in their lives. People can’t sit down and and learn them in a formal environment like and execute them well. YMMV

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Your perspective is interesting, because I think the incentives are there. The incentives and consequences are showing up in our massive and mounting student debt crisis. That *is* the signal. It's a signal our government is sending by virtue of providing effectively unlimited student loan debt for degrees that provide no meaningful ability to receive a higher standard of living. Individuals who attain degrees that provide massive remuneration (CS, engineering, etc) are not having a hard time paying off their student loans. The solution is to get the government out of distorting the market for these other worthless degrees. There is that there is no market for much of what colleges produce. The *only* reason these colleges get away with it is because the government provides a funding stream for what is otherwise valueless.
So you're right, while the government can't *mandate* a school produce more engineers, they can certainly shape the incentive structure that these schools inherit.


I agree that easy government loans contribute to the student debt problem, particularly since it's not tied to a degree program. Easy money also probably also contributed to the rapid rise in the cost of college, an unintended effect of trying to increase access.

A way to shape or workforce is to provide incentives, for example, only providing loans for certain courses of study (like engineering or hard sciences). Or changing proportions of degree programs that are eligible for government loans (more loans for technical degrees than for soft degrees). Though it's admittedly hard to determine how many of each degree to fund via loans. (Is business or poly sci a soft degree not worth finding via government loans?)

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1 hour ago, Sua Sponte said:

In my experience the STEM educated pilots were the worst ones to fly with because they were over-analytical to a fault and had terrible skills. The good ones usually came from a “social science” background.

Interesting analysis.  I’ve known where most of the folks I’ve flown with went to school but not all of them.  I couldn’t tell you what any of their majors were in college.  The biggest difference I’ve seen is who was a prior E.  

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