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Brave New World

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13 hours ago, newtie said:

Think so? Let's take a look at straight income. Studio apartment in LA is 1800/mo. The Bay Area is much higher where I live so I picked LA as a better illustration. Net income  after taxes is 4K/mo.   4000-1800=2200 mo for everything else, or 550/week. I could go on but will add, have you been to a gas station lately? A store? How's that gas/electric bill working for ya? Mine was 278.00 last month. BTW, benefits do not help with any of this

Wow.  I was going to say that you picked an extreme example with SF or LA, which along with NYC have some of the highest cost of living in the country, but then you say your after tax income is only 4K in SF.  I'm surprised that teachers in your area aren't paid more due to the high cost of living.

However, don't expect me to feel sorry for anyone who makes almost 50K/year after taxes because my wife and I have lived on less than 30K/year for many years.  How do we do it?  1)we chose not to live in very expensive places, and 2)we are thrifty - not cheap, but frugal, which means not eating out every day, not buying expensive clothes, shoes, jewelry, cars, $800 smartphones, etc. etc.

No one is forced to live in very high cost areas.  You choose to live there.

1 hour ago, Luke said:

I've personally never though it fair that public sector positions paid so much less than equivalent private sector roles

You're talking about the way things were 30 years ago, or in some cases a particular State or local govt. that doesn't overpay its employees.  In the case of my federal agent relative, he told me that there are agents in his office who make over 100K a year, and this is in Indiana, not California.  I have a friend who is a civilian employee for the State govt.  He works in human resources and is not a manager.  He makes $75K/year, has very good health insurance, the bulk of which is paid for by the State, and he can retire after 25 years with a State funded pension for the rest of his life.  With the Federal govt. it's even worse, as the Feds can borrow and print the money they need ad infinitum.

Fact is, we have a grossly unfair system in this country, unfair to the citizens, that is.

1 hour ago, Luke said:

Apparently, the free market disagrees with you. And you are a free market guy, right?

First, we no longer have a true free market economy.  The govt. and federal reserve screwed that up decades ago.  However, I'm curious how the free market would disagree with me that 60+K/year with benefits is pretty good for *most* teachers?

Also, I'm not a free market guy when it comes to health care.  Our health care system is a 3-tier, grossly unfair system for most people.  There is one tier where people get heavily govt. subsidized or completely free care, another tier. mostly govt. employees, who get 90% of their fantastic health insurance paid for by the taxpayers, and the largest tier which comprises millions of people who have 75% or less of their health insurance paid for by their employers with large deductibles and/or copays.  I believe in equality when it comes to something like health care, so I support a single payer system where everyone pays in a fixed percentage of their income and gets the same benefits.

Dave

 


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3 minutes ago, BillW said:

Teaching is not a government job. Their pensions are funded through payroll deductions.

Sorry, but teachers do work for the State or local govt.  Their salaries are paid using State and local taxes.

I guarantee you that the total pension payments far exceed what the average teacher contributes during their career.  This is the case for most govt. employees.  Heck, most people end up getting 2-3 times what they paid into Social Security.

This isn't sustainable, hence the 2 trillion dollar deficits.

Dave


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7 minutes ago, dave2013 said:

However, don't expect me to feel sorry for anyone who makes almost 50K/year after taxes because my wife and I have lived on less than 30K/year for many years.  How do we do it?  1)we chose not to live in very expensive places, and 2)we are thrifty - not cheap, but frugal, which means not eating out every day, not buying expensive clothes, shoes, jewelry, cars, $800 smartphones, etc. etc.

No one is forced to live in very high cost areas.  You choose to live there.

Well Dave, we all make choices, and you've made yours. Hope your happy with them and have a happy new year.

Mark

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4 minutes ago, newtie said:

Well Dave, we all make choices, and you've made yours. Hope your happy with them and have a happy new year.

Mark

Happy New Year to you, too.

BTW, you should be paid more considering where you live.  Thanks for doing what you do.

Dave

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43 minutes ago, dave2013 said:

No one is forced to live in very high cost areas.  You choose to live there.

And in a free market, people who live they can and do choose to demand higher compensation. I have to offer significantly higher salaries to hire people in the Bay Area (and if you think $50k is a lot of money, your head will explode) and if I told them what you told me, they'd laugh at me and say "well, we choose not to work for you". It's a competitive market and what you or I think is a good or appropriate wage is irrelevant - it's what attracts and retains people. Based on what's been discussed earlier in this thread, it's clearly not doing so.

To say you made do at $30k once upon a time is irrelevant. My father was medical specialist who made $20k a year and could afford a home in Toronto. Do some Googling to find out how irrelevant that is to anyone in the 21st century.

46 minutes ago, dave2013 said:

In the case of my federal agent relative, he told me that there are agents in his office who make over 100K a year, and this is in Indiana, not California.

If I was in an occupation that ran a non-zero risk of violent death, I'd be asking for more, but that's just me.

48 minutes ago, dave2013 said:

Fact is, we have a grossly unfair system in this country, unfair to the citizens, that is.

You keep saying this. It does not mean what you think it means.

First, civil servants are citizens. Second, the government and its leaders who make these deals are citizens, elected by the citizens who have implicitly approved all of these arrangements - likely, as I have pointed out, because the pension arrangements compensate for lower salary relative to the private sector. Third, the fact that they have not been kicked out and the deals changed imply that the citizens either approve or tolerate them. I don't see the unfairness here. What truly would be unfair is for a minority opinion such as your own to outweigh the collective views of your fellow citizens.

51 minutes ago, dave2013 said:

First, we no longer have a true free market economy.  The govt. and federal reserve screwed that up decades ago.  However, I'm curious how the free market would disagree with me that 60+K/year with benefits is pretty good for *most* teachers?

If they're having trouble attracting and retaining teachers, then ipso facto it is not pretty good. C'mon Dave, this is econ 101. Looks like your high school underpaid and didn't get the best economics teacher.

53 minutes ago, dave2013 said:

I believe in equality when it comes to something like health care, so I support a single payer system where everyone pays in a fixed percentage of their income and gets the same benefits.

Never mind, you're not a free market guy. Why not forced equality in terms of housing, food and other necessities of life?

 


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1 hour ago, dave2013 said:

Sorry, but teachers do work for the State or local govt.  Their salaries are paid using State and local taxes.

This isn't sustainable, hence the 2 trillion dollar deficits.

Sorry, where are these 2 trillion dollar state and municipal deficits? By law, these entities cannot run a deficit for non-capital spending

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Oh yeah, let us not forget the 850B dollar defense budget that cruised through a month ago with no discussion at all. 30B more than last year. Hmmm..

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On 12/30/2023 at 12:35 PM, stans said:

Or is this guy our future?

T-800-terminator.jpg

 

 

Listen... I've told you before, I'm hoping for this kind of robot below. Battlestar Galactica had the right idea. 😉

 

undefined

 

 

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3 hours ago, Luke said:

To say you made do at $30k once upon a time is irrelevant. My father was medical specialist who made $20k a year and could afford a home in Toronto. Do some Googling to find out how irrelevant that is to anyone in the 21st century.

We live on 30K a year now.  It's all about what one's priorities are.  Americans in general are spoiled and used to living beyond their means, and much of this excess is funded by credit.

3 hours ago, Luke said:

If I was in an occupation that ran a non-zero risk of violent death, I'd be asking for more, but that's just me.

The job these agents do is not very dangerous.  In fact, it's much less dangerous than the average police officer's job.  Most police officers don't make 100K/year.

3 hours ago, Luke said:

First, civil servants are citizens. Second, the government and its leaders who make these deals are citizens, elected by the citizens who have implicitly approved all of these arrangements - likely, as I have pointed out, because the pension arrangements compensate for lower salary relative to the private sector. Third, the fact that they have not been kicked out and the deals changed imply that the citizens either approve or tolerate them.

Yes, they are also citizens, but as a group they represent a small minority of the population yet receive the best benefits paid for by forced taxation of the other citizens.  The government simply appropriates money for the agencies based on what agency representatives claim, and they all claim they need more money every year.  The average person has no idea what the salaries and benefits of millions of govt. funded employees are, and I bet if they knew how well most govt. employees get paid in salary and benefits(you keep forgetting about the benefits), they'd be outraged.

3 hours ago, Luke said:

Never mind, you're not a free market guy. Why not forced equality in terms of housing, food and other necessities of life?

There are already welfare programs that provide food subsidies and housing subsidies for the poor.  Healthcare is different.  The whole system is a huge scam designed to rake in as much profit as possible, which would be fine for smartphones and automobiles and such, but healthcare is something one needs to stay healthy and alive.  It is not a choice, and shopping around for the best healthcare deal is well nigh impossible due to zero price transparency and the system itself which is designed to keep the costs hidden from the public. Plus, if you need to go to the emergency room, do you really have time to shop around for the best price?  Of course not - you're constrained to go to the nearest facility, and with our quasi-monopoly healthcare system, they are all exorbitantly expensive.  Healthcare in the USA costs 2-3 times as much as healthcare in Western Europe.  Why is that?  No other country allows this important sector of the economy to gouge patients like it does here.  It's also an economic issue, as it permits a particular sector of the economy, in this case healthcare, to drain resources from the other sectors, including the government.  They are already talking about cutting Medicare because there's not enough money to pay for it all. 

The "free market provides all and polices itself" argument is fallacious, as we have seen many times in the past where businesses rip people off and wealthy people and corporations corner the market and create monopolies.  There must be some intervention to keep things reasonable and fair for the public good.

Dave

Edited by dave2013

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2 hours ago, Luke said:

Sorry, where are these 2 trillion dollar state and municipal deficits? By law, these entities cannot run a deficit for non-capital spending

Now, Luke, you're playing little tricks here quoting me, as you left out this sentence between the two you posted:

3 hours ago, dave2013 said:

I guarantee you that the total pension payments far exceed what the average teacher contributes during their career.  This is the case for most govt. employees.  Heck, most people end up getting 2-3 times what they paid into Social Security.

The deficit comment referred to the fact that pensions in general are often underfunded, and I also mentioned Social Security which applies to everyone.

State and local governments don't have printing presses, so they must borrow, raise taxes, or cut spending, which many do.  There are also plenty of fiscally responsible State and local govts.

My beef lies primarily with the federal govt. which is bloated and addicted to borrowing and spending.  The huge deficit spending also exacerbates price inflation.

Dave

Edited by dave2013

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, dave2013 said:

We live on 30K a year now.  It's all about what one's priorities are.

No, it's about the cost of living where you live.  Simple as that.  We live in the same neighborhood as Newtie (well, on the east side of the valley), and my wife is a teacher.  She makes better than most because she's a Special Ed teacher (more education than the average teacher... in her case, much more... which means we spent much $$$ on her education).  And she works in a Title 1 District, by choice.  I can tell you, Dave, $30K a year is barely enough to put food on the table here (that from an employer in the private sector).  Just because the cost of living in Tennessee is so much lower than Northern CA doesn't mean we're tryin' to rip-off the tax payer.  Teacher's everywhere are underpaid (I bring that FACT forth as an employer in the manufacturing industry, not the spouse of a teacher).  Finally, I'll point out something folks like Newtie can understand... my wife is retiring next year after 25 years working in a Title 1 school district.  Not because it's a poor district (we live miles away outside the district) but because it is so poorly managed!  My wife's district has been taken over by the teacher's aids... a true example of the inmates taking over the asylum!  So she's "cashin' in" as you might think.  But Luke is right in is numbers... most of our retirement will come from my private sector retirement planning.  More than 2/3 of our retirement!  Fact of the matter is this... very few teachers rip off anybody!!  They get into the gig because they want to make a difference!  Money has little to do with their choice of professions!   If your Tennessee teachers can suddenly reach $100K salary you should feel lucky they are there educating your grandchildren!!  Feel lucky for your school teachers, man!!😁

Edited by lownslo
clarification
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18 hours ago, martin-w said:

 

 

Listen... I've told you before, I'm hoping for this kind of robot below. Battlestar Galactica had the right idea. 😉

 

undefined

 

 

And for each one of those, how many of these would exist?

Cylon_Centurions.jpg

 

 


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1 hour ago, stans said:

And for each one of those, how many of these would exist?

Cylon_Centurions.jpg

 

 

 

Yikes! You raise an excellent point. I wouldn't want to cuddle up in bed with one of the metallic ones. They would be very chilly on a winters night. And those claw like metal hands don't look very friendly, no gentle caresses from those things, more like amputation of favorite body parts. I guess if we start NOW and make sure we treat the embryonic AI software that's around now, like ChatGPT, with respect and be polite to it, feed it plenty of tasty electrons, then when the robots take over they might remember that and assign us one of the sexy Cylons as a companion. I mean Gaius Baltar had one. 🤔

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8 hours ago, lownslo said:

Just because the cost of living in Tennessee is so much lower than Northern CA doesn't mean we're tryin' to rip-off the tax payer. 

 

8 hours ago, lownslo said:

Fact of the matter is this... very few teachers rip off anybody!! 

I never said that teachers were ripping off anybody.  I said that, *on average*, 60+K/year plus good benefits is not a bad salary for most teachers.  Of course there are exceptions.

In your very particular area of the country the teachers are underpaid according to you and newtie.  I believe you.  This is something you must deal with at the local and State govt. level. 

I understand that people want to live and work where they are happiest.  However, millions of people in this country and tens of millions from other countries have immigrated and migrated over the centuries in order to live a better, more prosperous life.  I am experiencing this in real time as hundreds of thousands of people, many from California, are moving to Tennessee.  I am near Nashville, and this city is becoming an extremely expensive place to live, and much less pleasant with the increased traffic and crowds, but the out-of-state migrants still love it because it's cheaper and better than where they came from.  It is ironic, because eventually the massive migration from other States will turn Tennessee into a place similar to the very place they wanted to get away from.

Dave

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8 hours ago, lownslo said:

No, it's about the cost of living where you live.

Well said. Being born and raised here, I couldn't live anywhere else and I've traveled extensively. But, we pay through the nose for it. I'm reminded every time I cross the Golden Gate Bridge early in the morning usually in October (no fog), the bay flat as a pancake. Beautiful.

Screenshot-2024-01-01-at-8-31-26-AM.png

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