Author Topic: What's really going on out in the country? Why  (Read 97713 times)

Chris22

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #800 on: January 13, 2017, 01:08:54 PM »
I simply don't understand how folks think investing in their community is a bad thing. Especially when the excuse is "I don't have kids in the school systems." Seems so selfish.

Because there's a gigantic difference between "investing" and "spending."  I will happily invest, but I too often see suggestions to spend.  And when cutbacks are suggested as an option to avoid tax increases, do they make sensible cutbacks?  Never.  They make targeted political cutbacks they know people will hate, like cutting the football coach or the music teacher or the art teacher and then scream "how can you people want to cut art???"  Well, I know, let's NOT cut the $50k/yr art teacher and instead cut a few of the $150k/yr administrators? 

Keep in mind, this is written from a Chicagoland perspective, home of one of the most powerful teacher's unions. 

infogoon

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #801 on: January 13, 2017, 01:13:12 PM »
Because there's a gigantic difference between "investing" and "spending."  I will happily invest, but I too often see suggestions to spend.  And when cutbacks are suggested as an option to avoid tax increases, do they make sensible cutbacks?  Never.  They make targeted political cutbacks they know people will hate, like cutting the football coach or the music teacher or the art teacher and then scream "how can you people want to cut art???"  Well, I know, let's NOT cut the $50k/yr art teacher and instead cut a few of the $150k/yr administrators? 

Keep in mind, this is written from a Chicagoland perspective, home of one of the most powerful teacher's unions.

I see that all the time in the suburban districts around my city -- there will be the budget that goes up for a vote, and then the contingency budget only saves 3% of the spending and does it by making obvious, painful cuts like the music program and the football team. And then they schedule a concert during the budget vote, so everyone whose polling place is the school has to walk past the students who are part of the music program. It's shameless.

Midwest

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #802 on: January 13, 2017, 01:18:24 PM »
That is a great point, KBecks - I think a lot of people are way too focused on national politics, and then they just ignore what happens at the local level - which really impacts most people a lot more.

We killed a school bond here too - and I was in some of the focus groups afterwards. I have to say, it was a bit depressing. Every single thing that the bond would fund had 90%+ approval - but almost every person didn't like something ("My kids don't play soccer, why do we need to fix the soccer field?" sort of stuff) and hence voted no.

Hard to get anything done when every proposal has to be perfect to every voter to get a yes vote. I think the whole thing will get put to the voters again as 3 or 4 separate smaller bonds with exactly the same stuff, and it'll all pass. Sigh.

-W

To add to this we live in a very high cost of living area and I can't remember the last time a levy wasn't passed. They pass by overwhelming margins. Our schools are in the top 15-20 in the state. We have excellent facilities, a fantastic library, playgrounds, infrastructure etc. The parks are fantastic and they keep building more sidewalks. My daughter will be in a brand new elementary school next year. Our school district is fantastic. I can't say enough. It's why we moved here. Her current school is 40 years old and doesn't even have air conditioning. They do everything they possibly can to make things last. And I haven't even mentioned that all of this greatly helps property values. So I am more than willing to pay a little bit more every year. It comes back in more than just financial ways.

I can also travel 5 minutes down the road to a school district that can't pass a levy because of some of the reasons I have seen listed here. Their schools are crumbling. Athletics programs have been cut. Bus service has been cut. They have a big drug problem. Even the teachers make less money. I firmly believe you get what you pay for.

I simply don't understand how folks think investing in their community is a bad thing. Especially when the excuse is "I don't have kids in the school systems." Seems so selfish.

Beginner - We live in one of the top 20 school districts in the state.  Levy's get turned down when they are unrealistic.  After that, the school board threatens things like cutting bus service to save 200k versus getting rid of an administrator.  Before you argue kids can walk to school,  mile and half in the snow with no sidewalks isn't happening for an 8 year old.  Really obvious the board is trying to be punitive with that threat.

When you go to the school board meeting, they move budget discussions to the end to avoid listening to the public.

I'm all for great education, but a lot of that comes from the parental involvement.  I suspect there is very little difference in outcomes for children with and without a pool or artificial turf.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #803 on: January 13, 2017, 01:19:54 PM »
I actually don't really dislike Obama.  I think he's generally a pretty good guy, he's done a very good job of being statesmanlike and "above the fray" and he's done some things like continue to be tough on terror (killing OBL) that I think he did very well.  On other things, like just ramming the ACA through, I think he did extremely poorly, and in direct violation of his own promises on transparency.  I also think he sometimes spouts off on things too quickly without having a full nuanced picture of all of the facts and he steps on the toes of people trying to do their jobs; thinking of some of the high-profile cop vs. AA shootings and the case of the Harvard professor who was locked out of his house.  I think he jumped the gun on some of those things and sounded off before he should have.  He also spent an overt amount of time blaming Bush in his first four years as President; I thought a better leader would have stepped up and said "no matter what happened before, I'm in charge now, here's how I'm working to fix it".

Have you seen Donald Trump's Twitter feed?

waltworks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #804 on: January 13, 2017, 01:20:15 PM »
Well, you can look around at places that spend money on schools and school infrastructure and see how they're doing...versus places that don't. Really our total spending on education is pretty pitiful (I live in UT, dead last in per-student funding...)

There is waste everywhere. Being obsessed with it to the extent that you refuse to fix/improve/invest is dumb unless it's outrageous.

-W

MasterStache

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #805 on: January 13, 2017, 01:29:13 PM »
That is a great point, KBecks - I think a lot of people are way too focused on national politics, and then they just ignore what happens at the local level - which really impacts most people a lot more.

We killed a school bond here too - and I was in some of the focus groups afterwards. I have to say, it was a bit depressing. Every single thing that the bond would fund had 90%+ approval - but almost every person didn't like something ("My kids don't play soccer, why do we need to fix the soccer field?" sort of stuff) and hence voted no.

Hard to get anything done when every proposal has to be perfect to every voter to get a yes vote. I think the whole thing will get put to the voters again as 3 or 4 separate smaller bonds with exactly the same stuff, and it'll all pass. Sigh.

-W

To add to this we live in a very high cost of living area and I can't remember the last time a levy wasn't passed. They pass by overwhelming margins. Our schools are in the top 15-20 in the state. We have excellent facilities, a fantastic library, playgrounds, infrastructure etc. The parks are fantastic and they keep building more sidewalks. My daughter will be in a brand new elementary school next year. Our school district is fantastic. I can't say enough. It's why we moved here. Her current school is 40 years old and doesn't even have air conditioning. They do everything they possibly can to make things last. And I haven't even mentioned that all of this greatly helps property values. So I am more than willing to pay a little bit more every year. It comes back in more than just financial ways.

I can also travel 5 minutes down the road to a school district that can't pass a levy because of some of the reasons I have seen listed here. Their schools are crumbling. Athletics programs have been cut. Bus service has been cut. They have a big drug problem. Even the teachers make less money. I firmly believe you get what you pay for.

I simply don't understand how folks think investing in their community is a bad thing. Especially when the excuse is "I don't have kids in the school systems." Seems so selfish.

Beginner - We live in one of the top 20 school districts in the state.  Levy's get turned down when they are unrealistic.  After that, the school board threatens things like cutting bus service to save 200k versus getting rid of an administrator.  Before you argue kids can walk to school,  mile and half in the snow with no sidewalks isn't happening for an 8 year old.  Really obvious the board is trying to be punitive with that threat.

When you go to the school board meeting, they move budget discussions to the end to avoid listening to the public.

I'm all for great education, but a lot of that comes from the parental involvement.  I suspect there is very little difference in outcomes for children with and without a pool or artificial turf.

Absolutely. But it also comes from great educators themselves. And from peers. Not sure why you posted the other stuff. I would absolutely vote against a levy that had unrealistic spending. So far that hasn't happened. I've witnessed the improvements that come from our tax increases. It will be nice too that my daughter can attend school and not have to worry about it being 95 degrees in the classroom.  Our High School is roughly 35 years old and has no AC. They currently have no plans of replacing it anytime soon either. They make do as long as they can with what they have. So they aren't passing levies to throw up a new school every 10 years.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 01:32:28 PM by BeginnerStache »

Chris22

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #806 on: January 13, 2017, 01:30:10 PM »
I actually don't really dislike Obama.  I think he's generally a pretty good guy, he's done a very good job of being statesmanlike and "above the fray" and he's done some things like continue to be tough on terror (killing OBL) that I think he did very well.  On other things, like just ramming the ACA through, I think he did extremely poorly, and in direct violation of his own promises on transparency.  I also think he sometimes spouts off on things too quickly without having a full nuanced picture of all of the facts and he steps on the toes of people trying to do their jobs; thinking of some of the high-profile cop vs. AA shootings and the case of the Harvard professor who was locked out of his house.  I think he jumped the gun on some of those things and sounded off before he should have.  He also spent an overt amount of time blaming Bush in his first four years as President; I thought a better leader would have stepped up and said "no matter what happened before, I'm in charge now, here's how I'm working to fix it".

Have you seen Donald Trump's Twitter feed?

Oh, I'm aware, he's an idiot.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #807 on: January 13, 2017, 01:32:23 PM »
I actually don't really dislike Obama.  I think he's generally a pretty good guy, he's done a very good job of being statesmanlike and "above the fray" and he's done some things like continue to be tough on terror (killing OBL) that I think he did very well.  On other things, like just ramming the ACA through, I think he did extremely poorly, and in direct violation of his own promises on transparency.  I also think he sometimes spouts off on things too quickly without having a full nuanced picture of all of the facts and he steps on the toes of people trying to do their jobs; thinking of some of the high-profile cop vs. AA shootings and the case of the Harvard professor who was locked out of his house.  I think he jumped the gun on some of those things and sounded off before he should have.  He also spent an overt amount of time blaming Bush in his first four years as President; I thought a better leader would have stepped up and said "no matter what happened before, I'm in charge now, here's how I'm working to fix it".

Have you seen Donald Trump's Twitter feed?

Oh, I'm aware, he's an idiot.

OK, at least we're on the same page. :)

Chris22

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #808 on: January 13, 2017, 01:32:42 PM »
Well, you can look around at places that spend money on schools and school infrastructure and see how they're doing...versus places that don't. Really our total spending on education is pretty pitiful (I live in UT, dead last in per-student funding...)

Isn't Washington, DC, the highest in spending and their schools are terrible?  There isn't a 1:1 correlation between spending and quality.

Quote
There is waste everywhere. Being obsessed with it to the extent that you refuse to fix/improve/invest is dumb unless it's outrageous.

Really?  That sentiment here?  I don't think it's unreasonable to say "do better with what you have instead of demanding more money reflexively every time."

MrMoogle

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #809 on: January 13, 2017, 01:36:00 PM »
I actually don't really dislike Obama.  I think he's generally a pretty good guy, he's done a very good job of being statesmanlike and "above the fray" and he's done some things like continue to be tough on terror (killing OBL) that I think he did very well.  On other things, like just ramming the ACA through, I think he did extremely poorly, and in direct violation of his own promises on transparency.  I also think he sometimes spouts off on things too quickly without having a full nuanced picture of all of the facts and he steps on the toes of people trying to do their jobs; thinking of some of the high-profile cop vs. AA shootings and the case of the Harvard professor who was locked out of his house.  I think he jumped the gun on some of those things and sounded off before he should have.  He also spent an overt amount of time blaming Bush in his first four years as President; I thought a better leader would have stepped up and said "no matter what happened before, I'm in charge now, here's how I'm working to fix it".

Have you seen Donald Trump's Twitter feed?

Oh, I'm aware, he's an idiot.

OK, at least we're on the same page. :)
Yeah, I can dislike both of them for this :)
And of course, I dislike Obama for increasing the powers of the presidency, and I really dislike that Trump has that as precedent.

Just Joe

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #810 on: January 13, 2017, 01:39:20 PM »
Quote
What's the point of bring all of that up, unless it's to tear people down, and demand more from the group that already pays a disproportionate share of taxes, etc?

What an odd way to view it!  It doesn't tear people down to recognize that no one exists in a vacuum,  and that even people with amazing abilities would likely not recognize that potential without infrastructure, schools, policemen, teachers, etc... lots of things that, if available to everyone, increase the probability that more people succeed and thrive.

You don't think Obama meant to take business owners, etc, down a peg with that statement?  I think that intent was pretty clear.

On the subject of schools, police, teachers, infrastructure etc, I think the problem a lot of us right wingers have is the feeling that we're asked to support these things with essentially an open checkbook, and if we dare ask why we always are asked to pay more more more, the answer is "how can you be against schools/police/roads/etc???"  I believe, and so do many in my party/political philosophy, that the government spends this money like a crackhead, and maybe before they demand I give more they should consider how to better utilize what they already have.  I think anyone on this board would agree that just because something's important doesn't mean you spend on it with a blank check.

That's not that different from the GOP arguing that we are subject to an imminent attack from some foreign fringe group - and then sending us off on a multi-billion (trillion?) dollar war that wastes lives and treasure. Meanwhile we get a big dose of flag waving and lectures about duty to one's country, freedom and so forth. I mean we want to protect our freedoms - right???

Frankly I feel like if we'd keep the troops at home more, we'd have fewer pissed off fringe groups making threats. Bomb my village and kill my family and friends - and I'd be out for some American blood too I'm certain.

From my perspective the GOP (and certain portions of the Dems) have relied on violence to achieve international goals far too often over the years. 

"Study: Iraq, Afghan war costs to top $4 trillion. The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade of fighting, according to a new study by a Harvard researcher.Mar 28, 2013"
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 01:51:55 PM by Tasty Pinecones »

Lagom

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #811 on: January 13, 2017, 01:46:37 PM »
Well, you can look around at places that spend money on schools and school infrastructure and see how they're doing...versus places that don't. Really our total spending on education is pretty pitiful (I live in UT, dead last in per-student funding...)

Isn't Washington, DC, the highest in spending and their schools are terrible?  There isn't a 1:1 correlation between spending and quality.

The devil is definitely in the details. The public schooling "problem" in this country is enormously complex and varies by region. Mostly it depends on what the money is being spent on. This becomes clear in districts like my wife's (she teaches in a very wealthy area in one of the best schools in the state). Their tax funding is actually rather bad due to prop 13, although levies to keep facilities up to date usually pass. That said, each family at these schools donates at least a 4 figure amount annually for every child (it's "suggested" but not required by the PTA) which goes towards a variety of outstanding extracurriculars like a STEM lab, art, and music.

Now one might take this as further evidence that we don't need to shovel more money to the schools, but I personally see it as an example of how we are misusing the funds that schools have, mostly in the name of meaningless test scores. Poor communities can't afford to fund such initiatives, plus have fewer tax dollars to work with (generally though not always). The worst of both worlds.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2017, 11:47:43 PM by Lagom »

Midwest

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #812 on: January 13, 2017, 01:56:23 PM »

Absolutely. But it also comes from great educators themselves. And from peers. Not sure why you posted the other stuff. I would absolutely vote against a levy that had unrealistic spending. So far that hasn't happened. I've witnessed the improvements that come from our tax increases. It will be nice too that my daughter can attend school and not have to worry about it being 95 degrees in the classroom.  Our High School is roughly 35 years old and has no AC. They currently have no plans of replacing it anytime soon either. They make do as long as they can with what they have. So they aren't passing levies to throw up a new school every 10 years.

I posted the other things because treating taxpayers like children who need to be punished is incredibly arrogant and something I've witnessed firsthand. 

Personally, I think a building should last more than 35 years.  A/C is nice, but is it necessary to build another building?  Could they add a/c?  Could the school calendar be adjusted?  I live in the midwest, but my junior high was 60 years old and my high school was 30 years old when I attended (neither had a/c).

There are great educators at high performing schools and inner city schools.  I know several teachers who served in low performing districts.  The issue wasn't with the educators.  Conversely, my children's educators (high performing district) are good educators, but the parents are more important. 

Midwest

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #813 on: January 13, 2017, 01:58:31 PM »
Well, you can look around at places that spend money on schools and school infrastructure and see how they're doing...versus places that don't. Really our total spending on education is pretty pitiful (I live in UT, dead last in per-student funding...)

Isn't Washington, DC, the highest in spending and their schools are terrible?  There isn't a 1:1 correlation between spending and quality.

The devil is definitely in the details. The public schooling "problem" in this country is enormously complex and varies by region. Mostly it depends on what the money is being spent on. This becomes clear in districts like my wife's (she teaches in a very wealthy area in one of the best schools in the state). Their tax funding is actually rather bad due to prop 13, although levies to keep facilities up to date usually pass. That said, each family at these schools each donate at least a 4 figure amount annually for each of their children (it's "suggested" but not required by the PTA) which goes towards a variety of outstanding extracurriculars like a STEM lab, art, and music.

Now one might take this as further evidence that we don't need to shovel more money to the schools, but I personally see it as an example of how we are misusing the funds that schools have, mostly in the name of meaningless test scores. Poor communities can't afford to fund such initiatives, plus have fewer tax dollars to work with (generally though not always). The worst of both worlds.

Lagum - In our area, the bad districts often spend substantially more per student yet have worse outcomes.  I don't think we can spend our way to good outcomes.

Lagom

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #814 on: January 13, 2017, 02:24:36 PM »
Lagum - In our area, the bad districts often spend substantially more per student yet have worse outcomes.  I don't think we can spend our way to good outcomes.

You're not hearing me. You can indeed spend your way to better outcomes. You just have to spend on the right things. These right things when done well cost less than the budgetary bloat you see at most schools (we are in agreement that this is very real). I also agree that some (but far from all) teacher unions wield unnecessary power and don't always do so with the best of intentions. I taught in CPS and saw this first hand. All the union cares about is itself, and maybe the old guard teachers. Young enthusiastic types are repeatedly sacrificed towards that end. But that doesn't mean all unions are bad. As I said, the devil is in the details.

Midwest

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #815 on: January 13, 2017, 02:30:11 PM »
Lagum - In our area, the bad districts often spend substantially more per student yet have worse outcomes.  I don't think we can spend our way to good outcomes.

You're not hearing me. You can indeed spend your way to better outcomes. You just have to spend on the right things. These right things when done well cost less than the budgetary bloat you see at most schools (we are in agreement that this is very real). I also agree that some (but far from all) teacher unions wield unnecessary power and don't always do so with the best of intentions. I taught in CPS and saw this first hand. All the union cares about is itself, and maybe the old guard teachers. Young enthusiastic types are repeatedly sacrificed towards that end. But that doesn't mean all unions are bad. As I said, the devil is in the details.

Listening.  What would you spend on? 

I'm not saying schools don't need money and am willing to spend necessary money.  The key being necessary.

Lagom

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #816 on: January 13, 2017, 03:20:11 PM »
Lagum - In our area, the bad districts often spend substantially more per student yet have worse outcomes.  I don't think we can spend our way to good outcomes.

You're not hearing me. You can indeed spend your way to better outcomes. You just have to spend on the right things. These right things when done well cost less than the budgetary bloat you see at most schools (we are in agreement that this is very real). I also agree that some (but far from all) teacher unions wield unnecessary power and don't always do so with the best of intentions. I taught in CPS and saw this first hand. All the union cares about is itself, and maybe the old guard teachers. Young enthusiastic types are repeatedly sacrificed towards that end. But that doesn't mean all unions are bad. As I said, the devil is in the details.

Listening.  What would you spend on? 

I'm not saying schools don't need money and am willing to spend necessary money.  The key being necessary.

Fair enough. The short version is investing in teachers rather than unnecessary facilities, administrative bloat and constantly churning curriculum. Pay teachers more while raising the educational standards (e.g. Masters degree mandatory), and make their pay increases merit-based (though not tied to standardized tests). I think tenure is OK but it also needs to be easier to fire bad teachers. Also, bring back defunded extracurriculars and give teachers more control over the curriculum (e.g. drop the Common Core and obsession with standardized tests). Invest in valuable life-skill classes such as programs on learning to deal with/learn from failure (aka growth mindset).

I could go on at length, but I probably shouldn't further derail the thread by typing an essay on school reform, so let's leave it that I agree with much of your premise, I just think your view of the school system and how it can be changed is overly pessimistic. Granted, if CPS is your main example I don't blame you!




Midwest

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #817 on: January 13, 2017, 03:50:10 PM »
Lagum - In our area, the bad districts often spend substantially more per student yet have worse outcomes.  I don't think we can spend our way to good outcomes.

You're not hearing me. You can indeed spend your way to better outcomes. You just have to spend on the right things. These right things when done well cost less than the budgetary bloat you see at most schools (we are in agreement that this is very real). I also agree that some (but far from all) teacher unions wield unnecessary power and don't always do so with the best of intentions. I taught in CPS and saw this first hand. All the union cares about is itself, and maybe the old guard teachers. Young enthusiastic types are repeatedly sacrificed towards that end. But that doesn't mean all unions are bad. As I said, the devil is in the details.

Listening.  What would you spend on? 

I'm not saying schools don't need money and am willing to spend necessary money.  The key being necessary.

Fair enough. The short version is investing in teachers rather than unnecessary facilities, administrative bloat and constantly churning curriculum. Pay teachers more while raising the educational standards (e.g. Masters degree mandatory), and make their pay increases merit-based (though not tied to standardized tests). I think tenure is OK but it also needs to be easier to fire bad teachers. Also, bring back defunded extracurriculars and give teachers more control over the curriculum (e.g. drop the Common Core and obsession with standardized tests). Invest in valuable life-skill classes such as programs on learning to deal with/learn from failure (aka growth mindset).

I could go on at length, but I probably shouldn't further derail the thread by typing an essay on school reform, so let's leave it that I agree with much of your premise, I just think your view of the school system and how it can be changed is overly pessimistic. Granted, if CPS is your main example I don't blame you!

I'm not in Chicago.  In our area (LCOL), educators are (IMO) fairly compensated compared to many other professions especially when days worked, benefits and job security are considered.  I have several friends who have retired early 50's from teaching.  Before retirement they were making 60k to 70k plus great health insurance.  That sucks in a HCOL area, but when a 4 bedroom house in a good school district is 200k, that's not a bad living for 9 months a year.

I disagree that you need a masters degree to teach elementary school, but won't dismiss is outright in high school.

KBecks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #818 on: January 14, 2017, 04:06:18 PM »
Thank you for talking about the school referendum with me, I appreciate it.  I think it will be interesting to be part of the focus group.
They are going to talk about their changes towards personalized learning and also the referendum.

Looking back to the detail of the last proposal, it was a 20 year bond.

New school for 625 students -- $22.5 million
would replace current school -- better energy efficiency, better ADA access, more secure main entrance, improved spaces for special education and special services, design to maximize natural light, flexible environment for today's learning strategies.

Safety and energy -- $7 million -- replacing old windows, replacing exterior wall panels (stone or brick or concrete), install air conditioning in main gym, expand pool from 6 to 8 lanes, deepen and widen to allow use of diving boards and starting blocks, create community entrance, ADA accessibility and extensively renovate locker rooms to include family changing rooms.  Pool was built in 1970.  Competitive use is limited because no diving boards and not enough lanes.

At a minimum I think they should take a look at reducing all costs and separating the pool from the windows, air conditioning and siding job.

They have a pool, it is just not the nicest pool in the metro area.  The enhancement seems to be mostly for competitive swimmers.  $7 million???








waltworks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #819 on: January 14, 2017, 04:48:51 PM »
KBecks, would you have voted differently if you'd understood the 20 year term? It sounded like that was a big reason to vote no, but you didn't have the info right. I wonder how many other people misunderstood (or were given incorrect information).

In our bond election, there was a ton of what I will charitably call "misinformation" (I don't know that anyone was outright lying though it's likely) about various aspects of the proposal. It was very frustrating as I'm good friends with a member of the school board who spent months playing whack-a-mole with various untrue stuff about the bond going around on social media. In the focus group lots of this stuff was still widely believed, even though a close reading of the bond proposal itself would have enlightened people. Many literally voted no because of a direct mailer that was full of misinformation, and then still believed it when presented with the actual bond proposals.

-W

KBecks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #820 on: January 14, 2017, 04:56:59 PM »
I can't say that I would vote yes because I am very hesitant to vote a $200 - $300 tax increase on my retired neighbors.  I wish I had more information prior to the referendum and I would like to see the buildings, etc.  Our elementary school is newer and I am not frequently at the other elementary or the high school.  Generally I think it's better to spend money on people than buildings, and the buildings and facilities are borderline.  They are aging, but is it time?  Note that I am conservative about spending my own money, drive a 10 year old van and I don't believe you always need the newest stuff.  I really wonder about the pool -- do you think the pool needs to be upgraded for competitive swimming?  It's a nice to have, I don't know that it's a need to have.  I would have liked more details about the new school too to really feel more in touch with what's being requested.  There was an organized NO group in our community, and our elementary principal said that when there is an organized NO group the referendums usually don't pass.

ETA: researching this, it was a group of about 60 residents who organized the NO campaign.

Metric Mouse

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #821 on: January 14, 2017, 05:28:38 PM »
NY Post response to the "Liberal Elites resentment of middle America" - largely a response to the Hollywood condescension of the rest of America.

http://nypost.com/2017/01/11/why-liberal-elites-are-so-resentful-of-middle-america

Kris

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #822 on: January 14, 2017, 05:45:30 PM »
NY Post response to the "Liberal Elites resentment of middle America" - largely a response to the Hollywood condescension of the rest of America.

http://nypost.com/2017/01/11/why-liberal-elites-are-so-resentful-of-middle-america

That's just kind of... silly.

waltworks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #823 on: January 14, 2017, 05:52:27 PM »
Same here. There was an organized "no" group that put up signs and send out direct mail (with misleading/false information). On the yes side there was basically just the school board and the bond proposal and details online, no active campaigning for the bond. The school board (apparently foolishly) felt they did not need to be politicians.

Just curious - did the no group local to you promulgate the "bond never expires" thing? If so, shame on them.

I think that it's pretty easy to spread distrust/doubt about almost anything, so you are probably right - if there is a group organized against something (no matter how small) it will probably be pretty easy to kill at the local level.

-W

Quidnon?

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #824 on: January 14, 2017, 05:56:59 PM »
NY Post response to the "Liberal Elites resentment of middle America" - largely a response to the Hollywood condescension of the rest of America.

http://nypost.com/2017/01/11/why-liberal-elites-are-so-resentful-of-middle-america

That's just kind of... silly.

Silly in what way?

KBecks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #825 on: January 14, 2017, 06:09:05 PM »
Same here. There was an organized "no" group that put up signs and send out direct mail (with misleading/false information). On the yes side there was basically just the school board and the bond proposal and details online, no active campaigning for the bond. The school board (apparently foolishly) felt they did not need to be politicians.

Just curious - did the no group local to you promulgate the "bond never expires" thing? If so, shame on them.

I think that it's pretty easy to spread distrust/doubt about almost anything, so you are probably right - if there is a group organized against something (no matter how small) it will probably be pretty easy to kill at the local level.

-W

I don't remember but it's probably me who is remembering wrong. It was 2 years ago, I think.  And I am conservative about school spending.  I am interested to learn more about our school budget and it will be interesting to be part of this focus group process. 

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #826 on: January 14, 2017, 08:12:48 PM »

Absolutely. But it also comes from great educators themselves. And from peers. Not sure why you posted the other stuff. I would absolutely vote against a levy that had unrealistic spending. So far that hasn't happened. I've witnessed the improvements that come from our tax increases. It will be nice too that my daughter can attend school and not have to worry about it being 95 degrees in the classroom.  Our High School is roughly 35 years old and has no AC. They currently have no plans of replacing it anytime soon either. They make do as long as they can with what they have. So they aren't passing levies to throw up a new school every 10 years.

I posted the other things because treating taxpayers like children who need to be punished is incredibly arrogant and something I've witnessed firsthand. 

Personally, I think a building should last more than 35 years.  A/C is nice, but is it necessary to build another building?  Could they add a/c?  Could the school calendar be adjusted?  I live in the midwest, but my junior high was 60 years old and my high school was 30 years old when I attended (neither had a/c).

There are great educators at high performing schools and inner city schools.  I know several teachers who served in low performing districts.  The issue wasn't with the educators.  Conversely, my children's educators (high performing district) are good educators, but the parents are more important.

A/C is just one of the issues among a host of others. The school itself cannot house all the students (supplemented by trailers) and building maintenance/upgrades are dangerously close to the cost of just building a new school. The school itself is 57 years old. I was wrong about the High School. It's actually 55 years old and still going strong.

Metric Mouse

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #827 on: January 14, 2017, 08:28:57 PM »
NY Post response to the "Liberal Elites resentment of middle America" - largely a response to the Hollywood condescension of the rest of America.

http://nypost.com/2017/01/11/why-liberal-elites-are-so-resentful-of-middle-america

That's just kind of... silly.

I agree 1%ers being out of touch with middle class Americans is silly. They depends upon them for profits.

Kris

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #828 on: January 14, 2017, 08:37:19 PM »
NY Post response to the "Liberal Elites resentment of middle America" - largely a response to the Hollywood condescension of the rest of America.

http://nypost.com/2017/01/11/why-liberal-elites-are-so-resentful-of-middle-america

That's just kind of... silly.

I agree 1%ers being out of touch with middle class Americans is silly. They depends upon them for profits.

Liberals aren't 1%ers. They are middle-class Americans, too.

Metric Mouse

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #829 on: January 14, 2017, 08:39:33 PM »
NY Post response to the "Liberal Elites resentment of middle America" - largely a response to the Hollywood condescension of the rest of America.

http://nypost.com/2017/01/11/why-liberal-elites-are-so-resentful-of-middle-america

That's just kind of... silly.

I agree 1%ers being out of touch with middle class Americans is silly. They depends upon them for profits.

Liberals aren't 1%ers. They are middle-class Americans, too.

The article was discussing Hollywood elites, not middle class liberals.

paddedhat

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #830 on: January 14, 2017, 08:50:35 PM »

Absolutely. But it also comes from great educators themselves. And from peers. Not sure why you posted the other stuff. I would absolutely vote against a levy that had unrealistic spending. So far that hasn't happened. I've witnessed the improvements that come from our tax increases. It will be nice too that my daughter can attend school and not have to worry about it being 95 degrees in the classroom.  Our High School is roughly 35 years old and has no AC. They currently have no plans of replacing it anytime soon either. They make do as long as they can with what they have. So they aren't passing levies to throw up a new school every 10 years.

I posted the other things because treating taxpayers like children who need to be punished is incredibly arrogant and something I've witnessed firsthand. 

Personally, I think a building should last more than 35 years.  A/C is nice, but is it necessary to build another building?  Could they add a/c?  Could the school calendar be adjusted?  I live in the midwest, but my junior high was 60 years old and my high school was 30 years old when I attended (neither had a/c).

There are great educators at high performing schools and inner city schools.  I know several teachers who served in low performing districts.  The issue wasn't with the educators.  Conversely, my children's educators (high performing district) are good educators, but the parents are more important.

A/C is just one of the issues among a host of others. The school itself cannot house all the students (supplemented by trailers) and building maintenance/upgrades are dangerously close to the cost of just building a new school. The school itself is 57 years old. I was wrong about the High School. It's actually 55 years old and still going strong.

I've done a lot of electrical work in existing schools, renovations and  new school construction.  Unfortunately, there is often a real lack of understanding on the part of boards as to exactly what it takes to maintain a structure. As a kid, my dad was in the trades and my mom was on the school board for most of the time I was in school. He was always pushing her to do the right thing, and get the board to appreciate that it takes a lot of investment to maintain what they own, but it's cheaper than new buildings. They didn't listen, and within a few decades they abandoned  four of their five buildings and built a high dollar mega-campus outside of town. I've seen it repeatedly, and it only takes a quick inspection of a district's facilities to gauge if they have been wise enough to take care of what they have, or if they will be (deliberately or otherwise) be forced into the huge cost of building new schools since they allowed their existing facilities to decay. In the northeast we have a lot of beautiful old schools that end up as everything from assisted living elderly housing to storage facilities, or even abandoned, since they were slowly neglected to the point that it was cheaper to start again. Walking away from local neighborhood schools while building k-12 trophy campuses in remote locations has been IMHO a huge mistake.

waltworks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #831 on: January 14, 2017, 09:14:57 PM »
I agree 1%ers being out of touch with middle class Americans is silly. They depends upon them for profits.

I often wonder about this. I think it's pretty clear that having a healthy middle class is important to both the middle class folks themselves (for obvious reasons) and for the richer people - because a lot of those middle class kids are going to invent the new miracle drugs, apps, etc that the rich folks want, and the middle class kids are going to grow up and work at the rich lady's company, and etc. The whole capitalist ecosystem depends on having lots of capable people doing what they do best. When you concentrate assets too much - I have to imagine that's bad for everybody. Without at least some basic resources, the majority of the population has no chance to develop their talents and, you know, be capitalists.

But we're getting into Piketty territory (or Marx, who did after all predict this exact outcome) now, and I think it's clear that both liberals and conservatives are struggling to figure out what to do about this situation. I certainly don't know. I'd try some kind of UBI and a lot of free awesome preschool/elementary education. Or just say fuck it and do UBI.

But that's just me, and I have no good evidence that it would work. The positive feedback loop of having money making it easier to get more (as MMM would say, "what part of the money wave are you surfing on?") has been a feature of capitalism forever. Maybe it's now more of a bug.

-W

« Last Edit: January 14, 2017, 09:19:43 PM by waltworks »

disconneked

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #832 on: January 14, 2017, 09:42:56 PM »
I am not at all surprised at the strength of his vote.  Many middle class people are very angry about what has happened to them over the last 10 years.  The "last chance for America" pitch hits home.  And Hilary is widely hated. I was surprised at all the people I know that don't really care about character, they just want things "fixed."  They are voting for Trump, no matter what.

What really did happen to them over the last 10 years?  I have been extremely isolated from "real world" because I moved to Northern VA and Washington DC 15 years ago, and have had very little domestic travel in that time.  I haven't witnessed first hand any of the hardships that I read about in the news.  In 2008, there were still lines around the block waiting to get the latest iPhone and to get seated at restaurants and steak houses.  Today, there are lines of people every night waiting to get into the hottest $250/plate restaurants.  Every. Night. 

I've been witnessing vast amounts of wealth, massive spending, and rampant consumerism.  I know that I've isolated myself and I'm on a somewhat low-news diet, so can someone please tell me briefly, what is really happening out there to the average American who is doing the right things (not overspending, etc).  Is it my location alone that has allowed me to get through these tough times?  Or is it that I see a downturn and change my spending accordingly?  Even the people who claim to be affected, their gripes tend to be along the lines of "we're not gaining on our neighbors" rather than experiencing true hardship.  They still have cable, coffee, iphones, cars, etc.  But they may lose their houses because they won't compromise on the daily things. 

When you are removed from someone else's reality, you just lose perspective, and I think that has happened to me.

It started with the tech bubble.

401k pillaged 90% if in Nasdaq or tech. Then trade agreements that caused several years of outsourcing that included no real wage increase. That was followed by the 2008 housing bust (where most of Americans true wealth is) and many had pulled equity loans for Europe trips and cars and therefore lost just about everything if they had to walked away. Some even their job and they had to pull their 401k when it was down 30% (for the second time) and add the penalties on that. But that was not enough. Then came the Gas Squeeze that had many selling trucks way below value. That was followed by Obama Care and exploding premiums. If you were fortunate enough to have kids during all of this then you witnessed exploding tuition prices and when your kids got finished they lived at home for a year before they could find a job that pays $20,000 then they would have got 20 years ago.

I like to say that if you have to announce you are great with a bull horn then you are not. Thats exactly what Mr O has done the last few years. I could post a picture of the abandoned house behind mine. I have to call the city a few times a year to clean their brown pool so I don't get mosquitoes. In a nice neighborhood. That wasn't normal 20 years ago. Neither were roads like Mexico or zero manufacturing.

Anyways. Im late to the topic but that is what people are pissed about. Actually the movie the Campaign with Will Ferrel was prophetic. Watch it. It is dead on, and funny.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2017, 09:45:24 PM by disconneked »

waltworks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #833 on: January 14, 2017, 09:56:39 PM »
I am not at all surprised at the strength of his vote.  Many middle class people are very angry about what has happened to them over the last 10 years.  The "last chance for America" pitch hits home.  And Hilary is widely hated. I was surprised at all the people I know that don't really care about character, they just want things "fixed."  They are voting for Trump, no matter what.
What really did happen to them over the last 10 years? 
It started with the tech bubble.

401k pillaged 90% if in Nasdaq or tech. Then trade agreements that caused several years of outsourcing that included no real wage increase. That was followed by the 2008 housing bust (where most of Americans true wealth is) and many had pulled equity loans for Europe trips and cars and therefore lost just about everything if they had to walked away. Some even their job and they had to pull their 401k when it was down 30% (for the second time) and add the penalties on that.

No need to get that complicated, either of you. Median inflation-adjusted wages have been stagnant for _40_ years. Rich folks (like many of us here including me) have done great in that time. Poor people have done pretty badly and middle class people have gotten no gains whatsoever.

The tough thing is that trend has gone on through democratic and republican governments, war, peace, booms, and busts.  It wasn't the tech bubble, it wasn't the housing crash, it wasn't the Iraq war (either of them) or the Challenger disaster or the founding of Coldplay or whatever other thing made an impression on you when you were impressionable - because the gains of the wealthy and non-gains of everyone else have continued through all of that, for essentially 2 generations now.

The interesting question is what (if anything) can be done about it.

Marx is laughing his ass off right now, I know that.
-W

disconneked

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #834 on: January 14, 2017, 10:04:10 PM »

The tough thing is that trend has gone on through democratic and republican governments, war, peace, booms, and busts.  It wasn't the tech bubble, it wasn't the housing crash, it wasn't the Iraq war (either of them) or the Challenger disaster or the founding of Coldplay or whatever other thing made an impression on you when you were impressionable - because the gains of the wealthy and non-gains of everyone else have continued through all of that, for essentially 2 generations now.

The interesting question is what (if anything) can be done about it.

Marx is laughing his ass off right now, I know that.
-W

Okay, in one word... Globalization. American interests as a whole are not being looked out after, only the bottom line of multinationals. I really don't want to get all Alex Jones and Christopher Greene on you but they are right. I feel a little better with Rex running things.

On a side note: Trump handed the religious right everything they ever wanted on a silver platter the last couple debates. I think he means it too. Whatever women he would have lost were lost already from grab them by the pussy memes.

fa

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #835 on: January 14, 2017, 10:07:38 PM »
No need to get that complicated, either of you. Median inflation-adjusted wages have been stagnant for _40_ years. Rich folks (like many of us here including me) have done great in that time. Poor people have done pretty badly and middle class people have gotten no gains whatsoever.

The tough thing is that trend has gone on through democratic and republican governments, war, peace, booms, and busts.  It wasn't the tech bubble, it wasn't the housing crash, it wasn't the Iraq war (either of them) or the Challenger disaster or the founding of Coldplay or whatever other thing made an impression on you when you were impressionable - because the gains of the wealthy and non-gains of everyone else have continued through all of that, for essentially 2 generations now.

The interesting question is what (if anything) can be done about it.

+1.  This is exactly correct.  It is why this is not a partisan issue.  Technology and outsourcing has devastated the lower middle class.  Those are the voters that are hoping for a solution from Trump.  I am not convinced there is a political solution for this non-political problem.  But if there really is one, Trump better implement it soon.

disconneked

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #836 on: January 14, 2017, 10:15:57 PM »
No need to get that complicated, either of you. Median inflation-adjusted wages have been stagnant for _40_ years. Rich folks (like many of us here including me) have done great in that time. Poor people have done pretty badly and middle class people have gotten no gains whatsoever.

The tough thing is that trend has gone on through democratic and republican governments, war, peace, booms, and busts.  It wasn't the tech bubble, it wasn't the housing crash, it wasn't the Iraq war (either of them) or the Challenger disaster or the founding of Coldplay or whatever other thing made an impression on you when you were impressionable - because the gains of the wealthy and non-gains of everyone else have continued through all of that, for essentially 2 generations now.

The interesting question is what (if anything) can be done about it.

+1.  This is exactly correct.  It is why this is not a partisan issue.  Technology and outsourcing has devastated the lower middle class.  Those are the voters that are hoping for a solution from Trump.  I am not convinced there is a political solution for this non-political problem.  But if there really is one, Trump better implement it soon.

Yes. And those voters are not going away and will get more extreme if their needs are not met. We will either build up the lower middle class or go entirely socialist and the top will pay for our school, healthcare, and subsidize our internet and tv. 100%. The smart ones see this coming.

However, I disagree with the war in his statement. The "middle eastern wars" have cost us 6 trillion. Thats about equal to what we owe foreign governments. Seeing how Trump has dealt with debt in the past I would not be surprised if debt owed to foreigners is paid but the Fed gets audited and stiffed and controlled. The bonds they hold could be burned and the only ones that would suffer is the Cartel that has been living off of the interest the American people pay on money that never really existed anyway.

waltworks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #837 on: January 14, 2017, 10:19:19 PM »
Okay, in one word... Globalization. American interests as a whole are not being looked out after, only the bottom line of multinationals. I really don't want to get all Alex Jones and Christopher Greene on you but they are right. I feel a little better with Rex running things.

On a side note: Trump handed the religious right everything they ever wanted on a silver platter the last couple debates. I think he means it too. Whatever women he would have lost were lost already from grab them by the pussy memes.

Meh, cheap labor can be done by robots too. Reversing globalization and closing borders might make you feel good but it won't change the balance sheet for the middle class. If your skills mostly involve manipulating physical matter... you will not have a job going forward no matter what any politician does. Robot semis have already been demonstrated. Robot taxis are driving on the streets of a couple major cities right now. Construction equipment won't be far behind. Snowplows? Forklifts? Aircraft? All those will presumably be flown by machine pretty soon, because humans aren't very good at that sort of task, really.

That's ~10% of the existing jobs, gone. We'll get some programming and high end maintenance jobs out of it, but not anything like what's lost.  There will be more low-end service jobs helping the elderly do things, though I doubt that will be much comfort to a long haul trucker out of work.

I haven't heard any solutions to this so far. Personally I think a UBI might be worth looking at. That's (I guess) a left wing solution of sorts. I'm not familiar with any proposed conservative solutions other than the usual deregulation/lower taxes stuff, which is the solution that gets proposed for basically everything (and has been implemented to at least a moderate extent a couple of times, eg Reagan era) without changing the basic trend.

-W

waltworks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #838 on: January 14, 2017, 10:23:48 PM »
Doesn't matter if the war cost a fortune. The point is that the trend (rich=richer, middle class=same) is the same regardless of what's going on that you happen to dislike. During peacetime? Rich richer. During war? Rich richer. Marx predicted this (overproduction/underconsumption as capital gains at the expense of labor) in 1867.

I don't like the results of the Iraq wars either - they were an enormous waste of human life and potential, let alone money, but they are not the drivers of the economic woes of the American middle class.

Folks, it's becoming a postindustrial economy. Manipulating physical objects, whether that's a gun or a welder or a tractor trailer is something that we don't need people for anymore. And that is a LOT of what people do right now. When everyone left the farms in the late 1800s/early 1900s they got jobs in factories. When they left the factories over the last 40 years, they had/have nowhere to go.

-W
« Last Edit: January 14, 2017, 10:26:48 PM by waltworks »

disconneked

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #839 on: January 14, 2017, 10:26:09 PM »

Meh, cheap labor can be done by robots too.

-W

Robots don't vote. They will be taxed to support the people they put out of work with lots of socialist subsidies because corporations just couldn't love thy neighbor and take care of their own people. Its always the bottomline. The bottomline is they will vote for their own interests and the majority is not rich so the rich will pay because they never learned to share the wealth on their own.

waltworks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #840 on: January 14, 2017, 10:29:12 PM »

Meh, cheap labor can be done by robots too.

-W

Robots don't vote. They will be taxed to support the people they put out of work with lots of socialist subsidies because corporations just couldn't love thy neighbor and take care of their own people. Its always the bottomline. The bottomline is they will vote for their own interests and the majority is not rich so the rich will pay because they never learned to share the wealth on their own.

I like the idea of the Trump-voting Marxist... but I'm not sure I buy it. Trump promised to cut back on all sorts of redistribution, after all.

-W
« Last Edit: January 14, 2017, 10:32:48 PM by waltworks »

Lagom

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #841 on: January 14, 2017, 10:35:34 PM »
UBI isn't really a liberal solution (too much autonomy given to the recipients, after all), but it's also not conservative (all government "handouts" are BAD!!). It is, however, in my view, a necessary one. At a certain point, as I've said before, automation will decimate large segments of the working population. This will have the near term effect of further stratifying wealth, but eventually it will become clear that the "socialist" solution of UBI, single-payer healthcare, etc., will be the only way the rich can continue to get richer. They may have to flatten their wealth trajectory, but the alternative will be societal collapse.

disconneked

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #842 on: January 14, 2017, 10:41:48 PM »

Meh, cheap labor can be done by robots too.

-W

Robots don't vote. They will be taxed to support the people they put out of work with lots of socialist subsidies because corporations just couldn't love thy neighbor and take care of their own people. Its always the bottomline. The bottomline is they will vote for their own interests and the majority is not rich so the rich will pay because they never learned to share the wealth on their own.

As I said, I'm a rich guy who is for a UBI or some other sort of major redistribution of resources.

I'm not thinking Trump voters are going to get what they wanted out of the new administration (and hence maybe did not vote their own interests), but we'll see. It's not like any of the last 6 or so presidents has had any luck.

-W

the last 6 presidents were Globalists. I think you will see a shift and some manufacturing will come back. Tech just got caught with their pants down. They just realized how entirely screwed they will be if tariffs go into play. Look at Ford, Chrystler, and even Alibaba coming over and saying they will create more jobs. Some is lip service but the winds have changed. China is expanding in the south China sea and "threatening" the security of shipping lanes.

What about this stuff with Russian and Israel as I'll-Bomb-Ya the 44th kick starts everything he can before he leaves office. Tech just got a peak that if world conflict ensues they would be out of business. Did you notice Apple announced more manufacturing in the US. Its not all Trump. Look its human nature not to always get along and many companies built their manufacturing like their would never be war. That was stupid. Facts show that we will not be able to afford our Death Machine for much longer unless we do some serious changes in economics and budgeting.

Only time will tell. Im optimistic.

waltworks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #843 on: January 14, 2017, 10:44:40 PM »
UBI isn't really a liberal solution (too much autonomy given to the recipients, after all), but it's also not conservative (all government "handouts" are BAD!!). It is, however, in my view, a necessary one. At a certain point, as I've said before, automation will decimate large segments of the working population. This will have the near term effect of further stratifying wealth, but eventually it will become clear that the "socialist" solution of UBI, single-payer healthcare, etc., will be the only way the rich can continue to get richer. They may have to flatten their wealth trajectory, but the alternative will be societal collapse.

Yup. I want lots of relatively well-off people to buy my products and work at my company, not a bunch of low-value peasants producing nothing useful, or worse, killing me and my friends and family and setting up the USSR again. If that means I just have to give them all great free education and healthcare and free money for doing nothing, so be it.

-W

waltworks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #844 on: January 14, 2017, 10:53:59 PM »
the last 6 presidents were Globalists. I think you will see a shift and some manufacturing will come back. Tech just got caught with their pants down. They just realized how entirely screwed they will be if tariffs go into play. Look at Ford, Chrystler, and even Alibaba coming over and saying they will create more jobs. Some is lip service but the winds have changed. China is expanding in the south China sea and "threatening" the security of shipping lanes.


Nobody in the US wants to work in an iPhone factory, nor will they get the chance - because robots make stuff better than people, unless the people are just insanely cheap to hire. Hell, Chinese factories are automating too at this point. Reshoring has been going on for the better part of a decade. No effect on median wages so far.

If you did hire Americans at decent wages, then only the rich would be able to afford the phones. No way to win that way either.

But hey, if twitter threats can make America great again, I'm all for it. I just want someone to keep the middle class in existence so the society doesn't collapse, like Lagom says, mostly out of personal interest in not having to flee to another country to avoid an angry mob or something.

Actually, if people just want to believe Trump will make things great again and his random statements are enough to pacify them, that's good enough for me. His actual policies will probably make me, a rich dude, a bit richer, but if people want to this he's helping them when he's doing the opposite, bring on the bread and circuses. I win either way, as long as the shit really doesn't hit the fan.

-W

gerardc

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #845 on: January 14, 2017, 11:02:11 PM »
Do you guys mind continuing this boring discussion in a new thread? I'm tired of this popping up in my "Unread replies" list. Thanks!

disconneked

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #846 on: January 14, 2017, 11:10:33 PM »
the last 6 presidents were Globalists. I think you will see a shift and some manufacturing will come back. Tech just got caught with their pants down. They just realized how entirely screwed they will be if tariffs go into play. Look at Ford, Chrystler, and even Alibaba coming over and saying they will create more jobs. Some is lip service but the winds have changed. China is expanding in the south China sea and "threatening" the security of shipping lanes.


Nobody in the US wants to work in an iPhone factory, nor will they get the chance - because robots make stuff better than people

-W

They might not get the chance, but robots don't grow crystals and much of the nasty chemistry for wafers are handled manually. I do find it amusing that your full statement assumes that smart phones access is some how more valuable than an actual functioning economy. Perhaps these days it is. NSA sure does love using the mics and cameras. I think full automation is overestimated. Just wait until a World War breaks out and we lose 70% of our factories and had no other choice but to bomb our own overseas. Talk about a tech reset. This sort of thing happened before with the fall of Rome and was followed by the Dark Ages and finally the Renaissance when we relearned everything we knew a thousand years before. Thats what the Georgia Guidestones are for right?

waltworks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #847 on: January 14, 2017, 11:32:27 PM »
Ask the folks at Walmart using their SNAP benefits to buy soda what they think of their iPhone. Then ask them if they'd pay $1500 for it.

The people already decided that one. I mean, I agree with you. But the people who are suffering don't think about it that way.

-W

KBecks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #848 on: January 15, 2017, 06:40:48 AM »
No need to get that complicated, either of you. Median inflation-adjusted wages have been stagnant for _40_ years. Rich folks (like many of us here including me) have done great in that time. Poor people have done pretty badly and middle class people have gotten no gains whatsoever.

The tough thing is that trend has gone on through democratic and republican governments, war, peace, booms, and busts.  It wasn't the tech bubble, it wasn't the housing crash, it wasn't the Iraq war (either of them) or the Challenger disaster or the founding of Coldplay or whatever other thing made an impression on you when you were impressionable - because the gains of the wealthy and non-gains of everyone else have continued through all of that, for essentially 2 generations now.

The interesting question is what (if anything) can be done about it.

Marx is laughing his ass off right now, I know that.
-W


If you have had investments in the stock market, you've generally been doing well through the Obama administration but if you are not saving and do not have investments, then you don't get to participate in that wealth building.  So, the rich, including everybody here who is using a 401k or other investment vehicle, are getting richer. 

Members of the 1% are both liberal and conservative.

I think there is a huge disconnect between people who live in wealthy areas and stay in wealthy areas than people who go into less affluent areas.  I listen to a stock analyst who dumps on Wal*Mart regularly, but he doesn't go to Wal*mart.  I have one nearby and I go there at least once a week.  I see the people in the store, and many are obese, some have difficult mobility, many are elderly, more range of color.  If I went to a Wal Mart 3 miles in another direction I would not see these people, I would see more young white attractive stay at home moms.

If you don't see the middle class people, I think you can forget about them relatively easily.   

Note, when I go to the Wal Mart or the Dollar Tree -- the parking lots are busy, consistently busy.   The stock analyst I hear complaining about WalMart doesn't see this.  He shops on Amazon and likely goes to places like Nordstrom and Restoration Hardware.

Now, if your pay is low, you need WalMart and the Dollar Tree and they help you run your household cheaper. 

Side note I was just watching a Netflix show about copuon savings that features British extreme savers.  Everything is more glamorous with an English accent, even eating roadkill.

I once came across a young, black Aldi checker who was talking to her co-worker about taking a second 401k loan.  I didn't, but I should have interrupted her and told her why it's a horrible idea!!!

Lastly, this is why I love Dave Ramsey.  He talks to everybody about living on a budget and saving and investing money and climbing up the ladder.  He helps people who have very difficult debt situations through either stupidity or things like medical disaster and disability.  He's truly trying to help people and oftentimes people change their lives and get further ahead with the financial education he puts on the radio.  And a lot of people need that kind of help, especially the people who are struggling.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 06:51:15 AM by KBecks »

waltworks

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Re: What's really going on out in the country? Why
« Reply #849 on: January 15, 2017, 09:07:12 AM »
Kbecks, my point had nothing to do with what people *do* with their money. It's that if you are a median worker (ie, in the middle of the distribution) *you don't make any more money now than you did in 1975*.

It's about INCOME stagnating, not poor (or good) choices with money. Plenty of people made bad choices with money 40 years ago, plenty didn't. Same now. But the pool of money grew a LOT in that time - and the median and below didn't get any of that growth.

-W