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Archives for Jobs (page 1 / 2)

A Parade of Flawed Arguments for Minimum-Wage Legislation

A Parade of Flawed Arguments for Minimum-Wage Legislation →

Don Boudreaux on one of my bête noires, the minimum wage.

Finally, when Ms. Kim writes that “The minimum wage isn’t a pathway to the middle class; it is a safety net to prevent destitution,” she reveals that she doesn’t understand the key problem with the minimum wage – namely, that it causes some workers’ earnings to fall to $0. However economically precarious one’s life might be when paid a positive market wage of less than $15 per hour, that life is far more precarious when paid $0 per hour.

Minimum-wage legislation isn’t a safety net; it’s a knife that shreds the safety net of employment opportunities in the market.

I think there are already people who want work and can't find it, at the current minimum wage. A policy that makes them more expensive to employ, a policy that increases the minimum wage, makes it harder for them to get a job. That seems counterproductive to me.

The Problem with Job Discrimination Legislation

The Problem with Job Discrimination Legislation →

Warren Meyer is both a small business owner and a outspoken advocate of gay rights. He tried to put a gay marriage amendment on the Arizona ballot, earlier this year. And, yet, he opposes the current Senate bill to make sexual orientation a protected class. He explained why, on his blog.

If you are unfamiliar with how it works, this is perhaps how you THINK it works:  An employee, who has been mistreated in a company based on clear prejudice for his or her race / gender / sexual orientation, etc. has tried to bring the problem to management's attention.  With no success via internal grievance processes, the employee turns finally to the government for help.

Ha!  If this were how it worked, I would have no problem with the law.  In reality, this is how it works:  Suddenly, as owner of the company, one finds a lawsuit or EEOC complain in his lap, generally with absolutely no warning.  In the few cases we have seen in our company, the employee never told anyone in the company about the alleged harassment, never gave me or management a chance to fix it, despite very clear policies in our employee's manuals that we don't tolerate such behavior and outlining methods for getting help.  There is nothing in EEO law that requires an employee to try to get the problem fixed via internal processes.

As a result, our company can be financially liable for allowing a discriminatory situation to exist that we could not have known about, because it happened in a one-on-one conversations and the alleged victim never reported it.

What I want is a reasonable chance to fix problems, get rid of bad supervisors, etc.  A reasonable anti-discrimination law would say that companies have to have a grievance process with such and such specifications, and that no one may sue until they have exhausted the grievance process or when there is no conforming grievance process.  If I don't fix the problem and give the employee a safe work environment, then a suit is appropriate.  The difference between this reasonable goal and the system we actually have is lawyers.  Lawyers do not want the problem to be fixed.  Lawyers want the problem to be as bad as possible and completely hidden from management so there is no chance it can be fixed before they can file a lucrative lawsuit.

This is a strong argument for rejecting this bill. It's not homophobia or oppression to demand that the law respect both employers and employees. This law doesn't and that's a problem.

This entry was tagged. Jobs

Against the Living Wage/”Subsidy” Arguments

Against the Living Wage/”Subsidy” Arguments →

Jason Brennan, at Bleeding Heart Libertarians, offered some thoughts about the arguments in favor of a living wage.

Isn’t it more plausible to think that if there’s some enforceable positive duty to provide Bob with enough stuff to lead a life, that all of us, together share this burdensome duty, rather than just Bob’s employer? Why should Bob’s employer, specifically, be the one that has to bear the burden and lose all this money to keep him alive (at whatever level you consider decent)? This just seems like a kind of moral outsourcing to me. Why not instead Bob’s neighbors, parents, friends, or sexual partners? Bob does McBurger a service, and McBurger pays him for that service.

I think this can apply to more than just a living wage though. Think about any employer mandate: salary, health care, paid vacation time, paid sick time, birth control, etc. Why should Bob's (or Barbara's) employer be responsible for those costs. If "we" in society think that all employees are entitled to those benefits than shouldn't "we" in society be responsible for paying for them?

If the goverment mandated cost of entry-level employees keeps going up and up and up, why wouldn't you expect employers to be a lot more picky about who gets those "entry-level" jobs? I love having these benefits at my job and I'd love for everyone to have access to them. But if we load them all onto employers, I think we'll soon find that the poorest among us are sitting home, unemployed. And that pains my bleeding heart.

Top grads want to teach. Why don't they get hired?

Top grads want to teach. Why don't they get hired? →

Here's another indication that unions are hurting education.

The awkward fact is that teaching in America has become a quasi blue-collar profession mostly shunned by top college graduates. The countries with the best education systems recruit from top graduates. What about our top graduates? A good barometer is Teach for America (TFA), which in 2011 drew nearly 48,000 applicants for 5,200 teaching positions. Those applicants included 12% of the seniors at Ivy League schools.

Here's the question that never gets asked: What happens to the 43,000 top graduates who wanted to teach but didn't get an offer from TFA? Nearly all seek other careers.

For the best and brightest college graduates in this country, jobs offered by regular school districts lack prestige. Their accountability-free practices give the best teachers no way to stand out. These young TFA applicants rose to the top of their high schools classes and won admittance to the top tier colleges. They want a shot at shining on the job as well.

It's Easier to Get Welfare Than to Work

It's Easier to Get Welfare Than to Work →

John Stossel reports on "jobs centers" in New York City.

My intern learned a lot from this experience. Here are her conclusions:

  • It's easier to get welfare than to work.
  • The government would rather sign me up for welfare than help me find work.
  • America has taxpayer-funded bureaucracies that encourage people to be dependent. They incentivize people to take "free stuff," not to take initiative.
  • It was easier to find job openings on my own. The private market for jobs works better than government "job centers."

Yet now New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to expand Workforce1, claiming that it helps people "find real opportunities." I bet he never sends people in to find out whether they really do.

Keep that in mind whenever you hear politicians talk about expanding work programs or job training programs.

This entry was tagged. Government Jobs

The Apprentice - Reinventing American Manufacturing

The Apprentice - Reinventing American Manufacturing →

But the education system is not powerless in the face of high unemployment—as long as employers are partners. What’s clear is that there are a few, relatively small sectors of the economy in which there are real shortages of trained workers. Some of those sectors require an advanced degree or very high-level skills, such as in engineering or computer programming. But not all of them do. One of these sectors is mid-skill manufacturing. There is a shortage of machinists who can operate the new, computer-programmed, robotic assembly lines that build cars, turbines, generators, steel and iron plumbing products, armaments, and shipping and packing equipment. There may be as many as 600,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs of this type, but compared with their European counterparts, American companies have shown little willingness to invest in training workers to fill these positions.

At last a small group of employers are importing the Northern European apprenticeship model to the United States. These programs combine classroom learning, typically at community colleges, with paid worksite training, and guarantee successful graduates a job.

Very interesting.

This entry was tagged. Jobs

War on Women: Equal Pay Edition?

tl;dr: The repeal of Wisconsin's "Equal Pay Act" is much less significant than certain politicians would like you to think it is. And the pay gap overall is much narrower than certain interest groups would like you to believe it is.

A friend of mine linked to this article, from Facebook, upset that Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman isn't concerned about the male-female pay gap. So, I read the article. And, wow. It is very sloppily written.

According to The Daily Beast, “A 2007 study by the American Association of University Women found that college-educated women earn only 80 percent as much as similarly educated men a year after graduation.”

After ten years in the workforce, the gap opened to 12 percent.

Wait. What? A 20 perccent gap opened to a 12 percent gap? How does that work? Having nothing better to do with my time, I decided to look up the referenced 2007 study. (And, people? This is 2012 and you're writing for the web. You can link to studies for your readers. Don't make them do their own Googling.)

Here's the original study: Behind the Pay Gap (2007). I started with the Executive Summary. First page, second paragraph:

One year out of college, women working full time earn only 80 percent as much as their male colleagues earn. Ten years after graduation, women fall farther behind, earning only 69 percent as much as men earn.

Oh. So, the 80 percent pay gap increases 11 points, to a 69% pay gap. Now, to be fair to David Ferguson, he's pretty much re-writing a story from the Daily Beast. And this goofily worded section is in the original story. But quoting another story is no execuse for bad writing or for failing to correct the bad writing, for your own readers.

Now, about the pay gap itself. Reading this story and the Daily Beast story, one gets the impression that their is an immense pay gap between men and women. If you read the 2007 study closely though, the pay gap isn't nearly as immense.

One year out of college, women working full time earn only 80 percent as much as their male colleagues earn. Ten years after graduation, women fall farther behind, earning only 69 percent as much as men earn.

... The only way to discover discrimination is to eliminate the other possible explanations. In this analysis the portion of the pay gap that remains unexplained after all other factors are taken into account is 5 percent one year after graduation and 12 percent 10 years after graduation.

After controlling for variables other than sexism, the pay gap after 1 year is 5% and the pay gap after 10 years is 12%. Or is it? You could read "portion .. that remains is 5%" as meaning 5% of the 20%, which is 1%. Similarly, 12% of 31% is 3.7%.

To figure out which it is, I checked the Full Report, from the study.

That is, after controlling for all the factors known to affect earnings, college-educated women earn about 5 percent less than college-educated men earn. Thus, while discrimination cannot be measured directly, it is reasonable to assume that this pay gap is the product of gender discrimination.

Okay. I think the Executive Summary isn't worded as clearly as I would like, but it is saying that 5% of the pay gap can't be explained by their regression analysis against other variables. So, the unexplained pay gap after 10 years is 12%. That's a lot better than the 20% and 31% mentioned in the Daily Beast article, but it's still not great.

But I had one more question: did the study account for the fact that men, generally speaking, negotitate more aggressively for starting pay and raises than women do?

I found this in the "What Can We Do About the Pay Gap?" section of the study? The fact that this in the potential solutions section strongly suggests, to me, that the authors didn't control for it, in their regression analysis.

Further magnifying these gender differences, women expect less and negotiate less pay for themselves than do men. Researchers have found that women expect less, see the world as having fewer negotiable opportunities, and see themselves as acting for what they care about as opposed to acting for pay. These learned behaviors and expectations (which may be based on experiences) tend to minimize women’s pay (Babcock & Laschever, 2003).

Individual differences in negotiating skills may lead to pay variation among workers with similar skill sets. Employers have a fair amount of discretion in setting wages as long as they pay at least the minimum wage and do not discriminate based on gender, race, ethnicity, age, or other protected group. One study by Babcock and Laschever (2003) found that starting salaries for male students graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with master’s degrees were about 7 percent higher (almost $4,000) than the starting salaries for similarly qualified women. Babcock and Laschever argue that this gap in part reflects differences in men’s and women’s willingness to negotiate. It may also reflect women’s perceptions about the labor market, expectations about the wages they’ll receive, and willingness to take a lower-wage job (Orazem, Werbel, & McElroy, 2003).

On a related front, several economic experiments have demonstrated that regardless of their actual work performance in a competitive setting and their beliefs about their performance, more women than men choose noncompetitive payment schemes over tournament (where a winner gets a prize and a loser gets nothing) or competition rates of payment for a task (Niederle & Vesterlund, 2005).

Indeed, when I checked "Figure 21. Key Variables Used in Regression Analysis, by Category", negotiating ability or style isn't listed as a variable. Given that, I'm perfectly willing to conceed that a 5% pay gap exists but I'm chalking it up to negotiating strategy rather than to overt discrimination. It's also not surprising that after 10 years of negotiating less aggressively, a 5% gap could grow to a 12% gap. I don't think you need to bring in the specter of active discrimination to explain that gap.

Secondly, Senator Grothman seems to say that the existing law was unfair because it would penalize employers who paid men and women differently on the basis of experience.

"Take a hypothetical husband and wife who are both lawyers,” he says. “But the husband is working 50 or 60 hours a week, going all out, making 200 grand a year. The woman takes time off, raises kids, is not go go go. Now they’re 50 years old. The husband is making 200 grand a year, the woman is making 40 grand a year. It wasn’t discrimination. There was a different sense of urgency in each person."

The way I read the law, that actually isn't the case.

Your employer may offer up a number of reasons for the differences in pay. It may point to a seniority system, a merit system, a system based on quality or quantity of work, or any other factor that accounts for the difference other than sex. Your employer could also try to argue that the jobs simply aren't substantially similar. Ultimately, however, if your employer responds to the allegations with a valid nondiscriminatory reason for the difference in pay, you must show that the reasons given are pretextual, and that the true reason for the unequal compensation is based on your sex.

Unequal pay for unequal experience does seem to be a valid exception, under state law.

Third, if you'll pardon my wordiness, I'll proceed to the actual effect of the bill that Governor Walker signed last week. I had to go to an Illinois lawyer to find a good description. That this description isn't in either The Raw Story's article or the Daily Beast's article just confirms my impression that both are sloppily written.

Here's how the bills have been described.

According to Mr. May, the Assembly has recently passed two bills: the first "repeals an employee's right to recover compensatory and punitive damages when they have proven in court that they were victims of workplace discrimination or harassment;" the second, according to Mr. May is a bill that repeals Wisconsin's Equal Pay Act, "which guarantees women the same pay as men for doing the same work."

Is that what happened?

What Mr. May does not mention is that compensatory and punitive damages were not available under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act until 2009! So the Wisconsin Republicans' bill would simply undo what the lawmakers perceive as a recent mistake—not some venerable feature of Wisconsin law.

Well, okay, but won't victims of employment discrimination be left without a remedy? No, almost never. The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act is largely duplicative of the federal anti-discrimination laws, all of which allow the full panoply of damages. Indeed, one of the business lobby's chief complaints is that the WFEA creates an unnecessary layer of administrative hearings, which of course cost money (and therefore increase the costs and risks of hiring employees, at the margins).

This is all a big misunderstanding. There is no such thing as the Equal Pay Act in Wisconsin. Instead, the 2009 Act that created the right to get compensatory and punitive damages under the WFEA—the Act discussed above that Republicans are now trying to appeal—was entitled the "Equal Pay Enforcement Act." This is confusing because there is a federal law called the "Equal Pay Act," which requires "equal pay for equal time." But Wisconsin's Equal Pay Enforcement Act actually has nothing to to with "equal pay for equal time"—it just provides for compensatory and punitive damages for the substantive laws passed previously. Since there is no separate Wisconsin Equal Pay Act, there is no separate bill to repeal it.

Wisconsin Law has a two-step process, when alleging an equal-pay violation.

Currently, an employee may file a complaint of workplace discrimination with Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The DWD has the power to investigate the claim, hold hearings and award an employee back pay, reinstatement, costs and attorneys' fees upon a finding that the employer engaged in discrimination. Repealing the WFEA in the manner proposed will not take away any of these administrative proceedings or remedies. Instead, under current law, after an employee has already proved discrimination once at a hearing in the DWD, she has to then go to state court and again prove discrimination in order to recover compensatory and punitive damages. It is the right to go to state court to recover these damages that is in danger of being repealed.

Now that the "right to go to state court" has been repealed, employees will have to follow the federal process, to receive compensatory and punitive damages.

First, federal law mandates that, just like in Wisconsin, employees go through an administrative process at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before bringing suit. After that administrative procedure, the employee then must bring a lawsuit in federal court to recover any compensation. Thus, the federal system also requires both an administrative and judicial step to resolve these claims.

This entry was tagged. Jobs Women

Create Value, Not Jobs

Create Value, Not Jobs →

Sensing a theme? Wealth is merely the ability to get things that we want. Since most of us are not independently wealthy, we have to work to create things that other people want in order to get what we want. The most common way to do this since the dawn of the industrial revolution has been to work for someone who needs human labor to accomplish some end–an end that is valued by consumers.

... The point is, our goal should never be to “create jobs”. Our goal should be to enable people to contribute something valued by other people. The value is the point, not the work. If someone finds a way to provide value to hundreds of millions of people and it requires no more effort from them than batting their eyelashes, that would be a win.

... the forward march of technology has made it very difficult for people who have traditionally had low-skill or even middle-skill occupations to contribute value.

Words have meaning, so let's sure we use the right ones. We need to find more ways for more low-skill and medium-skill workers to contribute value. We don't just need jobs.

This entry was tagged. Jobs

Why Manufacturing Jobs Move Overseas (An Apple Case Study)

Why Manufacturing Jobs Move Overseas (An Apple Case Study) →

This was a very interesting read. If you haven't already read it, you should. Most commenters that I've seen have focused in on the wage differential (and the hours that the Chinese employees work) between U.S. and Chinese workers. That wasn't, primarily, what caught my eye. Instead, it was the overwhelming difference in flexibility.

One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. … Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.

Can you imagine a union dominated, U.S. manufacturing plant turning around assembly line processes anywhere near that quickly?

Though components differ between versions, all iPhones contain hundreds of parts, an estimated 90 percent of which are manufactured abroad. Advanced semiconductors have come from Germany and Taiwan, memory from Korea and Japan, display panels and circuitry from Korea and Taiwan, chipsets from Europe and rare metals from Africa and Asia. And all of it is put together in China.

Simply put, China is a lot closer to the raw materials than America is. In many cases, it makes a lot of sense to keep the manufacturing plant close to the supply chain.

“The entire supply chain is in China now,” said another former high-ranking Apple executive. “You need a thousand rubber gaskets? That’s the factory next door. You need a million screws? That factory is a block away. You need that screw made a little bit different? It will take three hours.”

How about quickly, nearly instantaneously, finding new employees to ramp up production?

“[Foxconn] could hire 3,000 people overnight,” said Jennifer Rigoni, who was Apple’s worldwide supply demand manager until 2010, but declined to discuss specifics of her work. “What U.S. plant can find 3,000 people overnight and convince them to live in dorms?”

… Another critical advantage for Apple was that China provided engineers at a scale the United States could not match. Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States.

In China, it took 15 days.

… In particular, companies say they need engineers with more than high school, but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree. Americans at that skill level are hard to find, executives contend. “They’re good jobs, but the country doesn’t have enough to feed the demand,” Mr. Schmidt said.

There are many, many reasons why manufacturing jobs are being created in China and not in the U.S. It's nowhere near as simple as just calling it "greed" and condemning U.S. employers. In a highly dynamic, constantly changing world, is the U.S. producing skilled employees (at all skill levels!) who are willing to quickly change what they do and how they do it?

Let’s Start Paying College Athletes

Let’s Start Paying College Athletes →

Over the last few months, in consultation with sports economists, antitrust lawyers and reformers, I put together the outlines of what I believe to be a realistic plan to pay those who play football and men’s basketball in college. Although the approach may appear radical at first glance, that’s mainly because we’ve been brainwashed into believing that there’s something fundamentally wrong with rewarding college athletes with cold, hard cash. There isn’t. Paying football and basketball players will not ruin college sports or cause them to become “subcontractors.” Indeed, given the way big-time college sports are going, paying the players may be the only way to save them.

I'm in.

This entry was tagged. Jobs

Three Policies That Gave Us the Jobs Economy

Three Policies That Gave Us the Jobs Economy →

Amity Shlaes on what sparked the job growth of the 1980's.

The era didn't start well. The mid-1970s were a dead period. Then suddenly, from 1977 to 1978, new private capital devoted to venture capital increased by 15 times, to $570 million in 1978 from $39 million the year before.

In 1977, public underwritings of firms with a net worth of less than $5 million amounted to a meager $75 million. By 1980 that figure was $822 million, as Michael K. Evans, founder of Chase Econometrics, points out. The venture-capital boom continued down the decades, serving computing, technology, biotech and many other areas.

But what caused this boom? Three policy changes. The first was a [capital gains] tax cut for which this newspaper campaigned. ...

A second policy change came in pension law. ...

A third factor, and one that ensured the boom would continue, was a law ... [that] clarified murky intellectual property rights so that universities and professors, especially, knew they owned their own ideas and could sell them. ...

In Detroit, Two Wage Levels Are the New Way of Work

In Detroit, Two Wage Levels Are the New Way of Work →

Interesting. Companies that have the freedom to set their own pay and benefit scales are able to create more new jobs than they would otherwise be able to. That's certainly unexpected.

They are a cornerstone of Chrysler’s unlikely comeback: 900 employees turning out a Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle every 48 seconds of the working day at an assembly plant here. Working for Less

Nothing distinguishes them from other workers at the Jefferson North plant, except their paychecks. The newest workers earn about $14 an hour; longtime employees earn double that.

With the economy slumping and job creation once again a pressing issue in the White House and Congress, the advent of a two-tier wage system in Detroit is spiking employment for one of the country’s most important manufacturing industries.

This entry was tagged. Jobs Unions

Obama's Job Plan: A Never-Never Bill

Obama's Job Plan: A Never-Never Bill →

Megan McCardle is annoyed that President Obama wasted her time with a job's plan that he's not actually interested in passing.

If the president were serious about providing stimulus, he would pay attention to the work of his old CEA chair, and pay for the jobs bill by decreasing the growth rate of something-or-other in the future by 0.2%. This is also what he would do if he were serious about getting any part of it through Congress. Instead he is apparently sending them a less-stimulative bill designed to be maximally embarrassing to the GOP--which by definition means minimally politically viable.

Why the Jobs Situation Is Worse Than It Looks

Why the Jobs Situation Is Worse Than It Looks →

This article from U.S. News is pretty scary—and depressing.

Today, over 14 million people are unemployed. We now have more idle men and women than at any time since the Great Depression. Nearly seven people in the labor pool compete for every job opening. Hiring announcements have plunged to 10,248 in May, down from 59,648 in April. Hiring is now 17 percent lower than the lowest level in the 2001-02 downturn. One fifth of all men of prime working age are not getting up and going to work. Equally disturbing is that the number of people unemployed for six months or longer grew 361,000 to 6.2 million, increasing their share of the unemployed to 45.1 percent. We face the specter that long-term unemployment is becoming structural and not just cyclical, raising the risk that the jobless will lose their skills and become permanently unemployable.

Don't pay too much attention to the headline unemployment rate of 9.1 percent. It is scary enough, but it is a gloss on the reality. These numbers do not include the millions who have stopped looking for a job or who are working part time but would work full time if a position were available. And they count only those people who have actively applied for a job within the last four weeks.

Include those others and the real number is a nasty 16 percent. The 16 percent includes 8.5 million part-timers who want to work full time (which is double the historical norm) and those who have applied for a job within the last six months, including many of the long-term unemployed. And this 16 percent does not take into account the discouraged workers who have left the labor force. The fact is that the longer duration of six months is the more relevant testing period since the mean duration of unemployment is now 39.7 weeks, an increase from 37.1 weeks in February.

This entry was tagged. Jobs

A Good Husband's Guide

Men and women are always arguing over who has the tougher role to play. Obviously, it's the other gender.

Leanne Bell offers an interesting take, called the Good Husband's Guide. Refreshingly, she takes the men's side of the argument.

In May of 1955, a magazine called Housekeeping Monthly ran a short point-form article called "The Good Wife's Guide." The article is unaccredited, but I am sure that like many other articles written in 1950's women's magazine, it was probably written by a woman. This article was sent around by email to all the workstations in my office, and probably visited many other inboxes around the world as well.

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

  • Prepare yourself. Take fifteen minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.

  • Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his personal comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

There's more.

Now, most modern men would say that such a guide is sexist and demeaning to women. Asked privately, perhaps after a few beers and promises of confidentiality, most men would also say that such a home sounds darn appealing. And, it is. Mostly because we're not the ones working to make it.

But men aren't the only ones guilty of looking to enjoy the good life. Ms. Bell happily recognizes that and presents the opposite guide. The Good Husband's Guide.

  • Always make getting and keeping a full-time job with regular raises, benefits, bonuses and the potential for prestigious advancement your number one priority in life. Remember always that you have a wife and children who need your financial support, and that it is your responsibility to provide for them to the best of your ability.

  • Always arrive home refreshed and happy - put your bad day or your confrontation with your boss, the traffic, the crowds or the physical exhaustion you might feel aside and try to arrive home as cheery and lighthearted as you possibly can. Your wife has been struggling with the children and the housework all day, she does not need to hear about how bad your day was.

  • Be prepared to help with household chores when you get home - let your wife relax or talk on the phone since she has been dealing with these problems all day. Make supper for her often, and offer to clean up afterwards so that she may rest and feel appreciated.

  • Do not bore your wife with stories of the troubles you faced at work today. Remember that you are lucky to have a job and that many other men would be happy to trade places with you. Remember that it is not masculine to complain or let worries trouble you. Your job is to provide, and whatever you must go through to achieve this is part of your lot in life. A good husband knows that he is lucky to have a wife at all, and that a woman wants a strong, silent man she can depend on.

There's more of that too. Note how normal it all sounds? What husband hasn't heard his wife, or his wife's friends, express similar sentiments?

Let's leave that thought there and turn to Matt Patterson for a moment: Men, the Gender Wars Are Over -- We Won.

Men, our long twilight struggle with the opposite sex is over. Our victory is total.

Can you believe the way things used to be? Remember when our fathers and grandfathers would drag themselves to mind-numbing jobs every day, having the sole responsibility for the feeding, clothing, and housing of their entire family?

And things were no easier before marriage, when men's quest for sexual satisfaction was all too often hampered by the widespread moral code which taught women not to give out the "milk" for "free."

Well, that state of affairs just wouldn't do. So we men came together and did what we do best -- formulate and implement a plan. First step, design the perfect world, the perfect male world. We decided such a world would consist of two things: less responsibility and more -- and no-strings -- sex.

Brothers, have we succeeded.

The amazing thing, really, is how easy it was, how fast the old world of obligation and responsibility dissolved. The first, crucial step, of course, was convincing women that they had it bad, that our jobs were "intellectually stimulating" and not the soul-crushing monotony that they in fact were.

There's more of that too.

What's my point? Well, I was entertained by both Leanne and Matt. And both reinforced my personal opinion: "life is pain" and the grass is the same shade of green on both sides of the fence. We're just capable of deluding ourselves into believing that it's less rote, less monotonous, and more stimulating on the other side.

That's it, really. I'm not sure I have a broader point to make here. Except, you know, thank your spouse for handling whatever crap that they go through each day.

The Conservative Bible Project II

Because one way to regularly update a blog is to shoot fish in a barrel, today we continue our look at the development of a Republican Study Bible (because may we just be honest? While the project is officially entitled the "Conservative Bible Project", "conservative" is a term that's changed its meaning several times just in the last century. "Republican" is much more accurate), now underway at Conservapedia.

From the Project's website, we learn:

Socialistic terminology permeates English translations of the Bible, without justification. This improperly encourages the "social justice" movement among Christians. For example, the conservative word "volunteer" is mentioned only once in the ESV, yet the socialistic word "comrade" is used three times, "laborer(s)" is used 13 times, "labored" 15 times, and "fellow" (as in "fellow worker") is used 55 times.

Now as someone with a B.A. in English and an interest in politics, I've always found the propaganda potential in word choice very real and interesting. Still, I'm unconvinced words like "laborer" and "worker" are so much Leftist vocab as they are common words that Leftists have simply run into the ground.

But hey, who knows? Maybe better alternatives do exist - so out of curiosity I jumped onto Thesaurus.com to find a few synonyms they might prefer, then decided to try inserting them in a sample verse.

I chose 1 Timothy 5:18 (ESV): "The laborer deserves his wages." Clearly runs afoul of the CBP's standards, so let's see what we can do with it, shall we?

"The worker deserves his wages." Hmm. No, that's definitely no better, is it?

"The blue collar deserves his wages." Oof, no. Even worse. The United Auto Workers could put it on a poster.

"The drudge deserves his wages." Apolitical, but seems a little insulting. Looking down the list I also see "peon" and "grunt", neither of which I feel any better about.

"The farmhand deserves his wages." Too narrow.

"The stiff deserves his wages." Too on the nose.

"The wage-earner deserves his wages." Redundant?

"The migrant worker deserves his wages." Uncomfortably pro-immigration.

"The grunt deserves his wages." I told you they were further down the list.

"The manual worker deserves his wages." If we could only get rid of that darned 'w' word. Replace it with "technician", maybe - but I suppose that would be what the Conservative Bible Project calls "liberal wordiness".

"The jobholder deserves his wages." OK, this is technically perfect, but doesn't it sound like it came out of the company manual instead of God's Word? Ditto for "staff member" and the like. I just want something with a bit more soul.

Shoot. Well, I've been through most of the modern synonyms the online thesaurus has to offer, and I haven't found any I think would really communicate the proper capitalist spirit in a striking fashion. I guess for me the words "laborer" and "worker" are justified. Maybe the good folk at the Conservative Bible Project are a little more inventive than me, though.

Come to think of it, to believe what they do I guess they'd have to be.

This entry was tagged. Humor Jobs

Manufacturing Crisis

So, has America been throwing our future away the past several decades? Have we been exporting all of our manufacturing capability? Are we at the mercy of China, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia?

No.

U.S. manufacturing output reached its all time high in 2006. U.S. manufacturing revenue reached its all time high in 2006. U.S. manufacturing profits reached their all time high in 2006. Average annual compensation for U.S. manufacturing jobs is over $66,000. The U.S. manufactures 2.5 times more goods than China does. Finally, the U.S. produces the largest share of total world manufacturing, not China.

So, who's economy has been all hollowed out and is on the verge of collapse? Not ours.

Immigration and Unintended Consequences

Many people want to limit immigration in order to provide more jobs to Americans. They theorize that without lots of immigrants willing to work for cheap labor, farmers and businesses will be forced to employ more Americans, at higher wages.

It's a nice theory. But that's all it is. The law of unintended consequences applies even to immigration policy. Rather than accepting a loss of Mexican field hands, farmers are being to move their fields to Mexico.

Steve Scaroni, a farmer from California, looked across a luxuriant field of lettuce here in central Mexico and liked what he saw: full-strength crews of Mexican farm workers with no immigration problems.

Farming since he was a teenager, Mr. Scaroni, 50, built a $50-million business growing lettuce and broccoli in California's Imperial Valley, relying on the hands of immigrant workers, most of them Mexicans and many probably in the United States illegally.

But early last year he began shifting part of his operation to rented fields here. Now some 500 Mexicans tend his crops in Mexico, where they run no risk of deportation.

"I'm as American red-blood as it gets," Mr. Scaroni said, "but I’m tired of fighting the fight on the immigration issue."

Oops.

Robotic Telecommunication

Telecommuting -- the next generation. This is how I need to work from home.

Programmer Ivan Bowman spends his days at iAnywhere Solutions Inc. in much the same way his colleagues do.

He writes code, exchanges notes in other developers' offices, attends meetings and, on occasion, hangs out in the kitchen or lounge over coffee and snacks.

About the only thing he can't do is drink the coffee or eat the snacks -- or touch anything, for that matter.

It's not that Bowman doesn't have hands or a mouth; they're just in Halifax, along with the rest of his body.

In fact, it's not really Bowman in the Waterloo office at all. It's IvanAnywhere, a robot Bowman uses to interact with his colleagues in Waterloo from his home office 1,350 kilometres away.

Your Family and Your Job

Trade-offs are an inescapable part of life. The sad truth is, it's impossible to both eat your cake and have it too. Unfortunately, far too many of our policy debates try to pretend that it is possible to have everything at once. Politicians follow their instincts and promise to give voters everything the voters want. But all of the promises in the world can't abolish life's fundamental trade-offs.

What am I talk about? Let me illustrate. Lately, a debate has been raging in legal and political circles about a clash between family life and work. Employers still expect employees to put in a 40-hour work week, occurring mostly between 8am and 5pm. An increasing number of employees want to work odd schedules, work from home, or take large amounts of time off to care for ailing family members. As a result, these employees are being passed over for promotion, denied raises, or being outright fired.

Family-Leave Values - New York Times

Since the mid-1990s, the number of workers who have sued their employers for supposed mistreatment on account of family responsibilities "” becoming pregnant, needing to care for a sick child or relative "” has increased by more than 300 percent.

... Williams argued that the growing tension between work and family was not simply a product of economic necessity. It stemmed, rather, from a marketplace structured around an increasingly outdated masculine norm: the "ideal worker" who can work full time for an entire career while enjoying "immunity from family work." At a time when both adults in most families had come to participate in the labor force, Williams argued that this standard was unrealistic, especially for women, who remained the primary caregivers in most households.

This New York Times article is fairly typical of the debate. It's heavily anecdotal and hard to excerpt. (If you want the human stories behind the rhetoric, click through and read the full article.)

The article starts by telling the story of Karen Deonarain. Karen worked for a small company as a full-time employee. When she went through a tough pregnancy (and gave birth 16 weeks early), she informed her employer that she'd need four months off to recover, before coming back to work. Her employer ended up firing her.

The article continues on, talking about the difficulties that Karen Deonarain now faced. I'd like to stop and focus on the difficulties her employer faced. Her employer was small -- less than 50 employees. This would tend to indicate that each employee was important and the work that Karen Deonarain was valuable. Karen informed her employer that she didn't intend to do any work for more than a fourth of the year. What was her employer to do?

A job had been left unfilled. Work needed to be done, by someone. Ms. Deonarain was unable to do it, so the company would need to hire someone new. It's hardly a good idea to spend time finding and training a new employee, only to lay them off when the former employee decides to return to work. It's also not fair to expect someone else at the company to cover the job until Ms. Deonarain was ready to return.

Here's the trade-off: businesses offer generous pay and benefit to those that can show up and get work done. Men and women who expect to take lots of time off whenever they have a family problem are not showing up and getting the job done. Is it so unfair then, that businesses wouldn't offer these people generous pay and benefits?

If workers aren't contributing something of value to the company, why should the company have a responsibility to contribute something of value to the workers? The job market is a two-way street: workers work for pay, employers pay for work. If workers expect to start and stop working on a whim, they shouldn't be surprised when employers expect to start and stop paying just as quickly.

This isn't a matter of discrimination and shouldn't be covered by state or federal anti-discrimination laws. This is a matter of fulfilling your obligations as an employee. Being a parent -- or a responsible son or daughter -- doesn't magically absolve someone of their responsibilities to their employer.

There will always be a trade-off between work and family. Lower wages and less stable jobs are an inevitable consequence of choosing to work fewer hours on an unstable schedule.

This entry was tagged. Jobs Responsibility