Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for August 2015

Response to a comment

“peterike” wrote in a comment:

Well, we all understand that college degrees are proxies for the IQ tests that companies are not legally allowed to give.

This is wrong, and the reason why it’s wrong was answered in my classic post, Disparate impact and the irrationality of white-collar employment. I just edited the original post because it contained a lot of typos, so go read it, or re-read it if you’ve already read it. Even I learned something from it, and I wrote it!

I think that one of the reasons why some readers of HBD blogs get this wrong is because they know a lot about IQ and spend a lot of time thinking about it, and then become completely unaware that the average person, which includes the average person who works in a corporation and has the power to make or influence hiring decisions, knows absolutely nothing about the science of IQ.

Corporations make money not because they know what they are doing, but because they have monopoly power. There were certainly a lot of stupid people in the upper management at the company I used to work for, but the company made money anyway. They had a monopoly.

The company had an HR department, and the HR department couldn’t care less if managers hired stupid people, but they were very, very concerned that mangers weren’t hiring enough black and Hispanic people.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 31, 2015 at 6:31 PM

Posted in Labor Markets

Go to college

The commenter “map” writes:

Lion, not to berate Yakov because I genuinely like his posts, but I think this meme that has spread across the right-wing blogosphere of college being such a waste is ultimately very destructive. It ignores one salient fact: it is almost impossible to find any decent job that does not require a college degree. College is not some marginal value calculation where you can measure the cost-benefits of college returns against not going to college. College is the baseline. Non-college grads do not compete with college grads for the same jobs or even in the same markets in any meaningful way. Corporate HR departments at firms of all sizes screen-out non-college grads. They fire people who have lied about getting degrees, even if their work output was exemplary.

In other words, the entire work culture is oriented around the college degree. That is not going to change anytime soon.

Yet, people on this blog and others are seriously advising not going to college? Is this what they would tell their own children?

I definitely love Yakov’s blue-collar point of view, and I’m genuinely happy for him that he likes his career in HVAC, but I completely agree with Map’s comment.

1. If your IQ is 1SD above the mean or higher, you are unlikely to enjoy the company of your average-IQ co-workers in a blue-collar profession.

2. I am doubtful about how easy it supposedly is to make good money in certain trades that are commonly presented as better deals than white-collar work. If something sounds too good to be true, then it’s probably not true, and making twice as much money as the average college graduate without having to go to college, that sounds too good to be true. There must be barriers to entry which prevent people from entering those fields, although I am not familiar enough with that sort of work to say exactly what they are, but my guess would be that it’s extremely difficult to find an entry-level job that allows you to get the experience you need to make the higher salaries. And I don’t know whether or not having a higher IQ than the average member of the profession makes it easier to get that entry-level job. Maybe it’s more important to have connections?

3. Blue-collar work is dirty (like a plumber dealing with old pipes that literally are full of crap) and often done outside where it would be broiling hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. Doesn’t it sound a lot more pleasant to sit at a desk? And blue collar work is often dangerous to your health. For example, auto mechanics have to breathe in carcinogenic and toxic aromatic petroleum distillates all day.

4. The elites know how society really work and they want their kids to also be part of the elite. That’s why they send their kids to college, and not just any college but the best college their kids are able to get admitted to.

As Map points out above, it’s impossible to get into any white collar work without a college degree. No one will hire you, so you won’t find any white collar job unless your parents own the company. And parents who own companies have their kids go to college anyway. For example, all of Donald Trump’s kids went to college at Penn (Trump’s alma mater) or Georgetown, even though they could all theoretically work in the family business without a college degree.

So why do some commenters at conservative blogs push such an obviously wrong meme?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 31, 2015 at 2:32 PM

Trump will raise taxes for hedge funds and international corporations

Article in the NY Times about Trump’s tax policies.

I agree with Trump on these issues. Hedge funders should be the same tax rate on ordinary income as people with regular jobs. In fact, I think that hedge funders should be a higher tax rate than everyone else because they don’t create value, they just siphon off value from other people.

And regarding international taxation, it’s a very complicated area of the tax code and regulations. Many students at NYU’s LLM program were afraid to take the International Taxation classes because they were supposed to be so difficult. There are lots of opportunities in there for companies to claim that their income is produced overseas in a country subject to a much lower tax rate. Apple is an example of a corporation that has been especially good at doing this.

The Republican Party, however, is aghast because their mantra has been lower taxes lower taxes lower taxes, and any loophole is just a fast one that they pulled on the Democrats. The so-called “Club for Growth” is trying to rally opposition to Trump.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 31, 2015 at 2:14 PM

Posted in Politics, Taxes

Iowa poll

Just released poll of likely Iowa caucus goers shows that Trump is in the lead at 23% and Ben Carson has a very strong second place at 18%.

It looks like the hardcore evangelical Christian vote is coalescing around Carson, which is good news for Trump because if the anti-Trump vote splits between Carson and Bush, Trump can win the nomination. (Although based on this poll, hardly anyone in Iowa is going to vote for Bush)

Additional good news for Trump is that his favorability rating has jumped to 61% positive, putting him ahead of Jeb Bush.

If Trump can win Iowa and New Hampshire it’s hard to see how he could possibly lose the nomination.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 29, 2015 at 11:45 PM

Posted in Politics

The corniest post ever

The ear was bought earlier today at a farmstand at a farm in New Jersey, so presumably it was picked earlier today.

Why is it called an ear? It doesn’t look anything like an ear. I tried to talk to the ear, but there was no indication that it actually heard me.

The good stuff was wrapped inside a huge number big green leafy things (the corn husk, I presume). There were also a bunch of weird looking stringy things inside the husk. After removing all of that husky stuff, the ear was considerably smaller than I had anticipated. I cut it in half because the entire length of the ear was too big for my small pot of water, which I brought to a boil.

After letting the corn cook in water for five or six minutes, I took it out, and ate it with butter.

Wow! It tasted great! I never tasted anything like it before. The corn from supermarkets is obviously a poor substitute for genuine farmstand corn.

I think this is a paleo food, because the hunter-gatherer Indians (the Indians from America, and not those people in southern Asia who are stealing all of the IT jobs from unemployed Americans) ate it.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 28, 2015 at 9:10 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

Easy Common Core math test

I got a perfect score on the five questions from the 8th grade math test in the NY Times.

Question #4 was the hardest because I didn’t remember the formula for the volume of a cone, but I was able to deduce the correct answer.

I did use a calculator, but I think that children are allowed to use calculators on this test.

This test should be even easier for actual 8th graders who have presumably been prepping with these exact types of algebra/geometry questions as part of their coursework and should have the formula for the volume of a cone freshly memorized. It’s shameful that only 22% of children passed the test. They must have low IQs.

Also, I don’t understand the Republican hatred for Common Core. It makes sense that the type of math that children learn should be standardized across the United States. For example, I don’t see how being able to determine the volume of a cone would be relevant in one state but not relevant in another state.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 28, 2015 at 10:09 AM

Posted in Education

The shooting

I was asked to write about this, even though I don’t have much of an opinion.

It’s possible that the shooter, who is black (and also probably a little bit mentally unstable), felt justified for his actions in part because of the zeitgeist that blacks are subject to constant racial discrimination by whites.


And indeed I was right, he says this is revenge for the white trash kid who shot up the black church.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 26, 2015 at 3:47 PM

Posted in Crime

Too many law students

Yesterday, there was an op-ed in the NY Times by Steven J. Harper, the author of “The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis.”

Until student loans bear a rational relationship to individual law school outcomes, law schools will exploit their lack of accountability, the legal education market will remain dysfunctional, and equilibrium between supply and demand will remain elusive.

I believe that law schools, as well as all other types of schools, should be made responsible for paying the student loans when the students default, not the government. That would force schools to be more accountable. That was one of the implied suggestions of Harper.

I also believe that the maximum amount of loans that students are allowed to borrow should be lowered. Currently there is no cap at all on how much one is allowed to borrow for graduate school, and that has given all sorts of graduate schools free rein to unconscionably raise their tuition.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 26, 2015 at 1:01 PM

Posted in Labor Markets, Law

The greatest thing I ever heard from a Republican

Reported by Sarah Lynch of Reuters:

In a telephone interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Trump vowed to reform the tax laws if elected and said the current system was harming middle class Americans who currently faced higher tax rates than traders on Wall Street.

“The hedge fund guys didn’t build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky,” Trump said.

“They are energetic. They are very smart. But a lot of them – they are paper-pushers. They make a fortune. They pay no tax. It’s ridiculous, ok?”

. . .

“Some of them are friends of mine. Some of them, I couldn’t care less about,” Trump said.

“It is the wrong thing. These guys are getting away with murder. I want to lower the rates for the middle class.”

Trump is talking about loopholes such as the one which allow hedge fund managers’ income to be taxed at the lower capital gains rate instead of the higher rate for ordinary income. There are also other loopholes available to hedge funds because they are partnerships, and partnerships have a lot of strange tax rules.

While many Democrats have rightly spoken out against loopholes, every other Republican seems to believe that loopholes in the tax code are fast ones that they pulled on the Democrats and not any sort of problem that needs to be fixed. Obviously I agree with Trump. It’s outrageous that people engaging in pure value transference (as Trump seems to understand) have a lower tax rate than people working at real value-creating jobs like engineers.

Trump is more than just the best immigration plan.

Thank you “Perez HBD” for the tip.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 24, 2015 at 3:24 PM

Posted in Politics, Taxes

Donald Trump in the NY Times

An article in yesterday’s NY Times is that paper’s first that takes Trumps candidacy seriously:

A review of public polling, extensive interviews with a host of his supporters in two states and a new private survey that tracks voting records all point to the conclusion that Mr. Trump has built a broad, demographically and ideologically diverse coalition, constructed around personality, not substance, that bridges demographic and political divides. In doing so, he has effectively insulated himself from the consequences of startling statements that might instantly doom rival candidates.

The point of the article is that Trump leads among every category of voter that the authors of the article can identify, and the article pours could water on those who are waiting for Trump’s political incorrectness to finally catch up with him:

His most offensive utterances have, for many Republicans, confirmed his status as a unique outsider willing to challenge conventions, and satisfied a craving for plain-spoken directness.

Asked if Mr. Trump had crossed a line with his language, Carl Tomanelli, 68, a retired New York City police officer in Londonderry, N.H., seemed surprised by the question.

“People are starting to see, I believe, that all this political correctness is garbage,” he said. “I think he’s echoing what a lot of people feel and say.”

It is the Lion’s personal prediction that Trump can go all the way because of a factor that the Times article overlooks or ignores, which is that Trump’s natural opposition is divided into two mutually antagonistic camps. There’s the evangelical Christian anti-abortion camp which will want to vote for a hardcore anti-abortion warrior (currently Ben Carson is in the lead although Huckabee still has a good chance to pick up that vote), and a pro-business traditional-candidate camp which supports Jeb Bush. So if the anti-Trump vote splits between Jeb Bush and Carson/Huckabee/someone else, then Trump can win the nomination even if he only gets around 50% of the vote. Although, because everyone lover a winner even if the winner is Donald Trump, after Trump dominates in the initial primaries, his support will increase to a stronger majority.

* * *

Meanwhile, the latest online Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that Trumps lead has increased to 32%, and Trump also leads when people are given a choice between just Trump, Bush and Carson, demonstrating my point that the anti-Trump vote is likely to split.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 23, 2015 at 12:52 PM

Posted in Politics

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