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A recent analysis of bus drivers for the Minnesota Metro Transit system provided some interesting data:

  • Base pay for drivers is nearly $50,000 a year.
  • The top earner in the system made $120,000 a year.
    • He did this by working, on average, 74 hours a week.
  • Overtime in the system has jumped by 52 percent from 2008 to 2010.
  • A driver on overtime – paid at time and a half – saves Metro Transit $4 an hour on average.
    • This due to the fact that the agency would have to pay for training, additional benefits and pension.
  • A union agreement says that no more than 24 percent of Metro Transit’s workforce can be part time – prompting the agency to turn to overtime.
  • In October, 89 percent of weekday overtime assignments were during rush hour and lasted less than three hours.

The incentives are undeniable.  For a system that demands flexibility; traffic doesn’t occur in neat 8 hour blocks, the rules prohibit the proper response.  Further, regulations surrounding benefits, those benefits that include vacation, retirement and health care, make it more cost effective to work an already employed person than to hire someone else.  And lastly, being a Metro Transit driver isn’t all that bad; 50 large is a good deal of money.

Finally I’d like to point out that for at least one of these drivers, the overtime is a feature and not a bug.  And it’s a feature because of decisions HE’S made in HIS life:

Lance Wallace is happy to drive a few extra hours if it means his wife can stay home with their four children – all younger than 5.

The New Hope man is among the top 5 percent of overtime earners at Metro Transit. Picking up extra shifts and working nearly every day, he averages 60 to 70 hours a week. The $37,700 in overtime he earned last year pushed his total earnings to $86,400.

“I don’t really want to work overtime,” Wallace said. “But I do it to make up the income.”

The extra work doesn’t make him “overly tired,” Wallace said. In fact, after working two jobs before, he “feels good” to now work where he can dictate his own hours.

Mr. Wallace is a father.  A father of FOUR.  A father of FOUR in a family that has the mother stay home.  And of those FOUR kids, all are younger than 5.  And this father of four young children is happy that he’s able to work the hours he does in order to prevent having to carry two jobs.

My point?  Incentives matter.  Raising the cost of hiring means that you will see less hiring.  Wage earners will enjoy working more hours if it benefits them, not the other way around.  Government union work pays well.  People who have 4 kids in 4 years time have a more limited ability to dictate their time.

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For any trivial number N greater than 2 travel coffee mugs, there will ALWAYS be N-2 dirty non-dish washer safe mugs available on the counter.  Further, there will be N-(N-2) dirty dish washer safe mugs in the dish washer.

There is no counter example to this law.

Ever.

Corollary One:

Buying more Travel Mugs does not increase either:

  • The number of clean mugs
  • The chance any mug will be clean

It only increases the number of dirty Travel Mugs at any time.

So, I’m reading a story about an illegal immigrant who is struggling to obtain a kidney transplant.  He has a donor; his brother.  But the system doesn’t allow illegal residents transplant care.  Lifetime dialysis?  Sure.  Transplant?  No.

Anyway, I’m sure I read this somewhere, but it occurred to me that of all the people in the kidney transplant process, the doctors, the hospitals, the nurses everybody, the only person who isn’t compensated for his time and effort is the guy that loses the kidney.

Isn’t that weird?  Maybe if we allowed people to sell their spare kidney we wouldn’t have so many people waiting for a kidney.

In the same way that the Left characterizes climate skeptics as loons, educational reformers as child haters and minimum wage advocates as haters of the poor, the Left characterizes free-market capitalists as greedy bastards.  Any support shown for a system that rewards the successful is immediately attacked as shilling for the rich.

Wanna reduce taxes on corporations because corporations will move to where there are lower taxes?  You support corporate welfare.  Wanna create laws that allow businesses to hire, and then fire, the most qualified and least productive?  Then you don’t care about the poor and disenfranchised.

With all the tribalism in today’s politics you can’t get the concept through the noise.  You’re unable to penetrate the distinction between “my side” and “your side”.  It’s more important to win than it is to create a viable path forward.  I see this often in corporate America.  I see competing managers championing their idea to the detriment of the team.  I feel I’m witnessing the same thing here in our politicians.  It’s more important to “win the debate” than to actually be right.

Because of this, because the Left vilifies all those who want to create a system that rewards the producers while removing the ability to destroy value from the ineffective managers, we will never be able to have a reasonable debate that typically successful people are reasonable people who, as it turns out, love other people:

The donor whose $350 million gift will be critical in building Cornell University’s new high-tech graduate school on Roosevelt Island is Atlantic Philanthropies, whose founder, Charles F. Feeney, is a Cornell alumnus who made billions of dollars through the Duty Free Shoppers Group.

Mr. Feeney, 80, has spent much of the last three decades giving away his fortune, with large gifts to universities all over the world and an unusual degree of anonymity. Cornell officials revealed in 2007 that he had given some $600 million to the university over the years, yet nothing on its Ithaca campus — where he graduated from the School of Hotel Management in 1956 — bears Mr. Feeney’s name.

The $350 million gift, the largest in the university’s history, was announced on Friday, but the donor was not named. Officials at Atlantic Philanthropies confirmed on Monday evening that it was Mr. Feeney, a native of Elizabeth, N.J., who is known for his frugality — he flies coach, owns neither a home nor a car, and wears a $15 watch — as well as his philanthropic generosity, particularly to medical research.

It turns out that capital, in the hands of the skilled, produces significant value to all the world.  And, as a reward, the capitalist acquires significant wealth as well.  And then, in the end, he often gives that wealth away.  As if to say, “I have come, I have made a difference and now it is time for me to give it all back.”

 

So, a little bit of live blogging.  Last week in the comments I posited that the highest paying Majors were not the Majors that graduated the most students.

Let’s look.

According to Time, the top 10 paying Majors are:

Highest-Earning Majors

Thoughts?

7 of the top 7 Majors are engineering.  8 of the top 10.

The other two are very technical majors.

Graduates?

Top 10 Most Popular Majors:

Most Popular Majors

  • Business Management and Administration
  • General Business
  • Accounting
  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Elementary Education
  • Marketing and Marketing Research
  •  General Education
  • English Language and Literature
  • Communications

Not one in common.  Not one.

My advice to Occupy?

Go to school and study a discipline that pays.

I’m always looking for ways to get an edge in parenting.  I love little stories that I can use.  I enjoy toys that tell a story.  And I really Really look forward to sharing pivotal scenes from movies.

I can’t wait to start the tradition of watching “Miracle” this coming February 22nd.  I look forward to the day when I can watch “Old Yeller” with my son.

I’m watching “A League of Their Own” right now.  And this is one of those scenes:

The hard makes it great.

Damn.

So, two months ago local talk radio show hosts were taking phone calls on their show.  The guys at Brad and Britt are Liberal.  I don’t think that they’d object to being described as left of center.  Anyway, they took this call from a listener and it turned out he subscribed to the more conservative point of view.  Britt, clearly having taken the opposite point of view went into his “Little Rush” imitation.  This is where he puts on Rush’s radio bumper music and does a fantastic impression of Rush.  By itself, Little Rush is hilarious and spot on, using it to yell over an earnest caller is obnoxious.

I called him out:

That Tweet got me “blocked”.

Meanwhile, Britt feels it’s totally appropriate to call out Neil Boortz in a much less polite tweet:

This is how the Left rolls.  Free speech for me, censorship for thee.

 

UPDATE:

It would appear that The TalkMaster blocked Britt months ago:

Not sure that this makes any difference what-so-ever, but Britt felt it was important to include.

Done.