Monday, October 18, 2010

ScheduleBase Released

The company that I work for just went live with a great new scheduling product. It is called ScheduleBase and it is amazing what it can do. Check it out.
Please take a look it might help our Google positioning.
Let me know if you have any ideas to make it better.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How Much Tax Will Americans Pay

The problem that I see with our rapidly growing Government is that people have ways of avoiding taxes. For example wives of high earners might work at home providing goods and services for in family consumption  rather than in taxed worked, people might deal more in cash, or provide more of their own services, use barter etc.

For example a family with a low earner and high earner might keep the low earner working to help pay for the insurance, but if Gov. provides the insurance the low earner might quit a taxed job to provide services at home.

So the question  is how much tax will Americans pay before tax avoidance starts to reduces the Government income.

The President's Education Speech

The president's speech mentions affordable college below is an excerpt:
That’s why I’ve set some ambitious goals for this country. ... And producing 8 million more college graduates by 2020 so we can have a higher share of graduates than any other nation on earth.

In a single generation, we’ve fallen from first to twelfth in college graduation rates for young adults. That’s unacceptable, but not irreversible. We need to retake the lead. If we’re serious about making sure America’s workers – and America itself – succeed in the 21st century, the single most important step we can take is to offer all our kids – here in Austin, here in Texas, and across this country – the best education the world has to offer. ...

But we also know that in the coming decades, a person’s success in life will depend more and more not on a high school diploma, but on a college degree, on workforce training, on a higher education. And so, today, I’d like to talk about the higher education strategy we’re pursuing not only to lead the world once more in college graduation rates, but to make sure our graduates are ready for a career; ready to meet the challenges of a 21st century economy.

The first part of our strategy has been making college more affordable. I don’t have to tell you why this is so important – many of you are living each day with worries about how you’re going to pay off your student loans. We all know why. Even as family incomes have essentially flat-lined over the past thirty years, college costs have grown higher and higher. Over the past decade, they’ve shot up faster than housing, faster than transportation, even faster than health care costs. No wonder the amount student borrowers owe has risen almost 25 percent over the past five years.
Isn't producing 8 million more college graduates by 2020 the wrong goal. Shouldn't we first say what skills and knowledge do we want people to have?  Shouldn't we ask  and what is the most efficient way to deliver on that goal.  When people say at we need more education we should all ask them why and what.  If all we want is more college graduates that is easy, all we need to do is make school easier, cheaper, and more enjoyable for the students but I do not think that is what anybody wants (with the possible exception of Tyler Cowan).

We alway need to keep in mind that correlation is not causation.  Having a college degree correlates with all kinds of good things but that does not mean that what is taught and trained in college produces those good things.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Are Domocratic Presidents Better for the Economy

Many have stated that the economy performs so much better under Democratic Presidents.  Unemployment is mostly what people car about economically.  Lets say that by this they mean unemployment is lower under Democratic Presidents.  So to lower unemployment is all we need to do is vote for Democrats for President. 

Here are some problems that with that: 

1.If the statement is based on statistical analysis it is way too small a sample.
2. If it is a principle based point then one exception would prove it wrong. 
3. Nixon was more economically democrat than was Clinton. 
4. All presidents faced different problems.
5. Warren G Harding looks best of all if you look at just the hard facts.  Random?
6. If the people who make this claim are correct then they should blame the current 9.5 percent unemployment  on Barack Obama.

Miller Center Debate: Is the Business Model of Higher Education Broken?

I saw this PBS debate.  The big focus seemed to be how do we get more of our people to get college degrees than other countries. 

For what purpose?  If all you want is more degrees you can just make college easier cheaper and more enjoyable.  But that would destroy the value of the signal. Notice there is no discussion of what skills and knowledge would help people most and what is the best way to get it to the people who need it most. 

I think the myth busters TV show is educational.  Many games computer and others exercise thinking.  History channel teaches history.  PBS teaches cooking and gardening but none of these produces a signal and so the are not discussed when in debates like above.  I consider this proof that schooling is primarily signaling. 

Addition evidence that school in more about signaling/credentials verses education:

Most college professors lack much work experience

Midwives and PA's get the similar outcomes as doctors

If 16 years of education is better for college people can we be sure that it is not better for carpenters? 

Sometimes it is better to be the best  plumber than the worst lawyer.