Income chasm widens in San Diego

Private manufacturing only 5.3 percent of jobs here

The income gap between San Diego’s very richest and everybody else is widening, but still, inequality here remains less scary than it is in the nation as a whole. That may partially explain why Occupy San Diego has been less rancorous than similar protest demonstrations in other cities.

In an attempt to measure income inequality, the United States Census Bureau’s American Community Survey publishes a “Gini coefficient” for various metro areas. In a coefficient of 0, income is perfectly distributed — every breadwinner brings home an identical slice of bacon. A coefficient of 1 means that one household collects all the loot. Most cities rank between 0.4 and 0.5. Only a few metro areas, such as New York City and towns in Connecticut’s Gold Coast, have coefficients above 0.5 — reflecting, respectively, the presence of obscenely paid Wall Streeters and billion-dollar-a-year hedge fund operators.

In 1990, San Diego’s Gini coefficient was 0.428, well below the nation’s 0.445. Equality (well, sort of) reigned. It didn’t last. In 2000, the local Gini had risen to 0.455 but was below the nation’s 0.463. Last year, San Diego’s had inched up to 0.458 but remained below the nation’s 0.469.

Liberals and conservatives have different explanations for the gap between the rich and the rest. Liberals tend to blame three decades of tax policies favoring the rich; the influence of big money on politicians; companies’ shipping of jobs to low-wage nations to bolster short-term profits; the rapid decline of private sector labor unions; the escalation of top management pay; companies’ reluctance to hire even though they sit on cash; and high corporate profits in a weak economy.

Conservatives may agree with some of those arguments, but they tend to stress the rapid growth of high-tech jobs that require intensive education and hence higher pay.

San Diego’s experience can buttress both points of view.

San Diego companies have moved many jobs overseas. Private sector manufacturing is only 5.3 percent of the local workforce, compared with 6.9 percent nationally. Chief executives of local tech companies often rake in high pay. Last year, Qualcomm’s boss, Paul Jacobs, took in $17.6 million, which is 520 times the median workers’ pay, according to the AFL-CIO. Gregory Lucier of Life Technologies grabbed $11.5 million, or 339 times what the working stiff makes, while Illumina’s Jay Flatley got $6.6 million and NuVasive’s Alexis Lukianov $6.2 million.

The ordinary tech employee makes more than those in other professions. According to the occupational employment statistics of the California Employment Development Department, San Diego computer and information systems managers average $128,628 a year, biochemists make $95,772, space scientists $118,919, and computer programmers $78,775.

Contrast those figures with bartenders $20,850, waiters and waitresses $20,235, short-order cooks $23,279, and maids $21,366.

According to the 2010 census, the county’s poverty rate rose to 14.8 percent last year from 11.1 percent in 2007, which was recession-free until late in the year. Median household income dropped to $59,923 from $60,231 in 2009.

Sums up Corinne Wilson, research and policy lead of the labor-oriented Center on Policy Initiatives, “San Diego is creating more jobs with low wages and also low wage growth — in tourism, for example. If you look at the major development projects the City is talking about, the Chargers stadium and convention center expansion, these [would not be creating] high-paying jobs and do not come with benefits — unless there can be some mechanism to make them good jobs. The top 20 percent of San Diegans capture 49 percent of the income generated in San Diego County. This problem is not going to end until we get people back to work in middle-class jobs with benefits.”

Kelly Cunningham, chief economist for the National University System Institute for Policy Research, says that tech is San Diego’s savior. He figures that the average tech/biotech salary in San Diego last year was $93,800, more than double the $45,000 average salary of nontech workers. Without a doubt, the higher tech salaries contribute to the big wage disparities. He laments, “We have lost some tech jobs to overseas, such as in communications and recreation equipment,” but all told, “We have been able to retain tech jobs; otherwise, the economy would have been much worse.”

What’s more, there is a big ripple effect from technology — that is, jobs that are created indirectly from the county’s concentration in technology. In 1990, tech jobs were 11.1 percent of San Diego employment. Now they are 11.2 percent. However, if you count the indirect contribution (suppliers and service providers, for example), technology is responsible for 29.3 percent of San Diego jobs. “We need more high-tech workers,” says Cunningham.

W. Erik Bruvold, president of the National University System Institute for Policy Research, concedes that “Over the last 20 years, the upper 10 to 20 percent has seen almost all the income gains.” (Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz points out that the richest 1 percent owns 40 percent of the nation’s wealth.)

But Bruvold says there are flaws in the Gini coefficient. For example, the nation is growing older, and as people go into retirement, income decreases. “That may be another reason for the inequality,” he says. “I would say the growth in tech and the aging of the population contribute to the increase in inequality in the Western democracies,” including San Diego.

In any case, it is clear that while the San Diego establishment pushes for low-wage, no-benefit jobs provided by a convention center expansion and a new football stadium, more money and effort should be put into providing higher-paying tech jobs. The Gini coefficient might continue rising, but overall, the county would be better off.

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Of course we have growing income disparity. 40% of California's kids don't finish high school yet the world's economy relies more and more on knowledge rather than brawn and endurance. Income disparity should suprise no one - it is a natural outcome of failing too many of our kids for too many decades, by social promotion, teaching soft skills rather than real skills (reading, writing, arithmetic and critical thinking), and offering a generous social safety net to those who choose not to complete thier education while offering aggressive income redistribution to those who do. Bringing high paying tech jobs to San Diego will not help the undereducated in our community, they are not qualifed to do the work.

The idea is that as the tech companies expand, there will be in-migration of educated folks to fill the posts. However, we have lost some good tech jobs, as increasingly manufacturing jobs are shifted overseas and biotechs farm out their research to foreign countries. Best, Don Bauder

I agree it would be great if San Diego could attract more high tech jobs. Its just not going to do anything for the income disparity, because the people here who have low wage jobs will not be hired into the high wage tech jobs but will stay in the same low wage jobs. As you note, people from out of town would move here to take those spots. Which is the core of the problem, right? Our State and Local establishments have failed to deliver the right mix of tax, infrastructure, educated potential employees. Why come here and pay high tax, deal with an oppressive regulatory regime in a bankrupt state and a nearly bankrupt city when they can go to world class places like Singapore, Hong Kong, Netherlands, parts of Eastern Europe? Lower tax, less regulation, more educated workforce, business friendly government, better services and infrastructure. No amount of marketing and civic pleading will overcome the fundamentals - we need to fix the fundamentals - only then will the jobs come.

Those words "business friendly environment" are dynamite -- that is, loaded. Most executives won't admit it, but what they mean by "business friendly" is massive subsidies without regulation -- in short, corporate welfare run amok. That is not healthy to enterprise. Best, Don Bauder

By the way, its not just overseas that we are competing with. Petco recently relocated about 100 IT positions to Austin Texas. Lower cost, better services, better educated workforce lower taxes and a government that is not bankrupt.

It appears as if Petco is moving much more than 100 jobs to San Antonio. In fact, I think it represents the start of moving the entire corporate hq there. They cite lower costs as a reason, along with "quality of life." Never having visited San Antonio, I can't say for sure, but I really doubt that folks in San Diego will find the quality of life in Texas any sort of improvement.

This just another episode in the saga of loss of jobs from California to lower-cost and more "business-friendly" locales.

Don, You are absolutely correct that the San Diego establishment pushes big gaudy projects that do little for the long term health of our economy. The hospitality industry may create a larger quantity of jobs but they are mostly low wage and would require substantial social services (affordable housing,etc.) The environmentalists go along with this scenario because manufacturing is "dirty" and uses lots of resources. Jonnycsd is correct that education is the key to future success. A good balance of high tech, manufacturing and hospitality may be the right fit for San Diego. I just wish some of our civic leaders would look beyond downtown and not get quite so hung up on stadiums and convention centers.

The establishmentarians pushing the downtown legacy projects such as a Chargers stadium and convention center expansion are looking out for their own interest, not the community's interest. A sports stadium doesn't beget economic growth. Look at Petco Park. The retail and office buildings were never built, the condos are having troubles and even the park itself isn't attracting as many fans as Qualcomm did in the Padres' final years there. Best, Don Bauder

MORE ARGUMENTS HELPING THE OCCUPIERS: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a study today (Oct. 26) that supports the points that the Occupy Wall Street and related protest groups are trying to make. The CBO says that between 1979 and 2007, the richest 1% saw their inflation-adjusted, after-tax household income almost triple. It grew by 275% in those years. The 19% just below the top 1% saw their incomes grow a far slower 65% in the period. For the bottom 20%, the income growth was just 18%. The 60% of Americans in the middle saw income growth of less than 40%. Best, Don Bauder

But you ought to accurately detail the specific reasons(facts not editorial, hyperbole, or cliche) why the incomes of the richest grew more than the lower quintiles, and not leave it to the reader to discern. Furthermore, it would be remiss if one did not factor in the effects of the Fed, the debasement of the dollar, the inflation of commodities, failed governmental subsidies and programs(this has huge effects on income...eg: corn/ethanol market 2007-9) the effects of taxation, government distortion of the credit markets, and other non free-market effects on income. I would be glad to offer facts, but am totally done with debating flamboyant posters with Napoleonic complexes who post ~6000 posts of hot air in ~1000 days. I suspect that an enlightening exchange of ideas can be shared on this forum, but only if there is mutual respect and an aura of geniality.

We welcome your input. Aim your barbs at me rather than some other poster. Frankly, I think Fed policy, particularly since 2008, has greatly exacerbated income inequality. Commodity inflation has hit the middle and lower quintiles the hardest. Best, Don Bauder

I would suggest that Fed policy since Burns has been contrary to the benefit of the lower and middle quintiles.

I think you are right that Fed policy since Burns has hurt the lower and middle quintiles, with one exception: a guy named Miller (can't remember his first name and not even sure of his last name) briefly occupied the post during Jimmy Carter's presidency. Inflation then hit the stock market, and hence the upper crust. Volcker, named by Carter under pressure, vowed to break inflation's back and did. But he had to push interest rates up to the heavens (as I recall, above 20% at one point). This also briefly hurt stocks and exacerbated income and wealth inequality. However, once the bull market began under Volcker in the early 1980s, the gap widened again. Best, Don Bauder

Yeah, Miller left the Fed to become the Sec. of the Treasury. Was that a dumb move or what?

Furthermore, I don't suffer fools gladly, I have no barbs to aim and only respond in kind.

Only fools suffer fools gladly. Best, Don Bauder

But you ought to accurately detail the specific reasons(facts not editorial, hyperbole, or cliche) why the incomes of the richest grew more than the lower quintiles, and not leave it to the reader to discern.

OK Jeff, the richest 1% saw their incomes grow at exponential rates due to them buying off the Clowngress through CAMPAIGN CASH. 72K lobbyists for 535 elected officals. That is why in a nutshell

Thank you Jeff for giving me a chance to point out WHY the rich go richer and the poor got poorer. Which you still don't get.

I would be glad to offer facts, but am totally done with debating flamboyant posters with Napoleonic complexes who post ~6000 posts of hot air in ~1000 days.

Oh brother;

Definition of IRONY

1: a pretense of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other's false conceptions conspicuous by adroit questioning —called also Socratic irony

2a : the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning

Again,"The more you generalize about a population, the less you know about any individual in that population." --Henry Geiger

"Macroeconomics" is, by definition, far, far away from the real phenomena from which it is reduced. It is a topsy-turvy, Barnum & Bailey, make-us-believe world, my dear Watson, it's only a paper moon, sun, and stars, consisting of nothing, nothing, NOTHING!

We are beginning to hear That Giant Sucking Sound loudly. It is the mega-feedback loop coming 'round, and indiscriminately foreclosing upon Wonderland. The bubbles are all popping (then "Dot-Coms," perhaps the emptiest of all, then the real estate one, now the student-loan one, and next, dear Alice, the looking glass will reveal the horrid image of the reductionists behind the "blessed" and most beautiful, sagging and puffed-up, droopy-lidded assessors, coming full circle from oil-paints to just so much carbon . . . elemental and black, as the tires that have contained it burn in the streets amidst the writhing masses breathing their last while the self-defined Lords of the Market "trade" only with each other in a final, stupid act of pitiful desperation. All of the Golden-Goose consumers that bought their shit will then have no more NO MORE CONSUMING POWER. The illusion is finished. Dorian, the Mad Queen, the Hatter, the Jokers All, all will have nothing left but to defend themselves from each other, tongues no longer sharp enough, no self-image admiring enough, no Predators high-flying enough, to escape the chambermaids poison.

Then, THEN comes the question for which there is no answer--WHAT THEN? What then INDEED?

Without question, the middle quintiles are suffering from unemployment and overleverage. One day, business executives and government bureaucrats and politicians will wake up to see that their policies are destroying what was once the greatest market in the world. Today, they don't care. Tomorrow, they will care -- deeply, because it will affect their own pocketbooks. Best, Don Bauder

...no escape from the chambermaid's poison.

Thanks Twister...may I use that?


I worked in computer and information systems for many years. I continue to perform consulting on a part-time basis. The problem in IT/IS is that the hardware and software platforms are constantly evolving. Retraining is part of the demands of a successful IT career. However, as any older person knows, it can become tiring and frustrating after many years in the field. Doctors, lawyers, accountants and engineers all must continue their educations. I feel that IT/IS careers have an excessive burden of retraining and relearning entirely new systems over the years.

In addition, many of these jobs are being either in-sourced with H-1B visa holders (which increased by 24% last year, in spite of our dismal economy) as well as outsourcing millions of technology jobs to India and China. In fact, companies like Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Sun, Apple, Cisco, Motorola, Intel and many other U.S. “based” companies are hiring thousands of people in India today.

I encourage people to consider careers that cannot be outsourced. Firefighting, police, government jobs, electrician, chef, and healthcare – you get the picture. Regardless of the political rhetoric about “bringing jobs back,” they pace at which white collar jobs move overseas is only going to increase.

Just the other day India announced plans to create 100 Million manufacturing jobs over the next 10 years (by 2022). This is the story in BusinessWeek: . http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-10-25/india-approves-manufacturing-policy-to-create-100-million-jobs.html. To be cont.

We have been following the H-1B controversy here at the Reader. You can get to the pieces through the search box. The jobs you mentioned are less likely to be sent to foreign countries. This is why the strongest labor unions are now the government workers unions. The tigers of old-- Steelworkers, Rubberworkers, Autoworkers, etc. -- are now simply pussy cats, in size and puissance. Best, Don Bauder

India Approves Manufacturing Policy to Create 100 Million Jobs

. http://tinyurl.com/India100MillionJobs .

India is the major participant in the H-1B program, too. Best, Don Bauder

Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson’s new book Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy is getting a ton of press. The reason why isn’t hard to spot: The central argument that smart machines are now replacing white-collar workers and that, economically speaking, that might not be automatically good news, plays on sky-high unemployment anxiety and our nagging sense that maybe we’ve been too uncritical about the tech that’s weaving itself ever more firmly into our lives.

David Autor is an economist at MIT who . . . writes that labor markets worldwide are rapidly becoming polarized and he sees a clustering of job opportunities at opposite ends of the skills spectrum.

At one end of the spectrum are low-paying service-oriented jobs that require personal interaction and the manipulation of machinery in unpredictable environments. Examples might include driving a vehicle in traffic, cooking food in a busy kitchen, or taking care of cranky pre-schoolers. Unless people decide to freight their toddlers to India for cheaper childcare, these tasks will still need to be performed locally . . . To the extent that many service jobs involve human interaction, they also require skills such as empathy and interpersonal communication.

At the other end of the spectrum are jobs that require creativity, ambiguity, and high levels of personal training and judgment. These jobs tend to pay well, because they require skill sets that are more difficult to replicate.

The job opportunities of the future require either high cognitive skills, or well-developed personal skills and common sense. In a nutshell, people will need to be either “smart” or “nice” to be successful . . . Luddites should take notice — computers just might push us to do work that is meaningful and enables us to become better people.

Source: gigaom.com

You make very good points. Clearly, the growth of skill-requiring tech jobs is one reason for the wealth and income chasm. Best, Don Bauder

A country cannot successfully develop scientific innovation without the underlying foundation of industry and manufacturing. When manufacturing is outsourced, science follows too.

Manufacturing is no longer vibrant in America. Vibrant is the financial industry, attracting the "best and the brightest" (perhaps the greediest), and producing derivatives, credit swaps and speculative bubbles. All this is very profitable for a small group of people, but detrimental for the whole society.

You are absolutely correct, and that is what Occupy Wall Street is all about. Financial engineering piles up money for a small group of greedy people, but is actually deleterious to society in general. Best, Don Bauder

Ponzi made an excellent point, and the sooner people wake up to the fact that manufacturing is what makes or breaks a country the sooner we will get out of the hole we are in.

As for technology-NO ONE innovates like America-no one, and the reason is because we have the best higher education system in the world, which when combined with a capitalistic system has no boundries. But other countries are moving in and catching up to us.

Watch this 8 minute video where Vermont Rep (now Senator) Bernie Sanders DESTROYS Alan "Mr. Bubble" Greenspan;

Epstein has a very interesting take on this, and I personally agree with most of his erudite comments. http://video.pbs.org/video/2160792049

Sorry, I disagree with just about everything Epstein says. He says that wealth and income inequality is good because it stimulates innovation -- drives people to create so they will get rich. Then he cites Steve Jobs as an example. Everything I have read and heard about Steve Jobs is that he was motivated by a desire to create innovative products for the world, to make history. He had a vision. Money was simply not his major motivation. Epstein thinks lower tax rates stimulate innovation, get rich people to create more. This is just more supply side bunk. The moderator points out that the U.S. had its greatest expansionary period when marginal tax rates were much higher than they are today. Today's low tax rates HAVE created more innovation among the greediest people --those in financial engineering. They HAVE created some innovative products -- derivatives, for example. Look at what they have done for us -- just about pushed us into the abyss. Best, Don Bauder

Actually, the moderator had it wrong saying that the US had its greatest expansionary period when taxes were much higher. This is patently untrue. The period from 1865-1900 when there were no income taxes was the most expansionary time in the US history. In 1865-1869 the growth in GDP was ~4.2%/year from 1869-1879 the growth in GDP was ~6.8%/year and from 1879-1900 the growth in GDP was ~5.2%/year. Plus, the GDP then wasn't falsely inflated because that period(1865-1900) of time wasn't really inflationary, in fact it was a little deflationary with the shortage of coinage, specie etc, gold-silver parity etc.

But again you make the same old argument for higher taxes for the rich. In the entire population of the world, you are a 1%er. If you are so concerned with the top 1% paying more taxes, then why don't you step up to the plate and pay more to the treasury and be a leader rather than suggesting that the other guy pay more. You can make your gifts to the treasury here: Gifts to the United States U.S. Department of the Treasury Credit Accounting Branch 3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D Hyattsville, MD 20782

Do you really think that higher taxes will do anything to get us out of this financial mire? The government owes more money than the freaking money supply, that's how bad it is. No matter what they do, no matter how far they kick the can down the road, this is not going to end well. Best thing to do is protect yourself because our trusted politicians on both sides of the aisle don't have our interests at heart.....at all.

Comparing growth rates of 1865-1900 with current growth rates is invidious indeed. America was young and flexing its muscles. It was emerging from a war that devastated the country and thus coming from a very low statistical base. I doubt if taxes had much to do with growth in that period. I admit that comparing the 1950s and 1960s, when taxes were quite high, with the current period is invidious, too, although less so. I was a good friend of Art Laffer when the whole supply side movement began in the 1970s, and for decades after that. I also knew Jack Kemp well. I was never a supply sider, but I was intrigued with their arguments. Now I see that supply side economics was basically a political tool; the Democrats had tax and spend, elect and elect; with supply side economics, the Republicans had cut taxes and spend, elect and elect, and damn the deficits. Now look what we have: a stalemate that is devastating to our country. I really don't think tax rates have that great an effect on economic activity -- some, but not much. And the argument that we must cut taxes of the rich so they will provide jobs is pathetically false. Almost every day you read of an executive who got a big raise because he slashed employment and improved profits. Cutting taxes for the rich leads to fewer jobs; why do you think our manufacturing base was shipped overseas? It was to jack up short term profits, partly so CEOs could rake in even more ridiculous pay. Look what that has done to the country. Best, Don Bauder

Jeff, your point is that high taxes discourage innovation. If geeks like me don't get to keep all our big pay, we won't contribute to society.

Jeff, I've worked in IT for decades, around the world, with all kinds of talented hard-working creative people, some true geniuses...and none of them was particularly money motivated.

We make what we make because of the desire to see things work. We create new products because we want to show off to our peers, because we think it's inherently interesting, or could be useful to someone. We want to control complex systems, get the satisfaction of knowing we've created something no one else could make, and not least we like to feel smart, smug, and superior to the "ordinaries" who will never understand what we are able to do.

Money? Are you kidding? Once we've got enough for ordinary purposes, we don't really care that much. Witness the extravagant and wasteful splurges we are famous for. When I was 15 I was at the first US Festival, paid for by Steve Wozniak (who is much more of a geek hero that Jobs), where he was explicit about his motivations and the role of money in his world view.

Jeff...you simply don't know what you're talking about. You can speak for what motivates speculators and money managers and day traders...and it's probably true that these parasites are motivated simply by greed to "innovate" new tricks and scams.

But Jeff, you have zero authority or credibility when it comes to explaining the motivation of those of us who actually PRODUCE something of value in this world.

We do it for higher and better moral reasons than explained in your narrow world view.


Fred Williams

Fred, it's cool to call me a parasite, but when guys like you need money, they come to guys like me. I suspect that your statement about production is rather inaccurate as I am willing to bet that I produce much more than you do in the scheme of life. In addition to trading I own a fair amount of ag land and keep it productive. As far as my production goes, last year I produced 960 boxes of oranges on a little grove I own. I own a little cattle heard and last season produced 36 heifers calves that weighed out at an average of 506 lbs. Might not be much to a big player like you, but my production is of tangible things, not IT and other cerebral bullshit. I have a quarter section of cotton(850 lbs/acre) and a whole section of soybeans(125-130bu/acre) under cultivation. FWIW, I love to use Monsanto GM seeds. I have invested my money to provide multiple revenue streams and I produce actual....stuff, lots of it. You are the person who doesn't produce anything except the intangible.....intangible stuff that's very similar to what you accuse me of doing. The world doesn't need people like you, but it needs me. And in your own self-deluded, sanctimonious way, you think that you have the moral high ground...keep thinking that, just keep thinking that. I'm just curious what guys like you will do if and when the entire system comes crashing down. The world will go on just fine without IT geeks like you, but it does need food produced from businessmen like me.

Sadly, but typically, you've missed the point yet again, Jeff.

The point, (re-read please), is that creative people don't need low taxes as incentive for creating.

Since you don't create anything (you may have a share in those agricultural enterprises, but from your blog it's clear you have little physical involvement) you have no standing to declare that all the creative IT people will stop producing because of higher marginal tax rates.

I refuted you very clearly. Would you like to rebut what I wrote instead of going off on yet another self-indulgent tangent?



The point is that money is the sole motivation for the financial engineers among us -- the very people we could do without. Best, Don Bauder

Fred, of course you refuted me clearly. Just keep thinking that and have a nice day. But since I said that I agreed with MOST of Epstein's points, "Most" means that I do not agree with all of them. You went on this wild speculative binge assuming I said that creative people need low taxes as an incentive for creating. Since I didn't say that, and I haven't told you precisely what of Epstein's ideas I agree with, you are arguing up a blind alley.

So in that case, what do you actually think, Jeff?

Originally you say that you mostly agree with the erudite commenter you linked to, and now you back away, cherry-picking the bits you like, without even identifying them. Did they teach that to you when you studied business?

Sure, it makes your position impervious to argument...but it also makes your argument impervious to comprehension.

So rather than asserting (repeatedly) your financial, intellectual, and moral superiority (all of which are debatable), take a clear position that you won't back away from.

As to your hilarious screed above...that one's going into the archives.



  • P.s. Maybe this link sums up your position?


Care to comment?

Fred, you are a beauty. I noticed your inability to sift through facts and some kind of dissociative disorder you seem to have when you came over to my blog, tried to stir things up, totally confused me with another commenter and you said, "Do you turn every conversation into a rant about “liberals” and another opportunity to showcase your intellectual superiority? You must be great fun at parties…" You confused me with another person and railed against me. I notice it here also. Furthermore, I love the way you hide behind proxy servers. Fast with an opinion, yet wrong about everything, especially when you try to use your poor abysmal powers of deduction. Along with that other whackjob, I will not be commenting when you try to engage me because you're simply not worth wasting 5 minutes a day on.

Definitely, the world needs those who produce agricultural products. Take a bow. But the world could get along fine without day traders, HFT, LBO, M&M, derivatives ad nauseam that are produced by financial engineers. Best, Don Bauder

Jeff, you may be a PASSIVE investor in some of these ventures you have cited, but the notion that you can run and manage a legit business-like cattle- is a RIOT.

You could not manage a business, not even Amway, if your life depended on it.

Fred, that's the bottom line: only money motivates financial engineers. The results of that motivation (derivatives, etc.) have proved extremely deleterious to the world economy. Bottom line: supply side strategies motivate crooks. But there are many other factors motivating others in society, such as geeks and journalists. Best, Don Bauder

I've noticed that uninformed people like to blame liquidity providers (middlemen) for the ills of markets. Ills of markets are defined as the market going in the opposite direction as to how they want it to go, as they have always done throughout history.

Don, you speak the truth, and you don't play games with ghostly "statistics."

As to taxing the rich, this is a whole pile of red herrings. Why the talking heads, the Democrats, and other blowhards don't ever mention the fact that everybody pays the lower rate of their first $100,000, first million, first billion, or wherever the break point is set. When they imply that all of their money will be taxed at the higher rate, they are laying down a smokescreen.

It's a game of chicken, and nobody is going to say "uncle," even if it means that Uncle Sam gets it in the ass.


David Cay Johnston's books explain the tax gimmicks. Best, Don Bauder

From the income statistics, it's clear that Jesus was misquoted. What he really must have said:

"The geeks shall inherit the earth."

Wonderful line. Except the geeks are smart enough to give it back now. Best, Don Bauder

We geeks give money back because it wasn't what we were really looking for when we got it.

Some of the work I'm proudest of cost me all my money...and sometimes the most lucrative work was trivial bull that I cannot even remember. There's little correlation between the financial rewards and the other, far more important rewards.

I think giving it away, or spending it on projects that have little chance of making money but "matter" for other reasons is fairly common among us "geeks". And the quiet good we do in the world is sometimes far greater than the visible and lauded "philanthropy" of the financial titans.

Nobody can make it in the IT world if they're greedy. The culture is oriented toward sharing, mostly information, and giving credit based on real accomplishment rather than transitory social status.

Hoarding is antithetical to us.

It's the opposite from the financial manipulator who will hide the facts, dissemble and distort, trick and trap others into making a mistake so they can collect money. Our prestige is found in exposing error and correcting others, preventing mistakes...the money be damned.

At least those are the kinds of people I work with, and I'm proud to know them, privileged to spend my days with them, and enriched enough that I can be generous too.

It's kinda sad to contemplate the weak, paranoid, and delusional mindset of those who hoard, grabbing and gobbling, never content to enjoy their own meal but demanding what's on other's plates as well.

Scientists have identified the traits of psychopaths who have these anti-social urges. Perhaps it's time to begin testing for this, and putting them into counselling and rehabilitation instead of the corporate boardrooms and trading floors.

(Just kidding...relax Jeff, I won't put you in a re-education camp.)



I don't agree that nobody can make it in IT if they are greedy. We agree that greed isn't the main motivator for many who succeed in tech industries, but there are greedy rascals who make it and flaunt it. How about Larry Ellison of Oracle?

This is one great column.

I think every US citizen should understand the GINI index. The CBO Report has implications far beyond San Diego and these factors support the message of "Occupy Wall Street" even more....

1) One has to compare income inequality and public (governmental) support for social and economic justice around the world. In these comparisons San Diego, California and the USA have an astonishing and tragic deficit. According to the CIA sample Gini indices are: Sweden 0.23, Canada 0.32, UK 0.34, Japan 0.38, China 0.413, Russia 0.42, USA total 0.45, Mexico 0.482. It is not an overstatement to say income/social structure in our whole country is on full tilt and we have become a "banana republic." These observations are reenforced by a recent analysis based on OECD Gini figures (which are about 0.5 points lower for each country) published in as "Social Justice in the OECD: How do the Member States Compare?" published in 2011 by Bertelsmann Foundation (available on the web)with many comparisons to counties around the world including the USA. In income inequality we are well behind many countries around the world that we look on with disdain.

2) The current government fiscal and tax policies which support the income of the top earners are in fact new since 1980 and before that since World War II they had a broad leveling impact.It seems to me that the current disaffection of America with government and its agency (which can ultimately create remedies for our country)has its origin in a the playbook of deregulation promoted by the very 1% who profit from these policies and brought on the great collapse of 2008.

3)I would refer you to a recent best seller around the world: "The Spirit Level" written by Wilkerson and Pickett, two English medical epidemiologists, that demonstrates that in developed countries many parameters of social morbidity from alcoholism to teenage pregnancies to obesity to math skills and literacy to longevity to homicides to life expectancy are highly correlated not with a country's wealth (i.e. income per capita) but to the equality of its income distribution (Gini index.)

Yes, with OWS and the Tea Party these are tumultuous domestic times. They reflect the underlying public failures best represented by our horrible Gini index.The economic contraction of 2008 has not been handled well by public policy under our current politicians. Both political parties seem to be in the hands of the 1%. I would hope you would take the time to look at these powerful references and write a future column about this huge problem at the heart of America's achieving its ideals.

I agree that high Gini coefficients are a sorry indication of a society out of whack -- indeed, they suggest that an economy may really be a plutonomy (an economy that is designed to reward the wealthy) and the political system is a plutocracy (government by the rich and for the rich.) There are lots wrong with Gini coefficients, but by and large they are good indicators of societal balance. Best, Don Bauder

The CIA says that GINIs over 40 portend unstable societies. The only contemporary USA public official to raise this parameter in public is Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski, former Secretary of State.

It seems to me that the current disaffection of America with government and its agency (which can ultimately create remedies for our country)has its origin in a the playbook of deregulation promoted by the very 1% who profit from these policies and brought on the great collapse of 2008.

Listen to this, it is exactly on point;

Time was, fifty or sixty years ago, that there was still a kind of "honor among executives" code that said that one strike of dishonesty and you were out of the network, a financially fatal ostracization in those days . . . The "paper millionaires" were viewed with disgust and contempt by the industry giants who actually did something in exchange for their largesses.

Such executives, like Lloyd Sigmon of Golden West Broadcasters, for example, were people who had actually worked for a living and advanced in their field through the ranks.

I don't remember just when the MBA's started to rear their homely heads, but I think it might have been about that time, in the '50's or '60's--I first ran into them in the late '50's. Maybe some paper millionaire can be stimulated by my ignorance to straighten me out. Or maybe a real student of economics.

In re: By dbauder 10:19 p.m., Oct 29, 2011

My late mother (who would be 112 this February, but she died at 97), always used to say that in her day, money had an odor. There were crooks who got rich, but they were shunned by society. But just read the society news in San Diego; the biggest crooks in town are celebrated, and members of the inner circle. Best, Don Bauder

Maybe some paper millionaire can be stimulated by my ignorance to straighten me out. == Where is Jeff when you need him?????

Or maybe a real student of economics.

Oppssss.. that counts Jeff out :)

I'll stand up for Jeff. I believe he is a real student of markets and of economics. I disagree with some of his conclusions, but I respect his knowledge. Best, Don Bauder

They don't call 'em confidence men for nothin'.

Bless your mother! My kinda woman!

Bless your mother! My kinda woman!

Yes, I'll second that nmotion!

Here is a great 4 minute video of a former federal regulator on the problems we have, and he blames Bernanke, Geitner and Greenspan-I agree with him 100%-this guy is so on the money;

. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XJe7O... .

One more, a little bit longer at 8 minutes-good stuff

You can add Larry Summers and Robert Rubin to the list of villains. Best, Don Bauder

Mother was wise beyond her years (97 when she died.) Best, Don Bauder

That pretty wise, if years count. Still, 97 is pretty good. Can you imagine, though, how much damage some others could do if they lived for, say, 150 years?

As Margaret Mead once remarked, "It's not living longer that counts, it's living better!" (or something to that effect)

Could that principle be applied to money?

"As Margaret Mead once remarked, "It's not living longer that counts, it's living better!" (or something to that effect) "

So true twister!

I was deeply saddened to see one of my role models-Jack laLanne- die last year at age 94.........

You'll make it past 94, though, SP. Best, Don Bauder

Some of Margaret Mead's findings have been pretty thoroughly debunked. Best, Don Bauder

How is that remark responsive to my comment, or, for that matter, the subject at hand?

Please provide references, Don, and unless you know more than I do about her, don't spread gossip, "academic" or otherwise. If you're going to make such comments in public, please take responsibility for seeing them through.

Normally, I would expect you to confine your comments to the remarks quoted. Character assassination is not, I thought, your style. At least stick to your own subject and relevant comments and leave the kangaroo-courting to the academic pyramid-climbers. Or defend the detractors and say whether or not you have ANYTHING good to say about her. She is not here to defend herself. Gruff she may have been, and she didn't suffer fools lightly but I never knew her to shrink from honest criticism. I await your citation of the specifics upon which your libelous comments are made. But, hey, you can't libel the dead, can you? But SHOULD you?

I would put her in a class with you, Don--almost perfect, but not quite. My confidence in what you say is shaken, but this one has stirred me up. Re-establish our Bond, please, and your almost-perfect image in mah mahind. Have a Martini and chill, man . . .

Goodness gracious. Mead's conclusions about the sexual mores of younger women in Samoa have been criticized by numerous scholars as well as by Samoans. The work lacked scientific rigor. Her sample size was too small, among many things. You can find many criticisms about her other work, too. Best, Don Bauder

Not to mention the body of her research was collected over 80 years ago. The entire world has changed many times over since then.

All I said was, "As Margaret Mead once remarked, "It's not living longer that counts, it's living better!" (or something to that effect). . . Could that principle be applied to money?"

I didn't expect any particular response, but I did expect any response to first be responsive to the question, then to digress at will. Fair enough?

As to the irrelevant digression:

Would you say that the quote stands on its own and should be judged by its content and meaning, or are you implying that because you and others believe that because her work (particularly some of her earliest work--I take it that you are referring to her "popular" book, "Coming of Age In Samoa," written in her twenties) has been criticized by others that Mead herself (and by your implication all her work and everything she has ever said?) is to be tarred by that criticism?

As to the Samoans, their embarrassment is quite possibly the result of their conversion to Christianity; hence an understandable (if adopted) denial reaction. Their denial is not necessarily based upon their social mores at the time of the study.

The jury is always out on such issues, as it should be. But If one is going to besmirch the reputation of others, one should use more care than merely passing along gossip.

Goodness gracious indeed!


PS: I'll tell you a Mead story that happened right here in San Diego. Mead was at San Diego State University talking with a young student volunteer who was very quiet and shy. A bold and aggressive girl got between the shy young woman and Mead, trying to take over the conversation. Mead gently swept her stiff arm in the intruder's direction, causing the girl to back up so Mead could again face the shy young woman. "I'm speaking to her," said Mead.

It's perfectly fair to criticize, but the criticism should be directed at the person being criticized. If one is criticizing a deceased person, one should take even more care to do so in an atmosphere that, if not peer-reviewed, is subject to countering with facts by others who know the deceased's works. Writing popular pot-boilers is just ambushing. Believing them uncritically is, well . . .

If Margaret Mead said it's preferable to live better than to live longer, then I bow to her wisdom, even though I have reservations about some of her research (particularly Coming of Age in Samoa). Best, Don Bauder

Having reservations is a central part of good science and intellectual discipline. You need "bow" to no one in the wisdom department, Don. The context of Mead's remark was a discussion of national health insurance when someone said something about the cost of care for old people who were just going to die anyway. I resemble that remark now, but understood it even then . . . Wisdom was rarely valued, and, if I have any to share, I'd say that the presumption persists that when one retires, one suddenly becomes worthless, not valued--and certainly not more valued. That attitude is cultural, of course.

But I'm giving up on the Mead discussion.

Margaret Mead is a fascinating subject but a little off-topic. I guess I get the blame for that with my gratuitous comment. Best, Don Bauder

Don and Twister, it's an interesting conversation you're having (between the lines) about dealing with quotes when conversing online.

  • Sometimes terrible people say wonderfully insightful things.

  • Often, wonderful people say horribly banal things.

There's no way to separate the author from the quote without losing insight as to its validity, motivations, applicability to the individual who said it, and so on...

Yet if we rigidly apply that standard, then some wonderful quotes would become "forbidden". Do we so wantonly throw away potential wisdom simply because the author was flawed in some way?

I think Twister is saying Mead's quote stands on its own, regardless of how scholars have reassessed her work in the many decades since it was first published. And since the quote had no direct relevance to any controversy about her work or methods, a negative comment about Mead had no place in the discussion, which was about acquiring time v. money as a virtuous goal in living.

That's reasonable.

But what about this:

"The writer is the engineer of the human soul."

I could insert such a quote into a discussion to illustrate a point. If I mention that it was Uncle Joe Stalin who said it though...would I really be surprised if my point was ignored in favor of declaring me a slavish sycophant to a tyrant?

If any people were speaking face to face, or on the phone, and such a quote were dropped casually into the conversation, no attribution would have been expected. No dispute or misunderstanding or tangent would have resulted...but here, in this medium, such things matter disproportionately.

As an amateur quasi/pseudo-sociologist interested in how we use technology to communicate, and particularly how technology changes the nature of the communications, I find this fascinating. So please excuse my commenting on what is, rightfully, a dead issue.

(Feel free to not comment in reply to this...just ruminating here, not seeking a long conversation on this tangental topic.)



I've already confessed that the gratuitous criticisms aimed at Margaret Mead were not relevant to the discussion. Calumnious, no. Irrelevant, yes. Best, Don Bauder

Ah, HA! Speare Shake-ing, tho . . .

Ok, yeah, Williams, so you think all the issues you raise, between and on the lines are ones that we, the twisted minds, are "free" not to comment on, eh? So you think we are not up to the medium or the medium is not up to us or that we are damned to misinterpret and be misinterpreted when squeezed through the blogosphere, eh? So you think we're bound to be disfigured by the constraints of mere pixels, eh?

Well, mister, I'm here to tell you that you are wrong, wrong, WRONG and right, right, RIGHT (as in incorrect and correct)! And furthermore, I'm here to tell you that that's the BEAUTY of it, dag-nabbit!

As Don has said before (I paraphrase), sometimes the tangents prove more interesting (well, more "challenging") than the narrow rails from which they diverged.

SO! NOW! Put that in your pipeline and smoke out the irony!

In re: By Fred_Williams 11:05 p.m., Nov 3, 2011

Before Fred takes a puff he has to figure your message out. I'm still confused. Best, Don Bauder

I put my irony on the fire, careful to keep the powder dry, and with one bird in hand walked past the two Bushes. Knowing that two wrongs cannot make a Wright, but not wanting to be the only one left, I grabbed the bull by the Supervisor Horns, and headed directly toward Tangiers where the Tangents arose.

Now confused, deluded, and gobsmacked, I give myself up to the slings and arrows twisting my direction, outrageous though they be.

"Drink the sky!" commanded the pink stratocaster as it climbed the sofa leg. Yet I had, in my milky innocence, asked for cash up front.


Whatever you do, do NOT mix any metaphors, Fred. Best, Don Bauder

Cereusly, folks, methinks 'tis better to light one little candle than to obfuscate in mirth (or is't?). I don't want to set the world on fi-re, but go, if you will, to this once inky, now pixely spot: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/opinion/oligarchy-american-style.html?_r=1

That was one of Krugman's better columns. And he writes some good ones. Best, Don Bauder

And Krugman writes some really mediocre, partisan stuff also. Here's a totally laughable paper he wrote some time back. http://www.princeton.edu/~pkrugman/interstellar.pdf Sad thing is that Krugman used to be a pretty decent economist in his younger days.

We, the 99.9% need to see the 0.01 percent phenomenon on a graph, its history and development writ large. (Reader geeks, ARISE!)

I'm sure you could find such a graph online. Best, Don Bauder

Those are great data. I have used both before. They both stress income. I faintly remember trying to get similar data on wealth distribution and having a difficult time. Best, Don Baude

I found this interesting:


"Until recently, we were mesmerised by the bosses' self-attribution. Their acolytes, in academia, the media, thinktanks and government, created an extensive infrastructure of junk economics and flattery to justify their seizure of other people's wealth. So immersed in this nonsense did we become that we seldom challenged its veracity."

Ok, but what I was asking was for some astute and honest (great combination, eh?) to tell us, the unknowing what the hell "time" it is and was, over a telling stretch of time, not how to make a watch. However, if I understand all this gobbledego-k* at all, this graph may be close enough--but I really don't know. Of course, pasting such things here is verboten, but you can find it from the label, I reckon.

This graph shows the income of the given percentiles from 1947 to 2007, in 2007 dollars.[13]


*The missing letter is "o". The Great Monitor admonished me to "Watch your mouth!" in ANGRY RED LETTERS and wouldn't let me post that word that had nothing whatsoever to do with the politically incorrect one. Let's try Homo sapiens to see if that is similarly squashed . . . as it was by my WordPerfect program a few years ago, which puffed up in total outrage at my misconduct.

PS: Amazingly, it got through! It appears that if some PICy word is contained in another word, the system lacks the discriminatory sophistication to distinguish prejudice from discrimination. That's all too common amongst the PC Police everywhere of course . . . Hilarious! "Let freedom be dinged, let freedom be dinged--Great -od A'mighty, let freedom be dinged!"

At long last . . . at long last . . . have y'all no sense of humor?

"*The missing letter is "o". The Great Monitor admonished me to "Watch your mouth!" in ANGRY RED LETTERS and wouldn't let me post that word that had nothing whatsoever to do with the politically incorrect one."


You're laughing out loud at homo sapiens or homines sapientes? Have you no respect for your ancestors? Best, Don Bauder

No, I was laughing at "The Great Monitor" title because that clown sent me a stooopid private messege threatening to ban me when I made a sarcastic comment that one of the dorks posting here under the scam for muni $$$ for that Escondido baseball stadium was "Jeff Moorad", who would obviously not be posting here, as he is current the owner of the Pardes.

I guess the "The Great Monitor" did not know who Moorad was or did not udnerstand sarcasm!

I would think our monitors know sarcasm when they see it. Best, Don Bauder

Nope, not this time. Jeff Moorad was not a well known name, and unless you follow sports agents you're not going to know his name..........

Next time try homines sapientes. You should have no problems. Best, Don Bauder

SP, would you clarify to whom you were referring to as "that clown?"

DB, would you consider homeo-sap? I wonder if this should be brought up at the International Committee/Conference on Scientific Nomenclature? I will expect you to testify on my behalf. Especially about what saps we, the <0.01 percent have been taken for. That should cinch it both ways.

It's not enough for you to ask me to testify. The international committee has to extend an invitation. It hasn't. I don't expect it to. Best, Don Bauder

I didn't mean to get you. I meant to enlighten you. Best, Don Bauder

Like all committees, it is an artifact of the Dark Ages. New ideas not welcome there.

SP, would you clarify to whom you were referring to as "that clown?" ;

"The Great Monitor" ....who else???

"....and two useless but true theorems are proved."

So apt a description of the type of work professional academics in social "sciences" most frequently publish.

"Useless but true." Sigh. So much of academic research is devoted to that concept. Best, Don Bauder

That's one of Krugman's many good columns. Best, Don Bauder

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