Twitter & trolls

by winemama

Why Twitter’s Dying (And What You Can Learn From It)

Is twitter dying due to abuse?

Online trolls are psychopaths and sadists, psychologists claim

Have trolls made you leave a social website?


293 thoughts on “Twitter & trolls

  1. I guess I just don’t go where there are trolls. Indeed, I’ve never seen any abuse on Twitter either. I think a lot of people are just looking for things to get worked up about and so blow the rantings of some nut all out of proportion.

  2. Have a twitter account only because we participated in an event where that was how they’d be communicating information during the event. It didn’t exactly work out the way they invisioned. Have never used it since that day. No one I talk IRL talks about tweeting other than one person who is the PR person for her organization.

    Trolls – I think they come and go on sites. If they are ignored they seem to leave. More often I have taken a hiatus from a site because of all the “ad” comments for completely unrelated products or “girls” who want you to be their friend or visit their site. Only a few times has it been due to someone stirring the pot unneccessarily. I have noticed that people’s tolerance for difference of opinio varies and what some consider healthy discourse others consider to be trolling or attacks on others.

  3. I have noticed that people’s tolerance for difference of opinio varies and what some consider healthy discourse others consider to be trolling or attacks on others.

    Yes. There are definitely trolls around but I’ve seen quite a few people who simply seem to be unable to deal with a reasonable difference of opinions.

  4. One reason I really enjoy this site is because of the lack of trolls, and the abundance of good and sincere conversation.

  5. i really like Twitter, but I don’t use it for conversations. I follow a lot of people/companies for information. I generally don’t look at the responses or the conversations.

    There are some discussion groups that I belong to for various reasons. If there are too many trolls, I check in less frequently, or stop reading. Many of those groups are not anonymous, so it is not the same as something like this crew,

  6. PTM: You always make me smile when you call me that. It reminds me that I was once not as old or boring as I am now.

  7. A bunch of people also attacked one of my favorite authors (Andrew Smith) saying an answer in an interview was sexist. he left twitter for a while after this incident.

  8. I am glad that facebook is not going to add a “dislike” button. As useful as it would be, I can see how it would add to teen online bullying

  9. wine – did they scrap that plan? I thought it was more of an “empathy” button. As in “Thinking about my Mom, who was called home to Jesus six years ago today. Miss you!”

    “Like” doesn’t quite convey the right sentiment. How complicated would it be for Facebook to put “Hug” as an option?

  10. Yeah, Mad Dog. I used to have a life too. Now it is 8th grade, getting into high school, church, what the cat is doing, Lincoln Continentals, Boy Scouts, Mother’s Club, yearning for The Villages.

    I badly need a trip to New York.

  11. Trolls don’t bother me as long as the discussion is over difference of opinion. I see a lot of people huff and leave because someone else says something they don’t like. I see that as too much of personal investment by that person for a random online community.

    Having said that, I really like it here because we don’t have trolls!

    I don’t tweet, or use Twitter at all, or, Instagram! Where do people find time?

  12. “Have trolls made you leave a social website?”

    What about the people who have left here?

  13. “Have trolls made you leave a social website?”

    What about the people who have left here?

    I thought about that when I sent this in

  14. We don’t have trolls on this site, in the technical sense of people who “troll” the internet looking for places to stir things up. Sometimes there will be an anonymous comment made by a lurker, or by a regular who chooses to go anonymous, or by someone whose device fails to add a handle (and doesn’t notice or doesn’t choose to go back and address that omission). Sometimes someone stirs the pot out of boredom or some other impulse, and there can be drawn out back and forth discussion that don’t end well, but all that is all for attribution. Some people leave because they don’t get anything worthwhile out of the site anymore – it is not worth their time or energy to keep up, or they find the discussions repetitive or of limited or no interest. I know that spirited discussions or detailed personal advice/problem solving takes place off line. Many regulars are open to direct communication.

    The first article was bemoaning the demise of the fantasy internet marketplace of ideas (he envisioned a worldwide sophisticated town square that was miraculously free from commercial or governmental interference even though it presumes infrastructure, development and investment that only business and government can provide) where only civilized discourse and peaceful revolution would flourish. The second was discussing only the psychological makeup of the worst trolls or abusers, not the way in which anonymity and the origins of public online communication as discourse almost exclusively among males led to a view of normal internet interactions as sites for debate and hashing over ideas, not for support and sharing. That is why there is an entirely separate kind of site, such as this one, that conforms much more closely to female or polite society norms for social communication.

  15. I am more into social media as time goes on. I can ignore people virtually like real life, so that is a troll management strategy. I like this place because I think it is sincere, at least that is how I post here.

  16. The balance between going along with the crowd and arguing/debating is a hard one for me to strike. Such differences are accentuated in certain cultures. Our Asian sites have high people turnover and process problems we simply don’t have at our US site because Joe Regular Engineer can’t tell his manager that using the equipment in X way is likely to cause Y problem. Our managers want to hear about process/product risks and if they make a decision to accept a risk, they think about ways to mitigate it.

    I don’t use Twitter but our school and city government have started using Facebook for communication. No one says anything rude and if there is an important announcement (like the septic problem at one building), people will “Like” the announcement as an acknowledgement so it will show up on more feeds, not because we are happy the septic system is having problems. Either that, or I’m socially clueless. Or maybe both.

  17. I thought about that twitter article for days after I read it. I think it’s very insightful & has good messages for business owners/leaders – what problem are you solving for your customers? Are you creating an environment that makes it easier or harder for them to accomplish their goals? I’m still mulling over some of that.

    I’ve taken 2 (3?) prolonged breaks from here, primarily when I thought people were being too quick to purposefully stir the pot tinged with mean-spiritedness, or quick to be holier than thou with no tongue-in-cheekiness to go with it. I found it tiresome to read and an annoyance in my day rather than a welcome break. Better to just stay away for a bit.

  18. The Old Site was much worse for drawing trolls. I figured part of it to be that there were a number of WSJ readers who didn’t like the idea of two-working-professional families and when they wanted to anonymously yell at working moms, they knew TOS was the place to find them.

    Mémé, I agree that it’s a general assumed norm of the internet that comment sections and forums are a place to fight over ideas, with more or less civility depending on the site.

  19. Shoot, that reminds me that I have a twitter account and have been trying to tweet for work but always forget about it. DH has maybe 3 twitter accounts (for all his different businesses) and he gets a lot of tweets back that say things like “[Mr. L’s company’s view] is stupid. How could you think such a thing?” and then he tweets back to them showing the foundation for the company’s view and they mostly just slink away in despair.

    Corporette has ELLEN as its resident troll, but ‘she’ is mostly amusing, if anything – certainly not bullying. Kind of similar to the “caca=pudding” guy or Suburban Dad.

  20. Suburban Dad was an artist. CACA=PUDDING guy, I don’t know what was going on with him, but it clearly wasn’t anything so straightforward as normal trolling.

  21. Well, Risley and I were among the few of us who drove ‘Saac away by suggesting that maybe she shouldn’t let her son dribble the basketball on someone’s ceiling after 9. I still feel bad about that and wish she would come back. I think all of our comments were well meaning,, though.

  22. Sometimes I feel that we’re missing a certain amount of spunk on here. It’s all well and good that it’s very friendly, and that’s probably what most want, anyway, but, I don’t know, it’s kind of lost the edge. Thinking of yesterday’s topic, it’s like a very pleasant holiday dinner with pleasant conversation and interesting perspectives and sound advice. But the fire isn’t quite there.

    I miss kaleberg telling us how we’re all doomed to working as Walmart greeters, how our kids will be living in our basements, and so we’d better stop with the expensive birthday parties now.

  23. I had NPR on during my lunch break (totebag points!), and I heard Biden’s remarks. It sounded just like a campaign speech. And it was a good one that was delivered very well, IMO. I found myself wondering if he had just prepared a single speech before he decided whether or not he was going to run, and he figured he would deliver the speech irrespective of his ultimate decision.

    I’m not on Twitter, and I have no desire to be.

  24. Milo, I think part of it is the topics. Some of us aren’t submitting enough. And I am very much included in that.

  25. I have to agree with Milo. The spunky minority were driven away by the majority. Now we are left with people who have (relatively) the same views. Or are too nice to be spunky. And I do love this blog, but sometimes a troll isn’t all bad.

    Any lurkers out there have a spunky personality who are willing to play devil’s advocate, be funny (not mean), and be the person we all love to not like?

    Basically Susan Lucci – amazing character who you love to despise, but at the end of the day you want to be friends with… And you won’t get any recognition for it.

  26. PTM – Maybe. TOS probably had more provocative topics like “Are Working Mothers to Blame for Rise in Autism?” (just made that up.)

    Also, we’re not getting anyone new, are we? To do that, we’d have to do promotional things like guest post on other blogs, and nobody wants that attention. But that also means that the group just gets smaller and smaller. Is it just going to be five or six of us in 30 years talking about investment returns and whose grandkids have a shot at NMSF?

  27. Rhett, I think there can be disagreements here. But, really, how do you argue about meal planning? Yeah, I think it’s a bit over the top and around here a meal plan is likely to come together around 6 p.m., but what’s to argue or be clever about busy people trying to be efficient?

  28. Milo, let’s get busy and start submitting things. I mean it’s certainly been a while since anybody heard from me.

    And maybe Risley, me, and some others who object to bouncing basketballs at night ought to reach out to ‘Saac.

  29. I’ll try to think of some topics. PTM, I think the basketball thing was just one factor of a few (probably a small one), and I’m also thinking that she may have just been looking to make a bigger change and recognized that participating here could be a hindrance to pursuing and achieving that.

  30. I miss ‘saac too. I’m dealing with a friend telling me I am nuts about a kid issue. I told her we needed to agree to disagree for now, but I have thought about what she said and she does have some points. Maybe we should have used that approach with ‘saac.

    I agree we don’t get many hot button topics!

  31. I think the basketball thing was just one small thing. I personally thought it was a no brainer because I grew up in apartments, but it might have just been one of many opinions that she didn’t like here. ‘Saac is still out there, but she has found other places to express her opinions on a daily basis.

  32. I agree this blog has lost some of its edginess. And then when I read Meme’s comment that our site “conforms much more closely to female or polite society norms for social communication” I wonder if we’ve become too polite. Do some of us hold back potentially divisive comments because we don’t want to stir up trouble?

  33. “Do some of us hold back potentially divisive comments because we don’t want to stir up trouble?”

    yes, but it’s not so much to avoid stirring up trouble; rather, it’s because I really, genuinely like the person, like a friend, and then I fall back on the old ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say…’

  34. Tee, hee. I have tickets for the Trump rally at Doral on Friday. Maybe I should post about my experience and the people I met.

  35. CoC – Ding ding ding! That’s me. It’s for a couple of reasons – one, I can get pit bull like and lose an entire day of work to supporting my opinion, and two, I get nervous that I will upset people and they’ll hate me forever. The second one is the reason I bite my tongue more often than not – total insecurity about my position in life.

    PS – I’m digging up some articles…

  36. Well, to be fair, we discuss a number of topics that could be hot-button issues, but we know each other well enough by now that we speak in a more considered manner than in other forums, and we pretty much know the positions folks will likely take, and we generally start with a presumption that things are said in good faith and not to be mean, etc. All of which all makes a flare-up less likely. But also agree it takes away some of the dynamism of some of the conversations.

    Maybe we should have a designated Troll Week —

    Monday: The One True Religion
    Tuesday: My Candidate is Awesome, Yours Sucks
    Wednesday: Abortion is . . . .
    Thursday: Your Kids are Totally Screwed Up, and It’s All Your Fault, Because You . . . .
    Friday: We’d Have Peace in the Middle East if Only Those [insert plural pronoun] Would [insert verb]

  37. I’m also thinking that she may have just been looking to make a bigger change and recognized that participating here could be a hindrance to pursuing and achieving that.

    That’s what I thought too.

  38. You all should come on over to Dcurbanmom for some bat shit craziness. It teeters between hysterical and frightening that I live among such misfits and malcontents. Everyone here is so nice so snark really stands out and rarely seems funny, just kind of out of place.

  39. I think you put it correctly at 2:41 Milo. Plus, as I get older I want more and more to be seen as (and act) as a gentleman.

  40. I’ve tried to pull back a bit. I would like to discuss politics more. And I don’t think I have the same opinions as the rest of you, but I like to argue based on data (or at least anecdata) and other people don’t seem to like that as much.

    I will admit that when Lauren was bemoaning the cost of her daugher’s bat mitzvah, I was tempted to suggest she just hold a hog roast instead, but I was afraid my humor would not come across well. I think I’m funny but other people, well, not so much.

  41. There have been times I have thought about posting some response and pulled. I don’t think I have the same background, experiences or opinions as most of the rest of you, and sometimes it just didn’t seem worth the effort.

  42. I like to hear honest opinions passionately expressed, even if they’re not always the most diplomatically voiced. LFB, Rhode, WCE, and more of you have done more of that in the past, at least it seems. But I do get a sense that we’ve all tried to be more polite so we don’t hurt each others’ feelings. There’s good and bad in that.

  43. I have tried to read other blogs, but like Cat mentions the people on there seem so stuck to their views and so extreme that I cannot identify with any of them or their views at all.

    Thursday: Your Kids are Totally Screwed Up, and It’s All Your Fault, Because You
    MIL would have a lot to say on this topic. Maybe, I’ll pretend to be MIL for a day and troll away.

  44. There are so many times IRL where I’ll hear something Allboys said. Going through closets and drawers trying to get rid of clutter, I always hear “those who resist getting rid of junk to keep it from going to the landfill end up turning their houses into a landfill.”

  45. @Milo – I was thinking of ellie yesterday. She once mentioned that she always made her dress up nicely. I think about that and make my kids dress a little better :-)

  46. “Tuesday: My Candidate is Awesome, Yours Sucks
    Wednesday: Abortion is . . . .”

    LfB – you’re welcome… I just sent in a topic quasi related to the first and have an article I’m toying with for the second…

  47. WCE, you should have said it. I think it is the biggest waste of money!!! very funny that a bunch of Jews would eat pork too. I don’t believe in these big parties, and I I hate everything about it.

  48. Louise: Yes, please channel MIL. I love your MIL stories, and I think you’re a saint for putting up with it all. It resonates since my ILs just moved 2 blocks away from the Midwest and I’m finding it hard to deal with their very close proximity. I know I’m being totally unreasonable, but I liked the distance. Sometimes I think about you at these times and try to encourage myself to be more zen about them. It usually doesn’t work.

  49. LfB – hilarious
    PTM – please go to rally and report back!

    I think this group has been around long enough that we kind of know what the opinions are going to be so some of the discussions don’t take off. Kind of like a long term relationship where you don’t even mention a topic because you already know what your SO is going to say. I miss Saac too.

  50. PTM, I actually have a great deal of respect for Trump the Candidate. I agree with most of his policies. Get our troops out of the Middle East? Yes, please! No more carried interest tax break? Yes, please! Even building a wall on the border with Mexico. Kinda makes sense.

  51. I like how this conversation turned a flaw (lack of spunk) into a positive (long term relationship).

  52. CofC,

    Is there a way you could add a page where we could submit our post ideas vs. doing it via email? I think that might increase the submission rate significantly.

  53. Houston,

    I read the funniest line about Trump today. The Club for Growth or the Heritage Foundation or some such was railing against him because he’s “not a true conservative.” And the writer said something like, “Do you think maybe voters really don’t care about the received conservative orthodoxy of belt way think tanks?”

  54. Is there a way you could add a page where we could submit our post ideas vs. doing it via email? I think that might increase the submission rate significantly

    Ditto. Maybe once/week could be “open post” where it’s just an open forum to post something?

  55. I nearly always agree with Murphy and I wonder how much of it is because we’re both rural West Coasters. When I think of a socially disadvantaged population, I think of Hispanics. In contrast, East Coast articles often assume African Americans are the most disadvantaged population. At my kids’ school, there are two African American families and they are from Africa and Britain so slavery, the history of African American discrimination/immigration, etc. aren’t problems that are part of their history.

    When I looked at the kindergarten readiness scores by race/ethnic group, the (single digit) number of African American kids are scoring at or above the Asian kids. The Hispanic kids are the ones who tend to be disadvantaged.

  56. Lauren – where did she go? One of us could go over there to say we miss her. :)

    I really like the MIL day post idea. We could also include gems from our own parents, like my mom saying “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free” when I told her that DH and I were moving in together. ;)

  57. Texas and women’s issues…I just don’t know what these people are thinking. It is hard to have a discussion in my area because too many people are not interested in facts. The last discussion on this topic included a man who insisted that women CHOOSE to be raped and he was convinced they could avoid it. I had to walk away as I picked my jaw up of the floor.

  58. So, by my clock, happy Back to the Future Minute. :-)

    DD has run off to the mall for a marathon of the three movies with friends (starting at 4:29, of course). I may pick up DS early and rent the original.

  59. Also: on the benign topic of food – I feel certain I’ve posted this before, but if I haven’t, have you guys made my crockpot chicken lately? I had not until recently and remembered how good and easy it is. This is a great thing to do on a Sunday and then use the meat later in the week.

    1) put a bunch of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you could do breasts but I think thighs have more flavor) in the crockpot. Yesterday I did 6, should have done 8 or 10.
    2) pour in a couple of cups of chicken broth.
    3) sprinkle liberally with taco seasoning (would also be good with one of those mixed herb spices, like herbes de provence)
    4) cook on high for 6 hours, flipping once.

    Remove from crockpot and shred with a fork. You now have the most perfect chicken for chicken quesadillas, tacos, to put on a salad, to use in paninis, to toss with some pasta either hot or cold. I put mine in chicken enchiladas last night.

    It tastes like chicken you would pull off a rotisserie chicken, but easier and cheaper.

  60. “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free”

    don’t you know the new expression is why buy the pig for a little bit of sausage?

  61. “Is there a way you could add a page where we could submit our post ideas vs. doing it via email? ”

    Yes! If you notice, there’s already a page labeled “Suggested Topics” at the header bar. I could update it to encourage people to submit posts in the comments section. Would that work?

    “Ditto. Maybe once/week could be “open post” where it’s just an open forum to post something?”

    I’ve thought of this, too. This sounds different from what Rhett described, but maybe not.

  62. I’m open to implementing any and all suggestions that can boost interest and engagement. So fire away with your opinions!

  63. Rhett, that’s *awesome*.

    I think it’s time to blow this pop stand and watch a movie (especially since I’ve just spent the past hour-plus reviewing one of the most annoying sets of outside counsel guidelines I’ve ever seen). See y’all!

  64. Thanks for the recipe Lark! A lot of the old recipe posts are gone, so the Juggle Cookbook links don’t work anymore. Glad to have this one again.
    I, too, would love to hear PTM’s impressions following the Trump rally. In the past week, I’ve heard 3 friends make comments that can be summed up by “I hate Donald Trump, and I agree with him on taxation, healthcare, and the middle east.” It is disorienting.

  65. I don’t think it is a surprise that Saac had other places where she was a participant, or frequent reader. I once came across her many years ago on yelp when she was planning a trip to this area.

    I have not emailed her since she left earlier this year, but I bet she would answer if people reached out to her.

    We’ve talked about this before when some of us changed our handles. If you utilize the same handle all over the place, and your handle is unique….. you know the rest of the story. You can find her if you’re interested.

  66. ” “I hate Donald Trump, and I agree with him on taxation, healthcare, and the middle east.” It is disorienting.”

    It is even worse when you watch the Sunday news shows and start to think, “I kind of agree Donald Trump on some issue” I just put it down to early onset Alzhiemers.

    WCE, there have been many times when you said what I thought, only with more eloquence and wit.

  67. I can think that Donald Trump is a despicable human being, but that doesn’t mean his opinions on taxation, healthcare and the middle east are wrong.

    I read Ben Carson’s book Gifted Hands soon after I left Michigan in the late ’90’s and I admire him for rising from the Detroit ghetto. I suspect I would like Carson better than Trump or Clinton, but I don’t know if he would be a good president.

    I suspect Hillary would be a very competent president, but I don’t like her history of rules for everyone but her. I often think about how liberals tend to want better wages/stronger protections for workers but tend to hire out the childcare, landscaping and food production that many rural conservatives do for themselves, or within their families.

    I haven’t seen an analysis of how a $15/hr minimum wage would affect CNA’s in largely Medicaid funded nursing homes or federal funding for home health care aides. Maybe analyzing the consequences of a proposal would prevent the consequences from being classified as “unintended.”

  68. On the Juggle Cookbook, maybe I’m doing it wrong? When I click the link, I get a list of recipes, but when I click HM’s Sauce for Salmon to get the recipe, I get a wordpress “well this is embarrassing, we can’t find….” message. Is there a different way to get the recipe?

  69. I, too, think Hillary would make a good president, but she’s too hawkish for me. I’m really into minding our own business and letting everyone else fight their own wars and solve their own problems.

  70. WordPress is doing that thing of not letting me post a link again.

    What I tried to post was that I saw the problem now, and you’re right that the links to old Totebag posts no longer work, but fortunately most of the posts on the Cookbook site have the recipe right in the post and the link is only for reference. (The links to old Juggle posts may well still be working, too.)

    The link it didn’t like was to a recipe for the same sauce that (probably) was the one I’d posted at the expired link. If you google “soccer mom georgia blackberry sauce” (without the quotes) that recipe should be your top hit. I don’t know why WordPress mistrusts my motives so.

  71. Hour, the same thing happens to me when I click on the links. I didn’t notice right away because some of the recipes that I use from ellie are printed in the body of the text so they’re still in the tote bag cookbook.

    I recently used a link from one of ellie’s posts to go back to a recipe link OTS. the WSj still has a lot of the recipes on their site, but it is much harder to find without a direct link.

  72. BTW I whiz that sauce up in a blender or food processor rather than doing the mortar and pestle/sieve thing.

  73. Okay. I’ll play along with the new code of conduct. This is the mean PTM:

    Lark, that recipe for chicken in a damn crockpot sucks. Why do people use crockpots anyway? So that chicken can plop off the bone? My mother accomplished that by filling a pot with water, heating it to a boil and sticking a chicken in there. Maybe a couple of carrots and some old potatoes. But crockpots are the same thing. Stick whatever in there and go to Jazzercise.

    WCE, of course you’re not voting for Hillary. You are a woman. No matter what women say, they are a vile breed and do not want anybody to break the glass ceiling. Just watch. Despite polling, Hillary will collect Latinos, men of all ages, but no heterosexual women. Maybe a Kardashian or two, but I doubt it.

    For the record, I like both Lark and WCE. And I didn’t like the tone on what I wrote at all, but I don’t like crockpots or chicken and don’t think women will support Hillary.

    Who shall I ravage next?

  74. I mean, I could sometimes make snarky remarks, state my strong opinions on certain issues etc, but then people come back and make logical arguments and demand links/studies etc. so I just keep quiet. It takes all fun out of it. Bah humbug

  75. “but she’s too hawkish for me. I’m really into minding our own business and letting everyone else fight their own wars and solve their own problems.”

    My brother has become a one-issue voter on this. He’s a former Republican who voted for Obama. His choice now would be Rand Paul. He says if it’s Bush, Rubio, or Hillary; he’ll stay home.

  76. Agree with you about women and Hillary PTM. Btw, why aren’t you adult already? It’s been many many years since you turned a teenager!

  77. PTM, I won’t vote for Hillary because I’m a conservative. A majority of women with PhD’s will vote for Hillary but that’s a small set.

  78. @ PTM – Crockpots suck for most things, but for meat you want to shred, you can’t beat the long slow cooking of a crockpot – even a low simmer on the stove raises the temp too high and causes the chicken to dry out. So your mother’s recipe is great for making broth, when she boiled all the flavor right out of the chicken and into the broth. But your mother’s recipe is terrible for chicken that you actually want to use in anything. That’s why this is such a great recipe. :)

  79. I am hoping for Kasich. Voted for Obama twice, but also have now voted twice for our Republican governor. So I think I can claim to be an independent. Can’t stand Hillary.

  80. I love Hillary. I won’t just vote for her, I’ll campaign for her. I get salty with Dems who don’t support her.

  81. Milo, you’re too easy. You shower for an hour, don’t shave, and are self-entitled.

  82. And I hate crockpots. They make vile food that tastes old and used. Except they are good for keeping certain things warm at a party, like a dip or something.

  83. Cat, are you a Lesbian? That’s okay, but we haven’t had that as a topic.

    And isn’t it funny? While all our kids are brilliant, they are all straight?

    (Okay, I’m done with this now.)

  84. Regarding PTM’s comments on Hillary, it is interesting that women will backstab each other, yet are generally seen as the more polite gender (as in Oh, I can’t negotiate a higher salary, I don’t want to cause any issues). Also, I work in a male dominated industry and I typically don’t like to work with other women. They women who have made it to the top ranks are not easy to work with. It is like they are always trying to prove their worth. This might be why so many people dislike Hillary.

  85. I really don’t like being someone I’m not. But in the spirit of things, Milo, have you ever worried about your sperm? You breed like a rabbit (when you’re not in the shower) but you just produce girls.

    (Tee, hee. I cannot keep this up. But I will write a new post tonight.)

  86. Lark: Any ideas on how to make your chicken without a crock pot? I gave mine away after not using it for 5 years and I don’t feel like buying another one. However, your chicken sounds yummy.

  87. Now here is a comment posted below an article that was talking about the hardest 25 colleges to get into – nasty…

    Are you dense? Read my other reply. Stanford — like other top tier schools — considers much more than just the SAT scores for admission. There are many other things that schools consider (and some place little weight upon the SAT).

    I would not say “Are you dense” to any Totebaggers, – I KNOW they are not dense and they did get into some of these top 25 colleges – although they say it was long ago etc. etc.

  88. Mad Dog, you are in Texas for God’s sake! Serve a steak.

    Good Lord! One would think you lived in Salisbury, Maryland. (Think Purdue and Tyson).

  89. PTM – when you start looking for a new home, please post links so that we can all chime in with our opinions. I think collectively we could find you, Jr, and the cat a great place.

  90. In all seriousness, PTM, as someone who has made my own way since 18, I do not think that saac can say very much on the topic.

  91. PTM: I’m the only one in my family who eats red meat. I love steak–it’s so quick and easy to cook. Hard to screw up. I have a tough time with chicken–I overcook it because I’m afraid of poisoning everyone.

  92. “I do not think that saac can say very much on the topic.”

    What? About your sperm? I wouldn’t think so.

    Milo, hon. I’m playing. Do NOT take anything I say seriously today! I do not want to be a shithead or rude or a troll.

  93. Houston – get an instant read thermometer for $10. Take the chicken out when the therm reads 165. Let it sit for a few minutes.

    But don’t do that with the crockpot chicken.

  94. I’ll vote for Hiliary. Unless of course, I can bring about socialism, then I’m all in for Bernie.

  95. Also, we’re not getting anyone new, are we? To do that, we’d have to do promotional things like guest post on other blogs, and nobody wants that attention. But that also means that the group just gets smaller and smaller. Is it just going to be five or six of us in 30 years talking about investment returns and whose grandkids have a shot at NMSF?

    This is exactly it. You need new blood to shake things up. What is the group size here now, about 20?

  96. “Also, we’re not getting anyone new, are we?”
    I’ve appreciated that Grocery Bags, Domokun, Green Eyes, and Sky have shown up in the past year and contributed. There are probably others I’ve missed when I’ve been away, so sorry if I left anybody out. But I think you are right that we aren’t keeping up with the rate of attrition.

  97. Okay. I’ve just submitted a new topic. Some, I hope, will be pissed with me.

  98. @ Houston – do you have a dutch oven, like a le crueset? Put all the ingredients in, bring to a gentle boil on the stove, then put the lid on and put it in a 350 oven for 3 hours. I think it will come out identical.

  99. But turn the chicken about 90 minutes in. Chicken is done when it shreds easily with a fork.

  100. There’s a woman nearby who makes homemade, fresh salsa that she sells at the local farmers’ market. She gave us the idea to make the easiest chicken tortilla soup with one container of her black bean salsa, one or two pieces of chicken, and broth. Surprisingly, it comes out really well, and the easy part is that she has already done all the vegetables, herbs, and spices, and it still has that fresh taste. I add tortilla chips and shredded cheese. Even my kids love it.

  101. Milo, that sounds really good. I wonder how it would work with Costco salsa and Lark’s crockpot chicken

  102. I meant to add that you make the soup in the crock pot. The chicken ends up mostly shredded, as God intended for soup.

    I was listening in to an open conference call with my congressman. To judge by the questions, conservatives are predominantly concerned about spending, the still-increasing debt, and health care costs.

  103. “it is interesting that women will backstab each other, yet are generally seen as the more polite gender (as in Oh, I can’t negotiate a higher salary, I don’t want to cause any issues).”

    Don’t those two go hand in hand? When you have to be polite and can’t say what you mean directly, you have to resort to passive-aggressive backstabbing crap.

    And on that topic, this was making the rounds of my office last week:

  104. The women I know who despise Hillary, and there are quite a few, would be happy to vote for Condi Rice, if she were running.

  105. northeast liberal checking in, and I am concerned about the same stuff as your conservative neighbors. The frustrating part is that my vote for President doesn’t really count. It is a year away, but we all know that my state is going blue in 2016.

  106. I read this blog here and at TOS daily for at least 7 years before I posted. There are probably a lot of other lurkers out there.

  107. Ok, so we start with Lark’s recipe, cook the chicken, then take out some of the chicken for later. Add the beans, maybe let that cook a little while to absorb some of the taco flavor, maybe adding a bit more taco seasoning if needed, then add the salsa, and serve as soon as the salsa is hot.

    Do you put the chips in the soup and let them get soft, and let the cheese melt into the soup? Maybe that’s a good use for the last chips in a bag that aren’t as crispy as when the bag was first opened.

    Sounds like something to try, along with taco rice.

  108. The article lob posted was funny. There was a link to a recommended story about a San Fran school principle upset that the student council wasn’t diverse enough. That is crazy.

  109. “The frustrating part is that my vote for President doesn’t really count.”

    Yes, with the Electoral College, many of our votes don’t really affect who wins the election if we don’t live in a swing state.

    However, I’ve found a way to make my vote count, if just a little. My state has never come close to giving anyone not in the D party our electoral votes, so I vote for the L candidate, to help that party get enough votes to continue to be on the ballot.

  110. Lemon, I read that article too about the non-diverse student council. I was impressed with the student who was quoted.

  111. No, for me, the cheese and chips are a topping to add to each individual bowl just before serving. I like a variety of textures and a little bit of crunch in everything–I add potato chips to the sandwiches I bring to work.

    Unelectable how? I don’t think we know much about her positions outside of foreign policy, or at least I don’t.

    I’m actually a little bit saddened by the Ben Carson debacle. Long before he was political, I heard him speak when I was in elementary school. Later he gave a similar lecture at my college. If he had tempered his views a little bit, and remained the brilliant neurosurgeon who came from poverty, I think he could have replaced Mikulski in Maryland. He’d pull just enough of the Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Prince George’s voters into the fold.

  112. She’s pro-choice, pro-illegal immigrants having a way to become citizens, and a Bush Republican. No way would the RNC ever back her now. Too bad, because she is smart and would probably do well in the general election. She is like Hillary without all the hatred and baggage (other than those pesky WMDs that were never found). She is the kind of Republican that my Republican husband supports.

  113. I’m with Sky in that I read here and at TOS for years before posting. But I’m posting tonight to say that I signed up for one year of cooksmarts all because of Risley’s recommendation. We eat out / order delivery way too much. If I make meals twice in one year because of it, I’ll more than make my money back. We’ll see if this is life changing or not.

    I used to worry about posting at work and dedication now I just don’t care. However mm you work has an ancient version of Internet Explorer so I can only type on my phone…which I think there was a tech post awhile ago, and I just got a Samsung S6 edge+ and it is amazing. I’m not big on technology, but I love this phone.

    Any way as a lurker it is hard to just start posting when you feel like you are crashing a oarty. But if you want snark I can bring that!

  114. Dear Lurkers,

    Please post! Only you might want to wait till tomorrow since PTM has his troll mask on today.

  115. I know – we can assign Designated Troll duties on a rotating basis — PTM took first crack at it today, tcmama can take tomorrow. . . .

  116. Ps – I also signed up for the free trial thanks to Risley and have just bought the groceries for my first week of recipes. I have high hopes – I like how they use some of the same ingredients multiple ways, so you get efficient use of time and groceries, but you still end up with stuff that’s different enough my family may actually eat it.

  117. PTM – I did talk to saac a bit after she left, and I let her know we all missed her, could happily agree to disagree about the basketball issue and would love for her to return. I’m evidently not particularly persuasive. Perhaps I chose the wrong profession …

    I don’t miss the snark and won’t add to it. Y’all are welcome to it and I can totally understand that some people enjoy debate. I don’t. It’s just not how I’m constructed. The couple times I’ve allowed myself to get sucked into it, I’ve regretted it for days and felt really sick about it.

    But here’s something scandalous: the soup I made tonight via The Lady SUCKED. There — is that good? (Of course now I feel compelled to add it was likely my fault, likely maybe I skipped a step or left out the thyme or whatever).

    Feel free to ask me to leave. I’ll still love you all.

  118. PTM – Thanks for the laugh. I needed it this evening. I think that is the point, when you know it is in good fun, it is funny. When it is meant in a mean spirited way, I side with Risley.

    We rarely use our crockpot and have been tempted to get rid of it. I find that a dutch oven in the oven at 300 degrees or on the stove top on low comes out better than most of the crock pot recipes. I guess the difference is you feel more comfortable leaving it on and leaving the house. I am going to a scouting event this weekend (likely in the pouring rain) and one of the ladies is doing crockpot overnight oatmeal. I’m interested to see how it goes.

  119. LfB, your “woman in a meeting” post motivated me to think back to other women in meetings this week. There was another woman at my Monday meeting and a few women at the Tuesday meeting with 100+ people. It is not uncommon for me to walk through the cafeteria and not see any women but a couple dozen men.

  120. Tomorrow I have the day off with the kiddo, so won’t be able to snark much. I don’t know if I’m snarky as much as I really enjoy discussing passionately (aka arguing). I’d love to have some more controversial posts about religion and politics, since I really respect all of you so much that hearing really different opinions causes me to stop and think versus just assuming someone is some dumb Internet troll.

  121. OK, I’m going to submit a post about an interesting religious topic I’ve learned about in the past year. For my posts that I want to interact with, I’m also going to give CoC a “day of week” preference when I submit. A couple times, my posts have run when I never look at the site during the day, and that’s less fun.

  122. Austin, I’m with Risley too. On the other hand, I think LfB’s “Prick of the Day” idea is a fun one. I’ll sign up for that one. Hopefully, we can convince Ris to try her hand in it too. Maybe we’ll give her a morning or afternoon to start with so she can ease into becoming a horrid person.

    I hope what I sent CofC today sparks some comment.

    And, of course, if I actually do go to the Trump rally on Friday, I will surely post my impressions. It should be a hoot.

  123. Count me as another that likes to debate, but can’t stand the snark or just petty comments that used to come up occasionally. Since I know that my aversion to controversy is just how I’m wired, I would typically just take a couple of days off from reading. So I don’t necessarily want anyone else to change, because I don’t want it to become too boring. Plus, it’s clear that “gone too far” is in the eye of the beholder, because things that bother others sometimes don’t register with me, and things that I think are just kind of crappy may not bother others. I typically type then delete my more caustic thoughts. Without tone of voice or facial expressions, some things come out much more harshly than they sound in my head. All in all, I think we haven’t driven off nearly as many people as we could have. (I like to set the bar low.)

    My preference for topics is things that you can’t really discuss with people IRL.

  124. I don’t think anyone really wants me to let my snark out, but I will consider submitting a few more provocative posts. I haven’t entirely given up hope that my stories might inspire some of the younger parents to grant themselves and their children a less unnecessarily stressed life.

  125. This conversation generated some post ideas, so that’s good!

    FYI regarding the timeliness of post publications:
    It seems to be feast or famine with post submissions, so sometimes your topic will be published within a few days or it may take a couple of weeks or more.
    If you have a topic that is timely or that you’d like published on a particular day of the week, please let me know that when you send it in. Generally speaking, I publish in the order in which I receive them, with some tweaking to avoid too much repetition, such as three parenting topics in one week.
    It’s easier on me if I can schedule at least a week’s worth of posts at a time. That being said, I still try to be flexible to account for timely topics or special requests as mentioned above.

    It’s natural for a blog to have an ebb and flow in readership interest and commenting. I’m glad we’re having this conversation, and I’m feeling confident that we’re due for an uptick in more invigorating discussions. But I will always take a backseat in where this blog readership goes as I am only an administrator. And if it’s time for a new administrator I would graciously turn over the reins.

    All that being said, I do wish we could attract new readers. For the most part, I don’t feel the need to encourage some readers who’ve left us to come back. That may sound snarky, but I say that in my new attempt to be more open in expressing my sometimes (maybe oftentimes) discordant opinions. While I like and welcome different viewpoints and even a bit of craziness, I also like it best when we are able to have relatively rational discussions. And I don’t mind being called out on imprudent things I write, so please feel free!

  126. “I typically type then delete my more caustic thoughts. ”

    I’ve tried to do that, too.

  127. Meme and other parents of grown kids – keep posting now and again – I appreciate your prespective that for most kids there may be bumps in the road but that is not the end of the world. It is hard as a parent in the trenches to see that, when you are dealing with kid issues of various kinds and other begign ones like bedtime issues, pick eaters, tantrums etc.

  128. Now that’s just over the top mean, Finn. :)

    And to clarify, I welcome all totebaggers who come back after taking a break. But I think they usually know what’s best for them, and usually a break is what they need.

  129. Chicken at 165 equals gross dried out chicken that I won’t be eating. How’s that for trolling?

    I take my chicken out around 150-155 to meet my texture and juiciness preferences.

    Salmonella is killed via time and temperature. At 165 degrees, salmonella is killed in less than 10 seconds while chicken at 150 needs to be held for about 3 minutes to get the same results. In addition, your chicken will continue to cook after it’s been taken off the heat. So any salmonella has been wiped out way before your chicken gets to 165.

    Take your chicken out earlier, people!

  130. This comment is not meant to be snarky, but based on comments above I see I am in the clear minority: I actually found our former poster’s drama and dysfunction irrationally stressful, and has contributed to me taking a break in the past (because really, when someone else’s life issues that you haven’t even met bothers you, it really is time to step away). I believe this says more about ME than her – I am a low drama person and avoid it whenever possible (but to be clear, I’m not conflict adverse, just drama adverse. There’s a big difference in my mind).

    I find it fascinating that so many affirmatively miss it while to me it’s a relief. I’ve never been able to connect on an emotional level with folks that don’t have at least some element of type A to them – in real life, people like our former poster stress me out even more. (And on that level, I really do miss Allboys, who was the source of such great wisdom, even when I didn’t always agree with her. Meme you are similar in your calm rationality.)

    Should I be posting this as “Anon for this” or even not posting it at all? Prior to yesterday’s discussion I would have just remained silent, but there you go – I’m throwing it out there.

  131. The things I don’t like are when things get personal or just mean — e.g., anonymous comments to our former friend to get a job, or the comment the other day about “defective” kids. That’s just middle-school namecalling, and I have zero patience with that kind of petty bullshit.

    But I love it when people have a point and a voice. I like it when we aren’t all trying so hard to be nice that we end up toning down our comments to — well, to comments like those in the Post article I posted last night. I come at things from a completely different perspective than, say, Milo and WCE, but, damn, I enjoy discussing things with them, because they are smart and on the ball and always have something to say that I haven’t considered before, and beneath those disagreements I like and respect them. And I can already see that those arguments have toned down over the past couple of years — I catch myself revising several times to be inoffensive vs. snappy, and I strongly suspect they have done the same.

    Which, again, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if your first response is of the “get a job” variety — too much harshness erodes respect and end up shutting people down instead of opening them up. But too nice/mealymouthed does the same thing, because then people feel like they can’t say what they think, so you self-edit to the point you don’t actually talk about the hard issues out of fear of offending people — and then what do we have left?

  132. Lark – I get that. To be candid, I urged her to come back because I know others here enjoy the sparring and because I felt this group was a good source of support for her. Paternalistic on that last bit, I know. (Does “materialistic” have the same meaning? For some reason I feel not).

  133. Lark, I don’t think what you wrote is caustic, mean, or negative. It’s how certain people make you feel. I appreciate what you said because I think those thoughts at times, too. While I like our former poster and try to connect with her periodically, I felt, sometimes, she needed to step back and reassess. It’s also why when she would get going, I would leave the blog, and then catch up at night.

    Ris – it’s not you. I truly think it was her – from periodic emails I’ve received, she needed time to reassess things and move her life away from this forum. I’m sure you persuade people fantastically in real life.

  134. Lark – you shouldn’t be posting as “Anon for this”. To your point, off in my own mind, I used to think of ways to help former poster but I came to realize that our view points and life styles were far apart and maybe what I suggested was way out of what she was willing and able to do. Maybe we were just not the right community of well wishers.

  135. Here is an idea relating to new blood on this blog. Could CoC pick a topic on another site for a day, then we could all post on that site for the day with and identify us as being part of this blog? We could all post there on that day, so maybe some commenters would follow us back to the blog.

  136. I suppose that we all have our “thing” that is a prominent part of our values and our personalities, and then, on some level, we use this group as a forum in which to highlight those distinctions to others and in the process, gain some self-affirmation about our choices. It might be MMM-like financial optimization, or wisdom from the years of hard knocks, or career optimization for maximum earnings with minimal effort (and 1st class upgrades along the way).

    And then when it comes to she who shall not be named, this “thing” is really just a lifelong passion for rejecting convention and fighting whatever is perceived as the power structure. No solution is really desired; the fight itself is what’s satisfying. So, almost subconsciously, the model became to just lay out all the details of a situation and wait for someone to take the bait by responding with something like “you know, if you just tried something like starting even a part-time job at ___________” then the immediate response would be “All my life, everyone is always trying to tell me what to do! Milo thinks he can tell me what to do. Meme is way too conventional for me. I will never surrender.”

    Why that model imploded against the advice of “Don’t try to get a lawyer to fight the apartment manager, just stop bouncing the ball” I’m at a loss to say.

  137. seeking advice:

    OK, so our group’s vp got a big promotion yesterday (big enough for local press coverage) to take over as one of the senior leaders of the org when the incumbent retires at the end of the year.

    Some of her (and I think that it’s a woman is important in this) direct reports want to give her flowers as a congratulatory gesture.

    Others, including me, think personal written notes of congratulations, thanks, etc., would be more meaningful. IMO, based on working closely with & for her for the last several years, the flowers aren’t her thing. I know she appreciates more personal touches (like one note she got from another senior person when her pet died a while back).

    The “voting” breaks down along age and class lines. The older crowd, who grew up totebag class, agrees with me, the younger people want to do the flowers. Just so happens the younger/junior people grew up in lower SES.

    And, as I pointed out, would we send flowers if our boss who got the promotion were a man? Would sending flowers be perceived as somewhat sexist? That gained some traction, but one member of the team is adamant we should do a group thing.

    It’s not that I don’t want to be part of a group gift/effort; I just think the recipient would better appreciate a different approach. HELP!! (our group is going to spend more gray matter on this in half an hour. Thanks.

  138. How about some sort of token gift instead of the flowers (since that is not her thing) and do the notes as well. Both camps, will be satisfied. I don’t think of flowers as being sexist. If someone was to think that, I would give them a plant preferably a cactus :-0.

  139. If someone was to think that, I would give them a plant preferably a cactus :-0.

    Turns out, for Boss’ Day last week our admin got an aloe plant as a group gift to go along with the card. So a(nother?) cactus-type thing might not work.

    Thank you!

    I should have added one more thing. Those of us saying no all have long careers, as does the boss, at places that expressly forbid, in writing, gift exchanges between subordinates and managers. That colors our opinions, too.

  140. Just because something is gender-specific doesn’t mean it’s sexist. Would you object to giving a man a tie as a gift? If everyone wants to give flowers, just give flowers. They don’t have to be someone’s thing–they’ll be dead in a week, anyway. It’s not a big commitment. You should also write your note.

  141. I’m with Milo, Fred. Do the flowers bc it is a group thing and you want to be part of that — and any nice gesture is a nice gesture. And write your own note because that’s how you roll.

  142. @Fred: Go with your gut. If you are of the same generation and work-life era as your boss and know her preferences, you will be doing the younger folks a favor by passing that on to the younger folks who don’t have the same perspective. I.e., flowers are a lovely gesture, but it’s not the best choice for this particular boss because in your experience. . . . It sounds like they want to give a tangible “thing,” so come up with your own suggested alternative. FWIW, when I was elected partner, my in-laws had a little weird diorama made with things like mini pennants of my law school and logos from my favorite teams and such — yeah, it’s weird, but it showed that they were excited for me AND were paying attention to the things that were important to me. Or my dad built a plant, and then the whole team took a photo of the plant and had it matted and framed and everyone signed it, so he had the whole team memorialized on the wall, etc.

    The problem with flowers is that the first thing they say is “hi, we see you’re a girl.” Unless you’re my date, that’s not really the message that I want to hear. I would of course accept them graciously and take them in the spirit intended. But, yeah, not the best choice.

    But if they all insist on flowers despite your advice and efforts, go along with the team. And then write your own personal congrats, since you know that matters to her.

  143. Instead of flowers, may I suggest an edible arrangement???

    But ya, flowers/fruit basket are nice and easy. But send your personal note anyway. Because that’s you and she’ll appreciate it.

    When DS was born, my office sent me an edible arrangement and the higher ups sent a gift card. Both were appreciated as I needed food and baby supplies.

  144. “Would you object to giving a man a tie as a gift?”

    For a work celebration? Umm, yeah. That’s what kids give for Father’s Day. Give him a plaque or something he can put on his wall in his big new office.

  145. I would send the flowers, because they’re an outward and public sign of appreciation (signaling devices matter! I want to wear a button that says that!). It makes a difference for others to see her team expressing their congratulations and appreciation. But I would also encourage folks to do the separate note.

  146. PS, I’m asking for forgiveness now… A week ago, DS decided to stop sleeping through the night (by that I mean 10-12 hours). We can’t figure out why, and it’s killing me. Slowly and painfully. My grammar is horrible, and I can’t think straight.

  147. “Give him a plaque or something he can put on his wall in his big new office.”

    His “I Love Me wall?” Plaques are a joke.

  148. Rhode, is it teething? Or a growth spurt? I found that once I labeled it then I was less tired. ;) Otherwise, MOAR COFFEE.

    I don’t miss the fighting, but it would be nice to get more new posters in. I would welcome both more older posters with grandkids, and more people who are just starting to have babies. And also the M/F ratio here is much lower than the rest of the internet…although I think that also helps with the civility, so not sure if changing that would be a positive thing.

  149. Fred – I agree with Milo. Let the group send what it chooses and you send a note. Sending flowers is not sexist, just not-all-that-much-thought gender specific. The equivalent old style automatic gesture for a man would be a bottle of his favorite hard liquor or in the old old days some cigars. Unless the boss is known to be a non drinker by reason of religion, habit or recovery, a bottle of celebratory good vintage wine is non gender specific, and someone in the employee group is qualified to select it at the local high end liquor shop.

  150. “It makes a difference for others to see her team expressing their congratulations and appreciation.”

    Lark, thank you for this insight that I was clearly missing.

    Update: so we met and the guy who’s the most mediator-type of all of us and was clearly bothered by the differences in the group brought us together and said what a Lark said…it’s important for us as her team, which she recognized in her speech yesterday, to demonstrate our good wishes to her. They are genuine. He did a great job in bringing us back together.

    And we all agreed to do a “going away” lunch for her close to when she actually takes over in the new role. (Away = just down the hall, btw).

  151. got cut off…

    So now there is a small flower arrangement with a card from all of us on her office table.

    I’m still giving her the note I wrote.

  152. ““I Love Me wall?””

    Tee hee… I like the sound of that. Except it will be Miss Piggy like and All about Moi!

    L – D, all of the above…. It started the night he got his flu shot, so I thought it was that. Then it continued. We’ve had one night where he slept from 7-7:30 to 5:30. We think we are getting a sleep regression (first one ever). I had a very good sleeper and now I don’t. I don’t like coffee, so I’m living on tea and other sources of caffeine. My work productivity has tanked though.

  153. Fred – perhaps the “away” lunch could be fancier? I agree with Meme that alcohol is usually my #1 thought when I think of a promotion. Glad that the mediator colleague brought you all together in the meeting.

  154. Rhode – no advice, just hope he goes back to sleeping through the night. My oldest stopped sleeping through the night from 18 months to 2, would wake up several times a night crying (may have been nightmares I’m not sure). I still don’t know how I got through those six months, it was so much worse than just having a newborn and knowing you’d be up.

  155. on the flowers subject, am I the only woman who has given her husband flowers? maybe once or twice in our marriage, he liked them :)

  156. @Rhode – I can’t remember when it starts but slowly they do need a little less sleep than they did before. Also, my two nap kid cut back to one nap, then less nap time and no nap time. Right now, older kid has started to stay awake later but can still get up early most days.

  157. As for expanding readership (rather than just encouraging lurkers to contribute), I think we would have to add some structure and probably have at least one serious topic day a week that is designated free of hijacks and personal updates (other than for major breaking external news). It is impossible to get someone to come in cold because of a serious topic and have the tenth comment be “remind me of which SUV you recommend or kiddo #2 had this issue today at morning drop off” and have the discussion veer off. Or perhaps we could request totebaggers to post help me with this or ongoing saga update after 5pm CST or in the morning before the new post comes in, so that the topic gets its fair shake.

    I personally have no issue with the current structure and membership and the water cooler aspect of this blog. I merely offer the above suggestions if the group decides to go with a recruiting strategy. I will say that no new empty nesters are likely to join – the constant college prep stuff is actually more mind numbing than the toilet and sleep training discussions of ten years ago – older parents understand that new parents can be nutso during the early years and the milestones come so quickly that it seems that there is a decision point every few weeks or months. But come on. Most parents by ninth grade have a pretty good idea of where the child is likely to end up in the academic or US News ranking rat race, and whether the family’s financial situation will require a miracle, some fancy footwork or just simple cash flow planning.

  158. Oh Rhode, sorry. Others here will have better advice than I can offer. I could send you Zingerman’s coffee, though. Want me to? :)

  159. Longtime lurker, *very* occasional commenter. Based on this discussion, will try to chime in more frequently!

  160. Thanks all… we are trying to figure it out without developing new bad habits. Ris – if Zingerman’s coffee doesn’t taste like coffee, I’d probably try it. But coffee is a flavor I don’t like. I know I’m weird.

    All I ask is that you bear with me through my craziness. I promise to not go too crazy… just mildly insane.

  161. Hi Hoosier! Welcome to the party!

    DD – I so wanted the Cubbies to go forth.. but this is the furthest they’ve been in forever. So now it’s Mets all the way! (much to the chagrin of my Yanks loving hubby!)

  162. Back to LfB’s comment about seeing others point of view and what makes her uncomfortable:

    At Bible study last week, I was annoyed when the leader/elder commented, “Liberals think kids are better off raised by the state than by their parents.” My thought was, “That’s not what any of the liberals I know think. We may disagree on how much power should be given to CPS, but part of being an honest conservative is trying to accurately represent my opponent’s position.” It wasn’t the time to say that out loud, but maybe another time will be appropriate.

    Regarding the hypothetical eugenics discussion, I learned that I should not use numbers to try to convey something about people. Because of my life background (baby with lethal abnormality, surprise Baby #4), I’m always going to be both more sensitive and more knowledgeable about genetic/prenatal issues than most people. There really isn’t anywhere people discuss such things rationally and I will probably go to my grave torn between my conservative Christian friends, “As a society, we will spend millions of dollars on every one of the 1% of babies with major abnormalities but by golly, don’t raise my taxes” and the genetic counselor’s observation that many people prefer to terminate a pregnancy (and often try again) than to take any risk of a suboptimal outcome, even one that is clearly in the range of human normal. And the majority of people my age with an unplanned pregnancy will terminate.

    It’s so hard to deal with the world as it is and not as I want it to be.

  163. WCE – I kind of feel that way a little bit reading the MMM forums that can’t reconcile “consumption is evil, big business is evil, carbon is evil” with “the best life one can lead is to retire as soon as possible and live on the earnings of your global stock index funds.”

  164. ” I often think about how liberals tend to want better wages/stronger protections for workers but tend to hire out the childcare, landscaping and food production that many rural conservatives do for themselves, or within their families.”

    I was recently nominated for an “employee of the month” kind of thing (signals do matter!), and gave a lot of thought to the many, many people (mostly woman) who have helped my family over time and allow me to work full time: Our baby nurse, my nanny, the numerous speech, play and occupational therapists, various baby sitters (including now a male sitter), the afterschool programs at school, and of course my family on occasion and DH. DH and I buy lunch out most work days and frequently order take out for dinner. My building has doormen and a manager. I get my groceries delivered and rely on Amazon quite a bit. All of this DH and I pay for. We do not have family around to assist us with this.

    I don’t view this way of living as unique. Nor do I view this way of living as compatible with a more traditional view of marriage and family. If a more traditional model works for you, awesome. I respect that. But please acknowledge that it does not work for everyone and never has.

    I want better wages/stronger protections for workers, and better daycare options/availability for families, because I see the need for it. I know many people, including those who have worked for me, who are working multiple jobs to pay the bills. What frustrates me about conservatives is that they seem stuck thinking that government should only support their model of life and that life will go back to only that model. It will not. And that model has never been the only model. Women have always worked; families have always needed a living wage and safe and good daycare. Government should work for more than one type of society and lifestyle.

  165. My observation is that liberals tend to promote policies whose consequences they don’t have to live with. I suspect that most people in favor of the open borders don’t have their children go to school where English is a second language for most students, and a significant minority don’t speak English at all.

  166. “What frustrates me about conservatives is that they seem stuck thinking that government should only support their model of life and that life will go back to only that model.”

    And I don’t see this at all. Government shouldn’t be in the business of choosing one sort of life over another. It should simply get out of the way and interfere as little as possible. What frustrates me about liberals is that they don’t seem to realize how [artificially inflated]/”better wages”, in addition to ever-increasing regulations, are what reduces daycare options and affordability for families.

  167. Milo, I agree. I also don’t understand the idea behind a high minimum wage. Minimum wage isn’t meant to support a family on. A ,minimum wage job is one that a person with no training or experience gets until they have enough knowledge to be useful. That sort of job is a stepping stone, not an end. The higher the minimum wage gets, the more incentive companies have to a) not take a chance on someone and b) substitute technology for labor. Both of which make it harder for someone with little to no skills to get a job and move up the wage scale.

  168. Murphy – As they say, nobody learns job skills in the unemployment line.

    As we’ve pointed out before, most people would agree that families with young children should not go hungry or freeze to death. If we need to do things like food stamps, heating oil subsidies, and a robust EITC, then do it, and share the burden as a society. At least with the EITC you’re encouraging the behavior and outcome that you actually want.

    A minimum wage is unfairly putting that burden squarely on the backs of the only employers who are actually willing to provide work to the unskilled? Why should they be penalized for that?

  169. “It should simply get out of the way and interfere as little as possible.”

    Ha ha ha! That is rich given the ridiculous arguments put forward by supposedly small government conservatives when it comes to abortion, for instance. Trans-vaginal probe anyone?

    More seriously, I do think your and Murphy’s comments about unintended consequences and poorly thought out or acknowledged long term consequences is fair. But I find that true of a lot of government policies put forward by all parties. (I work with a lot of regulations, frequently. FATCA , oi ve. Not sure which party or technocrat thought that one up but geesh.) I also find that there’s is more of a willingness to have a dialogue about such consequences and more nuance to the discussion, among my friends at least.

  170. And *I* don’t think you can make these generalizations about either liberals or conservatives. You need to look at each issue on its own and see what people are saying.

  171. ATM, I like your comment. It may explain part of why rural areas are disproportionately conservative. Only paid work is taxed and very few high wage jobs that allow people to afford the support you describe are available in rural areas. This explains both wealth transfer at the federal level (federal income taxes of people like you subsidize medical care to the rural poor) and the rural conservative fear of higher taxes.

    I suppose the question is with a more educated population, would there be more high wage jobs in rural areas that are compatible with your “high support” family model. Will government support for education create enough high wage jobs for a widespread “high support” family model or will this model continue to be limited to a small percentage of the population?

  172. I find it interesting that I (and others) come here because we can have a civilized conversation about controversial topics that we cannot have IRL. That is my problem with politics IRL – ALL THE SHOUTING AND NOT LISTENING.

    (BTW – Today is ALL CAPS day, apparently. Did not know that was a thing.)

    Since I am in such a snarky mood, can I also call bullshit on Paul Ryan’s “I need to spend time with my kids” line. I just am not buying it. To me, it comes across as insincere and as a cold, cynical ploy. Call me a skeptic.

  173. Well, any time you’re talking about a two-party system, there are going to be ideological inconsistencies, particularly when you cross-reference economic policy with social/ethical objectives.

  174. “can I also call bullshit on Paul Ryan’s “I need to spend time with my kids” line. I just am not buying it. To me, it comes across as insincere and as a cold, cynical ploy. Call me a skeptic.”

    WTOP always brings on Politico reporters for such topics. What the reporter said on the air was that, in addition to all the duties of Speaker in Washington, Boehner was on the road about 100 days per year fundraising. I assume Pelosi’s schedule was similar.

    I think Paul Ryan’s being genuine when he says that he’s not taking the job with that expectation, and I think Obama was genuine when he said he’s not terribly interested in spending many nights schmoozing with Democratic sycophants; he’d rather have dinner and be home with his family.

  175. Milo, what do you think of this?

    In former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich’s latest book, “Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few,” he tackles a polarizing subject that has long divided liberals and conservatives, and, in recent years, has become increasingly mythological. That subject is the free market, which, as Reich points out in his book, has and will never been free in the sense that so many on the right imagine in their theories.

    “Few ideas have more profoundly poisoned the minds of more people than the notion of a ‘free market’ existing somewhere in the universe, into which government ‘intrudes,’” Reich writes, “But the prevailing view, as well as the debate it has spawned, is utterly false. There can be no ‘free market’ without government… Competition in the wild is a contest for survival in which the largest and strongest typically win. Civilization, by contrast, is defined by rules; rules create markets, and governments generate the rules.”

  176. I read an interesting article in The Atlantic about Al Gore – bear with me please – about the detrimental effects of CEOs short term outlooks on their company’s performance. The average CEO is only CEO for five years. Perhaps stating the obvious, but I think the same short-term/detrimental effect has become true in politics as well. I keep waiting for the grown-ups in the room to get away from the day to day political bashing and start developing long term policy and making the case to others, and getting others buy in, that it will work.

    I think that is the turnoff of Ben Carson and Trump and others to a lot of voters. They don’t come across as the grownup in the room. Now, I have no idea how Bernie is going to get others to support the legislation he wants, he still needs a lot more buy in.

    (OK and now I really have to do some work.)

  177. “My observation is that liberals tend to promote policies whose consequences they don’t have to live with.”

    Wait — what happened to “liberals want better wages/stronger protections for workers but tend to hire out the childcare, landscaping and food production that many rural conservatives do for themselves”? If that’s what liberals want, we’re by definition advocating for consequences that only we will bear (because the conservatives will be doing it themselves and thus not paying the higher wages required to outsource).

    I think a more accurate statement is that “all people tend to promote policies whose consequences they don’t have to live with.” Transvaginal ultrasound, anyone? Don’t raise my taxes, just cut government services to other people? Cut welfare and business taxes?

    Two of these might be completely legitimate policy choices. But the people voting for them sure don’t have to live with the consequences.

  178. RMS if you like Reich, you may also like Tim Taylor, who has espoused a similar view. I’m listening to his “A History of the U.S. Economy” The Great Courses, on Audible. For all businesses groaning, to a certain extent, business needs government regulation, in part to keep down competition from new market entrants.

  179. Rocky – Agreed. Obviously, for capitalism to flourish, you need a government that, first and foremost, is able to respect and enforce the rule of law relating to private and intellectual property. The next level, I suppose, would be maintaining law and order so that commerce can be conducted. Moving up the hierarchy, you get into funding the infrastructure for efficient logistics and trade networks. (“You didn’t build that!” :)) Then there’s educating the workforce, establishing some workplace discrimination and safety protections. Restricting monopolies. Keep going on the ride, and we get to manipulating the credit markets and being the lender of last resort.

  180. Murphy,
    I agree with all that you say.

    But, unfortunately, there are (so/too?) many people who for various reasons, mostly educational attainment I’d say, are unable to advance beyond entry level as they achieve young adulthood, so they remain in low-paying jobs as the rest of life happens (relationships, pregnancies, kids, etc). Minimum wage + single parent (mother) hood does not equal a sustainable situation.

    But, two adults in a committed, long-term, relationship where both earn about minimum and work full time will make about $35-40k/yr gross. Yeah, that’s only 70-80% of median household income, but not destitute. And there are existing government programs that will help supplement that for some.

    Some situations are attributable to user error, some to “the system”. Nonetheless, I don’t think paying $15/hr as minimum wage to fast food workers in NY, or to everyone in some other places (Seattle, SF come to mind) is the solution.

  181. Milo/ATM – I sent in a Paul Ryan topic… so please keep the comments stored for when that debuts.

  182. “For all businesses groaning, to a certain extent, business needs government regulation, in part to keep down competition from new market entrants.”

    That is crony capitalism, which I believe is a liberal policy choice, not a conservative one.

    In my experience, the bureacracies tend to like large businesses, because there are fewer of them to regulate and they are more likely to offer goodies to the bureaucrats.

  183. WCE – I always appreciate your posts as well. You (and others) are helping me understand my upstate and more rural family members’ views. Now if only I could have a similar discourse with them directly.

  184. “the bureacracies tend to like large businesses, because there are fewer of them to regulate and they are more likely to offer goodies to the bureaucrats.”

    And a little bit of vice-versa, because a huge business is better able to spread and absorb the costs of compliance, which can be a competitive advantage.

  185. LfB, I read about the manicurists in the NY Times and assume that the people who have their nails done know that the manicurists are not being fairly paid. Maybe that’s an inaccurate assumption. I also think of comments (by ATM and others) about how many nannies are paid under the table and of comments by people I know who only care about paying their babysitters/nannies legally if there would be a professional consequence if they don’t pay legally.

    People have joked about Totebag hypocrisy. I despise hypocrisy and went through the hassle and cost of filing with social security when my sitter barely broke $1800 one year.

    I honestly can’t tell how many of the people who support a $15/hr minimum wage + payroll taxes would pay it to their nannies. But I’m pretty sure it’s not all.

  186. Minimum wage isn’t meant to support a family on.

    Maybe not, but in reality there are a whole lot of people who need to do just that because they don’t have the skills to get higher paying jobs, and they don’t have the means to get the training or education to obtain those skills.

  187. Fred, someone who shows up to work, sober and on time, isn’t likely to remain a minimum wage worker long.

    Free markets are predicated on private property rights and the rule of law, not the absence of government. Picking winners and losers, e.g. massive solar energy tax credits, Solyndra, different tax structures for different businesses is a distortion of a free market, not a feature of one.

    As I have gotten older and have become more and more the target of both unintended and intended consequences, I have become much more libertarian. Just leave me alone. I think kids should be educated, and, while I am willing to pay taxes for that, I don’t see why they have to be educated in public schools. Police are important, but they do not need tanks, nor do they need to be outfitted like storm troopers. A functional country has integral borders that can be depended without shame or apology.


  188. That is crony capitalism, which I believe is a liberal policy choice, not a conservative one.

    Wait, what?

  189. WCE – For the record, I don’t get my nails done. Friends who do always tipped generously (like you would in a restaurant) thinking that the manicurist would get to keep the tip, which may or may not have actually been the case. I think that series of articles opened up a lot of eyes.

  190. ATM – This isn’t meant to be badgering, but do you expect that you’ll be able to afford take-out dinners with the same frequency under a $15 minimum wage?

  191. On the subject of hypocrisy:

    I found it hard to wrap my head around the manicurist in NY story. As I recall, the customer paid something less than $15 for a manicure. The manicure takes at least an hour. When you think about shop rent, utilities, payroll taxes, etc, there is no room for the business to break even and for the manicurist to be paid minimum wage. It seemed obvious that the story was wrong or that the manicurists were being exploited. Given that the customers would know how much they were paying, it didn’t seem possible that they didn’t have an idea how little the staff was paid.

    Over the summer, I had occasion to visit someone whose husband is a professor at a university. They had an undergrad student doing research for him, as an unpaid intern, in addition, she was acting as a nanny for their preteen kids, in exchange for room and board. They are bay area liberals, the type of people who think the ag community mistreats their workers. I’ve never treated an employee like that.

  192. Murphy – IME A manicure doesn’t take an hour. 20-30 minutes tops.

    Milo – I do pretty well, so $15 per hour probably won’t affect me that much. Chuckle. More seriously, I don’t know how it is being implemented If it is only applied to fast food workers at places like McDonald’s, won’t affect me at all. If it applies to places like Pret, Au bon Pain, the local restaurant with a “to do” side shop, my lunches will get a bit more expensive. I may cut back on Starbuck’s, but in all likelihood, I’d still buy lunch and not bring it from home.

  193. I don’t think that too many of you encounter liberals who come from a labor movement background. My mother paid both her share and our domestic worker’s share of social security when NO ONE did it. And my mom was single and worked long hours, needed someone with me who could work until late at night on a moment’s notice, and in 1950s DC even lower middle class white people (we were solidly middle class) had maids. I won’t use Uber and don’t like the so called entrepreneurial (which I see as exploitative piecework) economy, although I can’t convince my kids about that issue – they think autonomy and self scheduling that works for professionals is applicable to workers with considerably less economic power.

    And plenty of well off people in big cities pay 15 hr to a nanny. The amount I pay to the cleaner would allow her easily to pay more than that to her 2 helpers (she has an LLC and I don’t know what wage she pays – she has the car and license and speaks good English, does payroll taxes and all that for them)

  194. “It seemed obvious that the story was wrong or that the manicurists were being exploited.”

    See, and I think this was a question (for me at least) of just not putting the dots together. I assumed that the manicurists were employees and were paid minimum wage; I also saw a number of manicures that involved maybe 10-15 minutes of active working time (e.g., having one person soaking while working on another while the third is under the dryer), so I assumed that they just structured the hours and timing so the business owner made a profit after paying wages and overhead. The idea that the shop would be “renting” space, absconding with tips, etc., just never occurred to me. So maybe the liberal fallacy is to trust to much that government regulation ensures people get treated fairly in practice.

    That said, in practice I am very much like WCE. I don’t get many manicures/pedicures, but I have always tipped generously in those kinds of shops (if you’re charging me $35 for an hour’s work on my feet, I will give you at least $10 in tip); after reading the article, I now make sure to give the tip in cash to the manicurist. I have also never had a nanny, because I was unwilling to either skirt the SS law or deal with the tax issues, and because I assumed a fair wage would start at about $15/hr, which was more than I thought we could afford, so I went with a reputable center where they at least paid minimum wage/SS and gave vacations and were subject to wage and hour law and state inspections. Etc.

    The things we’re talking about here are largely luxuries, and I find it unconscionable to balance my luxury budget on the backs of the underpaid.

  195. I am getting my nails done tomorrow. Mani is $28 and pedi is $58. It will take about 90 mins total. I figure the person who I go to gets about 1/3 of that plus my 20% tip. I feel okay about this.

    Everyone I know pays their nannies in compliance with the laws, including their portion of employment taxes and unemployment. I think DC is different from many places.

  196. As for the argument that the ideal non interventionist model for US society should mirror the extended family support that keeps rural families from disintegration in the face of low wages and limited opportunity, I can say that there is only one time I ever considered dropping the Totebag – and that was not when I was personally and viciously attacked by a former poster, but when in a previous minimum wage discussion someone advanced the idea that transportation insecurity for the lower middle class who depended on the automobile to get to work was not a problem because there was always a rusty pickup in grandpa’s barn that you could slap some plates on in a crisis.

  197. “I think kids should be educated, and, while I am willing to pay taxes for that, I don’t see why they have to be educated in public schools.”

    That may be a regional constraint. Here, it’s estimated that about 20% of kids go to private schools.

    There are few geographical constraints on boarding school.

  198. Milo: (I paraphrase).

    Under NY law, the governor may appoint a wage board for only 1 industry at a time. Cuomo chose the fast-food industry because they were vocal, visible, among the first to organize around the $15/hr concept. He could appoint other wage boards, but probably won’t

    An overall increase to $15/hr seems to be a non-starter in the NY legislature. So the governor figures market forces will get employers in other industries to pay => $15 (when fully implemented in 2018 for NYC and FY2021 for the rest of the state) to keep their existing employees rather than losing them to places that pay more.

  199. “If it is only applied to fast food workers at places like McDonald’s, won’t affect me at all.”

    At some level, it will. It will make it more difficult for any business or operation, including governments, that needs to hire low-skill labor. Governments are likely to raise their wage rates, and then increase taxes.

    I don’t doubt that some level of inflation will be a consequence of increased minimum wage, whether it only applies to fast food workers or not.

    “Why should the increased minimum wage only apply to some workers and not all?”

    Some likely consequences, perhaps not intended:

    -Increased automation at fast food restaurants, especially the large chains that can spread the cost of developing that automation over a large base of restaurants. This will affect the operations of fast food restaurants not directly required to pay their workers the high minimum wages.

    -Other businesses competing for workers will need to raise their wages, which again will increase the rate of automation implementation.

    -Increased inflation. With inflation rates near zero, the Fed will have limited ability to minimize this.

  200. “An overall increase to $15/hr seems to be a non-starter in the NY legislature. So the governor figures market forces will get employers in other industries to pay => $15 (when fully implemented in 2018 for NYC and FY2021 for the rest of the state) to keep their existing employees rather than losing them to places that pay more.”

    Some employers will be forward looking and get a head start on increased automation, so their minimum wage earners will be more productive, but fewer.

    BTW, another likely consequence of increased minimum wage for fast food workers is decreased hours for those workers. Remember the Starbucks worker in a post we discussed here earlier, who did not regularly get 8 continuous hours of work during a day? I can see a lot of fast food workers getting unpaid breaks between mealtimes.

  201. “This isn’t meant to be badgering”

    It’s a positive contribution to the desired increase in edginess on this blog.

  202. Murphy, Milo, ITA agree with your take on minimum wage.

    I wonder how much abuse of the EITC exists. E.g., a business owner hires a kid, or a friend’s kid, in part so the kid can qualify for the EITC. Can a full time college student who makes less than $10k/year qualify?

  203. The median hourly wage is $17.09 according to the first google government data link. In my area, the majority of people who work for the school district (bus drivers, cooks, lunchroom supervisors, classroom assistants) earn less than $15/hr. A significant fraction of those with medical-related jobs (home health aides, CNA’s, people caring for the disabled, at least some custodial and kitchen staff in hospitals) earn less than $15/hr.

    All those jobs are at least indirectly and mostly funded by government.

  204. “The median hourly wage is $17.09 ”

    I wonder if that factors in an equivalent hourly wage for salaried, exempt workers.

  205. Milo, yes, it appeared to. Everyone, including people normally exempt, had an hourly wage. It’s probably based on a 40 hr work week, even though many exempt people work more.

  206. “All those jobs are at least indirectly and mostly funded by government.”

    And thus will require some combination of increased tax revenue and decreased services provided/funded by government, except for jobs funded by the federal government, who can just increase the deficit (which does increase inflationary pressure).

    Some tax revenue increase will come from the workers whose wages jump up to the new minimum wage.

    I wonder how much the actual disposable income of those workers will increase, given that the increased gross income likely is taxed at a higher marginal rate than their previous gross income, as well as the inflationary effects of the wage increase.

    If the minimum wage increase only applies to fast food workers, it seems the clear losers will be the other minimum wage workers (or the subset of them who can’t get fast food jobs) and their employers.

    I suspect that, ironically, many of those in this category are fast food consumers who may cut that consumption.

  207. “BTW, another likely consequence of increased minimum wage for fast food workers is decreased hours for those workers. ”

    Those who lose hours to employers strategically avoiding certain thresholds (as we saw with the ACA employer mandate) and those who lose their jobs to additional automation will be pushed to become the Uber drivers and Task Rabbits. And once they’re independent contractors, we don’t have to worry about what their effective wages are.

  208. Fred, a lot of full-time grad students would qualify.

    I can see that it could be a good thing that the EITC would help facilitate some adults going back to school.

  209. Finn – what I find lacking in these discussions is more granularity on what the level is and how it compares to the changes in minimum wages under discussion. How elastic/inelastic is that level? Does any increase in the current minimum wage tip us over that threshold or is there still some bandwidth left? My inclination is that there is some bandwidth left; my guess is that conservatives think any change will push us above that threshold.

    Some of the consequences – automation – are already being implemented.

  210. ” My inclination is that there is some bandwidth left; my guess is that conservatives think any change will push us above that threshold.”

    You seem to think that it’s all or nothing, like there’s a breaking point, or at least like there are step increases.

    I don’t see why wouldn’t it be linear?

  211. ” I doubt a $0.01 per hour wage increase will change hiring decisions.”

    OK, to some degree, each person is a threshold. But a $1 increase in the minimum wage, which costs the employer at least $1.10, costs $2,288 annually. That seems like a substantial-enough amount to get one or two touchscreens to take orders at the McDonald’s counter.

  212. “Some of the consequences – automation – are already being implemented.”

    Undoubtedly. However, I think a large increase in minimum wage will increase the rate of development and implementation.

    “My inclination is that there is some bandwidth left; my guess is that conservatives think any change will push us above that threshold.”

    Perhaps, but I think a jump to $15/hour will, in many locations, go well beyond that remaining bandwidth.

  213. Also, there is such regional variations. Because there is little or no low level labor mobility into the Northeast by reason of housing costs and weather, there are always help wanted signs around here for retail, grocery, fast food jobs. The Post office is always hiring (not permanent jobs with benefits, but once you are in it becomes easier move up.) None of these jobs has set hours, the rubber hits the road issue for many workers, so they are almost impossible for a parent of small children who does not have an at home partner or nearby extended family, and for any worker without reliable personal transportation outside of a fairly small central area.

  214. Recall that an increased minimum wage will also increase outsourcing. If agricultural workers were paid $15/hr, more of our produce would come from overseas and our meat would be processed overseas as well.

  215. Talk about long term consequences: Outsourcing – originally viewed as creating new markets for U.S. products and fixing trade imbalances, now viewed as stealing U.S. jobs.

  216. Milo – acknowledged. I’m just noting how the rhetoric has changed and how the wholesale offshoring of certain businesses was not foreseen/adequately taken into account in determining the impact on jobs in the U.S. and related backlash.

  217. “Outsourcing ” is NOT the issue. If there’s a labor issue, it’s OFF-SHORING.

    We all do plenty of outsourcing, and it’s considered completely normal: dry cleaning, trash hauling, auto repair, many home maintenance and cleaning activities from construction trades to lawn/garden services to housekeeping. Hell, if you get right down to it, restaurants are oursourcing (ref LfB), but I can even go so far as to say grocery stores are a type of outsourcing (vs growing our own food). On a higher level, hiring lawyers, management consultants, financial advisors, doctors, dentists, cpas are also examples of outsourcing. Some people will just never want to do their own taxes. Not an eye is batted at all this, right? Teachers, police and fire protection, too.

    This is our services economy…it exists because there are comparative advantages. Some people are better at some things and lousier at others. It’s far more efficient for me to hire a plumber from the get-go than to first attempt it myself and then call one in to fix both the original problem and the one(s) I caused.

    Off-shoring, the quintessential examples are tech support in India or maquiladoras along the US-Mexico border, is when jobs that could be done in the US, whether service or manufacturing, are taken to another country where costs of production are lower.

  218. I agree with Fred’s point regarding offshoring vs. outsourcing. At my company, a certain term is preferred and I forget that there is a better one- my error.

  219. Murphy, the manicure that you’re thinking about in NYC does not take more than 20- 30 minutes. There are so many of these store fronts, and they bus in the staff from outer boroughs. The pay situation is probably unfair, but some of the workers are not in the US legally. They are afraid, and they are probably being exploited.

    I’ve been seeing the same person for manicures for over 20 years. this is uncommon, but I’ve followed her around. I know her kids, she is a FB friend and I I over tip. I also know that she is an American citizen and she has the proper licenses. I’ve brought many friends and family to her, and they generally love the manicure or the pedicure. They just don’t want to pay this much for a manicure except for special occasions. I’ve taken enough economics courses (and psychology) to understand why they think this price is too high for Manhattan. This place charges more than the typical store front in manhattan. It is still a much lower price than a spa or hotel manicure price.

    It is always interesting to me to see where people will make these price decisions. These are the same people that will happily pay $34 for several 45 minute Soul Cycle classes when they could ride a bike for free, or take spin classes as part of a membership at their gym. I will pay up for a manicure, but I am just as happy to go running for free several times a week.

    It is unusual to find people around here that pay their babysitters or cleaning people on the books. Even my friends that work for government agencies, and have to pay on the books complain because it can be harder to find babysitters. they can never find a cleaner off the books, but they have an alternative because they can hire cleaning services instead.

  220. Lauren, why do you think people who support a strong role for government regarding employment choose to hire people illegally?

  221. @WCE: Why do you think [insert group of people] do [insert something hypocritical]?

    The possibilities are endless.

  222. “It is unusual to find people around here that pay their babysitters or cleaning people on the books.”

    Babysitters and cleaning people often do not earn enough/work enough hours to trigger the filing requirements. Also, paying people on the books is a) a PITA, b) more expensive and c) unwanted by the workers – they take home more cash if off book.

  223. I was thinking of my question in the other direction: Why advocate for laws you don’t plan to follow? To me, it’s kind of like the coal industry advocating for carbon emission limits.

  224. I guess it’s easier for me to understand why people who despise government break what they view as meddlesome laws, because they don’t view government as a just source of authority.

  225. There definitely is a lot of hypocrisy but some non-compliance is simply not knowing what is required and how to go about it. And it really is a pain to go about it.

    When you think of babysitting as hiring our teenage neighbor for a few hours, most people don’t think, Oh what taxes should I pay as the employer? But when that sitter is racking up serious hours and its really the sitter’s livelihood, you probably should. Same with (non-company/agency) housekeepers/gardeners/handymen, etc.

  226. ATM, I agree that compliance with the law is tough. I’m still a little panicked when I get a letter from social security, that I did something wrong.

    In contrast, my conservative approach to the problem of legal non-compliance for workers paid by individuals would be to let individuals deduct wages paid from their income like a business and have a functional e-Verify to make sure workers are legal. This should increase competition for nannies and cleaners, increasing their wages and ensuring that they are eligible for social security in their old age. It should also make people more willing to hire others. This would decrease taxes collected and we might have to adjust tax rates to compensate, but we’d have much better employment and wage data on which to make such a decision.

    Since I grew up around farmers like Murphy, I’m surprised how common paying workers off the books is. My retired friend who ran a successful small business in a couple southern European countries and here observed that tax non-compliance makes it almost impossible for government to function there. Her business (bike shop) will likely stop offering health insurance because ACA mandates have dramatically increased rates. My friend and her husband heavily subsidized insurance for their employees for 25 years and they had mechanics who worked for them that whole time, in large part because of the good insurance on top of competitive (high teens/hour) pay.

  227. WCE I suspect that laws you don’t think you will have to follow are the easiest to advocate for.

  228. WCE, i thought about your question, and I realized that my friends that work for the government, or a government agency are lawyers. they like the challenging work, fair pay, and minimal hours. They don’t make as much money as they would in private practice, but they make a very decent living for a fixed set of hours. As we all know, it is very difficult to find a legal job that has the ability to get up and leave most days by 5, or just push something to the next day. NY metro. If pushed by the question, they would probably say that they don’t make enough to pay babysitters on the books. As a frame of reference – a fair salary for a full time babysitter around here or NYC might be $700-900, plus taxes. The few neighbors and friends that I have that live in NYC or Westchester that pay their babysitters on the books are already involved in public service, OR they aspire to be a judge etc. They want to make sure their records are clean. Many will use a service for the paperwork, and or taxes because of the issue that ATM raises about complexity/hassle factor.

  229. Just a point of information, domestic workers were not originally in the 30s treated as employees eligible for the social security system. Neither were most agricultural workers. That was a deliberate act in setting up the system, because it de facto excluded the majority of employed African Americans from the program and was a political necessity in gaining the votes to pass it. The inclusion of domestic workers was a result of sweeping amendments passed in 1950 (other provisions increased widows pensions as well, and recognized that certain widowers and orphans of employed women should also be covered by the system). It was a decidedly liberal action, but one that cannot be laid at the feet of the modern day UMC liberal career woman (without a labor background), who most likely would support legislation that her in-home help be treated as an independent contractor. The liberal in question hailed from Missouri.

    In signing the bill, President Truman stated that “passage of this legislation is an outstanding achievement.” He pointed out that “by making it possible for most families obtain protection through the contributory insurance system, and by increasing insurance benefits, the Act will ultimately reduce dependence on public charity. This measure demonstrates our determination to achieve real economic security for the American family. This kind of progressive, forward-looking legislation is the best possible way to prove that our democratic institutions can provide both freedom and security for all our citizens.”

  230. “In contrast, my conservative approach to the problem of legal non-compliance for workers paid by individuals would be to let individuals deduct wages paid from their income like a business and have a functional e-Verify to make sure workers are legal. ‘

    I would prefer that approach as well, but it is open to a lot of abuse as to who “works” for you. Can you deduct wages paid to your kids for mowing the lawn?

    Thanks for the background Meme. Fascinating.

    Lauren – very accurate description. ITA.

  231. Following the law in paying employees is a huge hassle. It is difficult to contact the IRS for information, and there is no guarantee that the information they provide is correct. However, the law still exists, and the fact that it is difficult/confusing to follow is not a defense.

    I don’t like a lot of laws I have to follow. I think a lot of them are confusing, difficult, and don’t make much sense. I don’t make enough money to have to follow them. Why do I have to follow them if the government lawyers don’t?

    Yes, a functioning e-Verify would be nice.

  232. Lauren, thanks for your thoughtful response, despite my initially poor phrasing. The question is one I think about a lot, because my marginal tax rate and childcare costs are so high. I think I’ll lose money to work this summer. I’m curious how much of economic growth since the 1970’s is that some work has transitioned from unpaid to paid, without changing its nature much.

    Certainly the details of who can be paid for what would have to be worked out. In my view, there are a few alternatives to the problem of caregiving.
    1) A parent/child, usually the woman, has to quit his/her job to do it.
    2) At a certain age, the child is left alone/minimally supervised. (I’m comfortable leaving kids alone a lot younger than some Totebaggers.)
    3) Pay the market rate for childcare providers with your desired qualifications.
    4) Have the government or other agency subsidize childcare. (My kids have gone to church preschool/childcare, so the space is subsidized by the church, which doesn’t use it during the week anyway.)
    5) Pay a non-market rate for childcare, by having an au pair from another country or by paying off the books.

    I have done 1), 3) and 4). My “desired qualifications” were pretty low. The sitter I liked best had recently had a kidney transplant and was looking for a few hours of non demanding work each week. (She had previously worked jobs with behaviorally disabled kids who kicked her, etc.) I was looking for a sitter two afternoons/week who could make lunch and meet DS1’s bus till the end of the school year. I only paid her $10/hr (not $15) but I also didn’t mind if she took my kids along to the pharmacy or doctor’s office when she had to sort out the insurance/approvals for her transplant medications.

  233. I’ve done 1), 2), 3) and 4). My “desired qualifications” might be considered low, and at that time were constrained by what we could afford. My sitter took the kids with her on errands around the county, gardened, raised poultry, but that was fine. She was nice and during a couple emergencies, kept them late into the night while I was at the hospital. In retrospective, her qualifications were stellar.

  234. “it is open to a lot of abuse as to who “works” for you. Can you deduct wages paid to your kids for mowing the lawn?”

    Isn’t the kid a contractor? That would be especially so if he or she provides the mower (and gas if applicable) and has multiple customers.

    I wonder how Saac treated his earnings.

  235. WRT daycare, one situation we saw quite a bit when we were looking was women who were doing 1), but also took in other peoples’ kids.

    In some families, especially large extended families, there’s a combination of this and 1), as well as other family members pitching in to fill gaps, i.e., socialism on a small scale.

    Another option I saw quite a bit of in a previous job that had 24/7 operations was spouses working different shifts.

  236. As a conservative, of course I’m going to view the family option as preferable to the government-subsidized option. We don’t have family to help, but if I can, I want to offer that help to my grandkids.

    Finn, I used to see a lot of spouses working different shifts, but as they forced people to change schedules or get laid off, I saw less of it. The last two women engineers to have babies (kids younger than my twins) are married to operators who left to become SAHD’s. I’m pretty sure I have the youngest kids of any mom without a SAHD in my group of 60-100 engineers by almost a decade.

  237. “As a conservative, of course I’m going to view the family option as preferable to the government-subsidized option. ”

    I don’t consider myself a conservative politically, although I’m pretty conservative with our own finances, but I agree.

    On a very small scale, we’ve done some sharing of childcare. On some days that are workdays for most parents, but school is not in session, we’ve had our kids spend the day with parents of their friends, or vice versa.

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