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akaCG
Debate Question 1:

Should our tax system include what might be called an Income Deservedness Score, whereby a person's tax rate would also depend on the degree to which the person's income is attributable to that person's hard work? Why or why not?

Debate Question 2:

Should said Income Deservedness Score be applied at all income levels? Why or why not?

Debate Question 3:

Is it possible to design an Income Deservedness Score that contains at least the degree of objectivity found in, say, the handicapping system in golf? Why or why not?

Debate Question 4:

Should our tax system include an Income Deservedness Score even if your answer to Debate Question 3 is "No"? Why or why not?
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CruisingRam
I have to answer the question with a question- when is getting rich a crime and when is it a virtue? What is the difference between a cocaine drug lord and a tobacco exec?
skeeterses
This isn't really much of a debate question. Politicians use the tax code all the time to tell people how they should earn and spend their money. Plus, hardwork or deservedness are very hard to measure. A person's productivity doesn't just depend on hardwork alone, but other factors like strength and intelligence.

Anyway, there are already different kinds of taxes for different things. If we want to use the tax code to encourage productive work, then we could lower taxes for small businesses and factories while raising taxes on capital gains and real estate transactions. Heck, we already tax lottery winnings to the hilt.
pheeler
Should our tax system include what might be called an Income Deservedness Score, whereby a person's tax rate would also depend on the degree to which the person's income is attributable to that person's hard work? Why or why not?

No, for two reasons.

First, income is not and should not necessarily be in proportion to "hard work." Higher paying jobs are those for which fewer people are qualified. If nearly anyone off the street can do your job, no matter how "hard" it is, it's not going to pay much, simply because supply of workers is high. If your job is something that only a few people in the world can do, then you are going to be paid well for it (which is why athletes make so much). Wage is not necessarily connected to difficulty.

Second, there's no way to reliably judge how much someone "deserves" income. Maybe that's supposed to be obvious, which is why the question is in subjunctive.


Should said Income Deservedness Score be applied at all income levels? Why or why not?

Since my answer to 1 was no, I'll say no to this as well.


Is it possible to design an Income Deservedness Score that contains at least the degree of objectivity found in, say, the handicapping system in golf? Why or why not?

No. It is not possible based on a person's profession to determine who works harder or who deserves more income (separate issues).


Should our tax system include an Income Deservedness Score even if your answer to Debate Question 3 is "No"? Why or why not?

No, of course not, especially if it can't be done fairly. akaCG seems to be fishing here, so I'll bite.


There are, of course, certain types of income that are not a result of hard work, or even work at all. Those types of income are taxed differently, and for good reason. Money begetting more money is a separate question.
Bikerdad
Debate Question 1:

Should our tax system include what might be called an Income Deservedness Score, whereby a person's tax rate would also depend on the degree to which the person's income is attributable to that person's hard work? Why or why not?

No. Who defines "hard work"? What of the person who works hard to save and then invests those savings? Does the return on their investment qualify as "hard work", or is it pure luck.

Debate Question 2:

Should said Income Deservedness Score be applied at all income levels? Why or why not?

"No" to #1 renders this question irrelevant.

Debate Question 3:

Is it possible to design an Income Deservedness Score that contains at least the degree of objectivity found in, say, the handicapping system in golf? Why or why not?

No. How do you rate intellectual work? How do you rate creative work? Golf has a singular metric, the # of strokes. "Work" has far more metrics. Plus, should the individual who works hard at a job she absolutely loves be taxed at the same presumably low rate as the person who works hard at a job she detests? How do unpleasant working conditions factor in?

Debate Question 4:

Should our tax system include an Income Deservedness Score even if your answer to Debate Question 3 is "No"? Why or why not?
What part of "No" don't you understand? flowers.gif Put simply, if I think someone deserves income, I'll give them some. Doing so is usually a result of them doing something that pleases me. I'm nowhere near arrogant enough to presume to know what millions of others want that would motivate them to provide income to each other.

Grace and peace.

QUOTE(CruisingRam @ Sep 19 2011, 05:18 PM) *
I have to answer the question with a question- when is getting rich a crime and when is it a virtue? What is the difference between a cocaine drug lord and a tobacco exec?
Getting rich isn't the crime. If it is, who should I notify about your conspiracy to commit a crime? devil.gif

What is the difference between a drug lord and Michael Ferrero?
Hobbes
QUOTE(pheeler @ Sep 19 2011, 08:43 PM) *
Second, there's no way to reliably judge how much someone "deserves" income. Maybe that's supposed to be obvious, which is why the question is in subjunctive.


Ah, but there is! I speak for most of the entire human race when I say that I deserve all of my income, those making more than me deserve only some of it (amazingly, about the amount that's equal to my income!), and those making less than me probably deserve about the same tax rate I pay.

Just like everyone on the road going faster than you is a crazy son of a buck, and anyone going slower than you is clearly a huge rectal opening...no matter how fast you might actually be traveling.

QUOTE
Should our tax system include what might be called an Income Deservedness Score, whereby a person's tax rate would also depend on the degree to which the person's income is attributable to that person's hard work? Why or why not?


No... you can't determine 'deserve'. You could, however, certainly target different types of income...like capital gains vs. income from work.

Should said Income Deservedness Score be applied at all income levels? Why or why not?

N/A (although if you went with income types...then I would say yes, at all levels, unless exceptions were given to either spur economic activity or encourage savings, or things like that.

QUOTE
Is it possible to design an Income Deservedness Score that contains at least the degree of objectivity found in, say, the handicapping system in golf? Why or why not?


Yes. In keeping with the golf analogy, it would be your actual score.

QUOTE
Should our tax system include an Income Deservedness Score even if your answer to Debate Question 3 is "No"? Why or why not?


Absolutely not. I shudder to think how that would get calculated. Would anyone in Congress have any income that qualified? If you deserved more than you made...would you have to pay taxes on the extra amount, or get a credit?
Julian
Interesting topic. My initial reaction is the quote from Will Munny at the end of Unforgiven:
QUOTE
Deserve's got nothing to do with it
.

Should our tax system include what might be called an Income Deservedness Score, whereby a person's tax rate would also depend on the degree to which the person's income is attributable to that person's hard work? Why or why not?

Well, we do make a distinction between earned income (taxed as income tax), realised property/stock values (capital gains taxes), certain types of unearned income (we tax inheritances but not gambling winnings), and unrealised property taxes (most local taxes are property-related).

So if "earned" equates to "deserved", and "unearned" equates to "undeserved", you'd think our tax system would have lower levels of income taxes compared to the other types of unearned income (on capital gains and inheritances). It varies by jurisdiction, but somehow we've got to the odd situation where in some circumstances, taxes on earned income are actually higher than those on unearned income.

And in the area of corporate taxation, we make distinctions based on area of activity; we call religious and secular institutions that are set up to help other people, usually on a non-profit basis, "charities" and tax them differently from ones which set out to make profits. Within a business, we offer tax breaks for some things which we think "deserve" them (e.g. R&D) and penalise things we think deserve penalty (e.g. pollution).

Such ideas are, in principle, uncontroversial - the arguments are almost exclusively about which "deserving" behaviours should be rewarded, and which "undeserving" behaviours should be punished, and by how much.

So the should/shouldn't argument has already happened and, for the most part, should won.

Should said Income Deservedness Score be applied at all income levels? Why or why not?

Generally it is, at least the way I described above.

Is it possible to design an Income Deservedness Score that contains at least the degree of objectivity found in, say, the handicapping system in golf? Why or why not?

It might be an idea to use something like that, though my preferred option would be something like a Land Value Tax - a tax on the undeveloped value of land (not on the value of the buildings on it, as most property taxes are currently formulated). It's unavoidable - who or whatever owns the land pays tax on it, so no amount of creative accountancy can swerve it. It's fair, because the land value is not determined by what you do with it but by who else wants it (as distinct from the property value sited there, which goes up the more value you add to it).

It's interesting that you use the golf handicapping system, as I've always though that the structure of a progressive income tax system (the idea that you apply a higher tax rate to larger incomes) was pretty analogous to a that kind of handicapping system, in that you place the biggest burden on those best able to bear it.

Should our tax system include an Income Deservedness Score even if your answer to Debate Question 3 is "No"? Why or why not?

Well, as I've tried to point out, it sort of does already.
akaCG
QUOTE(Julian @ Sep 20 2011, 10:43 AM) *
Interesting topic. My initial reaction is the quote from Will Munny at the end of Unforgiven:
QUOTE
Deserve's got nothing to do with it

...

Heh. Well spotted. That's precisely why I chose the term "deservedness". smile.gif

QUOTE(Julian @ Sep 20 2011, 10:43 AM) *
...
Should our tax system include what might be called an Income Deservedness Score, whereby a person's tax rate would also depend on the degree to which the person's income is attributable to that person's hard work? Why or why not?

Well, we do make a distinction between earned income (taxed as income tax), realised property/stock values (capital gains taxes), certain types of unearned income (we tax inheritances but not gambling winnings), and unrealised property taxes (most local taxes are property-related).

So if "earned" equates to "deserved", and "unearned" equates to "undeserved", ...
...

Yes, the tax system does indeed already differentiate between "earned" and "unearned" types of income. But that's not what the Income Deservedness Score would be addressing. It would be an additional (note the word "also" in the question above) way to draw distinctions among people's incomes for tax purposes.

Let me see if I can clarify further, via a couple of scenarios.

Earned (as defined by the tax system) Income Scenario:

Person A works as a line cook at a busy restaurant, makes X dollars that year.
Person B works behind the counter at the post office a few blocks from the aforementioned diner, makes X dollars that year.

Both A and B made the same amount that year, but the former worked a heck of a lot harder for it than the latter. Should the tax code take that into account via assigning a higher Income Deservedness Score (and, hence, a lower tax rate) to the former vs. the latter?

Unearned (as defined by the tax system) Income Scenario:

Person C, an active stock trader/investor, makes Z dollars from dividends that year.
Person D, who simply received an inheritance, makes Z dollars from the interest on it that year.

Both C and D made the same amount that year, but the former worked for it, while the latter didn't. Should the tax code take that into account via assigning a higher Income Deservedness Score (and, hence, a lower tax rate) to the former vs. the latter?

droop224
I think about this debate and I can't stop wondering one thing. Is employing someone work?

Let's say I own a strawberry business that pays me 30 dollars a day.

I pay a farmer 5 dollars a day to plant grow and harvest. I pay a driver 3 dollars a day to ship my product to the market. I pay a supply clerk 3 dollars a day I pay my accountant 6 dollars a day to keep my books. I pay 4 dollars a day in supplies and expenses. I keep ten dollars for myself.

Did I do work? Does the fact I employ 4 people make it hard work?

No right or wrong answer, in my opinion, but I believe you'll find the answer varies. I do believe the break would be in degrees that slide along the political spectrum of liberal to conservative, whit some exceptions.

Because of this disconnect between what is hard work I see the debate following suit.
pheeler
QUOTE(droop224 @ Sep 20 2011, 08:56 AM) *
I think about this debate and I can't stop wondering one thing. Is employing someone work?

Let's say I own a strawberry business that pays me 30 dollars a day.

I pay a farmer 5 dollars a day to plant grow and harvest. I pay a driver 3 dollars a day to ship my product to the market. I pay a supply clerk 3 dollars a day I pay my accountant 6 dollars a day to keep my books. I pay 4 dollars a day in supplies and expenses. I keep ten dollars for myself.

Did I do work? Does the fact I employ 4 people make it hard work?

No right or wrong answer, in my opinion, but I believe you'll find the answer varies. I do believe the break would be in degrees that slide along the political spectrum of liberal to conservative, whit some exceptions.

Because of this disconnect between what is hard work I see the debate following suit.

Owning a business is never that easy. I don't know if you deliberately oversimplified or if you actually believe the owner of a strawberry farm sits on his rump all day collecting 33% of the profit.
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AuthorMusician
QUOTE(pheeler @ Sep 20 2011, 01:04 PM) *
QUOTE(droop224 @ Sep 20 2011, 08:56 AM) *
I think about this debate and I can't stop wondering one thing. Is employing someone work?

Let's say I own a strawberry business that pays me 30 dollars a day.

I pay a farmer 5 dollars a day to plant grow and harvest. I pay a driver 3 dollars a day to ship my product to the market. I pay a supply clerk 3 dollars a day I pay my accountant 6 dollars a day to keep my books. I pay 4 dollars a day in supplies and expenses. I keep ten dollars for myself.

Did I do work? Does the fact I employ 4 people make it hard work?

No right or wrong answer, in my opinion, but I believe you'll find the answer varies. I do believe the break would be in degrees that slide along the political spectrum of liberal to conservative, whit some exceptions.

Because of this disconnect between what is hard work I see the debate following suit.

Owning a business is never that easy. I don't know if you deliberately oversimplified or if you actually believe the owner of a strawberry farm sits on his rump all day collecting 33% of the profit.


The point seems to be that determining what is hard work is literally impossible to do objectively. Human nature makes people think that only they do the hard work, no matter who they are or what job they've got. Witness the above comparison between a line cook and postal clerk. Who is to say which job is harder?

However, the example above about interest and dividends are clearly out of the work league. Money shows up just because the principle is kept in a bank or used to buy dividend-bearing stocks. The question is then, should this money be taxed more or less than earned income?

I may be wrong here -- not a tax consultant -- but my thinking is that right now interest and dividends are added to earned income. Should they be split off into capital gains? That would lower the tax bite for the upper income levels, since capital gains are taxed at a flat 25 percent.

Or, should capital gains be taxed at the highest earned income rate? That would increase taxes on lower income levels, but it's unlikely that interest or dividends amount to more than a pittance.

Still, would that be fair to active traders? Trading isn't exactly easy work due to the research and risk involved. So, do we set aside interest and dividends into yet another tax category?

Overall, do we make the tax code more complex than it already is? I don't see any reason to do so. Just pay the taxes as a cost of doing business, or not doing business, and get on with life.
akaCG
QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Sep 20 2011, 01:45 PM) *
...
The point seems to be that determining what is hard work is literally impossible to do objectively. Human nature makes people think that only they do the hard work, no matter who they are or what job they've got. Witness the above comparison between a line cook and postal clerk. Who is to say which job is harder?
...

Huh. I never thought I'd come across anyone who has trouble distinguishing between the sustained physical effort and mental acuity involved in spending 40 hours a week as a line cook in the kitchen of a busy restaurant and that involved in spending 40 hours a week sitting behind the counter at a post office. Interesting.

QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Sep 20 2011, 01:45 PM) *
...
However, the example above about interest and dividends are clearly out of the work league. Money shows up just because the principle is kept in a bank or used to buy dividend-bearing stocks. ...
...

Money only "shows up", effortlessly, in the case of the inheritor, who's just sittin' back and collecting interest income. In the case of the active stock trader/investor, however, how much (or how little) he makes in dividend income is a function of his trading/investment decisions (i.e. his work effort). Little to no physical effort involved in either case, to be sure. Especially in the case of the inheritor. But few people would have trouble discerning the difference in terms of mental effort between the two.

Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(akaCG @ Sep 20 2011, 12:27 PM) *
Yes, the tax system does indeed already differentiate between "earned" and "unearned" types of income. But that's not what the Income Deservedness Score would be addressing. It would be an additional (note the word "also" in the question above) way to draw distinctions among people's incomes for tax purposes.

Let me see if I can clarify further, via a couple of scenarios.

Earned (as defined by the tax system) Income Scenario:

Person A works as a line cook at a busy restaurant, makes X dollars that year.
Person B works behind the counter at the post office a few blocks from the aforementioned diner, makes X dollars that year.

Both A and B made the same amount that year, but the former worked a heck of a lot harder for it than the latter. Should the tax code take that into account via assigning a higher Income Deservedness Score (and, hence, a lower tax rate) to the former vs. the latter?


Or take the writer who creates a novel no one wants to read, as compared to Steven King. Clearly Steven King can produce a lot of very good novels in a relatively short amount of time, that people want to read. Another writer might spend his/her entire life, ten hours out of every day, in exhaustive effort to produce a singular book that isn't 1/10th as good. Furthermore Steven King (according to what he has said) enjoys the process of writing. Why should he be paid (well, in this case "able to keep") more for something that comes relatively easy to him, as opposed to the marginal writer?

For that matter, a paraplegic might do his plucky little best to sweep a block's worth of sidewalk, while a more able-bodied person could do far more. On the "deservedness score" the handicapped person clearly deserves a very high salary (oops...I mean a higher portion of money he is permitted to keep) for the amount of exhausted effort expended.
akaCG
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Sep 20 2011, 12:49 AM) *
...
... What is the difference between a drug lord and Michael Ferrero?

You mean Michele Ferrero, the Italian chocolate dealer maker and Italy's richest person?

smile.gif

Ted
QUOTE(droop224 @ Sep 20 2011, 12:56 PM) *
I think about this debate and I can't stop wondering one thing. Is employing someone work?

Let's say I own a strawberry business that pays me 30 dollars a day.

I pay a farmer 5 dollars a day to plant grow and harvest. I pay a driver 3 dollars a day to ship my product to the market. I pay a supply clerk 3 dollars a day I pay my accountant 6 dollars a day to keep my books. I pay 4 dollars a day in supplies and expenses. I keep ten dollars for myself.

Did I do work? Does the fact I employ 4 people make it hard work?

No right or wrong answer, in my opinion, but I believe you'll find the answer varies. I do believe the break would be in degrees that slide along the political spectrum of liberal to conservative, whit some exceptions.

Because of this disconnect between what is hard work I see the debate following suit.

anyone who has a business knows how much "work" it is. even in the simplest small business the owner must manage the workers and all that goes with that - and he does all the paperwork for taxes and regulations etc. - and gets to lose $$ if business is bad. he also risks any capital he brought to the business if it goes under.......
BoF
QUOTE(akaCG @ Sep 20 2011, 02:06 PM) *
Huh. I never thought I'd come across anyone who has trouble distinguishing between the sustained physical effort and mental acuity involved in spending 40 hours a week as a line cook in the kitchen of a busy restaurant and that involved in spending 40 hours a week sitting behind the counter at a post office. Interesting.

I don’t know when you last visited a post office, but I can’t remember seeing a postal clerk sitting behind a counter. I wanted to check this out, so I just visited the post office closest to my house. There are four windows. There are no stools or chairs behind any of them. Three of the windows were closed and a lone clerk stood facing a line of about eight customers. In the brief time I was there observing, the clerk had to leave her post and go to the back to get something for a customer.

While the job on the fry line might be hotter, that is offset by the fact that the postal clerk is the front line representative in a “retail” business. He or she has to sell stamps, receive packages, take them to the back, and deal with agitated if not angry customers, while standing (except for a couple of breaks) for the entire shift.

The sitting bit is over dramatization. It seems it has gotten you in trouble.
CruisingRam
My point- is -our society has decided that a tobacco exec deserves to make a pretty big salary, and no one is trying to take all his money and kill him- though he deals in a product that, used correctly, will kill you and addict you and ruin your life. However, we have decided a cocaine dealer doesn't deserve any money and we try to kill them and not let them have any of the money they earned through hard work and diligence.
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE(CruisingRam @ Sep 20 2011, 04:20 PM) *
My point- is -our society has decided that a tobacco exec deserves to make a pretty big salary, and no one is trying to take all his money and kill him- though he deals in a product that, used correctly, will kill you and addict you and ruin your life. However, we have decided a cocaine dealer doesn't deserve any money and we try to kill them and not let them have any of the money they earned through hard work and diligence.

Considering that cigarette smoking contributed in a major way to both my mother's and father's deaths and that my children are cigarette smokers even though they have to pay higher prices and they know what killed their grandparents, I feel there is no justification in treating a tobacco executive any better than we would treat a cocaine dealer.

Just who would judge who deserves more as far as wages go? The pope? It certainly should not be an elected official.

We all have our opinions. I think a nurse who works the third shift should be paid more than a star athlete, but I'm not going to hold my breath until that comes true.
pheeler
QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth @ Sep 20 2011, 01:12 PM) *
We all have our opinions. I think a nurse who works the third shift should be paid more than a star athlete, but I'm not going to hold my breath until that comes true.

In general, nurses are vastly underpaid and overworked. Since paying nurses an athlete's wage for working a third shift isn't possible, how about we start by cutting down third shifts altogether? There are enough people capable to be nurses that they shouldn't be spread so thin.
akaCG
Public service reminder:

The Income Deservedness Score, when really boiled down, is about whether people of same/similar income levels (e.g. the line cook and the postal clerk in the earlier mentioned scenario) should be taxed differently based on the degree of "hard work" involved in what they do for a living. It's not about whether people in one profession should be making more (or less) than people in another profession.

So, by all means, feel free to discuss third-shift nurse salaries versus star athlete salaries and such, but do realize that that has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject matter of this thread.

Hobbes
QUOTE(Julian @ Sep 20 2011, 09:43 AM) *
Interesting topic. My initial reaction is the quote from Will Munny at the end of Unforgiven:
QUOTE
Deserve's got nothing to do with it
.


Awesome (and I am very upset with myself that someone beat me to it!) Definitely extra points for an Unforgiven reference...and btw I guess the title addresses the question as to whether Will and crew deserved the thousand dollars?



pheeler
QUOTE(akaCG @ Sep 20 2011, 07:36 PM) *
The Income Deservedness Score, when really boiled down, is about whether people of same/similar income levels (e.g. the line cook and the postal clerk in the earlier mentioned scenario) should be taxed differently based on the degree of "hard work" involved in what they do for a living. It's not about whether people in one profession should be making more (or less) than people in another profession.

I don't see anyone supporting the IDS, so I have nothing to debate here.

How about I add a question: What would the result of said IDS be on the workforce?

If working harder would reduce your tax rate, would everyone start working harder at whatever job they did? I doubt it. Would people switch to a job that requires harder work? Again, doubtful. Some might find the job that's rated the least accurately in favor of lower tax rate versus difficulty.

I don't understand what implementing an IDS would accomplish. Some of the most important jobs aren't necessarily hard work (like teaching) but they require both skill and talent that is rare. Why would we want to reward people for doing jobs that only require hard work and not skill?
droop224
QUOTE
Owning a business is never that easy. I don't know if you deliberately oversimplified or if you actually believe the owner of a strawberry farm sits on his rump all day collecting 33% of the profit.


I'm not saying that owning a business is easy. I'm asking if employing people in your business should be considered "work". I'm sure Bill Gates set up meetings, played golf, made business decisions. But his product was software.. how much work on software do you think he actually did?
AuthorMusician
QUOTE(akaCG @ Sep 20 2011, 03:06 PM) *
QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Sep 20 2011, 01:45 PM) *
...
The point seems to be that determining what is hard work is literally impossible to do objectively. Human nature makes people think that only they do the hard work, no matter who they are or what job they've got. Witness the above comparison between a line cook and postal clerk. Who is to say which job is harder?
...

Huh. I never thought I'd come across anyone who has trouble distinguishing between the sustained physical effort and mental acuity involved in spending 40 hours a week as a line cook in the kitchen of a busy restaurant and that involved in spending 40 hours a week sitting behind the counter at a post office. Interesting.

QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Sep 20 2011, 01:45 PM) *
...
However, the example above about interest and dividends are clearly out of the work league. Money shows up just because the principle is kept in a bank or used to buy dividend-bearing stocks. ...
...

Money only "shows up", effortlessly, in the case of the inheritor, who's just sittin' back and collecting interest income. In the case of the active stock trader/investor, however, how much (or how little) he makes in dividend income is a function of his trading/investment decisions (i.e. his work effort). Little to no physical effort involved in either case, to be sure. Especially in the case of the inheritor. But few people would have trouble discerning the difference in terms of mental effort between the two.


I have been a short-order and fast-food cook, so I know what that takes. I have never been a postal clerk, so I have no idea what that job takes. Have you done that job, or is your perception of a clerk sitting behind a counter just something you've seen upon visiting a post office? In any case, neither you nor I nor anyone else can objectively judge the relative difficulty of all possible jobs. We will have subjective judgments, and that is the point.

Dividends are paid out on stocks that have already been bought. The effort to buy the stocks has been done before the dividends are paid, ergo there's no physical or mental effort involved in collecting dividends.

I think you're talking about capital gains from buying and selling stocks, which are taxed differently. I've done that and still hold some positions. Yep, it takes a few minutes a day to check information and the thinking is about as hard as doing algebra. Buy low, sell high. I can see trading on margin and shorting markets as being harder and way more risky.

Still, is being a stock trader on Wall Street more or less difficult than being a systems administrator at Google? Who can say?
Julian
QUOTE(akaCG @ Sep 20 2011, 05:27 PM) *
QUOTE(Julian @ Sep 20 2011, 10:43 AM) *
Interesting topic. My initial reaction is the quote from Will Munny at the end of Unforgiven:
QUOTE
Deserve's got nothing to do with it

...

Heh. Well spotted. That's precisely why I chose the term "deservedness". smile.gif

QUOTE(Julian @ Sep 20 2011, 10:43 AM) *
...
Should our tax system include what might be called an Income Deservedness Score, whereby a person's tax rate would also depend on the degree to which the person's income is attributable to that person's hard work? Why or why not?

Well, we do make a distinction between earned income (taxed as income tax), realised property/stock values (capital gains taxes), certain types of unearned income (we tax inheritances but not gambling winnings), and unrealised property taxes (most local taxes are property-related).

So if "earned" equates to "deserved", and "unearned" equates to "undeserved", ...
...

Yes, the tax system does indeed already differentiate between "earned" and "unearned" types of income. But that's not what the Income Deservedness Score would be addressing. It would be an additional (note the word "also" in the question above) way to draw distinctions among people's incomes for tax purposes.

Let me see if I can clarify further, via a couple of scenarios.

Earned (as defined by the tax system) Income Scenario:

Person A works as a line cook at a busy restaurant, makes X dollars that year.
Person B works behind the counter at the post office a few blocks from the aforementioned diner, makes X dollars that year.

Both A and B made the same amount that year, but the former worked a heck of a lot harder for it than the latter. Should the tax code take that into account via assigning a higher Income Deservedness Score (and, hence, a lower tax rate) to the former vs. the latter?

Unearned (as defined by the tax system) Income Scenario:

Person C, an active stock trader/investor, makes Z dollars from dividends that year.
Person D, who simply received an inheritance, makes Z dollars from the interest on it that year.

Both C and D made the same amount that year, but the former worked for it, while the latter didn't. Should the tax code take that into account via assigning a higher Income Deservedness Score (and, hence, a lower tax rate) to the former vs. the latter?


So the Income Deservedness Score appears to rest on the definition of what constitutes 'hard work'. I find my job easy, because I'm good at it. I found being a line cook in a busy restaurant easy when I did that as a student job, because I found that easy too. I've never been a post office clerk, so that would be hard (at least to begin with, until I learned how to do it).

Does that mean I get to pay less tax when I start a new job and more as it becomes easier for me (as I get better at it with practice?).

Or is there some objective definition of what constitutes "hard work" that will make your proposal make some kind of sense? If so, please share it.

QUOTE(Hobbes @ Sep 21 2011, 04:45 AM) *
QUOTE(Julian @ Sep 20 2011, 09:43 AM) *
Interesting topic. My initial reaction is the quote from Will Munny at the end of Unforgiven:
QUOTE
Deserve's got nothing to do with it
.


Awesome (and I am very upset with myself that someone beat me to it!) Definitely extra points for an Unforgiven reference...and btw I guess the title addresses the question as to whether Will and crew deserved the thousand dollars?




mrsparkle.gif
AuthorMusician
QUOTE(Julian @ Sep 21 2011, 08:54 AM) *
So the Income Deservedness Score appears to rest on the definition of what constitutes 'hard work'. I find my job easy, because I'm good at it. I found being a line cook in a busy restaurant easy when I did that as a student job, because I found that easy too. I've never been a post office clerk, so that would be hard (at least to begin with, until I learned how to do it).


That's the fundamental logical flaw in the IDS idea. Another one is doing a job that you absolutely love because it is fun, rewarding, challenging and has a clear growth path into better things.

The job may involve hard work for a mess of reasons. For example, I love to play music, but it's hard to get up on stage at a new venue. After playing there a while, things become familiar and comfortable. Nevertheless, it's fun and so on performing for people.

In the end, the difficulty of or attitude toward a job is irrelevant for taxation purposes. If it can't be measured, it's meaningless.

However, our tax laws do differentiate between earned income and capital gains. An argument can be constructed that the difference should not exist. I'm pretty sure this is what akaCG is getting at, although in a roundabout way. I'm okay with lumping all income together and doing the progressive tax structure from there.

Actually, this might be a way to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires that's acceptable to all. It could be sold as eliminating a tax! Heh, that'd be good. We eliminate the tax on capital gains, a Republican mantra, but then you have to pay a higher rate due to cap gains being rolled into earned income.

It would be like in the Reagan era when the rust belt working class bought tax cuts but lost tax deductions on their credit card interest payments.
Hobbes
QUOTE(droop224 @ Sep 21 2011, 02:21 AM) *
QUOTE
Owning a business is never that easy. I don't know if you deliberately oversimplified or if you actually believe the owner of a strawberry farm sits on his rump all day collecting 33% of the profit.


I'm not saying that owning a business is easy. I'm asking if employing people in your business should be considered "work". I'm sure Bill Gates set up meetings, played golf, made business decisions. But his product was software.. how much work on software do you think he actually did?


Get your point, but I've talked to those who developed software at MSFT when Gates was running things, and he was very on top of all of it. The general consensus was that when you had to meet with him, which occurred frequently for each product, you'd better have your stuff together, because he was going to drive it hard, and might know more about it than you did. Which probably extends to other managers/owners as well. Does the owner of a restaurant wash the dishes? Generally, no (but he/she would if needed). But the DO need to make sure the dishes get washed, along with the thousands of other things that need to happen. Managers work very hard, they just do it at managing, which makes sense, because that is their job. Plus, as you go upstream, you acquire more responsibility, which not only gives you more things you need to stay on top of, but carries its own burdens as well....and quite frequently leaves the office with you when you go home. The dishwasher doesn't take his work home with him.

QUOTE
However, our tax laws do differentiate between earned income and capital gains. An argument can be constructed that the difference should not exist. I'm pretty sure this is what akaCG is getting at, although in a roundabout way. I'm okay with lumping all income together and doing the progressive tax structure from there.

Actually, this might be a way to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires that's acceptable to all. It could be sold as eliminating a tax! Heh, that'd be good. We eliminate the tax on capital gains, a Republican mantra, but then you have to pay a higher rate due to cap gains being rolled into earned income.


I pointed out that very thing in the thread that spawned this one. There is a difference between earned income and capital gains. There were good reasons for creating those differences, but it might indeed be time to rethink those differences and how we approach/tax them.

FWIW, in this thread, I'm not sure that this is what Akacg was going after. I think he was trying to point out that for earned income (not capital gains) there isn't really any way to distinguish whether one person deserved that income any more, or less, than any one else deserved what income they earned. Is that right, Akacg?
droop224
QUOTE(Hobbes)
Get your point, but I've talked to those who developed software at MSFT when Gates was running things, and he was very on top of all of it. The general consensus was that when you had to meet with him, which occurred frequently for each product, you'd better have your stuff together, because he was going to drive it hard, and might know more about it than you did. Which probably extends to other managers/owners as well. Does the owner of a restaurant wash the dishes? Generally, no (but he/she would if needed). But the DO need to make sure the dishes get washed, along with the thousands of other things that need to happen. Managers work very hard, they just do it at managing, which makes sense, because that is their job. Plus, as you go upstream, you acquire more responsibility, which not only gives you more things you need to stay on top of, but carries its own burdens as well....and quite frequently leaves the office with you when you go home. The dishwasher doesn't take his work home with him.


I'm glad you get my point and I get your point, as well. But as i said this is where the disconnect will happen in this debate. At the end of the day there are reasons that a person considers themselves conservative or liberal.

A conservative will focus more on the individual and a liberal will focus more on the collective.

Bill Gates didn't create anything other than the name brand microsoft. Microsoft is famous for programs and I don't know of one single piece of software that Bill gates created. Yet as far as i know.. he got the wealthiest.

So a team created an item... but the owner of the company got wealthy from their work. Which is an ironic thing when we talk about income deservedness.

Look you can give me 10 slaves picking cotton and 1 owner\overseer supervising and I would have to admit that the overseer must be doing some work. He's got to be out in the sun for one thing... he's has to yell and make sure they are working, may even have to crack the whip(sounds like work), make sure they eat and get watered, make sure they get back to work and plenty of things I don't know about.

Now my point isn't to make a comparison, but to point out that even when taken to extreme exaggeration i'd have to admit that someone overseeing another's work is still doing some kind of work.

So of course I'll recognize that CEO, directors, managers and supervisors all do work. But their jobs is to maximize actual work. Workers are the cake while managers are the frosting. Frosting is important, but not essential.

Let's use your analogy with a hypothetical. I own a restaurant I do not manage it. I got four people that can only do their job function. a waitress, a manager, a cook, a dishwasher. You can only choose three which do you pick?

If it's me I pick the cook, the dishwasher, and the waitress... yet (speaking of deserved) the manager likely makes more than any of the three. Which do you choose?
entspeak
[b]Should our tax system include what might be called an Income Deservedness Score, whereby a person's tax rate would also depend on the degree to which the person's income is attributable to that person's hard work? Why or why not?[b]

No. The government shouldn't be making those judgements... the determination regarding income tax rates should be made based on how much is made, not how it was earned.
pheeler
QUOTE(droop224 @ Sep 21 2011, 01:10 PM) *
If it's me I pick the cook, the dishwasher, and the waitress... yet (speaking of deserved) the manager likely makes more than any of the three. Which do you choose?

You assume the manager is incapable of washing dishes, cooking, or taking orders. In fact, he is probably capable of all three, and would perform the duty of any of the three in their absence.

Efficient management requires proficiency in all the tasks being overseen.

Personally, I'd drop the waitress and have the manager serve customers since that's the job that would have the highest impact on business.
Hobbes
QUOTE(droop224 @ Sep 21 2011, 04:10 PM) *
I'm glad you get my point and I get your point, as well. But as i said this is where the disconnect will happen in this debate. At the end of the day there are reasons that a person considers themselves conservative or liberal.

A conservative will focus more on the individual and a liberal will focus more on the collective.


All true, which is why these debates DO tend to split down philosophical lines, which aren't likely to change, but ...

QUOTE
Bill Gates didn't create anything other than the name brand microsoft. Microsoft is famous for programs and I don't know of one single piece of software that Bill gates created. Yet as far as i know.. he got the wealthiest.

So a team created an item... but the owner of the company got wealthy from their work. Which is an ironic thing when we talk about income deservedness.


Who took the risk? How many people did each programmer employ? Who was responsible for marketing and selling the programs? There are all sorts of (perfectly valid) reasons why owners earn more than the workers they employ.

QUOTE
So of course I'll recognize that CEO, directors, managers and supervisors all do work. But their jobs is to maximize actual work. Workers are the cake while managers are the frosting. Frosting is important, but not essential.


It's not always the frosting they're responsible for...it's selling the cake, which keeps them all employed. BUT I will admit that there are certainly managers out there who do more of the frosting bit, while making it sound like they're the ones who made the cake.

Look, generally in these arguments its assumed that those 'defending' the managers/owners are anti-worker. I am not. Workers are critical to any company...they're the ones who do the 'work'. Any smart manager/owner, in my mind, recognizes this and capitalizes on it by sharing responsibility..and the associated rewards. But missing from this discussion is recognition that it takes a different skill set to do the managing/selling/etc. That's why lots of workers don't become managers. Managers also have lots more responsibility. A friend of mine works in retail management. Say his stock keeper doesn't show up, or doesn't do his job, and the stock room is a mess. Who does his manager hold responsible for that? Him, of course. Ditto for all of the other fucntions being performed in the store. Now, does the stock keeper have to do the manager's (or anyone else's) job if he doesn't do it? No.

Plus, be honest...if you owned a business, would you pay all your employees what YOU made? Of course not. You might pay them well, but you'd use market wages to determine what that was. THAT's why Bill Gates makes way more than his employees. They get paid a market wage. He gets the benefit of owning the company. Anyone of his, or anyone else's, company that wants to get the benefits of ownership can absolutely start their own company too.

QUOTE
Let's use your analogy with a hypothetical. I own a restaurant I do not manage it. I got four people that can only do their job function. a waitress, a manager, a cook, a dishwasher. You can only choose three which do you pick?

If it's me I pick the cook, the dishwasher, and the waitress... yet (speaking of deserved) the manager likely makes more than any of the three. Which do you choose?


The waitress, the manager, and the cook. Anyone of them can do the dishwasher's job, and dishwashers are the easiest to find. I'll be back to four the next day. Harder to find a good cook or waitress, and the dishwasher probably couldn't do either job. Keep the manager because he's probably capable of doing any of the other jobs, maybe not as well, but could do them, plus he has a skill that's harder to replace...managing. Plus he probably knows alot more about everything else that goes on in the restaurant, and would therefore likely be the hardest to find a replacement for.

QUOTE(droop224 @ Sep 21 2011, 04:10 PM) *
I'm glad you get my point and I get your point, as well. But as i said this is where the disconnect will happen in this debate. At the end of the day there are reasons that a person considers themselves conservative or liberal.

A conservative will focus more on the individual and a liberal will focus more on the collective.


All true, which is why these debates DO tend to split down philosophical lines, which aren't likely to change, but ...

QUOTE
Bill Gates didn't create anything other than the name brand microsoft. Microsoft is famous for programs and I don't know of one single piece of software that Bill gates created. Yet as far as i know.. he got the wealthiest.

So a team created an item... but the owner of the company got wealthy from their work. Which is an ironic thing when we talk about income deservedness.


Who took the risk? How many people did each programmer employ? Who was responsible for marketing and selling the programs? There are all sorts of (perfectly valid) reasons why owners earn more than the workers they employ.

QUOTE
So of course I'll recognize that CEO, directors, managers and supervisors all do work. But their jobs is to maximize actual work. Workers are the cake while managers are the frosting. Frosting is important, but not essential.


It's not always the frosting they're responsible for...it's selling the cake, which keeps them all employed. BUT I will admit that there are certainly managers out there who do more of the frosting bit, while making it sound like they're the ones who made the cake.

Look, generally in these arguments its assumed that those 'defending' the managers/owners are anti-worker. I am not. Workers are critical to any company...they're the ones who do the 'work'. Any smart manager/owner, in my mind, recognizes this and capitalizes on it by sharing responsibility..and the associated rewards. But missing from this discussion is recognition that it takes a different skill set to do the managing/selling/etc. That's why lots of workers don't become managers. Managers also have lots more responsibility. A friend of mine works in retail management. Say his stock keeper doesn't show up, or doesn't do his job, and the stock room is a mess. Who does his manager hold responsible for that? Him, of course. Ditto for all of the other fucntions being performed in the store. Now, does the stock keeper have to do the manager's (or anyone else's) job if he doesn't do it? No.

Plus, be honest...if you owned a business, would you pay all your employees what YOU made? Of course not. You might pay them well, but you'd use market wages to determine what that was. THAT's why Bill Gates makes way more than his employees. They get paid a market wage. He gets the benefit of owning the company. Anyone of his, or anyone else's, company that wants to get the benefits of ownership can absolutely start their own company too.

QUOTE
Let's use your analogy with a hypothetical. I own a restaurant I do not manage it. I got four people that can only do their job function. a waitress, a manager, a cook, a dishwasher. You can only choose three which do you pick?

If it's me I pick the cook, the dishwasher, and the waitress... yet (speaking of deserved) the manager likely makes more than any of the three. Which do you choose?


The waitress, the manager, and the cook. Anyone of them can do the dishwasher's job, and dishwashers are the easiest to find. I'll be back to four the next day. Harder to find a good cook or waitress, and the dishwasher probably couldn't do either job. Keep the manager because he's probably capable of doing any of the other jobs, maybe not as well, but could do them, plus he has a skill that's harder to replace...managing. Plus he probably knows alot more about everything else that goes on in the restaurant, and would therefore likely be the hardest to find a replacement for.
Julian
QUOTE(pheeler @ Sep 21 2011, 11:26 PM) *
QUOTE(droop224 @ Sep 21 2011, 01:10 PM) *
If it's me I pick the cook, the dishwasher, and the waitress... yet (speaking of deserved) the manager likely makes more than any of the three. Which do you choose?

You assume the manager is incapable of washing dishes, cooking, or taking orders. In fact, he is probably capable of all three, and would perform the duty of any of the three in their absence.

Efficient management requires proficiency in all the tasks being overseen.

Personally, I'd drop the waitress and have the manager serve customers since that's the job that would have the highest impact on business.



Would that were the case - most of the corporate managers these days who rise to the higher levels have never done the low-level jobs they're nominally responsible for managing.

Now, management is a skill in itself. That much is true. Being good at washing dishes does not automatically equip you to manage someone else who washes dishes. You need to be able to motivate, communicate, and discipline. You need to be able to understand the costs and benefits and how they fit with the business strategy, none of which are skills that are necessary to wash a cup. You might well be able to learn those skills through training and experience, but these days, particularly in larger businesses, nobody is willing to hire or promote anyone into a job that they are not already qualified for, so they can start performing on day one, rather than waiting three or six months while they get up to speed.

So they poach trained staff from other businesses (which encourages those other businesses to stop training too - why waste time and money training someone who's going to leave the day they complete the course?) or, more often, require the staff to magically acquire the skills they want on their own time and their own dime (usually through the accumulation of debt). At middle and senior management levels, that means an MBA or similar.

But most business schools these days churn out MBA graduates who think that they don't have to learn how the businesses they work in work, because their cookie-cutter management approach is all that is required. In my experience, they actively discriminate against people who learn their skills "on the job", seeing them as somehow blinkered by gaining experience in only one or two businesses leading to non-transferable skills.

Me? I'm wondering whether it's time to start thinking about doing an MBA. I know it's not ideal, I don't know where I'd find the money, I'm arrogant enough to think I wouldn't come out as a suited management clone, but I can't think of a better way of breaking out of the assumptions people make about me when they look at my resumé.
pheeler
QUOTE(Julian @ Sep 22 2011, 03:42 AM) *
QUOTE(pheeler @ Sep 21 2011, 11:26 PM) *
QUOTE(droop224 @ Sep 21 2011, 01:10 PM) *
If it's me I pick the cook, the dishwasher, and the waitress... yet (speaking of deserved) the manager likely makes more than any of the three. Which do you choose?

You assume the manager is incapable of washing dishes, cooking, or taking orders. In fact, he is probably capable of all three, and would perform the duty of any of the three in their absence.

Efficient management requires proficiency in all the tasks being overseen.

Personally, I'd drop the waitress and have the manager serve customers since that's the job that would have the highest impact on business.



Would that were the case - most of the corporate managers these days who rise to the higher levels have never done the low-level jobs they're nominally responsible for managing.

Now, management is a skill in itself. That much is true. Being good at washing dishes does not automatically equip you to manage someone else who washes dishes. You need to be able to motivate, communicate, and discipline. You need to be able to understand the costs and benefits and how they fit with the business strategy, none of which are skills that are necessary to wash a cup. You might well be able to learn those skills through training and experience, but these days, particularly in larger businesses, nobody is willing to hire or promote anyone into a job that they are not already qualified for, so they can start performing on day one, rather than waiting three or six months while they get up to speed.

So they poach trained staff from other businesses (which encourages those other businesses to stop training too - why waste time and money training someone who's going to leave the day they complete the course?) or, more often, require the staff to magically acquire the skills they want on their own time and their own dime (usually through the accumulation of debt). At middle and senior management levels, that means an MBA or similar.

But most business schools these days churn out MBA graduates who think that they don't have to learn how the businesses they work in work, because their cookie-cutter management approach is all that is required. In my experience, they actively discriminate against people who learn their skills "on the job", seeing them as somehow blinkered by gaining experience in only one or two businesses leading to non-transferable skills.

Me? I'm wondering whether it's time to start thinking about doing an MBA. I know it's not ideal, I don't know where I'd find the money, I'm arrogant enough to think I wouldn't come out as a suited management clone, but I can't think of a better way of breaking out of the assumptions people make about me when they look at my resumé.

In my defense, I did say efficient management. I do operate under the assumption that people who are bad at their jobs don't keep them long (that includes managers).

Clearly, this varies from field to field. The only corporate experience I've had has been in R&D, where managers must prove themselves as outstanding researchers before they are promoted to managers. I'm sure this is rare, and in other departments of the same company, it's certainly not the case.

In the example of a restaurant manager, I would hope he is capable of doing every job in the restaurant, or he has no business trying to run a restaurant. There are many small businesses where the owner/operator started as the only employee, and therefore is at least knowledgeable in all facets of the business.
Hobbes
QUOTE(Julian @ Sep 22 2011, 06:42 AM) *
But most business schools these days churn out MBA graduates who think that they don't have to learn how the businesses they work in work, because their cookie-cutter management approach is all that is required. In my experience, they actively discriminate against people who learn their skills "on the job", seeing them as somehow blinkered by gaining experience in only one or two businesses leading to non-transferable skills.


I would disagree with that statement. The trend in MBA schools over the last 15 years or more has been to require that their students have several years of actual working experience, specifically to resolve that issue. They are also generally case study based and performed with cross functional teams for the same reason.

QUOTE
Me? I'm wondering whether it's time to start thinking about doing an MBA. I know it's not ideal, I don't know where I'd find the money, I'm arrogant enough to think I wouldn't come out as a suited management clone, but I can't think of a better way of breaking out of the assumptions people make about me when they look at my resumé.


I would recommend it...and you don't come out as a suited management clone. You come out of it as a suited Julian clone! smile.gif Besides, no one wears suits anymore.

fwiw, in the IT and engineering fields, I think it is definitely a career enhancer. Tech types are not only not trained in management activities, but they tend to be the types that generally tend to shun them (I"ve heard the phrase "if you see me moving into a management role, just shoot me now" multiple times in my careeer). In the IT world, projects are now much more closely scrutinized on business value, as opposed to just IT worthiness, so being able to claim and articulate that you can tie projects back to business values is a large advantage. Lots of people in that field can't do TCO analysis or relate what they do back to the businesses those IT systems support. Getting an MBA would definitely help with those things. You can also usually get them part time and remote now, too. It's probably been the biggest differentiator between my career and those I know who don't have that in their background.
Julian
QUOTE(pheeler @ Sep 22 2011, 09:18 PM) *
In my defense, I did say efficient management. I do operate under the assumption that people who are bad at their jobs don't keep them long (that includes managers).

Clearly, this varies from field to field. The only corporate experience I've had has been in R&D, where managers must prove themselves as outstanding researchers before they are promoted to managers. I'm sure this is rare, and in other departments of the same company, it's certainly not the case.

In the example of a restaurant manager, I would hope he is capable of doing every job in the restaurant, or he has no business trying to run a restaurant. There are many small businesses where the owner/operator started as the only employee, and therefore is at least knowledgeable in all facets of the business.


Ah yes, but for people who are bad at their jobs to get the sack, the management has to be of a high enough standard that they can first of all notice that someone is bad at their job and then do something about it (and the first resort, in the absence of obvious gross misconduct, should be training and support to get someone up to standard, not instant sacking).

In my experience of business (working for good, average and poor quality management, and having been a manager myself several times) it is always in management where the fault/credit lies for solving people problems. And these days, in business, there are fewer middle managers than there used to be and almost none who do not have operational responsibilities of their own. Poor quality managers stay in post because, while they couldn't manage themselves out of a paper bag, they are good at the operational aspects of their job (e.g. in a manufacturing environment, they're great at work scheduling and process improvement planning, and know their products inside out, but can't or don't want to deal with line management issues of pay and performance management).

And, also in my experience, the absolute worst offenders for poor man-management skills are the type of owner/operator who is fantastic at the business him or herself, but has few or none of the skills necessary to manage other people to do it for them, especially the harder management skills of identifiying, remedying or managing out the poor performers. Not the absolute disasters, they're easy, you can just sack people for those. But the ones who just aren't quite as good as they could be and end up slowing down the pace of growth and improvement. They're hard to spot, and it takes specialist management skills - not least the ability to step back from the operational details that are meat and drink to owner/operators - to identify them let alone do anything about them.

QUOTE(Hobbes @ Sep 22 2011, 09:33 PM) *
QUOTE(Julian @ Sep 22 2011, 06:42 AM) *
But most business schools these days churn out MBA graduates who think that they don't have to learn how the businesses they work in work, because their cookie-cutter management approach is all that is required. In my experience, they actively discriminate against people who learn their skills "on the job", seeing them as somehow blinkered by gaining experience in only one or two businesses leading to non-transferable skills.


I would disagree with that statement. The trend in MBA schools over the last 15 years or more has been to require that their students have several years of actual working experience, specifically to resolve that issue. They are also generally case study based and performed with cross functional teams for the same reason.


At the same time, there's been a trend to shift the funding of MBAs away from the businesses that require the skills and onto the people acquiring them. For logical reasons, but nonetheless I think you end up with people less willing to rock the boat because they have big debts to pay back and can't afford to lose their favoured status, let alone their job. It's not universally true, of course - of necessity in this type of debate we have to make generalisations - but it's true in enough cases to be a useful idea. I think we need to begin shifting more of the costs that businesses have outsourced over the past three or four decades, particularly in the acquisition of the skills they demand of their workforce at all levels, back onto those businesses. If nothing else, it'll increase the pool of available talent to include those who aren't willing to gamble on taking on so much debt; I think you'll possibly agree that some more risk-averse management decision makers in several industries (and areas of government) over the past decade or two may not have been a huge disadvantage...

QUOTE
QUOTE
Me? I'm wondering whether it's time to start thinking about doing an MBA. I know it's not ideal, I don't know where I'd find the money, I'm arrogant enough to think I wouldn't come out as a suited management clone, but I can't think of a better way of breaking out of the assumptions people make about me when they look at my resumé.


I would recommend it...and you don't come out as a suited management clone. You come out of it as a suited Julian clone! smile.gif Besides, no one wears suits anymore.


That's a cultural thing - they still do here.

QUOTE
fwiw, in the IT and engineering fields, I think it is definitely a career enhancer. Tech types are not only not trained in management activities, but they tend to be the types that generally tend to shun them (I"ve heard the phrase "if you see me moving into a management role, just shoot me now" multiple times in my careeer). In the IT world, projects are now much more closely scrutinized on business value, as opposed to just IT worthiness, so being able to claim and articulate that you can tie projects back to business values is a large advantage. Lots of people in that field can't do TCO analysis or relate what they do back to the businesses those IT systems support. Getting an MBA would definitely help with those things. You can also usually get them part time and remote now, too. It's probably been the biggest differentiator between my career and those I know who don't have that in their background.


I'd love to, but I'm a little chary of committing myself to a couple of years of part-time study and tens of thousands in debt because I got told that before I did my PRINCE2 Practitioner course, too.

Now I'm several thousand pounds deeper in debt than I was before, and no better off.

What guarantee do I have that an MBA would be more likely to pay off as an investment in myself than a project management qualification? And yes, I do want a guarantee - earlier in my career, my company would offer to send me on a course at their expense (though, obviously, it would be my own time I studied in) and offered a specific promotion and salary if I successfully completed it. There was a penalty clause, to deter me from leaving the business for a set period (5 years) after I'd got the qualification unless I paid them a set fee (about twice the cost of taking the course independently).

I took the course, passed the exams, and used the new knowledge to add significant value to the business (and, annoyingly for me, got made redundant the year after the penalty period expired). but the point is, they wanted the skills, they paid for the acquisition of those skills, they had the benefit of employing someone with them, and - realistically - paid me below the market rate for someone qualified in them for the penalty period.

Who - apart from the study loan provider, would have benefited more if I'd had to fund the same study out of my own pocket? The company would have had to pay me (or someone else already qualified) more to recruit and retain me during those 5 years. The cost of the investment in me would have been amortised over the payback penalty period in their accounts, so their stockholder would not have noticed the difference between paying for my training and paying me extra to recruit someone already trained. I would have demanded more anyway to service the debt I would have needed to take on to fund the study. The training provider would have received the same whether they were funded by a company or a bank loan.

So, who benefits from the business not paying to train their own staff in skills the business itself requires, but instead expecting staff to fund or more often, to have already funded, their own training? At root, it's the banks, isn't it? And since when did we start organising our whole economy to benefit them above all others? (I know we currently do - the whole financial debt/Eurozone crisis centres on worries about the banking industry having too much shaky sovereign debt on their books, just as in 2008 it was shaky mortgage debt that caused the last crash.)

Please apply your MBA skills to explaining that to me?
Hobbes
QUOTE
What guarantee do I have that an MBA would be more likely to pay off as an investment in myself than a project management qualification? And yes, I do want a guarantee - earlier in my career, my company would offer to send me on a course at their expense (though, obviously, it would be my own time I studied in) and offered a specific promotion and salary if I successfully completed it. There was a penalty clause, to deter me from leaving the business for a set period (5 years) after I'd got the qualification unless I paid them a set fee (about twice the cost of taking the course independently).


At your stage, I think that is a very good question, and I would probably opt for the PMI. That would also open up additional job opportunities elsewhere, including in the consulting field (which sounds like where you might be happier).

Those types of clauses are becoming common, but yours seems harsher than others I've seen. The time frame is usually shorter, and the penalty isn't usually more than the cost of the course, and the pay rate given those qualificiations (plus your internal company experience) should absolutely have been at, if not above, market rates.. Sorry... sad.gif . This probably isn't news to you, but it sounds like you work for a pissy company.

QUOTE
Please apply your MBA skills to explaining that to me?


smile.gif Ok. You work for a pissy company, that scrimps on their employees, and you should seriously look for work elsewhere. Getting the PMI would probably help when doing so, as it would be leverage in moving up into a higher position when changing...but might not be necessary. I'd also suggest looking into doing contract work as a step into doing consulting. Contractors usually get paid significantly more than salaried workers, and without all the hassles it sounds like you're dealing with. Yes, you have the issue of making sure you get that next contract, but one of my colleagues, years ago, who had come from being a contractor (and went back to it shortly) explained it this way: he made more than twice as much contracting as he would at a salaried job, so he just figured if he only worked 6 months a year, he was even on pay and way ahead on vacation time (and he never went long without a job, either).

I'll also share something a recruiting specialist told me years ago. Everyone should always be looking for their next job, and interview about twice a year for it. It builds networking, keeps your interviewing skills sharp, lets you keep your options open, and is the only way to really see what your market value actually is. Plus it lets you interview from a position of strength, since you aren't necessarily even in the market.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Sep 23 2011, 12:30 PM) *
smile.gif Ok. You work for a pissy company, that scrimps on their employees, and you should seriously look for work elsewhere. Getting the PMI would probably help when doing so, as it would be leverage in moving up into a higher position when changing...but might not be necessary. I'd also suggest looking into doing contract work as a step into doing consulting. Contractors usually get paid significantly more than salaried workers, and without all the hassles it sounds like you're dealing with. Yes, you have the issue of making sure you get that next contract, but one of my colleagues, years ago, who had come from being a contractor (and went back to it shortly) explained it this way: he made more than twice as much contracting as he would at a salaried job, so he just figured if he only worked 6 months a year, he was even on pay and way ahead on vacation time (and he never went long without a job, either).

I'll also share something a recruiting specialist told me years ago. Everyone should always be looking for their next job, and interview about twice a year for it. It builds networking, keeps your interviewing skills sharp, lets you keep your options open, and is the only way to really see what your market value actually is. Plus it lets you interview from a position of strength, since you aren't necessarily even in the market.


The above sounds like an awful way to live. Has it really come to that? Everyone should always prepare for the next business opportunity to stay relevant or fear he/she will be turned out/ lose out? Sounds like a recipe for a predatorial society without any real loyalty ties. I guess that's what happens in the "new economy", but I can't help but think back to Bikerdad's 'improving the human condition' thread that offered as a tremise trust is most valuable...the above paradigm, the direction everything seems to be going, is rather its antithesis. Trust isn't built by buying and selling with China, it's built through community ties. Those ties include work, and what is the income for, really, if the price in quality of life is so high?

From my non-business perspective, an MBA (in America at least) is pretty ubiquitous and cheap these days. So ubiquitous it has lost its value. My husband got one (online) and I am still the home authority on all things financial/ business related. He makes fun of his own business degree. FWIW, my mom-in-law also said an interview couch, the rage these days, is the kiss of death...too many canned speeches that sound pre-prepared and not genuine. She never hires anyone who tells her they "want her job" or that their worst fault is "obsessive perfectionism".

Regarding the topic of 'deservedness' and people's perceptions, I think the one end is envy (from the have-nots), but there's the other end which feeds the former. "Joe/Sally/I deserves to make 100 times more because he/she/I work(s) 100 times as hard!" That's a simple load of crap. Success doesn't usually come from sloth (though in many high-profile cases it does) or ignorance or theft/illegal means (though again, see high profile cases), but there is always a bit of good fortune entering the equation. This is true for everyone. I know many rich people and many poor ones and the poor ones do not usually work markedly less than the rich, in many cases it is the opposite. In the book, 'the pursuit of happyness', the man worked more for his success than anyone I've ever heard of...yet that success rested on one opportune client, much the result of luck (who would have never accepted him as a financial advisor if he had known he was black at the time he made the phone call). That's just the way it is. Luck favors the prepared, but it the word is 'favors'. Is also favors those who are already successful and/or have options and family money/ties a lot more. My husband just obtained a very good job, and it was through hard work through the years...but we always will, and always have known that we are extremely fortunate. He works far far less now than he did when he was making 1/3 as much.
akaCG
Been a bit busy with the markets the last several days (Many, many thanks, Chairman Bernanke!), so I haven't had a chance to keep up with this thread (and others). I'll be back with some comments later.

Meanwhile, an old joke comes to mind:

A guy walking in the park comes across a sketch artist plying his trade and, liking what he sees, decides to have a sketch portrait of himself made. 15 minutes later, the artist hands him the completed work. "Wow! This is really, really good!", the guy exclaims, impressed. "How much do I owe you?" "That'll be $100, please," the artist replies. "WHAT??? But that only took you 15 minutes' worth of work!!!," protests the guy. To which the artist calmly replies: "I'm sorry, sir, but that's not correct. That took me 20 years and 15 minutes worth of work."

pheeler
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Sep 24 2011, 06:26 AM) *
From my non-business perspective, an MBA (in America at least) is pretty ubiquitous and cheap these days. So ubiquitous it has lost its value. My husband got one (online) and I am still the home authority on all things financial/ business related. He makes fun of his own business degree. FWIW, my mom-in-law also said an interview couch, the rage these days, is the kiss of death...too many canned speeches that sound pre-prepared and not genuine. She never hires anyone who tells her they "want her job" or that their worst fault is "obsessive perfectionism".

An M.B.A., like the degree I'm pursuing, is nothing on its own. The knowledge you gain from doing it might be comparable from one program to another, but what you are really after are 1) prestige, 2) a brilliant letter of recommendation, and 3) contacts. That is to say, one M.B.A. is not equivalent to another (I don't mean to put your husband down by saying that). Ditto for a Ph. D. The piece of paper is not that valuable, the things listed above are.

This is another complication for IDS, many people get the job they have not on merit alone, but also because of the prestigious university they attended, or their family's reputation, or other such factors that aren't perfectly aligned with reality. Should there be a "you attended an Ivy League school, therefore you had an advantage over others and make too much money" clause?
akaCG
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Sep 21 2011, 11:21 AM) *
...
I think ["akaCG" is] trying to point out that for earned income (not capital gains) there isn't really any way to distinguish whether one person deserved that income any more, or less, than any one else deserved what income they earned. Is that right, Akacg?

It is certainly my view that determining the "deservedness" of someone's income with a degree of objectivity that's even within a mile of the highway off-ramp into the city that contains the neighborhood that contains the street at the end of which is the cul-de-sac that contains the house that contains the room that contains the book shelf where a dictionary that contains the page that contains the definition of the term "objectivity" can be found is impossible.

But, there are those who disagree. To be more exact, ...

There are many who have no problem coming up with arguments regarding the "deservedness" of someone's income when comparing someone who makes X to someone who makes a substantial multiple of X. Examples thereof would involve comparisons between, say, a 3rd shift nurse making $40K/year to, say, a $400K/year top-level executive who basically "just" delegates the "hard work" to others.1

Which, it seems to me, implies that said people DO believe that there ARE indeed ways to determine the "deservedness" of someone's income. Ways that, unless one wishes to violate intellectual consistency rules, would be applicable on an INTRA-income/tax bracket, not just an INTER-income/tax bracket level basis.

1By which criterion, for instance, the Presidency of the United States would qualify as one of the easiest top-level executive jobs in the world. I mean, talk about the ability to delegate far and wide!

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