Using children as labor

I had a Monday deadline.  What with one thing and another, my (new) RAs didn’t finish or didn’t correctly finish turning my color figures into consistent black and white figures in Excel before the weekend.

Since I hadn’t actually finished writing the paper yet at that point I wasn’t going to have time to do it myself.  So I thought… I bet this is something DC1 could do.

I asked DC1 if zie was interested in learning excel and fixing up some graphs for me and said I would pay hir, though I didn’t yet know how much.  Zie said sure.

So DH showed DC1 how and we decided the exact shades and dottings and markers that we liked, and DC1 finished over the weekend in less time than I had expected (~3 hours total) and did a great job.  Zie had really nice attention to detail, something I haven’t had in an RA for several years.

My mom never let me help with her rote grading or other work activities, even when it was mindless stuff I could easily do.  I did do some data entry and cataloguing for my father for various of his self-employment ventures.  It is legal to employ a child in a family business.  Is my research a family business?  This particular deadline comes with a check and I do have my own EIN.  If I don’t have to do it, is it a hobby?  If it is legal, is it ethical?

I salivate at the thought of my brilliant, careful DCs running Stata code for me.  We’re not there yet, but man, that would be awesome.  I know economist children of famous economists who grew up doing RA work for their parents and other economists for cash, and they seem to think they picked up useful skills, especially when that first non-economics major didn’t work out.  A person who can code can make a tidy sum.

Did you ever help your parents out with their work?  If you have children, have they helped out with your work?

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link love

Unfortunately the number is even bigger now.  :(  If justice is blind, it’s because it is wearing a white hood.  F the police.  F the police. F the police.  F the police.

Disney just cannot get rid of its racist core.

Why Stirrup Queens really is with her.  Because hating Trump isn’t enough.  (Or maybe it is…On your way to the camps...)

ICYMI:  Trump used $258,000 of *other people’s money* from his charitable foundation to settle legal problems.  This is called self-dealing and is illegal.  What boggles my mind is how much illegal stuff Trump does but it’s all stuff that the penalty is a fine, I guess, not jail-time.  So it makes sense to him to do a crap-ton of illegal stuff and wait to get sued and then settle for part of the cost (or for someone else to pay his fines!).  And the thing is, I bet if he weren’t such a scuzz bucket grifter, people would trust him more and he’d actually be making money from business rather than be not beating the market.

Libertarians can be so dumb.

Most Americans are wrong.

When Teen Vogue gives better coverage than NPR.

I wish I could put this on my board in class, but I’m trying to stay away from politics in math…

We love Obama so much.

I like the cut of Gutierrez’s jib.

Credit card companies market to people differently by using behavioral biases.

Sometimes I’m disappointed with Hank Green.

Underemployment in early careers of college graduates following the great recession.

Ugh, heterosexual sex scenes don’t make a book “mature” but the presence of a bisexual person does?  WTF?

Clinton’s policy agenda and why we’re not hearing much about it.  (Hint:  the media doesn’t think we’re interested.)

Wishing Windy City Gal a speedy recovery!

Congratulations to Leigh form Leigh PF!

Michelle Obama is hilarious.

Mouseover!

Y’arrr from BCN.

A post for Ana.

 

Google questions because that last ask the grumpies is too hard

Q:  what happens to kids that don’t do nothing when they come after school

A:  they do something?  Hopefully their homework and chores?

Q:  what language is mimi and pipi from

A:  Maybe French Canadian?

Q:  why do i love to be miserable

A:  Because you are a masochist?

Q:  why some people rather drama

A:  Because they are bored.  Idle hands make the devil’s playground.

Q:  if i pay off my lian can i borrow it again

A:  Depends on the lian agent.

Q:  websites for googly questions

A:  You have come to the right place.

Q:  why do mom’s beg kids to do stuff they don’t want

A:  This is one of those mysteries in life.

Q:  why is check book always off

A:  Basic arithmetic is a harsh mistress.

Q:  is it worth having two jobs to pay off bills early

A:  Depends on the opportunity cost of the marginal job.

Q:  how to cook rumblings

A:  I’m gonna guess in the oven, but you can probably stove-top it with a dutch oven.

Should we empathize with Trump voters?

In a word, no.

People who vote for Trump care about racism, and to a lesser extent, misogyny over *any other issue*.

There’s a movement among some liberal white folks (even our beloved wandsci) to empathize with these jerks.  They’re poor.  They’re seeing privileges stripped away.  They’re not used to being so close to the bottom.  They’re uneducated.  They’re scared and don’t know any better.  We should try to understand their point of view.  That’s the argument.

First, although the media narrative is an economic one, it’s not actually true.  White Trump voters are better off than the average American.  It is true that they’re generally not college educated.  But that’s on them.  They’re making plenty of money without the fancy degree that they could still get if they wanted.

Second, even if the media narrative were true, which it isn’t, that’s still no excuse to be racist.

Racism is deplorable.  As the ladies on the Here to make friends bachelor podcast note, plenty of people have bad things happen to them and don’t become assholes.  Your reaction to hardship or tragedy doesn’t have to be voting against your economic interests so that you can feel superior to someone with a different skin color.

There’s no point in trying to empathize with racists anymore than there’s a point in trying to empathize with dangerously misogynistic Chad on the Bachelor franchise.  Empathy will not change their behavior.  Shaming might.  More likely these hardcore racists are just lost to humanity and will either someday see the light or they will die bitter horrible people.  And that’s ok.  The importance of shaming is not to change their beliefs.  Shaming does two things.  First, it changes the behavior of the bulk of these horrible people because it forces them to watch what they say and how they act, so it is harder to hurt minorities.  Second, it shows that bulk of easily-led people that casual racism is not cool and tilts them for good over evil, which means they too are less likely to commit acts of overt racism.

Empathy has no place.  These people are racist.  Their behavior is deplorable.  They should be ashamed of themselves.  We should shame them.  This behavior has no place in mainstream society and if it can’t be removed entirely, it should be treated as the abomination that it is.  Let them dress up in their costumes and play their stupid games by themselves where we can laugh at them as losers who can’t get past 1865.  But when their behavior starts affecting normal people, and when it starts having a negative effect on people who are already discriminated against, that’s when any residual caring about their racist fee-fees should disappear.  They are bad people with bad beliefs and hopefully one day their children will escape and see how much better the world can be without their hate.

A play for 3 actors

Player 1:  Whose woods are these

I think I know

They belong to

Bick Pentameter

Player 2:  Who is Bick Pentameter

Player 3 (emerging from leafy shadows):  I am

Bick Pentameter

*Fin*

[Players bow]

.

.

.

.

Thanks to DH who suggested, “Bick Pentameter” for the first line, “I am” when DC1 came home with a “personal poem” that forced hir to fill in the blanks after partial sentences.  Sometimes I really wonder if I married an engineer.  In his defense, he notes it doesn’t have quite the same ring as “I am Batman.”

Money, Love, and Food

This is a repost from 2010 back when we had great blog posts but few readers to appreciate them!  Feel free to comment as if it’s new since there weren’t many comments to begin with.

Thought provoking post at GRS, for anyone with children or who grew up with parents.

To sum, a woman grew up with a father who told her they were wealthy but would not spend or let her spend on things.  Now she feels guilty whenever she does spend, despite having a healthy (100K) emergency fund in place.

The comments contain a lot of conflicting arguments about how we’re destroying our kids.  It seems like parents can’t win.

The things her father said to her sounded a lot like the things my father said to me.  I had many of the same experiences growing up.   Yet I did not take away the same lessons and overall I am very happy with my relationship with money.  Sure I felt guilty spending on luxuries when we had no money and we were trying to pay off DH’s college debt, but once we got into a comfortable place, I got comfortable with spending on things I could afford.  Take care of myself and my family first, then spend on luxuries without unhappiness.

Over the past couple of days my mind has been grappling with the question about what’s the difference between my situation and hers.  At first I thought it might be the autonomy I was allowed with my own small allowance (nobody made me save it– though I did learn to save on my own for larger items).  But I don’t think that was it.   It also isn’t talking about money as a family or not talking about it.  Or knowing the parent’s financial situation or not knowing the parent’s financial situation.  It definitely isn’t being denied an ice cream cone out or getting every wish granted.

The real problem is when we associate tools with love. The poster and most of the commenters are taking for granted that how money is spent is a sign of where love lies.  That isn’t the case.  Money is just a tool.  After basic needs are met, you can spend nothing or spend a ton aligned with your family values about what is important, but that is not love.  The child in the post perceived the soda or ice cream as lack of love.  As a child I perceived it as not wanting to spend money on an item that my father did not value.  A commenter talked about how he felt guilty when told that they couldn’t go on a vacation because they were saving for his college.  As a child I saw that as information that my family valued education over trips to Disney World (not that we didn’t travel– we went on countless road trips, but generally on the cheap and often to visit family) and that my future was important enough to delay gratification for (and corporations are really good at getting people to spend money).

There’s a reason I’ve never understood the women who want their husbands to buy them expensive jewelry to prove their love or to apologize for an argument, especially at the expense of quality time as a family or true financial security.

In my family, we were also encouraged to ask questions and test limits.  I think my father was proud when we made a counter-argument about how we were willing to pay the additional money to get a cold drink *now* or that the ice cream in the small pint is better quality than the ice cream in the large tub and we don’t need a large tub’s worth anyway.   It was most important to him that we understand why and how we were spending our money– not to be skin-flints but to truly understand frugality and value.   For my own parenting, I think we don’t have to worry about the money messages we’re sending if we talk them out, encourage communication and even disagreement, and let our children know if we’re worried they’re taking the wrong message. It’s like teaching undergrads, if you encourage students to ask questions in a safe environment, teacher mistakes can become valuable teaching moments rather than a disaster. They can lead to more rather than less learning.

How does this juxtapose with Donna Freedman’s wonderfully sweet column on material gifts from her mother?  It’s the gesture, not the item.  But the gesture need not be a thing at all, and it need not involve money at all.  It really is the thought that counts.  Maybe it’s ok to think of buying a soda as an act of love (though it’s an odd thing for most Americans where soda flows more freely than water), but it is never ok to think of the lack of buying it as a withdrawal of love.  There are many ways to show love, and a homemade toaster cozy or a timer that brought order to a mother’s life are examples of things where the thought is much more important than the money spent.

For me this connection is more obvious with food– emotional eating.  Culturally this is a big problem for us… chocolate chip cookies do cheer someone up when they’re down.  I love it when my husband bakes me a batch.  It reminds me of vacations with my late grandmother or brownies from my mom.  But it is important to separate the thoughtfulness of making the cookie from the cookie itself.    And maybe the few extra pounds is worth it for immediate comfort.  It’s when that emotional food connection becomes a problem, or that emotional money connection becomes a problem that we really need to remember that love is love and money is a tool and food is something to eat.

Do you intertwine love with money or with food?  Do you have healthy or unhealthy associations with money and/or food?

Link love

This week I have a deadline so I said “no twitter except docrocktx26 this week” partly because it’s a distraction and partly because the coverage (even from so-called liberal men) about HRC daring to not tell people she had pneumonia the minute she was diagnosed last Friday and waiting OMG until Monday was driving me nuts.  Oh, and all the mansplaining about how “basket of deplorables” was a gaffe, when I’m pretty sure it was not at all.  I hate the patriarchy so much.  (btw, there were some twitter lookings last saturday before I decided to stop– this guy does real investigative reporting.)

Still, we do have some political links.

Here’s an excellent take-down of why it doesn’t @#$234ing matter if HRC has health problems.  Well worth watching the video– you find some stuff about script writing with the West Wing too.  Here’s Historiann’s contribution on the subject.  Here is docrocktex‘s.

How Trump’s business ties could upend national security.

This article does a really good job explaining how companies contributed to the Trump foundation as a way for Trump to dodge income tax.

Truly sickening.  Brazen and stupid (and I don’t even have a link for his holocaust jokes this week).

We are numb.

I endorse this article as a professional economist.

I hope this guy wins his court case.  F the police.

This is the best kind of political post.  Also we are going to totally try it out.  It sounds easy and delicious.

gorgeous

Smash the patriarchy!

Treat high income when you’re young as a windfall (that you save and don’t blow).

Save money by not switching your taxable stocks to betterment!

I had forgotten this post.

giggle

New teeny kittens.