Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Philip Bump

The top 25 hedge fund managers earn more than all kindergarten teachers in U.S. combined: Said Obama

May 12 , 2015 

During his remarks on poverty at Georgetown University on Tuesday, President Obama noted the discrepancy in pay between two very different sets of workers.This comparison has been made before in different ways, but we figured it was worth checking.

The most recent government data on teacher employment covers the 2011-2012 school year.

The Education Department’s tallies of all teachers in elementary and secondary schools nationwide found that they made on average about $56,600 that year.

But kindergarten teachers are a different group. For that, we turn to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2012, the nation had about 158,000 kindergarten teachers, excluding whose who work in special education. The average salary was $53,480.

What about the other end of the spectrum?

An annual ranking of top hedge fund managers found that the 25 most successful pulled in $11.62 billion in 2014. (“Last year turned out to be the worst one for this elite group of investors since the stock market meltdown of 2008,” Institutional Investors’ Stephen Taub writes, adding, “How bad was it?” apparently without irony.)

In other words, those 25 men — yes, they were all men — made about $464 million apiece, just a bit more than the teachers’ $53,000. To put it visually:

Even leaving out some kindergarten teachers, and even with some slight uptick in those teachers’ salaries, the 25 hedge fund managers are doing much, much better — “horrible year” aside.

If you’re curious, those investors make far less cumulatively than high school teachers. All 1.5 million high school teachers nationally earned about $87 billion in 2012 with a median salary of $56,643.

Obama’s point, incidentally, was not overt class hostility toward the hedge funders. Instead, he wants to tax carried interest more.

This will not, we estimate, make hedge fund compensation equivalent to that of a teacher.

 

How much of your life as a citizen of United States has been at war

Somewhere in the ever-flowing river of flotsam that is Twitter, a simple data point offered by a college commencement speaker jumped out at me before being borne away on the tide of immediacy.

Philip Bump May 18, 2015

The speaker was ABC journalist Martha Raddatz, and the point is the key one in the intro: The graduates have spent half their lives with America at war.

It’s a startling idea, but an incorrect one. The percentage is almost certainly much higher than that.

Using somewhat subjective definitions of “at war” — Korea counts but Kosovo doesn’t in our analysis, for example — we endeavored to figure out how much of each person’s life has been spent with America at war.

We used whole years for both the age and the war, so the brief Gulf War is given a full year, and World War II includes 1941. These are estimates.

But the beginning of the conflict in Afghanistan in (late) 2001 means that anyone born in the past 13 years has never known an America that isn’t at war. Anyone born after 1984 has likely seen America at war for at least half of his or her life.

And that’s a lot of Americans.

These figures shift easily.

An end to the conflict in Afghanistan (and, if you include it, the overlapping fight against the Islamic State) means that the percentage of time those young people have lived in a state of war will decline quickly.

But that state of war, we are told (I am too young to know better) feels different than America during World War II or, particularly for the college-aged, Vietnam.

More so than those wars, war today is distant, fought on our behalf.

That’s Raddatz’s more important point: Young Americans have lived in a country at war for almost their whole lives, but they have to be reminded of it.


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