Sunday, March 07, 2010

Brainy workers earn much more over life course

More validation for intelligence tests

Brains translate into big bucks in the workplace, according to a University of Florida study, which finds that bright people have earned at least half a million dollars more by middle age than those who are less intellectually inclined. Smart people start out with modestly higher paychecks, but their income and job status greatly accelerate over time, said Ryan Klinger, a UF graduate student in management and one of the study’s researchers. “Although we expected mental ability to influence whether someone had a more prestigious job and earned more money, we were surprised by the magnitude of the difference,” he said. “Over the course of the study individuals with high intelligence outgained those with low intelligence by more than $580,000.”

Smart people set themselves apart as they make known their quickness of mind, problem-solving skills and workplace adaptability, Klinger said. “Because of the ease and flexibility with which people with greater mental ability learn and apply knowledge to complex situations, they enjoy much steeper growth in their occupational success over time,” he said.

Klinger worked with UF management professor Timothy Judge and graduate student Lauren Simon on the national study published in the January issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology. The researchers analyzed Department of Labor data from a nationally representative set of more than 12,500 people who have been tracked since 1979 when they were between 14 and 22 years old and just entering the work force. In addition, each of these participants took an aptitude test to assess their general intelligence.

When the study began, intelligent people earned an average of $1,575 more a year than less intelligent ones, with the gap widening to $16,474 a decade later, Klinger said. The change was dramatic by 2006 with smarter employees making an average of $38,819 more per year, a difference at least 20 times that of when they started, he said.

Huge variations in occupational prestige kept pace with rises in income, Klinger said. At the end of 28 years, a person of low intelligence moved up from a job at the level of apprentice plumber to that of plumber, while a highly intelligent person rose from a position comparable in status to vehicle dispatcher to one of the same standing as a civil engineer, he said.

Not only were intelligent individuals likely to acquire more knowledge and skills through education, on-the-job training and other means, but they were better at capitalizing on their assets, Klinger said. They used additional experience along with their superior mental skills to increase on-the-job knowledge, which boosted their careers, he said. “If two people had the same level of education, the person of higher intelligence was likely to do more with that education in applying that education or training to a job,” he said.

“Put simply, it is not only the amount one learns that matters, but also the flexibility and ease with which what is learned can be applied and manipulated,” he said. “With these capabilities, the intelligent have an advantage and one that is likely to translate into higher pay and greater occupational prestige.”

The gap could widen as the increasingly specialized workplace demands intelligent workers, Klinger said. “As jobs become more complex, we can expect these advantages to increase even more,” he said.

Klinger cautions against assumptions that brains alone could seal one’s fate for life. Hard work, more education and good social skills can make great differences, he said. “It might be disheartening to think that intelligence is predetermined to a certain extent by your genes, but I wouldn’t want people to interpret our findings to mean they can be born into an unsuccessful life,” he said. “There certainly were individuals in our study who were able to compensate for their low intelligence and achieve tremendous levels of career success and likewise individuals who because of their intelligence may have seemed destined for greatness but never met those expectations.”

Even people with little intelligence who acquired additional education and training advanced farther in their careers than those who never sought those opportunities, he said. And other factors besides brains can explain much of a person’s success, such as the ability to get along well with other people, Klinger said. “Research shows that in some cases people are able to compensate for low cognitive abilities with emotional intelligence,” he said.

The study examined only how intelligence relates to measures of achievement society uses and not those of individuals, Klinger said. “People often evaluate their own success based on more internal judgments, such as whether or not they enjoy going to work every day or whether or not they have the power to make a difference at their job,” he said.



Congressional estimates show grim deficit picture

A new congressional report released Friday says the United States' long-term fiscal woes are even worse than predicted by President Barack Obama's grim budget submission last month. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that Obama's budget plans would generate deficits over the upcoming decade that would total $9.8 trillion. That's $1.2 trillion more than predicted by the administration. The agency says its future-year predictions of tax revenues are more pessimistic than the administration's. That's because CBO projects slightly slower economic growth than the White House.

The deficit picture has turned alarmingly worse since the recession that started at the end of 2007, never dipping below 4 percent of the size of the economy over the next decade. Economists say that deficits of that size are unsustainable and could put upward pressure on interest rates, crowd out private investment in the economy and ultimately erode the nation's standard of living.

Still, the Feb. 1 White House budget plan was a largely stand-pat document that avoided difficult decisions on curbing the unsustainable growth of federal benefit programs like the Medicare health care program for the elderly and Medicaid, which provides health care to the poor and disabled.

The report says that extending tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 under GOP President George W. Bush and continuing to update the alternative minimum tax so that it won't hit millions of middle-class taxpayers would cost $3 trillion over 2011-2020. The tax cuts expire at the end of this year and Obama wants to extend them _ except for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and couples making $250,000.

For the ongoing budget year, CBO predicts a record $1.5 trillion deficit. That's actually a little better than predicted by the White House, but at 10 percent of gross domestic product, it's bigger than any deficit in history other than those experienced during World War II.

The new report predicts that debt held by investors, including China, would spike from $7.5 trillion at the end of last year to $20.3 trillion in 2020. That means interest payments would more than quadruple _ from $209 billion this year, to $916 billion by the end of the decade.



Tragedy Occurs. Media Rush to Blame Right-Wing

As friend of TH Allahpundit commented on Twitter, it begins:
John Patrick Bedell, whom authorities identified as the gunman in the Pentagon shooting on Thursday, appears to have been a right-wing extremist with virulent antigovernment feelings. If so, that would make the Pentagon shooting the second violent extremist attack on a federal building within the past month.

Many in the media have been quick to jump on homegrown attacks on federal buildings as evidence of "right-wing extremism," insinuating that anxiety and anger on the Right has led to these violent attacks. Apparently, anger at the prohibition of marijuana, conspiracy theories about the U.S. military's secret drug operation and quoting Marx are all symptoms of being a right-winger in the United States these days.

The media needs to be responsible in its reporting of these tragedies. And they need to own up to dishonest allegations about an entire political movement's culpability.

UPDATE via Michelle Malkin: Apparently another key indicator that you're a right-wing domestic terrorist is registering with the Democratic party.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Iraq intervention now cautiously applauded by the Left!

Some excerpts from an article by Marty Peretz in TNR

There are three especially compelling personal testimonies arguing that Iraq is on its way to making its own inter-ethnic and inter-sectarian history, and it will be a relatively democratic history.

The last of these judgments came today, and it came from Gordon Brown, the British prime minister who is under Tory siege in the May elections. Iraq was always an unpopular war into which Brown’s predecessor, Tony Blair, also a Laborite inhabiting 10 Downing Street, led the Brits under the command of America. Brown’s last statement in this regard, including some politic dissents from George Bush’s early Iraq policy, appears in Friday’s New York Times.

The second of these pronunciamientos comes from Tom Ricks, authoritative or especially believable because of his authorship of two critical books on the American venture in Iraq, Fiasco and The Gamble.

In “Extending Our Stay in Iraq,” an op-ed in last Wednesday’s Times, Ricks focuses on President Obama’s coming predicament. Having pledged to start removing American troops early on, Obama may find that his withdrawal will come just at a time when U.S. personnel are needed most. The president put himself long ago --during the campaign, when he played to the crowds-- in this Iraqi conundrum. In his West Point address, he repeated the promise of withdrawal from Afghanistan when our presence there could be most important. This is a tic of the president’s, as a recent TNR editorial pointed out and as Dexter Filkins argued in the same issue.

Ricks concludes that American and Iraqi leaders “may come to recognize that the best way deter a return to civil war is to find a way to keep 30,000 to 50,000 United States service members in Iraq for many years to come. ... As a longtime critic of the American invasion of Iraq, I am not happy about advocating a continued military presence there. Yet... just because you invade a country stupidly doesn’t mean you should leave it stupidly.”

In one way or another, the logic of this last sentence will be taken up by the Obami in their irresistible volte face on Iraq. It will be an embarrassment, an enormous one. But there is no alternative save shame and defeat.

Unlike Ricks, Fouad Ajami has no reason to be unhappy about the consequences of his historic arguments about Iraq. (By the way, if you haven’t already, you should read Ajami’s review in TNR of the searing Algerian novel, The German Mujahid, by Boualem Sansal.) “Another Step Forward for Iraq” is his title and his argument in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal.

He begins with a gentle slap at Vice President Joe Biden for having “the audacity of claiming on CNN’s ‘Larry King Live’ that Iraq is destined to be ‘one of the great achievements of this administration.’” I would call it chutzpah, especially for Joe, who, despairing all through the Iraq venture, recommended a break-up of the country into three sectarian and tribal states.

In the received wisdom of those who never took to the justice or the wisdom of the Iraq war, the balance of power in the region was upended by the destruction of the Saddam Hussein regime that had presumably served as a buffer against the Iranian theocracy.

There is a better way of "balancing" Iran: a regime in Baghdad endowed with the legitimacy of democratic norms. Of all that has been said about Iraq since the time that country became an American burden, nothing equals the stark formulation once offered by a diplomat not given to grandstanding and rhetorical flourishes. Said former U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker: "In the end, what we leave behind and how we leave will be more important than how we came."

We can already see the outline of what our labor has created: a representative government, a binational state of Arabs and Kurds, and a country that does not bend to the will of one man or one ruling clan.




Voters Trust GOP More than Democrats on Eight of 10 Key Issues: "Voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on eight out of 10 key issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports, but the gap between the two parties has grown narrower on several of them. Although the issue of health care continues to be at the forefront of the national political debate, voters rate health care as number five on the list of 10 important issues. The economy remains the top issue of voter concern as it has been for over two years. The only exception being last September when voters put government ethics and corruption at the top of the list. Republicans lead Democrats 46% to 41% in terms of voter trust on the economy. In early January 2009, just before President Obama took office, Democrats held a nine-point lead on this issue. More voters who make under $20,000 annually trust Democrats on this issue, but voters in higher income ranges favor Republicans."

A Big Snow Job: "As the economy continues to destroy jobs, we hear a new excuse. Frigid weather, the White House says, made the jobs report look worse than it is. Actually, even without snow, it's worse than you think. Businesses shed another 36,000 jobs during February, the latest jobs report shows, but the unemployment rate remained flat at 9.7%. This, say Democrats in Washington, is a positive sign. "Only 36,000 lost their jobs today," crowed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as if losing thousands of jobs was an achievement. We're sad to say, the picture is even worse than it appears. Take that "only 36,000" figure. The real number is actually 51,000 jobs lost, because the government counts 15,000 temporary workers hired by the Census as new jobs. But these jobs aren't, in any meaningful sense, real full-time jobs. Would things have been better without all the snow? Undoubtedly. But we still would have lost jobs."

Stalin being "rehabilitated" in Russia: "Communist Party chiefs led a procession of largely elderly people across Red Square on the 57th anniversary of Stalin's death, laying flowers at his grave by the Kremlin wall. The solemn visit is an annual tradition for communists steeped in nostalgia for the Soviet era. But this year, it comes as Russia's bitter debate over Stalin's legacy sharpens ahead of May 9 celebrations marking 65 years since the Nazi defeat. For the first time in decades, Stalin's image may appear among the banners and posters that Moscow authorities put up for Victory Day, which will draw foreign leaders to Moscow as guests of the government. City plans to set up 10 information stands describing Stalin's role in the war have deepened animus between Russians who loathe him and their compatriots who love him."

Walpin scandal still alive: "An updated investigation report on the scandal known as "Walpingate" adds fuel to the suspicion that President Obama may have fired Gerald Walpin, an independent inspector general, as an illegal act of political cronyism and revenge. "Throughout our investigation of Mr. Walpin's removal, the White House has repeatedly communicated that the president was not motivated by inappropriate political reasons," said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., one of the authors of the updated report. "The fact is Gerald Walpin led an aggressive investigation of a political ally of President Obama that successfully recovered taxpayer dollars. While firing an investigator who uncovered the abuse of funds by a political ally might be considered an act of 'political courage' in Chicago politics, for most Americans it raises troubling questions." As WND reported, the White House fired Walpin shortly after the inspector general exposed sexual misconduct and gross misappropriation of federal funds by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a prominent Barack Obama supporter."


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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