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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

Over the years of working (and before), I have noticed company practices that to me don't make much sense.

For many years, many companies have had the tendency to discard older workers. Yes, some of that was due to legit downsizing during rough times, but in too many other cases, older workers are seen as less productive and have the potential to cost the company more in health care. In my little world, I have witnessed many of those older workers as they go out and reinvent themselves and remain very productive and healthy. So why the stigma placed on them by companies?

Many companies (more so now) want people to multitask and state that in the job description. There have been studies "proving" that most people actually perform worse at their jobs when forced to multitask as the distractions are too disruptive. At least part of the result is simply not being able to maintain a high level of work quality. Companies claim they want a quality product produced quickly, but company policies are often in direct conflict with that goal. We have all seen the ads which need the employee to do everything for less wages. Employee burn out is also caused by such over work, yet the employee is seen as highly expendable (especially now).

Many companies want highly motivated employees who will supposedly move up in the ranks. I have known people who were good at their job and would be happy remaining in that position for perhaps the rest of their working days, yet many companies don't seen to like that. Why not leave a person in a position they are good at and happy with?

There have been occasional stories of companies that treat their employees well (pay, benefits, work environment etc) and the employees are happy and more productive. That also means higher profits for the company. Yet the vast majority of companies seem to operate on the opposite "burn them out, throw away" principal. I don't get it.

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jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland

21 months ago

John in Catonsville, Maryland said: Over the years of working (and before), I have noticed company practices that to me don't make much sense.
.

Many things don't make sense. It reminds me the mafia controlled operations where company is a mere front, a fiction, created to shield the real economic activity from public view.

If this is not done for ulterior motives then whoever is in control of those policies must be egregiously stupid and self destructive individuals.

As I said many times before, a LOT OF THINGS don't make sense if you look around and give it a thought.

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Unix Brat in Asheville, North Carolina

21 months ago

Well-written and thought-provoking post, John.

I have my theories as to "why" --why the harsh treatment to push out older workers, as well as why do the majority of companies push for multitasking and sacrifice quality.

Before I weigh in with my armchair analysis, I want to hear everyone else's take. Should be interesting.

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

Unix Brat in Asheville, North Carolina said: Well-written and thought-provoking post, John.

I have my theories as to "why" --why the harsh treatment to push out older workers, as well as why do the majority of companies push for multitasking and sacrifice quality.

Before I weigh in with my armchair analysis, I want to hear everyone else's take. Should be interesting.

See Unix, my "big brain" is known to turn on once in a while :)

I pose questions like the above, my brain starts hurting and shuts down.... but I thought I'd see where this takes us.....

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Almost Suicidal in San Antonio, Texas

21 months ago

John in Catonsville, Maryland said:
"burn them out, throw away"

And bring someone in at minimum wage to do their job thereby maximizing profits and bonuses for the CEO.

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

Almost Suicidal in San Antonio, Texas said: And bring someone in at minimum wage to do their job thereby maximizing profits and bonuses for the CEO.

And at other times, spread the work load out on other people....

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Bluetea in Texas

21 months ago

John in Catonsville, Maryland said: Over the years of working (and before), I have noticed company practices that to me don't make much sense.

For many years, many companies have had the tendency to discard older workers. Yes, some of that was due to legit downsizing during rough times, but in too many other cases, older workers are seen as less productive and have the potential to cost the company more in health care. In my little world, I have witnessed many of those older workers as they go out and reinvent themselves and remain very productive and healthy. So why the stigma placed on them by companies?

Many companies want highly motivated employees who will supposedly move up in the ranks. I have known people who were good at their job and would be happy remaining in that position for perhaps the rest of their working days, yet many companies don't seen to like that. Why not leave a person in a position they are good at and happy with?

There have been occasional stories of companies that treat their employees well (pay, benefits, work environment etc) and the employees are happy and more productive. That also means higher profits for the company. Yet the vast majority of companies seem to operate on the opposite "burn them out, throw away" principal. I don't get it.

A conflux of events have taken us to where we are now. One of the most prophetic books that I have ever read was "The Great U-Turn" by Harrison and Bluestone.

Deindustrialization, Corporate Restructuring, Off-shoring, Automation, Political realignment, etc. Harrison and Bluestone nailed it twenty years ago.

You can get this book for a penny on Amazon now. Its worth far more. Far more.

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: A conflux of events have taken us to where we are now. One of the most prophetic books that I have ever read was "The Great U-Turn" by Harrison and Bluestone.

Deindustrialization, Corporate Restructuring, Off-shoring, Automation, Political realignment, etc. Harrison and Bluestone nailed it twenty years ago.

You can get this book for a penny on Amazon now. Its worth far more. Far more.

Likely these events started more than 20 years ago as well. My father was downsized in the early 70s. I worked for the same company (even same location) 13 years later. The company is now gone except for perhaps a namesake out there somewhere.

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Bluetea in Texas

21 months ago

John in Catonsville, Maryland said: Likely these events started more than 20 years ago as well. My father was downsized in the early 70s. I worked for the same company (even same location) 13 years later. The company is now gone except for perhaps a namesake out there somewhere.

I have worked for several companies myself that are no longer here.

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: I have worked for several companies myself that are no longer here.

So have I actually. That company was one of the larger ones (GTE/Sylvania, worked for DEC as well)

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Bluetea in Texas

21 months ago

John in Catonsville, Maryland said: So have I actually. That company was one of the larger ones (GTE/Sylvania, worked for DEC as well)

So what happened to RCA television sets? Off-shored? Automated? Obsolescence?

In my case, the brick and mortar securities industry was automated.

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: So what happened to RCA television sets? Off-shored? Automated? Obsolescence?

In my case, the brick and mortar securities industry was automated.

The division of GTE/Sylvania I worked for was defense spending. That work is now mostly automated. RCA has been offshored, hasn't it? Bought by the Chinese perhaps?

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Bluetea in Texas

21 months ago

John in Catonsville, Maryland said: The division of GTE/Sylvania I worked for was defense spending. That work is now mostly automated. RCA has been offshored, hasn't it? Bought by the Chinese perhaps?

Probably. CNN's Lou Dobbs use to do a piece on Exporting America but this is just one of problems that has led to the current state of affairs.

www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/lou.dobbs.tonight/popups/exporting.america/content.html

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designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin

21 months ago

John in Catonsville, Maryland said: There have been occasional stories of companies that treat their employees well (pay, benefits, work environment etc) and the employees are happy and more productive. That also means higher profits for the company. Yet the vast majority of companies seem to operate on the opposite "burn them out, throw away" principal. I don't get it.

I don't get it either. My husband's company changed so much and now everyone (at least at the bottom) is so unhappy. They want robots to work for them. Supervisors don't care and just sit on their butts in the office ignoring everyone except to criticize. I've never seen my husband look so defeated and angry in my life. He used to really like his job until all the changes took place.

Now he just bad mouths the company and tells everyone not to buy their products. We buy the competitors' products now. No Digiorno's, Jack's, or Tombstone pizzas for us. No Edy's ice cream (Dreyer's for you on the west side) and no Haagen Daz. They have rat poop in all their products, so don't buy them. LOL see how that works? The ice cream makers pick their noses while working and you might eat a booger. What's this on my pizza? A cat turd! LOL

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catfish503 in portland, Oregon

21 months ago

Here's my theory on the multi-tasking in the work place. The younger generation grew up immersed in interactive digital media, my generation didn't. I grew up with dial up phones, tv's without remotes, record players with albums, no home computer, typewriters, no microwaves. Everything I did was pretty much manual. My kids on the other hand grew up playing Xbox, using cell phones, texting, etc... Now I have learned to use these things, cell phone, text, computers. Am I as good as my kids, no. Can I use these things as fast as my kids, no....just my thought! =)

Some experts...and this is just some, believe that the younger generation multi-task better than my generation because of growing up in the "digital" world. Do I agree with them, no...I might be a little slower at multi-tasking in the work place, but I have skills that a lot of this younger generation doesn't have... *)

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jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland

21 months ago

You forget that there were quite a few technological revolutions in past, including invention of print, compass and many industrial-technological changes and inventions that followed just in past couple of hundred years.
But no one has challenged Adam Smiths' contention that having each man do just one task, but do it at superior level, is the most efficient way of increasing productivity.

Polymaths like Da'Vinci and Renaissance men in general were always a more attractive model for individuals to strive towards, however, it did not work well when applied in mass production economics. Geniuses are few, but the volume of tasks is too great: can't find so many multi-taskers (this is not my idea, it is that of Smith disclosed in his "wealth of nations" book which is a fundamental stone of any Econ 101 coursework).

And I highly suspect that model which worked so efficiently for so long all of a sudden was proven wrong, by mere occurrence of i-phones that new generation grew playing with.

This sounds as very bogus and shoehorned explanation, to say the least, for one of the trends John describes happening at workplace. He is correct when he says that mulch-tasking will distract the employee and it will take more than 5 times of the effort of one multi-tasking personnel that it would take for five guys (each doing just one aspect of the complex task) to accomplish the same. This has been tested for far too long to be challenged on factual grounds.

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

Displacedd Legal Professional in Evergreen, Colorado said: You forgot that some employers dispatch older employees shortly before retirement to avoid paying pensions.

I see other reasons for employers not hiring older candidates. Younger supervisors may fear older candidates. They fear them because they are afraid older candidates may know more than they do. They fear older candidates because they may gun for their jobs. Older candidates may remind younger supervisors of Mom and Dad, and they may have had issues with their parents.

With career changers, employers may think older candidates may expect higher pay simply because of tenure in the workforce. At least for me, that stupid notion was entirely untrue. I started over twice. I expected entry-level pay - both times. As I gained experience, I reasonably expected pay commensurate with my experience - nothing more.

Employers will always come up with half-baked excuses not to hire older candidates.

Very true, I did forget to mention disposing of employees to avoid paying pensions. Seen that happen as well.

I also expect to be paid entry level wages for entry level work. On the other hand, I also expect to see commensurate raises for a job well done. If the latter is not provided, I am left to assume my services are not valued and I should move to a place where they are.

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Need New Job in Chicago, Illinois

21 months ago

I had a former supervisor block a hire I wanted to make once. The candidate was in his 50s and this was a major career change for him. He had gone back and received an Masters in the field and had gotten some experience in the field. This was what I wanted to hire him based on, not the 25 years he spent doing something else. He'd be working on a team of 27-30 year olds.

Boss man vetoed it. He said that people that age can't learn new tricks and his bad habits would rub off on the younger members of the team. It was one of the mos frustrating and offensive conversations I've had in my career.

Sadly, I have a feeling that this is a more pervasive attitude than the "we're scared they know more" theory.

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jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland

21 months ago

We have economy today large portion of which does not seem to depend on mass consumer (or at least, that's the conclusion one can make if you look at what large companies are doing).

A vital economy is such that everyone depends on everyone. Less fortunate depend on affluent and vice versa. Under normal economic conditions wages can't go too low because if they do it will generate a chain reaction of ever dwindling consumption, which can not work in interests of any company.

Another feature which is indicative of the sane and self-interest company is to utilize methods that increase the production. Discarding older workers in favor of younger when objective criteria for selection exists is not a problem in itself. After all, if company has only one opening and two applicants, it must select the most productive applicant of two. If that applicant appears to be the younger one the company must choose such, regardless of age or any other factors. Following an affirmative action policy would be anathema to economic principle of seeking a higher productivity.
But I suspect in awful a lot of cases efficiency is not the practical outcome. Perhaps, often it's just a scripture from a new gospel of employers, where someone in certain think tank wrote in a stone that old people must be sacrificed in the altar of some crazy deity (perhaps some deity similar to, Ayn Rand worshiped to bloody ecstasy) , and HR's just thoughtlessly follow the letter of gospel (knowing that critical thinking, initiative and sensible approach is punishable by death or loss of employment).
And if thAt is the case (discarding a more efficient older employee in favor of a moron who happens to be half the former's age), then there is a problem.

And the problem is that it is unsound policy.

I can see that something odd is happening, but don't know what the real cause is.

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Bluetea in Texas

21 months ago

Need New Job in Chicago, Illinois said: Sadly, I have a feeling that this is a more pervasive attitude than the "we're scared they know more" theory.

The reality is far simpler. Health care costs go up, not down as one ages. The 'old dogs can't learn new tricks" is just a nice way of rationalizing this.

If I were 30 and not 60, I would be serving chicken wings at Hooters now. However, they like a lot of other places, say I am "overqualified".

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catfish503 in portland, Oregon

21 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: The reality is far simpler. Health care costs go up, not down as one ages. The 'old dogs can't learn new tricks" is just a nice way of rationalizing this.

If I were 30 and not 60, I would be serving chicken wings at Hooters now. However, they like a lot of other places, say I am "overqualified".

Maybe they need a senior citizen Hooter's where all the servers are over 50 and wear Flannel nighties...HAHA =)

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jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland

21 months ago

Where is the basis for this argument?

What is the average cost of health insurance at age 50 vs age 30?

What is the cost of losing a older and more productive employee in favor of younger but less proficient one ?

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Bluetea in Texas

21 months ago

jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland said: Where is the basis for this argument?

What is the average cost of health insurance at age 50 vs age 30?

What is the cost of losing a older and more productive employee in favor of younger but less proficient one ?

5, 4, 3, 2, 1. You're getting sleeeeepy. Verrrrrry sleeeeeepy.

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

catfish503 in portland, Oregon said: Maybe they need a senior citizen Hooter's where all the servers are over 50 and wear Flannel nighties...HAHA =)

Maybe they could make the rounds to retirement communities and be the "wait staff" for the evening. The men might enjoy it, their wives might complain though...

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Bluetea in Texas

21 months ago

John in Catonsville, Maryland said: Maybe they could make the rounds to retirement communities and be the "wait staff" for the evening. The men might enjoy it, their wives might complain though...

Old strippers are like old warehouse workers. You remember those days right?

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jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland

21 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. You're getting sleeeeepy. Verrrrrry sleeeeeepy.

So far you fail to substantiate your argument.

Last I checked only 65% of employers with 200 or more employees offered coverage to their employees (including seniors).
That puts a whooping 35% of employers unconcerned about health care costs (as they, apparently, don't offer it to begin with. And Obamacare is not to take effect at least until 2014).

Of remaining 65% which does offer the coverage, I ask what is the cost of insurance vs cost of losing a productivity (assuming the select younger employee based on age factor only and regardless of work related qualifications)?

Do you know the answers?

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland said: Where is the basis for this argument?

What is the average cost of health insurance at age 50 vs age 30?

What is the cost of losing a older and more productive employee in favor of younger but less proficient one ?

I'm quite sure health insurance companies would keep track of those stats.

Less costs besides health benefits are associated with the younger worker like a fraction of the salery

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jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland

21 months ago

corrected:

Of remaining 65% ,which do offer the coverage, I ask what is the increased cost of insurance vs the cost of losing a productivity (assuming they select younger employee based on age factor alone and regardless of work related qualifications)?

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: Old strippers are like old warehouse workers. You remember those days right?

I've been trying very hard to erase those nasty memories...

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catfish503 in portland, Oregon

21 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: Old strippers are like old warehouse workers. You remember those days right?

There's one of those places not to far from where I live...maybe I should apply and see if I get turned down because of my age...haha ;)

Strip joints all over Portland...they're suppose to have more strip clubs per capita than Vegas...With so many I might be able to find a new career...hah *)

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jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland

21 months ago

John in Catonsville, Maryland said: I'm quite sure health insurance companies would keep track of those stats.

Less costs besides health benefits are associated with the younger worker like a fraction of the salery

It is very important to look up numbers.

As we have seen with other examples discussed, very often what companies do today have little to do with what one would expect them to do if they had sound economic goals in mind.

What makes anyone think that this is not another funny business, where the cost of hiring young but unproductive worker may actually outweigh that of hiring older but more productive worker , despite savings in health insurance costs?
I won't be surprised if that is the case. And I suggest we look up those numbers (I will try to do my part and post later).

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jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland

21 months ago

John in Catonsville, Maryland said: I've been trying very hard to erase those nasty memories...

John, don't you find it a bit odd that we have certain posters on this forum too persistently bring R rated talk into any discussion where real issues discussed?

I wouldn't mind it at all under any other circumstances, but it's a bit too consistent (as soon as any serious issue is discussed) and makes me question once again: are these people really looking for a job?

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Bluetea in Texas

21 months ago

jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland said: So far you fail to substantiate your argument.

Last I checked only 65% of employers with 200 or more employees offered coverage to their employees (including seniors).
That puts a whooping 35% of employers unconcerned about health care costs (as they, apparently, don't offer it to begin with. And Obamacare is not to take effect at least until 2014).

Of remaining 65% which does offer the coverage, I ask what is the cost of insurance vs cost of losing a productivity (assuming the select younger employee based on age factor only and regardless of work related qualifications)?

Do you know the answers?

No I don't. Why don't you give Google a workout and let us know what you find out?

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jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland

21 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: No I don't. Why don't you give Google a workout and let us know what you find out?

Will do.

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Bluetea in Texas

21 months ago

jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland said: John, don't you find it a bit odd that we have certain posters on this forum too persistently bring R rated talk into any discussion where real issues discussed?

I wouldn't mind it at all under any other circumstances, but it's a bit too consistent (as soon as any serious issue is discussed) and makes me question once again: are these people really looking for a job?

You know you are talking to a guy who plays a Neaderthal in a museum exhibit? How odd is that?

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Bluetea in Texas

21 months ago

catfish503 in portland, Oregon said: There's one of those places not to far from where I live...maybe I should apply and see if I get turned down because of my age...haha ;)

Strip joints all over Portland...they're suppose to have more strip clubs per capita than Vegas...With so many I might be able to find a new career...hah *)

Nah, they don't even like it when we get our thumbs in the ranch dressing.

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jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland

21 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: You know you are talking to a guy who plays a Neaderthal in a museum exhibit? How odd is that?

No, because I am not concerned with his persona. He didn't open a thread about himself, but one discussing current employment practices.

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Bluetea in Texas

21 months ago

jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland said: No, because I am not concerned with his persona. He didn't open a thread about himself, but one discussing current employment practices.

No, of course not. How silly of me.

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland said: John, don't you find it a bit odd that we have certain posters on this forum too persistently bring R rated talk into any discussion where real issues discussed?

I wouldn't mind it at all under any other circumstances, but it's a bit too consistent (as soon as any serious issue is discussed) and makes me question once again: are these people really looking for a job?

I don't mind it actually, it helps to remind me not to take myself too seriously. I have gotten wrapped so deep in trying to figure out why I can't find very much to apply for, let alone get interviews. Then, why I don't get hired.

None of the politicians, pundits or talking heads seem to care about "our" situation, let alone have any desire to see/get it fixed. They care about the next election, next radio show, whatever.

As Bluetea says, the news fixates on and the public soaks up "news" about the Kardashians or what sex the "royal baby" is rather than issues that might actually affect our lives. Like new fees, taxes, raising food and gas prices, lack of living wage jobs, etc.

What actual and real power do we have to create change? I voted in the last MD election. Every single thing I voted for was voted down. I don't call that empowering. In the least. Voting won't do it here.

Do I have the time/energy/money to go out and try to change minds door to door? Nope, I have other things to pay attention to. Like trying to keep myself out of the actual rubber room in the loony bin. And keeping my eyes out for a job if they ever start coming back (the living wage type).

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: You know you are talking to a guy who plays a Neaderthal in a museum exhibit? How odd is that?

Hey, quit sticking that cigarette in my mouth will you? The kids find it confusing.

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catfish503 in portland, Oregon

21 months ago

jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland said: John, don't you find it a bit odd that we have certain posters on this forum too persistently bring R rated talk into any discussion where real issues discussed?

I wouldn't mind it at all under any other circumstances, but it's a bit too consistent (as soon as any serious issue is discussed) and makes me question once again: are these people really looking for a job?

Sorry...I go away! :\

These topics have been brought so many times it's like the spin cycle in the washing machine...;)

I put my two cents in earlier...next time your in a post I will refrain from any humor... =(

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catfish503 in portland, Oregon

21 months ago

^ correction...thread....=(

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

catfish503 in portland, Oregon said: Sorry...I go away! :\

These topics have been brought so many times it's like the spin cycle in the washing machine...;)

I put my two cents in earlier...next time your in a post I will refrain from any humor... =(

Perhaps we should start a stress release thread where we can make our funnies? :)

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

New discussion now started... people better start joining in!

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Bluetea in Texas

21 months ago

John in Catonsville, Maryland said: Hey, quit sticking that cigarette in my mouth will you? The kids find it confusing.

They do that here at Christmas time. Somebody decks out his double-wide with Christmas lights and gorgeous decorations and during the night, somebody tips Santa over and puts a beer bottle next to him. They also put cigarettes in some of the elve's mouths.

I have classy neighbors.

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jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland

21 months ago

You can go to Kaiser Family Foundation subsidy calculator page ( see goo.gl/WLjzU ) and use the calculator to estimate your actual, Unsubsidized annual health insurance premium in 2014.

For Age 21 adult (no smoking, 1 person( the unsubsidized cost is $3018
For Age 31 - the same coverage would cost $3498
For Age 41 - $3930
For Age 51 - $5629
For Age 61 (just 5 years before full retirement age of 66 for those born between 1943 to 1954, and 4 years before Medicare eligibility) - $8481

So, the difference in premium for ages 21 to 31 is mere $480
Another $430 increase for the age 41 vs 31
At 51 difference is larger ( $1699 per year or $141 per months).

Full time schedule (four weeks of work at 40 hrs per week) consists of 160 hours per months (or per 4 week).

There are 13 four week periods in year.

So, $1699 / 13 = $130 month increase in premium for 51 year old employee as opposed to 41 year old employee.

$130 / 160 = $0.81/hr increase.

This is as far as REAL premium differential is concerned.

You can go to kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/ and verify the numbers.

I didn't factor in the fact that employer does not pay 100% of the monthly premium, nor do they pay the same price as an individual customer (due to volume discounts), so I used the MAXIMUM amounts calculated for individual client for the purposes of this discussion.

Next, I will have to look at statistics and see what percentage of employers offers the coverage.

The very important question is, of course, the question of productivity.
This latter is specific to each individual , but I will try to see if I can find any statistical averages out there.

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: They do that here at Christmas time. Somebody decks out his double-wide with Christmas lights and gorgeous decorations and during the night, somebody tips Santa over and puts a beer bottle next to him. They also put cigarettes in some of the elve's mouths.

I have classy neighbors.

Must be a treat living in a trailer park. The MD county to my south has been "upgrading" their image for a number of years now by closing down the trailer parks and building new town homes and mixed use developments. Much of the building has been going on in the past 3+ years.

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jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland

21 months ago

I assume you vote Republican , because I heard it from people I know who also vote Republican in MD and who felt down after 2012 elections.

First of all, you have to make distinction between your vote being totally irrelevant (that is if you lived in a totalitarian state where no one counts ballots, but fake votes are created by ruling elite) as opposed to your votes being relevant but your views being those of one in minority and thus not affecting the outcome the same way as if you were in majority.
That's extremely important distinction there, it makes a huge difference and tells you that you are just as empowered as the John Doe next door , but you don't have views shared by a majority.
Our system of government is representative democracy and if majority votes certain way and gets what they vote for that means people are empowered and system actually works.
I am personally OK with that. I will accept this form of government over tyranny anytime.

Second, you need not be the the next Washington, Lincoln or Roosevelt or have megalomaniac ambitions to change the whole Nation overnight in order to be motivated to participate in workings of the Constitutional Republic, in the capacity of concerned, voting Citizen.
All you have to do is educate yourself on issues and vote according to your best interests (not according to soundbites).
If you do this, at minimum, then you are doing pretty good. A great number of people around you who are eligible to vote don't ever vote. Of those who vote, I wonder how many actually aware of what it is they are voting for or against?

Now, if people don't responsibly do what they have obligation to do as Citizens (under Constitutional Republic) , who is going to do it for them?
And, how can people collectively blame government for failures if it's people who put that government in power to begin with?

Have you thought about it, asked yourself those questions?

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John in Catonsville, Maryland

21 months ago

jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland said:

Have you thought about it, asked yourself those questions?

Many of them, yes. And you are correct, I am in the minority voting side. Which, true or untrue, means my vote doesn't mean much against the majority.

And I don't remember being asked if I wanted higher tolls or gas tax. To my knowledge that wasn't on any ballot. I don't believe the higher water bills in Baltimore city were voted on by the public. Gas & electric rates are not decided by public vote. Where's my say there? Can we say taxation without representation? What was at least part of the original Boston tea party about again?

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jobseeker in Bethesda, Maryland

21 months ago

John in Catonsville, Maryland said: Many of them, yes. And you are correct, I am in the minority voting side. Which, true or untrue, means my vote doesn't mean much against the majority.

And I don't remember being asked if I wanted higher tolls or gas tax. To my knowledge that wasn't on any ballot. I don't believe the higher water bills in Baltimore city were voted on by the public. Gas & electric rates are not decided by public vote. Where's my say there? Can we say taxation without representation? What was at least part of the original Boston tea party about again?

Your vote is relevant, very relevant, but the number of people who do not share your views is greater than number of people who do and if you come to a ballot box and vote for certain issue it is the greater number who votes for one or another measure (or candidate) which assures it's passage. Just because you don't win doesn't mean you are irrelevant. It just means what you vote for is not what majority votes for.

Next, it is true that a lot of things that government does is not decided by referendum. But that's in accord with principles of representative democracy (as opposed to direct Democracy, like they had in ancient Athens and early Roman republic).
In representative democracy you don't vote for each routine executive decision, but you select the representative to whom you entrust such duty.
And there is a reason why we have Representative Democracy rather than Direct Democracy. Our founders studied ancient history and were wary of some excesses that occurred under Athenian form of government (masses gathered in public forums and directly executed the duties of government by demanding certain things).
Representative Democracy serves as cushion against excesses.
But even though you don't directly get involved in making decisions, you do get to vote on representatives who make those decisions on your behalf.

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