Monday, February 1, 2010

Deep Diving

I remember the example our sociology professor gave us as though the class took place yesterday. For the rest of my life I have looked closely at statistics and studies, and always believed in the "deep dive" behind numbers.

Did you know that sexual assaults rise with the sale of ice cream? It is true. This is the example the professor gave us youngsters. The correlation probably has something to do with ice cream selling more in the summer, and more people being on the streets at night, thus more vulnerable to predators, etc.

The point is, just because events correspond in timing, don't assume one causes the other, always deep dive.

Now, go forward quite a few years from my college days into the days of the presidency of George W. Bush. By the time he was into his second term, an interesting statistic had emerged. The ever present discriminatory gap in pay between men and women had actually narrowed. Was George Bush a fierce advocate for "equal work equal pay"? Hardly. A deep dive on this phenomenon revealed that the gap narrowed not because women were making more, but that men had lost ground and were making less.

Now, fast forward to the present day. Many decision makers in Delaware are claiming that state employees' health benefits are quite rich when compared to the private sector. Of course it follows that state employees should have their health benefits reduced. My old sociology professor would have raised an eyebrow.

Has anyone thought about the fact that private sector workers have seen 30 years of real wages dropping against rising GDP, 30 years of their jobs being exported and their unions busted, and 30 years of benefit losses and give backs.

Public employees are not necessarily living like kings with the benefits of kings, but more and more private sector workers are living like peasants.

Today was the first day of hearings for the Joint Finance Committee (JFC). The JFC will meet for the next 5 weeks while the rest of the legislature is in recess.

Jim Testerman of DSEA Retired testified today during the hearing on pensions. Jim's testimony advocated for retirees, but he also spoke passionately for the preservation of benefits for current and future employees. Jim Testerman understands solidarity.

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