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Discussion: (18 comments)

  1. morganovich

    3. i do wonder a bit about the long term earnings here. sure, a shiny new petroleum engineer can make $120, but what are they making 10 years later? are they making more than an econ grad that was underpaid by an investment bank for 2 years, got an mba, and now makes $400k?

    i’m just not sure how much upside there is in some of these long term. i suspect that may also be why medical prep ranks so low. the best in that feidl then go on to school and low paid intern programs for years before becoming doctors.

    12. cable box? mommy, what’s a cable box? man, i have not had one of those in maybe 7 years.

    1. Re the petroleum grad: 15 years ago the programs were shrinking and there was little demand for the degree. I recall knowing some petroleum engineers at the major oil company I worked at who had transitioned to IT. Then the shale boom happened, and whereas back then to get a job in petroleum engineering one should have been an Angolan, Kazah, or similar oil producing country, but not a US citizen, except if you wanted to live the life of an expat for your career, today the situation is different. (Actually the oil patch goes in cycles in the early 1980s after de-control of oil prices in the US, there was extreme demand for all degrees such as Petroleum Engineering, geology and the like, then the bust hit and for 15 years it was a string of work force cuts in the oil patch. Suddenly they realized that folks that came on in the late 1970s were approaching retirement age, and they began to hire somewhat, later the shale boom happened and they hired a lot more.

    2. My understanding is you pay him $150 in a few years and then his productivity magically goes up :P

      1. PeakTrader

        Your understanding is overpaid workers are underpaid and underpaid workers are overpaid :)

    3. It’s median earnings for all full-time workers who earned that degree, not just new grads, so lifetime earnings should be included in those stats, unless there is a drastic change in what a certain profession makes in the coming years. As Lyle points out, the bigger issue is that a field like petroleum engineering is skewed by the fact that there wasn’t much demand for it in the US until recently, when the shale boom spiked salaries again. You can’t predict such spikes, so there’s no point in trying to plan for them.

      The problem with these stats is that all kinds of stupid people, whether politicians or many parents, see the high salaries for all these engineering professions and then try to push more kids into STEM jobs. But there’s a real reason why these jobs pay so much: the work is hard so most can’t do them, ie there are few people who have the innate affinity for math and science. Of course, the universities are about to be blown up by online learning in the coming years, so the whole concept of a “degree” is about to be valueless, but that’s a whole different level of how things are changing. :)

      As for cable boxes, the last time I had a subscription was almost a decade ago, never again. I am skeptical that even Netflix will survive the giant change that’s coming though, as their all-you-can-eat subscription plans are fairly stupid also.

      1. morganovich

        sprewell-

        but workers with grad degrees are not included, so fields like medicine and law are going to look terrible, as are fields that tend to require mba’s.

        judging the value of a pre med degree for only those who do not then go to med school is going to get you a pretty slanted result.

        1. Doctors don’t get paid as much as they used to compared to other fields, and they have to spend 11 – 16 years of their lives studying or taking low paying jobs before they can actually start earning this money.

          For a family doctor it is 11 years for a 140K salary – and paying off 11 years of education debt. Is that really worth it? Your social life is also shit – during the time you are suppose to be dating and finding a spouse in your 20′s. Woman also lose a large percentage of their fertile years in the process, and just when they are able to start a career should start having children before it is too late – ouch.

          Lets do some math. Software developer – earns about 100K per year average over a lifetime. Over 45 years that is 4.5 million dollars subtract 80K for education.

          Doctor earns 140K but for 34 years so he will earn 4.8 million over his working lifetime. Subtract 200K for education.

          And then the programmer can invest in his 20′s whereas the doctor won’t be able to start investing until his 30′s. So in the end the programmer has greater wealth accumulation.

          It looks to me like for the incredibly hard job of studying for being a doctor and all those years of study aren’t worth it.

        2. Doctors don’t get paid as much as they used to compared to other fields, and they have to spend 11 – 16 years of their lives studying or taking low paying jobs before they can actually start earning this money.

          For a family doctor it is 11 years for a 140K salary – and paying off 11 years of education debt. Is that really worth it? Your social life is also shit – during the time you are suppose to be dating and finding a spouse in your 20′s. Woman also lose a large percentage of their fertile years in the process, and just when they are able to start a career should start having children before it is too late – ouch.

          Lets do some math. Software developer – earns about 100K per year average over a lifetime. Over 45 years that is 4.5 million dollars subtract 80K for education.

          Doctor earns 140K but for 34 years so he will earn 4.8 million over his working lifetime. Subtract 200K for education.

          And then the programmer can invest in his 20′s whereas the doctor won’t be able to start investing until his 30′s. So in the end the programmer has greater wealth accumulation.

          It looks to me like for the incredibly hard job of studying for being a doctor and all those years of study aren’t worth it.

  2. 9. Thomas Sowell on The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It

    The media ignores black-on-white violent crime. They sensationalize the much rarer white-on-black violent crime.

  3. PeakTrader

    “In Midland, Texas oil flows like water in the shale-rich Permian Basin.”

    It’s quite amazing the U.S. is producing oil furiously, while the U.S. economy continues to underproduce by $1 trillion a year, in this deep depression, which is also turning into a long depression, and yet oil remains around $100 a barrel.

    It seems, oil prices have been a major component causing a “rolling depression,” where economic growth accelerates for a few months, oil prices rise, economic growth deteriorates for a few months, oil prices fall, etc..

    1. In 2006 oil was around $70 per barrel, in 2007 we had an oil shock and then it plunged because of recession activity. Now it seems it is on its normal path again. The price of oil today at $95 per barrel is the same as the 2006 price when adjusted for inflation.

      Seems like oil prices have normalized.

      It is also nice that with the “higher” prices that we are able to keep more of that money in the USA.

      Not sure if the oil price is too high. You can change that chart to see up to 11 years of oil.

      1. PeakTrader

        In the late 1990s, oil was $10 a barrel when the country was beyond full employment (i.e. actual output exceeded potential output), real wages were rising, and we had budget surpluses.

        1. Yeah but again you are point out extreme periods. That $10 didn’t last long and was due to unusual economic situations.

          Lets trend it out and look long term without picking an extreme peak or an extreme valley.

          A good point is 1985 when Reagan first started office. Oil was not at a low point, but it wasn’t too high either. That oil is equ of $63 today, so yeah oil has been trending upward a bit over 30 years, but not as much as folks think. And because we use our oil resources more efficiently – the average household probably spends on oil and its byproducts today than in 1985. Also since we are richer than in 1985 as a percent of disposable income our oil expenditures have dropped tremendously.

          1. *… probably spends LESS on oil …*

      2. PeakTrader

        And, why do you believe it’s better to work harder for the same barrel of oil, just “to keep more of that money in the USA?”

        1. ???

          I really can’t believe you have a degree in economics. Why isn’t it better that we produce more of anything useful?

          Maybe you should look at the balance of trade section of your econ 101 book again.

          Though I do realize that Econ 101 is just for the rubes like me and you learn the real economics – the communist stuff – in the upper division courses. I know I took econ 101 a long time ago. The book author was Samuelson – he did a good job, even as a slightly left economist. Maybe your econ book was written by a new ager. I would suggest finding an older volume.

  4. hitssquad

    Item 11 was on Shark Tank a few years ago. Another solution is to stop eating FODMAPs.

    1. I agree it is old news. I am actually surprised they are still being made.

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