Saturday, January 09, 2010

"The so-called value of tax-free Roth income is just goofy...."

I was reading up on the Roth conversion for 2010 and found this article from

With all this talk about Roth IRA conversions available to everyone in 2010, I don't see the attraction. It seems so simple to me to understand that if I don't write a big check to pay the taxes a conversion requires, I will have a lot more money, along with compound earnings, to pay whatever taxes I might owe on future distributions.

Plus, I control all the money and I have hedged my bets against what might be changes in tax policy or another market crash over the next 40 years.

I agree. I just don't understand all the people who think that converting to a Roth IRA in 2010 is a a good idea. Do you?


"....most of them are just plain out of luck."

Marketplace: Liberal arts job market looks bleak:

The 124th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association is in San Diego this weekend. It's probably not the wildest of conventions even in good times, but the mood is a good bit more somber than usual this time around. It wasn't specifically reflected in today's jobless numbers, but new history PhDs looking for work -- most of them are just plain out of luck.

It just seems that PhDs are not worth it anymore. But what do you do if history or some other liberal arts major is your talent and passion? And aren't even college students already lacking in knowledge about history? On the other hand, given the revisionist history many students are learning these days, maybe it's for the best.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

"'men are expected to produce' more than they consume. "

A reader sent me an interesting New York Times article on single men becoming disenchanted with homeownership. I can understand that, homes are a pain and seem to be a never ending source of expense. As I read the article, this comment by psychologist Roy Baumeister got me pondering on what kind of deal men are getting these days:

Men have no monopoly on domestic discontent. There are also women who wish they had signed their mortgage with disappearing ink. But for men, rejecting homeownership may involve broader questions of manhood, said Dr. Roy Baumeister, a psychology professor at Florida State University.

“There are a lot of extra stresses that men have,” he said, a claim he advances in a book to be published in the summer, “Is There Anything Good About Men?” (Short answer: probably.)

In almost every culture, Dr. Baumeister said, “men are expected to produce” more than they consume. In a similar fashion, men naturally compete for status. Buying a home, he said, is often tied up with those pressures.

Maybe like giving up on home ownership, it's time for men to give up on being the producers in society and let others fend for themselves. It seems that's what many of the younger guys in the next generation are doing. What do you think, should men continue to produce for a society that devalues them and their work? Or, should they produce for themselves and let others pick up the slack?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

BBC show on psychological violence ban

I will be on the BBC radio (along with other guests) show "Have your say" today between 1:30 and 2:30 eastern time talking about the new law in France banning psychological violence. There will be people from around the world calling in to discuss this topic. If you want to listen live, you can go to the BBC website and click on "Listen live" on your far right to hear the show.

Update: Well, I only got a few minutes in but learned a lot. I made the point that if this law was enforced fairly, a lot of women would end up in jail. A french lawyer came on to talk about how the law is written so that men would be included-- that is, a man could also bring charges against his wife if she was emotionally abusive. I pointed out that this sounded good legally but wondered if it would work out this way in practice. How many women would really end up in jail? A man from Kenya heard what I said about men and stated that since women were more expressive, they might end up being the ones charged. It was really interesting to hear perspectives from around the world.


Go directly to jail: Women are the worst perpetrators of verbal violence against men

"In the sea of conflict, men sink and women swim"--Researcher John Gottman

Many of you have been emailing me about France's new law banning "psychological violence" against one's spouse (wife is more like it, I'm sure). Apparently, jail time might even be involved for perpetrators who dare to mock their spouse (wife). Fausta emailed me a post she had written on the topic and asked if I thought women were more likely to be the perpetrators of insults against their husbands. My answer, "absolutely."

The research bears this out. In psychologist Richard Driscoll's book Opposites as Equals, there is a section called "Women are more confrontive." Driscoll discusses the work of John Gottman who observed that women are freer and more open in expressing their anger than are men:

While we might expect men to be more forceful than women in marital arguments, the research shows just the opposite, surprising our expectations.

Women tend to be more insistent, according to various researchers including John Gottman [i] at the University of Washington. Women argue more forcefully in almost twice as many marriages as men.

In the most lopsided arguments where only one argues and the other remains silent, by a ratio of 6 to 1, it is the woman who continues to argue and the man who remains silent. ....

Men are typically more stressed and confused in arguments with women and remain bitter for longer afterward, while women are more comfortable amid verbal jousts, recover from them more quickly, in our ready for another round. Generally, it is fair to say that men are more intimidated in confrontations with women than the other way around.

So, if men are more stressed and confused by arguments, meaning that they suffer more psychological harm than women, it seems fair to say that women are the ones who should suffer because of this law.

I should note that I do not believe the government has any right to interfere this way in people's marriages. However, given that these statist laws seem to abound, it seems only fair that women should be held accountable. And lest you think this an impossibility, remember that more and more women are being arrested for assaults, one reason being that due to feminism, women are no longer getting away with their crimes as often.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

"The Western World has quietly become a civilization that undervalues men and overvalues women"

A number of you have written (and commented) to tell me about an excellent post called "The Misandry Bubble" by the Futurist blog which you can find here. The post is long but has a very good take on why American society is on the decline:

Why does it seem that American society is in decline, that fairness and decorum are receding, that that socialism and tyranny are becoming malignant despite the majority of the public being averse to such philosophies, yet the true root cause seems elusive? What if everything from unsustainable health care and social security costs, to stagnant home prices and wage stagnation, to crumbling infrastructure and metastasizing socialism, to the utter decimation of major US cities like Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, could all be traced to a common origin that is extremely pervasive yet is all but absent from the national dialog, indeed from the dialog of the entire Western world? ....

Executive Summary : The Western World has quietly become a civilization that undervalues men and overvalues women, where the state forcibly transfers resources from men to women creating various perverse incentives for otherwise good women to conduct great evil against men and children, and where male nature is vilified but female nature is celebrated. This is unfair to both genders, and is a recipe for a rapid civilizational decline and displacement, the costs of which will ultimately be borne by a subsequent generation of innocent women, rather than men, as soon as 2020.

I just read the whole thing. I suggest you do too. There are many gems of wisdom in this essay.