Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky’

Productivity-pay

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children homeless

According to a new report from the National Center on Family Homelessness [pdf], a staggering 2.5 million children are now homeless each year in America. This historic high represents one in every 30 children in the United States.

In just one year, from 2012 to 2013, the number of children experiencing homelessness increased by 8 percent nationally. It increased in 31 states and the District of Columbia and by 10 percent or more in 13 states and the nation’s capital.

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And because we’ve just survived the midterm elections, when Mitch McConnell was reelected as senator and will likely be the next majority leader in the Senate, and as Rand Paul prepares his run for the Republican presidential nomination, I should note that Kentucky is ranked 50th in the extent of child homelessness!

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While a special compensation committee of the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees met Tuesday to discuss whether or not to increase President Eli Capilouto’s salary, which is currently $615,825, the Lexington Herald-Leader discovered that the UK president’s pay increased an average of 9.7 percent each year over the last decade, eclipsing the average annual tuition increase of 7.3 percent and far outpacing the average faculty and staff pay increase of 2.1 percent.

In 2012, analysts at the financial management firm Bain & Company wrote in a white paper for its clients about administrative spending in higher education,

Boards of trustees and presidents need to put their collective foot down on the growth of support and administrative costs. Those costs have grown faster than the cost of instruction across most campuses. In no other industry would overhead costs be allowed to grow at this rate—executives would lose their jobs.

As colleges and universities look to areas where they can make cuts and achieve efficiencies, they should start farthest from the core of teaching and research. Cut from the outside in, and build from the inside out.

The problem, of course, is that the presidents of colleges and universities are the ones benefiting from the increase in administrative spending.

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There hasn’t been a war on coal in the United States. There’s been a war by the coal industry on coal miners.*

The modern peak of coal employment was in 1984, when 177,848 miners (about .16 percent of the national labor force) were employed by the coal industry. Since then, coal production grew but mining employment decreased. Thus, by 2011, the coal industry employed only 88,000 miners (about .06% of the labor force), a decrease of 51 percent, while producing 22 percent more coal than in 1984.

Here’s the decline in total mining employment in the United States:

coal employment

The coal industry’s modern war on miners has consisted of two major shifts: one technological, the other geographic. The switch to surface mining meant an increase in labor productivity (many fewer miners are required to extract each ton of coal with mountaintop removal and other forms of surface mining). The move to the west—within and across states—has meant a sharp decline in coal production and employment in old coal regions (such as Appalachia) and an increase in production (with some increase in employment) in newer regions (such as western Kentucky and Wyoming).

The fact is, the coal industry won the war on miners. And there’s no hope that a revitalization of the coal industry will do anything more than line the pockets of the owners of the coal mines.

 

*Actually, the mining industry has engaged in a permanent war on miners: early on, it involved an attack on miners’ pay, safety, and unions (think Blair Mountain and Harlan County); since the mid-1980s, it’s been a war on miners’ jobs.

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incomeinequality

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