Monday, January 03, 2011

Federal Regulators At Work

From Slashdot:
As a result of the US Government's complete failure to investigate credible warnings about 'Underwear Bomber' Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from none other than Abdulmutallab's father, senior American counterterrorism officials say they have altered their criteria so that a single-source tip can lead to a name being placed on the watch list.

The government's ability to discriminate is basically zero, so you have to choose to allow everything or nothing, because that's all it can decide.


Unknown said...

What precisely do you mean by the word 'discriminate'? Are you arguing something like, the government uses simple pass/fail criteria for screening rather than human judgement, or something else? Is this a sort of information overload paralysis? The only way to process the huge volume of data the government collects is through simple, low-quality heuristics like ignore single source tips?

Eric Falkenstein said...

by discriminate, I mean, if x is an indicator, and x~U[0,1], it will either set the x trigger level at 0 or 1, because in between is too nuanced for a large federal agency.

Mercury said...

I don't see what the puzzle is. Let's assume the 80% wage premium is real yet only 40% take this "carrot."

College (should) involve some real difficulty plus it's time consuming and expensive. That's a big hurdle for a lot of people even if the lifetime earnings math still favors getting that BA/BS. In fact, if they can't do that math...that says a lot.

That math is about averages anyway. The very top earning college grads are probably skewing the numbers and hiding a lot of people who are just getting by or are still very much under water quite a ways down the road...especially these days.

I'd also be wary of any data that reaches too far back - like to a time when there were much fewer colleges that were more selective and turned out much higher caliber graduates.

The "dumb money" here is the group that pays a decent amount to go to a crappy college, not the group that could but chooses not to go to college. Let's see some stats on ethnic identity majors who graduate with $150k in debt.

If you can get into a top college - go. If you can get someone else to pay for college - go. Outside of that, don't assume a wage premium.

The only sure thing in America right now is the government job wage premium. You can take that to the bank.

Mercury said...

Oops! This is a comment on the previous article, not this one. Clearly I'm not a college man...