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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:38 pm 
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What Petey is missing is that they are within one another reach, both actually and metaphorically.

Admiral Devereaux isn't just making a joke when he says M.A.D. is on the table, he saying "We can't trust you because we can't touch you", neither actually nor metaphorically.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:29 pm 
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Kind of hard to threaten the guy who keeps the galactic core in his back pocket and uses it to power his doomsday devices.

Petey should just go with the tried and true, "I am an invincible god of war. Bow before your better, meat slaves."

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:38 pm 
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The Penultimate Admiralty would just consider that a declaration of war. Which Petey is really trying to avoid, not only because he really doesn't want to make war on the UNS, but he also may not have the resources to spare - we've already seen he's been struggling with that for awhile now, having to devote increasing resources to the war with the Pa'anuri.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:50 pm 
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Petey is capable of accelerating stealth rocks to near-C, which the battleplates around earth and other terran systems would be completely incapable of stopping. A few high-impact demonstrations of his superiority with no casualties would probably end a war pretty quick. Not to mention, the admiralty is probably not stupid enough to declare war on an entity that just told them exactly how easy it would be for the entity to assassinate them personally, with no ability for their successors to retaliate.

It's true that he can't spare the kind of galaxy-stopping juice that would have saved Kaff Tagon...but then, it's probably easier to stare down the UNS admiralty than it is to save Kaff Tagon from his latest foxtrot.

Edit: Hey, I just realized: Petey now has the ultimate training tool at his disposal to make his minions play nice. If they don't do what he says, he can just splatter them as an example, and then load their backup (who can admire the video as part of their orientation). If some underling fails to learn after three or four splatters...archive them and wait until a better training technique is developed before resuming lessons.

Granted, I know he favors more subtle methods. But I would expect him to have an experimental reprogramming facility for R&D purposes. Complete with pleasant, soothing voice saying, "Friend Computer is your Friend. Please report to the nearest Happy Fun Booth for a bonus educational experience."

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:42 pm 
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dire wrote:
Kind of hard to threaten the guy who keeps the galactic core in his back pocket and uses it to power his doomsday devices.

Petey should just go with the tried and true, "I am an invincible god of war. Bow before your better, meat slaves."



You just outlined why the widdle fuzzy bear is a scumbag, and needs a really big OFF switch
Boo hoo! He hates MAD
Suck it up, Peeety
You only hate the MAD, since YOUR side eats it, as well


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:10 pm 
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dire wrote:
Granted, I know he favors more subtle methods.

It isn't just "subtler methods, he prefers methods where others are still making choices. And not just ye olde "Do as I say or die".


Really, several of you just don't het his modus operandi at all and keep making up things to justify dislike.

Granted, in this case he's being a bit of a douchebag. I'm wondering how many cycles he's not dedicating to understanding meatspace anymore, since he keeps not understanding it as well as he once did.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:22 pm 
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I suspect Petey may be getting constrained himself . . . by all of the meatbags depending on him to fix their screwups.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:41 pm 
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I don't think it's Petey's understanding which is getting worse. He still seem to understand what they are thinking and have a plan to deal with them. The problem is that he no longer has the overwhelming power advantage necessary to use his extreme subtlety and manipulation.

So he's more blunt.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:58 pm 
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kham wrote:
dire wrote:
Kind of hard to threaten the guy who keeps the galactic core in his back pocket and uses it to power his doomsday devices.

Petey should just go with the tried and true, "I am an invincible god of war. Bow before your better, meat slaves."



You just outlined why the widdle fuzzy bear is a scumbag, and needs a really big OFF switch
Boo hoo! He hates MAD
Suck it up, Peeety
You only hate the MAD, since YOUR side eats it, as well


...
He hates MAD because of "Destruction" part. Since he escaped Post Dated Check Loan, Petey's operations were always designed to minimise casualties (with sole exception of Pa'anuri, who so far serve SM equivalent of always chaotic evil). Unlike you, he doesn't consider civilisations exterminating each other to be fun to watch.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:51 pm 
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kham wrote:
dire wrote:
Kind of hard to threaten the guy who keeps the galactic core in his back pocket and uses it to power his doomsday devices.

Petey should just go with the tried and true, "I am an invincible god of war. Bow before your better, meat slaves."



You just outlined why the widdle fuzzy bear is a scumbag, and needs a really big OFF switch
Boo hoo! He hates MAD
Suck it up, Peeety
You only hate the MAD, since YOUR side eats it, as well


Not really, petey has a massive amount of stuff where no one can find. He can't be easily killed, far too distributed.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:16 am 
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And as we see in today's strip, his objection is both moral and practical. He's surely smart and/or knowledgeable enough to see what some others have direct experience of, from previous cycles/attempts:
Relying on MAD to work forever is like relying on security through obscurity to last forever. It doesn't; it can't.
Over a long enough timespan, someone, somewhere, eventually presses The Button.
And then civilization ends. Again. Everywhere.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:34 am 
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kham wrote:
dire wrote:
Kind of hard to threaten the guy who keeps the galactic core in his back pocket and uses it to power his doomsday devices.

Petey should just go with the tried and true, "I am an invincible god of war. Bow before your better, meat slaves."



You just outlined why the widdle fuzzy bear is a scumbag, and needs a really big OFF switch
Boo hoo! He hates MAD
Suck it up, Peeety
You only hate the MAD, since YOUR side eats it, as well
Considering Petey arranges conflicts where no-one dies while he's taking part in the fight, I don't see what's wrong with not liking MAD.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:20 am 
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StClair wrote:
And as we see in today's strip, his objection is both moral and practical. He's surely smart and/or knowledgeable enough to see what some others have direct experience of, from previous cycles/attempts:
Relying on MAD to work forever is like relying on security through obscurity to last forever. It doesn't; it can't.
Over a long enough timespan, someone, somewhere, eventually presses The Button.
And then civilization ends. Again. Everywhere.


you being very optimistic.

MAD only prevents destruction when everybody is actually open to being destroyed. the Pa'anuri are not valid targets for the long gun for 2 reasons.

1: most of them are in a different galaxy, firing cost is far higher and targeting information far less available.
2: they are made out of dark matter so the beam will have no effect on them (the wormhole might but it is tiny in comparison)

If the milky way stabilizes on longun MAD the Pa'anuri will be able to take a couple of strategic shots and trigger the destruction they wanted from the galactic core. they will probably target Pety's enemies so they will target him, disable the core generator and go from there.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:26 pm 
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One, I don't think "eventually, everyone dies" is... optimistic?

Two, I didn't specify why someone would be pressing the button, and I submit that whether it's because they think they can win or because they're responding to some false-flag attack is, ultimately, irrelevant. What matters is, it happens, sooner or later.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:44 pm 
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I hate to be topical, but let's bring up Best Korea.
You've got a tyrannical leader who's backed by a combination of factors, but not least is that he's a nuclear power and nobody's sure he wouldn't set off a couple bombs out of spite if he lost a war.

Given the size of the galaxy and the number of presumably really awful polities... if nothing else, somebody on the losing side is going to try and bring the whole house of cards down with them eventually.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:27 pm 
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evileeyore wrote:
dire wrote:
Granted, I know he favors more subtle methods.

It isn't just "subtler methods, he prefers methods where others are still making choices. And not just ye olde "Do as I say or die".


Really, several of you just don't het his modus operandi at all and keep making up things to justify dislike.

Granted, in this case he's being a bit of a douchebag. I'm wondering how many cycles he's not dedicating to understanding meatspace anymore, since he keeps not understanding it as well as he once did.


I don't dislike Petey. He's obviously the galaxy's only hope for peace, and therefore, their only hope for survival.

The problem is he is SO subtle, and so egotistically crippled by his lack of godlike power on the local scale, that he can't actually bring that peace about. He's not going to get all the civilizations to play nice by being condescending towards them.

Ye olde "do as I say or die" is realistically Petey's best chance at minimizing casualties, by uniting the entire galaxy under a single benevolent dictator. And there's only one psychobear with the galactic core in his pocket, who has the power rule with an iron fist when his preferred velvet glove simply won't work.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:40 am 
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dire wrote:
Ye olde "do as I say or die" is realistically Petey's best chance at minimizing casualties, by uniting the entire galaxy under a single benevolent dictator. And there's only one psychobear with the galactic core in his pocket, who has the power rule with an iron fist when his preferred velvet glove simply won't work.

An iron fist, like public declarations like "you have failed your people, so now all your leaders will be executed by orbital plasma lance fire"? Or making entire offensive fleets vanish with the entire UNS believing he'd been doing mass murder?

He does make a good show of force, and only reveals he hasn't been actually murdering people but instead indoctrination them and press-ganging them into being his tools of murder engineering and DME protection squads very rarely from what we have seen. If anything he's a velvet fluffy hand (paw?) inside a fake iron glove.

Speaking of escalation, I wonder what magnitude of pay differences the admiralty gets vs the teachers.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:03 am 
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Reaver225 wrote:
dire wrote:
Ye olde "do as I say or die" is realistically Petey's best chance at minimizing casualties, by uniting the entire galaxy under a single benevolent dictator. And there's only one psychobear with the galactic core in his pocket, who has the power rule with an iron fist when his preferred velvet glove simply won't work.

An iron fist, like public declarations like "you have failed your people, so now all your leaders will be executed by orbital plasma lance fire"? Or making entire offensive fleets vanish with the entire UNS believing he'd been doing mass murder?

He does make a good show of force, and only reveals he hasn't been actually murdering people but instead indoctrination them and press-ganging them into being his tools of murder engineering and DME protection squads very rarely from what we have seen. If anything he's a velvet fluffy hand (paw?) inside a fake iron glove.

Speaking of escalation, I wonder what magnitude of pay differences the admiralty gets vs the teachers.



Well, with some estimates of how long the conversation has been going on since Petey got there, plus a guess as to whether or not Breya meant annual salary or weekly/monthly/some other unit of time-ly,
It could probably be worked out.

EDIT: whoops, says right there, annual salary. All it takes then is an estimate of how long since Petey crashed the meeting.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:50 pm 
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Well, there's nine of them. If we assume as an upper bound that Petey's been crashing the party for one whole day, that's nine person-days per day, which is 3 annual schoolteacher salaries. That means, as a boundary case, each of them makes a third as much in a day as a schoolteacher does in a year. For real-world current USD, if we assume that a schoolteacher makes 30k per year, that means they're each making 10k per day, or like 2+ million-ish per year. That's the lower bound for their average salaries. If PD's actually been crashing the party for like ten minutes, they're making roughly 50 times more than that, or 100 million per year per person.

Of course, the president's aide could be making 18 million per year (or 900 million per year, I guess) and the rest of them make peanuts (relatively speaking), being military and all. Averages are weird like that.

Edit: Upper bound for time means lower bound for salaries. Sorry if that's confusing.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:47 pm 
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dire wrote:
Well, there's nine of them. If we assume as an upper bound that Petey's been crashing the party for one whole day, that's nine person-days per day, which is 3 annual schoolteacher salaries. That means, as a boundary case, each of them makes a third as much in a day as a schoolteacher does in a year. For real-world current USD, if we assume that a schoolteacher makes 30k per year, that means they're each making 10k per day, or like 2+ million-ish per year. That's the lower bound for their average salaries. If PD's actually been crashing the party for like ten minutes, they're making roughly 50 times more than that, or 100 million per year per person.

Of course, the president's aide could be making 18 million per year (or 900 million per year, I guess) and the rest of them make peanuts (relatively speaking), being military and all. Averages are weird like that.

Edit: Upper bound for time means lower bound for salaries. Sorry if that's confusing.

Of course the "it can tell me exactly how much each minute of this meeting costs" should include an allowance for overhead. Which is typically much higher than salary.

What with one thing and another my time costs the company quite a bit more than what it pays me.

OTOH Breya did imply it was based on pay since she says that's the input, unless the UNS government has a standard overhead rate it assumes.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:45 pm 
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If you're pulling 100 million a year in salary, I can't imagine that your overhead amounts to much more than a hill o' beans. Unless you meant opportunity costs. Petey used to be much more convincing about his opportunity costs.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:56 pm 
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Doug Lampert wrote:
. . . What with one thing and another my time costs the company quite a bit more than what it pays me. . . .

We figure between four and five times the mean salary unless there are special costs. It's remarkably consistent.

It's the support networks that cost . . . the higher-priced the employee, the higher-priced their support network.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:07 pm 
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dire wrote:
Hey, I just realized: Petey now has the ultimate training tool at his disposal to make his minions play nice. If they don't do what he says, he can just splatter them as an example, and then load their backup (who can admire the video as part of their orientation). If some underling fails to learn after three or four splatters...archive them and wait until a better training technique is developed before resuming lessons.


Hold on. A computer ... doing training ... where if you die, the computer just generates a new copy of you from your data and spare parts ... where you keep testing and training until you succeed ...

GlaDos?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:57 am 
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StClair wrote:
One, I don't think "eventually, everyone dies" is... optimistic?

Two, I didn't specify why someone would be pressing the button, and I submit that whether it's because they think they can win or because they're responding to some false-flag attack is, ultimately, irrelevant. What matters is, it happens, sooner or later.


your optimism is in the belief that "later" is a statistically possible timeframe.

on earth, the nuclear cold war lasted about 45 years. long enough for one of the key powers to disintegrate. there was a very real risk that somebody would do something stupid either as a last gesture of defiance or out of idiocy but even the most remote nations (New Zealand) would not have avoided severe consequences of the MAD scenario even if nobody launched a single attack against them and so would not profit by deliberately triggering a full-scale exchange.

if Mars had been our enemy at that time they would never have given us 45 years to become more sensible (at least a bit), with no risk of being affected by the fallout on earth they could have triggered a single nuke on Russian soil at the height of the Cuban missile crisis (or any of the other points of heightened tension) and been 100% safe from the fallout.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:52 pm 
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Freeflier can you break that down for me a little bit? I realize it's a little bit off topic but I'm not sure how you're figuring your overhead. If by "support network" you mean people like marketing, finance, and HR, it kind of makes sense that for every person you actually send out as "boots on the ground" for a given contract you need to charge some number x for people in the back doing paperwork, but even so, I don't know a lot of businesses where that's 80% of the paycheck. Was just writing a paper on health care, and administrative overhead is either < 2% of total costs (for government-subsidized programs) or about 30% of the total costs for private-insurers, who have an entire industry of middle men jacking that number up.

On the other hand, the last place I worked was a pharmacy. They had IIRC about 3 1/2 pharmacists who were actually involved in production (five total, but three worked part time, or something), and every other person in the 100-person company was "overhead". Nobody could legally manufacture the drugs except the actual PhD's, but there was still a whole team of HR, a whole team of billing and accounting, a whole team of customer service reps, and even a team of IT separate from the software development team. The pharmacy kept their own server closet, had a dedicated facilities guy, and another dedicated IT guy who got an assistant shortly before I left -- I'd originally been hired to do half software and half IT, but they decided I was more useful automating their CSR team than fielding calls for fresh batteries in the CXO keyboards.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:38 pm 
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dire wrote:
Freeflier can you break that down for me a little bit? I realize it's a little bit off topic but I'm not sure how you're figuring your overhead. If by "support network" you mean people like marketing, finance, and HR, it kind of makes sense that for every person you actually send out as "boots on the ground" for a given contract you need to charge some number x for people in the back doing paperwork, but even so, I don't know a lot of businesses where that's 80% of the paycheck.


For this situation specifically, "overhead" includes everything from the custodial staff who keep the room clean to the IT department who sets up that part of the logistics. Security, life support (probably minimal, as they're in a planetary atmosphere), an attache for Admiral Grumpy-Squid to push his little fish-tank around, caterers, and don't forget the cost of the room itself. And all of the aides, attaches, and staff-members that each member of the Penultimate Admirality have to work with--intelligence officers, liaisons to various departments and bureaus, the list goes on.

But to be honest, I think the entire point of that line is a comment on wage disparity. I mean, come on, most of the folks here are not civilians, they're government functionaries of one form or another.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:41 pm 
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dire wrote:
Freeflier can you break that down for me a little bit? I realize it's a little bit off topic but I'm not sure how you're figuring your overhead. If by "support network" you mean people like marketing, finance, and HR, it kind of makes sense that for every person you actually send out as "boots on the ground" for a given contract you need to charge some number x for people in the back doing paperwork, but even so, I don't know a lot of businesses where that's 80% of the paycheck. . . .

The way we calculate it, the support network's not just people . . . it includes the physical plant that provides the workspace, all of the various systems that support the workspace, tools, personnel and medical departments, accounting, legal, management, security . . . and all of their support systems, including training . . . marketing is not actually all that big, but it's in there too, along with insurance (like any major company, we self-insure) and health-care benefits, etc. . . . and of course the support becomes recursive because all of those people need their support systems and support personnel . . . it really adds up.

Basically, the cost of running the plant for a time-period divided by the number of people that actually hand-on make our product in that time-period.

Every company does this calculation, we just express it differently and as a single unified number, which is known to a lower level than is normal because of certain operational realities.

I can't get into too much detail or I'll lose my job for giving out proprietary information. My employer takes that very very seriously.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:21 pm 
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Yep, I totally understand. Competitive business information and all that.

It sounds like a well-defined system for contracting out man-hours at your factory in terms of, "Part X requires Y man hours at Z rate, which means we need to charge 5 ZYto break even and our customary rate is 10 ZY for part X." So for the engineers who design and spec the parts at $50/hour, the company is charging a contract rate of $500/hour for R&D, and for the guy who operates the mill at $20/hour the company charges $200/hour for actual short-run production, and can't go below $100/hour for large-run production, or whatever.

From that kind of logic, "If we were to rent out the UNS head of state and a bushel of admirals for a meeting, then we should charge half a million (in modern USD) for half an hour of their collective time to be lectured at by the Plenipotent Deity" starts to seem more reasonable. Although the logical extreme, "You can shut down the Penultimate Admiralty in endless meetings for only $200 mil a year" is probably NOT what Breya had intended to convey.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:13 pm 
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dire wrote:
Freeflier can you break that down for me a little bit? I realize it's a little bit off topic but I'm not sure how you're figuring your overhead. If by "support network" you mean people like marketing, finance, and HR, it kind of makes sense that for every person you actually send out as "boots on the ground" for a given contract you need to charge some number x for people in the back doing paperwork, but even so, I don't know a lot of businesses where that's 80% of the paycheck. Was just writing a paper on health care, and administrative overhead is either < 2% of total costs (for government-subsidized programs) or about 30% of the total costs for private-insurers, who have an entire industry of middle men jacking that number up.

Those numbers are nonsensical. The social security and medicare match from the hospital or doctor ALONE greatly exceeds 2% of total employee expenditures.

If EVERY employee was engaged in actual patient care 100% of his time, nothing else, and not a single employee doing anything but patient care at any time and the building and power and utilities were free and there were no other taxes at all, medical care would STILL, just from that one element, have far more than 2% overhead.

I don't know what you consider "overhead", but it's not what anyone else I've ever heard use the term uses it for.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:35 pm 
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I'd have to dig up my sources, although I did use a peer-reviewed article. It probably means, "98% of all the money that goes into medicare passes through to pay for services, and only 2% of the money in Medicare pays for medicare administration." and "30% of all money that goes into private health insurance stops at the insurance companies, and 70% passes through to pay for health services".

Edit: Here's my paper. Have a day. Sources start on page 6. Sorry for the bloat, the reviews were a requirement.

And here's a paper written by someone better at it than me. Maybe skip down to paragraph 5 where it starts "First we should define overhead..."

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