American Meteorological Society Takes On Income Inequality

Reader Mumbles McGuirk sent this in.

I received an email from the American Meteorological Society announcing that their dues will now be based on the member’s income! But it will be voluntary, you choose what income level you say you have. What could go wrong with that! So social engineering comes to the scientific community.
Here is the text of the email:

“As AMS celebrates its 100th anniversary and looks forward to its second century, you will see many indications of how the elected leadership and hundreds of volunteers are transforming the Society not only to meet current and future challenges, but also to expand its role as a vibrant home for those in the weather, water, and climate community. One immediate change that will allow us to achieve this vision is a new dues structure for full Members that was approved by the AMS Council (the elected governance of the Society) at their summer meeting. The dues for Associate and Student Members will not change. The new structure is being implemented this fall for the 2020 membership year.

Dues are a critically important source of revenue that allows the Society to offer programs for members, but it is important to ensure that dues are not so high as to be an impediment to participation. Accordingly, the new structure will set each member’s dues based on that member’s annual income. This approach will be more equitable and inclusive and will reduce membership barriers for many individuals in our community. We know that some early career and retired members, in particular, have found the previous “one size fits all” dues (which were $111 in 2019) to be a financial challenge, despite the value that membership brings to them professionally and personally. After careful consideration, the Council has set the new structure for full Members as follows:

Annual Income Yearly Dues

  • < $35,000            $ 35
  • $35-55,000          $ 55
  • $55-85,000          $ 85
  • $85-115,000        $ 110
  • $115-150,000      $ 135
  • $150-250,000      $ 170
  • >$250,000            $ 210

Those in higher income brackets are being asked to pay higher dues than they did previously, while those in lower brackets will see lower dues. We hope those whose dues go up will accept this increase, understanding that they are helping those earning less, such as early career and retired members, to fully participate in and contribute to AMS programs and take advantage of AMS benefits—thus allowing them to be an integral part of the AMS family.

It is important to note that we are asking members to voluntarily choose the dues tier that most closely matches their annual income at the time they renew each year (or for new members when they join). No information about which tier a member has selected will be accessible beyond the staff processing the dues, and the information will not be released or used for any other purpose.

We envision that this new structure will not only be more equitable but will also help to broaden AMS membership—attracting many who would have joined earlier if not for the barrier of the dues and retaining those who have retired but would like to continue participating in AMS initiatives. (Note that those who have been members for over 25 years and have attained the age of 70 will continue to be relieved of paying dues if they so request.)

With several new and expanded services rolling out in the coming year (more on these in future columns), AMS membership is a greater value than ever before, and this new dues structure brings it within reach of everyone in the community, better preparing us for our collective future.”

95 thoughts on “American Meteorological Society Takes On Income Inequality

  1. It’s hilarious that despite their protestations, the dues are horribly regressive. For the lower ranks, they pay 0.1% of their top income bracket. But for the guy making a couple million per year, his dues are only a hundredth of a percent.

    This clearly supports the oft-repeated comment that the climate community is in desperate need of professional statistical assistance …


    • “It’s hilarious that despite their protestations, the dues are horribly regressive.”

      You must have found it side-splitting when the “lower ranks” were paying $110.

      • Loydo, the reason it is funny is that they have said that they are trying to be “equitable” and “inclusive”, and despite that, it’s STILL regressive.

        However, I don’t understand why you think that it would, therefore, be funny that when they were NOT trying to be “equitable” or “inclusive” they were neither.

        That’s what you’d expect, and no, it’s not funny.


        • willis.
          “his clearly supports the oft-repeated comment that the climate community is in desperate need of professional statistical assistance ”
          what a stupid statement. one thing about the wealthy is the did not get to be wealthy by giving money away.

          Charge the top tier a truly equitable amount and they will not join. OR they will heed this statement:

          “It is important to note that we are asking members to voluntarily choose the dues tier that most closely matches their annual income at the time they renew each year ”

          and claim a lower salary!

          Why do the wealthy have offshore accounts? Not to be equitable with those less well off.

        • You think charging Bill Gates $5m a year would play?

          If you skew membership fees too much, the rich will then demand control, excluding the less well off from equality of membership.

          What is more important: true equality of membership or true equality of subscriptions as a percentage of income?

      • And now ALL members will be paying $35 since the tires are voluntary and no verification is required

        I like this one

        AMS membership is a greater value than ever before, and this new dues structure brings it within reach of everyone in the community, better preparing us for our collective future.”

        We are the AMS
        You will be assimilated
        Resistance is Futile

    • Sillies. All you have to do is say “I’m on fixed income” (meaning SSRI) and they should give you a freebie membership. If they won’t, then they can just suck it up, Buttercup! 🙂

    • Do those paying more dues receive more benefits? (I suspect not.)
      How are higher dues for the same benefit more fair?

      • The answer I see the most often is “The wealthy can afford to pay more”. My first response is always, so what, why should that matter? My second response is, how do you know they can afford to pay more? They may have 2 disabled children at home, or a sick parent. I knew a guy that worked two jobs because his wife has MS and insurance didn’t cover everything she needed. On paper he was wealthy, but in reality he worked his butt off and had to live very modestly.

        • It is true that the more capable have “more”. (I suspect that is the measure of “more capable”)
          It is usually because they have not squandered their precious time, efforts or treasure on stupid, wasteful actions.

    • I noticed in the last year a huge surge in activism by local television meteorologists in a very purple medium sized television market. Channel turned. They’re killing their ratings for global warming activism. AMS is merely reflecting this newfound poverty.

  2. Clear evidence the insane have taken-over the AMS asylum.

    The sane member should just walk away (and probably will).

  3. The next obvious step in the struggle for total equality would be the introduction of separate rate categories for men, women and LGBTTQQIAAP as well as ethnic category divisions. When this had been achieved the American Meteorological Society could quietly close its doors as a scientific organisation and devote itself to charity full time.

  4. “.. will not only be more equitable..”

    Given that fee structure table, it is worse for lower income earners now; I hate to imagine what it was like before.

    I would never join a society that would have bad mathematicians as members. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as Groucho; sorry.

  5. “We hope those whose dues go up will accept this increase, understanding that they are helping those earning less”

    Smugly so. I’m sure we will soon be hearing: “sit down Robert, I’m paying for your chair”

  6. This is sort of the same BS as the carbon tax. It is the populous poor who pay the most per capita for the carbon tax, since it causes the price of basic living to go up substantially for shelter, food, heating/cooling and transportation, all intensive CO2 enriched activities. The rich person, or even just modestly wealthy person only pays a small fraction of their basic disposable income to basic living expenses. I am surprised that normal everyday voting people don’t grasp this a lot faster, although I do think if it is put to a vote, poor people will reject a carbon tax. Unless there is a bribe of some type of carbon refund offered. Which is of course cancelled (the rebate) after a few years, but the carbon tax is then just put into general revenue for the ruling party to spend on their re-election. Sort of like what British Columbia is doing, which initiated one of the first carbon taxes. It is just a cash tax grab and little to do with any climate policy. It doesn’t affect me very much and I can easily afford it, but the damage it does to a young family just starting out is astronomical over time if you consider reverse compound interest opportunity cost.

        • Man: I think it was, “Blessed are the cheesemakers”!
          Gregory’s wife: What’s so special about the cheesemakers?
          Gregory: Well, obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally. It refers to any manufacturer of dairy products.

  7. A brief look at annual reports indicates that membership has been dropping. I would suggest that they are trying to stop the rot.

  8. I wonder what the AMS thinks it is. It seems like the only qualification for membership is the ability to breathe and take nourishment.

    A proper professional society is restricted to people qualified in the profession. An example would be the IEEE

    There are student chapters of the IEEE and SAE, and the membership fees are affordable by students. Otherwise, if you are some random dog walker from Peoria, they aren’t interested in you.

    It doesn’t seem to me that the AMS is a proper professional organization. How can it claim to speak for ‘the profession’, whatever that is?

    Isn’t Anthony’s dog a member?

    • You are thinking of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
      Although I’m fairly certain a good number of mutts are members of the AMS.

  9. The cost of hotel rooms in Las Vegas (Lost Wages) during the NCAA Final Four, Super Bowl week, etc. are jacked up to sky high prices. Only high rollers need apply. Then, after the event … the prices crater and include multiple incentives to attract the common folks. It’s called Dynamic Pricing. This is also seen in retail gasoline pricing wherein prices in my wealthy Bay Area suburb are $0.25 – 0.75 higher than blue collar towns 10 miles to the east. Charging what the market will bear.

    So then, voluntary Dynamic Income Pricing comes to a Trade Org. dedicated to to Communist propaganda aka CAGW. I couldn’t care less. I am certain high rollers like Al Gore, Michael Mann et. al. will pay their “fair share”. In fact, they should volunteer to impose a severely punitive carbon tax on themselves. Tax themselves for every private flight they (and their entourage) take. And every SUV they drive. Every mansion they heat. Every unnecessary recreational vehicle they own. And then, they should open their homes to every starving “meteorologist” and “climate researcher” … rent free. I am certain a dozen poor climate propagandists could take up residency in Al Gore’s Montecito mansion alone. Yes, I am sure the crazed sex poodle, would prefer young female activists … such as little Greta who could give “massages” in exchange for rent. Hey, no problem, the age of consent in Sweden is 15yo.

    Communist clowns can apply all the grease paint to themselves they wish. Just leave me out of their circus.

    • A certain Mannber.. sorry, member, will probably insist that he pays the highest contribution, then claim it back from the university on expenses..

    • I’m pretty sure that the small increase in gas costs is due to higher costs in the rich area.
      (For CA, that’s a small increase.)

      • Yeah … right. That’s the pat answer given by the Corporate gas stations who charge far more $$$ for their gasoline than the Independent dealer down the block. Those tiny few remnants of Independent gas stations which have been squeezed out by the Corporate Owners.

        • The corporate owners have higher costs, they have to pay franchise fees to corporate.

          Regardless, are you arguing that costs in the city are not higher than in the surrounding suburban/rural areas.

  10. If you accept the PC philosophy of self identifying as you choose and demanding that others accept your choice, then all AMS members should self identify as earning less than $35,000 per year.

    Yeah – That’s the ticket. I think I’m getting the hang of this PC ‘self identifying’ thing!

      • Most everyone alive makes less than $35,000 during the year. Even those that make Million$ annually make less than $35,000 at some point in the year.

        By March, I’ve made less than $35,000 that year (By April too)

  11. One thing is certain: the anticipated total revenue under this plan greatly exceeds that of the old.

    Yeah, I would greatly decrease my expected annual income, based on anticipated salary reductions due to climate change mitigation efforts.

  12. I just went out to get some butter. The guy in the shop wanted wanted to know my annual income. I asked why? Because in the new more equitable society higher earners pay more for butter, he said.

    • Shhh.

      This is a secret. Ok, every regular reader of WUWT knows this, because most of us can do a bit of math after all.

      Which is why I sometimes trap a True Believer into a discussion about what we can do to head off the inevitable Climate Apocalypse.

      Oh, we blow right by the “war on cars”, right through the “eating bugs scenario” and into the “Khmer Green” revolution where we jail and perhaps even execute bad folks for crimes against humanity.

      “Oh, and of course we dam up Niagara Falls”.

      “Sure!”, they agree. “What?!?”, they ponder.

      “All that water vapour. Tonnes of it, every second of every minute of every hour of every day…”

      This usually ends the meal, and if its at a restaurant, I’ll hold out for the “I’ll pay the % related to CO2, you pay the % related to water vapour”…

      I don’t get asked to dinner much anymore.

  13. I’ll join their little club when they offer a bracket of less than $25,000 and pay me $35 to join! Mary Jo (my dog) will join too!

  14. It will be interesting to see what they do next when a % of the higher income people decide it’s not worth paying the higher fees and drop their memberships, creating a shortfall in funds. Most likely they will stick to the standard left wing approach to everyhing and futher increase the fees at the top end. At some point the high income people will all drop their memberships causing the entire scheme to disintegrate.

    Of course this is inevitable because it’s how socialism works, just ask someone from Venezuela.

    • No such things are NOT inevitable. They may be inevitable in the USA…

      Look at the German Bundesliga. It has very cheap prices for the many and much higher prices for corporate packages. The aim is to make the local football club inclusive and a symbol of the reality of the area, namely that rich folks and less well off folks both live there.

      Bundesliga crowds are regularly the highest in world football.

      The EPL has priced out its working class bases (with honorable exceptions like West Ham who rent a $1bn stadium for almost nothing so have a huge financial advantage over those who pay for their own stadia) and fill grounds with the middle class and tourists. Prices are sky high, even for the fheaper seats. Honestly, it is barely more expensive for a Londoner to fly to Dortmund to watch football than it is to get premium seats at Arsenal, Chelsea or Spurs.

      You Americans should not project your own attitudes onto the whole world.

      • Fascinating, you claim to be different, but you then present evidence that you are not.

        If you think a border makes that big a difference in basic human behavior, you must be a socialist.

        According to Rhys, there is Communism, Socialism and uber capitalism.

      • Just spoke with a German citizen this weekend about the Budesliga. He told me that the cheap seats are just that – less desirable seats that are all behind the goals. These seats offer the poorest overall viewing experience and are only conducive to having a party atmosphere (drinking, cheering, bands playing, chanting).
        These types of seats are equivalent to bleacher seats at a baseball game. The seats are cheap, but the view is not great. He told me the seats on the main area of the field are MUCH more expensive.

      • Your analogy is all wrong. It would only hold true if the poor people could buy the same premium seat as the rich person, but at a fraction of the price. What you describe below is the simple supply and demand model, where people with more money will buy a superior product at a higher price and vice versa. The excess money generated by high price seats is not subsidising seats for low paid workers, but becomes a profit for the business. This is how capitalism works !

      • Civic pride and good PR can give interesting results. I rather suspect that the corporations are willing to pay the rates because they get very good publicity from it, not for particularly altruistic reasons.

  15. If only everyone had the sense to select < $35,000 with a comment that it's none of their g/d business what their salary is.

  16. Meteorologist for 35yrs. Never even considered joining these fools. And that is what they are by and large. It’s hard to digest the idiocy I hear being spewed at some meetings I have attended…a handful over the years, when it comes to CAGW. Ick. Looking forward to retiring in less than 10yrs.

  17. “We know that some early career and retired members, in particular, have found the previous “one size fits all” dues (which were $111 in 2019) to be a financial challenge…, How do they know that?

    Once again, the subliminal message – the elderly are wearing ratty housecoats and eating catfood… In reality most people are doing very well in this country, thank you very much, and are doing better as they get older:

    Median Household Net Worth by Age
    <35 $6,676
    35-44 $35,000
    45-54 $84,542
    55-64 $143,964
    65-69 $194,226
    70-74 $181,078
    75+ $155,714

    If you can't find $111 to be a member of a professional society, maybe you don't really belong. Wait, maybe that's the goal? I suppose the otherly employed extinction rebellion activists will be able to scrape up $35 from between the cushions of their parents' sofas and and join and tilt the votes towards the idiotic. Or maybe they just intend to drive away those who find social engineering distasteful?

    • But there is a difference between “Net Worth” (value of properties owned) and Net expendable income (what is available to squander after responsibilities are met)
      Most 20 somethings don’t own a house perhaps a used car
      Most 30 somethings don’t own a house either (they own a mortgage and are beginning to build principal net worth though most of their payments are going to intrest)

      • Net worth correlates with growing income. My point stands, if you can’t afford $111 to join a professional society, perhaps you don’t really belong as a member. And that raises the question of why they would try to lower the already low bar to entry? Note students and “Members from countries with developing econ” (whatever tf that is) are $20/yr., so the poor professionals already get a break.

        • Good Point
          (Net worth can also be increased through asset appreciation without increasing income.
          Every quarter I place $7,500 into my 401K but most quarters it gains more than double that (after having it for 30 years) I could stop putting my money into it (knock my income down to zero) and it would still continue to grow as long as I didn’t get disbursements from it)

  18. The Ecological Society of America has the same pricing scheme. It’s been that way for awhile. I’m not sure how they check income. Haven’t really cared since letting my membership lapse when the society chose to focus more on policy and shaping public opinion than on basic research.

  19. I am puzzled why so many want to equate this with some of the socialists efforts. The whole point of socialism is that the money is taken by “sword bearer”…. i.e. by force. Unless membership in such a society is required for employment in the field, they are quite free to do these kinds of things, without promoting socialism.

    Many groups have lower fees for students, because they hope the student will learn that it is valuable to be a part of the group, and will continue their membership later. And they may offer free membership as an act of charity.

    But, this is all the opposite of socialism. Socialism is fundamentally about taking, whereas charity is about giving.

  20. Just spoke with a German citizen this weekend about the Budesliga. He told me that the cheap seats are just that – less desirable seats that are all behind the goals. These seats offer the poorest overall viewing experience and are only conducive to having a party atmosphere (drinking, cheering, bands playing, chanting).
    These types of seats are equivalent to bleacher seats at a baseball game. The seats are cheap, but the view is not great. He told me the seats on the main area of the field are MUCH more expensive.

  21. What happens when this mentality hits the grocery store? Will you have to present your tax return to find out how that loaf of bread cost?
    What will a loaf of bread cost for a “1%”er?
    What will a loaf of bread cost for one paying with food stamps? (Oh …. wait …)

    PS Several decades ago I bagged groceries. (No. I wasn’t a teenager living at home.) I remember taking a shopping cart of food out to the car of someone who paid with food stamps. I put the groceries into the trunk of a brand new Cadillac. I couldn’t afford a car.

  22. I think this oldie fits into talk of “income inequality”.

    “Tax code explained in Beer
    Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100…

    If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this…

    The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
    The fifth would pay $1.
    The sixth would pay $3.
    The seventh would pay $7..
    The eighth would pay $12..
    The ninth would pay $18.
    The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

    So, that’s what they decided to do..

    The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20”. Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

    The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

    They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

    So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

    And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
    The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
    The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
    The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
    The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
    The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).

    Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

    “I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,”but he got $10!”

    “Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!”

    “That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

    “Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”

    The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

    The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

    And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

    David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
    Professor of Economics.”

  23. From each according to his ability – to each according to his needs. The ultimate dream of communism – and I have to admit that I also hope that perhaps eventually our world could become a bit like that like that. But will this move us toward that goal? And is this the goal of the Meteorological Society?

  24. American Meteorological Society Takes On Income Inequality.

    The question is: How much $$ will a donor, in possession of 7.3 billion $s, get returned from a 7.3 billion $ donation

    ment to compensate 7.3 billion affected people globally for CO2 taxes needed to fight environment threats.

    The answer is: the donor gets $ 1 back from his possession, his donation.

    A 2nd time he won’t be able to donate.


    Not very renewable, such Green New Deals !

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