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higher education stagnation
Inconvenient Data for Free College Advocates

The push for free college may be dead, for now, at the federal level, but as blue states including New York try with renewed vigor to expand higher education subsidies within their jurisdictions, it’s still worth emphasizing the factors complicating Bernie Sanders’ signature crusade. Among them: Hundreds of thousands of students currently attending college are not prepared for post-high school coursework, and colleges need to spend millions getting them up to speed. Hechinger Report:

The vast majority of public two- and four-year colleges report enrolling students – more than half a million of them–who are not ready for college-level work, a Hechinger Report investigation of 44 states has found.

The numbers reveal a glaring gap in the nation’s education system: A high school diploma, no matter how recently earned, doesn’t guarantee that students are prepared for college courses. Higher education institutions across the country are forced to spend time, money and energy to solve this disconnect. They must determine who’s not ready for college and attempt to get those students up to speed as quickly as possible, or risk losing them altogether.

Many of the students who need remedial coursework slip through the cracks on their way to a BA, accumulating debt and failing to graduate, or spending time earning degrees that don’t increase their earning power in the real world. The stark numbers from Hechinger highlight the fact that free college proposals essentially represent an effort to chase diminishing returns: They would push more marginal students into the higher education system, leading colleges to spend more time on remedial work and less on higher learning.

To use an analogy we are fond of: General Chiang Kai Shek was criticized for doing too much “issimo-ing” and not enough “general-ing.” In the same vein, one could argue that America’s progressive educational reformers are too enthusiastic about adding “extras” to the American educational system, like free college, before seeing to it that the basic function of secondary education—basic mastery of high school-level material—is the norm for all graduates. Down this path lies more cost and more credential inflation, but not necessarily better learning outcomes. The first priority should be to jumpstart the stagnant system we have now, not to haphazardly build on it further.

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  • Beauceron

    If that many students are so unprepared for college they don’t even have the reading, writing and math skills we expect of a high school graduate, why were they accepted into the college in the first place?

    Perhaps colleges should raise their standards and not accept people for university level education who clearly haven’t even been able to master the skills they should have to qualify for a high school diploma.

    • lurkingwithintent

      I agree with you, but the money is too tempting. I went back to visit a professor just before his retirement in the early 90’s and even then he said that students couldn’t express themselves in writing because they couldn’t write a coherent sentence, let alone a paragraph. Large numbers of students at that time needed remedial help and some of my professor acquaintances say that it hasn’t improved and likely is worse now. There are many bright students, but there are a great number who do not belong at college without some extra preparation.

  • seattleoutcast

    I used to tutor incoming math students in college. We began with fractions and decimals in many cases. What has happened is that high schools have become lazy. They know that colleges will pick up the slack for them. The colleges are more than eager to take the students to boost enrollment numbers–cashola from the government!!! It’s a win/win for education.

    All that money stolen from the public for lazy high schools. And yet when accountability is required, some people claim racism, evil republicans, etc. etc.

    • ვეფხისტყაოსანი

      My mother took an education course in the late 1940s — she was a musician, and needed the course credit to get a teaching license.

      She explained fractions to the class as an exercise (easy for musicians!). Several came to her afterwards and told her they had never understood fractions before.

      So things may not have changed as much as you think.

      • seattleoutcast

        I wager that the percentage of college students in the 1940s who were math illiterate was far lower than it is today.

  • Proud Skeptic

    The push for free college is really a push to give students two more years to complete high school.

    Our educators have forgotten how to teach.

    • Fat_Man

      “Our educators have forgotten how to teach.”

      They never knew. My wife is a PhD psychologist who is an authority on learning issues. She says that there is well known way to teach kids, even learning disabled kids, how to read (Link Here), but the Education Colleges won’t teach it to their students.

      She has tried to talk to the dean of the State University’s Education College about, but she hit a stone wall. The method is based on “intensive, systematic phonics using visual, auditory, and kinesthetic techniques”. The Ed Schools regard phonics as politically incorrect. They don’t care if it works.

      The same story can be told in almost every subject area. Kids can’t write? There is a systematic approach to writing. It is rhetoric. It was a core subject of education for 2500 years. There are elaborate manuals, and systems for its instruction. Do the ed schools teach it? Do American high schools and colleges teach it? Do chickens have teeth?

      • Proud Skeptic

        With all due respect, every time my kids got exposed to something with a name like “intensive, systematic phonics using visual, auditory, and kinesthetic techniques”, things got worse. An average parent can teach his or her kids everything they need to learn without much background in education. It ain’t rocket science.

  • FriendlyGoat

    If jobs which could make a person self-supporting upon high school graduation actually existed for all those with initiative, we would see 1) A lot more students taking high school seriously, and 2) Fewer people even trying to go to college, especially if not prepared or capable.

    • LarryD

      Meanwhile the skilled trades are going begging.
      http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/11/10/reviving-blue-collar-4-myths-about-the-skilled-trades/
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/emsi/2013/03/07/americas-skilled-trades-dilemma-shortages-loom-as-most-in-demand-group-of-workers-ages/
      High schools used to have shop and other classes that at least exposed students to the trades, so they could see if they appealed to them.

      • seattleoutcast

        SpaceX is always looking for welders and machinists. That’s a 21st century job.

        • f1b0nacc1

          Ironically enough, those who specialize in pre-barista ‘studies’ are likely to be the ones left behind….

      • FriendlyGoat

        They’re not begging enough or they would be flooded. Who is selling the dream and what does that sales job sound like?

        • seattleoutcast

          Not true. The modern disdain for the working trades has made many students who do not want to get their hands dirty.

          • FriendlyGoat

            So who is disdaining the trades? A generation ago, John Goodman played husband Dan Connor opposite Rosanne Barr on “Rosanne”. He was doing drywall as I remember and neither the job nor their TV family life was exactly glamorized. Who are today’s role models in the trades? Again, who is selling the dream and what does the sales job sound like? Is it up to IBEW to talk up careers as electricians to young people while the whole union movement for working people is under assault? Seriously. Young people need to be talked into things. Are dads in the trades feeling like telling the sons how much “promise” is out there for those sons to pursue looking 20, 30, 40 years forward?

        • f1b0nacc1

          I do volunteer work with some incredibly bright and capable kids, who as a part of their competition (robotics) have become amazingly skilled in both mechanics and electronics. Several of them are actually interested in looking for a future that doesn’t involve spending 4+ years in higher education, but you should see the response of their very liberal parents! The idea that THEIR children might work with their hands, or eschew the university for a future without a degree horrifies them beyond words. Their comments (and these are 100% HRC voters, just to be clear) on the subject is quite amazing, but hardly surprising.

          Take a look at people like Mike Rowe, who has been talking about this problem for years….

          • FriendlyGoat

            Warning: A no-snark reply here. Good for you that you are doing this volunteer work. There is still the chance that both the kids and their parents are dreaming of engineering degrees or even looking at the type of work that you, as one of the mentors, are actually employed in rather than the reality of building real robots in the real robot factory. Ditto they might admire your wife’s education as I’ve heard you describe it.

            Realistically speaking, conservative parents are just as scared for their kids’ futures as liberal parents. It’s not just Hillary voters who are afraid the kids will plateau too soon.

          • f1b0nacc1

            I appreciate the no snark reply….my comment was no-snark as well.

            A point though…the parents are not dreaming of engineering degrees, they consider even those ‘suspect’. They want their sons and daughters to become scientists and lawyers, the idea of actually building anything is anathema to them. I have heard from several of them that they regard this ‘hobby’ as CV building fodder, nothing more.

            They do indeed admire my wife’s education, and mine as well. The odd thing of course is that neither my wife nor I have ever taken a computer or engineering course, she is Comparative Lit and Folklore, and my doctorate is Political Science (aka History taught badly). That both of us migrated out of academe despite our success completely escapes their notice.

            I do honestly believe that these parents (again, all good liberals) love and desire the best for their kids, but they have a horrendously classist view of what that future is. One of the girls is an exceptionally talented welder, for instance, and wants to pursue it. Go take a look sometime at what welders earn and what sort of opportunities (most of which are outsource and automation-proof) they have. Her mother almost tore her head off when she mentioned it…you would have thought she was suggesting engaging in ritual cannibalism! Another is gifted with carpentry (I must admit that I am dazzled looking at his work, I can only barely understand how he is able to make it happen, and certainly not duplicate it), yet his father threatened to throw him out of the house if he tried to find a vo-tec course that would give him a chance to pursue it (note: this is one of the rare ones in public school, most of them are either home-schooled or in private school, something I find most amusing given their parents political leanings). And before you say it, they (the parents) have explicitly stated that they find the idea of ‘working with their hands to be beneath their children….the phrase that I remember best is “that is for someone without other options’

            This isn’t a low plateau with no future, this is a very bright future indeed. I am little more than a humble (OK, not terribly humble) tinkerer, but while I wouldn’t trade my misspent years of education for anything, I would be a liar if I didn’t admit that my tinkering has been far more useful for my career than my time in university. I am 57, and the world has changed a great deal since college was the royal road to success, if indeed it ever was.

            I repeat what I said earlier, if you haven’t seen Mike Rowe (again, no right wing Trumpeter he) and his commentary on all of this, you should do so, it is worth your time.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I agree with the concept of luring some of the young people into trades, and expressed to seattleoutcast here that we must be deficient in the marketing at present and that I’m not sure who is supposed to be doing it. The unions? The Chamber of Commerce?
            See below.

            As for your PhD. in Political Science, did anyone teach there that disdain of gays could capture religion and be used to accomplish the political takeover of post-Soviet Russia by Putin and the political takeover of the USA by Donald Trump? Those both have happened, you know, and the mad-at-homosexuality segment of church(es) permitted and produced the results in both places. Whether, in the USA, that result can or will re-elevate the economic fortunes of those who sally forth on high school educations is an open question. We’ll know in a few years how that part went.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Lets start from the beginning. As for who would do the marketing here’ it really should be everyone. The COC folks are not my favorite people, and they tend these days to be a bigger megaphone for banks, insurance, and real-estate than the ‘dirtier’ industries. However NAM might be a good place to start. The Unions should be doing this as a simple no-brainer, but I wonder if they are simply happy enough keeping those workers rare, and thus more highly compensated, not to mention shielded from meaningful competition.

            Given that my dissertation director was gay, you might be sure that this sort of discussion took place quite often. However the notion of a political takeover of the Soviet Union (Russia was years in the future) wasn’t really a thought at the time, and Donald Trump was a loud-mouthed NYC property developer engaged in an endless war of attrition with Spy magazine. As for Huffington Post’s fantasies, they are simply that. Why don’t we stay outside of our usual ill humor, and instead focus on a subject that we can find some common ground?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, the subject is how well the people with high school educations will fare going forward in comparison to their situations in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and present decade. The jury is out.

          • FriendlyGoat

            One of the trends working against the economic stability of workers, particularly those of lower skill levels is this:

            https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-end-of-employees-1486050443

          • f1b0nacc1

            The problem with the article is that it presumes that the only workers are those that work for giant corporations and/or the government. In point of fact, we are seeing a move toward self-employment or employment with small businesses. This actually reinforces stability for workers, especially if those workers are in enterprises that are difficult to replace/outsource/offshore/etc. A plumber, for instance simply cannot be off-shored, nor can it be easily automated away, and thus actually benefits from a move to smaller enterprises.

            Remember, 150 years ago, large enterprises were extremely rare, and it was only the peculiar circumstances of the industrial revolution that led to the growth of giant companies. As those circumstances have changed, so has (and will) the size of corporations change as well.

          • FriendlyGoat

            My take on it is that everything on the lower end which can be standardized by a contractor—–will be. This basically means that the home health care business is a real money-maker for everyone in it EXCEPT the actual home health aides who get “competitive” wages in the $10.00 range. It means that people in maintenance, driving, logistics, payroll, HR, food service who were once part of the “corporate families” are now bought and sold as commodities with little chance to ever achieve the old “loyalty down” to the workforce which they once enjoyed for being good workers and long term. It means that whoever manages them is now receiving a very sizeable chunk of what was supposed to be remuneration for the work.

            We have discussed welding as a general exception to low wages. You gotta know that someone out there is starting up “We Weld For You” contract welder service, if they haven’t already, to compete for the corporate dollar. “We hire ’em, we certify ’em, we get ’em to you part-time or full-time”. You know what will happen to the wages, right? The purchasing corporation will still pay significant bucks, but 1/3 or maybe even 1/2 of what the welder once got in wages and benefits together will shift to the contractor’s pocket.

            Since it is obligatory on my part to always say so, BTW, high-end tax cuts are not going to do anything but exacerbate this trend.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Your first paragraph makes my point…if you are a member of a ‘corporate family’, you are likely to be gone with the wind fairly soon. I don’t dispute that a lot of that can be outsourced (or replaced with automation, a much bigger threat long-term), but that only makes my point that the corporate entity as such is likely going the way of the dinosaur. Oh, it will be here as an organizational entity, though I wonder if even that will be something that lasts….

            Welding per se isn’t an exception, it is in fact the new rule. Try to find plumbers, electricians, masoners, etc. Yes, they often work as contractors (often for contractors), but they do very very well for themselves, without the educational frippery that we often tell our kids are ‘vital’ The nature of a lot of this work is such that it cannot be ‘corporatized’, despite the best efforts of various entrepeneurs to do so over the last few decades. Contrary to what you suggest, there simply isn’t some automatic move towards corporate takeovers in everything, as the economies of scale and large organizational benefits associated with corporations don’t always apply to the nature of the work we are talking about. I think it is more likely you will find companies that outsource HR functions, or healthcare functions to independent contractors (in point of fact, a very close friend of mine is now involved with a woman who has built a tidy little fortune doing just that), than the other way around. After all, finding a capable HR drone or someone who can handle healthcare forms is rather simple (they require no real skills) while finding a good plumber is a lot harder. Hence the plumber is more likely to sell his skills on the open market….

            Actually I wonder about your comment re: tax cuts. High end individual tax cuts will in fact make independent contractors more viable, while giving them more incentive to outsource their support services (HR, etc.) as business expenses. High end corporate tax cuts *might* do what you suggest, but even then, what is to stop a plumber (or small group of plumbers) forming a small company, and handling their problems that way? This works fairly well for small IT companies, and I have seen the very same thing in home repairs, even auto repairs (though they are being swallowed up by the dealerships, which tend to use copyright and patent law to drive competitors out of business….another interesting discussion…) I don’t see how tax cuts would actually create the effect you suggest, certainly not for independent contractors…

          • FriendlyGoat

            Last I heard, you were a member of a corporate family. Are you eager to be “gone with the wind” or just figuring your age is going to time out okay with the trends in motion?

            There is nothing wrong with low taxes on the comparatively-low earnings of companies running small with major payroll expenses as a percentage of their overall costs. There is a lot wrong with cutting the taxes of high earnings from operations (such as pure trading) which run with fewer and fewer workers. We have to be serious at some point about whether we really do give a damn about this “family value” stuff or not.

          • f1b0nacc1

            My ‘corporate family’ fires people all the time, in some ways it is almost as dysfunctional as my ‘personal family’ (grin)….

            Seriously though, the work that I do has value to the core company (in my case) or to any number of support firms that my company would have to employ (in the case of other people I work with), so my personal position is secure enough. Now, I believe what you are trying to say is that if I were one of the useless HR drones, would I feel the same way? Probably not, but then again why would that change anything? I have had to adjust to changing markets before, and I suspect that before I leave this world, I will have to do so again. Will I enjoy it, likely not, but I am not sure what possible difference that makes. The work that I do interests me, and it makes good money for my employers, so we have an arrangement that is beneficial for us both. When/if that changes, one or both of us will terminate that arrangement. This is called a ‘marketplace’, and it has been the nature of things since civilization began producing tradeable surpluses.

            My broader point, which you have twice ignored, is that the whole notion of a corporate family as such is likely to decline and whither away for the most part quite soon, perhaps within our lifetimes (though I am probably being optimistic about that), at least for all but a few very large firms. If you believe that the only work lies within the corporate world, then this is a very grim future, if you believe as I do that the giant corporation and giant government are aberrations that will be replaced over time, this is merely one more stage of evolution in how we interact as a civilization. It is likely that small companies will find it far easier to contract the services of specialized non-strategic firms to do their support work (HR, etc.) and remain small than it will be for big firms to outsource them and remain big. In such a world there is a great deal of room for people to find useful work, and in fact it offers many benefits over a feudal relationship with a huge vertically integrated company.

            Your position on taxes is nothing new, and in fact it is in place in most of Europe already. I should note that it has also been a huge failure in those countries (France is the best example) where it manages to devolve rather quickly into a ‘survival of the best connected’ firms at the expense of everyone else. Why should a firm that simply doesn’t require a great many employees (hence doesn’t have a high payroll) be forced to pay a higher tax than one that does? This could be because of the nature of the business, efficiency, even just simple location, and really, in the end what business is it of ours? You make a reference to ‘family values’ at the end of your statement….those are personal things, not economic, however much you might try to conflate them. I am extremely reluctant, no…resistant, to having the government make adjustments in how I wish to live my life in order to benefit someone else in a ‘favored’ lifestyle. This lies the way of endless lifestyle wars for no purpose.

          • ChuckFinley

            Interesting theory on Putin and Trump. Can you tell me how the riot that shut down Milo Yianopoulos at Berkeley fits into that version of reality?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Without claiming expertise on the group dynamics of UC Berkeley, I would invite you to read the Wikipedia entry on Yiannopoulos, if you haven’t. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milo_Yiannopoulos

            I looked this up to familiarize myself more with Milo before replying to you. The whole of it taken together cause me to think of the words:
            opportunist, conflicted, disingenuous on several levels and shill.

            As for Putin, he is seen as defender of the church and the faith by many in Russia. Trump is now seen as that by the 81% of evangelicals who voted for him. The irony of this is colossal, considering who these two guys are and their respective life histories. Surreptitiously attracting those who are most energized by opposition to gay people is how both of them pulled it off.

          • ChuckFinley

            During the election campaign, Yianopoulos was going around the country speaking on his “Dangerous Faggot” tour urging people to vote for Donald Trump. That seems like an odd strategy for a candidate who’s election campaign was built on attracting anti gay voters.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Indeed. But it worked for Donald and Yianopoulos wasn’t personally on the ballot.
            The two words “Dangerous” and “Faggot” put together are the messaging just like “cold” is advertised on beer or soda pop.

          • ChuckFinley

            I see. And during the Republican convention a week after the Pulse night club shootings when Donald Trump promised to protect all Americans from terrorists (to a standing ovation) this was also some kind of dog whistle code that Trump hates gays?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Trump doesn’t hate gays. He was quietly asking people who do not believe in gay rights to vote for Trump. He was speaking mostly of other subjects, and also letting it slip that he would use government to allow people who oppose gays to do so more vocally and forcefully. They LOVE that idea and they voted for it.

          • ChuckFinley

            So your contention is that Donald Trump was a stealthy advocate for free speech? Monstrous!

          • FriendlyGoat

            My contention is that Putin can control Russia from the church votes, and Trump can control America from the church votes. They both did it and they did it by harnessing those against gay rights into a voting coalition. Some of those voters themselves don’t even know how they got sucked in (and many, many of them in the USA do not know that the principle result of their votes will be to shift both wealth and power straight upward. They may figure it out in four years and they may not.)

          • ChuckFinley

            Do you entertain the possibility that church goers might have any other considerations besides anti gay animus? The only church that I know of that is that focused is the Westborough Baptist Church and they are all Democrats. Perhaps the actions of the Obama administration, such as going to court to force the nuns of the Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for abortions in violation of their faith and conscience gave religious people the impression that Democrats are hostile to people of faith. Or maybe it was when Democrats booed God at their convention. In any event, there are plenty of reasons other than gays for religious people to not vote Democrat.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Sure, abortion has worked as a wedge issue for 40 years. But Obergefell put it over the top in America. People want “religious freedom”, aka freedom to have a fit. Trump, the most unlikely guy on anyone’s radar from either party just 2-3 years ago seduced the church. Putin did the same thing—-only sooner.

          • ChuckFinley

            In case you missed it,Wall Street donated heavily to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. While religious people turned out to vote for Donald Trump, I think that the thing that got him elected was the promise of jobs. Workforce participation was at the lowest rate since Jimmy Carter was President. Trump promised to fix that. If he does, he will probably be reelected.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The problem, of course, is that massive high-end tax cuts accompanied by massively-equivalent government spending cuts cannot produce an increase in living wage jobs on a net basis. But the CoC knows that once it gets the tax cuts, this detail does not matter.

          • ChuckFinley

            However significant reduction in regulatory burden accompanied by reduction in the number of government employees who enforced those regulations might just do the trick.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Doubtful. Don’t forget that reduction of government employees is reduction of jobs (some of the better jobs) by definition.

          • ChuckFinley

            Government jobs vs private sector jobs is a kind of zero sum situation. Actually it is probably worse than that. Because of jobs lost due to overregulation, each government job probably costs several private sector jobs. Any way, we are going to make the experiment soon so we will have real data and not just speculation.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Indeed we will.

    • seattleoutcast

      It’s never the fault of the schools, is it?

      • FriendlyGoat

        Is it ever the fault of anything else?

        • seattleoutcast

          I never said that.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Maybe there are some trade-specialty high schools out there that can produce fired-up carpenters, roofers, dry-wallers, plumbers, electricians, welders and machinists. I don’t know if there are. If there is demand for that, one would think there would be charters (if nothing else) pursuing it. Are there?

          • f1b0nacc1

            Yes, there are. I don’t have the time right now to link you to them, but they aren’t all that hard to find.

            More to the point, what about other methods outside of schools. I always liked the idea of apprentices (the Germans have done quite well with this, for instance), and I am sure that a reasonably creative mind could find other ways as well.

            Lets remember that overly onerous licensing restrictions in many areas make it extremely difficult to enter into these fields.

          • FriendlyGoat

            If we raised taxes on companies who might sponsor apprentices and then gave them a 150% deduction for their costs in hiring apprentices (aka entry level with training), they might hire a lot of them. We should be taxing the growing tendency to dump people and not taxing heavy employment nearly as much. As you know, that is never a GOP idea.

          • f1b0nacc1

            The simplest problem with your proposal is that a smart, cheap, employer would quite quickly dismiss all but the most significant employees, and hire only apprentices. For anything other than top-level or bottom-level work, they would likely make use of some contractors, or outsource the work. Yes, I am well aware that you can write regulations to fix this hole, but I will wager good money that a reasonably clever attorney could find a few new ones to exploit quite quickly. The end result would be yet another mass of confusing and opaque regulations that only benefit large firms with massive compliance departments to navigate them. Is that really what you are trying to achieve?

            If the idea of hiring apprentices is a good idea, it should stand on its own, it shouldn’t require the government to punish those that don’t go along with it. Companies that are short on labor (which is, after all, where this conversation began) aren’t ‘dumping’ people unless they find it desirable to do so, something that mass immigration and heavy regulation (for instance) encourages. A company that cannot economically justify the marginal cost of hiring another person simply won’t do it, and all the tax incentives (which you well know will become riddled with exceptions and waivers quite quickly as the well-connected will use their influence) won’t change this.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Short reply to both of your posts here. We either are concerned about creating the jobs and the improving remuneration which Mr. Trump promised and/or implied to his rally crowds in “making America great again” FOR WORKER/VOTERS——-or we aren’t. A lot of people voted for him on the belief that their particular job and job market will be made better by Republicans in government.
            You are telling me lots of reasons why it not only won’t happen but shouldn’t happen. This is a gaping disconnect.

          • f1b0nacc1

            You keep pretending that the only way that jobs will be created is through the government or big corporations, and if that was true (it is not) then you would be correct in your critique. I am arguing that the economy is moving away from this model, and that small businesses are the future, which means that we can in fact see the sort of evolution I am pointing to without mass immiseration. Trump may or may not be the answer (so far I am optimistic, but we are VERY early in the game, and truly neither of us knows the future), but he is certainly offering better solutions than the corporatist nostrums of the Left. The central point to our dispute here is from whence growth….

          • FriendlyGoat

            If and when someone can explain convincingly to me WHAT the activities of all those “small businesses” are (or are to be) which are sufficient to replace living-wage jobs lost in the downsizing of corporations and the defunding of government, and HOW they are going to be so lucrative as to provide their employees a stable middle-class life, I would be more amenable to a right-side argument.

          • f1b0nacc1

            You should read further upthread, as we have been through this already. We need more plumbers and fewer HR drones, more welders and fewer lawyers, more building contractors and fewer diversity coordinators.

            How do we get there?

            1) Reverse Duke v Griggs, and follow it with anti-discrimination suits against businesses that require college degrees as a condition of employment unless those degrees are directly related to demonstrable work tasks. Stop providing the children of the rich and upper middle classes with an inequitable advantage in employment, and stop saddling the middle and lower classes with outrageous levels of debt.

            2) Substantially reduce licensing requirements at the federal level, and subject state licensing requirements to strict scrutiny with regards to anti-discrimination law. These licensing requirements are easily shown to disproportionately impact poor and minorities in terms of locking them out of employment

            3) Phase out (in conjunction with (1)) federal support for higher education not directly related to a immediate government research needs. If we want to subsidize little Justin and Jenna’s four year vacation, let private initiative do this. Far from college for all, we should be looking at college as something that scholars engage in, rather than as a generic jobs training program.

            4) In conjunction with (1) and (3), divert federal funding (and strongly encourage state as well as private funding) of job training programs to provide interested parties with skills necessary to find employment

            5) Drop taxes across the board. Explore significant tax simplification to lessen the ‘competitive advantage’ that the rich have when navigating the tax system.

            6) In conjunction with (5) reduce (preferably eliminate) corporate taxes. Impose a one-time tax reduction on all repatriated foreign assets.

            7) Explore public-private partnerships for infrastructure development under a substantially lightened regulatory environment. Extend this practice to all federal projects over a 10 year period

            8) Eliminate all public sector unions at the federal level, and produce model legislation to encourage this practice at the state level as well.

            9) Reduce all federal regulation, with special emphasis on environmental and land-use regulation.

            10) Encourage the growth of charter schools and voucher programs that provide families with choice.

            11) Immediately repeal Obamacare, and provide tax breaks to all individuals who choose to purchase insurance at levels equal to 125% of those available to businesses.

            The desired results of this will be to provide for more jobs within the reach of the middle class, less subsidies to the top classes, reduction of federal intrusion into the marketplace, and a greater opportunity for small businesses (the real engine of jobs) to grow.

            Note: My goal here is to provide more jobs here, as jobs are the key which everything else depends upon. None of this will happen overnight, but this puts us on the right road.

          • FriendlyGoat

            A fast generality on “plumbers and welders” is not detail. Your laundry list supports net job destruction, not job creation. Sorry for again inviting you to waste your day regurgitating Republican talking points when you know (and I know) very well there is no paying market for more plumbers and welders in Kansas City than can be already assembled there on any given day.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Actually I gave you specific policy points. As far as what market there is, you need only look at job postings to see that there is a very big market, just nobody with the skills necessary. I see this all the time in KC (you forget, I work with a company that hires lots of these people, and have some interesting contacts with more as a result of my volunteer work), so in point of fact I do know from whence I speak.

            The jobs that I am ‘destroying’ are gone anyway, it is simply a matter of time. Start creating more, or there will truly be none.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Policy points do not tell me what the plumbers and welders are to be building and who the paying customers are for what is to be built in your vision. Take out the construction which is somehow related to education, health care, government, social services and public works (with all the government funding of those activities) and you won’t have any trouble hiring a welder or plumber. They’ll be standing in line.

          • f1b0nacc1

            You obviously missed the point about infrastructure (lots of jobs there), as well as the removal of environmental regulation that would give all sorts of building work new life. Add to that lightening up on licensing so construction would be easier to get going.

            But there is also this…we have a huge amount of home improvement work, and simple maintenance that needs doing, but is often not an option because of high labor costs. Lower those costs, and more will get done, hence more demand for labor.

            You keep assuming that unless the government is spending the money, nothing will happen. There is little reason to believe that is the case, and you offer not a shred of evidence to support this assertion. Elizabeth Warren’s silly ‘you didn’t build that’ wasn’t correct when she said it, and it is no more correct now.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You know a Republican when the subject is how to get more people paid more money in more jobs and his answer is to lower the labor costs.

          • f1b0nacc1

            The question was never how to get more people paid more money while changing nothing else….

            Lowering labor costs is NOT the same thing as paying people less. Lowering the cost of employing people might be lowering the cost of the regulations that make them more expensive (licensing or extraneous taxes, for instance), or it might be recognizing that the AGGREGATE costs of hiring people are not the same thing as the individual costs.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Actually, lowering labor costs IS a matter of paying people less, hiring them for the least possible hours with the fewest possible strings, being less responsible for them In any social way, being less exposed to their fringe benefit risks and liabilities, being less constrained by any labor laws on how you treat them, being less on the hook for their injuries if any, and being certain they do not unionize. C’mon. Your day is more valuable than to use it dreaming up pure bullsh*t against FriendlyGoat just because he is FriendlyGoat. I know Republicanism. You cannot sell it to me.

          • f1b0nacc1

            “less responsible for them in any social way” has nothing to do with pay, though that was a nice try to slip it in….

            You are associating all of the Lefty wishlist in ‘pay’, and it doesn’t fit, but by all means, please try again…

            As for what Trump voters want, why don’t we see how things evolve? I suspect you are going to see that more of them are interest in getting jobs with some sort of future (McDonald’s notwithstanding) rather than just watching a few lucky winners get a better minimum wage and illegal aliens getting what is left. There is a big difference between a few $100k/yr plumbers, and a few dozen $60k/yr plumbers, and that is precisely what I am pointing at.

            We shall see

          • FriendlyGoat

            Indeed, we shall.

  • PCB

    K-12 is become about teaching students how not to think for themselves, as a preparation for University, where they are told what to think by a Progressive elite – is it any wonder Progressives are pushing for free tuition? It fits perfectly into their plan for engineering mass consent and undermining republican democracy.

  • Andrew Allison

    It’s no longer news that high school education isn’t.

  • Blackbeard

    The point of these programs is not to help students but to increase the salaries and number of jobs for educators who are 90% plus reliable liberal voters.

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