Skip to comments.The Golden Days Are Over
Posted on 07/06/2011 10:07:12 AM PDT by Kaslin
Bill Gross has a Plan to Fix the Fractured U.S. Job Market.
However, before you can fix any problem you have to understand what the problem is. Interestingly, Gross seems to have a handle on some aspects the problem. Here are two key points from the article on which I agree with Gross.
If we are to compete globally while maintaining a higher wage base, we must train for middle in addition to high tech. Philosophy, sociology and liberal arts agendas will no longer suffice. Skill-based education is a must, as is science and math.Gross also cites several facts about the cost of education in the US that also hit the mark.
The private sector is the source of long-term job creation but in the short term, no rational observer can believe that global or even small businesses will invest here when the labor over there is so much cheaper. That is why trillions of dollars of corporate cash rest impotently on balance sheets awaiting global non-U.S. investment opportunities. Our labor force is too expensive and poorly educated for today's marketplace.
Fact: College tuition has increased at a rate 6% higher than the general rate of inflation for the past 25 years, making it four times as expensive relative to other goods and services as it was in 1985. (Click here for a list of the ten most expensive colleges and universities in the U.S.)Subjective explanation: University administrators have a talent for increasing top line revenues via tuition, but lack the spine necessary to upgrade academic productivity. Professorial tenure and outdated curricula focusing on liberal arts instead of a more practical global agenda focusing on math and science are primary culprits.5-Point Summary of the Problem
Fact: The average college graduate now leaves school with $24,000 of debt and total student loans now exceed this nation's credit card debt at $1.0 trillion and counting (7% of our national debt). Subjective explanation: Universities are run for the benefit of the adult establishment, both politically and financially, not students. To radically change the system and to question the sanctity of a college education would be to jeopardize trillions of misdirected investment dollars and financial obligations.
Conclusion to ponder: American citizens and its universities have experienced an ivy-laden ivory tower for the past half century. Students, however, can no longer assume that a four year degree will be the golden ticket to a good job in a global economy that cares little for their social networking skills and more about what their labor is worth on the global marketplace.
We need a program as ambitious as the GI Bill, but one that focuses on retraining existing unemployed workers and redirecting our future students.Pure Keynesian Nonsense
Government must step up to the plate, as it should have in early 2009. An infrastructure bank to fund badly needed reconstruction projects is a commonly accepted idea, despite the limitations of the original shovel-ready stimulus program in 2009. Disparate experts such as GE's Jeff Immelt, Fareed Zakaria, Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Krugman believe an infrastructure bank to be an excellent use of deficit funds: a true investment in our future.
In the end, I hearken back to revered economist Hyman Minsky a modern-day economic godfather who predicted the subprime crisis. Big Government, he wrote, should become the employer of last resort in a crisis, offering a job to anyone who wants one for health care, street cleaning, or slum renovation. FDR had a program for it the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, and Barack Obama can do the same. Economist David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff sums up my feelings rather well. I'd have a shovel in the hands of the long-term unemployed from 8am to noon, and from 1pm to 5pm I'd have them studying algebra, physics, and geometry.
Those who advocate that job creation rests on corporate tax reform (lower taxes) or a return to deregulation of the private economy always fail to address dominant structural headwinds which cannot be dismissed: 1) Labor is much more attractively priced over there than here, and 2) U.S. employment based on asset price appreciation/finance as opposed to manufacturing can no longer be sustained. The golden days are over, and it's time our school and jobs daze comes to an end to be replaced by programs that do more than mimic failed establishment policies favoring Wall as opposed to Main Street.
Congratulations to Governor Scott Walker for sticking to his guns. The state of Wisconsin is far better off because of it. So are taxpayers. Most importantly, so are the school kids.Ridiculous Cost of Education
Please consider Union curbs rescue a Wisconsin school districtThe Kaukauna School District, in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin near Appleton, has about 4,200 students and about 400 employees. It has struggled in recent times and this year faced a deficit of $400,000. But after the law went into effect, at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, school officials put in place new policies they estimate will turn that $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. And it's all because of the very provisions that union leaders predicted would be disastrous.
In the past, teachers and other staff at Kaukauna were required to pay 10 percent of the cost of their health insurance coverage and none of their pension costs. Now, they'll pay 12.6 percent of the cost of their coverage (still well below rates in much of the private sector) and also contribute 5.8 percent of salary to their pensions. The changes will save the school board an estimated $1.2 million this year, according to board President Todd Arnoldussen.
"The monetary part of it is not the entire issue," says Arnoldussen, a political independent who won a spot on the board in a nonpartisan election. Indeed, some of the most important improvements in Kaukauna's outlook are because of the new limits on collective bargaining.
In the past, Kaukauna's agreement with the teachers union required the school district to purchase health insurance coverage from something called WEA Trust -- a company created by the Wisconsin teachers union. "It was in the collective bargaining agreement that we could only negotiate with them," says Arnoldussen. "Well, you know what happens when you can only negotiate with one vendor." This year, WEA Trust told Kaukauna that it would face a significant increase in premiums.
Now, the collective bargaining agreement is gone, and the school district is free to shop around for coverage. And all of a sudden, WEA Trust has changed its position. "With these changes, the schools could go out for bids, and lo and behold, WEA Trust said, 'We can match the lowest bid,'" says Republican state Rep. Jim Steineke, who represents the area and supports the Walker changes.
1. Government doesn't create jobs. Government jobs come at the expense of private sector jobs.Regarding point number 1 above: Much government "work" is makeshift, and not needed at all.
2. Bill Gross' comment "I'd have them studying algebra, physics, and geometry" is wrong. Not everyone needs to learn algebra, physics, and geometry. If money is to be spent in education, it should be where it is needed in trade tech schools. Americans are brainwashed into thinking that getting a four year degree is a path to financial success when a highly skilled tradesman makes more money and is more in demand today than a student with a fluff degree working in an office. We are creating a nation of unskilled workers in debt and ill prepared for the necessary jobs in a diverse economy.
3. Bill Gross won't speak poorly of educators or unions so long as endowments and pension funds make up a large portion of PIMCO investors
Thanks again for the article!
How about those on the other end of the bell curve?
The takers outnumber the makers and Dear Leader will get his social equality-we’ll all be destitute.
Colleges need to understand that if they continue on their path of not educating and just collecting money from students and government, just as our jobs, education will leave the country also.
Education is the most critical issue in California, more serious than even the budget crisis. When Gray Davis first ran for Governor, he promised that Education was to be his highest three priorities, but instead Mr. Davis has shown us what they really were all along: Re-Election, Re-Election, and Re-Election. What were the results? Education spending per student has increased nearly 30%, while classroom performance remains relatively unimproved and at the bottom of a nation producing a third rate primary and secondary education product. The system is broken and the State is nearly bankrupt. So what can we do?
One answer is to free Californias teachers from the overwhelming power of national unions. Teachers should have a choice whether or not to support an often radical political agenda. Unlike Gray Davis, if you elect me Governor of California, I will enforce the law that prohibits unions from requiring campaign contributions in dues payments without teachers permission (Beck (487 US 735), 1988).
Second, we must reverse the trend toward large unified school districts that has effectively excluded parents from affecting public school decisions. The purpose of consolidation was supposedly to reduce the cost of overhead through economies of scale and to strengthen the districts collective bargaining power, but that isnt how it has turned out. Instead, district bureaucracies have become enormous and the resulting issues are so complex that parents are pushed aside by an organizational machine controlled by union lawyers.
I plan to assist formation of corporate service associations for school districts so that they can divest operations into smaller, more personalized institutions while retaining the organizational muscle to deal with the unions. Smaller school districts will give parents a stronger voice on district boards over the issues that matter to them. The principle need to make this possible is to develop programs for children with special needs. Here is where can turn to parents for solutions.
Some would argue that parents on local School Boards arent qualified to make administrative decisions about public education, especially over programs for children with developmental challenges. So, Id like to talk about an education success-story that not only proves that argument wrong, it points toward a total transformation in public education.
Home education is enjoying a renaissance in America, and religious freedom isnt the principle reason. Parents are choosing to home school to assure educational excellence for their children, whose learning habits they know best. A family bond of patience and discipline is a critical factor in student success, especially in a challenging situation. What many people don't know about home-schools is that they have a high percentage of students with genetic, behavioral, and developmental disabilities that had often been poorly served by public institutions. Even with that statistical disadvantage, SAT, ACT, and STAR test scores strongly indicate that home education is producing superior results across the entire spectrum of individual ability.
So parents ARE competent to make choices about their childrens education, and home schools successfully manage nearly every type of specialized educational problem. So what are they doing right that we can apply to public institutions?
As home-educators have grown in number, they have been organizing into loosely knit education cooperatives that point to a new form of public education: a decentralized, customer-oriented network for lifelong learning, using products customized to meet individual interests and abilities. That promises what 21st Century public education could really become: a multi-disciplinary market of customized learning products and services.
We are already starting to see the effects of this change. Software and curriculum companies are finding a growing market of customers committed to gaining competitive advantage. Colleges and universities are offering online degrees because they need superior students to assure productive alumnae. Superior teachers could get rich transmitting their ideas and methods to a mass-market. Where better to develop those products and sell them to the world than California?
We can use private and home education as if they were R&D laboratories developing and testing proven learning tools and services. Public school parents on school boards could then select those products that the State would fund for use in public schools. It is a gradual transformation, from experimenting on our children with untested academic theories, to contracting for innovative tools and methods that have been proven in the marketplace.
All we have to do is let it happen and keep government from regulating new educational methods out of existence. If you elect me Governor, that is what I will do. Federal education dollars arent worth the price of Federal control and bureaucratic requirements. Private and home education both leave the State with more money to spend per-child and provide a competitive incentive for public schools to keep their customers.
Together, lets help California rise from the ashes of a broken system and lead the way once again, into a world of exciting possibilities for our children.
Any human then could use any means imaginable to acquire the necessary knowledge to pass We Test tests. Any school would do, no accreditation required. The Internet is loaded with coursework and curricula, libraries and lab-simulators. Any human with the drive and intelligence to learn on their own could then qualify for a job. No saving for decades, no brainwashing, completely transferable work, at any pace one can withstand. Any employer could then simply select from a menu of We Test specifications instead of a diploma, at any level. We Test tests.
One would think that this should have happened a long time ago, but in fact there is one thing standing in the way that makes the realization of this seeming inevitability a matter of now or never.
State licensing requires degreed credentials obtainable only at said profligate, bureaucratic and unaccountable institutions charging outrageous fees and demanding excessive time as only a State monopoly could command. Why not just amend the legislation specifying education for state licensure by adding the simple words, "or equivalent"?
As an example of how little it would take, consider my wife. She just passed her board certification exam as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. She walked into H&R Block, sat at a computer, took a three-hour exam harder than anything she'd endured in her Masters' Program at Cal State San Francisco, and within five minutes after completion had her passing grade. If the private system can handle a test that specialized, why can't it test arithmetic, algebra, US history, or college chemistry? Instead of bricks and mortar, it would be e-books in quarters. Why not?
How can that be??? The Dept. of Education's yearly budget is $70 Billion!
So, if we want to focus on "science" why then condemn "science"?
I never allow that particular erroneous view to interfere with my taking the time to read something else some other place. It's just IGNANT!
Scrap Davis-Bacon and all prevailing wage laws
Probably a good idea. Might solve the problem of employers hiring "off the books" illegals to save cash.
Enact national right-to-work laws
No-brainer, but, is it a Federal area or is this a states-rights issue?
Kill defined benefit plans for public workers
Why should they have anything but a 401k-like, private sector type plan, or even that if the entity can't afford it?
Scrap student loan programs entirely
I would agree generally, but perhaps put something in place that makes it easier for private student loans to be obtained, regulation and tax-wise. The reason costs increase so fast is the fact that with easy loans there is no downward pressure on tuition. Same would be true for trade schools if they saw a resurgence. This is not an easy fix, really. The idea behind loans is to prevent people being locked into a certain class, a reasonably smart kid with broke-ass parents needs some options (scholarships are another), but this does need changed from what we have now.
End all support for for-profit colleges
I'm not sure about this one...on one hand, the "University of Phoenix" type schools are thought of as lower-quality, but, in the right environment a for-profit school could be superior.
Revise corporate tax laws
Stop corporate tax repatriation holidays
Are they saying to TAX repatriation or NOT TAX them? Not taxing makes more sense - to bring the money back to our shores.
Slash military spending. The US can no longer afford to be the world's policeman.
Agreed with a caveat: We still need to beef up border control and anything directly related to terrorism, and I think we need to stay with Israel, but Germany doesn't need a US military base anymore...
It seems that basically, we have to make a choice...if we want good wages we have to educate ourselves properly, not get 4 year, $80,000 degrees in basket weaving or liberal arts. The only degrees really worth the money are in law (but we have too many in this field), sciences, medicine, and, business to some degree. Even these professions don't necessarily need 4 years in all the excess crap, focus instead on what they are planning to do.
Instead of this, there can be a higher focus on educating for specific trades and skills.
As far as being "well-rounded" - this stuff should really be established in high school and prior. Even some trades can be done at the high school level, IMHO.
I have an MBA, and while I think I did learn a lot from it, it so far hasn't been worth the student loan I'm paying off.
A big part is kids choosing the wrong majors - American kids often opt for more “easy” or “fun” stuff, while Asian kids are taking the hard sciences, engineering, technology, etc.
3.U.S. universities are run for the benefit of teachers, teachers' unions, and administrators, not for the benefit of students
This problem actually starts much earlier with publically funded kindergarten.
Hillsdale College actually has a successful student loan model in place to replace the government debt slave model. They have lined up their own set of lendors to offer their students something better. Their default rate is virtually non-existent because their kids actually learn something useful.
If a tiny little liberal arts college in Michigan can do it, then it can go nationwide.
I’d have a shovel in the hands of the long-term unemployed from 8am to noon, and from 1pm to 5pm I’d have them studying algebra, physics, and geometry.
How’s that going to work when the majority of these long term unemployed have not even mastered the basics of Fractions?
Any politician that tells you that he/she has a plan to create jobs is blowing smoke up your butt. There is no fixing the job situation. It isn’t going to happen-not by any act of congress anyways.
“How about those on the other end of the bell curve?”
They will tout that bale and carry water as they always have. Is there something different for them?
that isn’t 100% true. Plenty of highly educated people are finding themselves unemployed or underemployed. This is about competition amongst a growing pool of job seekers in a climate of decreasing employment opportunities.
College is a scheme to finance the lives of stupid liberals way beyond what they are worth.
They will tout that bale and carry water as they always have. Is there something different for them?
I was hoping there would be jobs in private industry instead of living off the government. Workers with mind have a future, workers using muscle are not needed as they once were.
Nope, but that is irrevocable without an entire economic and technological collapse. The former is close and the latter not inconceivable considering the growth of Neo-Luddite views and appalling ignorance of the masses.
Who are you referring to, might I ask?this, something's wrong with your ears.
Or you can get raw with these strings. Either way, the violin is sweet yet lethal.
How about those on the other end of the bell curve?
Those without the ability to get a college degree. There used to be manual jobs in manufacturing but they don’t exist in this country as they once did. What will those people do to earn a living and support a family if we are not going to bring the factories back.