FT186: “Liberals are so bad at economics because they had no one in their lives to undo the bad education they got.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 6th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

Minimum-Wage Workers in Fast-Food and at Wal-Mart want a Living Wage for their Minimum-Wage Jobs

Wal-Mart workers are now demanding a living wage.  (Or people hired to protest the company the left loves to attack.)  Awhile back it was the fast-food workers demanding a doubling of the minimum wage.  So they could have a living wage.  Because they can’t raise their families with a minimum wage job.  So they want a pay rate beyond the pay rate of a minimum wage job.

So how much is earning $15/hour?  Well, if you work full-time and get the usual (2 weeks of vacation and holiday pay) that comes to 2080 (40 hours/week X 52 weeks/year) payroll hours a year.  At $15/hour that comes to $31,200 annually.  Which is the ‘living wage’ the fast-food workers want.  And no wonder.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (see May 2012 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates) here are some other jobs that pay around $31,200 annually with what they do as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Medical Assistants (Perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of a physician. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding information for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood, and administering medications as directed by physician).  Medical Equipment Preparers (Prepare, sterilize, install, or clean laboratory or healthcare equipment. May perform routine laboratory tasks and operate or inspect equipment).  Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians (Cut, grind, and polish eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other precision optical elements. Assemble and mount lenses into frames or process other optical elements. Includes precision lens polishers or grinders, centerer-edgers, and lens mounters).  Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation (Mix or apply pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides through sprays, dusts, vapors, soil incorporation, or chemical application on trees, shrubs, lawns, or botanical crops. Usually requires specific training and State or Federal certification).  Pharmacy Technicians (Prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist. May measure, mix, count out, label, and record amounts and dosages of medications according to prescription orders).  Phlebotomists (Draw blood for tests, transfusions, donations, or research. May explain the procedure to patients and assist in the recovery of patients with adverse reactions).  And Substitute Teachers (Teach students in a public or private school when the regular teacher is unavailable).

Some have worked Two or More Fast-Food/Retail Jobs so they could get the Education and Skills for a Higher-Paying Job

These are not entry-level jobs.  You just can’t walk in when you’re still a high school student, fill out an application and expect to get hired in any of these jobs.  They all take training/education beyond high school.  And require a license or certification.  Which requires an investment of time and money to get.  Usually including night school at the least.  And more often at least 2 years of college.  None of which is required for a minimum wage job.

So it’s no wonder people with minimum wage jobs want a pay rate that is beyond their skill-set.  Who wouldn’t?  Wouldn’t you want to get that higher pay without putting in that schooling?  That investment of time and money?  Things you probably can’t even do if you’re raising a family on a minimum wage job.  Or two.  But does that mean we should just pay these people more?  Would that be fair to the Medical Assistants, Medical Equipment Preparers, Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians, Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation, Pharmacy Technicians, Phlebotomists and Substitute Teachers?

No.  It wouldn’t be fair to them.  For they would have made great sacrifices in their life to get those better paying jobs.  Because that is how you get a better-paying job.  In fact, some may have worked two or more fast-food/retail (such as Wal-Mart) jobs so they could get the education and skills these jobs required.  A lot of people working in fast-food/retail today may be doing the same thing.  For fast-food and retail offer two great things that allow these people to acquire these skills.  They will hire people without any skills (i.e., entry-level workers).  And fast-food and retail have many working schedules available.  Allowing single-parents to work when they have other arrangements for their children (school, daycare, parents, etc.).

The Hippies of the Sixties became Professors and then Moved on to Write the Curriculum

Instead of protesting fast-food and Wal-Mart we should be happy that at least someone in this horrible economy is actually hiring people when so few others are.  As President Obama’s economic policies have made such an anti-business environment.  The economy is so bad that just this past month another 516,000 have left the labor force (see Table A-1. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age).  Which is the only reason why the unemployment rate fell.  Because of discouraged workers who couldn’t find a job just quit looking for a job.  But the government puts a positive spin on this by lauding the 169,000 new jobs the economy created.  Saying it’s further proof that President Obama’s economic policies are working.  Despite 516,000 who quit looking for jobs that are just not there.

If people are unhappy with their low-paying jobs in fast-food and retail they should be more upset about this economic destruction being waged by the Obama administration.  Which is the reason why fast-food and retail are the only businesses hiring today.  But there is no outrage.  Why?  Because most don’t understand economics.  And there is a reason why most people don’t.  It’s because of our education system.  Which the left has taken over.  Who write a curriculum that teaches students that capitalism and profits are unfair and bad while government and income redistribution so the rich pay their fair share is good.  And just.

A professor at Michigan State is the latest professor to illustrate the indoctrination of our young going on at our public schools and colleges.  Parents had to deal with their kids coming home from high school to hear how they were killing the polar bears because they drive cars.  But when these kids go to college this is the kind of stuff they encounter on a daily basis.  And he’s not the worst offender.  The worst offenders are those who don’t say outrageous things.  But who do it more subtly.  A smile, a smirk, a condescending remark—things that tell a young impressionable mind out from under their parents’ control for the first time that their parents were wrong.  Unless their parents were liberal.  They will believe almost anything these professors say.  Because they are very smart and must know far more than their parents.  And they treat these kids like adults.  And there is nothing that high school/college kids want more.  To be grown up.  It’s why they smoke cigarettes.  And have sex.  Because that’s what grownups do.

So is it any wonder that people have a poor understanding of economics?  Ever since the hippies of the Sixties couldn’t change the country from the outside they became professors to change it from the inside.  And then moved on to write the curriculum.  These people who hated capitalism.  And admired communism.  Which is why so many of them lived in communes in the Sixties.  These are the people writing the curriculum for our children.  Making sure our education system creates like-minded people.  To keep them voting Democrat until wisdom and experience opens their eyes.  And undoes the bad education they got.  This is why people think that it’s fair to pay minimum wage workers the same as Medical Assistants, Medical Equipment Preparers, Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians, Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation, Pharmacy Technicians, Phlebotomists and Substitute Teachers.  Just to see how pervasive this indoctrination of our children is—and why people keep voting for those who keep trying the failed economic policies of the past—we should put a webcam in every classroom and lecture hall.  So parents—and the rest of America—can see the liberal dogma being fed to the young.  Making them think, and vote, the way they do.  Then we’ll know whether these are isolated incidences.  Or that it is in fact pervasive.  Explaining why so many people today have no understanding of economics.  That minimum-wage jobs are entry-level jobs.  And that if you want to raise a family you probably shouldn’t be voting Democrat.  Whose policies are making the only available jobs in this horrible economy those entry-level jobs.

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FT169: “College is more about making Democrat voters than giving students marketable skills.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 10th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

Another Big Reason why College Tuition has been Soaring is because of Public Sector Unions

College tuition is rising.  With increases greater than the rate of inflation.  With some tuition costs growing greater than costs in health care.  There are many reasons for this.  Unlike private sector business colleges cannot produce more with less.  That is, they cannot use productivity gains to educate more students with fewer professors.  Auto manufacturers can use robots to replace people on the assembly line.  Reducing wage, pension and health care costs.  The biggest costs that go into a car.

Universities are big campuses with lots of buildings that basically do one thing.  Sit students down in front of a professor.  This hasn’t change since the first days of higher education.  The only things that have changed are the buildings are a lot nicer.  And university employees all have better pay, pensions and health care than they used to have.  Which is why tuition costs keep rising.  For universities, unlike auto manufacturers, can’t speed up their assembly lines by using robots instead of people.  But it’s not only the auto manufacturers and the universities that have high labor, pension and health care costs.

Another big reason why university tuition has been soaring is because of public sector unions.  Who have negotiated some extremely generous union contracts.  Cities and states everywhere are drowning under the costs of their labor, pension and health care costs.  Forcing them to cut back spending elsewhere to pay for those generous public sector union contracts.  So they’re cutting back on their subsidies for higher education.  And what the state cuts the universities just tack on to the student’s tuition bill.

Universities lure High School Kids into College with Promises of a Big Paycheck for an Easy Degree

Today’s tuition costs will saddle a student with the kind of debt that can pay for a house.  A very big house.  One of those McMansions.  Depending on where you go to college.  Which is all well and fine if a student gets a high-paying job after graduating.  Sadly, though, a lot aren’t.  A lot are taking jobs that they could have gotten out of high school.  Without that massive student loan debt.  Debt they will be paying for a long, long time.  Making it very difficult for them to buy a house and start a family.  And the reason for this is too many students are taking degrees with no market value in a high-tech economy.

Today’s businesses are looking for people with a strong science and math background.  For this is what businesses in a high-tech economy need.  Not people with degrees in anthropology.  Philosophy.  Women’s studies.  Art history.  Comparative literature.  Communication.  Or a myriad of other degrees that a business just can’t use.  Yet our universities are selling these degrees.  Telling their prospective students who don’t want the heavy math load a science and engineering degree requires that these other degrees are just as good.  And that they, too, can have that big paycheck.  Just like engineers and chemists and doctors and physicists.  All they need is a student loan.  And the world can be their oyster.

So these kids starting their adult lives start that life by making one of the worst decisions of their lives.  Because they really want to go to college.  For the fun.  Universities lure these high school kids into higher education.  Appealing to them as adults.  Who can live away from home out from under the judgmental eyes of their parents.  For on a college campus there is a lot of fun to be had.  Sex.  Drugs.  Alcohol.  And health services.  Such as birth control and access to abortion services.  For all the consequence-free fun a high school graduate could ever ask for.  This is the bait.  And all they have to do to have all of that grownup fun is to borrow enormous sums of money that they will probably never be able to pay back.

Liberals say You should Never Rush to Judgment, Especially if we can’t Blame Conservatives

For the universities, though, it’s not just the money.  For their curriculum is the product of those Sixties’ radicals.  Who tried to overthrow capitalism.  And replace it with communism.  As they were never able to incite the workers’ revolt in the United States they changed tack.  And continued their revolution from the inside.  By becoming college professors.  Who eventually got tenure.  And went on to write the curriculum.  Basically an anti-capitalist, America is responsible for all the world’s problems and an anti-religious/anti-tradition curriculum.  Hence the socially liberal campus where anything goes.  And those college degrees that have no market value.  That advanced a relentless attack on capitalism and business.  And made their students eschew American greatness.

This curriculum has helped President Obama win reelection despite a horrific economic record.  And a brutal attack on the American mission in Benghazi.  The result of a failed foreign policy that tried to make nice with America’s enemies.  Who have been trying—and at times succeeding—to kill Americans.  The Fort Hood shooting by a radical Islamist.  The underwear bomber (failed Islamist plot).  The Times Square bomber (failed Islamist plot).  As well as other smaller and lesser known incidents.  Both successful and failed Islamist plots.  Then Benghazi.  And the death of 4 Americans.  Despite earlier witnessing an increase of anti-Western violence in the city.  A resurgent al Qaeda.  And an anniversary date holy to radical Islam.  9/11.  The U.S. mission in Benghazi requested additional security.  The Obama administration denied it as it would not fit the 2012 campaign meme.  ‘Osama bin Laden is dead.  And General Motors is alive.’  President Obama had won the War on Terror with the killing of bin Laden.  Therefore, they couldn’t have a terrorist attack in Benghazi before the 2012 election.  So the Obama administration made up the story about an anti-Islamic YouTube video that led to a spontaneous protest in front of the U.S. mission.  A protest that naturally got out of hand when the people pulled RPGs and mortars out of their pockets and started a military assault on the American compound.

The Obama administration then started to disseminate the lie.  They sent Secretary Rice to the Sunday morning television shows with severely edited talking points to downplay any role of radical Islam.  Then President Obama and Secretary Clinton made numerous public statements denouncing that YouTube video.  Even made a video to air in Pakistan.  And the mainstream media, the product of that anti-capitalist, America is responsible for all the world’s problems and anti-religious/anti-tradition curriculum never questioned anything.  They just dutifully carried the administration’s water.  And now that signs of a cover-up are coming out the administration is saying the only reason why they made any edits to those talking points was to prevent anyone from rushing to judgment.  Something they say we should never do.  Especially if we can’t blame conservatives.  Or Christians.  Like they did with the YouTube video that proved to be a red herring.  And as they—and their friends in the mainstream media—have rushed to judgment in the past.  By quickly blaming radical conservatives for every other massacre.  Only to see it turn out to be someone who wasn’t a conservative.  But a radical Islamist(s) instead.  Or someone suffering from mental illness.

Of course this wouldn’t be possible without higher education.  Where college is more about making Democrat voters than giving students marketable skills.  One could even blame those deaths in Benghazi on that anti-capitalist, America is responsible for all the world’s problems and anti-religious/anti-tradition curriculum.  (As well as being the reason why these kids can’t find any high-paying jobs; the vote for anti-business Democrat candidates whose policies discourage economic growth.)  Because protecting Americans in Benghazi would have been bad for the Democrats in 2012.  So perhaps we should be addressing the high cost of higher education.  And follow the example of the automotive industry.  By producing more graduates with fewer professors.  And put an end to the liberal Shangri la of the college campus.  By replacing the bulk of higher education with online studies.  For if a 15-year old girl can make medical decisions about the morning after pill by reading the contents of the packaging without consulting a doctor or parent then she can get her higher education online.  Without all the fun.  Or student loan debt.

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FT91: We vilify doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals and insurance companies for rising health care costs but we don’t vilify professors or universities responsible for rising tuition costs.

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 11th, 2011

Fundamental Truth

Greedy Taxpayers are Blamed for the High Cost of Higher Education

Both health care and tuition costs are rising.  They’re out of control.  Both are crises.  We hear about it all the time.  And we’re doing something about it.  Interestingly, though, we’re trying to solve these crises differently.

We’ve identified villains in the health care industry.  Doctors who order unnecessary procedures.  Hospitals that carry out unnecessary procedures.  Greedy pharmaceutical companies that make seniors choose between food and medicine.  And greedy insurance companies who keep raising their premiums while aggressively denying claims.  All who contribute to the rising cost of health care.

So we know who wears the black hats in the health care crisis.  It’s a little different in the tuition crisis.  Do you know who the villains are there?  We are.  The greedy taxpayers.  Who have nothing to do with the rising cost of tuition.  No.  Our crime is our opposition to ever higher taxes.  So we can subsidize ever more of the high cost of higher education.

The Rich Fat Cats above the Professors live like Wall Street Fat Cats

So why are costs so high?  And why aren’t we blaming those who make these costs so high?  Like we blame doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies?

Universities are awash in cash.  From tuition.  From the state.  From corporations.  From benefactors.  From alumni.  And, of course, from college sports.  A multibillion dollar industry.  That doesn’t pay a dime to the athletes that generate all that cash.  So universities have a lot of cash.  Yet tuition costs keep going up.  Why?

What are the costs of a higher education?  There are classrooms.  But these are long-term fixed assets.  That last decades without any improvements.  There are textbooks.  They’re very expensive.  Rarely less than $100.  Which is odd.  Because it’s rare to find a book at Barnes and Nobel for more than $100.  So that’s a profitable enterprise.  Textbook publishing.  While all other publishing is bleeding red and going out of business.  And there are, of course, faculty.

The life of a university professor is pretty sweet.  You get to hide from the real world on campus.  You have great working hours.  You get a lot of time off.  Sometimes all summer.  And have graduate students do all of your busy work.  It’s a charmed life.  And students pay them well for it.  And once they get tenure they can pretty much do whatever they want.  And no one will ever fire them.  No matter how many of their graduates can’t find a job.

And then you have all the rich fat cats above the professors who do even less.  Who drive the same kind of cars the Wall Street fat cats do.  And live in the same kind of houses the Wall Street fat cats live in.  But no one protests these rich fat cats.  Who got rich by ripping off students.  Via the ever rising costs of higher education.

Getting into the University System is like being Knighted in the Old World

The university system is a microcosm of Old World aristocracy.  Getting into the system is like being knighted in the Old World.  And university life is like the Old World.  Where no one challenges your privilege.  Because that wouldn’t be proper behavior.  And lacking the respect due to the privileged class.

Of course this isn’t a problem when you produce great doctors, scientists and engineers who make the world a better place.  We thank those professors who work tirelessly for the betterment of society.  But to those who sucker kids into worthless degree programs?  Where there’s no math?  Only ‘no right or wrong’ essay questions?  And no jobs waiting for them in the private sector?  Well, we’re not quite as enamored with these professors.

Because we’re left to clean up their mess.  From students defaulting on their student loan debt.  Because they can’t get a job.  To the mess they make while protesting Wall Street greed.  Because they can’t get a job.  All the while those responsible for their plights are preparing to raise tuition costs yet again.  As they always have.  And always will do.  Free from blame.  Even though they are more blameworthy than those on Wall Street.

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