Asking the wealthiest among us to pay more, and taking new steps to help the least well-off — the jobless and the poor — are good policy. But politically, and perhaps even economically, the president can’t lose focus on a group often left on the sidelines of the political conflict over rich and poor: the long-suffering middle class.
So why aren’t we talking about trade policy? The fact that while we keep arguing that “Free Trade” is a good thing, every time we open our borders to more free trade we get a larger trade deficit and more middle-class jobs go overseas?
The writer laments school funding, but that’s a common lefty liberal load of crap:
If the news on incomes wasn’t bad enough, the middle class was dealt a second blow last week when a report by the Washington research organization Third Way showed that schools serving this segment of the population have vastly under- delivered for their students. (Disclosure: I am a member of the board of trustees of Third Way, though I didn’t participate in preparing the report.)
No one should be surprised by Third Way’s finding that, compared with schools in the wealthiest districts, those serving middle-class families spend about $1,600 less per student, have three more students per teacher, and pay teachers $6,000 less per year.
Money has basically nothing to do with educational outcomes. What we’ve done in this nation is a crime when it comes to our schools – moving away from phonics to “whole language”, dumbing down the math curriculum and removing direct instruction everywhere it can be removed and allowing disruptive students and those who simply are outside the bell curve’s second standard deviation to remain in the common classroom, then insisting that they not be “behind”, thereby dumbing down the curriculum and progress for everyone else.
None of this is an accident and none of it has anything to do with money. In fact, mathematics, history, English and the other basics of learning haven’t changed in a hundred years. There is no need for “new” textbooks or any sort of technology beyond pencils, paper, a chalk board and flash cards in the first two or three grades!
The rest of the article talks about the “workers of tomorrow”, yet the image at the top is that of a blue-collar worker – the very person who we have done our damndest to outsource to China.
The facts are this: We do not need a lot of rocket scientists. Oh sure, we need some, just as we need some engineers, doctors, physicists and computer programmers.
But we also need lots of people who work with their hands and we must have an economy that favors producing things. Outsourcing the building of things to places where labor is $5/day does not produce a strong middle class. The fact of the matter is that whether we like it or not intelligence is a bell curve and the average is 100. The average person is not the award-winning rocket scientists of tomorrow, nor the innovator in high-tech design. That’s the guy or gal who’s two, three, or even four standard deviations beyond “normal” intelligence.
All economies need those people, but those people are not the norm. The norm is the guy or gal who builds cars, nails on roofs, repairs plumbing and fixes your AC when it breaks. He or she needs a trade making and maintaining things, and those things need to be produced here.
Pull your head out of your ass America. We can neither send everyone to college to be a rocket scientists nor should we. The majority of people are in fact average – that’s what average means. The brightest and best should indeed be given every opportunity to excel, but for everyone else we need an economy that provides real work that rewards them for their ability and effort, and provides a path forward for those individuals.
It can’t be done when the manufacturing and other goods-producing jobs are in China and the options for a job here are to be a Doctor or pull coffees at Starbucks.