In an increasingly global economy that permits multinational private enterprises to pit near slaves against working people with the full support and acquiescence of most sovereign governments, who do you think is going to win? It has become a meaningless mantra and a silly shibboleth to say we need better educated workers in order for Americans to compete globally. It’s Pure Bullshit.
Despite endless campaign promises to stop tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs, or to create special financial incentives for those who bring new jobs to the U.S., none of those provisions have been enacted into law. Both parties in Washington are utterly corrupt and our politicians are merely paid mercenaries of our multi-national corporations and our wealthy oligarchy, plutocracy and kleptocracy. If more than half of the members of Congress are millionaires, who do you think they care about the most?
Free trade has been a farce for the majority of people across the planet – except the uber-rich who control both multinational companies and sovereign nations. Most nations suffer from corrupt merged crony-capitalistic political-economic systems – they differ only in their degree of who among a small group of people controls what resources and where the wealth is hidden. Thanks to free trade, goods, services, money and profit are now free to move at will across borders but workers are all left in their national gulags so they can be played off against each other by multinational firms. To those who believe that individuals, cities, societies and nations still control their destinies, I truly feel sorry for your complete state of willfully delusional ignorance.
For most of my life, everyone has complained about schools – and I’ve been around for 5 decades or at least 2 generations – or 3 generations if you consider the urban poor and Mexicans. Please don’t get all politically correct on me – too many single black teenage women have had children for decades, and a large number of Mexican girls start having children shortly after their exaggerated 15th Birthday celebrations or “Fiestas Quinceañeras.”
We have been recipients of endless studies, editorials, essays, and books deriding how bad our educational system is and how little Americans end up learning or how little they care to know. Trade schools are designed to train people for jobs that can only be found overseas today. College students routinely can’t write, do higher mathematics, or think clearly. We spend tons of money on inter-scholastic sports that are publicly subsidized training grounds for professional teams. Students graduate perpetually burdened by $20,000 to $100,000 in non-dischargeable debt. Total student loans now exceed total credit card debt in the U.S.
Over the past 20 years a pervasive mediocrity has settled over the entire U.S. educational system, ranging from abysmally dysfunctional inner city public schools, to mediocre suburban ones, and ending with a handful of top-notch public or private schools in wealthy districts – sort of a microcosm of the country’s current geographic, political, economic and social structure. However the U.S. educational system probably fits what our ruling classes want – competent and complaint self-centered shallow workers who don’t question authority or the big picture because they are ignorant of civics, politics, economics, history and most everything else except for sports, celebrities, new electronic devices, and are easily distracted by almost any new toy.
Our new national consensus in response to this deep recession and huge loss of public tax revenues is to drastically cut funds for public education, most infrastructure projects, and various social safety net programs. Our leaders claim that “We’re broke, we can’t afford it, it’s a wasteful system, the teachers and administrators are greedy incompetent leeches, and the parents and students don’t even care.” Too bad that most conservatives and Republicans are the ones who are intellectually bankrupt. We only live for the bond rating gods and our wealthiest business interests who expect complete servitude from the rest of us Plebeians. What a load of crap we’ve been fed by our leaders.
Even when the public votes for tax increases to protect school funding, right-wing legislatures and governors just keep on cutting and simply ignore the public because they know their political lives are dependent upon those who fund their campaigns. “You’ve got to do more with less” even though the youth population has increased, fixed costs are higher to operate schools, and world competition is fierce. What we end up doing is far less with less – and the perpetually flat test scores coupled with our students falling behind in every conceivable international academic standard are becoming the new down-graded normal.
We’ve entered an era of no one gives a damn because the status quo can’t be changed. We can’t collectively stop the downward trajectory of our collapsing empire because our merged economic-political system is too corrupt, fraudulent, ossified, paralyzed, gridlocked, partisan, and immobilized by fear. We have no voice in our fraudulent democracy since all our politicians are bought by the plutocracy and oligarchy. We can’t raise taxes on those who could easily pay a lot more because they own our political and economic system and they make the decisions behind the scenes. Therefore the preferences of even a strong majority of citizens are completely irrelevant to the formulation of public policy.
Our wealthy kleptocrats hoard their ill-gotten gains in off-shore tax havens and now only invest trillions in overseas markets. They long ago uncoupled themselves financially and socially from the rest of this country and they really don’t give a damn about their former fellow citizens. We have two justice systems – one for the wealthy, powerful and well-connected who are never prosecuted for their huge crimes – and the other for the rest of us where there are no second chances.
Americans must now globally compete for every job in our economy with educated people who have no student debts and who live in countries with average cost of livings that are mere fractions of what it costs to live in the U.S. Skills, experience, education and productivity do not matter any more. Hiring decisions and where to locate new business enterprises are based only upon the price of labor. Thus Americans can never compete on such a basis.
Any professional job that can be performed on a computer which does not require a physical presence with a client can be outsourced today. What jobs remain and that can’t be outsourced to the lowest global bidders are housekeeping, child and elder care, restaurant, hospitality, grounds-keeping and janitorial work – none of which need a college degree or much in the way of extensive educational training.
We have so debased a college degree that it now is the new GED and minimum requirement for any new job. However most new jobs have been, are, and will be part-time, without any benefits, and low-paying. For higher-skilled and educated workers, only temporary independent contractor gigs are the future. None of these jobs provide stead and sufficient income to consistently repay non-dischargeable student loans, yet alone apartment rentals, home mortgages, car payments, and basic U.S. living expenses. In such an environment and with such future prospects, there is very little reason to recommend a college education.
In the United States of Amnesia, we forgot that our nation was the leader in free public education at the primary, secondary and university levels. That long-term financial investment built up our workforce, our businesses, and our global economic and political success during the 19th and 20th centuries. Instead, we want to regress and emulate third-world banana republic educational systems.
In those backwards corrupt and lawless nations, the top 10% of kids make it through politically-connected wealthy family and friends and get the best private educations. Whatever mistakes these chosen few make will be quickly forgiven since they and their colleagues live above the law. Another 10% of kids will likely make it through hard-work, supportive parents, a far smaller support network, and luck – but at best they are decently-paid support personnel to the plutocracy.
In most societies, about 20% of kids will be failures as they cannot escape their broken families, neighborhoods, failed schools, and overall lack of money, effective personal connections, or get any lucky breaks. Pursuing criminal activities are often the only viable alternatives to homelessness. The middle 60% of kids have to just sink or swim – and most gravitate towards the bottom because access to the best schools and good mentors are reserved for just a few.
Our nation spends the most per capita on prisons and has the most prisoners as a percentage of the total population on the face of the earth. Our society will keep people quiet, obedient, and in line by any means possible. Alternatively there’s always military service since our nation lives for perpetual wars that protect the interests of its wealthiest citizens and corporations so they can exploit cheap labor and bribable corrupt governments around the globe.
Unless you grow up among the elites in the nation and must obtain certain degrees from top-ranked institutions in order to work in certain companies or professions, then obtaining an education for the vast majority of Americans may not be needed anymore. Our total national workforce is the same size as it was in 1996 and it continues to hemorrhage and eliminate good-paying jobs in favor of crappy low-paying ones, or it just doesn’t create any new jobs. Our small businesses and entrepreneurs are starved of seed capital and start-up loans so that long-standing source of new jobs and global innovation has simply disappeared from the U.S. economy. If one considers the sizeable population growth over the past 14 years, most people are now just excess baggage to our economy.
Our huge prison population (including many non-violent offenders) keeps overall crime levels and official unemployment numbers artificially low. Furthermore, the vast majority of ex-felons out on parole cannot qualify for most jobs and they are also part of the hidden unemployed. There is now a growing trend among remaining employers to not hire the unemployed, or use financial credit checks to rule out other job prospects, makes another large segment of the population – completely unemployable regardless of their levels of educational attainment, acquired skills and extensive experience.
The saddest news item that describes our economy came earlier this year. Evergreen Solar, the third-largest solar panel manufacturer in the U.S., after receiving $41 million in public financial assistance, decided to close its new high-tech manufacturing facility in Devens, Massachusetts in order to relocate to China which provided much larger financial incentives. Evergreen terminated its 800 highly-skilled American employees in March in favor of using Chinese semi-slaves.
If the jobs of the future are being lost, what will those laid-off workers now do? Apply for one of the new part-time hamburger-flipping jobs at McDonald’s? What good were all their educations, special skills, and overall productivity in keeping them employed in the U.S.? Ironically McDonald’s will probably favor currently-employed college grads with perfect credit scores when they finally choose among millions of unemployed people. How many college courses are needed to learn to say “Do you want fries with that order?”
So why not completely privatize our public schools across the nation? We can sell the existing facilities off to private non-profit foundations, for-profit charter schools, and even convert some schools to senior assisted living facilities and others to more prisons. There’s far more profit and growth potential in caring for the elderly and in housing criminals than for educating our young.
Really, we don’t need our young anymore. For many older white bigots, the majority of our young are non-white, multi-racial, uncouth, annoying, disrespectful, noisy, wild, narcissistic, promiscuous, tech-savvy, and too lazy to get jobs as was done in the past when we had a growing world-class manufacturing and service economy. If we really believe that our country has no future, then why should we waste any money preparing for it?
We can readily argued that our nation’s young won’t make enough money being unemployed or working part-time low-paying jobs. Thus they won’t contribute any significant money into social security or any public or private healthcare systems to adequately fund the retirement needs of the fast-growing elderly population. Let’s just use up all the allocated funds in these public programs over the next 20 years on behalf of those angry old white voters and then shut down those useless inter-generational social safety nets by 2030.
It would be so much easier just to give up on public education. Imagine how low taxes could go if we eliminated anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of most state spending? Grover Norquist and his nihilistic anti-tax minions would finally be able to drown government in a bathtub. We might have to increase police, security and prison budgets a bit to take care of all those uneducated losers but we could easily use many of them as cannon-fodder in our military to pursue endless wars around the globe. That’s been the solution for the excess population throughout human history and why should the United States be any different?
Therefore, I argue that we completely defund and privatize all public schools from kindergarten through all Universities. Arizona could lead the nation in this regard and its political leaders already possess that mindset. Arizona should exist solely for retirees, vacationers, and those who take care of them. If parents want to provide their children an education, they can home-school them or they should go elsewhere for that education. People could move back to Arizona after they turn 21, or preferably after they turn 65, or they could visit between the ages of 21 and 65 if they spent less than 30 consecutive days in the state on vacation. In the immortal words of W.C. Fields, “Go away kid, you bother me.”
Submitted 4/22/11 by Marc Pascal, the arrogant prick angrily ranting from Phoenix, Arizona. I sincerely wish everyone a peaceful and meaningful Easter. Christians have celebrated the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ for 2,000 years and during that time humanity has seen the rise and fall of dozens of regional and global empires. The U.S. will be a collapsed world Imperium within the next 10 to 20 years but the celebration of Easter and its deep spiritual and ethical meanings for how we treat each other here on earth and God’s promise of salvation after we all die will continue in perpetuity.