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The GOP has a very serious problem with conservative elites.  I’m sure they mean well, but that’s the problem, they mean well.  Like the candidate they are going to sink with, they are increasingly tone deaf.  Once upon a time, the GOP was a party for everyone, not just the fortunate few who were wealthy, had advanced degrees, and were beautiful, thin, and sat around drinking fine wine.   Once upon a time, the GOP was open to everyone. Unfortunately that is changing.

There are those who wax poetic about education, college, and how much better off a person is if they go to college.  On the surface, I agree.  Unfortunately, unless a kid knows exactly what they are planning to do in life, you are better off learning a trade and facing reality.  No, you’re not going to be adored by the conservative elite.  They’re going to hold their nose up and point out that Mitt Romney’s sons are perfect examples of perfect genetics and perfect parents.

If you live in a perfect world, with perfect parents, who are prefect in every way, you will have a perfect life.  The problem is, that’s not reality.  The problem is, the GOP, under the deplorable leadership of Reince Priebus is more about big money, big donors, the rich, and the beautiful.  We the Little People no longer matter.

“...The figures are based on an analysis of 2011 Current Population Survey data by Northeastern University researchers and supplemented with material from Paul Harrington, an economist at Drexel University, and the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank. They rely on Labor Department assessments of the level of education required to do the job in 900-plus U.S. occupations, which were used to calculate the shares of young adults with bachelor’s degrees who were “underemployed.”

About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years. In 2000, the share was at a low of 41 percent, before the dot-com bust erased job gains for college graduates in the telecommunications and IT fields.
Out of the 1.5 million who languished in the job market, about half were underemployed, an increase from the previous year.

Broken down by occupation, young college graduates were heavily represented in jobs that require a high school diploma or less.

In the last year, they were more likely to be employed as waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers than as engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians combined (100,000 versus 90,000). There were more working in office-related jobs such as receptionist or payroll clerk than in all computer professional jobs (163,000 versus 100,000). More also were employed as cashiers, retail clerks and customer representatives than engineers (125,000 versus 80,000).

According to government projections released last month, only three of the 30 occupations with the largest projected number of job openings by 2020 will require a bachelor’s degree or higher to fill the position — teachers, college professors and accountants. Most job openings are in professions such as retail sales, fast food and truck driving, jobs which aren’t easily replaced by computers….”

There are those who keep pushing this canard that kids today are much better off with a college degree.  For the most part, in other times, I would agree with that.  The problem, though, today, is that 1 in 2 college grads are either unemployed or cannot get a job in their chosen field.

“…While the “Occupy” movement has given a lot of visibility to this issue, college students hardly make up the “99%”. Census data shows that of the adult population (25 or older) only 27.9% have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. Unsurprisingly, the median incomes of those without a bachelor’s degree or only “some college” education are on the lower end of the scale….”

If one must be unemployed and under the age of thirty, would you be better off as a college grad or a high school grad? I would rather be the unemployed high school graduate.

Why?

Debt!

This day and age, the unemployed person under thirty, who only graduated from high school or tech school has a far better chance of surviving than does a college grad who is unemployed and paying out several hundred bucks they don’t have, to pay for that unusable degree.

In my humble opinion, an unemployed, but very artistic young person, has a far better chance of surviving and maybe advancing in the world than a graduate with an unusable business degree, who must pay off close to $25,000 in debt @ 6% interest.

There is this mime that people with degrees make more.

“...In general, however, college remains a good investment: Employment rates and income levels of college graduates still outpace those of individuals without a higher degree. Based on 2009 data, the annual pre-tax income of households headed by people with at least a college degree outpaced that of individuals without the same level of education by 101 percent. In addition, recent unemployment rates of college graduates was 4.5 percent, less than half that of high school graduates—9.7 percent….”

Sure, this is true for physicians, attorneys, CPAs, and bureaucrats. Their high wages skew the entire “average”. Just look at the list of careers and annual salaries. There is no indication in the averages as to who graduated from college, or who did not, aside from the obvious. If you reference this site, you will realize the great canard about college degrees. Yes, the cumulative amount can add up over a period of years, but you might want to compare some notes here.

Believe it or not, The Pink Flamingo would chose the latter, for a very simple reason. Unless one spent one’s high school years collecting oodles of scholarships, currently, the average debt for a graduate is skyrocketing. In 2007 it was about $20,000 with ever increasing interest payments. Today, they are greater in debt than at any other time.

In 2009 that debt was about $23,000. A young woman with a masters in math and a Phi Betta Kappa, magna cum laude wrote about the problems she was having. Evidently that masters in mathematics, which is what everyone wants to stress, did not help her.

Forbes

“…According to FinAid.org, only 40% of Ph.D. candidates borrow and those who do take on average debt of $36,917. Good thing their debt is low. True, Ph.D.s who rise to the rank of full professors do well, earning an average of $118,444, according to the American Association of University Professors. But those cushy jobs are hard to get; most aspiring college teachers these days end up in non-tenure-track positions, earning less than half what professors make….”

Have you figured out the problem, yet? I was reading where a young attorney was making a decent salary. His student loan payments were nearly $900 a month. They were so crippling he couldn’t invest in real estate, buy a home, or much of anything. That’s the point.

BLS

The “average” salary for a graduating attorney is about $70,000. That is when someone is working very long, hard hours. In small communities, an attorney doesn’t make much, at all. They say the average new attorney works about 70-80 hours a week. When you deduct that nine hundred bucks from the $68,500, you’re down to about $58,500 a year, and that’s working the same as someone who does not have a degree and no tuition debt will make doing 40 hours just being an average person. The 40 hour a week person who is not paying off college debt has the possibility of picking up another 20 hours of moonlighting. Suddenly, he/she is making just as much as the new attorney is making, working at least 20 fewer hours, and is not forking out $10,000 in loan payments, for years.

If the young attorney goes for a government job or a clerking position, they are basically working to pay the bank.

I think the idea of a college education has been pushed far too much. It is increasingly expensive, because of administration positions that have nothing to do with education. Perhaps if a college would drop their football and basketball programs and cut the administrators, you might make it more affordable. This said, I am a big believer in inexpensive community colleges, living at home, and tech schools. What I am not in favor of is this constant canard that those of us who did humanities are less important than a scientist.

So they’re not losing their jobs? College grads now do better than people who haven’t?

As of today, the college student loan debt is about a trillion dollars.

“…Taxpayers and other lenders have little risk of losing money on the loans, unlike mortgages made during the real estate bubble. Congress has given the lenders, the government included, broad collection powers, far greater than those of mortgage or credit card lenders. The debt can’t be shed in bankruptcy. The credit risk falls on young people who will start adult life deeper in debt, a burden that could place a drag on the economy in the future.

“Students who borrow too much end up delaying life-cycle events such as buying a car, buying a home, getting married (and) having children,” says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org. “It’s going to create a generation of wage slavery,” says Nick Pardini, a Villanova University graduate student in finance who has warned on a blog for investors that student loans are the next credit bubble — with borrowers, rather than lenders, as the losers. Full-time undergraduate students borrowed an average $4,963 in 2010, up 63% from a decade earlier after adjusting for inflation, the College Board reports. …”

Is it worth it?

WSJ

This paragraph should say it all.

“…“We cannot find qualified hourly production people, and for that matter many technical, engineering service technicians, and even welders, and it is hurting our manufacturing base in the United States,” Douglas R. Oberhelman, chief executive officer of Caterpillar, said in a speech last month. Caterpillar CAT +0.01% is actually expanding here as well as overseas….”The education system in the United States basically has failed them and we have to retrain every person we hire.” A recent study by the Brookings Institution bears him out….”

WSJ

If I had a kid who was graduating from high school today I would tell them to learn a trade. The number one thing I would suggest, male or female, is to learn to sew and tailor. We’re talking a good $20 – $25 bucks an hour, and virtually no competition. A person can pull a thousand bucks a week, their time is their own, and they can literally take the job and move anywhere in the country. I have tried, and I can’t conceptualize how to do it.

Want a plumber, good luck. Need someone to fix your air-conditioning? What about doing some “han

The Pink Flamingo does not mind admitting that, in a way, I am a little biased against the canard that college will get you everywhere. When I was a child, my father purchased half interest in one of the last remaining flour mills in the south. I grew up in and around it, watching the world change. Back in South Carolina in the mid to late 1960s, there was a very real problem with education. It was a rather backward place to live. If we wanted to go to a move, my parents drove 100 miles to Atlanta. It was that bad.

The right and the left likes to denigrate Strom Thurmond as a degenerate racist. He was a degenerate dirty old man (trust me, I’ve had the pinch marks to prove it), but he eventually saw the error of his ways when it came to race, and became one of the most enlightened political leaders in the South, promoting positive race relations. This is very much contrary to the image. One of the things that he did was to create a system of technical colleges and technical education that propelled the state into one of the fastest growing business climates in the country. Only the libertarian stupidity of Mark Sanford, which is continued by Nikki Haley, has brought it to an end.

The technical education system Thurman helped to create started off in the high schools. Today, when I see the poor kids here in Lincoln Country, my heart goes out to them. If they’re not on a collage track, they are dead meat, dirt, pond scum. The schools here in Ruidoso do absolutely NOTHING preparing a kid for real life. There is nothing, absolutely, positively nothing.

Where I lived in Oconee County, a magnificent technical education system was created. Kids learned how to make their way in the world and how to make a living. My high school offered auto repair, beauty, nursing, welding, carpentry – you name it. While those of us who went on to college fought to get jobs, the kids who went through the technical path ended up with good jobs, fairly quickly. Countess numbers of them then went on to the technical colleges envisioned by Strom Thurmand. They eventually did two years, then four. It is rather surprising how many went on for a master’s degree, later in life.

We’re talking real life skills, for real life.

Mike Rowe testified in Congress back in May, about the lack of basic skills people need to keep this nation running like clockwork, including the fact that people don’t even know how to repair clocks today.

Mike Rowe Works

“…Today, there are hordes of young people that should be entering their most productive years that are sitting home with nothing to do.

Many of them have worked incredibly hard throughout high school and college. Many of them have stayed out of trouble and have done everything that “the system” asked them to do. But once they got finished with school, the promised “rewards” simply were not there. Instead, millions of young Americans are faced with crushing student loan debt loads in an economy where they can’t find good jobs.

When you are in your twenties, it can be absolutely soul-crushing to send out hundreds (or even thousands) of resumes and not get a single interview. Most of us grew up believing that we would “be something” when we got older, and millions of young Americans are having those dreams brutally crushed right now….”

The Atlantic

There is a fascinating and very snobbish point of view out among the right that the best way to make something of your life is to go to college. They point to statistics that prove that college grads make more, over a life-time, than people who either don’t graduate, or just have a high school diploma.

Business Insider

According to a recent poll, “young adults” are now the new lost generation.

Outside the Beltway

If you want The Pink Flamingo’s humble opinion, the kindest thing you can do is cut off government student loans.  If you do, the price of college tuition will start leveling off.  Provide some tax breaks and incentives for people to learn the trades.  Sure, they are not glamor jobs.  Ayn Rand would look down on people like them.  They get dirty and smelly.  They’re not beautiful, thin wine sippers.  They have dirt under their fingernails and they chug beer. They do something else, though – THEY VOTE.

If the GOP was truly interested in promoting our future as a nation and as a party, they would be promoting careers as plumbers, electricians, auto repair (heavens only knows when We the Little People will ever be able to afford a new car), air conditioning repair.  People don’t know how to fix clocks.  They don’t know how to plant food.  They don’t know how to hem a skirt, or repair a split in the rear of a pair of jeans.

Oh, wait, these people no longer fit the demographic the Reince Priebus – Mitt Romney GOP wants to project.  They aren’t perfect. They’re downright normal and human, no plastic involved.  The bitter irony here is that the puppet master for the RNC and Mitt Romney, Karl Rove never went to college.  Rush Limbaugh never graduated from college.  I guess, when they start reading the fine print, they’re going to be out on their you know whats.  With Rove, that’s not a bad idea.

Unfortunately, the RNC (and the GOP) has become the bastion of the Randian and liberal billionaire, who is more interested in power and padding their bank accounts than they are the Greater Good.  We now laugh at altruism, the Greater Good, and anything other than greed and self-interest.  The current philosophy that is propelling the elites in the GOP is that Greed is Good, as long as the practitioner is utterly perfect in every way.

Welcome to the brave new world of the GOP.  It is an oligarchy ruled by plutocrats. Forget the Constitution, which is only for those with money.  The rest of us, We the Little People, are simply here to do their bidding.  After all, most of us are not thin.  We probably smell bad, and aren’t genetically perfect like Mitt Romney and his utterly perfect family.  Let’s face it, that’s one reason Newt Gingrich is treated so badly, he’s not cute, perfect and thin with a perfect family.  Rick Santorum has an imperfect child and very real, non-plastic children.

Thank heavens!

So, if you’re not one of the Randian elite who now aspire to rule the GOP, you are welcome to join We the Little People.  We might not smell good, and you might be offended because a good 40% of us aren’t perfectly thin, we may have bad hair days, but we’re real.   A heck of a lot of us understand what it is like to go without.  We are starting to understand what it is like to nearly lose everything just to pay your taxes. Once, we too, were part of the 1%.  No longer.  I’d say most of us are just wallowing around in the mud, trying to survive.

Pardon the dirty fingernails, I can no longer afford the manicure.

 

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