August 9, 2016

"It should not surprise us that the liberal class regards the university as the greatest and most necessary social institution of all..."

"... or that members of this cohort reflexively propose more education as the answer to just about anything you care to bring up. College can conquer unemployment as well as racism, they say; urban decay as well as inequality. Education will make us more tolerant, it will dissolve our doubts about globalization and climate change, it will give us the STEM skills we need as a society to compete. The liberal class knows, as a matter of deepest conviction, that there is no social or political problem that cannot be solved with more education and job training... To the liberal class, every big economic problem is really an education problem, a failure by the losers to learn the right skills and get the credentials everyone knows you’ll need in the society of the future.... To the liberal class this is a fixed idea, as open to evidence-based refutation as creationism is to fundamentalists: if poor people want to stop being poor, poor people must go to college. But of course this isn’t really an answer at all; it’s a moral judgment, handed down by the successful from the vantage of their own success. The professional class is defined by its educational attainment, and every time they tell the country that what it needs is more schooling, they are saying: Inequality is not a failure of the system; it is a failure of you."

That's from "Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?" by Thomas Frank.

72 comments:

Comanche Voter said...

The problem with Thomas Frank saying that is that he the sort of jerk who believes it is all true. Frank never could, and never will, figure out What's The Matter With Kansas. To him flyover people in the middle of the country are as inexplicable as new arrivals from Mars.

Comanche Voter said...

Sorry that is to say, "Thomas Frank IS just the sort of jerk who believes that buffalo dust".

Cheryl said...

I just finished reading JD Vance's Hillbilly Elegy. Free college won't help huge swaths of poor people, and the book makes clear that there probably aren't any federal programs that can "solve" the problems they face. It is an upper-middle-class liberal idea that free college will fix things.

I don't even think the people proposing it really believe it anymore.

coupe said...

Democrats have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-four years, and yet the decline of the middle class has only accelerated. Wall Street gets its bailouts, wages keep falling, and the free-trade deals keep coming.

What an indictment. I hope it has a happy ending.

buwaya said...

College will ultimately do squat.

This is a lesson that should have been learned long ago from, of all places, the Third World. It used to be a standard prescription to expand education as fast as possible, especially universities, as that was supposed to be the quick path to development. Countries like Egypt (and a horde of others like the Philippines) put enormous resources into higher ed. Much foreign aid was provided.

By the late 1970's- early 1980's in most of these places it was apparent that this was foolishness. In all these countries there was an excess of "educated" persons with no economic role. And the actual standard of education was dismal. Egypt is an excellent case, but you can look nearly anywhere and find the same thing.

The modern US examples of the college educated displacing the less educated in unskilled jobs was true thirty years before. The collapse of standards likewise.

Bill Peschel said...

We're reading "Listen Liberal" now and it's damning of both parties over the 2008 financial meltdown, but particularly Obama. I had forgotten back then that he promised the banks that they wouldn't pay for their fraud. The rating agencies wouldn't pay for their fraudulent ratings. He also refused to support legislation that gave judges the power to reduce mortgage payments for borrowers in trouble (in essence making the banks pay for their deceit).

Instead of reinstating the Glass-Stegall wall, he also supported the Dodd-Frank Act with its 22,000 pages of regulations, loopholes and exceptions (a third of which is still being written). Frank points out that the complexity was intentional, quoting Jonathan Gruber's taped speech that Obamacare was "written in a tortured way" with a "lack of transparency" meant to confuse evaluators and sell it to the clueless public.

We can expect more of the same from Hillary, who refuses to reveal what she told the bankers in her six-figure speeches.

This is why I'm voting Trump, God help me. Wall Street hates him.

Unknown said...

Again, what kind of college? The LGBT left is trying their best to remove the accreditation of any educational institution to the right of Marx. I somehow suspect that a degree from Liberty or BYU is regarded as a far far greater sin than some poor schlub working the assembly line for Ford in the eyes of the "elite."

--Vance

William Chadwick said...

Comanche: Along with Barbara Ehrenreich and Elizabeth Warren, Frank is also perpetual contender for the Linda Lovelace Award for State-fellating.

buwaya said...

"I somehow suspect that a degree from Liberty or BYU "

These are tiny numbers in these institutions. BYU is regionally significant at best.

Ann Althouse said...

Frank is a New Deal type liberal and he's very critical of the current Democratic Party. Much of his critique is applicable to the current situation as we try to understand the people who are voting for Trump.

buwaya said...

I may have been less than fair to T. Frank.
He may actually have learned something since "Kansas".

buwaya said...

The kind of college that really is valuable - if there is an industry for them to feed into -

http://www.csuchico.edu/mmem/programs/bsmanufacturing_technology/index.shtml

Note the "sustainable" is meant to keep them PC and out of the cross-hairs that they would be in by the industry-and-machine-hating California government.

mockturtle said...

It's not that Liberals really believe in higher education. It's that they want to control the propaganda. Period.

buwaya said...

"It's not that Liberals really believe in higher education"

They do have their religion and the cathedrals thereof.

Unknown said...

Buwaya: It may well be that BYU and Liberty, et. al. are just small fish in the pond. Yet the fact remains, the left is trying to shut them down.

Fox News is but one station on the dial, and the Koch Brothers are but one set of rich people donating to politicians, but from the left's hysterical "the world is ending if we don't silence them immediately, at all costs!" you would expect otherwise. Same with so-called "Climate change deniers." According to the propaganda, 97 or 99% of all scientists support global warming. So why is the Democrat party trying to throw that insignificant 1-3% who don't agree in jail? And yet, they are.

You would think they would be satisfied with how much power and influence they have, but no: universities have to cancel speeches by people like Milo because the leftists threaten to riot and hurt people. How dare the captive students ever hear anything except what the left wants them to hear, right?

--Vance

Carol said...

I recall being in school in the early 1980s, and every discussion of entrenched social problems ended up with the solution:more education. I finally asked what that meant and the prof just shrugged.

It meant we teach you to agree with us. They had no answers.

William said...

Correlation vs causation. Middle class values cause people to own homes, but owning a home doesn't cause people to develop middle class values. Same thing with a college degree. Nothing you learn with a liberal arts degree will help you earn money, but the desire to finish college and the wherewithal to do it demonstrates a certain amount of tenacity of purpose and low animal cunning that augurs well for future earnings. Free college probably wouldn't have the same predictive value. It would be a form of NINJA loan on the student's future.

buwaya said...

Egypt and the Philippines and some others, a few years after hitting the "educated but useless" wall, did manage to make some of these lemons into lemonade, by exporting labor, educated, semi-educated, trained, or poorly-trained-but-willing, mostly to the Middle Eastern oil producers.

These had just as "educated" people (Kuwait, Iraq, the Emirates, S.Arabia have spent tremendously on "education"), but their economic value was far lower due to other human factors. And of course there was the relatively low cost of the imported workers.

This is not an option for the college-educated in the US. US workers are very expensive.

BN said...

Frank is a faux intellectual. He says something that sounds possibly insightful, but on further reflection, only shows he doesn't know what he's talking about. He is no more insightful about liberals than he is about fly-over-dwelling conservatives.

Liberals have many reasons for touting college. Most of them actually believe what they believe. But many don't, they have other reasons. The three main ones are indoctrination, a handy subsidy opportunity (to buy votes), and garnishing (did you like that usage?) easy virtue with OPM.

The ones who actually do think college will help the poor simply don't know Reynold's Law:

"The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them."

Michael The Magnificent said...

College can conquer unemployment as well as racism, they say; urban decay as well as inequality. Education will make us more tolerant, it will dissolve our doubts about globalization and climate change, it will give us the STEM skills we need as a society to compete.

If the "free" education were limited to fields of study for which there is a demand, then it might be a net positive thing. But if anyone can get a "free" education (at other people's expense) in any field of study, there's going to be a whole lot of people wasting time and resources getting useless degrees far beyond any demand for those skills.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Even if everyone had the cognitive ability to attend college we already graduate far more people with actual useful skills than jobs for them. Never mind all the people getting degrees for things that are not useful in the job market at all.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/education/the-stem-crisis-is-a-myth

Kind of says it all.

mockturtle said...

Entrance into university should be based upon IQ and/or GPA. If someone has the qualifying IQ but not the GPA, he should be able to pass an entrance exam. If he lacks the IQ but has a high GPA, it is likely he has the skills and perseverance to succeed. Everyone else should learn some kind of useful trade. Heaven knows, we desperately need plumbers, electricians, diesel mechanics, organic farmers, health care workers and soldiers, just to name a few. The notion that everyone needs a college education is absurd.

mockturtle said...

And if higher education is free, it will lose currency, both with the student and with the market.

Bob R said...

Frank is a New Deal type liberal...

I'll accept that if you define a "New Deal type liberal" to be one who want a large welfare state with a punitive regulatory policy as a first step toward state ownership of the means of production. There certainly were a lot of those who were part of the New Deal.

n.n said...

The issue is not education but value. There is a progressive disparity between theoretical and realized return on investment.

tim in vermont said...

it will dissolve our doubts about ... climate change, it will give us the STEM skills we need as a society to compete.

Unfortunately, those two are contradictory. I could explain that, those arguing with me most likely wouldn't have the STEM skills to understand my argument.

Hagar said...

It is telling that they always tell you to stay in school and "go to college" without saying anything about what you should study. It is like a college degree is your ticket to a social class, rather then evidence of the knowledge and skills required for entry level hiring in a profession or trade.

Todd Galle said...

I think over-credentialing is also a large problem. I graduated with a BA in History from a small private college on a Sunday in 1987, and already had a job with the National Park Service as an Interpreter starting the next day. My wife and I started a family fairly young, and I never went back for an advanced degree. Neither the time or money mostly. But I spent time in most areas of museum work, from interpretation, all stages of exhibit construction and design, artifact preparation, exhibit script writing, labeling, etc. Hands on skill sets are invaluable in an ever decreasing staffing situation. Our historic site has lost over half of our positions since 2009. As our site's curator/historian, I have reached my zenith. When we do have openings for 'museum assistants', we get people with Masters degrees and some working towards their PhD, for entry level positions. It's terribly sad and depressing to see these folks scrambling for $14 bucks an hour.

mesquito said...

My brother went to college. He learned to drive ships of any size. It was proven to be a useful and lucrative skill. I have a BA in history and government. Not so useful. Nor lucrative.

mockturtle said...

My daughter has recently been interviewing job applicants for her medical office and is surprised to find many with bachelors and masters degrees applying for medical records and front desk positions. She doesn't hire them because she assumes they are only interested in the position until they can find something better.

Unknown said...

Why is that a problem? You really expect to pay someone $14 an hour for 20 years? You want the kind of person who wants to work for 14 an hour for 20 years?

FleetUSA said...

Actually the most important education is in K-12 IMHO. With that a person can be functional in society at many levels, i.e. most jobs in the economy do not need college.

College for many is a drunk binge that costs big bucks.

So the solution is to improve K-12 with vouchers, charter schools, and doing away with union seniority rules which hold back good teachers.

DavidD said...

Education, or RE-education?

The Vault Dweller said...

There does need to be cultural change in America. Right now society tells every kid and young adult that THE path to success is going to college and getting a real career. Frankly college is not for everyone and right now we probably have too many people going to college as is. A lot of people on the left have this dream idea of free university and they cite European nations as an example. Noting that in many European nations they actually pay the student to attend University. Guess what they look over. In many of those states only like the top 10% get into University.

Fernandinande said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandinande said...

"the liberal class regards the university as the greatest and most necessary social institution of all..."

Stupid racist government lawyers did a lot to create that supposed need with their stupid racist Griggs decision.

tim in vermont said...

My personal opinion is that the gold-plated pensions keep teachers teaching long after they have lost their love for it. Like the old joke: "A teacher is somebody who used to like kids."

If they had 401Ks like the rest of us, they could change jobs when they burn out and get the itch to work a full year like the rest of us.

Fernandinande said...

The stupid racist government lawyers were:
Warren E. Burger
Hugo Black
William O. Douglas
John M. Harlan II
Potter Stewart
Byron White
Thurgood Marshall
Harry Blackmun

wildswan said...

There is book by Michael Young, The Rise of the Meritocracy 1870-2033 which was a dystopian vision published in 1958 of the consequences of using universities as a social sieve. In 2001 he wrote an article commenting on how his worst fears were being realized. I think the Brexit/Trump phenomenon is Young's vision of the rise of opposition to the social ills caused by the meritocracy coming true. That is there is a the crazed opposition from the elites to Brexit/Trump. They simply are not able to imagine any valid opposition because they are not able to connect their (dominant) social philosophy as cause and existing social ills as effect.

Some quotes from the article:
"A social revolution has been accomplished by harnessing schools and universities to the task of sieving people according to education's narrow band of values.

With an amazing battery of certificates and degrees at its disposal, education has put its seal of approval on a minority, and its seal of disapproval on the many who fail to shine from the time they are relegated to the bottom streams at the age of seven or before.
...
The more controversial prediction and the warning followed from the historical analysis. I expected that the poor and the disadvantaged would be done down, and in fact they have been. If branded at school they are more vulnerable for later unemployment.

They can easily become demoralised by being looked down on so woundingly by people who have done well for themselves.

It is hard indeed in a society that makes so much of merit to be judged as having none. No underclass has ever been left as morally naked as that."

The article is at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/jun/29/comment

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandinande said...

wildswan said...
The article is at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/jun/29/comment


"...The Rise of the Meritocracy. I coined a word which has gone into general circulation, ..."

What word does he claim he coined?

"Meritocracy" was used in the 1800s.

Roughcoat said...

Frank is a New Deal type liberal and he's very critical of the current Democratic Party.

Not a mark in his favor. The New Deal was a failure.

bagoh20 said...

The list of people who have been wildly successful without a degree is huge, those who have been just plain successful without it is in the millions. The list of abject failures with a college degree is also legion.

Imagine an expensive drug that takes years of treatment with a high failure rate for a disease with a high rate of spontaneous recovery - say $100,000 for years of treatment to cure chicken pox with no guarantee it will even work. That's the modern college degree.

bagoh20 said...

How many people would pay the price and do the time for a college degree if it had the same stigma that not doing it has, even if it retained its other benefits? You are educated and maybe even earn more on average, but people assume you are of a lower class, maybe a failure, or not very smart.

Terry said...

"New Deal Democrat" is code for a Democratic who actually believe the government should focus on making helping American working class families happy (versus silicon valley gazillionaires, BLM folks and illegal immigrants).

Sebastian said...

@wildswan: Yes, Young had this covered way back. Labour type, of course, but good.

College is in part a proxy for IQ, an inefficient sorting mechanism. As a higher portion of jobs becomes cognition-intensive, the college premium increases. But most arguments about the "effects" of college or no college are misguided, or spurious, since we are dealing with massive structural changes that have affected the bottom of the labor market and will soon affect the top more harshly.

Terry said...

Entrance into university should be based upon IQ and/or GPA. If someone has the qualifying IQ but not the GPA, he should be able to pass an entrance exam. If he lacks the IQ but has a high GPA, it is likely he has the skills and perseverance to succeed.
You will then have a society where the bosses are virtually all ethnically white or East Asian, and the people on the bottom are Hispanic and Black.
It is a cruel fact. Universities view affirmative action as essential to their mission because they see the data. They know what classes will look like w/o it.
Even if you manage the economy so the lower classes have the economic power of the upper classes, you won't have equality. The upper classes will occupy all the policy making positions. Lawyers, judges, and politicians will come from the educated class. Tradesmen and health care workers will come from the lower classes.

AReasonableMan said...

I am not sure this is any different to people who say life is a game and money is how we keep score. A singular emphasis on money or IQ/educational achievement will always shortchange the achievements/abilities of people who see the world in broader terms.

mockturtle said...

I don't see 'high tier' careers as better than 'low tier'. I would be equally happy to see one of my grandsons become a good diesel mechanic and open his own business as to become a physician in private practice today. BTW, plumbers, diesel mechanics and air traffic controllers make pretty good money. Not that money should be the driving factor. On that, ARM, we agree. But I do think university education should be restricted to those intellectually and academically qualified.

mockturtle said...

@Terry You will then have a society where the bosses are virtually all ethnically white or East Asian, and the people on the bottom are Hispanic and Black.
It is a cruel fact. Universities view affirmative action as essential to their mission because they see the data. They know what classes will look like w/o it.


What Affirmative Action does is to degrade the status of minorities who genuinely deserve their achievements. I know some of these people and they are REALLY PISSED about affirmative action.

David said...

The building blocks of education are the home, the community and public elementary and secondary schools. Our society is miserably failing a large portion of its youth in those areas. Until those defects are substantially eradicated (a long time at the present rate) debate about college degrees is a diversion from the primary issue.

traditionalguy said...

My suggestion is to keep Common Core and put Camille Paglia in charge of rewriting it.

Robert Cook said...

"Frank never could, and never will, figure out What's The Matter With Kansas. To him flyover people in the middle of the country are as inexplicable as new arrivals from Mars."

I should point out to you that Frank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and grew up in Kansas. He writes about the region not as a looking-from-afar-eastern-liberal but as a native son.

BN said...

RC: Oh, Kansas City is on a farm, is it?

The divide is rural and urban.

Guess who's gonna win.

BN said...

Wild Swan 6:16: "...the consequences of using universities as a social sieve... No underclass has ever been left as morally naked as that."

Hmmm... I'm not sure. Is "morally naked" better or worse than being "starving naked?"

mockturtle said...

I think you will find that MOST of the liberal media personalities were born and raised in the Midwest. They have fled their hayseed roots and thrust themselves delightedly into the pseudo-sophistication of the big city MSM. They are far from intellectual but think very highly of themselves and their opinions.

John said...

I got a call last week from a company in NJ that does recruiting for large manufacturing plants in north NJ. Not sure how they got my name but someone thought I could help them.

They are looking for unskilled and semi-skilled workers for their clients. They sounded desperate for ideas on how they could do this. These are good paying jobs in a good industry. In NJ, where you have millions who are probably qualified.

Basic qualifications, they told me, are 1) Legal status (citizen or green card) 2) no criminal record, 3 a willingness to work and learn. A HS diploma or GED is a plus but not a deal breaker.

And they can't find people who meet these basic qualifications. I didn't really have any ideas for them.

Another client of mine is Engineering Manager at a large manufacturer in NYC. He has about 10 positions for industrial mechanics that have been open for years. He can't remember ever being fully staffed.

A year or 2 back we had dinner and he told me that their last attempt they had advertised the positions heavily, and got about 250 resumes. Of the 250, there were only about 6 that they even asked to interview. They did not make an offer to any of the 6.

These are interesting jobs that pay $60-80m/yr. Perhaps more with OT. Good working conditions, great benefits. And they can't even find applicants.

I go to trade shows and machine builders constantly tell me they are looking for electricians, mechanics, fabricators and especially people who can program PLCs and servomotors. They just can't find them, even though a good PLC programmer in this industry can make $100m/yr.

I'll bet that if they wanted English, communications, polisci, younameit studies, and other majors along these lines, they could hire all they wanted at close to the minimum wage.

I am beginning to think that other than credentialing, college is mostly a scam. An expensive one at that. It leave kids in debt and prevents them from buying a house or even getting married.

I don't really know what to do except that we need to stop funding colleges and universities. Also more certifications in particular skills.

John Henry

John said...

and a plug for one of my favorite schools: Wisconsin Indianhead technical College in New Richmond. witc.edu

They have a 2 year automated packaging machine technician course that is the best in the world. Their graduates are in high demand. For those willing to be traveling service techs, they will start at $100m/yr. If they want a job in a factory rather than traveling, $40-50m

Starting, no experience needed.

John Henry

BN said...

"In NJ, where you have millions who are probably qualified."

Yeah, but they're all waiting for an "infrastructure" job.

Terry said...

Blogger AReasonableMan said...
I am not sure this is any different to people who say life is a game and money is how we keep score. A singular emphasis on money or IQ/educational achievement will always shortchange the achievements/abilities of people who see the world in broader terms.

I am going by memory, but I think that originated with Fitzgerald, who wrote that we don't have religion or morality anymore, instead we have money, but at least with money it is easy to keep score. Maybe from Gatsby?
The smarter people really are smarter. Maybe they do not see the world in broader terms, but I have yet to see a test for that.
I think you have to give up the idea that smart people should decide things for other people, Robert Cook. Changing the definition of 'smart' won't help. Ordinary people were designed by God or nature to know where their interests lie. Not seeing the big picture -- like the economic or racial injustice that has kept them 'low' -- is where their intelligence lies.

Terry said...

Blogger mockturtle said...
. . .
What Affirmative Action does is to degrade the status of minorities who genuinely deserve their achievements. I know some of these people and they are REALLY PISSED about affirmative action.

I agree, mockturtle. I am not a pro-AA person, but I believe that getting rid of AA will result in a racially tiered society. If you don't believe that it will, you are ignoring the evidence.
The worst thing about Bill Cosby's fall from grace was that his thinking on racial matters can now be ignored by the (white) elites. Cosby thought that Black people had to get along with white people -- Black people are minority and can not retreat to any promised land -- but they should remain as separate as possible and deal with their own kind. Black people should go to black schools, Black doctors and Black dentists, and if they need hardware to fix something in their home, they find a hardware store run by a black guy. The option is for Black people to be used as tools in white liberals schemes against other white people. As a result they lose their "Blackness."
I think that Cosby's assessment was accurate.

Terry said...

I think you have to give up the idea that smart people should decide things for other people, Robert Cook.
Sorry, ARM, I confused you with Mssr. Cook!

tim in vermont said...

I should point out to you that Frank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and grew up in Kansas. He writes about the region not as a looking-from-afar-eastern-liberal but as a native son.

Well, it has been documented that lefties are seemingly congenitally incapable of understanding the reasoning of non lefties. You would think they would be able to, for instance, recapitulate an argument a conservative makes and, perhaps, tell them what is wrong with it, but in fact, the lefty has a simple rule when encountering a person who has different ideas than they do: Reject first, ask rhetorical questions later!

A better use of his time might have been to write a book "What's the Mather With Liberals?" Jonathon Haidt, an admitted liberal himself, already wrote it. He coined the "reject first" line. When it came out, liberals sought to undermine the findings in every way they could, even though they are clearly correct, as anybody who interacts with liberals can see.

But I am always willing to have a liberal recapitulate my argument, give me some evidence he understands it, then tell me what is wrong with it. I will not hold my breath.

Rusty said...

I go to trade shows and machine builders constantly tell me they are looking for electricians, mechanics, fabricators and especially people who can program PLCs and servomotors. They just can't find them, even though a good PLC programmer in this industry can make $100m/yr.

I'm having problems just getting people with basic math skills. Not even tough stuff. basic geometry stuff. Circumfrence of a circle, volume of a cube, etc. In the fabricating department, if you hand three different people a tape measure and they all measure the same thing you'll get three different results.

tim in vermont said...

I am not sure this is any different to people who say life is a game and money is how we keep score. A singular emphasis on money or IQ/educational achievement will always shortchange the achievements/abilities of people who see the world in broader terms.

The problem with "seeing the world in broader terms" is that it doesn't fill empty bellies, it doesn't put a roof over peoples heads, it doesn't put gas in the car, etc, etc. People with high IQs are more productive, as a rule with exceptions, of course. Even Marx was productive of great destruction. We value IQ, we live in a bountiful country. Even our poor are rich by world standards.

tim in vermont said...

Plus, there is no question that the Trump candidacy is a reaction to the Democrats disdain for a working class that actually gets up five days a week and trundles off to work. They much prefer their "working class" people to be very comfortable living off benefits.

That's why they need so desperately to import a new class of people more comfortable with the lifestyle of living off of welfare benefits of one kind or another.

tim in vermont said...

We certainly don't need the labor.

MarkW said...

My daughter has recently been interviewing job applicants for her medical office and is surprised to find many with bachelors and masters degrees applying for medical records and front desk positions. She doesn't hire them because she assumes they are only interested in the position until they can find something better.

Her assumption is probably correct, but that's probably still a mistake. My wife works in a university hospital and they have work-study students doing clerical kinds of things. The department knows they're going to be temporary (typically a couple of semesters), but so what? They're really smart, it takes them very little time to get up to speed, and they're more productive and professional (which, of course, is what they'll be in a few years) than most of the blue-collar types they get to take clerical positions long-term. When one work-study student leaves, another takes their place and it works very well.

protestmanager said...

That's probably the most intelligent thing Franks has ever written.

He won't go far enough, I'm sure, but he gets credit for some good points.

His failures:
1: The Democrat belief in shoveling money to the "education" business is at least partially driven by the fact that the business is owned by the Left, and provides the Dems with a lot of foot soldiers.

2: The professional class is defined by its certificates, not its "educational attainment."

3: His "solution": more power to the government to "regulate" things, because of course gov't regulation is always a good thing.

His successes:
1: Successful people in the US today live to believe, contra-Obama, that they did "build [their success] themselves". "I went to school, I am currently a success, therefore I earned my success, and going to school is how I earned it. And everyone who isn't a success failed because they didn't do the right things, unlike me!"

2: The D party fantasy that education solves everything. Of course, I searched his book for teh words "illegal immigration", no hits.

protestmanager said...

Rusty said...

I'm having problems just getting people with basic math skills. Not even tough stuff. basic geometry stuff. Circumfrence of a circle, volume of a cube, etc. In the fabricating department, if you hand three different people a tape measure and they all measure the same thing you'll get three different results.

Um, Rusty, how far off are the three results? 1/8 of an inch? If so, the person lacking skills is you, for not understanding that you should expect that degree of difference.

protestmanager said...

MarkW said...
My daughter has recently been interviewing job applicants for her medical office and is surprised to find many with bachelors and masters degrees applying for medical records and front desk positions. She doesn't hire them because she assumes they are only interested in the position until they can find something better.

Her assumption is probably correct, but that's probably still a mistake. My wife works in a university hospital and they have work-study students doing clerical kinds of things. The department knows they're going to be temporary (typically a couple of semesters), but so what? They're really smart


I'd say someone who was dumb enough to get a masters degree in a field with no job prospects doesn't meet my definition of "smart" (unlike many work-study students I knew).

The problem is training costs. If your needs are low enough that an actual smart person can pick things up quickly, but also won't be bored out of his / her mind quickly, bright short term hires are a great solution. Not a lot of jobs like that.

Rusty said...

protestmanager said...
Rusty said...

I'm having problems just getting people with basic math skills. Not even tough stuff. basic geometry stuff. Circumfrence of a circle, volume of a cube, etc. In the fabricating department, if you hand three different people a tape measure and they all measure the same thing you'll get three different results.

Um, Rusty, how far off are the three results? 1/8 of an inch? If so, the person lacking skills is you, for not understanding that you should expect that degree of difference.

I wish!
Most of the time they're off by inches. The shop tolerances for fabrication cut and weld is 1/16th of an inch plus or minus. Since most welding is for machine bases it isn't that critical. On general machining it's .001 plus or minus. Our precision fits are .0005 plus or minus. Not real close, but we're only putting threadlocker on screws.