A PERSUASIVE CHART—BUT IS IT THE WHOLE TRUTH?
Every now and then my keen interest in economics breaks through even though this blog is primarily to do with my creative writing—and all that goes with it. Then again, why cannot one write about economics creatively—well, in style anyway? Being creative with facts is frowned upon unless one is of a political persuasion.
The merit of the above chart is that it is extremely clear. On the face of it, it implies that if you don’t get yourself a good education, you are toast from an earnings point of view—and have no one to blame but yourself.
Certainly, this argument is much advanced by the Right Wing who are addicted to the ideological notion that we should should all be rugged individualists who should be able to fend for ourselves. Once you are out of diapers, you are on your own, kid!
While not denying for a moment the importance of education, and the concept of personal responsibility, it seems to me that other issues are in play here too.
- Though numerous reports have commented on the generally poor state of U.S. K12 education, we seem to be remarkably slow at improving it.
- If we really believe that U.S. education is as important as we preach, then why don’t we invest in it?
- Since most competitive educational systems are reasonably transparent and have been researched thoroughly, why don’t we copy their best features—instead of almost making a point of doing something different?
- Why shouldn’t corporations—whose profits have never been higher—accept much more responsibility for both education and training?
- Could it be that the downward pressure on the earnings of all except college graduates and above, have as much to do with the corporate war on labor (which includes the destruction of the unions) as anything else?
As matters stand, we seem to be set on a path of creating an ever larger underclass—with the children of the fast declining Middle Class being mired in ever increasing debt if they want to go to college.
How is it that our competition do so much better?
One extra thing: the above chart understates the situation. Matters have deteriorated considerably since the Great Recession.