10 December 2013

Wages, Work and the Way

A Facebook post of mine this morning, which stimulated some agreement (read: a handful of people clicked "like"; but I'll take it).  And, as most FB threads go, it then went sideways into some ranting about how much subway tokens and pizza costs now.  So I figure I'd post to a broader (in theory) audience.  (Not the stuff about the subway tokens and pizza.) This is in connection to a Thomas Friedman New York Times op-ed column, whose piece I feel really nailed it, link...


My FB remarks: "You want to know where American wages are going? This is where they are going [ref: Friedman article]. You want to put more income into the average American's hands? Then we need to give them the skills worth paying for. McDonalds workers are not going to get the $15/hr they demand. Because they are not worth it. No offense.  It is a minimum wage skill.

"Math, science should dominate K-12. Universities need to stop preparing young adults for the 19th Century (it would also be nice if that not-really-fantastic-anyway undergrad degree didn't cost a kidney, each year). The Bronte sisters or Wordsworth are not going to help them in the 21st. We need more engineers and physicists. We need to prepare ourselves to compete with Klingons and Romulans, not Ottomans and Prussians. Flipping burgers or digging ditches is hard, honest work. The only job to be ashamed of is the one not done to the best of your ability. And for doing your best, you will be compensated to the best of your ability...

"... Friedman is a credible voice to me. Because he is able to take both ideologies to task - not always criticizing one party v. the other. His voice and its like should be paid attention to. Not the ones who simply exist to promote one camp v. the other. Those types are in our way. Move them aside...

"... I mean, I know we can do good things here. The handful of my friends that read this thread and clicked 'like' are across the political spectrum, for instance. So where there is agreement, let's build on that.

"1) Realign educational goals, 2) commit govt expenditure toward 21st C. infrastructure rebuild and 3) public-private partnerships to nurture new technologies and (when they have legs) release them as new private industries.  I think both the capitalist and socialist (or whatever other labels we might use for each other) can rally around these goals. And I think we can also readjust our tax codes and social subsidies to make them more efficient, affordable, bringing down debts along the way.  There are credible, bipartisan plans in Washington that address this.

"That's the best pathway for our success and survival. It will hand the strongest America ever to the next generation, in my view. And simply embarking down that path today will immediately improve our social psychology, jump-starting investment and jobs. The only thing standing in the way of all of that, is the will to be disagreeable."

If you agree with my sentiments here, please share this with your elected representatives and/or favorite pundits.  They are the ones who can change the social attitude, focus and thus, coarse of our nation.  You are the ones who will hold them to it.

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