George Korda does an interesting article on the need for education in being the lynch pin to get good paying jobs. While he makes many great points (As usual) I tend to see the need in areas bigger then education.
What? Impossible you say? Education is the end all be all for a good future and life. Right?
Well, lets do some math. In the article it talks about how 40,000 people had already applied for a job at the new VW plant. 100,000 were expected to try and fill the 2,000 positions. Probably the known stipulation that a two year diploma was required to get a job kept some away.
Fine. Lets just say at least half of them knew and fit the requirement going in. No, Lets make it even harder then that. Lets say only one in ten had the requirement. Even though Tennessee has a much higher college graduation rate then that (it is in the mid 20's) we still have at least 4,000 well educated and qualified people to fill 2,000 job openings and that is an absolute minimum. I would expect it is more like half to two thirds knew and have the education and qualifications to fit the bill. That is more like ten people trying to fill every position. If we double the number of college graduates or even tripled it, would that suddenly in and of itself produce more jobs? No. You would just have 8,000 or 12,000 qualified and educated people trying to fill those same 2,000 jobs. Lack of a good education is obviously not the only thing holding people back from a good future.
The problem is clearly more a lack of jobs no matter what the qualifications are. Not the lack for educated people to fill those positions. What are we competing against? places like India, China and Japan who have an innovative, educated workforce willing to work at the same type job for pennies on the dollar compared to US employees.
This leaves us a few alternatives. Raise barriers to foreign imports? If we do that a few things will happen. The world will do the same thing to some of our goods. We would loose the high end products we have been selling overseas but would gain back the low end textile product manufacturing we lost. A mixed bag.
Increase taxes on foreign owned companies or products sold in the U.S.? We would loose some of the foreign owned employers who employ large numbers of people such as VW, Toyota and others, but it would probably allow the US owned companies to bounce back a little. Expect the same thing to happen back to our world wide brands as well. a mixed bag.
Lower our standard of living, minimum wage and regulation to compete with the foreign factories over seas? (not something most politicos want to put on a mail piece for their next election) A mixed bag.
Lastly. The one many people seem to never talk about is creating or growing our own market and brands. America is full of independent, intelligent, hard working people. The problem is we have gotten into a mind set of thinking we need someone else to give us a job. That having a job in a big factory is the American dream. That is the ultimate goal now.
When did that happen? It used to be owning the factory, being the employer or the boss was the American dream!
I think all this talk about "Evil profits", class warfare and the "terrible big boss" have made us think that achievement is somehow bad. That, heaven forbid we ever start a company and succeed we might make money and have employees! What would the world think of us then? "Better not climb too high or dream too big. Might have people attack you and call you names. You'll get taxed and regulated more. Better just get an education and hope to get on at some factory job."
That kind of negative talk has to stop or we are in big trouble as a nation. What has to happen more then anything, is just like what happened when baseball became a battle of the "haves" and the "have nots". We need to look to starting up or reinvigorating our farm team system. We need to incentivize business ownership and entrepreneurship. Reward it. Let it profit, champion those who work, innovate, succeed and grow. Remove barriers and the stigma of starting businesses.
Education is great and yes, it is an important part. But if we do not start developing our own next generation of inventors or business people like Henry Ford (who they say couldn't print his own name) then no matter how educated we are, we will be in trouble. Our governors and presidents will forever be recruiting factories overseas. We will forever be begging for scraps off another mans table instead of dining at our own banquet of success.
I wish our guber candidates, instead of always talking about how with a new super educated student what a great foreign job recruiter they will suddenly be, would once in a while talk about how they will start motivating, incentivizing our own people and companies to start, expand and stay here.