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View Diary: "People are poor because of the bad choices they make" (39 comments)

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  •  So as long as you acknowledge that even people (0+ / 0-)

    who do everything right can still end up screwed, we will admit that there are some things that you can do that will guarantee you end up in the shitter.  Having children before you have finished high school(and some college), not finishing high school, not thinking about what you actually want to do with your life(kids without rich parents have little room for error), doing drugs, getting arrested, marrying the wrong person(someone that has a drug or alcohol problem).  But all that said, we do not pay people a living wage in this country.  I refer you to the GPS program that Fareed Zaharia just did on job creation in other countries.  It is organized and thoughtful and not left completely to the capitalist market.  We have to admit that our job creation and training system in this country is broken and we are NOT preparing the vast majority of young people for a productive work life.  

    •  I agree that the best thing we can do (1+ / 0-)
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      for people below the poverty line is (1) provide them with the opportunity and skills to get a job that pays a living wage; and (2) improve our economy so that we are creating jobs for people with such skills and that pay a living wage.  As I linked to elsewhere, the more education, the more pay AND the less unemployment; this downturn, like most, is hardest on those with little education and/or no marketable skill set.  

      Assuming that we will create lots of jobs that pay enough for that student who borrowed $100,000 to get a degree in Drama is completely unrealistic.  No one in the real world is willing to pay very much (with the exception of the rare Hollywood star) for that skill or degree.  Ditto for a number of things -- arts & crafts, philosophy (absent some graduate degree), etc.  We need to steer people to realistic expectations of what their degree or non-degree training will do for them. If you choose to make pottery (like my friend), or you want to be an actor in local theater, or you want to be an artist, you have to be realistic about the kind of income you reasonably can expect to earn from that. (I have friends in all three areas who are struggling, but went into it with their eyes open.) On the other hand, setting a goal of creating more jobs for degrees in health care, engineering, architecture, accounting, marketing, computers and IT, business management, machinist skills, plumbers, electricians, health care workers, bookkeepers, auto mechanics, HVAC technicians, etc. -- skills that people will pay others to do -- should be paramount.  That should include not only jobs that require degrees, but also jobs that require a high school diploma and some skilled training.

      So long as we have a whole lot of people willing to do jobs that don't require a high school diploma or any particular skill, I can't see wages for those kinds of jobs increasing significantly.  People who do not have skills or training to do anything other than unskilled labor or maybe working in a fast-food restaurant are just not going to see significant increases in what they can earn.    It's a matter of supply and demand. That's why we need to make it clear to young people that they can improve their chances through (1) no children born absent two parents with stable jobs to support the children; (2) education; (3) marketable skills -- and we need to follow through on making sure our economy creates more of those kinds of jobs.  

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