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March 19, 2006

Once again posting here to avoid spamming someone else's comments.

I've written a lot lately on the Great Education Myth - the concept that wafts out of elite Washington circles that says all we have to do is educate people and their economic problems will be over. Beyond the fact that this is just an insulting line of reasoning (aka. people are stupid, that's why they are poor) is the fact that its not backed up by any data.

The argument isn't that people are "stupid" it's that they're uneducated and thus not qualified for many of the better-paying jobs. Those are completely different things.

If Sirota's Great Myth relies upon the "stupid" argument, then it's a different argument than everyone else is making.

Also? I'm unimpressed by any data that draws only from the Bush Administration's years. It's too short of a time frame to be a sensible comparison unless you're comparing, for instance, the economy during Clinton's fourth year with the economy during Bush's fourth year, which they weren't.

(And? 2004 as "a year of strong economic growth, low unemployment, and rising productivity"? Was anyone here living in that 2004? Because I sure don't remember that. And since when do sensible economists base long-terms analysis on a single year's data? That's not how I understood the system to work.)

Also? I don't see any discussion of whether or not high-school graduate wages rose because of individual states forcing through mininum wage increases. (Although to be fair I can't remember what year that started happening.)

Nor do I see any discussion of the impact of unregistered (or "illegal") workers on the lowest-income producing jobs. Does it appear there's a rise because so many of those jobs are now done by undocumented workers and thus not included in the data?

Or, did the high-school graduate wage average rise because so many of the lower-income jobs were eliminated by cost-cutting corporations, creating a wholly misleading "rise" in the remaining average?

I just don't believe the story as told. I don't distrust Sirota or Fortune Magazine, but I do distrust data coming out of the Bush Adminnistration, especially data that covers only the years since they took power.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:21 PM