Vital Signs

The Education Mantra

Back in October, Democrats and Republicans, following the release of the nation’s employment numbers by the U.S. Department of Labor, retreated into their usual preelection fantasia.  Democrats trotted out the class-warfare tropes, while Republicans continued living in their dreamworld, where increased employment in the service industry—such as insurance companies and doctors’ offices—can make up for drops in manufacturing and housing-construction jobs.

A set of articles featured in the New York Times editorial pages over Labor Day weekend told a more substantial story and focused on economic indicators concerning the changing—and decreasing—status of the American worker.  Collectively, they show that, whatever the merits of “conservative” control of Congress or the governors’ mansions in the more than two decades since the advent of the Reagan years, the plight of the American worker has only worsened.

Consider some of the findings: People are working longer and later in life, even as a younger generation cannot find jobs appropriate for their overeducated and privileged selves.  Today, government workers are better compensated than private-sector workers, and the average salary of the counties around Washington, D.C., has grown sharply, thanks to the explosive growth of government in recent years and, especially, to the “War on Terror.” ...

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