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Thursday, March 10, 2016


Blue Collar Blues

The past nine recessions — spread between 1953 and 2008 — battered men, whose employment rates were notched down each time and never fully recovered, and sectors that employed the least-educated men were hit the hardest. Women, on the other hand, have fared better and remain on pace to recover the jobs lost during the most recent recession, the Stanford Report Card on Poverty and Inequality reports.

But the people who write articles about this issue are shut in a mental box. For example: After discussing the employees at a Volkswagon plant

Finding workers was and is surprisingly hard, said Bill Kilbride, president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber advertises and holds job fairs, but attendance is often sparse, he said.

Despite an impressive placement rate, Chattanooga State Community College’s technical training programs for the most in-demand fields, such as welding, aren’t full, said Jim Barrott, president of the College of Applied Technology.

Others believed that men just didn’t want to work and they had abandoned both work and family because they had lost their moral backbone.

But a study released in January indicates that what is more likely affecting those men is economic segregation in neighborhoods and schools, the rise of income inequality and the rising share of single-parent homes in communities.

Think about that last sentence and then tell me how it follows logically. What are the skills required to work on an assembly line? Economic segregation is a fancy way of saying that there are poor neighborhoods and rich ones. The way you move from one to the other is to earn more money. What does income inequality have to do with applying for a job in a factory? What does having one parent have to do with applying for a job in a factory? Studies like this are ways of applying statistics to pre-determined solutions.  The answer is never about welfare incentives.  It's never about the culture.  It's never about the individual.  It's always about "the system."

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The "problems" identified in the study are not the etiology but the symptoms of the disease. You don't cure anyone by simply treating the symptoms. That would be like giving Tylenol to someone dying of malaria when you have the appropriate medicine sitting on the shelf. Government bureaucrats and politically correct classes of activists and politicians are wearing self imposed blinders.
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