Education Not Spelled J-O-B-S

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Doubtless the president’s amen corner in academia loved it when he answered a debate question on jobs with a dissertation on education. Yet while academics may have stomped and whistled, those unenlightened folk outside the faculty lounge might be forgiven if they find the First Answer clueless.

For the benefit of recent college graduates and, for that matter, undergraduates and their kin, the Young America’s Foundation has developed a “Youth Misery Index.” “At no point in recent history has life been harder for America’s young people,” YAF points out. “The Youth Misery Index adds together youth unemployment, average graduating student debt (in thousands), and national debt per capita (in thousands).”

“Youth unemployment is at 17.4 percent—one of the highest levels since World War II. Average graduating student debt has reached a record-breaking $26,300. National debt per capita is $46,900—the highest ever. Add it up, and the Youth Misery Index comes out to 90.6 (17.4 + 26.3 + 46.9 = 90.6).”

“What does this number mean? Like Jimmy Carter’s Misery Index, the YMI uncovers some real threats to our nation’s prosperity. The government is largely responsible for all three problems, and we’ve found a statistically significant relationship between government expenditures and the Youth Misery Index. Each indicator can be tied to government actions.”

Meanwhile, more Americans than ever are going to college, so what skills do they lack that even the scarce job market of today demands? “At a recent dinner in Washington, D.C., with representatives from major American manufacturing companies, I listened as the talk turned to how hard it is to find qualified applicants for jobs,” Nick Schulz of the American Enterprise Institute wrote in an article which appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

“What exactly are the skills you can’t find?” Schulz asked some of the captains of industry. Schulz wrote that “One of the representatives looked sheepishly around the room and responded: ‘To be perfectly honest . . . we have a hard time finding people who can pass the drug test.’ Several other reps gave a knowing nod. Applicants were often so underqualified, they said, that simply finding someone who could properly answer the telephone was sometimes a challenge.”


Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

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