President Obama: “In America, higher education cannot be a luxury.”

President Obama said for the first time Americans owe more debt on their student loans than they do on their credit cards.

President Obama said for the first time Americans owe more debt on their student loans than they do on their credit cards.

I thought I would share President Obama’s weekly address as it deals with college education and student debt.

This week, I got the chance to sit down with some impressive students at Lorain County Community College in Ohio. One of them was a woman named Andrea Ashley. Two years ago, Andrea lost her job as an HR analyst. Today, she’s getting certified in the fast-growing field of electronic medical records. Before enrolling at Lorain, Andrea told me she was looking everywhere trying to find a new job. But without a degree, she said that nobody would hire her.

Andrea’s story isn’t unique. I’ve met so many Americans who are out there pounding the pavement looking for work only to discover that they need new skills. And I’ve met a lot of employers who are looking for workers, but can’t find ones with the skills they’re looking for.

So we should be doing everything we can to put higher education within reach for every American – because at a time when the unemployment rate for Americans with at least a college degree is about half the national average, it’s never been more important. But here’s the thing: it’s also never been more expensive. Students who take out loans to pay for college graduate owing an average of $25,000. For the first time, Americans owe more debt on their student loans than they do on their credit cards. And for many working families, the idea of owing that much money means that higher education is simply out of reach for their children.

In America, higher education cannot be a luxury. It’s an economic imperative that every family must be able to afford. That’s why next week I’ll be visiting colleges across the country, talking to students about how we can make higher education more affordable – and what’s at stake right now if Congress doesn’t do something about it. You see, if Congress doesn’t act, on July 1st interest rates on some student loans will double. Nearly seven and half million students will end up owing more on their loan payments. That would be a tremendous blow. And it’s completely preventable.

This issue didn’t come out of nowhere. For some time now, I’ve been calling on Congress to take steps to make higher education more affordable – to prevent these interest rates from doubling, to extend the tuition tax credit that has saved middle-class families millions of dollars, and to double the number of work-study jobs over the next five years.

Instead, over the past few years, Republicans in Congress have voted against new ways to make college more affordable for middle-class families, and voted for huge new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires – tax cuts that would have to be paid for by cutting things like education and job-training programs that give students new opportunities to work and succeed.

We cannot just cut our way to prosperity. Making it harder for our young people to afford higher education and earn their degrees is nothing more than cutting our own future off at the knees. Congress needs to keep interest rates on student loans from doubling, and they need to do it now.

This is a question of values. We cannot let America become a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of people struggle to get by. We’ve got to build an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. That’s how the middle class gets stronger. That’s an economy that’s built to last. And I’m not only going to take that case to college campuses next week – I’m going to take it to every part of the country this year. Thanks, and have a great weekend.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

138 comments Add your comment

A Conservative Voice

April 21st, 2012
6:49 am

He’s in full “campaign mode” folks……he ain’t gonna quit till 11/6/2012. He’s dividing this country like no leader (I hate using that word when referring to him) of the Great United States of America ever has. Don’t listen to this “class warfare” stuff……he’s only trying to BUY votes. Folks, does “Sixteen Trillion in Debt” mean anything to you? Our country cannot and should not fund any more programs……period!!!!!!! Have a nice week.

SEE

April 21st, 2012
7:14 am

Actually, college started becoming “unaffordable” when the government started getting into the student loan business. Colleges campuses are now bigger with more bells and whistles than ever before. Seriously, do students need a huge “student” center? Do students need a state-of-the-art complex in which to take classes? What about all the huge salaries of the administrators? I believe that colleges can pare down their expenses and pass those savings off to the students…but why do that when the government will simply extend more money to students. Colleges need to become more price conscious, just like every other competitive business in the U.S.

Beverly Fraud

April 21st, 2012
7:18 am

Folks, does “Sixteen Trillion in Debt” mean anything to you?

Well for starters, perhaps it means we shouldn’t have spent ungodly amounts of money for somebody to avenge his daddy for what happened in Iraq, with the side benefit of making a private contractor ungodly rich sucking at the government teat under the guise of “patriotism”

And surely you’re not saying Dubya was someone who brought “unity” to the country are you?

Now maybe if conservatives would clear up their own inconsistencies (railing against the government for banning smoking, yet fighting tooth and nail against medical marijuana use comes to mind) there message might resonate more.

Not that the liberal point of view doesn’t have massive inconsistencies as well…

Beverly Fraud

April 21st, 2012
7:26 am

their message that is…

God Bless the Teacher!

April 21st, 2012
7:42 am

@Beverly Fraud…AMEN!

@Conservative Voice…Many of the countries that outperform the U.S.A. on all of the tests Republicans use to say our public schools are failing our students are the very countries who require college students to pay NOTHING for a college education. Their educational structure is different in that students are allowed to go into apprenticeship programs at a much younger age than our students so the truly college-ready are the ones going to college, not the ones who decide they’ll party on Hope, fail out, then work for the family business. Republicans are so obsessed with creating a business friendly environment that they really are the b*#ches to special interest groups’ profit margins. I believe in a business friendly environment, but not while sacrificing the middle class or educational opportunities for ALL Americans. And Obama’s campaign may stop on 11/6/2012, but I’ll take him over any blue jeans wearing (how unPresidential) imposter any day.

@SEE…”Colleges need to become more price conscious, just like every other competitive business in the U.S.” That’s the problem…colleges think they are businesses (at least of the ilk of oil companies and banks), where maximizing profit is the goal. They’ve lost their focus.

tony

April 21st, 2012
7:55 am

everyone in this country who pay taxes needs to STOP paying them in protest of both the republicans and democrats wasting OUR money !!!! if everyone claimed 10 dependents and just stopped paying income tax in protest them maybe the MACHINE CALLED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT would get the message !!!

Not Blind

April 21st, 2012
8:23 am

Break down the high school and college graduation rates by race and the real problem becomes obvious.

carlosgvv

April 21st, 2012
8:33 am

The President left out the fact that a liberal arts degree is becoming more and more worthless. Science oriented degrees are, in general, far more likely to produce employment. These degrees almost always demand a goodly amount of knowledge in higher mathematics. In fact, most of the good trade jobs also require mathematical aptitude. Unfortunately, most of us do not have higher mathematical aptitude. So, we are faced with a situation where more and more jobs are requiring and ability that most of us don’t have. This is bad now for many seeking employment and will only get worse in the years to come.

mountain man

April 21st, 2012
8:39 am

“And I’ve met a lot of employers who are looking for workers, but can’t find ones with the skills they’re looking for.”

Those skills would include basic reading, writing, and simple arithmetic – skills that a high school diploma does not guarantee the student has. That is why an increasing number of companies insist that even lower level managers at least have a four-year degree. Our company, even for the most basic labor jobs, requires a high-school education. Heaven help those 25% who don’t graduate from high school.

teacher&mom

April 21st, 2012
9:03 am

@A Conservative Voice:

So what is your solution to helping more people earn a post secondary degree or technical skills training?

It seems that many on your side of the aisle claim that they are “forced” to take their business overseas because of a large untrained American workforce. Of course, they forget to mention that overseas they can avoid child labor laws, overtime, and health insurance benefits. Not to mention lower wages.

But,,,

If the conservatives are so “concerned” about the lack of “trained American” workers, then why are they against investing in their own people?

mountain man

April 21st, 2012
9:08 am

Teacher & mom – you know that basic skills and vocational training USED to be taught in high schools; there was no need to go to post-secondary education. If the education system (not the teachers) did a better job, then students would come out with useful skills.

teacher&mom

April 21st, 2012
9:11 am

@Not Blind…could we please have a discussion on this blog that does not center around race, religion, or sex?

For hundreds of years we used that excuse to prevent girls from attending school, seeking a college degree, or voting. Girls were considered intellectually inferior and incapable of deep thought. I think we’ve debunked that theory….don’t you?

yagottabekiddingme

April 21st, 2012
9:16 am

College is not for everyone. Vocational training should be the focus of the administration.

teacher&mom

April 21st, 2012
9:25 am

@mountain man: Have you looked at the current requirements for a high school diploma? To say that basic skills are no longer required is disingenuous.

Do you know about the new pathway requirements?

I can only speak for my high school. The vast majority of graduates will walk across the stage with a firm handle on “basic skills”. A percentage of special education students will not. What the general public does not realize is these students may “walk” at graduation, but they will not receive a high school diploma.

A smaller percentage will indeed walk with only the basic academic skills. If you could look at their historical grades, you’d find they squeaked by each course with a C or they failed the course and made up the credit through a credit recovery program. They put forth little to no effort. Just enough enough to graduate. Those are the ones that will show up for the minimum wage jobs.

They do not represent the rest of graduating class of 2012.

Jacksmum

April 21st, 2012
9:27 am

Once upon a time higher education was something you earned. Having an advanced degree meant something in the workplace. Now it is common place and means next to nothing. I regularly encounter people with advanced degrees who cannot properly write and/or speak English. These institutions provide a money-hole with little intrinsic value. If one can simply buy an advanced degree, and the government will pay for it, we will become the nation of over educated idiots.

Real class warfare is being waged by those who share the message that the only way to success is to have a college degree. There are so many out there who contribute to society without the need for a college degree. Yet the media and society make them feel like losers for their contributions. The vocational arts are becoming a lost art. When we can only manage and cannot do, we will cease to be. The need to make everyone a “chief” in this country regardless of merit has deteriorated the value of both educated and skilled Americans in the work-force.
Doing what you love and earning the skills or education to be successful is one of the many things that made this country great. Everyone has the opportunity, but if we give everyone the trophy without merit no one will be valued.

teacher&mom

April 21st, 2012
9:31 am

@mountain man: Also, my oldest can not even find a part-time job while attending school. He actually has several skills that he learned through his high school vo-tech courses. No one is hiring. He’s attending post-secondary school to earn a degree and more training, but even the college graduates and vo-tech graduates are not finding jobs.

Why is that? If this is simply a matter of “training and education”, why can’t they find a job in GA?

I disagree that the source of this problem is the education system.

Jack in Cumming

April 21st, 2012
9:36 am

Maybe he can promise private school for all. I mean he promised deficit cut in half and unemployment never reaching 8 percent. He can say whatever he wants cause the media will nOt back him up

yagottabekiddingme

April 21st, 2012
9:38 am

There are enough entitlement programs out there right now which pay most or all of a collegiate education based on “free” (gov’t) money. What we need is not more money thrown at the problem, nor more sense of entitlement, but actual HARD WORK and FOCUS on vocational skills which are sorely needed in this economy. Employers will hire if a person has the needed skills, and the needed skills can be taught in a tech school for not alot of invested money.

Certainly the traditional “college” cannot and never has provided vocationally trained workers. Obama is only stirring up the folks who want gov’t to provide every answer to their problems.

bootney farnsworth

April 21st, 2012
9:41 am

if Obama is so concerned about higher ed, then he should quit spending me into oblivion so I can afford it.

while its true a bad economy is good for higher ed, nuking the US economy is not the way to go.

Jack in Cumming

April 21st, 2012
9:42 am

Is it nov yet? Worst prEs ever!

Jack in Cumming

April 21st, 2012
9:42 am

Its big oils fault!

bootney farnsworth

April 21st, 2012
9:43 am

news flash – higher ed has ALWAYS been a luxury

Jack in Cumming

April 21st, 2012
9:46 am

Maybe stop giving bad loans to bad companies that go bankrupt like solyndra or should go bankrupt Like GM and put that money into better school programs

bootney farnsworth

April 21st, 2012
9:49 am

if the fed really wants to improve higher ed, stay the hell away from it

bootney farnsworth

April 21st, 2012
9:50 am

BTW: nice sideways promo for Obama

teacher&mom

April 21st, 2012
10:04 am

@Bootney: Higher ed is a luxury and if it weren’t for the Pell Grant, I’d would have never had a chance. I am forever grateful for the financial aid I received. It changed my life for the better.

Lee

April 21st, 2012
10:12 am

Wait for it, wait for it,

“Instead, over the past few years, Republicans in Congress have voted against new ways to make college more affordable for middle-class families, and voted for huge new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires…”

There it is. A two-fer. A dig at Republicans AND a little class envy warfare.

The Repugs AND Dimwits are both responsible for digging this country into a hole that we may not be able to recover from – and NEITHER seem to have a clue as to how to correct the ship of state. More of the same BS from both sides of the isle.

mountain man

April 21st, 2012
10:13 am

“Also, my oldest can not even find a part-time job while attending school.”

That is funny – my daughter has worked for Kroger for years. A friend of our was hired immediately at Kroger with minimum qualifications. They seemed to have no problem whatsoever finding a job. Maybe the problem lies elsewhere. I remember my son had an issue finding work – when he told us he would not take a job unless it paid at least $10 per hour. We said, fine, you just won’t have any money since WE are not going to give you any.

mountain man

April 21st, 2012
10:20 am

Teacher & Mom – Are you saying that every graduate of the APS system who graduates has shown mastery of all the subjects required in high school? I would beg to differ. Especially now that they have removed the high school graduation test – a test that barely measures the basics that should have been learned by the eight grade. And what percentage od high schoolers in APS failed THAT test, repeatedly?

Jayne

April 21st, 2012
10:26 am

Obama is in full campaign mode promising everything to the folks who will vote for him with no pain to actually pay for anything. History will record Barak Obama as our worst president becasue when history books are written, we will be paying for his deficit spending. Other presidents have spent too much money. But…we have never had a president spend so much for so little. We have never had a president expand the role of the government into every domain of our life so quickly with so little consensus to support the expansion.

Shar

April 21st, 2012
10:27 am

Who on this blog recalls that, when Senator Grassley send a letter to Harvard asking them to explain their tax exemption when they donated less than 1% of their investment value annually and corporations claiming the same exemption must donate a minimum of 5%, Harvard dropped all tuition for students of parents making under $200K within 2 days?

The President has a very, very big stick here, and it is past time that he used it. He should change the rules on eligibility for federal education grants – all of them, research and student aid – to make institutions that raise their total cost of attendance more than 10% above the rate of inflation ineligible. Period. In addition, no institution that graduates fewer than 50% of their students would qualify for either grants or tax exemptions, as they are of no basic value to American taxpayers.

This would force state governments to fund higher education instead of opening a back door to increased funding from the feds through Pell grants. It would also force for-profit colleges that exist to suck money out of the taxpayers through Pell grants (better than 90% of students at for-profits attend on Pell grants) out of business.

The threat of such a cataclysm in funding would force re-examination of the appalling price increases across the board. And it’s long overdue.

Hillbilly D

April 21st, 2012
10:33 am

Those companies would do well to look at a person’s actual skills and qualifications, rather than a piece of paper. I used to work for a company that required a college degree for most any promotion. So what they had was a group of 20-30 year employees who knew everything about the company’s business being supervised by people off the street, who had a piece of paper. And every time they hired somebody new for one of these positions, then one of the 20-30 year people got to train the new hire.

It also comes down to supply and demand. Even if every person has a college degree, somebody has to pick up the garbage and do the low wage jobs, so the degree loses its value, if everybody has one.

teacher&mom

April 21st, 2012
10:39 am

@Mountain Man…no, I don’t work in APS. Which is why I deliberately chose my words…”I can only speak for my high school”.

I really wish folks would stop assuming APS represents every single school system in the state.

mountain man

April 21st, 2012
10:46 am

Teacher & Mom – sure, if your high school is Walton or Pope in East Cobb, the students who leave with a diploma have a mastery of basic skills. But when a person applies for a job, a company cannot judge between a diploma from Grady High School or a diploma from Pope. Which is why there should be different levels of diploma – College Prep, Vo-Tech, and Attendance.

teacher&mom

April 21st, 2012
10:46 am

@Mountain Man: The graduation writing test is still a requirement. It will snag any undeserving graduate who can’t read or write.

Just because a student writes on their job application, “Graduated Boondock High School” don’t assume they actually graduated. They may have attended for 4-5 years, but if they can’t produce a diploma, they didn’t graduate.

I say this because I have heard different people in my community complain about Jane or John Doe who applied for a job and weren’t qualified. What they don’t realize, and what I am forbidden to tell them, is Jane or John never graduated. They lost credit for poor attendance, lack of effort, failure to pass the GHSGT, etc. However, the employer makes the assumption that every single student from UBHS is represented by Jane and John.

Don H.

April 21st, 2012
10:46 am

@Maureen. Most journalists would rightly feel embarrassed at utilizing their blog to uncritically publicize so partisan a campaign message in an election season.

Apparently not you.

Rick in Grayson

April 21st, 2012
10:54 am

Obama: “We cannot just cut our way to prosperity”.

There have been NO CUTS to the national budgets! Just the rate of increase has been cut.

We police the world and develop hi-tech weaponry at a high R&D cost. The Russians and Chinese simply steal/copy the technology. They pay pennies on the dollar for such technology.

We need to make CUTS to the national budget and stop all the freebies. We have mounting deficits that Obama is increasing to maintain his own power. Wait until he has more “flexibility” (he gets re-elected) to do what he wants (the Russians have gotten the message). He will then impose his hidden agenda of radical ideas during his last term in office.

If people don’t have JOBS, then stop bringing in all the foreign talent on H1-B visas for the high-end jobs and stop allowing illegal aliens to take the low end jobs. Obama will do neither!

I’m not sure what the Republicans will do, but they haven’t performed well in the past. It would be better to start with a new group of legislators and inform them to fix the problems we have or they will not get a second term.

The US population is too large considering that we have some of the highest labor rates in the world. We will not have jobs for all US citizens over the next 20 years or until labor rates (standard of living) equalize in all global markets. It is time for those without jobs to venture out in the world and take jobs in other countries (if they are allowed).

Education or not, half of our population are not college material and will have to accept whatever jobs they can find. We don’t have the luxury of supporting this population with government freebies.

Even the subset of our population that might be college material, many will fail because they do not have the drive or ambition to succeed in college.

Even after graduating from college, they must compete with all the foreign nationals already working in the US. Don’t be surprised to find recent college graduates working in corporate teams where 50% or more are foreign workers (usually from India or China).

Mary Elizabeth

April 21st, 2012
10:56 am

“Instead, over the past few years, Republicans in Congress have voted against new ways to make college more affordable for middle-class families, and voted for huge new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires – tax cuts that would have to be paid for by cutting things like education and job-training programs that give students new opportunities to work and succeed.”
==================================================

President Obama has not divided this country although this country is divided. This division was magnified when ultraconservative business magnates, 40 years ago, decided stealthily to turn this nation into one that served primarily the interests of the very wealthy and powerful through organizations such as ALEC, which combined corporate interests and the interests of the wealthy elite. That is what has divided America.

Now, it is time for average Georgians, who are not being well-served by those who have instead served the interests of the very wealthy, as demonstrated in President Obama’s educational remarks above, to start to wake up to who is really looking after their interests. They must stop buying into blatant propaganda that their government is against their interests. It is big business that is against their interests. This state has always been conservative. First, it was a conservative Democratic state and then it shifted to become a conservative Republican state, essentially because of the Civil Rights laws of 50 years ago. It it past time for Georgians to release themselves from age-old biases such as that. The Republicans have a history of supporting the wealthy few, but they have needed the votes of average Americans to stay in power because they have needed their numbers. Georgians must began to see through their propaganda and start to become more progressive in their thinking in order to serve their own interests and those of other Georgians. I hope that Georgians will vote a Democratic ticket, in the next election. If they do, they will see their lives change, for the better. The root word within the name of the Democratic Party is “dem,” which means “the people.” The Democratic Party has its roots in serving the interests of the masses of average Americans.

Please reread President Obama’s words regarding education, which I excerpted, and posted above.

NOTE: President Obama will be at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill on April 24, this Tuesday, delivering a speech about student loans. Some may be able to attend. Check it out – at the following link:

http://www.unc.edu/campus-updates/obama_campus_visit

teacher&mom

April 21st, 2012
11:01 am

@Mountain Man: ” Maybe the problem lies elsewhere.”

No, he isn’t afraid to work. He just needs a job, or two, that offers more than 10 hours/week. Our local Ingles also hires but part-time employees only get 8-10 hours a week…especially if the person is in school. After school gets out, he will probably end up with 2-3 part-time jobs in order to get 30-40 hours a week. While that is fine for a student going to school, its doesn’t exactly feed a family of four.

The community I live in is not in a recession. We are in a depression. The full-time and part-time positions are filled with adults who have a family to support. Builders and small business owners in my community have been crushed.

But thank you for your concern and instant assumption that he is lazy. I can assure you he is not lazy.

Rick in Grayson

April 21st, 2012
11:12 am

As far as railing against big business, they are laying off people in the US and moving jobs overseas in large numbers (especially tech companies). Only enough production for local/national consumption will be kept in the US. Our consumer spending spree that has supported our economy will be coming to a halt due to lack of money.

The middle classes of India, China, and the surrounding smaller countries are increasing and that is where new consumption and production will take place over the next 20 years. Only the high cost of energy (for shipping) will keep US workers in jobs here.

The national deficit is ever increasing and we spend an ever growing amount of our taxes to service our debts. Democrats will not even consider an actual cut to our national deficit, Republicans cringe at the thought (except Paul Ryan and a few select others). Our national debt will not be decreased from all the great jobs that will be produced in the next 20 years. We won’t even be at “full” employment for another 5 years. The boomer generation will be leaving their jobs, but they will be using their investments to pay for their retirement expenses. They will not be paying off our national debt. They will be increasing the need for new money to flow into SS.

mountain man

April 21st, 2012
11:21 am

Teacher & Mom – I apologize if I insinuated your son was lazy. I did not SAY he was lazy, just gave the example of my son. My son was not lazy either; his standards were just too high for the reality around him. When he had to park his beloved car because he had no gas money, his standards changed.

One thing I think is different in today’s business world: companies are not as willing to hire people and train them themselves. In the past, it was very common for a company to hire a “green” person right out of high school, then send them to get the vocational training they needed. Now companies ususally ask for the training to be present up front. Maybe that is because employees are very mobile now, changing jobs every five years on the average. No company wants to spend thousands of dollars training someone to be a certified welder, just to have them up and quit and go elsewhere. Employees don’t stay at the same job the way they used to. Also, skills are much more specialized than in the past. All these conspire against the unemployed.

Mary Elizabeth

April 21st, 2012
11:27 am

“Democrats will not even consider an actual cut to our national deficit. . .”
============================================

Untrue, Democrats have proposed many bills that would have reduced spending, even into social entitlements, if Republicans would match their proposals by some lesser degree of revenue increases, such as increased taxes on the very wealthy, but Republicans will not agree. Simply returning to the tax code that was operative during the Clinton administration would decrease our national deficit by billions of dollars, and even more over time, but Republicans will not agree.

You are, however, correct in stating that jobs are being cut further in America because corporations continue to shift their jobs overseas, thereby hurting American jobs and revenue.

Frustrated

April 21st, 2012
11:29 am

Yet, prisoners are getting degrees at NO cost. There is definitely something wrong with this picture. Now, what will be done about it?

Hillbilly D

April 21st, 2012
11:42 am

In the past, it was very common for a company to hire a “green” person right out of high school, then send them to get the vocational training they needed. Now companies usually ask for the training to be present up front.

That’s a good point. The reason companies do that now is because they can get away with it. This thing has been a long time in getting here. I grew up in a blue collar world and those jobs have been bleeding away for close to 40 years now. Didn’t hear a lot of complaining about outsourcing until it started to hit the IT type jobs, etc. That’s one reason employees move around a lot now. In the old days, you knew if you went to work someplace, worked hard and did your job, that would be rewarded. That’s no longer the case and hasn’t been for a long time now. A friend of mine who works in a plant, and puts in 60 hours a week, for a multi-national, says they are constantly being told that if production and profits don’t keep increasing, they’ll move the plant to China. They already moved one of their plants to Mexico quite a few years back. So, in my opinion, it doesn’t really matter what the workers do, one of these days, the plant is off to China and that’ll be that. They already have one plant in China and they regularly send Georgia workers there to train the Chinese workers.

Don H.

April 21st, 2012
11:46 am

@MaryEliz. Your Democrat majority leader in the Senate hasn’t brought up a federal budget proposal IN OVER THREE YEARS—even though it only takes 51 votes to pass one.

And when Pres. Obama’s most recent budget was voted on in the House this year it received not a single vote.

Rick in Grayson

April 21st, 2012
12:03 pm

Mary Elizabeth.

“Untrue, Democrats have proposed many bills that would have reduced spending, even into social entitlements,” – Still don’t accept this. I would agree that the would reduce the rate of increase in spending on social entitlements.

You are correct about the following: “if Republicans would match their proposals by some lesser degree of revenue increases, such as increased taxes on the very wealthy, but Republicans will not agree.”

Something that I don’t understand. This is a ridiculous position for the Republicans, utterly stupid. While I believe in the right to earn whatever the market bears, the country needs the Republicans to move the needle on this issue.
It is refreshing to see the shareholders of several companies (Citicorp comes to mind) complaining about executive salaries/perks, the board of directors are still largely controlled by the CEO’s.

Rick in Grayson

April 21st, 2012
12:10 pm

” Now companies ususally ask for the training to be present up front. Maybe that is because employees are very mobile now, changing jobs every five years on the average. No company wants to spend thousands of dollars training someone to be a certified welder, just to have them up and quit and go elsewhere. Employees don’t stay at the same job the way they used to. ”

My father worked as an electrical engineer for IBM for 37 years. That kind of secure employment is no longer available.

Education alone will not provide jobs for all US citizens. We must reduce our population and do one of the following:
(1) close our labor force to all but current US citizens and legal residents,
(2) US citizens must relocate to growing economies for employment

teacher&mom

April 21st, 2012
12:13 pm

@Mountain Man: apology accepted. Thank you.

Your 11:21 post makes some very valid points about employers being unwilling to train new recruits.

btw: My second child is quite frankly a little on the lazy side and will be either walking to school or riding with me if he does not get a job. He has marching orders to put in at least three job application by 5 PM today. I’ll repeat the marching orders every day for the next month. He thinks his once a week mowing job is all he needs. HS graduation is soon and he is about to experience a harsh dose of reality. :)

Mary Elizabeth

April 21st, 2012
12:14 pm

@Don H.

The national budget does not work like state budgets or household budgets. One has to think differently to understand how it works. In Congress, spending is appropriated as it occurs such as for Social Security payments or military spending. A national budget would be for money that has already been outlaid and therefore would be very weak in impact, and implemented more for politics than for changing the national money outlay. This national “budget” emphasis is simply a Republican propaganda talking point because people, including myself, do not understand fully how that element of our national finances works. Btw, I am supportive of getting our deficit under control by a combination of (1) cutting of spending and (2) increasing taxes. Getting our debt under control is important to me (and to most Democrats). Our national deficit was under control under Bill Clinton and he left office with a monetary surplus. The question is what happened to reverse what Clinton had accomplished financially, so dramatically during the 2000s? Most economists, including Alan Greenspan, will acknowledge that the change of the tax code, with the Bush tax cuts, was the primary factor in creating a huge national deficit (including two unpaid for wars, not on the books). Much of the debt accrued by President Obama has been to save us from a major Depression, i.e. Stimulus funds and funds to save major banks and auto industry. That crisis Recession occurred before President Obama even took office and naturally he would spend to keep us from falling into a national financial tragedy.

teacher&mom

April 21st, 2012
12:20 pm

@Rick: “Something that I don’t understand. This is a ridiculous position for the Republicans, utterly stupid. While I believe in the right to earn whatever the market bears, the country needs the Republicans to move the needle on this issue.”

I agree and this one-time Republican voter will not return to the party until they decide to move the needle. They are being stubborn and foolish. If the recall election in Wis. is successful in removing Walker, I suspect more than a few Republicans will be anxious to move the needle.

Time will tell.