Here's an uncorroborated breakdown of unemployment figures. While I'm not going to place full faith in these numbers yet, it does raise a few questions:
- Politicians evoke the image of poor destitute children and a family of four when they talk about minimum wage. John Kerry mentions that the jobs that have been created in general pay $X thousand (X=8? 9?) lower than the jobs that have been lost. Question: how many of the lowest wage jobs (wage < $8.20 an hour, say, to use a figure around that quoted as the poverty line for a family of four) is held by teenagers, college students, dropouts, and people holding another job?
- How long do people with a college education or community college education stay at minimum wage?
- If we're outsourcing so many jobs, including high tech ones, why are we creating minimum wage jobs?
The fact is we live in a time of flux. Our job skills have to develop to keep up with the pace of new demands. I like the president's rhetoric here: training is better than protectionism. I wish his actions would match. However, I also think that education is not the domain of the federal government, and would rather see more local efforts in this regard (with commensurate tax shifts).