PDA

View Full Version : Letter From The Boss...



luvmylabs23139
01-08-2009, 04:26 PM
To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country. However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You've seen my big home at last years Christmas party. I'm sure; all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.

However, what you don't see is the back story.

I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn't have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business -- hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom's for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the Goodwill store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a
1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden -- the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations... You never realize the back story and the sacrifices I've made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn't. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Yes, business ownership has is benefits but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:

I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my "stimulus" check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.

Here is what many of you don't understand ... to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.

So where am I going with all this?

It's quite simple.

If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem any more.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

If you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about....

Signed, Your boss

YardleyLabs
01-08-2009, 05:15 PM
:cry::cry::cry: Don't let the door hit you on the way out. :cry::cry::barf:

I've run businesses my entire life and put my money at risk to do it. At no time would I have ever traded places with my employees. I treated them well and they worked hard. A few times along the way I paid them more than I made from their work, but for the most part I benefited much more than they did. It's important for every society to encourage those who create jobs. However, that does not justify the massive shift that has occurred in this country to reduce the return on labor and to favor the return on capital. Salaries at the top have increased ten times faster than salaries in the middle and faster still than salaries at the bottom. One impact of this war on labor has been the collapse of our consumer driven economy and the collapse of the jobs that were generated. We now look like a banana republic and are paying the price. Massive concentration of wealth destroys an economy; it doesn't stimulate it. We have gone too far.

Buzz
01-08-2009, 06:47 PM
Aside from the fact that this is most likely a fictional story, the back story doesn't impress me. Lots of people have back stories.

Or maybe not fictional.

http://www.rense.com/general84/letter.htm

Marvin S
01-08-2009, 09:09 PM
I've run businesses my entire life and put my money at risk to do it. At no time would I have ever traded places with my employees. I treated them well and they worked hard. A few times along the way I paid them more than I made from their work, but for the most part I benefited much more than they did. It's important for every society to encourage those who create jobs.

I think that's what the 1st post is saying - correct me if I am incorrect.


However, that does not justify the massive shift that has occurred in this country to reduce the return on labor and to favor the return on capital. Salaries at the top have increased ten times faster than salaries in the middle and faster still than salaries at the bottom.

It's a matter of respect for others - I believe we saw a glimpse of that in the VPOTUS race recently, which I believed you welcomed. Again you may correct my assumption.


One impact of this war on labor has been the collapse of our consumer driven economy and the collapse of the jobs that were generated. We now look like a banana republic and are paying the price. Massive concentration of wealth destroys an economy; it doesn't stimulate it. We have gone too far.

The Original Henry Ford is probably turning in his grave.

Hew
01-09-2009, 02:47 AM
Massive concentration of wealth destroys an economy; it doesn't stimulate it. We have gone too far.
Thank you, Karl Marx. :D

Kind of, hmmm...ironic maybe, that someone who attended a Swiss boarding school before moving on to the Ivy League would be wringing his hands over the very principle that provided for his education. Don't bother with your parents' particular "back story" as Buzz won't be impressed with how they were able to accumulate wealth.

BTW, the notion that wealth is zero sum...i.e. wealth is finite and one person's accumulation of wealth prevents another person's accumulation, has long been debunked as Malthusian claptrap. But if you want to cleanse your soul and confess that the cost of your education meant that 10 inner city kids couldn't go to a state school because your parents took money out of their parents' hands, then I'm all ears. The confessional is open.

YardleyLabs
01-09-2009, 06:14 AM
Thank you, Karl Marx. :D

Kind of, hmmm...ironic maybe, that someone who attended a Swiss boarding school before moving on to the Ivy League would be wringing his hands over the very principle that provided for his education. Don't bother with your parents' particular "back story" as Buzz won't be impressed with how they were able to accumulate wealth.

BTW, the notion that wealth is zero sum...i.e. wealth is finite and one person's accumulation of wealth prevents another person's accumulation, has long been debunked as Malthusian claptrap. But if you want to cleanse your soul and confess that the cost of your education meant that 10 inner city kids couldn't go to a state school because your parents took money out of their parents' hands, then I'm all ears. The confessional is open.

My Swiss boarding school education was paid by a combination of Union Carbide -- since there were no English speaking schools in Sicily where my father was working -- and my father from his engineer's salary of $33,000/year. Princeton at that time was $3000/year, which was less than boarding school. My father paid the first three years of tuition and board. I paid all personal expenses (meals, clothes, books, etc) with my jobs cooking hamburgers and working in the library. In my senior year and for graduate school I was on a full fellowship.

My father was actually the fourth of 7 children. His father, a drunk, was killed when my dad was 10. The family survived in part because of surplus food distributions that supplemented what my grandmother could buy with her $8/week salary as a waitress. My father worked his way through college in three years at Syracuse and was drafted into the Manhattan Project (atomic bomb) during WWII. After the war he helped pay for one brother to go to pharmacy school and another to go the college as an engineer.

My father was very successful in his career, but never wealthy. One reason was that my mother had a stroke at the age of 44 leaving her paralyzed and aphasic. Costs of her care soon exceeded the lifetime maximums covered by medical insurance and by the time of her death 26 years later my father had spent almost $1 million on her care. He died at the age of 79 after a 14 year fight with cancer, leaving an "estate" of about $200,000 after the sale of his house.

My father never forgot where he came from. He regularly gave 20% or more of his gross income in charitable contributions (much of that in contributions to such "radical" groups as the Southern Law Conference and Planned Parenthood) and regularly voted to increase his own taxes to provide better education and medical benefits for all regardless of income.

I also try not to forget where I came from and try not to forget how blessed I was by the hard work of my parents. I have tried to pass on a similar ethic to my children. Each went to the best schools. Each paid a large percentage of his and her expenses, even though I could have paid it all, and each was raised with a recognition of how their lives have been benefited by privilege and how they have a responsibility for helping others to share more of those same benefits.

By the way, there is nothing Marxist in my attitudes. I would call it enlightened self interest. Few of us actually "earn" what we have on our own. We depend on a healthy economy, a strong educational system, a sophisticated communication and transportation infrastructure, etc., to provide us the opportunity to earn our livings. We also depend on the existence of a strong labor pool able to produce the services and goods we need, to buy the goods and services we sell, and to produce the creative leaders of the future. History suggests that a permanent class of the wealthy leads to the downfall of economies and to political and social turmoil. I believe we have been headed in that direction for the last 20 years and that it's time to change.

Buzz
01-09-2009, 08:41 AM
Thank you, Karl Marx. :D

Don't bother with your parents' particular "back story" as Buzz won't be impressed with how they were able to accumulate wealth.



I wouldn't bother giving my own "back story." Not worth my time.

I think that this clown beating his employees over the head with it and threatening their livelihoods with being put out on the street during such hard economic times because he is so upset over the political climate is thoughtless and self serving. If I worked for him, my resume would begin circulating before the day was over.

Pete
01-09-2009, 08:54 AM
When think about stimulating an economy I often think that the money should go to people who stimulate the economy. People who give back what they take in. Small buisiness owners are the biggest part of our job force.
I don't believe you can stimulate the economy by giving people who produce nothing more money The auto industry and banking industry atre a great example,
There is a universal principle in life which by the way Jeffs dad practiced called "giving". Everything in life is based on giving and recieving. Weather your talking about physics, or relationships or the economy.
The world revolves around it.
The dead sea is dead because it takes but never gives
We would die if we only took in and never put out.
Giving money to lazy people and organizations who only take and never give will give you the dead sea effect.

Don't no anything about economics ,,,don't need to ,,,
Pete

Steve Amrein
01-09-2009, 09:24 AM
Insert BHO's "only Goverment speech" can save the world speach. Maybe when I have to let all of my employees go and close my companiy I can get a nice government job.

Hew
01-09-2009, 09:48 AM
By the way, there is nothing Marxist in my attitudes. I would call it enlightened self interest.

Call it whatever you want, but the notions you put forth in your first post were entirely Marxist...from the notion that the accumulation of excess wealth is bad to the notion that wealth accumulation must naturally come at the expense of others...straight outta "Das Kapital."



History suggests that a permanent class of the wealthy leads to the downfall of economies and to political and social turmoil. I believe we have been headed in that direction for the last 20 years and that it's time to change.

Can you provide some examples in history of the above in a market-based/capitalist economy (i.e. no archaic examples like Tsarist Russia)?

Do you believe the wealth in the world is finite? If you wisely say no, then how can accumulation of "excess" (that's sure in the eye of the beholder) wealth have a necessary adverse effect on others?

greg ye
01-14-2009, 04:05 PM
Massive concentration of wealth destroys an economy; it doesn't stimulate it.

Massive concentrations of wealth, or even modest wealth, are what built this country and provided employees the ability to consume. It's only when the velocity of money slows to a snail's pace, because of disincentive to invest/spend, that the economy constricts for everyone. No need to speculate, the next four years will tell the story.

Buzz
01-14-2009, 04:13 PM
He should have passed out the letter with copies of this one, I can bet it's flying off the shelves:

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n3/davebezesky/boom.jpg

YardleyLabs
01-14-2009, 04:56 PM
Call it whatever you want, but the notions you put forth in your first post were entirely Marxist...from the notion that the accumulation of excess wealth is bad to the notion that wealth accumulation must naturally come at the expense of others...straight outta "Das Kapital."

That comment is equivalent to my suggesting that your notions come stright out of "Mein Kampf". Have you read "Das Kapital"?



Can you provide some examples in history of the above in a market-based/capitalist economy (i.e. no archaic examples like Tsarist Russia)?

Do you believe the wealth in the world is finite? If you wisely say no, then how can accumulation of "excess" (that's sure in the eye of the beholder) wealth have a necessary adverse effect on others?



Massive concentrations of wealth, or even modest wealth, are what built this country and provided employees the ability to consume. It's only when the velocity of money slows to a snails pace, because of disincentive to invest/spend, that the economy constricts for everyone. No need to speculate, the next four years will tell the story.

The last period in which "capitalists" were permitted to operate with essentially no controls whatsoever was during the period following the Civil War and continuing unchecked until the end of the 19th century. It conrinued as a force until the 1930's when brought under increasing control. It was the era of what were called the "Robber Barons" and linked to an astronomical growth in the abuse of child labor, on-going problems with food supply captured in Upton Sinclair's book The Jungle, massive concentration of power and money in the railroads resulting in criminal violation of individua rights and virtual enslavement of immigrants recruited for construction, virtual monopolization of the oil industry, etc. In America, "radical" writers, called "Muckrakers" played a key role in documenting the abuses that went along with the growing concentration of economic power in a small number of families. Republican President Teddy Roosevelt was one of the first to take action to impose limits on the unbridled power with the Sherman Anti-trust Act and the breakup of the oil companies. In the business world, as Marivn noted, Henry Ford developed a different model for employment that allowed workers to benefit from the growth of the business and, in the process, created a whole new set of consumers able to help Ford grow. Issues continued, but this country escaped the worst of the social disintegration that accompanied the robber barons. In others, a similar concentration was directly linked with the Russian Revolution, the growth of militarism in Germany and the post war collapse of the Weimar republic which lay the groundwork for Hitler and the growth of Fascism, etc.

In this country, revolution was probably prevented by the New Deal reforms. During WWII, governemnt engagement in the economy -- not as the planner or director, but as a regulator -- gained acceptance and was a positive factor helping the US to recover faster and stronger during the 1950's and 60's than any other country in the world. The risks of a return to the earlier period of unbridled corporatism were pointed out by the famus Communist Dwight D. Eisenhower as he was leaving office in his warning about the dangers of the "military industrial complex". That growth continued almost unabated with astronomical marginal tax rates until the energy "crisis" (I would say energy war) of the 70's. During that period of growth, incomes grew at all levels and the reduced concentration of wealth seen in American was generally credited as being a major reason why we were more successful than other countries with a greater concentration of wealth.

I believe that much of the economic problems we face today are directly the result of the return to more of a pure economy of greed and the encouragement of short sighted greed by the government. Economists have long recognized the difference between a "competitive market economy" which is very good at meeting most, but not all, needs for healthy growth, and an uncontrolled "free market" economy that descends into monopolism. Economic monopolies benefit no one except their owners and ultimately destroy the economy by using their power to undermine innovation that might threaten entrenched positions.

Personally, I believe that the appropriate measure of economic health in an economy is real median income. If that number is going up than most people are benefiting from growth. If that number is going down but average income is increasing (the situation we have faced in recent years), than we are facing economic and political disintegration. If both median and average income are declining, as is the case today, we are in the midst of econmic failure. Generally, the best way out of that failure will involve increasing relative incomes in the lower 70% of the population first to rebuild the consumers needed to drive long term growth.

The question I would pose is what are the facts that lead you to say that massive concentrations of wealth are the foundation for growth. You actually say "Massive concentrations of wealth, or even modest wealth, are what built this country and provided employees the ability to consume."

I would argue tht the bolded part of your sentence is actually the most important and that the weakness we see today is because employees have not been allowed to benefit from growth and have now run out of money as a result.

tpaschal30
01-14-2009, 05:14 PM
Jeff you mentioned something earlier about "shift in the return on labor". How about the effect of 12 to 20 million illegal laborers added to the supply of labor? The laws of supply and demand at work. If there is unchecked capitalism it is on the side of the labor supply. We failed to check it. The same reasons for allowing the illegals was the same for slavery.

YardleyLabs
01-14-2009, 05:59 PM
Jeff you mentioned something earlier about "shift in the return on labor". How about the effect of 12 to 20 million illegal laborers added to the supply of labor? The laws of supply and demand at work. If there is unchecked capitalism it is on the side of the labor supply. We failed to check it. The same reasons for allowing the illegals was the same for slavery.

I don't think illegal (or legal) immigration is a significant factor. However, you are correct that "laws" of supply and demand are at the center of much of what has happened. Globalization, which I believe is desirable and inevitable, has been the primary force enabling the shift in returns between capital and labor. As long as the world is at least basically stable, the movement of capital is more flexible now than ever before in history. While labor (meaning most of us) is less flexible, it has also become much easier to move production activities to areas with lower labor costs meaning that labor has to compete on a global scale for the first time.

While some of this was possible even in the 50's and 60's, comparatively higher education levels and better social infrastructure made the American worker more productive and therefore "worth" a higher salary. That advantage has eroded.

We have invested less in education and infrastructure than other nations and the productivity gap has narrowed. As a consequence, American wages and the American standard of living have fallen relative to those in Europe and much of Asia. That, too, is inevitable. It can't be "fixed" by buildings walls around our country. However, it underscores the fact that issues of economic justice and competition must be addressed in a global manner. It also means that if we want to maintain our own position of economic leadership we must invest in education and economic infrastructure (communication lines, energy production, transportation, etc.) with the same fervor we have traditionally reserved for building weapons.

greg ye
01-14-2009, 09:14 PM
Jeff, your posts are great. What I meant by "concentration of wealth" was the availability of capital or credit by business and was a poor play on how you initially used the phrase. Let's face it: With out strong employers, our consumer economy is doomed. To exclude business from fiscal policy considerations at this time is pure folly. No references here to back up my thoughts, pure Garage Logic.

tpaschal30
01-15-2009, 04:58 AM
I don't think illegal (or legal) immigration is a significant factor.



There are 154 million in the US labor force. 12 to 20 million illegals which is 7 to 12 percent of the civilian workforce is not a "significant factor"! If unemployment gets to 12% will that be insignificant?

PS Expenditures on education have little to do with learning. Take the DC school system. Proper parenting is more influential, which requires a strong family unit that liberals attack.

"U.S. tops the world in school spending but not test scores
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States spends more public and private money on education than other major countries, but its performance doesn't measure up in areas ranging from high-school graduation rates to test scores in math, reading and science, a new report shows.
"There are countries which don't get the bang for the bucks, and the U.S. is one of them," said Barry McGaw, education director for the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which produced the annual review of industrialized nations.

The United States spent $10,240 per student from elementary school through college in 2000, according to the report. The average was $6,361 among more than 25 nations.

The range stretched from less than $3,000 per student in Turkey, Mexico, the Slovak Republic and Poland to more than $8,000 per student in Denmark, Norway, Austria and Switzerland.

The report cited Australia, Finland, Ireland, Korea and the United Kingdom as examples of OECD nations that have moderate spending on primary and lower secondary education but high levels of performance by 15-year-olds in key subject areas.

As for the United States, it finished in the middle of the pack in its 15-year-olds' performance on math, reading and science in 2000, and its high-school graduation rate was below the international average in 2001 — figures highlighted by Education Secretary Rod Paige.

The country fared better in reading literacy among fourth-graders, where it finished among the top scorers in 2001. But the declining performance as students grow older served as a warning to the nation, Paige said.

"These results highlight an extremely important truth about our educational system: I think we have become complacent, self-satisfied and often lacking the will to do better," Paige said.

Appropriate spending has emerged as a key political issue this year as the nation's schools deal with federal reforms. The No Child Left Behind law demands better performance from students and teachers, particularly in low-income districts, but critics say Republican leaders in Congress have spent too little on the effort.

The report, released Tuesday, sets international benchmarks and identifies areas for improvement.

Based on educational level, the report says the United States spends the most on higher education for every student and is a leading spender on primary and secondary education.

Paige said the nation must fill the gap between it and other countries, and bridge another between students succeeding in American public schools and those falling behind. Within that promising fourth-grade reading showing in the United States, Paige said, is a revealing number: the higher the percentage of poor students, the lower the average score.

"There's no such thing as a 'typical' fourth-grader," Paige said. "We want to go to each fourth-grader. We need to see who needs the help."

The new federal law requires states to chart adequate yearly progress — not just for a school's overall population, but for groups such as minorities and students who speak little English. Sanctions grow by the year for schools receiving low-income aid that don't improve enough. Consequences range from letting students transfer to a better school within their districts to handing control of a poor-performing school to the state.

"No other country is imposing such a rigorous requirement on its schools," McGaw said.

But from school boards to Congress, growing numbers of leaders say the federal government isn't committing enough money to the task. States must, for example, expand their standardized testing and put a highly qualified teacher in every core class by 2005-06.

Federal education spending has grown by $11 billion since President Bush took office, Paige said, but that includes spending beyond the first 12 grades. Even increased money for elementary and secondary education doesn't cover the law's sweeping expenses, said David Shreve of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"

YardleyLabs
01-15-2009, 09:17 AM
There are 154 million in the US labor force. 12 to 20 million illegals which is 7 to 12 percent of the civilian workforce is not a "significant factor"! If unemployment gets to 12% will that be insignificant?

....

It's relatively insignificant as a depressor of wages since most of the illegals are filling minimum wage jobs. The jobs exported to other countries represent a greater portion of our employment and also represent relatively skilled positions.

I agree with many/most of the comments on education in your "PS". My own observation, from personal experience as a student in Switzerland, and parent/grandparent in America, is that we do a pretty good job in elementary school and college and a terrible job in secondary school (7-12).

For secondary students too much emphasis is placed on non-academic activities (sports, jobs, social activities) and too little on academic work. When I graduated from high school, where I was a good but not stellar student, I had 32 credits including 18 credits in lab sciences. I took advanced placement classes in six subjects. This compares with US norms of 18 credits in total with limited opportunities for advanced placement classes.

The difference was that I went to school from 8 AM - 4 PM every day with virtually no free periods, taking 8 classes. Homework took an average of 4 hours/night with an occasional (2-3 times/month) all nighter to catch up. That was a "normal" schedule for European schools at that time. While I followed an "American" track in my studies, the European norm was also to complete 13 years of grade school before attending university. A reason for this was that a higher percentage of students did not attend college and the secondary schools were designed to provide a more complete educational foundation, somewhat comparable to what we do through junior colleges. In France and Switzerland, graduation was tied to passing a national proficiency examination covering a broad range of subjects including foreign languages, science, history, primary language, literature, and philosophy. Think how much more could be done in American high schools by adding 2-3 hours to the daily class schedule and by defining proficiency to include a little more than reading, writing and arithmetic.

tpaschal30
01-15-2009, 09:41 AM
It's relatively insignificant as a depressor of wages since most of the illegals are filling minimum wage jobs. The jobs exported to other countries represent a greater portion of our employment and also represent relatively skilled positions.

.

Let's assume they never came here. One, a machine would have tobe produced to do what they do now or two a wage paid high enough to get legals to do it, which would compete with other jobs(rising tide raises all boats), or three it would be noncompetitive and gone. In all cases it would either create jobs(building machines), raise wages, or be more efficient. That is how the market and capitalism works! Both parties are in cahoots with business to keep the supply of labor high and cheap.

Lisa Van Loo
01-15-2009, 03:05 PM
We have invested less in education and infrastructure than other nations and the productivity gap has narrowed. As a consequence, American wages and the American standard of living have fallen relative to those in Europe and much of Asia. That, too, is inevitable. It can't be "fixed" by buildings walls around our country. However, it underscores the fact that issues of economic justice and competition must be addressed in a global manner. It also means that if we want to maintain our own position of economic leadership we must invest in education and economic infrastructure (communication lines, energy production, transportation, etc.) with the same fervor we have traditionally reserved for building weapons.

We will be relegated to following other countries instead of being the leaders in innovation, so long as we, as a society, continue to view being intelligent as "uncool". It is very, very difficult to get young people interested in a career in the sciences or technology (unless it is writing gaming programs). Some of this (maybe a large part) has to do with how intelligent people are portrayed on television. Think of any of a number of popular TV shows, and the most intelligent characters are almost always portrayed as socially awkward, unintelligible, and badly dressed. In short, nothing any self-respecting teenager ever wants to be within a hundred miles of! Is it any wonder that our mathematics, science, and technology schools are increasingly attended by foreign nationals, and less and less by US citizens?

Lisa

Marvin S
01-15-2009, 06:21 PM
For secondary students too much emphasis is placed on non-academic activities (sports, jobs, social activities) and too little on academic work. When I graduated from high school, where I was a good but not stellar student, I had 32 credits including 18 credits in lab sciences. I took advanced placement classes in six subjects. This compares with US norms of 18 credits in total with limited opportunities for advanced placement classes.

The difference was that I went to school from 8 AM - 4 PM every day with virtually no free periods, taking 8 classes. Homework took an average of 4 hours/night with an occasional (2-3 times/month) all nighter to catch up. That was a "normal" schedule for European schools at that time. While I followed an "American" track in my studies, the European norm was also to complete 13 years of grade school before attending university. A reason for this was that a higher percentage of students did not attend college and the secondary schools were designed to provide a more complete educational foundation, somewhat comparable to what we do through junior colleges. In France and Switzerland, graduation was tied to passing a national proficiency examination covering a broad range of subjects including foreign languages, science, history, primary language, literature, and philosophy. Think how much more could be done in American high schools by adding 2-3 hours to the daily class schedule and by defining proficiency to include a little more than reading, writing and arithmetic.

Jeff - I'm sure you have the computer skills - would you transfer what I have hilited to a separate education thread on POTUS where we can have an education discussion? I hate to see comment's like Lisa's lost in another topic.

tpaschal30
01-16-2009, 06:05 AM
For secondary students too much emphasis is placed on non-academic activities (sports, jobs, social activities) and too little on academic work. When I graduated from high school, where I was a good but not stellar student, I had 32 credits including 18 credits in lab sciences. I took advanced placement classes in six subjects. This compares with US norms of 18 credits in total with limited opportunities for advanced placement classes.

The difference was that I went to school from 8 AM - 4 PM every day with virtually no free periods, taking 8 classes. Homework took an average of 4 hours/night with an occasional (2-3 times/month) all nighter to catch up. That was a "normal" schedule for European schools at that time. While I followed an "American" track in my studies, the European norm was also to complete 13 years of grade school before attending university. A reason for this was that a higher percentage of students did not attend college and the secondary schools were designed to provide a more complete educational foundation, somewhat comparable to what we do through junior colleges. In France and Switzerland, graduation was tied to passing a national proficiency examination covering a broad range of subjects including foreign languages, science, history, primary language, literature, and philosophy. Think how much more could be done in American high schools by adding 2-3 hours to the daily class schedule and by defining proficiency to include a little more than reading, writing and arithmetic.

The US public schools teach to the lowest common denominator. Evidenced with the use of social promotion. US educators would deem the system you went thru as exclusionary. The US today expects equal outcome not equal opportunity.