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Old 01-29-2015, 02:28 PM   #21
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I would say the percentage of the labor pool with poor skills may very well be higher than 50%. What employers learned after the economic meltdown and resulting massive layoffs was they could do without all of the low performers.

I've said it before and i'll say it again: we are in a winner-takes-it-all economy and in the historic fight between labor and capital labor is losing. The CIA, British equivalent of the CIA, and the European equivalent (forget names) have all come out with very recent reports on the massive displacement of labor due to automation, globalization, and the transformation of information. Automation is a huge factor.
So are we going to experience the equivalent of the French Revolution? Doubtful, but I'm a huge supporter of the concept (not the actual execution) of government programs that help people learn skills that are in demand. Unfortunately, the current educational system is not designed to impart in-demand skills. We have long since moved away from blue-collar training in high schools, vocational tech school (instead of college), and financial education (anyone here remember learning how to balance a checkbook in Home Economics? I did!)
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:46 PM   #22
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Unfortunately, the current educational system is not designed to impart in-demand skills. We have long since moved away from blue-collar training in high schools, vocational tech school (instead of college), and financial education (anyone here remember learning how to balance a checkbook in Home Economics? I did!)
There is hope in some places. Here in WV Blue Ridge Community and Technical College offers classes in things like welding, CNC maintenance/repair, electrician, truck driving, chef, plumbing, and a lot of others, all trades that will be in demand for the foreseeable future and that pay enough to support oneself and/or bootstrap oneself to what one really wants to do.

I do remember taking a financial basics class in HS, I forget what they called it - how to figure interest, the difference between a savings and checking account, stocks and bonds, and of course how to write a check and balance a checkbook. It was one of the two most practical classes I took in HS. The other was typing.
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Old 01-29-2015, 03:29 PM   #23
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100K a year is very relative - it's chump change if you live in NYC and a crap ton if you live in OKC


but anyway I'm not surprised by the lack of savings nowadays. I guess I'm thankful that my parents were born during the great depression.
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Old 01-29-2015, 03:36 PM   #24
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Unfortunately, the educational system is not to educate anymore. There are "students", that have no business being in a classroom, that bring everybody down from the superintendent, principal, teacher, hs ,gs, k. There are hired administrators that constantly search and apply for federal and state funds to cater to certain groups/agendas. Teachers spend too much time on bureaucrat required paperwork and not enough time teaching. Classroom time is cut short by bad behavior, lack of discipline at home, threat of lawsuits, and petty crap like providing paper and pencils to students that are unwilling, too stupid, too cool to bring their own to class. My wife and daughter are both teachers.


Now I need a glass of wine.....
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Old 01-29-2015, 04:32 PM   #25
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Talk about trying to make much ado about nothing. If you can believe the first graph in the article, the 21 day figure has changed little since 1989. Since then we've been through one of the greatest bull markets (late 90's) and the "Great Recession". Seems the sun keeps coming up and the vast majority of American's just continue on with life, regardless of how many days in salary they have available.
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Old 01-29-2015, 04:34 PM   #26
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Now I need a glass of wine.....
I like this guy.
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Old 01-29-2015, 04:51 PM   #27
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My wife and daughter are both teachers.
They have my sympathies. I have a niece who is a teacher. Very rarely are teachers paid even near what they are worth.
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Old 01-29-2015, 04:56 PM   #28
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There is hope in some places. Here in WV Blue Ridge Community and Technical College offers classes in things like welding, CNC maintenance/repair, electrician, truck driving, chef, plumbing, and a lot of others, all trades that will be in demand for the foreseeable future and that pay enough to support oneself and/or bootstrap oneself to what one really wants to do.

I do remember taking a financial basics class in HS, I forget what they called it - how to figure interest, the difference between a savings and checking account, stocks and bonds, and of course how to write a check and balance a checkbook. It was one of the two most practical classes I took in HS. The other was typing.
The problem is not only the availability of so-called "trades" skill training, but rather the perception of being in the trades. Until about 30 years or so ago, the "trades" were seen as honorable work - indeed, millions of WWII veterans went into them and joined the unions. These days, despite the clear need for tradesmen (I've seen hundreds of openings with solid pay), parents and their teenage kids are somehow convinced that everyone has to go to college. Those kids who can't afford college often default into very low paying jobs (e.g., pizza delivery, retail sales, waitress/waiter, etc...) instead of learning a trade. They languish for years in such low paying jobs, when they could be making $40k+ annually after a year or two in the trades. While the trades have traditionally been bastions of men, there are growing opportunities for women for less physical roles (but which are still essential).
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Old 01-29-2015, 05:00 PM   #29
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I have $16 on hand at the moment, and that is earmarked for the Girl Scout cookies I'm expecting soon...
However, I am "credit card points" rich.
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Old 01-29-2015, 05:05 PM   #30
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The problem is not only the availability of so-called "trades" skill training, but rather the perception of being in the trades. Until about 30 years or so ago, the "trades" were seen as honorable work - indeed, millions of WWII veterans went into them and joined the unions. These days, despite the clear need for tradesmen (I've seen hundreds of openings with solid pay), parents and their teenage kids are somehow convinced that everyone has to go to college.
That's the sad part, but there are of course exceptions and those people will do well in part because of the lack of competition. The young fellow who bought FIL's house paid just under $300k for it and he's a Master Electrician. While I'm sure it is not an easy cert to get (stupid people need not apply) it doesn't require a college degree and apparently pays well.

So I think there is hope. Not everyone is cut out for college and most of them know it so they take a different path. But that doesn't mean a low paying service job.
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Old 01-29-2015, 05:17 PM   #31
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I have $16 on hand at the moment, and that is earmarked for the Girl Scout cookies I'm expecting soon...
However, I am "credit card points" rich.
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Old 01-29-2015, 05:58 PM   #32
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I like Mike Rowe's (the Dirty Jobs guy) description of the problem of student debt for college versus unfilled trade jobs:

"We are lending money we don't have to kids who can't pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That's nuts.”

He has a foundation trying to highlight the job openings in many non-college career paths:
http://profoundlydisconnected.com/
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Old 01-29-2015, 06:10 PM   #33
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parents and their teenage kids are somehow convinced that everyone has to go to college.
Twenty plus years ago, in coastal British Columbia, we had some plumbing work done.......our plumber sent over a young guy, wild green hair, the lot........got talking to him, he noted that the rest of his graduating cohort wanted 'office jobs with clean shirts' while he opted for a profession that would make him pretty good money, for which he didn't have to dress up, and that would likely (in one form or another) always be in demand........smart young guy.
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Old 01-29-2015, 07:57 PM   #34
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See this:

Two-Tier Economy Reshapes U.S. Marketplace

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The emergence of a two-tiered U.S. economy, with wealthy households advancing while middle- and lower-income Americans struggle, is reshaping markets for everything from housing to clothing to groceries to beer.

“It’s a tale of two economies,” said Glenn Kelman, chief executive of Redfin, a real-estate brokerage in Seattle that operates in 25 states. “There is a high-end market that is absolutely booming. And then there’s everyone in the middle class. They don’t have much hope of wage growth.”
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Old 01-29-2015, 07:58 PM   #35
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Twenty plus years ago, in coastal British Columbia, we had some plumbing work done.......our plumber sent over a young guy, wild green hair, the lot........got talking to him, he noted that the rest of his graduating cohort wanted 'office jobs with clean shirts' while he opted for a profession that would make him pretty good money, for which he didn't have to dress up, and that would likely (in one form or another) always be in demand........smart young guy.
I have a good friend who owns a small plumbing business here in Texas. I always ask him, "How's business?" His response is always the same... "Business is great, pipes still getting clogged as always. But I could double my revenue if I could get reliable, skilled help." His guys average over $50K/yr with full benefits (very low COL area). But nobody wants to do it. The few that do typically have a criminal background or they're in the country illegally, or other issues. He loves to pontificate about how unemployment stats are a crock, and the real issue is that young people don't want to work hard and get their hands dirty... entitlement mentality... over-parenting... video games... rap music... I'll stop there.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:01 PM   #36
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Perhaps the most interesting thing of all to me is the comments. There seems to be such a sense of entitlement to a lifestyle beyond one's means.
I rarely agree politically with Megan McArdle, Peggy Noonan or Joni Ernst, but I thought this piece really captured how "entitled" we have all become as a society.

When Bread Bags Weren't Funny - Bloomberg View

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In every generation, we forget how much poorer we used to be, and then we forget that we have forgotten. We focus on the things that seem funny or monstrous or quaint and darling. Somehow the simplest and most important fact -- the immense differences between their living standards and ours -- slides right past our eye.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:37 PM   #37
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I rarely agree politically with Megan McArdle, Peggy Noonan or Joni Ernst, but I thought this piece really captured how "entitled" we have all become as a society.

When Bread Bags Weren't Funny - Bloomberg View
That's a powerful message.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:44 PM   #38
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I rarely agree politically with Megan McArdle, Peggy Noonan or Joni Ernst, but I thought this piece really captured how "entitled" we have all become as a society.

When Bread Bags Weren't Funny - Bloomberg View
From the article:

"Then imagine how your five-year-old would feel if they got an orange and a Corelle place setting for Christmas."

My grandmother used to get an orange from church for Christmas. In school she got an assignment to write about her Christmas and she lied about getting a doll and some other nice toys. She didn't want the other kids to know she was so poor all she got was an orange and even that was charity.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:59 PM   #39
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Stagnating wages, a consumer economy that encourages debt and spending and increasing costs in housing, health care and education stacks the deck against many Americans. The "hour glass" society that we live in now obviously means that the middle class is disappearing and people just don't have spare cash on hand, so the numbers in the original link don't surprise me at all.
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:32 PM   #40
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I rarely agree politically with Megan McArdle, Peggy Noonan or Joni Ernst, but I thought this piece really captured how "entitled" we have all become as a society.

When Bread Bags Weren't Funny - Bloomberg View
Very interesting read, thanks for posting.

This was good also, linked in that article:

SleuthSayers: The $3500 Shirt - A History Lesson in Economics

Not sure I agree with the methodology, but clearly, a simple shirt was an expensive item long ago.

These are a good reply for the 'good old days' posters. How long before we get a reprise of " The Four..." (dare I say it)?

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