A Potpourri of Short Comments

The jobs in this part of the country I am now visiting – south of San Antonio – pay better than welfare. The people with skills and who are ready to work are taking them, which leaves the lower paying jobs open. The drought has made the pecan and citrus orchards pretty dry. Seasonal workers are around here, but there is still a separate culture of welfare dependence. I think what is most attractive to them is the stability welfare offers. Jobs do come and go, and one has to take initiative to find and keep a good position. In my opinion, this is a case for having limits on welfare, or at least adding incentives to the system. I would do something like the welfare reform from the Clinton era, maybe one step further.

An issue associated with this case is that people who want to make a certain case will use minor isolated examples, and spread them around like they are the norm, the scourge of the country. We all want to be proven to be right.

On jobs that only illegal immigrants will do: Yes, I do think that this is at heart an issue of inflation. I want the law to be followed, and I believe the law should be changed if need be. The market and the law should find the balance that allows these things to happen. What’s wrong with wages to inflate a little, enough for unemployed legal residents to gravitate to them? Certainly many Americans will do work if fairly paid. And if the price for strawberries needs to go up, so be it. And I am aware that a lot of strawberries are imported. Again, we need a balance between the market and the law.

Time magazine’s recent cover, “Can you still move up in America?” sums up the issue to me. There is a segment of the population that is able and deserves to go to college, and climb the ladder of success. There are some people who don’t have the stuff for college, but can do a fine job somewhere, somehow. College should not be prohibitively expensive, for sure. And community college and tech schools are a good thing. But without a doubt, the biggest obstacle to quality is parents. Primary and secondary school ratings are nearly completely coincidental with family income. Obstacles changing one’s situation are the time, money and attitude of parents. The first and best way to change that is to get not only better schools, but empowered teachers. Very empowered teachers. Finland’s educators see America’s education system as “pizza delivery.” Who cares about the delivery guy, we just want a good pizza. And education does not work that way. What makes good education? Good teachers. Unless you can change the parents and their socioeconomics. And give up on the idea that every kid must achieve the exact same thing.

I agree that overturning the SCOTUS Citizens United Decision is a great idea. It sets things as they should be. Unfortunately, getting into the world of Constitutional amendments in this political environment is like an opening salvo. The Right has several amendments it would love to pass as well (anti-abortion, anti-flag burning, anti-gay marriage come to mind). This all sounds like a, “we won’t pass yours and you won’t pass ours,” situation.

On Herman Cain: I am enjoying the infighting! Nice show! Keep it up! Blame Perry, blame gold diggers! Blame the media! Blame racism! Make some heads roll! This is not a bunch of accusations, it is a fact that happened, and it’s natural for the press to bring it up for a presidential candidate. Meanwhile…


About Jim

I've been leading outdoor environmental education in the YMCA since the 1970s. I love teaching nature, history, current events, being a dad, fixing stuff, groups, and general thinking.
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