“Vote Democrat to help your children,” says Allen Townsend ("Voting Democrat is the only way to help our children," The Daily News, March 14).

OK, so why is it so competitive in today’s job market? Could it possibly be that education in fields some want to enter may be flooded with applicants? Could it be some parents haven't done their due diligence in instilling good work ethics early in life? Teaching one the value of going after something with all that you have to offer, and not sitting back “expecting” things to happen just because you get a college education.

Many blue collar workers earn a respectable living without a college education. Working in construction, mechanical or industrial fields may not be for everyone, but when so many graduates seek the same type of career, competition is hard. It’s hard to get a job in markets where there's so much competition. Take what they have to offer and work up the ladder.

Most of us started out barely making minimum wage, but hard work and due diligence will pay off. Blaming others or political parties seems to be the liberal approach. Blame capitalism, where those who work hard are rewarded, or embrace socialism, where entitlement and government provision is expected.

Chris Hines

Texas City


(19) comments

Bailey Jones

Thank goodness there are liberals to blame. I seem to recall a recent president, I forget his name, saying something about Making America Great Again. You know when America was great? When I was growing up. In those days a kid could work summers and part time during the year earning minimum wage and earn enough to pay for college. There was literally nothing between you and college except your own initiative. Our parents, who didn't go to college, maybe didn't finish high school, wen to work for corporations who understood the implicit social contract between employer and employee. They worked hard for 30 or 40 years and retired with a nice pension and healthcare. It didn't matter if you were the janitor or a white collar professional, you worked hard and you were rewarded. Those were great times. Those times are gone. The minimum wage has been stunted by those who don't want to "burden" business. Without the subsidy of government paid tuition (post WW2 GI Bill) college costs have exploded. Capitalists, drunk on free trade and low taxes, have forgotten the social contract with their employees and labor has become just another resource to be obtained at the cheapest price, and disposed of when convenient. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the liberals who caused our fall from greatness. And I'm equally sure it won't be conservatives who make us great again.

Carlos Ponce

"The minimum wage has been stunted by those who don't want to 'burden' business."
Wages are rising due to the law of supply and demand. Fewer available workers translates into higher wages.
The idea of a National minimum wage is foolhardy. The cost of living in a state like New York or California may necessitate a higher wage for workers than working in Galveston, Texas. Do the Math.
California has a cost of living index of 136.3
New York state 131.1
Texas 90.4
Which means what costs Texans $90.40 costs New Yorkers $131.10 and Californians $136.30.
Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. One size DOES NOT fit all.
What a Texan buys for $7.25 a New Yorker must pay $10.51 and A Californian $10.93.
Equivalence: Let's say you make $50,000 a year in Texas. To get an equivalent salary in New York you need to make $72, 511.06 and a Californian $75,387.17.
Some states have enacted a state minimum wage. Okay if you have a small state with little differentiation in the price of goods and services but in a state like Texas there is much diversity. The cost of living in Galveston is much cheaper than living in Houston or Dallas.

Bailey Jones

Carlos, your argument for a higher minimum wage tied to local costs of living is a good one. Your reliance on supply and demand to set wages is less good. Labor supply and demand - and hence wages - rises and falls with the inevitable business cycle, while rent is still due every month, regardless. The minimum wage simply sets a floor, while the ceiling is allowed to fluctuate freely based on supply / demand, and individual productivity and usefulness.

Carlos Ponce

With a smaller potential workforce available, ie more jobs available than the number of unemployed, wages are up. The demand is higher than the supply.

Miceal O'Laochdha

" … corporations who understood the implicit social contract between employer and employee. They worked hard for 30 or 40 years and retired with a nice pension and healthcare." You are being generous in your appraisal of corporations. What led them to "understand" that social contract was collective bargaining and the great sacrifices of brave, determined, workers who forced them to understand it. Corporations have no conscience, social or otherwise. Only the realization that pensions and healthcare were the price to get their product made and delivered for sale achieved those goals. And the non-union worker benefited right behind the union worker who hit the bricks. But memories are short, greed is eternal, and fair compensation for labor is always at risk. Corporations now see again the opportunity to exploit their workers and will do so as long as it helps, rather than hurts, their bottom line.

George Croix

We also have a plague of 'spreadsheet leadership' in fairly recent times, who are clueless as to why people are hired.
A worker's value to a company is not what he/she is paid, it's the profit they make for that company. That can be direct effort at tasks done better than the minimum standard, but more often it's from that worker being in the right place at the right time with the skill and ability to thwart a major production interruption, perhaps one that all by itself saves a company more than that employee will get paid their entire carreer by virtue of specific personal knowledge of the job find solutions missed by others that allow projects and work to go forward, where it had been stalled or even stopped.

If the value to a company is only the salary and benefits cost of the employee, then he/she should never have been hired in the first place.
Right here locally the brain trusts got rid of an effective talent pool in favor of lower costs on paper, and the eventual results were seen for miles, and will be felt for lifetimes....as but one example of a social contract forgotten by policy and numbers wonks.....
IMO, but by direct observation...the hard way......

Bailey Jones

I agree, George. When corporations lose sight of the fact that their business IS their people, not some MBA's ability to eek out an extra penny for this quarter's stock dividend, the employee and the corporation both suffer - as well as the community that supports both.

Bailey Jones

Miceal, I don't disagree.

George Croix

Actually, a big reason for increase in college cost IS government 'help', as noted that when the government got in the business of operating the student loans program in earnest, like, say, under a recent ex-Administration, colleges then didn't have to worry much if at all about raising prices, because the government would see to it that students got the money to attend.
The students, like so many older, worry about the debt tomorrow, and make it through the day today....
Not a universal truth, but a fact, nonetheless.....

Bailey Jones

George, I'm guessing you're referring to the 1st Reagan term, that seems to be where college costs broke from the normal inflation rate. Luckily I went to school during the far left of this graph. https://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-tuition-home-prices-cpi-2010-7

George Croix

No, I was referring to 2010.
Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
A sought after goal achieved by the last Administration. The idea being to make more money available to more people wanting to go to or continue college, by having the Government do the controlling via direct lending.
That certainly seems to have taken a serious problem and made it moreso, for the loaner and the loanees.....

Jarvis Buckley

If the minimum wage has been stunted it's because the average person can't afford to drive through a fast food & pay $20.00 for a cheeseburger , fries ,& a drink.
Pretty soon Walmart will be selling China burgers. No doubt will shut down the fast food chains or at least cripple them. You may be going through a tough patch. Don't blame capitalism. Blame the liberal trade agreements that are hurting everyone.
Rich & poor. Buy American!!

Alan Waters

What amazes me is the lack of knowledge many parents and students have as to the education process. You would think that if you were going to make that kind of investment, you would research all options. First off, do you want to save 50% on the cost of a college education? Enroll in a Community college for the first two years. It costs around $5,000 and free for Galveston City residents. The credits are fully transferable to any four year school. Start taking college courses as a junior and complete your two year degree upon high school graduation. This is what we did with our two daughters and them enrolled them into U. of H.

Dan Freeman

There is no question that junior colleges offer a great break on college costs. On the other hand careful research by outstanding students with good guidance counselors can do better the low cost.

“Few realize that Harvard’s financial aid programs pay 100 percent of tuition, fees, room, and board for students from families earning less than $65,000 a year. Families with incomes from $65,000 to $150,000 pay between zero and 10 percent of their income. This means that, for 90 percent of families earning less than $150,000, a Harvard education is competitive with or less expensive than a public university in a student’s home state. Harvard stresses that most of the students qualifying for financial aid (about 60 percent of undergraduates) also receive travel allowances to keep them connected with home. Harvard also points out that a quarter of its current students come from families with less than $80,000 in annual income.” https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2013/11/08/harvard-initiative-to-attract-low-income-students-includes-free-tuition/

Similarly, “All of Yale’s undergraduate financial aid is awarded on the basis of financial need. Yale does not offer any merit-based scholarships. Yale meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students regardless of citizenship or immigration status. This includes undocumented students living in the US, with or without DACA status. More than 50% of Yale students receive need-based aid from Yale and 64% receive financial assistance from Yale or an outside source. Yale financial aid awards are based on the total cost of attendance, which includes tuition, room, board, books, and personal expenses. https://admissions.yale.edu/financial-aid-prospective-students

Finally consider Princeton where: “Students admitted to the Class of 2022 who applied for aid with family incomes up to $160,000 typically pay no tuition. Approximately 60 percent of undergraduates receive financial aid. An estimated 173 million in grant funds will be awarded to over 3,100 undergraduates in 2018-19. The average grant for the Class of 2022 was $53,100, which covers 100 percent of Princeton tuition. For families making up to $65,000 per year, the aid package covers full tuition, residential college fee, room and board. For the Class of 2021, 100 percent of families making up to $180,000 per year qualified for financial aid.

It will be nice when public universities have enough government support to provide a reasonably priced education that is need based rather than “merit based.”

Cary Semar

The problem with capitalism is not that it rewards hard work and industry, but that it also rewards exploitation, price fixing, fraud and treachery. If we could have the former without the latter, we could have paradise on earth.

Bailey Jones

[thumbup] Cary. Capitalism is a wonderful thing - when paired with human compassion. But it isn't the solution to all of mankind's problems. It's just a system for the distribution of goods, services and wealth.

George Croix

So, scholarships, or merit, where the student enters college after working hard enough to get top grades, and is rewarded for that, are less desirable than financial aid, where entry is a function of the parent's income primarily.
Kind of makes the word 'SCHOLARship' false advertising in that case.

I understand the concept, and it's nothing new.....18 years ago my own kid, her HS class Valedictorian with at that time the highest grade point average they'd had, and who took all GT classes her senior year rather than just skate on a sure #1 shot, then got all honors in college, then the same in med school, then the same in residency, and now a doctor who's already promoted to supervise other doctors, got squat in scholarships during that long stretch, precisely because they were financial aid, not based on being a scholar, EXCEPT she did get a token few hundred from a now-out-of-business local bank, the presenter of which apologized, IN FRONT OF my kid, to the assembly for having to, by company policy, give the check to a non-minority.
Yeah....work for it bad, when you can get more for doing less.............
Sign of the way we've become..........

Jose' Boix

Chris Hines provides the best summary statement: "Blame capitalism, where those who work hard are rewarded, or embrace socialism, where entitlement and government provision is expected." Nothing is totally free of consequences, but when you put it on the balance the socialistic/communistic ideologies lose in my opinion. And, I have lived through it! Once again, I find that the most vocal and ardent supporters of such ideologies do it under the umbrella of a capitalist system. Just my thoughts.

George Croix

Oddly, not a one of them, so far, ends up writing in to these forums from their new workers' paradise home countries they've moved to, where they can renounce in deed there all that they have denounced in word here......there's a reason for that.....[whistling]

"Socialists. No pain too great, no cost to high, for someone else to bear...."
(anonymous East Texan....)

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