Part of the reason it has taken a decade for the economy to recover from the Great Recession is that politicians have had too little respect for their ability to destroy jobs and too much faith in their ability to create them.
– Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan
Source: The ammo this jobs report gives the GOP
Before you celebrate:
Friday’s jobs report showing a gain of 252,000 positions and a dip to a 5.6 percent unemployment rate offered up more good news for President Barack Obama, who is wrapping up a weeklong road trip to tout the improving economy and offer up fresh proposals on housing and education in advance of his State of the Union address later this month.
Keep the following items in mind:
The report showed that average hourly earnings decreased by 5 cents to $24.57, following an increase of 6 cents in November. On the year, average hourly earnings have risen just 1.7 percent, barely enough to keep pace with inflation. The encouraging 0.4 percent increase in wages reported in November got revised back down to 0.2 percent.
The labor force participation rate also ticked down to 62.7 percent, the lowest level since the 1970s. [my emphasis] That number comes from the volatile household survey so probably does not mean very much on a single-month basis. But the overall trend in participation will be very much a Republican talking point over the next two years.
We are actively driving workers out of the workforce. This is really, really, exceptionally bad. With 27.3% of the workforce not even trying to find jobs, many of whom are relaxing in the comfortable “hammock” of unemployment or other social welfare programs, the load on those who remain in the workforce carry a tremendous burden. The heavier this burden becomes, and the more generous we are to those not working, the less incentive people have to work.
Sometimes, “generosity” – especially the “generosity” that comes from the plunder of workers (i.e. taxes) – kills.
Bryan Caplan of George Mason University and blogger at EconLog talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the value of a college education. Caplan argues that the extra amount that college graduates earn relative to high school graduates is misleading as a guide for attending college–it ignores the fact that a sizable number of students don’t graduate and never earn that extra money. Caplan argues that the monetary benefits of a college education have a large signaling component rather than representing the value of the knowledge that’s learned. Caplan closes by arguing that the subsidies to education should be reduced rather than increased.
I’m going to only quote the last section of this blog post, because it is the most important to all Christians.
Education, Jobs, and God’s Calling
There is, of course, a lot of truth in this article. In academic fields like philosophy and religion it is virtually essential that a person attain a doctoral degree in order to compete for employment—even with an advanced degree the job market is challenging. A lot of talented Christian apologists I’ve known with degrees in philosophy and theology struggle financially. Even when someone lands a job in these fields, the comparatively modest pay can make it challenging to provide for a family.
Nevertheless, it is tragic and painful to hear people say that the philosophical and logical skills of thinking clearly and carefully about the big questions of life are viewed as “useless” in the workplace. I know that a person with an ordered and critical mind can make important contributions in almost any employment field. However, to its detriment, our society continues to devalue the life of the mind. Many people view philosophers and theologians as irrelevant “eggheads.” Continue reading