Day by Day

Monday, December 26, 2011

Income Inequality is Caused by the 99%



It is an inconvenient truth that income inequality is not caused by the 1%, but by the growing segment of society which lacks marketable skills and education. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, 40% of babies are born to single moms and each year half a million teens have children. Are Republicans the only ones who think this is a problem?

A study in Sweden found that single-parent children were twice as likely to have serious health problems, addictions, mental illnesses, and to commit suicide. This was not a right-wing hate study. Of course, other studies have found the same problems here which are contributing to a rapidly growing underclass that requires ever-increasing support services such as day care, Medicaid, housing assistance, and remedial education, to name just a few chronic and increasing problem areas. Will these problems go away if we avoid looking at a primary root cause? That’s what we’ve been doing, and it’s only getting worse.

Unemployment is bad at 8.6% (12% in California), and only looks like it is getting better because of seasonal hiring. However, good jobs go unfilled because Americans don’t have the education, skills, or required willingness to work. Many high-tech, high-paying jobs go begging unless businesses can hire foreign workers. In Wyoming (3.5% unemployment) over 16,000 high-paying energy jobs go unfilled because Americans are unwilling to relocate and work hard. Fifty years ago in Point Arena many of us worked at jobs that only illegal immigrants will take now, which depresses wages for unskilled and undereducated Americans, including college graduates.

The cartoon “Zits” summed it up nicely: Jeremy wants to major in music theory to “totally justify playing in a band while racking up $100,000 in student loans and graduating with minimal marketable skills.” Unfortunately, he’s not alone.

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