What Do You Think Is Wrong?
by James Glaser
April 15, 2008

For years we have been hearing that a young person needs a college education if they really want to make it in America. Now they tell us that in some of our big cities less than half of the students are finishing high school, and nation wide that number is less than 75%.

Today there was a report that more and more Americans are taking a second job just to make ends meet. This from MSNBC:

The number of workers in the United States who have a full-time job and also have a part-time job on the side has risen about 5 percent to 4.17 million in 2007 from 3.98 million the prior year, according to Department of Labor statistics.

Over four million Americans are now working that second shift. I wonder how many have children, and how many of those children have dropped out. Why are workers looking for that second job? Well, Robert Reich, former secretary of labor, says it is "because wages are falling, adjusted for inflation."

President Bush and our politicians in Washington are so out of touch with working America, they think things are going well. George, works at home, and on the weekends when he flies out to his Texas ranch or to Camp David to relax, we pick up his fuel tab. Most politicians already have money. Their salary, which they seem to increase every year, is just pin money to spend on the weekends. I doubt if any Senators are buying their family's groceries on the weekend. Remember politicians get lots of perks, even free hair cuts.

Now, granted it was a long time ago, but growing up, nobody in my neighborhood in Saint Paul, Minnesota had a working mom. My mom didn't get a job until my little sister graduated from high school, and my parents bought their own home on the money my dad made at the Post Office as a letter carrier. But still Washington keeps telling us that inflation is under control.

Well, if inflation were under control, the buying power of our wages would be going up, and that ain't happenin'. But in Washington everything is a numbers game. Change the numbers you count, and you too can hold inflation in check.

I buy my own gas and groceries, and when fifty bucks doesn't fill the gas tank, and when I can carry in a hundred dollars worth of groceries in one trip, you know something is terribly wrong.

We will probably never see neighborhoods filled with stay-at-home moms ever again, and because of that, we won't see a high percentage of kids finishing high school. As the education level of America goes down, it will become easier and easier for politicians to "spin' those numbers to us.

After a few generations of high drop-out rates, America will become a second rate country. To find out if what I am saying is true or not, just ask anyone that works a cash register. I do, and you quickly learn that many young people can't count their own money. You count back change to them, and you can see it in their eyes—they don't really know if you are giving them the right amount or not.

Yes, I do see some real sharp young men and women here in Tallahassee attending Florida State and Florida A&M, and right now they are still the majority, but not by much. If things stay they way they are going, the sharp kids are going to be the minority.

I think it was George Will, who wrote about the average student in America. It went something like this. Think of your average high school student. Not those on the debate team or those winning that merit scholarship, but just the average young man or woman going to high school. Then remember they are the "average," and half of the kids in America are below average.

We are close to the point that the average high school student will not finish and graduate, and in many large cities we are all ready there. Like I said, it will only take a couple of generations to ruin this country. It was only a generation ago that most kids did finish high school. Make no mistake about it, we are headed in the wrong direction, and it doesn't matter how Washington spins these numbers, you are not going to make them look good.

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