2011 July 26 Tuesday
Less Than 40% Of High School Drop-Outs Working

A Wall Street Journal article about how the US economy isn't generating jobs any more (while US corps generate jobs abroad) has a depressing statistic about the least educated (and need I say least intelligent?) part of the US population: Most high school drop-outs aren't working.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are 25.3 million Americans over age 25 without high-school diplomas: Only 9.8 million, or less than 40% of them, were working in June.

It begs the question: What are they doing? How are they getting food and housing? Obviously, some are in Club Fed and state and local prisons. But for the ones not doing jail time how are they surviving? Soup kitchens? Welfare? Mooching off of friends and family? Drug dealing?

There's no light at the end of the tunnel for the least skilled, least educated, and least intelligent. Manual labor manufacturing jobs continue to get automated or shipped abroad. For reasons hard to fathom our elites continue to favor a big influx of low skilled illegal immigrants. Really, the poorest are paid so little that cutting their incomes even lower by displacing them with immigrants does not save the upper class much money. So why do it? I would like to ask the top 0.1% who effectively rule America why they favor this state of affairs.

Labor market participation rates are down to levels last seen in the early 1980s. A large chunk of the labor force suffers from long term unemployment. And how are they getting by? As Catherine Rampell recently reported in an NY Times piece, employers are explicitly advertising for the already employed or recently unemployed. Anyone who has been out of a job for 6 months gets stamped "Loser". Well, there are lots of people getting stamped "Loser" and that looks set to continue for years to come.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2011 July 26 11:10 PM  Economics Labor

WJ said at July 27, 2011 2:23 AM:

This is why, while I'm a conservative, the Republican position with which I most disagree is tax increases on the rich. I'm for them. Strongly so.

There is little or no argument to be made that slashing cap gains taxes improves economic growth. Economic growth was higher in the 80s and 90s than it was in the 00s, despite cap gains taxes that were at times nearly twice as high (29.2% vs. 15%). If the rich want to import more and more undeucated, impoverished workers they should be put on notice that *they* will be expected to pay for their welfare costs.

The Republican Party has several voting blocks. One is the big business/cheap labor block, which provides few votes but lots of campaign contributions. Another is the large, "paleocon" block that wants reduced legal immigration and more enforcement. Yet at the beginning of every Republican-controlled congress the paleos hand over all their bargaining chips by supporting lower taxes for the rich, in exchange for *promises* of social conservatism later, including on issues like anti-affirmative action/illegal immigration/multiculturalism - promises that never materialize. The Bush Administration was typical. The tax cuts came first, in 2001. Then not only did Bush fail to push for enforcement, but he flagrantly betrayed his conservative base by trying to push through, twice!, a mass amnesty, the second time during a Democratic Congress that his appalling mismanagement had left us with.

Lono said at July 27, 2011 7:54 AM:

"For reasons hard to fathom our elites continue to favor a big influx of low skilled illegal immigrants. Really, the poorest are paid so little that cutting their incomes even lower by displacing them with immigrants does not save the upper class much money. So why do it? I would like to ask the top 0.1% who effectively rule America why they favor this state of affairs."


The main reason the elite support this position is that you can't create a 'New World Order" while nationalism is so strong in first world countries. The best way to short circuit nationalism in a country is to flood it with immigrants from neighboring countries. This is exactly what is happening now in Europe under the EU and what will be accelerated should the U.S. be incorporated officially into a North American Union.

Both Greenspan and Mexican ex-president Vicente Fox have talked openly about this on interviews and you can watch it on youtube.

(I also have a friend who's father is a Texas Billionaire who had Fox over for dinner many times when he was acting President - to discuss how this planned Union would positively affect his business)

Congressman Ron Paul has exposed and warned about this plan for nearly a decade now although it all too often has fallen on deaf ears.

As far as the insane bias by employers against the unemployed - this could not be maintained if it were not for the numerous undocumented and/or H1-B visa workers available - and the artificial socialistic propping up of the bankrupt bankster system - but I have an idea that may turn the tables somewhat on those companies who so callously discriminate against honest hard-working Americans.

grammarpolice said at July 27, 2011 8:57 AM:

It begs the question: What are they doing?

No, it does not. Look up the expression somewhere. Google it. Learn how to write.

Mthson said at July 27, 2011 11:02 AM:

Re: GrammarIdiot

Google it before asking others to Google it.

Beg the Question:
1: to pass over or ignore a question by assuming it to be established or settled
2: to elicit a question logically as a reaction or response ('the quarterback's injury begs the question of who will start in his place')

mrm said at July 27, 2011 12:59 PM:

Can we bring back vagrancy laws? Nope, they are unconstitutional as they are too 'vague'. Weird how Hollywood spent decades showign Vietnam Vets int he worst possible ways as they tried to return and integrate when they got home, yet we don't see a plethora of anti-HS drop out characters. The reality would hurt too much.

Randall Parker said at July 27, 2011 8:10 PM:


Agreeing with Mthson. Furthermore, the second definition makes far more sense. Taking "begging the question" to mean "assuming the initial point" (or "petitio principii" in Latin) is an abuse of the English language.

Rohan Swee said at July 28, 2011 7:57 AM:

Taking "begging the question" to mean "assuming the initial point" (or "petitio principii" in Latin) is an abuse of the English language.

That perception probably depends on one's age. Using "to beg the question" in the second sense sounds as gratingly illiterate to this old fart as "could care less" and the well-nigh internet-universal use of "loose" for "lose". Though I realize I'm fighting a "loosing" battle here, I intend to go right on using "to beg the question" according to the first (correct, damn it!) definition.

J. said at July 28, 2011 10:30 AM:

Mass immigration is a racial policy, it has virtually no economic component. Republicans and "Conservatives" go along with it in part because of class fear and hatred, but mostly in order to get along with those with real power whom they need to appease in order to be able to service rich Republican clients. I don't know what it will take for people to admit that Liberalism is white-hating racist movement whose primary goal in this world is the elimination of white people. What once may have been just a cynical ploy to obtain certain political goals has now become the goal itself. Certainly Liberals are not shy about voicing and demonstrating their hatred. I suppose it's a combination of fear and the inability to get over the fact that many of these genocide-committing racists are white themselves.

solaris said at July 28, 2011 11:12 AM:

The logical fallacy known as "begging the question" has nothing to do with the words "begging the question" or "begs the question".

To suggest otherwise is akin to arguing that the sentence "In the middle of the field stood a scarecrow, a man made of straw" is an incorrect use of the "strawman fallacy". You might as well say that a person who claims that "This sample is biased" is ignorant of the "biased sample logical fallacy".

no i don't said at July 28, 2011 12:01 PM:

It's a mistake to confuse immigrant work with low skill work. It takes a particular kind of skill to pick oranges, tomatos or blackberries properly. A lot of people tend to think that low paid jobs are the same as low skill works. Skill is required when doing a job properly whether it be loading a truck, stocking merchandise in a supermarket, waiting on tables, driving a truck, etc. I'm not sure your average Harvard grad could be really useful at any of those.

So "educated" has very little to do with "skilled". One can have studied Molecular Biology and have no skill on how to do his job. One can be a great A-grade Law student in the best university and be a total unskilled idiot when talking to a jugde or jury.

It seems to me that Randall thinks that some low paid jobs require no skill or just low skill, but that is false. It is very common to confuse skill, intelligence and education; different terms that are not always found together in one person.

There is work, a lot of work, but maybe not the type of job that you might like to do or be skilled to do. The problem is specialization: when one specializes too much in one thing sooner or later becomes extinct.

fredrik said at July 30, 2011 9:22 AM:

When peak oil bites, they will all be transformed into soylent green :-)
Lots and lots of soylent green...

REN said at August 2, 2011 2:23 PM:

We have debt deflation, which leads to unemployment. The more productive output that vectors to the financial elite, the less there is to spend on the real economy.

Let's look at housing/land. If you continually refinance during a bubble, then the house looks like a growing asset on the banker's books. Said banker then has even more money to loan out (because his books look good), and that fuels even more loans.

This is empty calories that are not the real economy.

How about commercial property? An investor eyes the property and figures he can make a go at it, if he can get renters for X dollars/month. He goes to the bank and makes a deal, then gets the loan, and buys the property.

In this way, if you don't tax the rent value of the land, then it ends up becomming "financialized" and turned into debt service to bankers.

After the break up of the Soviet Union, Latvia hypothecated their public commons, and now they are debt servants to Swedish Bankers. They had a huge property bubble, because the tax rates are almost zero on property, yet Income tax is 50%. The cost of wages is too high due to the high income tax, yet the bankers are busy creaming off profits on the housing bubble.

When you approach 40% of your income to servicing debt, then economies start to collapse into debt deflation. Actual productive outputs are vectored to servicing debt. People then don't buy things that make jobs for other people. The "rentier" class lives off the fat of the productive, and many are thrown into unemployement.

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