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back to article The cure for US job woes: More immigrants

Radically increasing the number of immigrants – from the highly skilled professional to the seasonal agricultural field hand – is the solution to the US economy's dismal inability to create jobs. That's the conclusion of a new study released not by what one rabid right-wing fulminator dubs "red diaper doper babies", but by the …

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FAIL

Translation..

Due to our crap education system, there is a shortage of people who know their ass from their elbow.. and its forcing up the cost of labor.

Can we please have some cheap, exploitable H1B people, to wave at our existing employees before the uppity serfs start getting ideas of more money...

kthxbye

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Stop

so can you read, or only type?

what it SAID was due to foreign students graduating from our institutions, then not being able to stay, we have a shortage of people to fill these roles. That isn't a problem with the education system, at least not at the post-secondary level.

Once they have come for an education, it only makes sense to have a streamlined system to keep them. It sounds far less like an education problem (unless you are advocating banning foreign students) and more of a problem of a dysfunctional immigration system.

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Anonymous Coward

The real problem is that our (US) K-12 education system is such a pathetic disaster, that American high school graduates can't compete and get accepted to our better collages.

Besides, our young people in this country are so F'ing lazy, that If they do manage to get accepted to a good collage, and somehow graduate, business don't want to hire their lazy ass. Most emigrant workers have a much better work ethic than Americans.

My wife runs a lab at our local university. The students they hire for part time lab work are the most ignorant, lazy bunch of people I've ever seen. She usually wants to fire their lazy ass after a few days.

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Childcatcher

Anon Coward,

For other examples of that sentiment, see what every generation throughout history has said about the generation that followed them. The WWII generation said it about the "me" generation of the 60-70s as well.

I don't think the Western K-12 education system has gotten that much worse. I think the developing world's education systems have gotten that much better. Give them some credit.

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@"American high school graduates can't compete

America's children have been watching commercial television since 1948. But I don't think you can pin the blame on that.

@"the most ignorant, lazy bunch of people"

Aren't these the qualities that America teaches many people to value?

Ignorance has always been very popular in America.

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Irony

"My wife runs a lab at our local university. The students they hire for part time lab work are the most ignorant, lazy bunch of people I've ever seen. She usually wants to fire their lazy ass after a few days."

When I worked at a university lab as a student it was the supervisors that were the most ignorant, lazy bunch of people I've ever seen. They would fire anyone that showed promise, dedication, and knowledge that might potentially catch a higher ups eye to secure their own jobs.

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I wonder how they ended up so lazy?

Who raised them? The previous generation, was it? Time to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself what you were thinking.

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Anonymous Coward

Anecdotes instead of evidence

Since we seem to be relying on the former I may as well weigh in. Many years ago at uni my friend was exasperated enough with the lab supervisor/lecturer stand in for being idle and incompetent that he was overheard muttering about punching him. The individual in question was a foreign student and my friend a pugnacious Scot.

The marking of his work did improve....

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Holmes

The perception of the businesses calling for more immigrants to work is twofold. On the "lower" end of the workforce, many USA-ans are too proud to take a job picking fruit, or the urban equivalent, flipping burgers. Some jobs like housekeeping and gardening become the exclusive preserve of immigrants (mostly Mexican / Latin American but also Asian).

On the other end of the scale, tech, biotech, pharma etc companies will hoover up as much talent as they can get. If they're limited to USA-ans and a handful of highly-skilled immigrants, then the limited talent pool will force up salaries. From the point of view of businesses, unemployment rates above 5% are great because they force salaries down. That's why the employers wanted more immigrant visas even though for the years of the study the economy was booming and they could recruit enough talent.

With the economy in the crapper and huge unemployment, companies have it even better, they fire a bunch of workers, can freeze the pay of the existing ones and push them to do more work for the same pay. No wonder corporate profits in the US are at an all-time high not only in absolute numbers but also as a %age of GDP

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Anonymous Coward

My son legally works in the USA on a H1B visa, he has BSc degree for the speciality area in which he is employed. The particular company he works for has an “international graduates” program that visited his university and recruited him before he graduated.

On his induction day he met the current intake, all of the internationals had either a primary degree or higher while most of the American recruits only had certificates or diplomas. The funny thing is that as he made friends in America he came across a lot of people who remarked that they would love to work for this particular company but were unable to secure employment there. The inference I would get from this is the American education was not turning out people with the required level of education.

@Kevin 6

Based on my experience of working in American companies this is “normal” behavior, but it’s not because they are ignorant or lazy, it is because they are protecting their own patch of turf, or empire building if you prefer. They will not help collogues in case that the person they help, as you put it, help anyone who may outshine them. It’s this personal experience that makes me doubt whether America ever landed a man on the moon, I don’t believe enough Americans could cooperate with each other on such a large project to achieve its goal.

Paris Icon, Maximum level of intellectual achievement for most Americans

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Collages?

From what "collage" did you graduate, stupid? I think you might have meant "college." Not likely a typo, since you typed it more than once.

You're obviously an American.

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Devil

It is getting worse.

Soon not just immigrants but now mayors are asking for non USA citizens to vote in the USA.

Shows how much those Mayors hate USA.

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Anonymous Coward

ignorance is an inherited value

as in, America inherited it from Europe. How'd those crusades work out for ya? and that little problem with centuries of tit-for-tat of England vs. Spain vs. France every generation or so? Not to mention the success of the consortium-driven EU and the delightful Welfare State.

As the old PSA revealed: "From you, allright! I learned it from watching you!".

Glass houses, stones thrown from across the pond, all that.

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Anonymous Coward

I beg to differ with some of the fundamentals here

Excuse me for being blunt, but

The above average rank and file of EU (and other parts of the world with highly educated labour) will _NOT_ take a US job discussed in this report period. The current H1B is strictly for mass low qualified labor of predominantly Asian origin.

If USA was interested in _HIGHLY_ qualified candidates they would have dropped the requirement for the wife to forfeit her career and be a housewife for 5 years. Highly qualified people tend to hang out with other highly qualified (or at the very best highly intelligent) people. If I tell my wife that she is to don a "virtual Burk ha" and sit in the house for the next five years the only answer I am going to get starts with F and finishes with OFF.

Do not get me started on the requirements for L1-L2 which is supposedly for "super qualified". There the immigration official should be given a set of photos from your wedding ceremony and express their explicit approval with the way it has been conducted in order for your wife to be allowed to apply for a dependent status (and later for work).

What next? Photos from the family bedroom ensuring that marriage is being consummate in the appropriate (missionary) position as approved by the same officials as a work permit requirement.

Screw that sidewize. With a chainsaw.

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Interesting logic

So you're saying the "low qualified labor of predominantly Asian origin" is probably single, younger and not as experienced. Sorry to break it to you that isn't really low qualified at all. Also bear in mind that the pay difference between most Asian countries and the US is considerably greater than that between many EU countries and the US so there may be a greater impetus for Asians to migrate. I suspect given your thought train that your real problem is the reverse of what you describe and it's your wife who would be getting the H1B and you're not looking forward to picking oranges daily for cash or sitting home doing the dishes.

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Actually H1B is not low skilled

Worked with a lot of H1B visaholders, and most were Masters - and some PHDs in the field of Computer Science. In fact a large number of them moved to that visa after graduating from Masters programs from reputable US Universities (after 1 year). H1B is one of the only dual-purpose visas where you can work towards permanent residency - while working on the 6 year H1B temporary visa.

The US system is stupid, if a high-tech worker is offered a job at or above the market rate salary - then just grant them a visa.....

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FAIL

Minor problem...

Correlation does not equal causation.

The data used by the study is from 2000 - 2007, a period during which the US economy was growing and at or near full employment. It seems likely that during times of relative economic prosperity that businesses are looking for workers to expand operations, and the availability of additional employees would enable that expansion regardless of the source of those employees.

It does not necessarily follow that in a period of economic stagnation or downturn that the same effect would be seen from an influx of immigrant workers. Rather, it seems more likely that it would add to the unemployment problem since businesses are not looking to expand operations due to the uncertain economic situation.

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Supposing the US decided to send Jonathan Ive, chief product designer at Apple, back home to England. Would Apple hire an American product designer, or would they move their product design team to somewhere in the EU or another country where Ive was allowed to work?

The big US tech companies became big tech companies because they were able to attract the best talent from around the world. If they were only able to attract the best talent from around the US, I'm not sure they would have been so successful.

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Meh

True to some extent, but the mass of IT industry talent over the past 50 years has been US homegrown. Amdahl, Codd, Joy, Woz, Gates, Ellison, Gosling, Stallman, Ken Olsen, Thomas Watson Jr, Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thompson and the rest of the Bell Labs Unix guys.... I agree that the times are changing. US is slacking while the rest of the world is moving up fast.

This doesn't have anything to do with H1-B though. That is purely about cost, not talent shortages.

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Anonymous Coward

What a waste of time and money

Check to see who the people are behind this "research" published as fact. If you believe this rubbish I have some ocean front property in Arizona that you may be interested in buying.

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I would say rather than education it's cultural differences. I think perhaps Mr. Combat Wombat provides an example of this. It's the attitude more than the education. Anyway, I disagree that more immigration will mean more jobs for Americans.

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Boffin

let me clarify..

I am not knocking H1B people, I know quite a few of them, and I have worked with them when I have been down in the States.

A lot of the guys I have worked with have been great, useful workers but H1B is an awful system where your visa is tied to your employer.

So you can't just change jobs when your employer treats you like crud. You just have to swallow the shit sammich, and ask for more else they will replace you with a H1B who will eat said sammich.

H1B is a method of keeping the cost of skilled tech labor down compared to other countries.

I came to Canada on a skilled intake visa, and I can change jobs with no penalty, or issues. I don't have to leave the country, or find another employer who will take me, who is slightly less abusive.

H1B is a joke, and more so in the current environment when you have an effective US unemployment rate of 20% (including those who have just given up)

Strange they are complaining of a lack of skilled techs, when all see on US tv is ads for It schools, and tech colleges.

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PT

More clarification

Let's hear it from the top. Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Fed, wrote in his memoirs:

"As awesomely productive as market capitalism has proved to be, its Achilles' heel is a growing perception that its rewards, increasingly skewed to the skilled, are not distributed justly. A dysfunctional US education system has failed to prevent a shortage of skilled workers and a surfeit of lesser skilled ones, expanding the pay gap between the two groups. Unless America's education system can raise skill levels as quickly as technology requires, skilled workers will continue to earn greater wage increases, leading to ever more disturbing extremes of income concentration. We need to address increasing income equality now. By opening our borders to large numbers of highly skilled immigrant workers, we would provide a new source of competition for higher earning employees, thus driving down their wages."

See, the worrying income inequality isn't the 500-fold gap between the richest 1% and the rest, but the 40% advantage the educated have over the unskilled. It doesn't matter - to the elites, we're all serfs.

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Stop

business speak 101

CEO to college kids: STEM fields are the future of our nation - work hard to get that technical degree - it's worth it!

CEO to hiring department: I won't pay over X to hire a tech worker. If you can't find a citizen willing to take a wage that low, just hire an H1B foriegner. If it doesn't work out, fire them and they'll be deported.

/It's about "supply and demand", ie : increase the supply of tech workers, so they can't demand a decent wage. CEO is, of course, a buisness major.

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you forgot the part

HR Dept: Entry level job, must have 3-5year in the field, and $9000 in certifications pay $30k a year salary no exceptions (sad thing is I've seen MANY job ads like this)

Unknown to person seeking job hidden qualification must be employed currently to qualify so they can't get in trouble with the US government.

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Anonymous Coward

So...

In order to get more Americans in work, you hire foreigners to take the jobs..?

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The point? No buddy, you missed it, go back and take that left turn by the lights.

"In order to get more Americans in work, you hire foreigners to take the jobs..?"

No, you hire foreigners to CREATE more jobs. It's like you didn't even read it.

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WTF?

So let me get this straight... they have record unemployment, thousands of people literally hanging around in parks crying for jobs* that apparently just aren't there, and their solution is to... bring in EVEN MORE people? Am I the only one that sees the fundamental problem with this plan?

Reality time: a bunch of corporations and politicians see advantage in importing cheap labour: the former because they can pay them a pittance, the latter because they can turn them into a fairly reliable voting block to stay in power.

Yes I am a cynic, why do you ask?

(*Of course some of them quit jobs to go hang around in the park, which is a stupid idea if you ask me, and some of the refuse any jobs they're offered because... well, they're dumb enough to think you can get a job just hanging around in a park. But the majority I'm sure would take any job they could get.)

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Indeed. It's always amusing to see the Capitalists bowing down before the Great God FreeMarket, but as soon as it applies to labour, the god becomes a demon.

This is nothing more than a blatant appeal for people who'll work for less than US citizens will. The only thing that'll cure the disease is for the US to mandate decent wages and conditions and to enforce them across the economy. But you could hear the piggies squealing from the antipodes.

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But this is why...

You shouldn't simply decide based on what seems sensible to you

1) Whether quantum physics is a good model of reality

2) Whether government spending is historically good at reversing downturns in the USA

3) Whether bringing in immigrants can help create jobs

It's easy enough to make judgements about all three of these without knowing a single fact other than what you've seen in the media or heard anecdotally from a friend, but if you look at historical examples, evidence, and current research, you'll get a more informed opinion. Maybe bringing immigrants in won't create jobs, and there will be a study that comprehensively destroys this one, but just forming an opinion and assuming it's right because it seems more "sensible" to you doesn't make you a cynic, it just makes you uninformed.

I really wish there wasn't this weird push towards "common sense" thinking over anything else. It's idiotic that in this current day and age we should make any sort of assumption that common sense alone can help us explain complex issues like immigration, economics or science.

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Beats the alternative

For the sake of perspective, I work at an American tech company, we have more H1-B workers than natives in my department.

I think H1-B, and more immigration is a good thing. I like that my company has a bunch of Asians (and me) working here rather than moving our department to Asia.

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Anonymous Coward

Thank you for stating the motivations behind the report clearly and concisely. It's all about cost-cutting and profit/dividend-maximisation while also appearing to fly the flag.

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Anonymous Coward

The alternative is to create jobs

Hiring immigrants at low pay is not the solution to unemployment any more than allowing more illegal aliens into the U.S. is. If people are really this dumb, it's no wonder the U.S. has so many problems.

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Flame

an additional 183 jobs

yes, unfortunately these jobs are all minimum wage service industry. the only ones wanting this are big business who want to be able to pay even lower wages and beat the employees over the head for 80 hour work weeks at straight time.

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I'll tell you what.....

If its the IMMIGRANTS you want, then change the H1B program so that someone can come to the U.S. without being sponsored by and tied/dependant on an employer.

Otherwise you can hire Americans....

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They are changing the H1B program (sort of)

Merkin senator Charles Schumer is putting a bill before the senate and would offer up to 10,000 working visas per year to Irish citizens to work in the United States, the visas will be called E3 visas and are similar to the ones already given to Australians and will allow people to work in merkin-land if they can find a sponsoring employer, however, unlike the H1B visas time worked in merkin-land on an E3 does not count towards getting a green card or citizenship = come and work for us and if you cause any problems or look for pay rises you can fuck off home.

Icon = under the thumb.

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Anonymous Coward

The times they are a-changin'

The debate about immigration in the US is, to this outsider, particularly ironic given that country's history.

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breath free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Hmmmm...

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Happy

The poems they are a-changing

In the 21st century, appealing to a more affluent immigrant.

"Cries she.

With botoxed lips.

“Give me your spoiled, your rich,

Your huddled golfers yearning to play through,

The well-dressed reflet from Armani’s teeming store,

Send these, the time shared, and vacation homed abroad,

I keep my default swaps inside the golden drawer

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Childcatcher

Prussian Education System In Action

It is _by_design_ that Western education systems produce barely literate cretins who's primary role in life is to be good little consumers and not rock the boat.

From http://www.cantrip.org/againstschool.html

<quote>

Inglis breaks down the purpose - the actual purpose - of modem schooling into six basic functions, any one of which is enough to curl the hair of those innocent enough to believe the three traditional goals listed earlier:

1) The adjustive or adaptive function. Schools are to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority. This, of course, precludes critical judgment completely. It also pretty much destroys the idea that useful or interesting material should be taught, because you can't test for reflexive obedience until you know whether you can make kids learn, and do, foolish and boring things.

2) The integrating function. This might well be called "the conformity function," because its intention is to make children as alike as possible. People who conform are predictable, and this is of great use to those who wish to harness and manipulate a large labor force.

3) The diagnostic and directive function. School is meant to determine each student's proper social role. This is done by logging evidence mathematically and anecdotally on cumulative records. As in "your permanent record." Yes, you do have one.

4) The differentiating function. Once their social role has been "diagnosed," children are to be sorted by role and trained only so far as their destination in the social machine merits - and not one step further. So much for making kids their personal best.

5) The selective function. This refers not to human choice at all but to Darwin's theory of natural selection as applied to what he called "the favored races." In short, the idea is to help things along by consciously attempting to improve the breeding stock. Schools are meant to tag the unfit - with poor grades, remedial placement, and other punishments - clearly enough that their peers will accept them as inferior and effectively bar them from the reproductive sweepstakes. That's what all those little humiliations from first grade onward were intended to do: wash the dirt down the drain.

6) The propaedeutic function. The societal system implied by these rules will require an elite group of caretakers. To that end, a small fraction of the kids will quietly be taught how to manage this continuing project, how to watch over and control a population deliberately dumbed down and declawed in order that government might proceed unchallenged and corporations might never want for obedient labor.

</quote>

http://www.cantrip.org/againstschool.html

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Yes, I am aware of the irony of using "who's" in place of "whose" in a post decrying the illiteracy of modern schooled people.

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FAIL

Yours is the hat with shiny tin foil.

Do you really believe for one moment that a grand scheme of this complexity could a.) not be noticed and b.) actually function the way it was intended?

If anything, it's more a reflection of society as a whole that dictates how a school system works.

Children from poor and illiterate backgrounds are generally under achievers as they don't have the additional support that educated parents will give. Lets not forget, schooling starts and home and continues to do outside of school hours if the parents are educated.

A good education usually equates to more earning power and so the children of someone who is educated will see that benefit.

The cycle repeats itself.

Put your tin foil hat to one side and consider this as a more logical and educated proposal to the rather insane one you have outlined.

As an additional consideration, remember, children *need* boundaries - it's part and parcel of how humans function as a social group. Really, we don't want our kids flinging shit at walls and biting strangers.

Society also needs barriers and generally, it's been desperately unfair for thousands of years.

One day, we may become civilised enough to sort that out, until then, we're stuck with the great birth lottery.

There is *no* conspiracy here, move along, as a race, we're nowhere *near* sophisticated enough to carry it off.

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Anonymous Coward

The shitty state of the average education system has more to do with the contempt with which those systems are treated by their host societies.

It's a huge effort to educate each new generation, and such efforts are regarded purely as a cost - a burden - on society, and so the tendency then is to drive down those costs as much as possible: pay the teachers shitty wages, make them work twice as much as everyone else, and then berate them for "phoning it in" instead of being "engaging and inspiring educators"; keep the buildings only just in a condition suitable for use, leaking roof and/or crapped-out heating system being something people just have to live with.

But really, education is an investment, and not one where you can fake an amazing return through the application of smoke and mirrors. You can't fail a generation by providing them with a poor education and then repackage them as superstars. The tricks of the finance industry don't work when you're dealing with real people who have to step up and contribute to society.

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Holmes

Of Course Matt

Everything is OK. Don't worry, nothing bad can happen because our masters wouldn't be able to get away with it, not with intellectual giants such as yourself on their case, keeping them to heel and all.

Or not.

On the one hand there is you, throwing insults and espousing your "ignorance is strength" attitude and then there is me, who provided a link to an article that goes into some detail about how the whole thing came about.

I'm betting you didn't even read the article I posted before launching into your little diatribe right?

Perhaps you could enlighten yourself just once and actually read the evidence instead of doing the standard thing of using the "tin foil hat" insult and asserting some total nonsense that rich people are smarter everything else that happens is an accident.

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Holmes

Goat Jam might be going a little over the top in the original post's detail, however the general idea is correct. Why are there no comprehensive classes at school about civic rights and duties, the role and functioning of government and the underlying social contracts implied? It's because governments like to be thought of as all-knowing and all-powerful?

Why are there no classes on financial literacy in any primary or secondary schools? Because rich people make money from the poor's ignorance of the intricate functionings of credit card debt, mutual fund administration fees, bank charges etc etc etc. The default is - put your money in the bank and do whatever your financial adviser tells you (Noting that said financial adviser is, just like you, a poor middle-class schmuck who doesn't really know how to really manage money, otherwise they'd be in their seaside villa enjoying themselves, not working 8/5/365 to give you financial advice)

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Trollface

@Micallef

"Why are there no classes on financial literacy in any primary or secondary schools?"

Simpler explanation than the one you listed: When you have sheep create lesson plans, they create classes for sheep. When you, as a non-sheep, put your kids in school, you'd better show them what is sheep-like about the classes, as sheep cannot understand other behaviors than their own. Otherwise, your children will be sheep, AND the parents of the next red-diaper-doper generation, categorically unable to understand why everything they were taught about business and government was wrong, wrong, wrong.

This goes all the way up to business school -- if the professors in b-school are so f-ing brilliant about making running businesses and money, why are they living on a professor's salary? The sooner your little snowflake learns to ask (him- or herself) that question, the sooner they start on the path of not being a sheep.

"Bears make money. Bulls make money. Pigs get slaughtered. Sheep get sheared."

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Paris Hilton

Goat Jam & Matt

Once again, much to my surprise, I find myself agreeing with Goat Jam's somewhat OTT post!!!!!! He/she is close, but no cigar.....

I feel that a better description of what is wrong with merkin education, have a read of Charles Pierce's book "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free"

To quote from the blurb on Amazon:-

The three Great Premises of Idiot America:

· Any theory is valid if it sells books, soaks up ratings, or otherwise moves units

· Anything can be true if someone says it loudly enough

· Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it

With his trademark wit and insight, veteran journalist Charles Pierce delivers a gut-wrenching, side-splitting lament about the glorification of ignorance in the United States.

Pierce asks how a country founded on intellectual curiosity has somehow deteriorated into a nation of simpletons more apt to vote for an American Idol contestant than a presidential candidate. But his thunderous denunciation is also a secret call to action, as he hopes that somehow, being intelligent will stop being a stigma, and that pinheads will once again be pitied, not celebrated. Erudite and razor-sharp, Idiot America is at once an invigorating history lesson, a cutting cultural critique, and a bullish appeal to our smarter selves.

Paris, what more can I say

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Childcatcher

Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to laziness and stupidity.

The simple fact is, the biggest problem the US education system has right now is the welfare system*. Why struggle for an education when mom and grandma get checks for doing nothing except producing siblings? Of course, the fact that we have a large social segment that simply does not value education doesn't help the problem.

Want to see graduation rates improve? Add a requirement that you need at least a GED or high school diploma to get government assistance. Until then, we get what we are paying for...

*Spoken as the husband of a former educator. I know I'll get downvoted to hell for saying this stuff, but it's the truth however unpopular it is with the masses. Icon chosen for irony.

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You are obviously part of the priviliged few category.

And simply pissed someone is letting the cat out of the bag. Again.

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FAIL

Again...

ABSOLUTE BS. Diebold replaced most of their workers on the Accuvote line at their plant in Lexington, NC with 90% foreign workers to save ONE DOLLAR AN HOUR. Most were illegal, Temporary Resources doesn't really check legality.

That's right America; your voting machines are made by illegal immigrants because they could pay them minimum wage instead of $1 above it to American workers. Funniest part, when a rumour spread around the plant that ICE was coming in to do a check, they had to shut down the Accuvote line because only a few people showed up to work over there that day. HMMMMMM.............

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