The Cruel Myth of the ‘Gateway Job’

burgerFor conservatives, one of the central arguments against a minimum income or even a minimum wage is the notion that employment is a value in and of itself. Taking a low-paying job, no matter how menial or “dead-end” is supposed to be an exercise in character that builds self-worth and places a person on the ladder toward upward mobility. Therefore, anything that prevents someone from working is contributing to sloth and moral decay.

Perhaps it was true once. There really was a time in America when an unskilled, menial job could be a gateway to a rewarding career. One of the reasons CEO’s now earn 100’s of times more than their entry-level employees is that menial jobs have become a gateway to nowhere. In a knowledge economy, the on-ramp to post-middle class affluence is located in a place fewer and fewer people can reach.

Research is starting to demonstrate the nature of the problem. People who take low-wage, menial labor in service industries or fast food at any point in their careers tend to have depressed incomes throughout their lifetimes. If you ever work at Wendy’s, you have roughly a 5% chance of ever earning $70,000 a year. Working at Ford, by contrast, suggests a 50% chance of eventually earning a median income. Lousy jobs are a gateway to lousy jobs.

This matters because the myth of the gateway job is blocking policy choices that might open up greater access to opportunity and enable America to more productively develop our vast pool of human potential. Labor is not what it used to be. In a knowledge economy, labor is not strongly distinguished from capital. It can be developed, shaped, enhanced and turned into more than a zero-sum resource. Labor, paired with a great deal of personal investment, can actually be used to accumulate enough capital to one day live on. This requires time, determination and opportunity.

The logic behind this research outcome is relentless. Dropping into menial labor operates much like dropping out of school, limiting the potential to develop labor as capital. Accessing and remaining on the ladder toward higher earning careers requires the ability to support a long cycle of education and the economic freedom to make choices about what kinds of work to engage in.

Because we believe that work is a value in and of itself, we push people into the labor force too early, depriving them of the opportunity to learn how to do something that might reward them and enrich the economy as they proceed through life. We close off opportunities to convert labor to capital.

We end up with too many people trying (and failing) to go to college because it is the only path for which we offer any subsidies. Non-technical college graduates who developed critical skills like effective communication and a spectacular capacity to learn, end up tracked too soon into work that offers little chance to put their skills to work.

Most of them eventually find their way because the skills and networks developed in the college environment give them most of what they need to succeed in a knowledge economy. They will tend to pick up additional skills on their own as needed, because ultimately that’s what a degree in Philosophy or Medieval English Poetry delivers. College graduates earn more than high school graduates, even if they spent four years studying Feminist Literary Studies, because they developed the skills that open up a lifetime of ceaseless learning and adaptation.

This dynamic is far more damaging for those who might want to pursue careers in fields that require skilled industrial labor. In fact, it is in blue-collar jobs where the dynamic described in the research by Bright.com is brought to bear most cruelly.

No one walks off the grill at McDonalds to take their new as an underwater welder or aircraft mechanic. Developing the ability to compete for those kinds of jobs is time-consuming and expensive. If you do not have a family that can support you while you learn and some time or exposure to discover that these careers even exist, these options are out of reach.

Employers cannot afford to pay a living wage while training a vast pool of potential recruits in key skills. Potential recruits with an interest in higher-skilled jobs cannot afford to prepare for those jobs if it requires them to forgo earning a living while taking out student loans for two or three years.

Someone who takes that job at Home Depot or Wendy’s in order to support themselves is limiting their range of options for developing a more productive career. Front-line menial labor is supposed to create opportunities to climb the economic ladder, but they generally do not. More often than not, these jobs are a gateway to a lifetime of economic underachievement.

Some might look back on their own experiences to suggest the “lessons” learned from an early job became the key to later success. There may be a few elements of those experiences missing from the analysis.

Almost all of us beyond a certain age spent years doing menial work part-time, as an adjunct to something more important we were doing. Very few us, if we ever achieved much higher salaries in very successful careers, ever had to perform that work in order to survive or feed a family. If we did, whatever lessons we gained came at the cost of lost opportunities for higher paying careers that we may not even be aware of.

There’s a lot to learn from doing a menial job. Many of us can look back on poorly paid work that taught us crucial values. Or we could look back on years training for an academic or athletic competition that did exactly the same thing without sucking time and energy out of a career path. We may press our kids to experience menial labor to help develop grit and a greater awareness of the world, but we will work hard to keep those experiences from becoming necessary for their survival.

Affluent white kids on the construction site or behind the store counter are usually tourists. They are doing a blue-collar internship.

A shift away from the traditional safety net toward a form of minimum income offers a lot of benefits. One of the strongest criticisms of such a move, the fact that it would undermine the need to take menial work to survive, is actually one of its strengths. Pushing people too soon into menial work is as economically valuable as pushing twelve year olds into a coal mine. A shift toward a minimum income would not only streamline our government, it would improve economic opportunity in almost exactly the same way that a universal public education once did.

Our attachment to the supposedly ennobling value of menial labor is dysfunctional and frankly condescending. Many of the same voices who crow about the value of work go to great lengths to prevent their kids from falling into that trap. We should not let a myth about gateway jobs prevent us from opening up broader economic opportunity and better developing American talent in a brutally competitive global market.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Economics, Ownership Society
96 comments on “The Cruel Myth of the ‘Gateway Job’
  1. Don says:

    Really no name to pin this drivel on?

  2. […] From the GOPLifer archives: The Cruel Myth of the Gateway Job. […]

  3. […] backs up what experience demonstrates on the ground. Those who take low-wage jobs at any point experience depressed incomes for the rest of their lives. Jobs eliminated by a minimum wage are not an opportunity, but a […]

  4. Crogged says:

    I’m so sorry it will take so long to just decide we don’t have to be Pakistan.

    Key quote, “Can people adopt middle-class health behaviors without being middle class?”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/health/peace-of-mind-is-first-benefit-for-many-now-getting-medicaid.html?hpw&rref=us&_r=0

    • lomamonster says:

      Quite a truism. In America, conservatives hold that the masses are expendable, exploitable, and exempt from basic considerations of safety, health, and economic security. Everyone for himself, get off my lawn even if it’s only water that you seek…

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Also from the link:

      “This man is not the Antichrist. He just wants you to have health insurance.”

      “Ms. Mills said the simple relief of having coverage had helped drive away her suicidal thoughts.”

      In other discussions, we’ve talked about what researchers have found regarding the impact of poverty on one’s ability to think, to make decisions. One described it like trying to make important decisions after pulling an all-nighter.

      I hate our health care system, but I am glad that additional people will now get to see a doc.

      [Whether the new enrollees will think like the middle class, whatever and however that is, is unclear.]

  5. lomamonster says:

    I refuse to reveal what happened to my silver spoon… So there!

  6. CaptSternn says:

    We can, and probably will, sit around and talk until we are blue in the face, type until the keys fall off the keyboard, and never make any progress. But let us step back and look at reality and facts for a moment. We already have a minimum income for people in this nation, often supplemented by states and cities. What is the result? I have cited it before, but nobody wants to hear it. So listen to a lady that lives off that type of income …

    http://www.libertynews.com/2013/11/unashamed-weed-smoking-welfare-mom-calls-conservative-radio-program-to-candidly-tell-listeners-why-she-loves-free-money-explains-why-shell-never-work/

    And as before, I don’t blame the person, I blame the system and the people, like Lifer, that support and promote this system. So give that interview a listen then come back here and try to justify this system. I won’t hold my breath.

    • Craig says:

      I’m convinced. An anonymous person calls a radio program (where no one ever says things that aren’t true) and claims to be a weed smoking welfare bum. No more evidence needed. I’m sold. Thanks, Capt.

    • Texan5142 says:

      Like no one has ever punk’d a conservative radio program, and even if true for that person that called in, one person is not an indictment on a whole system.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Texan, that IS the system. I have known people that lived on that system, getting more money per year than I was making working 60 hours per week in a good paying factory job.

        What’s the matter, you suddenly can’t face the reality, the facts? Come on, justify it and tell us why a person that gets paid as much or more for not working would care to get up and go to work.

        This is what Lifer is promoting for even more people. This is what the people here defending and supporting what Lifer calls for are supporting and promoting. So justify it. Explain exactly why that is a good thing, why it should be spread even more than it is now. And if you can, explain who is going to pay for it when more people decide to live off of it instead of working.

      • DanMan says:

        Ha! Chris links an article that merely declares “The logic behind this research outcome is relentless.” and these guys take it hook, line and sinker and you give them a recording (is that the KLBJ one? I haven’t listened yet but I’ve heard that one) and they can’t believe it. Out of a population of about 330 million people we have 92 million working age and capable people not employed. We have the lowest workforce participation rate not seen since Carter’s days and they will justify it as baby boomers retiring and on and on and on.

        The unemployment is so bogus they don’t know what it really is (Carter’s unemployment rate was about 15% when that low workforce rate was in the low 60’s, Obama’s is reported as 6.8% because they drop 1/2 million/month from the denominator now since they don’t have UI).

        Its no surprise they can’t believe what you’re saying Capt. They’ve lost the ability to be swayed by facts. Period.

      • texan5142 says:

        Then you are part of the problem. If you know people like that, turn them in.

        From Wiki on welfare fraud.

        “According to the U.S. Department of Labor statistics website, based on the 2012 IPIA 3-Year average data report, fraud was prevalent in 2.67% of cases”

        Do I wish it was lower, yes, but 2.67% is not bad, there is more fraud than that in government contracting in general which is estimated at 7%.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/federal-government-continues-to-lose-billions-to-waste-fraud-and-abuse/2013/03/08/a3fb7736-82b5-11e2-b99e-6baf4ebe42df_story.html

        But hey, lets focus on the fraud of 2.67% and punish the other 97.33% percent that might actually need the help. You have been sold a narrative so much so that you would believe an anonymous caller on a radio show.

      • texan5142 says:

        ” We have the lowest workforce participation rate not seen since Carter’s days and they will justify it as baby boomers retiring and on and on and on.”

        Gee, I wonder why that may be.
        Three applicants for every job opening, 85 applicants or more per graduate job. Unemployed workers far outnumber openings in every major sector.

        http://www.epi.org/press/unemployed-workers-outnumber-job-openings/

        But hey, we liberals are just stupid to be swayed by facts.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Texan, it isn’t welfare fraud, it is the system that has been put into place by the left. It is the welfare system. It is this minimum income system that Lifer and others are promoting. What is to turn in? There is nothing to turn in. The people that live off the system are being honest about not working and just living off the system. Fraud would be faking injury to recieve disability. That is not what we are talking about. So now justify it.

        Lifer, since you run your blog and this is what you are promoting, I challenge you to justify this. Then again, sometimes I can’t tell if this is genuine political nuttiness or some kind of elaborate performance art.

      • texan5142 says:

        “So now justify it.”

        People just living off of the system because they can is fraud and there is no justifying it, but the percentage is small. Well I guess we could just shut the whole system down, build more for profit prisons and start up some new poor farms.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, Texan, it isn’t fraud. It is the system as designed, it is the minimum income that is being promoted. A “living wage” whether people work or not.

        Would you like to step back and rethink it? Maybe make some changes? These people can work, would work if they didn’t have this income guaranteed, if they were not penalized for working instead of not working.

        I am not trying to be harsh, demeaning nor insulting. Just putting the reality and facts out to be seen. Nor do I blame the people living off the system, and not being fraudulent. It is generational welfare. It is how they are raised and how they will raise their children and grandchildren. I blame the system that has been created and the people that support and promote it.

        What say you?

      • texan5142 says:

        I don’t know what the answer is CaptSternn short of stopping the system completely. We would then have to use that money and probably more for the ensuing consequences and I believe it will not be pretty.

    • Craig says:

      More undisputable evidence. A cartoon.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Desp – to be fair, that cartoon is still the best evidence he has ever produced. Remember the you tube video of FDR pinkie promising the Saudi royal family that the US will always defend them.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Craid (Desperado?), here is an image just for you, what you seem to be doing when faced with facts and reality …

    • Craig says:

      “Then again, sometimes I can’t tell if this is genuine political nuttiness or some kind of elaborate performance art.”

      Oh, the irony is just dripping off that one.

    • Craig says:

      It’s difficult to keep up with your constant barrage of bull…….nonsense.

    • Crogged says:

      Congratulations on the most inept and ineffective post purporting to show insight ever posted under the author’s writings..

    • Don’t underestimate the effect of people witnessing the Walton, Kochs, and Trumps of the world raking in billions of unearned dollars produced by working people (capitalism). 99% of new wealth distribution goes to the idle ultrarich 1%. It’s wrong to somehow expect those on the bottom to have some noble, greed-free work ethic.

  7. way2gosassy says:

    I see the usual “I did it by myself, you should too” crowd are posting their usual claptrap about how if you can’t make it in this world you are a useless, worthless bum who deserves no better. BS!

    Remember Texas Pig Stands? I do! I worked for them for 2 years in Beaumont, Texas in the late 60’s. I made a whopping 50 cents an hour plus tips car hopping. If you worked in the kitchen taking orders you made 1.10$ per hour, but, if you could get a cooks job you made a whopping 2.20$ an hour. Now if you graduated to an assistant manager’s job you could negotiate your hourly wage from between 3 to 4 dollars an hour. Now the pinnacle of success with this company was to become a manager of a single store or a district manager of several stores. Making it to these levels meant a yearly salary plus a percentage of sales.

    Pig Stands was a company that believed in it’s people and spent the time and money to develop their employees from entry level jobs to management jobs. As a result they had employees that were loyal and productive.

    Many companies in the 60’s and 70’s used this model to promote their brand and develop employees who would stick around for years. McDonald’s, Denny’s, IHOP and others still use a somewhat modified version of this kind of training model, the difference is the level of investment each is willing to spend to do it. Of course the level of pay versus the cost of living is much a much wider bridge to gap than the past.

    There are a lot of skills learned in these processes that are easily transferred to other jobs or positions. The biggest problem I see today with employers is that they want to hire a “product” ready to work out of the box, no fuss, no muss. No capital investment spent in developing an employee who may have many transferable skills but aren’t quite perfect in every way.

    In the last decade or so there has been a huge move away from employee training and development. Love them or hate them Unions are the last bastion for on the job training in this country for labor. All the emphasis on knowledge based jobs leaves one to think that there is no longer a place in this country for people who work to maintain things like pipelines, roads and bridges, buildings and manufacturing centers. Try getting your IT guy to fix that leaking faucet!

    • Tuttabella says:

      Sassy: CaptainSternn works in IT, but he can fix leaky faucets and do all sorts of handyman stuff around the house. He worked a factory job for 10 years before going back to school to study computers.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Tutt, the problem here is that people don’t want to hear about it. It is called a work ethic, or life ethic. It is about being a responsible, productive person and earning our way in life.Not being a burden on others. Sometimes better, sometimes not, but people on the left just don’t want to hear about it.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Really Tutt? That is all you got out of that? That last comment was meant more or less tongue in cheek but since you mentioned it a lot of people are capable of doing more than one thing. For instance I myself do all the maintenance on our home and cars but that doesn’t make a living as much as it saves money. That does not mean that there aren’t people out there that make a good living doing just that.

        As for Capt’s comment….Pftt. He gives the impression that he thinks only conservatives are capable of a work or life ethic. Another of the many delusions embraced by extremists.

  8. DanMan says:

    Tuttabella you’re a great commenter.

  9. Tuttabella says:

    Mr. Lifer, please clarify what you mean by “minimum income.” Are you referring to a mimimum wage? Or to your earlier proposal to give every person $10,000 a year?

    • Tuttabella says:

      Don’t we already have such programs in place? For students — government scholarships based solely on need? For families and individuals — SSI, food stamps, Medicaid, etc? There are a lot of resources already available to produce that minimum income you advocate, resources meant to provide a minimum level of support, and meant to be a safety net and a springboard for better things.

      • goplifer says:

        No, we don’t. Especially in Texas, Medicaid is unavailable for almost anyone earning anywhere near a survivable living. SS is only available for the aged or disabled. We do provide a way for someone to survive while they get their start in life apart from student loans. That’s why we have a generation indentured to student loans.

      • Tuttabella says:

        I was referring to SSI, not SS.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Sorry, I see you were referring to SSI after all.

      • Crogged says:

        But not a nickel more than necessary, in order to build character.

        Tuttabella I’ve asked DanMan and Kabuzz the same thing-where is this large population of people ‘just getting by’ because they are so different from you? How can you assume that people who make less or find themselves trapped by choices or life events , are there by ‘choice’ or some lesser drive than all of us who can anonymously write on blogs day and night possess? The way we tie ourselves in knots because somebody else may be ‘living off’ of someone else is sad and unnecessary and the assumptions with which we blithely talk about ‘hard work’ and ‘drive’ are arrogant and completely self-serving.

      • Tuttabella says:

        But what’s wrong with student loans? They’re usually low interest, and you get a grace period after graduating before you have to make the first payment. They allow people who otherwise could not afford it to go to school. Are you suggesting free university?

      • goplifer says:

        What’s wrong with student loans? Seriously?

      • Tuttabella says:

        Crogged, you’re just as guilty of making assumptions. You have no idea about my own background. Do you think I’m wealthy, or that I came from a wealthy background?

      • DanMan says:

        Crogged you seem totally distracted by my station in life while wishing different for yours. When my oldest was still High School we were having a discussion of where we were headed, what he wanted to do, how to get ahead. In my meanderings I lazily inserted that no matter how bad you think you have it you still live in a nation that puts you in the top 10% compared to the world. He looked over and said, “Dad, why would we compare ourselves to those with less? If we’re going to compare, why not make it to those with more?”

        He introduced me to Thomas Sowell btw. He rejected many offers to be a High School math teacher when he graduated and had a lot of experience at it via Austin ISD. Several offered to waive the teaching certificate requirement even because he told them after graduating with two degrees he was done. He has done very well in construction and is looking for a second home to buy in town so he can rent his Heights house for twice what he paid for it.

        I am quite certain our kids will do better than me and that is a great thing. Our kids are my pinnacle achievement.

      • Crogged says:

        Tuttabella, I don’t care about your background or DanMan’s or Kabuzz. Really, it doesn’t matter. So you rose to greatness from nothing or you are Paris Hilton. So? It’s inopposite to the author’s continued suggestion regarding a floor income, if you want more, there’s nothing stopping you from getting it, from strutting your great work ethic for all to see. Where precisely does this nitpicking public accounting about fears of people taking money from hard working people come from? We set arbitrary standards of ‘acceptability’ such that one dollar earned prevents someone obtaining help with their life. Why. The main impact of all those programs listed SSI, etc, is that they employee people to administer them-those people spend their paychecks and have a middle class living parsing arcane rules supposedly stopping people from being ‘dependent’. It’s ridiculous.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Yes, seriously. I went to college on a combination of academic scholarships, Pell Grants (which were based purely on need), and student loans. I’m thankful I was given all those opportunities. Had it not been for those student loans that completed my financial aid package, I might not have been able to go to college. I paid them off within 6 years after graduating.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Crogged, where have I complained about people mooching off me? I have no problem whatsoever with social safety nets, for people who were born poor, or who fall on hard times through no fault of their own, or even for people who fall on hard times due to their own fault. As I’ve said before, everyone deserves a break now and then, as long as they make a good faith effort to improve their situation if at all possible.

        Get off your high horse.

      • Crogged says:

        Who’s on a high horse–‘as long as they make an effort to improve their situation’? Why does that matter, it doesn’t have too. Providing a floor income is as ‘enabling’ as feeding your child. They grow, even when they don’t give you any bloody credit or resent it.

      • Tuttabella says:

        I forgot to mention that a Work/Study program was also part of my university financial aid package.

      • Crogged says:

        Tuttabella, in your comment starting this you used the word ‘minimum’ anytime you used the word ‘income’ and ‘support’. What determines ‘minimum’?

      • goplifer says:

        Tut,

        Here’s why your experience in this regard doesn’t actually matter and why I haven’t bothered to share my own. Neither of us knows what opportunities we DIDN’T have because of the limited options we were given. And this whole discussion is about opening up options that no one in this country has ever had before.

        I turned out “fine.” You turned out “fine.” Maybe. Perhaps, but compared to what?

        And how many people didn’t turn out fine who could have under different conditions?

        There was a time in this country when we were convinced that child labor laws would result in sloth. They were a socialist plot to destroy the American work ethic. We stopped people from sending children to the mines and factories because that policy made all of us poorer. Life is better in every regard thanks to that decision.

        A lot of people back then survived those experiences to do more or less okay. Their anecdotal accounts are moderately interesting as prose and utterly useless in weighing policy.

        We can afford to do better as a culture. So far we lack the foresight and courage to get there. We’ll see how long it takes. In the meantime we will all be a little poorer for it.

      • John Galt says:

        There’s nothing wrong with the concept of student loans. The idea of taking out debt to invest in future earning potential is perfectly reasonable. In practice, student loans are rigged to favor private lenders who earn a low interest rate, but these lenders incur basically no risk, since most are guaranteed by the government. The loans can’t even be discharged by bankruptcy, except in rare circumstances. They mask the true price of an education which, when combined with drastically shrinking government support for public universities, has allowed tuition to skyrocket. Total outstanding student loan debt exceeds $1 trillion. Repayment of these loans represents a drag on the increased future earnings promised by a college education and since they are mostly taken out by students from poor or lower middle class backgrounds they become an impediment that further reinforces the advantages to the wealthy elite.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Crogged, you bring up a good point about kids. The relationship between government and citizens/residents is similar to that of parent and child. The parent provides support, but he must be careful to know where to draw the line, to decide when to remove the training wheels and let the kid fend for himself. And yes, there is the risk of resentment and of taking things for granted on the part of the receiver, whether he be a child or the receiver of benefits.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Crogged and Lifer, I used the term “minimum” because Mr. Lifer came up with the idea of a “minimum income.” What does HE mean by “minimum?”

        I agree “minimum” and “fine” mean different things to different people. Not everyone abuses government programs, but there is enough abuse of the current system to make one think twice about adding more money to those programs. You suggest I’m stingy or cruel by supporting only the MINIMUM “and not a nickel more” — your words, not mine. Do you honestly believe adding more “nickels” to the pot will improve matters? If the existing system does not work, is it solely or primarily because there’s a shortage of funds? Maybe there are others factors in play.

        I feel I turned out “fine” — “okay” — or even “quite well.” All you can base the meaning of “fine” on is how well you did with your own personal circumstances. There’s no point in comparing yourself to others. Yes, had I been born to a wealthy family, or had a strong father, or had siblings, I might have turned out differently, but not necessarily better. To quote Mrs. Clinton: What difference does it make? Life gave me lemons, so I made lemonade. Simple as that.

    • Crogged says:

      Nothing wrong with student loans but how do they address the rising costs of education-has education gotten cheaper with more student loans? We have made college education much more expensive by putting the ‘costs’ on the user, without bothering to ask about the ‘costs’ to the society at large.

      • DanMan says:

        The ease of getting student loans is what is driving the cost of education through the roof. As with all commodities if you subsidize it, demand will go up. But its not really a subsidy in the end. The federal government took over the student loan business in Obama’s first term and the old government backed, privately funded 3% rates have been increased to a minimum 6.8% with a portion going to fund Obamacare (unless Obama changed it by some kind of decree).

        The universities are now in bed with the federal government more than ever now. Do a little research on the rapid growth of community colleges and you find they are really nothing more than loan programs with huge administrations. When I started in one it was held in an Alief High School at night. The costs are higher than ever and rising in all universties. Are you able to make a correlation yet?

      • Crogged says:

        I forgot, it’s Obummer’s fault. Always-or “Dems”.

        Those people. Me.

      • DanMan says:

        Did you know that the federal government had internalized college loans as a funding factor to Obamacare Crogged? Your democrat party wrote that into the law all by themselves. Remember? Does finding out little facts like these really send you into such distemper?

      • Crogged says:

        What sends me into ‘distemper’ is somehow, always, it’s always his fault. Dems. Libs. Me. Everything. Every time. In addition to distemper and tiresome it’s also sometimes out of context, lacks perspective or strains credibility, but other than that, sometimes incisive.

      • DanMan says:

        what about this time?

      • Crogged says:

        “Every single law Congress has passed regarding student loans since the federal program was introduced in 1965 has benefited lenders and made repayment or bankruptcy harder for borrowers. In addition to being unfair, this seems perhaps like bad policy, unless we really think it’s best for college graduates to spend their first decade (or decades) in the workforce sending substantial portions of their income to private lenders.”

        http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2011/11/12/student-loans-lets-return-to-the-reagan-era/

        My words–context, perspective and history are now political parties friends……..

      • Crogged says:

        I meant not.

      • DanMan says:

        What do you believe that graphic link is telling you Crogged? Does it occur to you Mr. Sullivan is trying to convince you why moving the federal government into the student loan business is a good thing? The whole justification seems to be to be relax bankruptcy consequences from what I can tell.

        Now why would the same government that backed student loans with a bankruptcy protection to lenders now extend more expensive loans to students that (I assume) can claim bankruptcy? You ever hear of the concept of TINSTAAFL? somebody here uses it as a moniker.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Danny Boy – The government always controlled the issuance of student loans – they set the rates, criteria, and backed all the loans. These loans were never a risk to banks only easy money.

        If the banks are upset about losing this business then why are they not really offering loans backed by their asserts? Because without the government they cannot make a dime of them.

        You may enjoy spending taxpayer dollars to increase the profits of private banks but I do not. Thankfully neither did the congress and President at that time.

        For bonus points the student loan programs lose money. The interest on the loans does not cover the costs of servicing the debt. So how does a program that does not make money fund anything. The part of the savings from the end of the fees paid to banks was diverted to Obamacare but that is much different from the portion of interest being to support health care.

        So par for the course, facts once again have destroyed your alternate reality.

        http://www.politifact.com/new-hampshire/statements/2012/jun/01/kelly-ayotte/kelly-ayotte-claims-student-loan-change-government/

      • DanMan says:

        You crack me up turtlehead. Does every door you open hit your face like every link you give me does? can you even read that article? The government borrows at 2.8%? Really? Who do they pay that interest to?

        Let’s have a looksee shall we. The loans now cost students 6.8%. Check. It doesn’t say what the previous rate was charged by banks to students was but they do say the banks got their money at 2.8% until they changed the law in 2010. It does say the banks were subsidized until 2010 as well. What was the subsidy? The backstop of the government securing the loans at the 3% rate I mentioned. (ahem 3%-2.8% = 0.2% income to banks) was guaranteed, meaning zero risk.

        The article claims the feds pay 2.8%. That’s the same 2.8% they always gave themselves. They say they are not making profits off the students new rates. BS. Obamacare was negotiated behind closed doors and most of us recall all the crazy antics to try to keep the 10 year cost below $1 trillion. They were putting taxes on things like tanning beds, home sales (3.8% again, odd huh?), medical equipment and on and on and on. All of the money goes into the pot as the article states to pay for the hilariously and completely ironically (read Democrat) named Affordable Care Act.

        The article claims the changes were made in 2002. No doubt to allow rubes like you to say it was done under Bush. Guess what? A lot of tax rates and spending was tied to that very date. Dems would not agree to a clean budget so they had to put triggers in it that were constantly extended after that 10 years trigger. That particular student loan one lasted until April 2010 when the dems, and only the dems passed Obamacare. The dems tried to initiate Occupy by stirring up students over increased loans rates that they, and only they jacked up.

        Have you reached 25 yet turtlehead? Your learning curve better take a sharp upward tilt or its going to be a very difficult run for you. Good luck man.

        btw, I notice that article is dated prior to their recalibration of the 2013 lie of the year that they had previously claimed was three Pinocchio’s false in 2012. You may want to find actual and factual sources.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Danny Buy – Did you actually click on the link?

        As for the banks the fed acted as guarantor for student loans to the banks. In english that means if a person defaulted on their loans the US Government paid the banks the remaining balance.

        That is a sweet deal for the banks, paid to do nothing but sleeve money. As for the rest of your comments, to call it gibberish would only elevate its worth.

      • DanMan says:

        me: The backstop of the government securing the loans at the 3% rate I mentioned. (ahem 3%-2.8% = 0.2% income to banks) was guaranteed, meaning zero risk.

        you: As for the banks the fed acted as guarantor for student loans to the banks. In english that means if a person defaulted on their loans the US Government paid the banks the remaining balance.

        bwahahahaha, do you even anything? can you comprehend what you read?

        Hey folks, here’s dem math for you on full display! Banks are “sleeving” profits at 0.2% but the government is not getting anything out of 6.8%! oh turtlehead, you never disappoint!

        Now about the original notion of the student taking out the loan, is he going to pay less for his loan now or more? Think reeeeal hard turtlehead. This is a tricky question.

      • Turtles Run says:

        At the 3.4% they are not making anything additional beyond the debt servicing cost. As for current rates the amount for subsidized student loans is 3.86% so I imagine that leaves little to be made after the costs for servicing the debt to students. As for your whine about Obamacare, your complaint is that they used some of the savings from the bank give aways to fund the program. So what? It is money used to actually help Americans instead of inflate bank profits. I can live with that.

    • DanMan says:

      and strive for mediocrity!!! any more than that and we’ll all have to work harder!

      (philosophy of Teamsters Local 988 anyway, don’t ever do more than yesterday or you’ll be held to that standard tomorrow)

    • goplifer says:

      Yes, the solution that gives everyone a chance to enjoy a dead-end menial job, guaranteed, for as long as their soul can stand it.

      • DanMan says:

        oops, sorry Craig. That stalwart conservative Chris Ladd agrees with you too!

      • Craig says:

        Of course, there’s another option. Go to college, come out tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and THEN get a career saying “do you want fries with that?” or “welcome to Wal-Mart.”

      • DanMan says:

        well at least you’d have the satisfaction of looking at your Medieval English Poetry degree…in my case I was enjoying a nice history major until it dawned on me how little financial opportunity it afforded me. Differential Equations was a tough class but I have to believe if I could do it anybody could.

        That decision probably allows me the time I have to read history at my leisure.

  10. Tuttabella says:

    There’s a lot to be said for versatility, and the willingness to work at whatever is necessary. The same closed-in thinking with respect to options — I was going to say “limited mentality,” but I know I’ll never hear the end of it — the same closed-in thinking that keeps some people in minimum wage jobs can also be found in many high-wage earners, to whom, when they find themselves unemployed, it never occurs seriously to take a lower-wage job. High earners can be just as likely to box themselves in and limit their options. I say it’s better for a normally high-wage earner to work as a cashier than not to work at all.

  11. DanMan says:

    And this piece explains why democrats think like they do and seem so frustrated and angry all the time.

    Like Kabuzz, I stand out as a shining example of exactly the opposite of what this logic of relentless research has produced. As have my kids. But surprisingly it fits perfectly with the long bandied message of the democrat party, which is you can’t do it on your own, you must have the bounds set by society holding you in place and the collective is the primary objective.

    As an ardent progressive warrior in the battle to remain free, I must reject this tripe but forth by this ardent conservative Chris Ladd.

    Like Texan5142 I entered the workforce without competing with college graduates and it took about 5 years to realize I was doing it wrong and went to college. Paid for it myself while working those soul crushing menial jobs that held me down. Had two kids the entire time. When I got out I damn sure competed with everybody around me while gaining experience and learning to accomplish goals both collectively and independently.

    This is a sad and enlightening admission that democrats think you’re too stupid to survive without their leadership. Pitiful.

    • Crogged says:

      Thank you Cain, I mean DanMan and Kabuzz, for all the good lessons you provide for those who don’t know that life requires effort. Now let’s move beyond your inspiring anecdotal ‘evidence’ of what I can only assume is your conclusion of ‘meh’ and see if you can actually address even one part of the author’s contentions that working hard at $7.25 an hour isn’t going to pay for one hour, literally ONE clock hour, of any training in something beyond flipping burgers. For each of you I would recommend exploring why you have this dark vision of some meaningful segment of people who somehow aren’t wonderful and hardworking like you.

      • DanMan says:

        “make it with cheese please”, I happened to have worked at a hamburger joint and am not ashamed to say so. It was when I was in High School though. I also owned two cars and paid for my gas and insurance. I could make my older brothers and sisters dance if I so desired.

        Crogged its a tough deal when look behind you and have regrets. What are you going to do about it? Wait for me to make you happier? That’s what you’re doing if you’re sitting around waiting for the government to take care of you.

        Chris links a long winded dissertation that happens to collide head-on with my life experiences and like I said yesterday, I am probably the most typical person ever born so yeah, I comment with authority in that regard.

      • Crogged says:

        So you aren’t leaving anything else out of your anecdote? You were born in a mud hut in Mongolia, or to a middle class family in Houston? Deprived like me, no color television until I was in 10th grade?

        The smug self congratulation hides the fact that if we did as the author has suggested and just streamlined all these programs and provided a floor of life beyond raw gnawing terror of a doctor’s bill that you would be mad you didn’t have it when you were young. Your character was three quarters set when you were born and solidified by the time you were 8 years old from you observing the adults around you, your hamburger job had nothing to do with your current success.

      • DanMan says:

        There were 6 kids in our house and I always thought of myself as the special one. As far as I know my brothers and sisters felt the same way. You must have missed the part where I said I worked for several years before going to college on my own dime. I doubt I worked any harder than those around me but I tried.

    • Tuttabella says:

      Dan, thanks for the compliment. I was an only child, so I KNEW I was special !

  12. kabuzz61 says:

    I guess people like myself who worked hard and went to school at night to improve myself was an anomaly? When are you liberals going to stop excusing people who have no motivation or drive to improve? You have created a whole group of permanent ‘victim’ class. Tsk!

    • Crogged says:

      Can you accept that the world has changed in the interim from your entry into the workforce until now……….not everything written here is about you. Change is hard, extinction is easy.

    • Texan5142 says:

      Things are a little different than the 50’s and 60’s when you went to school. I too worked hard to improve myself and at the time I entered the work force in the late 70’s I did not have to compete with collage grads for a job at a burger joint. Higher education was a lot more affordable and getting a job without any experience was easy. Try that today.

      • DanMan says:

        Human nature doesn’t change. Read a book every now and then and you’ll see why our constitution was written they way it was. Democrat policy insists on voters rejecting their natural instincts. It explains exactly why Obamacare is being rejected by the young people they know don’t need a comprehensive health care plans but are expected to pay for it anyway. And the older people that can afford it aren’t going to participate either because they don’t want to pay for kids dental plans and maternity care. Think concierge care. The dems and especially Obama are playing a very cruel trick on the young voters that propelled them into power.

        Not only are they expected to pay a lot more for what they don’t need, their income opportunities are being limited by having g’ment control so much. Very tough time to be joining the work force right now. The implications aren’t good.

      • Crogged says:

        “Human nature doesn’t change” and the reason a twentysomething will not pay for insurance has NOTHING to do with Obummercare. Young people think they are bulletproof, so we let them and they free ride until reality sets in. Or disease.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      I married in ’75 and our son came a year later. While working two jobs, active in church I started to go to college. First HCC then to UofH. Many times very tired. Many times considered quitting but persevered. It wasn’t done for any reason then to improve my families life. All that hard work paid off. But I am not unique, anyone who puts in the effort will attain. You liberal’s are looking for short cuts and there isn’t none.

      • DanMan says:

        told you guys I was the most normal person in the world…is the same Kabuzz as the Hoody Cat?

      • desperado says:

        Ever occur to you that the cost of a college education just might have risen a bit since 1975?

      • Turtles Run says:

        Kabuzz, can you wait a second…..I need to restring my violin for you. I hope none of you broke your arms patting yourselves on the back for all the tough times you managed to survive..

        Here is some news for you. No one here grew up with a silver spoon in their mouth. We all work hard and have enjoyed the fruits of our labor. You guys want to talk about how hard you worked and the trails you went through. Well tell it to someone else because we all have that story. The only difference between us and you guys is that we recognize the changing environment facing young people and realize that making the ability to obtain a education is paramount to success and as such we should be working to give more people an opportunity to advance themselves not throw up road blocks.

        Your stories while good for stroking your egos or whatever, do very little to address the public policy of education in this nation.

      • DanMan says:

        Yeah Craig, I’m fully aware. I also paid full ride for my kids to go to UT and A&M while you were paying OCAW dues and fluffing democrats. And I was damn proud to be able to do so. I’ll keep my rewards, you keep yours.

        and looky! poor turtlehead weighed in again. While completely ignoring the long term disastrous impacts to the growth potential of our economy that will occur to accommodate that doubling of the deficit in 5 years, he champions the success of said tax payers that he happily encumbers with that debt. I saw an article today that put the individual debt of every baby born since Obama became our precedent at $1.6 million each. Ask despo how the new hires feel when they walk into a union shop that lowered the pay of new hires to fatten their existing contracts (ruh-roh, another anecdote from Teamsters Local 988). turtlehead, nobody can injure his own argument better than you do.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        TR, you work hard, you focus, you attain. Even though you SAY you understand that and have done it, your views say otherwise.

    • DanMan says:

      how polite, I’m assuming what you had to say wasn’t nice, which on this blog means you probably know a truth that is opposite to this crock of shart

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