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Josipa Roksa and Richard Arum, co-authors of Aspiring Adults Adrift. (Photo:  Social Science Research Council)

Ed researchers: Colleges can do more for students, especially in a bad economy

College is worth the investment. College graduates can't find good jobs. Student loan debt keeps rising, and now tops a trillion dollars. What can be done?

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in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Raise the poverty line, implement protectionist tariffs, and institute employee representation in corporate decision making

File under: job creation, poverty line, basic budget, employee representation, tariffs, manufacturing, industrial policy, technology, jobs, taxes, welfare

0 (0 votes)

From: Keith A., , IL

High poverty and high unemployment aren't an anomaly. They're the natural state of affairs in a backward economy. In the United States, they're a warning sign that our economy is regressing. This isn't a recession -- it's a regression.

Without a basic standard of living, people lack the security, flexibility and opportunity to make good long-term economic decisions. Therefore, redefine the poverty line to account for increases in the costs of housing, transportation, health care and child care (read more here), and distribute the benefits of entitlement programs accordingly. Pay for them with a steeper marginal tax rate on luxury-level income (60 percent on income over $175,000 a year for single filers, $300,000 a year for joint filers).

But transfer payments alone are a drag on the economy. Therefore, put in place an aggressive national industrial policy focused on two things: advanced technology (especially in nano and green energy) and domestic production of goods for domestic consumption. If we can't compete head-to-head with slave-labor wages in China and other nations, then we have to accept the necessity of temporary protectionist tariffs as a defensive measure while our productive capacity regenerates.

Finally, amend corporate law to require German-style employee representation in corporate governance, to ensure that companies are run with the interests of all stakeholders in mind, not just to maximize profit for stockholders and executives. This should result in fairer employee compensation as well as more reinvestment of earnings in research and development.


Comments:

Keith A.
From , IL

Two addenda: There is so much work in this country that needs to be done, and so many people who need work, the obvious problem is figuring out how to pay the latter to do the former. This is where a WPA-style work program would be extremely useful in the short term, especially considering the deplorable state of our national transportation and utility infrastructure. Also, the single biggest roadblock against job creation right now is big banks' unwillingness to lend money to small businesses and startups. Therefore, either the Federal Reserve or a public-private small-commercial bank should lend directly to these businesses so that they can create the jobs we need. Capitalism has a major role to play in our recovery, but our biggest capitalists are refusing to cooperate. Cut them out of the deal.


American RadioWorks |
Josipa Roksa and Richard Arum, co-authors of Aspiring Adults Adrift. (Photo:  Social Science Research Council)

Ed researchers: Colleges can do more for students, especially in a bad economy

College is worth the investment. College graduates can't find good jobs. Student loan debt keeps rising, and now tops a trillion dollars. What can be done?

Recent Posts

  • 09.17.14

    A company short on skilled workers creates its own college-degree program

    At a Toyota plant in Kentucky, young people are learning how to fix robots, earning associate's degrees and graduating with jobs that pay up to $80,000 a year.
  • 09.11.14

    A 21st-century vocational high school

    For years, vocational education was seen as a lesser form of schooling, tracking some kids into programs that ended up limiting their future opportunities. Today, in the nation's best vocational programs, things are different.
  • 09.10.14

    Career academies: A new twist on vocational ed

    Across the country, thousands of high schools are transforming into career academies. The idea is that students will be more engaged if they see how academics are connected to the world of work. And they’ll be more likely to get the postsecondary schooling they need to support themselves in today’s economy.
  • 09.09.14

    The troubled history of vocational education

    Vocational education was once used to track low-income students off to work while wealthier kids went to college. But advocates for today's career and technical education say things have changed, and graduates of vocational programs may have the advantage over graduates of traditional high schools.