America Has Little To Be Thankful For.

As Americans were eating breakfast on their great national holiday, Thanksgiving Day, I came across an article by Naomi Cohn in The Guardian. The lines that jumped out at me were these:

A report out Wednesday showed that new jobless claims declined slightly last week, but this is hardly reassuring to the millions of Americans who are spending this Thanksgiving still unemployed.

I am one of those who will lose benefits when they expire next week – 5 days after the holiday. As it happens, I am among the lucky ones – I was laid off just under two years ago, and so I was eligible for 99 weeks of benefits – the maximum amount. Those who were laid off after me will get far less: if Congress does not act, the maximum number of weeks available will be 26.

Thanksgiving, for us, will be fraught with tension. We will sit at tables with family members, some of whom will be proudly announcing their latest success at work. We are the losers, the rejected, the left-out, the forgotten, the silent.

We are ashamed in front of our children, not because we cannot pay for gifts, summer camp, after-school activities. That, I think, they understand. But because we are failures. While we encourage them to excel in school, our own degrees are worthless.

Many people in the UK will be facing a similar prospect this Christmas of course. Our unemployment figures too are kept steady by the numbers of people simply running out of benefit, reaching the time limit for which jobseeker’s allowance is paid and dropping off the unemployment figures as they are forced to rely on income support.

But look at the final sentence in those quoted lines. “While we encourage them to excel in school, our own degrees are worthless.”

The great education Ponzi scheme strikes again. Last week when Little Nicky was defending Nick Cleggs’ U turn on university tuition fees I was challenged by someone who is much too nice a person to mix it with a bruiser who cut his political teeth campaigning as a Liberal in Wigan. He commented that education is not just about preparation for a career which is of course absolutely right. In fact as the above extract proves education even to degree level is little help in finding employment these days.

What we need is proper jobs for people to do. And to create those we need people with a grip on reality not the kind of illusion dwellers who believe university education is a human right.

If everybody has a degree they’re not going to be worth shit in a future job market.

99ers: The dream dies in jobless America

One thought on “America Has Little To Be Thankful For.

  1. Too right. While I have a Degree, I ended up as a school caretaker as a matter of choice. I have a healthy respect for people who form the backbone of this country: chippies, builders, plumbers, sparks.
    Old New Labour wanted half the young people of this country to have a Degree, effectively watering down the qualification till it’s no better than having an ‘A’ Level.
    Some people are simply better suited to working with their hands but the emphasis on getting specifically academic qualifications excludes them from finding their gift and making a career out of it.
    (Remind me to write a post on Athelstan’s Armageddon Rule sometime…..)


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