Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Our National Economy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This is the second in a multi-part series about our national economy.

How we are affected by downturns, spikes and elevations in the economy individually/personally and as families/communities has great similarity across a wide spectrum. But perhaps most importantly, in this instance, once we know the problem, or the causes of the problems, we also know the solutions. That is the natural corollary to identifying those problems.

The CIA World Factbook – which is available online at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html – indicates that “Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households.

The next question that arises from that fact is this: Why?

The Central Intelligence Agency offers this explanation: The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a “two-tier labor market” in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits.

This statement indicates that EDUCATION is a CRITICAL KEY in advancement.

Education does NOT mean “high school graduate,” or GED. It means HIGHER education, as in college and/or university.

Examining this statement another way it could read, ‘because America has not invested in the higher education of her citizens, individuals, families and the nation at large has suffered loss of income/economic power, health insurance coverage and other benefits – including retirement.’

What is particularly disconcerting about this observation – Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. –  is that 35 YEARS have elapsed!

Considering that another way, we might observe that the people who were 35 years of age in 1975 are now 70, and their children are now 35+ years of age. In other words, we have in essence seen TWO GENERATIONS pass since the problem began.

If we completely ignore the length of generation – which some say ranges anywhere from 16-30 years, being the age or length of time from when women begin bearing children – we see that education has STILL not been emphasized. Because if it was emphasized, we would or could expect to see some significant differences in the figures.

Graphical data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau demonstrates that from the period from 1975 until 1995, the percentage of the population aged 25 to 29 that has attained a Bachelor’s degree or more leveled out – or if you prefer, stagnated, or flat-lined – while the percentage of the population aged 25 and older that has a Bachelor’s degree or more steadily increased until it almost reached parity in 1995 and where it remains largely to this day. The Census Bureau reported their findings by writing that “During the past two decades, the proportion of the young adult population with a bachelor’s degree changed only modestly, with the proportion remaining above 20 percent.

Examining the data for educational attainment in the USA – about which the U.S. Census Bureau says “refers to the highest level of education that an individual has completed. This is distinct from the level of schooling that an individual is attending.” – we see that in 2009, “87 percent of adults 25 and older had a high school diploma or more in 2009, with 30 percent holding at least a bachelor’s degree.

Historical tables provide data on mean earnings by attainment level, sex, race and Hispanic origin with data back to 1975, and tables on attainment levels back to 1940.

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