I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Education & Income Inequality: Corporate Power or Cultural Attitudes toward Education Holding Some Back?

Paul Krugman of the NY Times believes it is out-of-control, power-hungry corporations that are to blame for stagnant job creation and the inequality of incomes in the US.  If we just redistribute more of the corporate income to poor families, via higher corporate taxes, in his view- this would be the quickest way to end income inequality and he believes it would spur job creation.   He believes that education is not a player in this matter. Of course he's dead wrong.

In a very thoughtful deconstruction of Krugman's opinion piece, James Crotty of Forbes gets much closer to the mark in a two-part series on this topic.

The centerpiece of his argument is that cultural values about education, not corporate power and control of large percentages of American wealth, are what ultimately determines a student's success in the classroom and ultimately in his/her career.  Student success in the jobs market ultimately leads to successful countries.

From part 1:

"In eschewing education as a solvency to income inequality, Mr. Krugman argues that we should, instead, place “higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and invest the proceeds in programs that help working families.” Never mind that those “programs” would inexorably center on job training (i.e., education), unless thePrinceton University Professor merely plans to give a man a fish while failing to teach him how to fish."

From part 2:

"cultural attitudes towards education – more than income, and regardless of income – are the primary determiners of educational, and, thus, career success on the planet.  Unfortunately, for the vast majority of those Americans that economists like Paul Krugman deign to help, such cultural capital is missing in the home and neighborhood. This lack is not primarily due to the greedy ways of a “tiny group of individuals holding strategic positions in corporate suites or astride the crossroads of finance” – as Mr. Krugman would like us to believe – but to the fact that so few of those on the lowest rung of the U.S. income ladder are surrounded by people who have graduated high school, let alone college." 

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