According to Richard D. Wolfe, an economist:
“. . . approximately fifteen million of our citizens attend colleges and universities. Over twelve million out of those fifteen million attend a public college or university. That means that the overwhelming bulk of the highly trained, highly skilled workforce we produce in this country is created by the public sector by public universities sustained by public funds.
“The future of the American economy depends as much on the quality and quantity of these well-trained college and university graduates as it depends on anything. Our future as an economy and as a society is in many senses dependent on public higher education.
“How strange it is that our current economic crisis which the public education system had nothing to do with producing, is forcing many of the fifty states in our country, almost all of them, to cutback on the support they give to public higher education; to fire teachers, to cut back on programs, to close whole departments or to demand more money out of students and their families at a time when they can least afford it.”
Now couple this situation with the parallel situation that American corporations are crying about a “skills gap,” which they say is manifested by jobs requiring advanced skills going begging because no one is applying. They say the skilled workers are clearly not available and that the only solution is the open the floodgates to foreign born, well-educated workers to come here to fill those jobs.
Now, the dirty little secret about many of those jobs “going begging” is that the pay associated with them is closer to that of McDonalds than it is a common wage for someone with those skills. No one is applying for them because the wages being offered are ridiculously low. Why would a master machinist work for $10 and hour when he could get $10.25 at McDonalds? Why would a senior chemist work for $60,000 a year when recently, that job paid $125,000 a year. But you can bet that foreign workers will work for those wages to get their foot in the door in this country. The net effect will be to depress wages for all people in the country. This is another attempt by the plutocrats to force wages lower and increase their already record-level profits.
How about we do this: business taxes on major corporations are already at record low levels, so since businesses are the major beneficiaries of a highly educated workforce, how about we get them to pay more, with the “more” directed primarily at higher education?
Couldn’t G.E. for example, pay some business taxes (currently they pay none) to pay for the highly trained workers we are supplying them? Shouldn’t there be an Alternative Minimum Tax for corporations?