08.19.13

Community college as a verb

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 1:07 pm by George Smith

Today’s perfect selections from the Culture of Lickspittle, pieces from the blogging editorial team at the Atlantic, some of the worst and most patronizing assholes on the net, solving the problems of sluggish US growth, mass unemployment and inequality. These days, everyone plays the stupid riff about community college being the Philosopher’s Stone for turning American labor lead into gold, the silver bullet nostrum that cures the leprosy of the alleged lack of skills in Americans. And if loutish and stupid citizens just had the right skills, the economy would get back on its feet for them.

The President plays it regularly in speeches. Everyone has caught the catchy tune.

It’s part of an increasingly urgent propaganda message, one the purpose of which is to convince people that the 1 percent taking everything isn’t so bad and may not even be relevant to the economic misfortunes of the majority. No, the misfortune is at the feet of American workers, who are inferior because they do not have “skills.”

But all hope is not lost. Americans can magically regain skills by paying for them, possibly through community college certifications.

It’s truly cynical and transparent, because the people always going on about it are those with high-button educations, schooling now completely priced out of reach of the masses. They are the explainers with their nice college degrees, certifications that they are A-OK in the skills department, allowed the privilege of a job in the higher paid servant classes. Because there’s a need to politely tell it how it is to all the inferior people.

So, here at this blog, we can turn “community college” into a verb (it’s what my massive college education, now obsoleted anyway, did):

Dodson community colleged his way out of crushing debt and two years of unemployment after he was laid off from his engineering job at Cisco Systems.

Forty eight million Americans community colleged their way off food stamps, many for the second time, in a new economic Renaissance.

The President, and many others earning six figures a year with benefits, insisted millions of American would community college themselves to a new and prosperous future.

From the Atlantic, where no one community college-ing is on the editorial staff as a writer:

Skills for America’s Future, a policy initiative run out of the Aspen Institute, was created in 2010 as a spin-off of President Obama’s Jobs Council and was originally led by longtime Obama supporter Penny Pritzker. With Pritzker now installed as the new Commerce secretary, Aspen announced earlier this week that the skills-training program will continue with executives from Snap-On and Gap at the helm.

There are employers who now work with community colleges to develop certificates that help show that a worker is ready. The National Career Readiness Certificate basically tests those kinds of skills I was talking about–can they read for information, locate information, do math?

It’s good to know one needs a community college background, paper proof that you can “read for information, locate information [and] do math” for a minimum wage retail job selling blue jeans and tools at the Gap and Snap-On.

If there was a button you could push to burn these people at the stake you’d push it.

Again, this is about contempt. Contempt for Americans seen in the implication that people aren’t fit to work and cannot read or do arithmetic.

The problem is not, as it appears when shopping Baja Ranch, that people don’t know how to read and do arithmetic. They do! They do fine with cash registers, counting out money, reading stocking lists, preparing foods behind the counter, reading labels, using scales and so on. The problem is being paid too little for a fair day’s work.

In fact, there was no shortage of Americans who tried to get jobs in the 2010 census. Almost all of them, as far as I could tell, had a basic grasp of reading and math.

However, there’s always room for another scam at the bottom. Now that Americans can afford even less, they can have a certification dangled in front them, one that promises a future job, if and when they take some courses and pay to take a test that proves they have reading comprehension and the basic ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide.

Also from the Atlantic, the question answered — “Are the rich getting too much of the economic pie?”

So we headed to Dangerously Delicious Pies in northeast Washington, D.C., with business editor Derek Thompson to explain income inequality over dessert. We ordered three pies — peanut butter, blueberry, and something amazing called the “Baltimore Bomb” — to make three charts that illustrate the income and wealth gap in the U.S. We’re not the first to mix math and pastry, as we discovered recently, but we hope this video offers a tasty perspective on a complex economic question.

There you have it. Pies. They ate pie! The worst inequality and economic injustice among the civilized powers, explained over frou-frou pies by glossy mag servants to the toffs in DC.

No link. The Atlantic is a site of the infinite download, auto-playing nuisance advertisements and video as soon as the page is logged.

2 Comments

  1. Chuck said,

    August 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    One wonders if Mr. Thompson knows how to make his own pie. (Mix the dough for the crust, prepare the filling and bake). Or if he prefers to have those he criticizes so roundly do it for him.

    Okay, so it’s pretty clear that the terrorism and surveillance being performed is to preserve the people in power (military, bureaucratic and industrial) and anyone tinkering with any notions of improving the lot of humanity will be branded a terrorist and put away for a very long time, facts be damned.

    One question that’s bothered me for a long time has been “Are there enough paying jobs to go around and support this economic model?”

    I’m not so sure any more. A lot of today’s jobs it seems, don’t accomplish a whole lot of anything.

  2. George Smith said,

    August 21, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    “Are there enough paying jobs to go around and support this economic model?”

    Not in a country the size of ours. Krugman had some small posts early in the week on whether or not so-called “Big Data” is going to provide something. The skeptics are beginning to accumulate. He says it’s still too early to tell.

    Big Data is not going to revolutionize biochemistry. There’s not going to be some magical point where computing power and accumulation becomes so great god-like power of evolution and construction becomes emergent.

    People who don’t know real science, or the struggle of it, get blown away by thousand or 750 word articles with some video on 3D manufacturing or organs. But they don’t count.