Monday, June 06, 2011

Socialist Ronald Brownstein: As America Has Grown “More Diverse,” It Has Grown “Better Educated,” Which is Why the White Working Class is Hurting

[N.S.: Apparently, in order to get any job today allegedly involving brain power not in the sciences—teacher, professor, journalist, etc.—one must take an IQ test and an integrity test, and flunk both of them. Today’s exhibit: Longtime Socialist L.A. Times columnist Ronald Brownstein, who manages to use up 821 words on the plight of the white working class, without once mentioning anti-white racism (including but not limited to affirmative action), immigration, or outsourcing/off-shoring.

And how could one describe a nation whose massive population growth over the past generation has consisted predominantly of over 50 million largely illiterate, low-IQ, primitive, hostile, Third Worlders and their low IQ, even more hostile children as “better educated”? Or a nation whose colleges increasingly graduate semi-literates and functional illiterates? Note too that since the 1990s, eight out of the 10 job categories produced in this country have been in non-tradable domestic services such as truck driver, bartender, waitress, nurse aide, and retail and wholesale trade, which require no college and, in most cases, not even a high school education. Note too that of American workers, the majority of whom once worked in the manufacturing sector, only nine percent currently do (see here and here, for starters).

I have previously referred to writers like Brownstein, “a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize,” as “counter-intelligence officers,” in that they fight to make the world, or at least America, a dumber place, and in that they present information—intelligence—in a deceptive manner, in order to confuse their readers and prevent them from understanding reality.]

Why the white working class is alienated, pessimistic
By Ronald Brownstein

National Journal
Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 10:17 a.m., EST.

Almost no one noticed, but around George W. Bush's reelection in 2004, the nation crossed a demographic milestone.

From Revolutionary days through 2004, a majority of Americans fit two criteria. They were white. And they concluded their education before obtaining a four-year college degree. In the American mosaic, that vast white working class was the largest piece, from the yeoman farmer to the welder on the assembly line. Even as late as the 1990 census, whites without a college degree represented more than three-fifths of adults.

But as the country grew more diverse and better educated, the white working-class share of the adult population slipped to just under 50 percent in the Census Bureau's 2005 American Community Survey. That number has since fallen below 48 percent.

The demographic eclipse of the white working class is likely an irreversible trend as the United States reconfigures itself yet again as a "world nation" reinvigorated by rising education levels and kaleidoscopic diversity. That emerging America will create opportunities (such as the links that our new immigrants will provide to emerging markets around the globe) and face challenges (including improving high school and college graduation rates for the minority young people who will provide tomorrow's workforce).

Still, amid all of this change, whites without a four-year college degree remain the largest demographic bloc in the workforce. College-educated whites make up about one-fifth of the adult population, while minorities account for a little under one-third. The picture is changing, but whites who have not completed college remain the backbone of many, if not most, communities and workplaces across the country.

They are also, polls consistently tell us, the most pessimistic and alienated group in American society.

The latest measure of this discontent came in a thoughtful national survey on economic opportunity released last week by the Pew Charitable Trusts' Economic Mobility Project. If numbers could scream, they would probably sound like the poll's results among working-class whites.

One question asked respondents whether they expected to be better off economically in 10 years than they are today. Two-thirds of blacks and Hispanics said yes, as did 55 percent of college-educated whites; just 44 percent of noncollege whites agreed. Asked if they were better off than their parents were at the same age, about three-fifths of college-educated whites, African-Americans, and Hispanics said they were. But blue-collar whites divided narrowly, with 52 percent saying yes and a head-turning 43 percent saying no. (The survey, conducted from March 24 through 29, surveyed 2,000 adults and has a margin of error of ±3.4 percent.)

What makes these results especially striking is that minorities were as likely as blue-collar whites to report that they have been hurt by the recession. The actual unemployment rate is considerably higher among blacks and Hispanics than among blue-collar whites, much less college-educated whites.

Yet, minorities were more optimistic about the next generation than either group of whites, the survey found. In the most telling result, 63 percent of African-Americans and 54 percent of Hispanics said they expected their children to exceed their standard of living. Even college-educated whites are less optimistic (only about two-fifths agree). But the noncollege whites are the gloomiest: Just one-third of them think their kids will live better than they do; an equal number think their children won't even match their living standard. No other group is nearly that negative.

This worry is hardly irrational. As Massachusetts Institute of Technology economists Frank Levy and Tom Kochan report in a new paper, the average high-school-educated, middle-aged man earns almost 10 percent less than his counterpart did in 1980. Minorities haven't been exempt from that trend: In fact, high-school-educated minority men have experienced even slower wage growth than their white counterparts over the past two decades, calculates Larry Mishel, president of the liberal Economic Policy Institute.

But for minorities, that squeeze has been partially offset by the sense that possibilities closed to their parents are becoming available to them as discrimination wanes. "The distinction is, these blue-collar whites see opportunities for people like them shrinking, whereas the African-Americans [and Hispanics] feel there are a set of long-term opportunities that are opening to them that were previously closed on the basis of race or ethnicity," said Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster who helped conduct the Pew survey.

By contrast, although it is difficult to precisely quantify, the sense of being eclipsed demographically is almost certainly compounding the white working class's fear of losing ground economically. That huge bloc of Americans increasingly feels itself left behind—and lacks faith that either government or business cares much about its plight. Under these pressures, noncollege whites are now experiencing rates of out-of-wedlock birth and single parenthood approaching the levels that triggered worries about the black family a generation ago. Alarm bells should be ringing now about the social and economic trends in the battered white working class and the piercing cry of distress rising from this latest survey.

[The best response, by far, to Brownstein, came from “SecularRealistJew” at American Renaissance.]

6 — SecularRealistJew wrote at 9:00 PM on June 2:

The White Working Class is alienated for the following reasons:

- Nobody asked them whether they wanted to be replaced and displaced by affirmative action for lesser qualified people of “minority” backgrounds — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

- Nobody asked them whether they wanted to lose their jobs to outsourcing — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

- Nobody asked them if they wanted to learn about how special black and African heritage is, meanwhile their own heritage is neglected or openly denigrated — BUT, nevertheless, IT STILL HAPPENED!

- Nobody asked them if they wanted to see their formerly-safe neighborhoods, suburbs, cities and villages ruined by Section 8 entitlement programs — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

- Nobody asked them if they wanted their children beaten up, harassed, bullied or molested by children of “minority” background — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

- Nobody asked them whether their children would quit working at service-sector hotels, restaurants, fast-food chains, grocery stores, etc., to be replaced by illegal immigrants — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

- Nobody asked them whether they wanted to go to church or synagogue and be lectured by elitist clergy on “social justice” and “civil rights for minorities” when their own families were breaking down or in need of uplift — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

- Nobody asked them if they wanted to spend half of their accumulated life savings (or all of it) constantly moving to stay safe from crime and other scourges of “multiculturalism” — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

- Nobody asked them if they were OK with rounding up inhabitants from the most hideous and backward corners of the Third World and plopping them down as “refugees” in their communities — BUT IT STILL HAPPENED!

These are just a small fraction of the reasons that the White Working Class is angry, pessimistic and now ticking.

[SRJ continued with the following observations.]

7 — SecularRealistJew wrote at 9:03 PM on June 2:

I’m from a really small town where most of the people are working class without a college education. My dad was a Vietnam vet who came home, got a job in a factory and worked there until he was 61 and the plant shut down and relocated to China. He was lucky, being only a year away from retirement. Many of the people he worked with were in their 40s or 50s, mortgage, kids in college etc, and most of them had worked there for years. It’s the same with a lot of the factories around here. Our government has colluded with corporate interests in shipping out an extraordinary amount of jobs. These are some of the biggest reasons that the white working class feels the way they do, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. Most of them could care less about world events, and just want to take care of their families.

These are good, salt-of the-Earth types we’re talking about here. They don’t want a handout or sympathy, they just want the opportunity to earn their keep. We hear so many people screaming about unemployment benefits and social spending, and most of those screaming are a paycheck or two away from the same situation. It’s time we got back to actually caring about what happens to our neighbors, and demanding accountability from our leaders. We need to stop listening to those who demagogue issues for personal gain. We’re inventive, hard working people who can outproduce anyone, and turn out the highest quality products while doing it. Until we stop letting ourselves be led like sheep, nothing’s going to change, but the good thing is that we can stop it. We need to start now.

[At Yahoo! News, which published Brownstein’s counter-intelligence, many commenters were also intelledctually and morally head and shoulders above him. Some sample responses follow.]

• JAMES RTue May 31, 2011 09:17 am PDT

• Who in the Hell needs a college degree to flip burgers, work in a car wash, become a servitude oriented employee. That is all we are going to have, with all the American jobs going off shore. Bring back industry and jobs, the Americans will step up and take the lead. Can't that stupid bunch of A$$'s in Washington see this, or is this the USA they want. If they didn't want it we wouldn,t have it.

• ExasperatedTue May 31, 2011 09:01 am PDT

Our "oh so wise elites" of both parties buy into the theory that Technology/Automation and Free Trade are a win/win for everyone, a miraculous path to everlasting, peace, prosperity and happiness, everywhere. The truth is, that it is hard to argue with this dogma; it probably is true over the long term and certainly has been historically. It's the rising tide lifting all boats theory.
But they apparently didn't think about, let alone plan for the downside: the social disruption and very painful displacement. No one asked what were we going to export? And nobody wondered from where the revenues to support and upgrade our infrastructure would come, if you drove manufacturing out of the country?

No one wondered who would be the Taxpayer and who would be the Consumer without a working middle class? By the way, the problem is not so much the volume of jobs, but the quality of the remaining jobs and the skill set required. The mid level skilled jobs of the post WWII middle class have been automated or outsourced leaving jobs at the top and bottom of the spectrum.

TomTue May 31, 2011 12:21 pm PDT

Well, lets see...I'm a white male 58 years old...MBA...BBA...long successful career until 2002...I turned 50... and was tossed out of my 6 year IT job due to a corporate reorg and sale of the business unit...

Despite a 26+ year succesful career...job(s) since 2002 "0"!!

I'm apparently underqualified for some jobs...getting 'stale' for others...

So, I spent $4500 of my own money on every IT certification out there in 2006 (MCSE, CISSP, CompTIA Network+, Security+, Project Mgmt+, A+) to overcome the 'stale' label....So, now I am "overqualified".... and usually just hide my MBA and certs when applying for jobs ...

But, no matter...what really matters is that I am over 50 and white and would really like to earn at least enough to pay my rent!! (You see, the house, IRA, medical, life, dental, and eye insurance is all gone!!)...

Fat chance!!! Seven plus years now and its only getting worse!!!

Good luck new Roman Empire...!!

Okie Viet VetTue May 31, 2011 11:04 am PDT

I was considered talented and successfull in my Information Technology career. That is, until IBM showed up on the Gap, Inc's doorstep, and my entire division of Technical Support and Operations was outsourced. The support went to Brazil and it was my job to lay off very experienced and skilled technicians, giving the work to foreign, inexperienced, by far lesser skilled workers. I resigned frrom IBM and took a position with Kaiser Permenante. Then IBM showed up, sold some lies, and the work went to India. Exact same scenario with the same results. Corporate America has sold out its citizens, and of course with the blessing of our Federal government. It is all about greed and lack of ethics.

DONALDTue May 31, 2011 01:11 pm PDT

Watching "Midway" yesterday, I was struck by a comment from Yamamoto describing the United States circa 1940-41: "Their industrial might is so powerful, we should not awaken them".

Hah. Fancy any foreign power saying that today.

• sherlock09Tue May 31, 2011 01:08 pm PDT

In the last 10 years, I have had one job where the business was sold, 2 which were outsourced, 1 which was downsized, and another which underwent "Business Transformation". Any wonder why I'm pissed off?

• Tue May 31, 2011 12:26 pm PDT

My husband and I both have to work two jobs to keep what we raises in three years, health insurance goes up every year, gas and grocery bills sky high, no vacations, no break in sight. I wonder why we are pessimistic!!!

• MAGGIE MAYTue May 31, 2011 12:42 pm PDT

How can anyone who is truly middle class honestly believe he/she is better off than his/her middle class parents were?! My parents - neither of whom had a college degree - had a much better standard of living than we do. My mother was a full-time homemaker. My father was able to support a family of 6, with all the necessities, plus some luxuries, on his paycheck alone ... and he never grossed above 55K per year in his life. They were also able to save a large % of his salary. Ditto for all my friends' parents and all our neighbors. What middle class family of 6 can live well on one paycheck today?! Forget about having anything left over for savings!!

robertatisimoTue May 31, 2011 12:38 pm PDT

Most of our politicians know exactly why our jobs and our economy has tanked. Most of our politicians know how to fix it. Most of our politicians are beholding to special interests. Most of our politicians will do nothing to change the situation.

[A tip ‘o the broken hardhat to American Renaissance.]


Anonymous said...

Nicholas,I often read here but have never commented before.

I am not American(I'm Irish)but travel to the US for work purposes.

I don't want to insult any American,but if this Brownstein creature believes that Americans are "Better Educated"(poor grammar in itself},then my observations over 30 years are completely wrong.

So,do I believe Brownstein or the evidence of my own eyes?.

My own eyes,I think.The deterioration in American educational standards over those 30 years has been appalling:slow but shocking when I think about it.

Nicholas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicholas said...

But who are we to question the judgment of a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist?

(Forgot "we" the first time.)