Response to the RAND Post

Via email, I received a response to ‘Got a Govt Contract But You’re Violating Labor Laws? No Problem’ from one David P Mulvey. Mr Mulvey’s reply makes a number of important points and I want to go into them because they reflect on some basic attitudes and beliefs that go toward helping to minimize and marginalize legitimate worker concerns about systematized unfair hiring and pay practices.

But the best way to do that is point-by-point, and unfortunately for me, Mr Mulvey has written a tightly reasoned and tightly organized letter; to chop it into little pieces for purposes of responding would do a violence to the overall case he’s trying to make. So before I respond, I thought I would publish the letter intact and let you read it as Mr Mulvey intended it to be read–as a coherent whole.

Your writing is very cogent. Colleges don’t teach that. They serve as a superstructure for the foundation that should have been taught in grammar and high school. With only 1 year of college before the money ran out, you appear to have been given the foundation and acted as your own contractor in building the superstructure. The whys and hows of the money situation are known only to you and really don’t matter based on the product you produce. That is as American as it gets.

This leads to my second comment concerning a business owner saying there was a skilled worker shortage. I read that blog, as well as the follow on stating the first blog was a bit of a rant. The fact is the education system in this country is broken. I offer the following. The business owner is looking for basic 9th through 11th grade high school skills as a condition of employment that his applicants simply did not possess. Perhaps there is a shortage of those skills in the Tampa area. Tampa is the 4th highest crime ridden city in the nation. Maybe all the people with those skills moved away. Perhaps he was not willing to pay enough to get them. 18.1% of the Tampa population lives below the poverty line. I cannot prove or disprove either hypothesis. Poverty though has historically been linked to a lack of education. Which is the chicken and which is the egg depends on your point of view.

You propose the business owner to pay for educating the perspective employees in return for a year or two of work. I am not a legal scholar, so I am not sure of legalities of such a move outside of the military (the service academies are prime examples). If memory serves me correctly, in the civilian world such an action violates indentured servitude laws. Besides, he, as well as every taxpaying person in this country, has already paid for the proper education of perspective employees up to the twelfth grade. If, when the applicants were in school, they could not execute the skills required to proceed to the next grade, specifically geometry and trigonometry, they should not have been allowed to proceed. The system did them a lifelong injustice order to placate itself. To ask the business owner to fund an education is akin to double taxation.

I attended parochial school from grades 1-8 and public high school from grades 9-12. I did not pick up a book in the 9th and 10th grades and most of the 11th. Ironically, it was a geometry book. I had already had all the subjects by the time I left the 8th grade. My folks were hard working Americans as I am sure you are. However, they did me the same injustice as the system did the aforementioned applicants. They did not question my grades (all A/B) vs. no at home study time when getting the same grades in grammar school took an hour and a half to two hours per night.

Responsible parents want their kids to have more opportunities for choice than they had themselves. Maybe the answer is in a school voucher system which ironically is supported more by parents in poverty than by any other socio-economic group.

Continued success in your writing.



Mull it over, comment on it, and I’ll be back in a day or so with my answer.

Correction: Actually, Mr Mulvey is responding to two posts, the other one being ‘A Shortage of Skilled Workers? Really?’, so you may want to read that one, too, while you’re at it.

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