Manufacturing Tuesday: Special Election Issue


Greetings folks to this special election installment of Manufacturing Monday!  Today the big economic figure we're going look at will be the ISM survey on Manufacturing, but afterwards I want to share a bigger story.  Now I understand most of us, if not all, are either voting for Barack Obama and/or straight Democratic ticket.  But why?  Well we can cite environmental reasons, the GOP simply don't get climate change.  We can cite civil rights reasons, one need only look up Guantanamo on the map.  There's the war in Iraq and America's current imperial ambitions.  But we also can cite economic reasons. 

I don't have to tell you it's bad out there.  You see it everyday as you drive to work, drop your kid at school or talk with your friends.  Folks are losing their homes has become a common story on the news as much as the weather these sad days.  There's the credit crisis and business failures.  And then there are the jobs, another story sadly familiar to you out there.  We've talked about outsourcing of jobs, underemployment, and the fight labor is having.  Yet many of you know how bad the job situation is yet only in an abstract form.  So, below is a story, a little reminder of sorts that sort of puts a face on that abstract, to show you exactly where we really came from and have fallen to.  But of course...first the Numbers!


The Numbers

Talk about convenient for our topic at hand!  The latest Institute for Supply Management (ISM) survey on manufacturing is now out.  Folks, it's worse than though, breaking through even the consensus number! For those of you new to this column, the ISM Manufacturing Survey is essentially taking the temperature of the conditions of the nation's factories.  They take into consideration new orders, employment, supplier deliveries, and inventories.  It's a well rounded picture and very reliable.  The way it's measured, well what you basically need to know, is that any number below 50, means declining business in our nation's factories; above 50 is well..the opposite!


So this week, the data came in at 38.9, which is the lowest it's been so far these bast four years.  The consensus was 41.5, not a good number either, but sure as hell beats a near 39!  The previous figure was already a dead low of 43.5, which was a significant drop from the near 50 ISM saw in the recent past. 

Bottom line, well heck, I don't think I have to tell you that!  We had  stall in production in aerospace because of the strike at Boeing.  There is the continuing tragedy that is our nation's automobile sector.  And across the nation various small and large manufacturers are on the forefront of the credit crisis.

West Virginia Oh How I Feel for Thee!

Once in a while, you come across a news story about something specific or minor detail about a fact, that pretty much captures the bigger picture. Like the one about the soldier who had to have his family buy him armor, or the one about the mentally disabled girl who died of neglect. Well, this one opinion piece about the loss of jobs in West Virginia could speak about the nation as a whole. 

From 2000 to 2007, West Virginia lost 18,900 manufacturing jobs. As a percentage of all state employment, the number of manufacturing jobs fell by nearly 50 percent during the past 19 years: from 14.3 percent in 1988 to 7.8 percent in 2007.a Despite this downward trend in employment, the manufacturing industry still comprised 13.6 percent of private-sector state GDP in 2007.b

- excerpt from "West Virginia Loses 18,900 Manufacturing Jobs Since 2000", State Journal, 2008.


Now I'll be honest, I had to re-read that paragraph.  A 50% drop, fifty! I knew things were bad in West Virginia, but not this bad.   The Mountain State has not been faring well.  It had a violent history in regards to unions, in fact I believe a movie or two were made about it.  Bottom line, the good folk of this state have not prospered well these past few years.

Manufacturing jobs were one of the alternatives to the dominant industries of the state, coal mining and agriculture.  The latter, I've been learning has been on the decline.  Rural poverty in these parts is about 20%.  Of course, the former is what many think of when asked about the economy of the state.  It is not uncommon to hear about generations within one family working in the coal mining industry.  It should be noted, that if this country proceeds with any real clean coal initiatives, the state would be one of the "Saudi Arabias" of coal.

But manufacturing served as an alternative, along with, later on, technology jobs.  Yes, the Mountain State isn't California's Silicon Valley, it isn't the shuttered steel mills of Pennsylvania or the closed auto factories of Ohio.  It's population is small and considered at times as some sort of "hill people".  Yet we do ourselves a disservice discounting the good folks of West Virginia.  The coal miner has suffered greatly at the lax deregulatory state of the Bush wait, lets be honest this goes back even to Reagan!  Their industrial base has also suffered the Asian Import Storm.  Indeed, one could almost say that these Americans are a microcosm of the rest of America...economically speaking.

We as a nation have committed economic abortion, not just the jobs we sent overseas, but more importantly the ones that ended up being "born" there as a result of our first job export.  The factory towns of China's eastern coast have industrial centers that are almost cities onto themselves, housing support companies that were spawned when the "big jobs" came in.  There is no point, for a manufacturer using China to produce a product, to import components across the ocean when he could get them locally.

A history of industrial decline, a Conservative crime?

Below I want you to glance at some very important charts.  They say a picture is a thousand words, well these charts I guess you could say are a million jobs.  They are industrial related information, some are obvious reasons others you may ask why I put them up.  Well, rest assured, as your humble econ servant, I will explain all.  The data is compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) which is part of the US Census Bureau, accessed via Moody's free site,

NAICS year over year growth of Manufacturing

(Chart of NAICS Year-over-year growth of the manufacturing sector of our economy, data courtesy of and the Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Now this volatile-looking chart is the year over year growth rate of manufacturing in our Gross Domestic Product.  It's obviously sensitive to economic swings.  The drops will be harsh as demand for industrial or consumer manufactured goods declines.  But what I really want you to see is the rebounds.  Notice that since 1983, the growth rates from that zero base have been shrinking  Now when Clinton became President, we saw an increase in those growth rates.  Yet notice how when we had the second Bush Administration, those rebounds shrank once more? 



(Bureau of Labor Statistics chart of those employed in the manufacturing sector)


Employment in manufacturing has been one of the primary victims here.  As you can bee seen in the chart above, the number of individuals working in production has dropped off dramatically.  From the Depression era, we were growing, and then peaked around 1978 or so.  By the 1980s, we begin to see a decline in manufacturing jobs.  But the largest drop appears towards the end of the decade. 

Now I have a theory here, which I will admit is unscientific, but I think 1983/84 is key.  It was the first years when our trade negotiators essentially put up the white flag against our trading partners.  We had new pacts like the one with Canada, and of course later its' larger brother, NAFTA.  Now don't start thinking this means our jobs went up North, because I suspect it didn't.  Instead, it was the landmark of the trade deal itself that set the stage of future lacking growth in manufacturing. 

When you get to the 1990s, well we see growth again, this has to do with massive amounts of spending in technology.  Remember, early on, most of those new computers and gadgets came from places like Silicon Valley, heck I still remember owning an Apple Newton made in America!  Anyway, towards the middle of the decade, much of that work began to go East...far East.  1995 also saw the establishment of the World Trade Organization, which was a marker for another wave of trade deals.  By the time 'W' got into office, and I'd say well into it, you saw the same lack of growth in those rebounds. 

The Republicans were big promoters of free trade, hell even on national security, one need only look at the recent deal with a Chinese company for sea port scanners over a US company!  One need only Google stories of trade deals and this regime.  But wait, this isn't just about George W. Bush, it's about the forces behind him, that of his party and the free trade ideology and the impact they have had on our economy.

NAICS index of raw steel production

(NAICS raw steel index, 1997 = 100)

A good measure of a nation's industrial economy is the production of certain products.  Many folks look at copper or aluminum, another is the production of raw steel.  Some thing that one should look at employment numbers to see where the economy is heading, but really you should look at metals production.  It's been my experience that that leads employment.  So lets take a look at the NAICS raw steel index.  We had been producing massive amounts of steel for production in this country until around 1980-81.  Hrmm... I wonder who was President of the United States back then???  As you can see, raw steel production faced a gigantic decline and a very tepid recovery.  Indeed, it seems since the middle of the last decade, steel has been in a bottleneck in regards to growth.  2001-02 saw the last major drop, making a low not seen in two decades.  Yet once more, the growth has stopped at or near the last area of resistance it saw in the late 1990s.

NAICS index of small appliance production

(NAICS Index of production of small appliances, 2002 = 100)

I will be completely honest with you here, I was shocked that we still made small appliances in this country as late as 1998!  Walk into a Sears or Wal-mart or what have you, and most of those blenders or microwaves either say "Made In China" or "Hencho en Mexico." So I have a nagging suspicion that the definition of "small household appliance" was changed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the late 90s (kinda like the way they keep changing the formula for unemployment and inflation!).  You maybe wondering why then bother including this graph?  Why not say automobiles or even computers? 

First, buyers of new homes tend to restock them with new appliances.  Secondly, appliances have the most name brand space in a retail store next to consumer electronics and heavy household goods like refrigerators.  Phillip Fisher, one of Warren Buffet's idols who he learned from, said that good way to gauge a company's strength is through it's brand's dominance.  GE first became a familiar name to us decades ago when one went to the store to buy that first television or toaster.  These small appliances, if one looks back at the history of many companies, sales from these helped make those companies grow.  No one heard of Haier of China or Samsung of Korea decades ago; yet the revenue from the sale of their appliance divisions helped them go up the value chain. Samsung now is the leader in HD televisions and now semiconductors.  Haier's management has been quoted in the past that they look at GE for inspiration. Laugh at me if you want about focusing on this, but mark my words, history will repeat itself!  Haier could soon be making jet engines for Boeing planes!

Looking at the graph, and lets assume that in that late 90s spike we were making small appliances (I know...I know), you can see the results so far.  Now I can believe appliances made here in the 1970s and even as far as the 1980s.  Now if these charts are basically anything north of 100 equals growth, well we've been dead in the water for a long time!  Now once more, assume that the late 90s growth in domestic manufacturing in small appliances is valid, what happens afterwards is simply damning.  Here we had growth...actual growth in domestic appliance production, and George W. Bush's administration has pushed those levels of production below any valley seen on that chart!

Ok, perhaps the appliance thing may not be as incriminating of the free-trade Ann Rand style economic policies.  It would be nice that the next time I buy a microwave it's made by an American worker.  While some many not grant importance to the humble toaster or stove, it is a sign of sorts of national self-reliance that we can supply the goods that we need.  And that leads us to the next example of why we need to insure unfettered trade folks are never elected into power again.  For what good is a super power if it cant.....clothe itself?

index of NAICS Apparel production

(NAICS index of apparel production, 2002 = 100)

Like many other domestic products, apparel has been another "dead" product for the American worker.  The apparel industry is a cut throat one, be it on the production side or retail.  Many of us remember the textile industry here, the near dickensian situation on the floors of many of these places, but for many it was still the only job they could get.  We've all seen Norma Rae, and the right to organize, in my opinion is a fundamental one.  Workers shouldn't be "garment slaves," but that's the situation going on inside the other textile mills in Asia.  It's why we in the end, with no tariffs or barriers, could not compete.  No one should ask our workers to work for the same wages as one of those "migrant" workers in China (btw, if you're wondering, "migrants" in China are those from the countryside who move to the urban areas for factory work.  Many sad stories about those folks.).  Folks here, who face hire costs of living need a decent wage.  Paradoxically, textile company owners who wish to maintain work here face battles of their own, primarily a thinning profit margin.  And lets be honest, when a company's not making money, it will soon close down.

And the chart above essentially shows that.  From shirts to shoes and socks, domestic production has either gone bankrupt or shifted work to lower cost countries.  Growth for the prior decades had been near stagnant, the index never stayed above 190 for long.  By the end of the 1990s and going into the 21st Century, as barriers disappeared, so did the textile work. 

The rate..oh hell, lets call it what it is, the collapse of apparel product erased virtually every gain we had.  It has yet to recover, and indeed has slowly descended ever further.  We as a nation talk about our auto industry, we talk about our call centers or programmer jobs.  But not everyone can be a computer whiz or an auto worker.  Jobs like these provide income to folks who are at the bottom of the work value ladder.  Perhaps, and maybe this is cynical of me, that if the textiles came back that management would simply opt to hiring illegal immigrants in another example of exploitation of these poor people.  But I know this, that $69 sneakers sold at my local Kohl's or Target was probably made by someone earning one-hundredth of that an hour, and if one included shipping, the shoe probably cost Nike a tenth of that. 

That brings us to my final reason why one needs to vote out any free trader.  It is the one barometer that truly shows us in the weakened position that we are in.  The one thing that has lined up the wage arbitrators and the bank accounts of the Peoples Republic of China.  You know what I'm getting at....the trade deficit.

trade balance

Please take a look at that chart above.  It's a quarterly chart of the difference between what we export and what we import, going back to the 1960s.  What you see here is the real reason we owe so much money.  Why our children will end up paying off an interest rate to those who could care less about us.  Don't look at the column at the far left as just a series of negative numbers, look at them as the lost potential in our own domestic growth and future.

I'm not entirely surprised that it was with Nixon that we started dancing in the negative area.  Prior to him, while it wasn't exactly growth land, we kept our pace and held firm.  Yet from Nixon, onto Reagan, Clinton and then Bush (both of 'em!), our trade picture has been nothing more than a sinking ship!  Still, interestingly enough, if you look closely, when we did stay in positive territory, there was a Democrat in the White House. 

I don't know, though, if I should really commend the Democrats on this one.  Yes, that party, well the progressive liberals at least, have been for the working man.  But it was the Democratic Party that went along on those trade plans and were in power when things headed south.  Its really the one major thing about Clinton I could never forgive.  Yes, Bush the First did the initial part of this economic crime, but Clinton signed it into law on that November day in 1993. 

You may think ill of me of using the words "economic abortion", but that's what we committed here for the past 30+ years.  We've allowed greedy folks to play this game of wage arbitrage against us.  They shifted small investments in mills and assembly lines overseas, that has since grown into something more.  Those tiny sweatshops have become conglomerates of their own, spawning more industries and work...for their nation's people.  And, in a fit of irony, many of those "startups" are now buying up their former patrons.  America once sent products abroad to overseas markets, now we are "the overseas market." 

We've watched our money devalue, our earnings collapse, and ourselves gorge on debt to buy these products.  As this went on, the financing came from the very people who sold us the product.  We were indebted to them, and only increased our reliance on them for our daily things.  The British did a similar thing to the places across the globe under a mercantilist system in the name of empire.  Only this time, the flag isn't a Union Jack or the French Tri-color; it's the logos of Samsung, Haier, Sony, Nike, Daimler-Benz, etc.  Nike?  What did you think the multinationals are our companies?  My dear friend, in an odd twist of fate...the colonizer has become the colonized! 

This is why I am voting for Barack Obama.  I honestly don't expect him to change much, the system at this point is too big even for him.  But I do expect him to make a crack against it.  I expect the wave of Democrats to symbolize a change in the way we think of trade and our economy.  Perhaps not this Congress, but let it be a start.  Most of the folks running, this generation, the people need to let them know that they are being elected to alter the course of this runaway trade train!




Not on EP can you assume Obama voters.

I just voted and not only did I not vote a straight Democratic ticket, most of my votes were 3rd party, including for President.

This is a nonpartisan site and the reason is so people can analyze actual policy positions objectively and to not alienate those folks with partisan bickering.

Just look at the poll, bottom right hand corner, you'll see voters all over the place.


40% seem to be. Nothing wrong voting third party, wish they did better to be honest. But the gist of my piece was more of a showing of why the past free trade policies had been harmful to the nation.

40% isn't 98%

and not a really serious comment, esp. on the eve of the election, I know the Obamanots are going to be jumping for joy so it's ok....just a general comment.

So, congratulations to you! (I'm sure this will be true tomorrow, might as well say it).

Myself, I can't wait for this absurdly long election to be over so votes, policy, agenda are finally actually examined.

Obama doesn't have policy positions for the renegotiation the China PNTR or even NAFTA for that matter. No VAT, no renegotiation of the treaties, no challenging of the WTO, which should be interesting since many of his own policies could be challenged as "illegal" by the WTO and probably the biggest, which is dealing with global labor arbitrage and putting US citizens, workers first just isn't present.
He has never endorsed a Congressional Trade Office or considered an automatic review with the trade deficit reaches 5% GDP (a ceiling) and what really needs to be done which is a line by line review of each trade agreement to renegotiate many of the clauses which often were stuck in there by corporate lobbyists How about something as simple as taking off of the "emerging economies" list China (which is to supercede the US as the world leading economy in 5 years) and India. Their PPP is next to the U.S.'s already so having completely biased trade status as a EE is pretty absurd. EE's can set their own tariff schedule.

Take a look at Chinas
(first image example) if you want to get really freaked out.

The same token "labor, environmental standards" were run by Bill Clinton, a talking point by the DLC, Robert Rubins even espoused those, all the while crafting the Commodities Futures Moderization Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and note that Citigroup was a "preferred" lender to China, such a coincidence. Jason Furman, Rubin's personal clone, is the lead Obama economic adviser and if you read Goolsbee's work, well, gee wiz, Internet taxes is obviously the background to craft international multilateral trade policy in the national interest.

It wasn't just good ole Phil Gramm and assuredly not just a Republican thang going on.

We know from the Jordanian trade agreement, are not really enforceable and as it is the U.S. losses almost all of it's cases in the WTO.

Don't take my word on that one, check out the trade reform groups and see their own comments.

Also, you might not be aware of this but in the conservative wing of the Republican party they too want major renegotiation of trade agreements. This is a huge deal with them and they often work with the Progressives in Congress on this.

Fine RO, 40% isn't 98%

I'm very well aware of some Republicans wanting to oppose those free trade agreements, I was one of those in that party who went from being a free-trader to later seeing how bad it was. Nor did I give Clinton a pass either, Robert. Once more, all I did was highlight the damage that had been done via our past trade deals, and noted that we had Democrats and Republicans in charge. But once more, also taking note that the folks are aware and they are tired of it. You don't have to cite me all that you did, I'm fully aware of them. Obama may not have stated this or that about PTNR, but niether did McCain, and between the two of them either or would become President. Once again, the main theme of my article was highlighting the past damage of our unfair trade deals.


McCain is so out of reality on a host of issues and wonders why he can't win....well, having Carly Fiorina, the queen of offshore outsourcing, Meg Whitman, who wants to destroy the US Science and Technology occupations by flooding the US with H-1B guest workers (these are used to facilitate offshore outsourcing, technology transfer, age discriminate, labor arbitrage US workers).

A few assumptions. I have assumed this race was over in the primary and Hillary lost. I've always assumed McCain was really a non-issue because of his not even in reality positions on trade, outsourcing, taxes, ....(add 1000 issues here)....

So, when I write these comments I have been assuming for months now it is President Obama and other candidates...well, they all lost, just hasn't been announced yet.

I believe our poll on the site are protests votes on a score of issues and others are assuming what I'm assuming.

So, now we have to start writing about policy, issues and push for real reforms.

I agree completely with your analysis

Economic abortion indeed. Sacrificing the next generation to the current profit is at the center of both our trade agreements and the practice of abortion.

Having said that, no, I don't see Obama as any different, nor could I vote for him. Couldn't bring myself to vote for McCain either. So I took the only conservative on the ballot who actually seems to both believe in the free market *and* have a plan to reign it in: Chuck Baldwin.

Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

social wedge issues

Ya gotta quit referring to anti-choice statements because it's one of those wedge issues I mentioned and assuredly will alienate others on this site.

We just don't want to go to the places that divide us and instead join forces on the issues that we all agree on.

Plus I'm deviating here too, after all JV is talking about manufacturing, the disastrous numbers coming in and how bad trade deals have decimated the US manufacturing sector...

i.e. we're all economics, all of the time on EP so I also don't want to get too off-topic which is my fault, I started it (sorry JV).

We're up against the most powerful oligarchy I think in history, Multinational corporations and their hordes of lobbyists.

We cannot even get the Press to sit down and analyze the bail out in terms of just how much money is pouring out of taxpayer's pockets, where it's really going, what it's really doing and what that means to us, the budget deficit and the economy long term.

JV's post today, did we even hear this incredible horrific manufacturing statistic get a whisper in the main stream press beyond the financial news? I sure didn't.

We're citizen journalism and I believe that's why the site is picking up readers, they want to read stories on these economic details that are not glorified "product placement" stories as one might see in the main stream media.

Recapturing social wedge issues

Without referring to them by name, I'd like to point out that *most* social wedge issues *are* economics issues.

Compare the "traditional morality" side with the "progressive morality" side, and almost every time you'll see that there is a microeconomics issue at stake, one in which "traditional moralists" are trying to use some form of social engineering, from tax breaks to outright laws, to attempt to encourage the "traditional morality", which is almost always more expensive to the individual in a free market. This is despite the fact that in the long term, it can be argued that without the traditional morality, society itself would be unable to exist.

I find it interesting though, that as JV pointed out, we've got the same situation in "liberal" free trade treaties and manufacturing; sacrificing the long term need for the short term profit. It's *always* going to be more profitable to seek lowest cost freedom-based solutions if all you look at is the profit for today; regulation only becomes valuable if you look at longer term solutions and the society as a whole rather than individuals.

Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

and interesting tidbit

So I just came back from dinner at this local diner built into our local mall, a nice little ma and pa place. I'm sitting there eating the special, meatloaf and mash with gravy, when a guy next to me starts talking up the election. He had been campaigning for one of the local races, a buddy of his for a Springfield job. I asked him, why are you doing this? His answer:

"Because Clinton put me out of work with NAFTA. Bush didn't do anything for me, and my son just lost his job to someone in India."

But I wondered why his friend? His answer:

"Because this is the last straw for me"

I declare a Partisan Day, amnesty on Partisanship

Everyone can post whatever they want for this is election day.

I believe you for these issues, I think most of America is really in agreement and the problem really is our government is swarmed with corporate lobbyists, corruption so we cannot get the policy the country really needs.

But today all you guys can celebrate. I just switched on MSNBC for a second and I thought Keith Olbermann was going to cream in his jeans right there, in air. Had me laughing out loud on it.

Does that mean I can post

an economic piece on why Obama is more pro-life than McCain, based on the relative cost to an uninsured patient of D&C abortion vs cesarean birth and their respective universal health care plans?


No, I think that's a little TOO microeconomic for here.

Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

I absolutely blame slick willie for this mess.

If he had been a real Republican, he would never have gotten nafta passed. People trusted that sob not to sell them up the river and sell them up the river bubba did. It took a few years after the signing for the damage to show. It was about to break when Willie left office, and W. helped out all he could.

They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20 ~~ Dennis Kucinich

I blame all History Teachers for this mess

If people were forced to study economics history and civics and have a minimum passing grade in high school we wouldn't be in this mess.

Just don't blame the dog!


I voted for Nader....

....and it's all Robert's fault. That post he put up with the Nader clips.... Dude, Nader is right on the issues. He's right on the policy. No wonder he can't get elected.

Maybe Jerry Brown still has a chance. I'd love to see him as Governor of CA again anyway. Yeah, and the vile Feinstein can drop dead anytime; that will be fine with me.

Well...It's time now...Yep, It's time for:


If only Obama has the stones to deliver on his message. He's got a golden opportunity to be a trans formative leader. Sez that's what he wants....

We gonna see.

'When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck to crush him.'

good for you

One thing I like about having an economics blog and an officially non-partisan site is someone can speak sacrilege here and it's not an issue, only economic fiction is a real issue.

what I get out of this is free trade lost and lost big time. Outsourcing lost and lost big time. Health won and won big time.

Now, we'll see. That crowd can turn on someone faster than 120 days so if an Obama administration, Congress, Democrats don't deliver, people will be quite pissed.

I looked over the exit polls and that seems to be the situation and obviously McCain is much worse than Obama even though Obama doesn't have the positions we need.

We'll see!

I voted for Nader too but I am a policy person and I agree, Nader is almost always right on the issues. Except in tight races, when it's just the lessor of two evils, I almost always vote 3rd party because I would plain like to have a choice. I don't like this 2 party system at all.

I hope this tears apart the Republican party for lord knows if anything happened, corporate driven corrupt policies just really lost.

Of course the only way to really have those lose is to get the money out of D.C. which we know simply moved to the Democrats.

Steel Tariffs

Don't forget Mr. Free Trade slapped 8-30% Tariffs on Imported steel 2002-2003, but sort of forgot to put the same tarrifs on imported products using steel, including basic fabricated steel products. This plus the high $ in his first term accelerated the offshoring of manufacturing.

Basically we could not buy the raw materials in the US and be competitive with imports. Hell, finished imports were cheaper than our raw steel cost. I'm not quite sure if this was an intended or un-intended outcome.

Re: "I blame all History Teachers for this mess"

In the schools now - History and Economics - are smoothie blended into "Cultural Studies". English is called Literacy!

Burton Leed


...I agree with the thrust of you argument. School has been dumbed down to a level where 'graduates' don't have the skillset our complex civilization needs to survive.

A good knowledge of History and English, including..gasp, how to write being essential along with mathematics, physics and a few other things....


Blaming the teachers for this is like blaming the UAW for sending jobs to China.

It's not their fault.

What do you think 'Now Child Left Behind' really is about?

It's the crowning achievement of the idiots of the Upper Tenth. An attempt to destroy public education once and for all.

And Ted Kennedy was co-sponsor....

Look, ever since the 1890s when the first progressives started the concept of public schools the 'conservative' scum have attempted to destroy it. Far, far better from their perspective that you kids get 'educated' by the local church where they an learn about Creation Theory and such than they learn anything about the River Rouge Plant shootdown or the HayMarket Bombing.

Much less economics.

Most school teachers I know are in despair because the 'citizenry', just as they were about The Big Shitpile, are pig-fucking-ignorant of the so far successful plan to keep their kids just as dumb as they are.

'When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck to crush him.'