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February 07, 2007

Future Literacy Rates

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

If we continue on our merry way where immigration and illegal immigration are concerned, we'll soon wind up with a less literate population, reports the Christian Science Monitor's Amanda Paulsen.

Key quote:

"There is no time that I can tell you in the last hundred years" where literacy and numeracy have declined, says Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston and one of the report's authors. "But if you don't change outcomes for a wide variety of groups, this is the future we face."

An expanding, increasingly illiterate and innumerate population -- now that's the way to solve our Social Security and Medicaid challenges.



posted by Michael at February 7, 2007


You'll notice that there aren't many posts on stuff like this MB. Its dropped off a lot. I think its because all the left-wing open borders sympathizers know that if trends continue, we are doomed to this fate. Not much of an argument anymore, with all the evidence coming in.

Even on Social Security and Medicare, they don't have much of an argument. All the left-wingers basically do on that issue is dream up ways to save the Social Security program, even if it means 100% taxation and benefits that willl only buy a cup of coffee 30 years from now. Saving Social Security and the welfare state is more important than understanding it to be a Ponzi scheme that is close to collapsing. Save the system at all costs! Even if the welfare recipients starve, even if the program doesn't work, save the program!

Its hard to blame people. After all, who wants to live with this sword hanging over their head? Better to let it go, deny reality, or at least not talk about it. Same with Peak Oil, which is also right around the corner. What can we do? Both parties are all for open borders, at least I think they are. Which prez candidate is for closing the border? Tancredo? We'll see how far he gets.

At least as a 30 something engineer, I know that I will have job security as far as the eye can see. The great welfare whale is close to being harpooned. That is the only solace to take away from it all.

Posted by: BIOH on February 7, 2007 10:25 PM

I guess we'll have to spend more billions on public schools. Yay bureaucracy!

Posted by: Brian on February 7, 2007 11:03 PM

Yup, its immigrants who are causing our 'less literate workforce'. Those shifty furriners, conning our black children into dropping out, since the '60s. (Even the 1860s). Dumbing down our curricula. Causing our middle class kids to replace English with "Wii rox, dood! LOL" and to think that they need a big computer with pictures of food on it to make change correctly.

Let's turn this over. Americans are monolingual, unable to communicate with others unless those others choose to learn our language. Except for these furriners, who generally speak two (or more) languages. How many Americans can fix their own car, or cook a family meal without a "Helper" to help their hamburger? Furriners can. Innumerate? Find the list of math and statistics faculty at your local university. Most of them are 'immigrants' and some were at one point 'illegal immigrants'. (It is hard to avoid being illegal at some point, when transitioning from student visa to full-time status.) Oh, you don't mean 'them', you mean poor Hispanics? Than be honest, and say "If we continue on our merry way where Hispanics and Latinos are concerned, we'll soon wind up with a less literate population."

A couple of paragraphs after your money quote, part of the solution:

"Instead of forcing people to hide from the government infrastructure, we should be finding ways to include them in our society and help them bridge the language gap."

Change "Bridge the language gap" to "get the help they need", and this sentence could be applied to drug addicts, as well as illegal immigrants.

I don't disagree that SS and Medicare are problems - the latter a smallish one fixable with some personal 401k's and age-requirement adjustments, the latter a massive ticking time bomb without a good solution, with or without immigrants. The immigration problem is at worst orthogonal to the entitlement one. A rule requiring citizenship to be eligible for those programs would be a prudent step. Trying to ban people whose great goal is to get good, productive jobs from the gringos isn't, and it works about as well as prohibition did.

(Aside. A bunch of barely above-average education Mexicans enter America, where they are suddenly below average, but they earn and their kids learn more in absolute terms. Both countries are worse off on average. Shockingly, the overall population is better off, because the relatively more educated and productive country is bigger.

Even if a few of the natives lose a bit, so long as the gain for the immigrants exceeds the loss of the natives, overall welfare increases. There is no analysis where the losses of natives exceed gains for immigrants - most analyses ignore the gains to the immigrants, because they, in the opinion of the studiers, don't 'count'. Why would ownership of a US birth certificate or a detail of genetics defines whose welfare you care about? 'America' is about overcoming that particular set of biases and welcoming those who come to be productive, not closing the door to prosperity after your 'favorites' come through it.)

Posted by: rvman on February 8, 2007 1:33 PM

Wouldn't amnesty, education, and training go a long way towards preventing this crisis?

Posted by: JewishAtheist on February 8, 2007 2:17 PM

I hardly know where to begin with rvman's mess of falsehoods.

Let's start with the one where he shifts the argument from one of dumb third world dregs underperforming in the american classroom to the topic of xenophobia. He's comfortable with this argument because he can trot out th old "racist" argument, instead of noticing the vast dumbness of the bulk of our illegal alien population.

But they're not so dumb, you see, they can cook! And some can fix cars? Oh, and they can barely speak TWO languages, while a monocultural america can only speak one. Who said that being illiterate in two languages was a good thing? You see, the attempt is to try to confuse the illiterate third world dreg with the highly educated who are taught multiple languages in the United States--the university intellectuals. And further proof is shown to us as our teaching assistants from India and China, another horde of low wage third world dregs, are held up as superior to our own native scientists and engineers who are smart enough to get a job after graduation and don't need an educational visa to stay in the US. If foreigners are so smart, why are their own countries such shitholes that they leave and come here? Silence. Finally!

And why should any native lose any little "bit" at all so a third world illegal-crook-dreg can do a bit better? Why are we draining the third world dreg countries of their lawn care geniuses, who will build the lawns of their own countries into a mighty powerhouse of magnificent lawnage? No, better to make those geniuses stay back in third world dreg-land to uplift and build their own countries. Why, its just another form of colonialist stealing, that's what it is! End colonialism!

We dont need these people at all. Most of these people are stupid, and many of the so-called "educated" third wold dregs are largely incompetent too. I've seen it first-hand for years. I've also heard many stories form other engineers and realtives who work in health care. You're getting a lower quality replacement,, many times, much lower. I know its a lie.

We'll see just how tiny the SS problem is here REAL soon! It ain't tiny, buddy. And a few "tweaks" to save the program have nothing to do with whether or not the program will actually do what it is supposed to do, which is provide a true cost of living old-age pension. You can save the system now by paying recipients $10 a month, but so what? Typical liberal, worrying about saving the welfare state rather than truly fixing a problem. SS and Medicare will burn us all real fast. The only way out is to inflate the currency into worthlessness and ration healthcare. That's why they are pushing universal health care so hard now, so they can ration care--in other words, deprive people of care because we don't have enough resources or money. Watch closely. There is no free lunch. And anyone who entrusts their future to a politician is a complete moron.

Jewish atheist--No, it wouldn't. You can't make stupid people smart or care about smart, literate subjects. Just ask rvman about the hopeless stupidity of our monoligual populace. Its not an issue of money. We've spent trillions on blacks, and they are just as inept now as they were forty years ago, despite the charade of AA to try and hide it. Stop trying to improve us all and save everybody--its killing us. Go get a different religion-substitute than the Perfection of Mankind, especially the Perfection of Minorities. Its not possible. Waste your own money and time if you want to prove otherwise.

Posted by: BIOH on February 8, 2007 4:59 PM

RE: An expanding, increasingly illiterate and innumerate population -- now that's the way to solve our Social Security and Medicaid challenges.

Interesting stuff. The fun thing is that more and more jobs don’t require much in the way of literacy or numeracy. For example, cashiers don’t have to know how to make change anymore, they just push buttons and the “return change” amount magically appears to them.

Also, the Monitor article is dead wrong when it suggests that “It's become tougher for workers without higher education – or higher cognitive skills – to get the sort of job that can support a family.” I suspect this is in part because reporters and other pundits are whistling past the graveyard and cannot give up their elitist pretensions. Outsourcing has not just affected manufacturing, but also such “high-end” professions as programming, accounting, book keeping and reporting. For example, as the Internet puts physical newspapers out of business, thousands of people with college degrees are scrambling to find new jobs. To add insult to injury, the news agency Reuters has begun outsourcing financial news coverage to lower-salaried employees in Bangalore, (Here is US News from Bangalore)

The US economy is bleeding off jobs to outsourcing and technological change, and high literacy skills no longer is a guarantee of regular or stable employment. During the past 15 years, I have seen highly skilled aerospace engineers forced to take a series of lower-paying jobs as the California economy has contracted, and as more and more jobs have moved out of the country.

Also, note that a couple of Monitor article links on the same page as your citation underscores the contention that the US does not necessarily need more college graduates, noting, for example:

“And although the word on the street is that more jobs demand a college degree (and presumably, college-level skills), that's not necessarily true. More employers require job applicants to have a degree not because the work is so challenging, but because there are so many college graduates in the labor force that they can afford to screen out those with less formal education.

In reality, although we may have entered the so-called "knowledge economy," the true backbone of the economy will continue to consist of low- and medium-skilled jobs. Take a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics's 10 fastest growing occupations between 2004 and 2014, and you'll find that six of the 10 professions do not require a four-year degree, and four of these call for no academic degree at all.”

The full story can be found here, (“The US Doesn’t Need More College Graduates”)

Also, the Monitor story incorrectly conflates being literate with being literate in English. A while back, a couple of LA Times stories noted that a surprisingly large number of Latino illegal immigrants were learning Chinese and Korean, because that’s where the jobs are in California. How many native born Americans are multi-lingual?

Note, however, that I am not glossing over problems. Many school districts in California are struggling as they try to accommodate illegal immigrant children with deficient English language skills, and it is easily shown that many of the schools with the lowest reading and math scores are also the schools with large numbers of Spanish speaking children.

Posted by: Alec on February 9, 2007 5:59 AM

BIOH - RE: I think its because all the left-wing open borders sympathizers know that if trends continue, we are doomed to this fate.

An interesting bit of cognitive dissonance. The biggest open-border sympathizers are George Bush and the Wall Street Journal free marketers, who have beat the drum for “comprehensive immigration reform” from the moment Bush took office. The budget that Bush submitted scales back the 700 mile fence that was recently passed with great fanfare. In addition, conservative commentators and Bush lackeys like Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved continually push for open borders, using libertarian rationales.

Social Security is actually running a surplus, and will continue to do so for many years. The right-wing think tank, the Heritage Foundation, admits that all Social Security privatization plans would result in lower benefits to the majority of recipients, but continues to back privatization plans for ideological, not economic reasons.

RE: We dont need these people at all. Most of these people are stupid, and many of the so-called "educated" third wold dregs are largely incompetent too. I've seen it first-hand for years. I've also heard many stories form other engineers and realtives who work in health care. You're getting a lower quality replacement,, many times, much lower. I know its a lie

That’s an awful lot of spelling, grammar, and logic errors for someone concerned about supposed third world dregs.

Posted by: Alec on February 9, 2007 6:30 AM


It doesn't matter if SS is running a surplus. All the money is spent by the politicians immediately. There is no money set aside for the BaBy Boomers. The point at which that surplus ends is coming a lot sooner than you think. I say that because already Congress is thinking about raising the tax rates for SS. Politicians aren't long term thinkers--they don't look any farther than the next election. If they are thinking about that now, you can rest assured the problem will hit in 2-6 years, my friend. That's the real bellweather.

I'm not a republican. I'm a conservative. Two different things. BTW, where are the democrats opposing open borders? Nowhere? I thought so. At least there is a large constituency of conservative republicans who oppose this idiocy and who got the fence bill passed in the first place. I don't think a fence will work anyway. But I did enjoy your diversion from the topic of how stupid most of our new illegal aliens really are into a Bush rant. That argument you know.

As far as typos and grammar in internet postings I type quickly on an old keyboard, I really don't care. What's next, are you going to attack my shoe selection? Again, you avoid the topic and grasp at straws. I'd rather make a few typos than try to rationalize away the train wreck this country is heading into (including prepositions at the end of sentences--gasp!). Anything to avoid the true failure of the liberal left philosophy which is ruining the country. Talk about cognitive dissonance! Socialism and multiculturalism have failed eveywhere they have been tried. They are only held in place by a totalitarian regime, which the left is now trying to erect here in America. Here's your loved and coddled new breed of non-white idiots to adore and fawn over. You'll find out just how much they love you back when you try to get them to pay for a bunch of old white people's Social Security and Medicare.

You just wait! You won't have to wait long, just another five years or so, really the blink of an eye! The welfare state will collapse and we will have LOTS of problems. We could talk about what those will be and how they will manifest themselves in some other thread. Toodles!

Posted by: BIOH on February 9, 2007 6:35 PM

Also, regarding the large numbers of Spanish-speaking kids who are basically illiterate and dumb as a rock--I wonder if this is true in Spain?

Posted by: BIOH on February 9, 2007 6:39 PM


Three of the last four presidents have been Republicans. Since George W. Bush's 2000 election, Republicans have controlled government. Yet we have never had bigger deficits, not to mention the fiscal black hole that the Iraq war represents. Bush has never vetoed a spending bill. For years Republicans vowed to kill the Department of Education. Bush threw billions more at it. The Medicare drug benefit, which prohibits the government from negotiating drug prices (even though the Veterans Administration has been doing it for years) was finally initiated because Bush and the Republicans favored it.

Yeah, just keep blaming those goddamned lefty liberals for everything you don't like.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on February 10, 2007 3:58 AM


Yes I do. And Bush is one of them. There are many republicans who are not consevatives. BTW, the democrats were a-okay with all the excessive spending. I think its the pot calling the kettle black. If it were up to me and all the other real conservatives, the federal government would be about a fifth to a tenth as large as it now is. If its conservatives fault, and that is what the vast majority of us out in the hinterlands believe, then how can you say we are the ones who are responsible? Do you really think Al Gore and John Kerry are fiscally conservative? Think again.

What another Bush rant has to do with millions of illegal alien idiots I can't figure out. I suppose since you hate Bush, the proper solution would be to round the dumb lawn mowers and their families up and deport them, correct? Or are you now finally a Bush supporter?

I thought so! A closet Bush lover!

Posted by: BIOH on February 10, 2007 4:34 PM

Bush actively pursues the Liberal agenda like no other politician on this side of Ted Kennedy. And I don't think that statement is a hyperbole, either.

Which is why it's an utter mystery to me why the Left despises him so much. I mean this in the earnest, not ironically. Why do you liberals hate him so much?

Posted by: PA on February 11, 2007 10:53 AM

Jewish anarchist—

Wouldn't amnesty, education, and training go a long way towards preventing this crisis?

No it would not. We tried those all that in the 1980s and it didn’t work. At all. Probably predicably then but certainly predicatably no. Of course the comeback is we didn’t do enough. Well we don’t know HOW to do enough. Some groups are very hard to help. The one’s that are our citizens we still need to keep trying. But ones who are here illegally or who want to keep streaming in we can kick out or keep out. And we need to.

It would be helpful if more Jews would leave their reflexive near universal (though of course not completely unanimous) group think on this issue. Across all political divides that is, from liberals to leftists to not so political Jews to neo-cons. It’s almost enough to smell conspiracy. But that’s not what’s going on. Though lots of networking and dark illusions to the even potential brownshirt menace from the religious right who need to be diluted as much as possible is.

Posted by: djexplorer on February 12, 2007 6:46 PM


Yup, its immigrants who are causing our 'less literate workforce'.

Yes it is. But not all of our immigrants. Our Chinese and S. Asian Indian immigrants are not. They are increasing the degree of literacy of our workforce. But many of our Mexican and Central American immigrants are not, particularly the usually low skilled, low IQ and low family preference for education ones. That ethnicity/country of origin group as a whole is lowing it. And that is the source of the problem. The problem continues for into the third generation, getting worse a lot of the time. It’s a matter of culture and perhaps to some extent genes. But however much or little genetics plays a part, we don’t know how to turn it around, or a mass, average level. In contrast second and third generation Chinese and S.Asian Indians often do better. Average IQ matters and tends to be durable, whatever caused it. (In the case of the S. Asian Indians it’s probably largely a matter of getting a high end, unrepresentative slice of their home population, which is just fine and dandy.)

Those shifty furriners, conning our black children into dropping out, since the '60s.

No, it’s those immigrant groups that seem to want to acculturate towards lower half black, rather than upper half white cultural attitudes and values (many Mexicans and Central Americans) , enough of them to make major overall and statistical problems in such things as crime, very percentages of out of wedlock births, school degradation by means of disruption and disinterest, and net cost contributions to the economy when all transfers are considered, that are the problem.

The Chinese and the S. Asian Indians aren’t the problem today, and the Jews weren’t the problem a hundred years ago.

In the globalizing post Industrial age letting in low skilled, low IQ and low family cultural preference for education immigrants, mostly illegals, is very bad for our own less intelligent citizens (such as the lower half of blacks but in all other groups as well, except not so much among high IQ Jews), it’s bad for the country as a whole as the burden of trying to help their condition in our country become more onorous, and it’s bad for our future economic competitiveness. It’s good though, at least in the short term but maybe beyond that, to those at or near the pinnacle of our income elites, with their extensive desire for cheap gardening, maid, nanny and similar services.

Posted by: djexplorer on February 12, 2007 6:48 PM

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