December 12, 2011
There's a consensus among all responsible opinion-molders that a leading solution to today's unemployment, low wages, growing inequality, and the like is to Fix the Schools. For example, this headline appeared recently in World Net Daily: "Zuckerman: Improve Education to Create US Jobs." I'm sure that Zuckerberg would say the same thing in public, as would Obama, Romney, Friedman, Gingrich, Duncan, Gates, and, for that matter, Jobs if he were revivified.
In contrast, immigration restriction is derided, on the rare occasions when it is even considered as a policy response to high unemployment and low wages, as taking too long to deal with the current crisis.
But, how long would Improved Education take to Create US Jobs? Say the average worker is 40 years old. Furthermore, as we hear from all responsible commenters on The Gap in school achievement, the problem is that The Gap exists from the first point it is measured -- in kindergarten -- so therefore Fixing the Schools must include taking children likely to suffer low achievement away from their mothers or grandmothers for most of their waking hours and put them in intensive (and presumably Fixed) preschools by age 3 or so. (Or perhaps age 2 or 1 or zero or in utero ... the age when intervention is determined to be necessary seems to creep backwards over time.)
So, if we could Fix the Schools tomorrow, we'd have Fixed 40 year old workers within about 37 years, or by 2048. Too bad about people who will be 41 in 2048, of course. They will remain doomed. So, Fixed Schools will take about 62 years in toto to work their magic on the entire labor force. So, you can see why all sensible thinkers agree that Fixing the Schools makes much more sense than Enforcing the Border. Of course, nobody yet quite knows how to Fix the Schools, but no doubt that breakthrough will come Real Soon Now.