I know everyone thinks this upcoming presidential election is all about jobs, jobs and more jobs but really, is there anything a president can do to increase the employment in the country?
There are some regulatory changes that many see as freeing up jobs, but that's doubtful. There are stimulus packages that could provide some jobs for construction and other infrastructure projects but those are more short term than long, although infrastructure needs that have gone wanting in the past could provide some long term jobs.
The Times profiled two Ann Arbor women, one who owned a child day care center and another who was her main assistant. Both had headed off to college with the owner finishing her degree, the other who did not and indeed had three children with a man who then left her forcing her to raise them alone. The owner married another college educated man and has been married for years.
The married couple is now moving up the ladder -- two kids involved in numerous activities, the time and financial wherewithal to provide a good middle class life. The other mom, not nearly the same -- getting by on food stamps and struggling to share time with her three kids.
And the inequalities are starting to show up as a major national trend. Some surveys indicate that as much as 40 percent of the income equality in the U.S. is coming from single parent households that struggle to get by and have little or no hope of catching up.
It is no longer a race thing or confined to the lower classes -- these are people who started out as middle class folks who are now living a sort of non-marriage financial penalty life. ... Over the course of the past few decades a two-earner family has become the norm. The middle class lifestyle was basically fueled by the income of two breadwinners. Gone for the most part are the days when a single wage earner could provide all the needs of modern life with the other parent staying home taking care of the kids.
As is the case with many things in modern life, education is the key.
College educated women who marry tend to stay married and enjoy the financial rewards that come from a two-income partnership. Those who don't marry or earn their degree get stuck in a financial headlock -- can't afford to go back to school, struggling to get by.
We like to think that anyone can get ahead in American society but in many ways that's the exception rather than the rule. Once you're stuck in the struggling class, it takes a gargantuan effort to fight your way back out.
I don't see how any president can change that ongoing dynamic in modern American society. There are certainly other things at work in the economy -- the dwindling influence of unions, productivity increases with fewer people, the outsourcing of jobs and a general malaise -- but truly none of them are areas in which a president can intervene and make a quick change.
Think about that between now and November.
A welcome change
With the primary election a little more than two weeks away it is encouraging to see races for many seats across the area.
From township trustee and officer races to county commissioner races to a run for the state House on the Democratic side, there are plenty of challengers coming to the forefront to take on the incumbents.
Probably the premier race is in Charlevoix County where Allen Telgenhof is challenging incumbent prosecuting attorney John Jarema.
So expect a barrage of letters to the editor, ads and door-to-door campaigning by several members of your community in the next two weeks.
Give them a listen and by all means, vote. Your right to freely cast a ballot isn't worth much if you don't exercise that right.
Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of the Petoskey News-Review. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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