Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Margaret Truman and Elliot Roosevelt both wrote best selling mystery fiction. Both authors are children of U.S. presidents and both are talented writers. They were double blessed. Of course not all authors are born to famous, or wealthy parents. But the wealthy clearly have more opportunities to obtain good educations and they have the more leisure to write novels.

Life classifies them as winners before they take their first steps.

I wonder how many talented authors, inventors and scientists, we lose because life circumstances rob them of opportunities and doom them to work in factories, garbage trucks or grocery stores.

What if everyone had the opportunity to learn as much as they wanted and the freedom to indulge in leisure? Would we see more great novels, works of art and inventions? We would. We would also see healthier people across all of America.

Work can be a joy; it can also be a drudge. Historically poor people did the grudge work even if their IQ was 190.

Rich people reaped the benefits. Is that fair? Of course, not.

Will it change? The answer lies in how we solve or attempt to solve two of America’s most serious problems. The cost of higher education and the shrinking job market.

Not surprising, all of the presidential candidates have ideas on education.

Jeb Bush who grew up in a wealthy family and who most likely did not have to work his way through college says there is no such thing as a free lunch. Work and work some more and get ahead by work, work, work.

This advice is from a man who never had to dig ditches, collect garbage or clean sewers. If he has never done those things, he can’t imagine how tired a person is at the end of eight hours.

Mr. Bush may not realize that many Americans now work two and even three jobs just to pay for necessities.

When I shop for groceries or pet supplies, I am interacting with people who have part-time jobs. Retail jobs are usually, part-time and minimum wage with no benefits.

Full time jobs are hard to find for many of us even those of us with advanced degrees. College professors, for instance, are now more likely to be part-time adjuncts than full professors. They are forced to work longer hours at more than one job. And they make a fraction of what professors once made.

So if education is too expensive and if the jobs aren’t there, what are we to do? We in working America already work as hard as we can; stop telling us to work harder, Mr. Bush.

What about other candidates? Aren’t Democrats the party that teachers turn to? Aren’t they the education party?

Hillary Clinton says students need to work at least ten hours a week. That sounds like the work study programs already in place. Hillary is not suggesting any changes.

Okay, Mrs. Clinton, let’s make the students work ten hours a week for their tuition. They have to find another job for room and board and textbooks and for cable television. When do they study?

Students need that study time. Jeb Bush had study time. HIs classes and necessities were paid for by his wealthy parents.

Mrs. Clinton says she worked her way through college. So did I. I had a factory job where I worked at least forty hours a week. Overtime was sometimes mandatory. I graduated Magna Cum Laude, so my grades were very good. I spent all my spare time studying and, in fact, had no social life. It took me over ten years because I took one or two classes at a time.

Not many people will sacrifice the way I did, nor should they be expected to do so. So what can we do for students?

Bernie Sanders wants to give all Americans a free college education at public schools. Is this an outlandish idea? Sanders says no and I agree with him. While students are taking these free classes, they will still need to work part time for their rent, groceries and their textbooks.

I would love to have government provide these for them. That way they could concentrate on their educations. If they have free time maybe they can write books like Margaret Truman and Elliot Roosevelt did. Maybe they can have a few carefree years like Jeb Bush did.

Taking students out of the workforce makes more jobs available for those with families to support and house payments to make.

What about the kind of jobs that pay a decent living wage and provide benefits? Those jobs may be a thing of the past. We know that many of the best jobs have gone overseas. We know that factory workers in third world countries will work for low wages and American companies in their greed lost no time in shipping our jobs to those counties.

In the future, robots are set to take over jobs like plumbing and performing surgery that we thought were safe. What do we do when all our jobs disappear?

We can enjoy learning and leisure. Pleasures once available to only the very wealthiest amongst us can be available to all. We can write novels like Margaret Truman and Elliot Roosevelt did. We can take up portrait painting or gardening. We can study history or astrology.

Leisure has never been a dirty word, at least not when applied to the wealthy. The rich man can play golf all day or lay on a deck chair on his yacht. But working class people are expected to slave every day even when jobs are not available.

We can all contribute more to the wealth of the mind and the spirit even if it is just our own individual spirit. We should have the luxury of less drudgery.

Haven’t we been doing the rich man’s dirty chores for too long?