A liberal argument for economic reform, centering on education, which I find very compelling. The basic idea is a Catch-22: In America, a (general) requirement for any good job is a good education. However, a good education costs money, a lot of money. Thus, the social mobility that the Land of Opportunity is so famous for is very nearly overridden by the fact that poor families lack the resources (leisure time and basic life skills, as well as money) to successfully educate themselves and break the cycle, which breaks down in the following way:
- ADULT: Low paying job yields a poor diet and heavy workload for poor, pregnant mothers.
- NEWBORN: One baby in six is born underweight because the mother was underfed.
- INFANT: From birth to about six months, babies need the emotional and nutritional benefits of breast feeding, but malnourished and overworked mothers can rarely oblige.
- TODDLER: From six months to two years mothers lack knowledge of the best foods, or the means to acquire them. A child receives wrong or too little weaning food and little protection from disease. In many cases, the child also lacks emotional and intellectual stimulation due to overworked parent(s).
- CHILD AGE 3: Underfed child is underweight. Poor psychological development. Lacks energy and does not demand stimulation needed for mental development.
- CHILD AGE 7: Malnourished child lacks energy, motivation and self-esteem, does poorly at school and develops contrary social habits.
- TEENAGER: Drops out of school because of poor grades, psychological defeatism, low self-esteem. Lacks education for a good job, takes a menial job for either short-term satisfaction (if the child is selfish) or to help support the household (if the child is unexpectedly responsible). Poor diet and over-exertion results in poor health, premature aging.
- ADULT: Sex is free (usually). Young adults seek emotional satisfaction through reckless and frequent acts of copulation, leading to the inevitable. Parents (often single) cannot earn enough money to support themselves and a family. Women's health is dragged down by poor diet and having children.
pending the revolution
Note that I consider myself to be economically conservative, and not generally in favor of a welfare state. But, neither am I in favor of an educational system that favors the wealthy. The answer is drastic educational reform. A prestigious education should be free or at least within the means of all.