Cities all across the country do not have a sustainable plan for high school students who may not be on their way to white-collar jobs or even a bachelor’s degree. Politicians can argue about crime, innovation, health care, and any other issue, but without a manufacturing base, no city is really prepared for the future.
We may never go back to the day when we, as a country, made most products on the market, but we need to find a way to house some industries right here at home again. We can no longer rely on the services industry alone.
If half of our high school students could work someplace with a decent wage after two years of community college education, that would free up the job market at the top. It would also lessen the anxiety at the education level, especially for some students who have no desire for higher education.
Why do some states, like Massachusetts and parts of California, zero in on the tech sector and some do not? New York can be on top of that field as well. The state could introduce performance-based funding in the community college system, where goals need to be met in order for them to maximize their funding.
New York is already in the research phase of a program like this, and hopefully it will be realized. Goals in programs like these are sometimes based on graduation rates, minority performance rates, number of degrees rewarded, etc.
It could help New York to focus its goals on certain sectors, like the engineering and technology sectors. That could help New York City and upstate re-develop into thriving economies again.
Calculating Minimum Wage
As New Jersey gets ready to amp up its minimum wage through a referendum, there is reason to think there could be a better way to calculate the minimum wage.
The federal and state minimum wage formulas are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), an index that is not as useful as it once was. The consumer price index is based on a coterie of household items with the prices of those items being measured to test inflation.
But people buy things differently today, so the CPI is not as accurate any longer. And the prices of many items are price controlled to not get too high. Look at New Yorkers’ highest monthly expense, and it is not a carton of milk, it’s their rent or their mortgage.
If the minimum wage was attached to the fair market rates that HUD issues regarding rents in cities and states, the minimum wage would be more useful. This would mean a higher minimum wage in cities where rents are higher, but it would also mean lower minimum wage rates where rents were much lower.
Back when rent was 25 percent of a person’s monthly income, the CPI was more useful for calculating the minimum wage. Now that people pay closer to 30 percent of their monthly income on rent, there needs to be a better way to calculate a wage hike.