Jobs: Digging for FACTS – Part 3/3

There is a connection between literacy, income and unemployment: “Literacy and Income: More than 40 percent of adults in the lowest literacy level live in poverty …  43 percent of adults at Level 1 (lowest reading level) were living in poverty, compared to 4 percent of those at Level 5 (highest reading level). … The likelihood of being on welfare goes up as literacy levels go down. Three out of four food-stamp recipients performed in the two lowest literacy levels. … Literacy and Unemployment: Seventy percent of adults with the lowest literacy skills are unemployed or work in part-time jobs.”   Source: Policy

No matter the reason, dropping out of high school is a decision made by the individual. No president, G. W. Bush or Obama, forces anyone to drop out of high school or to avoid college. If a child grows up and cannot read, it is not the president’s fault.

In fact, no US president is responsible for who a child’s parents are (not counting his or her children). For example, my parents raised three children: two learned to read and one didn’t.

I earned a BA, MFA and a teaching credential on the GI Bill after I was honorably discharged from the US Marines. I also had an older brother (by fourteen years) who was illiterate and his life resembled the description in this series of posts and videos of someone that cannot read.

I have never collected unemployment or applied for welfare/food stamps, but my brother and most of his seven children are illiterate as he was, have been unemployed and have collected unemployment and/or welfare such as food stamps.

When I retired from teaching (1975 – 2005) someone was hired to replace me, but the staff at the high school where I taught did not increase. The only way new jobs would be created was if there were more students coming in and new teaching positions were needed, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, the student numbers stayed about the same or dropped. In fact, a dozen veteran teachers retired the same year I did, and we were all replaced with younger teachers, but it was not reported as an increase in jobs since those jobs already existed.

In addition, starting in 2011, about 10,000 baby boomers turned age 65 every day. About 60% of them are expected to retire—about 6,000 per day (2,190,000 annually—old jobs that will need to be replaced by hiring someone else). Source:

If the boomers that retire are replaced (I’m sure they will not all be replaced but most will), that means about 180,000 old jobs were refilled in August 2012, the same month that 96,000 new jobs were created due to job growth. If this trend continues, that equals almost four million jobs (both old and new) that will be filled by the end of 2012.

A suggestion:  When the media reports the growth of new jobs, the news should also report how many retired that month and how many people were hired to fill those old jobs in addition to the total number of people that have jobs.

We do learn one thing about the new job numbers.  We discover that private businesses are making more money and the rich are getting richer in addition to the people seeking work that fill a new/old job. Those profits paid off for the top 1% of income earners. The average annual earnings of the top 1 percent of wage earners grew 156 percent from 1979 to 2007. In contrast, earners in the 90th to 95th percentile had wage growth of 34 percent while workers in the bottom 90 percent had the weakest wage growth, at 17 percent from 1979 to 2007. Source: Economic Policy Institute

If you want to know what happens when this level of income inequality exits look no further than the American Revolution (1775 – 1783) against the British Empire; The French Revolution (1789 – 1799), the Russian Revolution (1917) and the Chinese Revolution  (1911) followed by the Chinese Civil War (1927 – 1950).

This is what happens when too many people are out of work and/or are paid too little, are hungry and have no shelter to call home.

Return to Jobs: Digging for FACTS – Part 2 or start with Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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