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"The manual arts have always taken precedence over the fine arts. There's no exception to that rule. Michelangelo couldn't have gone to work until someone built that ceiling."

No argument. But studies abound demonstrating how the fine arts make us all smarter. Students who study the arts are more apt to become rocket scientists, entrepreneurs, etc. One study taught one group of 5 year olds computer skills and another group got piano lessons. The group that got piano lessons developed a type of cognitive skill that improved their math and science scores. Music majors have the highest acceptance rate into medical school of any college major. Incoming fresman music majors typically have among the highest 2 or 3 SAT averages of any other major.

I'm a musician. But my dad taught me how to fix stuff. We had a farm. We didn't call a repairman except for tractor motor work. I can fix or build anything. But I'm also a musician who can play at least a little of every instrument I've ever picked up. We've cut arts out of schools to focus on math and science. The arts would have bolstered our math and science abilities. But some people can't put two and two together.

April 11 2014 at 8:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Um, I'm a generation behind John. My dad was a union blue collar utility worker. He told me not to do what he did. He told me to go to college. He knew that wages and benefits were going down for the "essential" workers. My generation cannot provide the same standard of living to our family by doing what my dad did. I studied it a while back. Adjusted for inlfation, base pay for a current employee with my dad's company, doing exactly what he did, is now 2/3 of what he made 30 years ago, and thanks to technology, only a fraction of them are needed today.

It's pretty easy for John to say we're losing this. The other side of the equation is that, no, the salaries are not that good, nor are the employment prospects.

April 11 2014 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You have hit the nail on the head.
I learned from my dad and grandad how to fix most any thing. I went to a Trade School and took Machine shop because I liked Machinery, and it required you to take Algebra, Geometry, Trig, Chemistry, Physics, Drafting, and Foundry. Our school was a complete Manufacturing facility. We Designed and Made a lot of parts for the City and other schools. I also liked Radio's and learned from my dad how to fix and build simple ones. and was in the repair business,for a few years, but didn' like the long hours of being in business so I went to work for General Motors. when I first went to work there, They Promoted from within. Sometime around the 60's, the colledges complained that they were not using the people they were turning out, so GM started to hire some of them as Forman. Most of them could not even run a simple drill press. and did not know how to do the nesessary paper work that went with the job, So us setup men, did it for them. As far as the shop goes, the dumbest workers in the department was smarter that some of the forman. When I got my 30 years in to retire. The Plant supperviser asked me why was retireing. I told him I was leaving and takeing my brain with me, good luck!!

October 23 2013 at 8:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Roma Peace

I am from the USA, living in Australia. I cannot agree more with the fact that in America tradesmen are not viewed as successful. There is a misconception that if a young person doesn't go to college, they are somewhat of a failure or not as highly regarded. It is so unfortunate. I did not recognize the problem until I moved to Australia. Here, "Tradies", as they are called are very well regarded and kids who choose that option are actually offered a pathway to accommodate their choice of career. They offer trade schools and apprenticeships. Kids who are interested in a trade vs white-collar are encouraged to follow that path and are given options and guidance to make that happen. It is very common to find a welder living next door to an attorney because tradies are very well-paid here for their work. They are very skilled and well-compensated for it.

I appreciate what you are doing to bring this issue to light and hopefully elicit change....before it's too late.

December 26 2012 at 3:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The decline of this country is all in the corporations and bankers hands. People out there are skilled and can generate business for themselves. The banks arent giving out to small business that support our local economies. They are in fact doing just the opposite.
I myself am somewhat of a mechanical engineer. I have started a few companies, and i need to expand. I need to hire. I need more vehicles for my fleet. I need more employees.
Not one single bank is willing to invest in my models because i dont have doctored books or have not been around long enough. I have valid businesses that provide true services to the community, but still i cant expand and hire people. Why?

Banks are requiring collateral values over the amount that i am seeking to loan. They are also not listening to us when we walk into them at all. I feel like a third world citizen when my familly has been running small business and corporations in our community for over 35 years now, and every time
I walk into a bank THE BANKERS TELL ME TO GET OUT OF THE BANK because i dont have a
million dollar corporation like all the elitists.

Go To HELL all you greedy little coporate sellouts! Your time of reckoning will come!

October 24 2011 at 10:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is a right on article that not only defines the problem, but has in it the steps to the solutions. It is practical. A key element though is getting the media and Hollywood on board with the steps. They have been undermining the ideas shown here. They could as easily help be part of the solution. Hollywood needs to give less attention to the disfunctional types and more attention to the people that really make everything work. That also would not be most of the people in the various aspects of the entertainment industry - they are optional, not necessary. And right now most of Hollywood and the music industry are doing more harm than good. They elevate the bad guys and gals.

October 17 2011 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am 17 years old. I make things with my own 2 hands. My dad's a handyman. I couldn't agree with this article more. John Ratzenberger for president! We all need to wake up and see this. I say we make a movie... Make it a MacGyver-type person that's just an ordinary factory worker or other manual worker [with a toolbox]and have him save the day. Maybe then people will realize it's ok to skip college and become an American worker!

October 11 2011 at 11:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know if I agree with this or not. I don't see this happening in our area. The repairmen I hire are all in their 30's or 40's. It's too bad they are not paid more. That's good for me, I guess. I have been having some health issues this summer and I hired a young woman in her 40's to clean for me. She has a degree with a double major in history and map reading. Her husband has his degree in social work and builds cabinets. As people need work, they will drift to the areas that provide that work. As for the community giving skiiled workers the respect, there is something to be said for that. We all need to work on respect for each other. There are such great divides in our society among the haves and have nots which raised to an unprecedented level during the Bush years and continues.

October 08 2011 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good article: Perhaps the USA can learn something from Germany, Japan, South Korea & other makers of fine toys...

October 07 2011 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John W Hindes

It's all about innovation and efficiency.

We can innovate are way to super efficiency and live better healthier lives for it.

The ethos of "Less is More" is hard to understand in our current consumer culture, but once you truly understand that happiness is not to be found in any commodity and living within your means invokes true understanding of life, you will be astonished at the simplicity of life.

The only question now is - Can we get out in front of this, or will it run us over?

China won't always loan us money for our oil addiction, in fact there own dependence on the global oil markets will mean they must take a loss and dump our currency just to lock us out of the global oil supplies.

So can we bring down this seven headed beast we built, or will it humble us with force?

Truly, the meek shall inherit the earth.

Hint, the 1% who own 99% of the wealth are in love with beast.

If you are offended by the biblical metaphors, just use what ever cultural mythology you understand, Lord Shiva works just as well.


October 07 2011 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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