As life-long member of the American middle class and a 30 year veteran teacher, I have a question?
In the last presidential election the middle class in the Rust Belt and the Coal states claimed that American politicians and America in general forgot them.
So here's my question: How much responsibility do these same middle class workers bear in their own fate by refusing to accept re-training opportunities when offered over the years, and in demonizing education as not necessary?
Left me qualify my question by offering some observations. Many of the middle class workers who complained so vociferously in the last election made several significant decisions in their life.
1) They disdained the importance of education as unnecessary as they determined to follow family tradition and go into the factory line in the Rust belt areas, and the coal mines in the coal states. Afterall, these industries paid good salaries and education was not important to be successful in these industries (not referring to management or R&D);
2) They banked on the misguided assumption that these industries would always be around and relevant. They didn't anticipate the movement of businesses offshore or to other counties;
3) In coal country they assumed that the supply of coal would not run out (despite being told since 1968 that coal is a finite commodity and a nonrenewable resource) and that coal would always be relevant in their lifetime as the primary energy source in America;
4) When faced with government pronouncements of a pending shift in manufacturing economics and a shift in energy reliance, they refused to accept offers of re-training, instead insisting that they will take their chances i their present job, rather than make a move forward.
In my opinion they fortold their own fate, in so far as opportunities were extended and warnings were issued, but summarily ignored. A similar argument could be made for the oil and gas industry.