When I asked Bill Gates about the supposed American educational advantage-an education that stresses creativity, not rote learning-he was utterly dismissive. In his view, those who think that the more rote learning systems of China and Japan can’t turn out innovators who can compete with Americans is sadly mistaken.” “Said Gates, ‘I have never met the guy who doesn’t know how to multiply who created software…Who has the most creative video games in the world? Japan! I never met these ‘rote people’…Some of my best software developers are Japanese.
I think that US Schools can do more to foster creativity, but the basics are still important.
This graph of the number of workers who receive disability payments is pretty shocking.
“The program costs $200 billion per year when you add in cost of Medicare. It’s basically almost $2,000 per household, per year,”
I used this website to get some statistics on how common various disabilities are. 12.1% of americans are disabled. 2.3% have a visual disability. 3.5% have a hearing disability. 6.9% have an ambulatory disability. 4.8% have a cognitive disability. 2.6% have a self-care disability (A person with a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting six months or more, who has difficulty dressing, bathing, or getting around inside the home). 5.5% have an independent living disability.
“Though the benefits are relatively modest — only about $1,000 a month — getting approved for disability can be a difficult process of appeals and hearings that typically lasts a year or more. Few who have qualified want to risk those benefits for a job that might not last.”
So people are essentially choosing to remain disabled when they could work - which brings up an interesting dilemma.
Young Europeans don’t work in part because they don’t have to: thanks to more generous student aid, they’re less likely to have to work while in school. But there’s also a lack of job opportunities. And the elderly retire earlier, largely thanks to generous benefits.
The paper krugman cites has a lot more, one eg:
The French riots of the banlieue in 2005 and riots in Southern Italy in January, 2010, remind us that many European youth are marginalized from contact with the market economy. … American youth are expected both by their parents and by colleges to work part‐time during the school year and full‐time during the summer. They adopt early a culture of work rather than idleness, and this continues after graduation from college. In contrast, judging from the low employment to population ratios for Europeans aged 15‐29, much of the time in this European age group is wasted, especially when we recognize the larger share of American youth compared to European youth going to college and hence removed from the employment‐population ratio.
The paper also says that the US also has more younger people as a percent of the total population than Europe.
The paper correctly points out, after tax wages in Europe are so low and benefits are so high that people take lots of time off.
Europe is essentially paying its youth not to work and is feeling some of the consequences.