I missed this article when it first came out -- Get a Job
I am not sure why people watching NYT like hawks just let this one slide. Granted, this is just "one man's opinion" but he is not exactly a guy on street [like me], he is a former Cabinet secretary and currently a professor. This is a really troubling op-ed, IMO. Is that the opinion of the "economy-minded" people who ran the Clinton administration? Who can take a year without pay to gain "some useful experience while doing some good"? I do not know too many people who can afford that. Last referene I saw to someone volunteering was in today's NY Daily News -- in reference to Gov. Pataki's daughter. Is she now a typical college graduate? And are schools the only example he could come up with? If so, it only highlights the paucity of available jobs and transforms his advice from "it would be good for you" into "you are not even going to be able to get a job in one area that has them, if you do not work in the craft for a year for free" ... Less than enticing. As some of the letters to the editor point out -- a great number of people are graduating with 20K or so in loans. That, btw, is about $250/month for the next 10 years -- in case Mr. Reich wants to subsudize the volunteers.
For many people advanced degrees are the only way they see of stabilizing their income level at some acceptable minimum. Perhaps Drs and Lawyers are not making as much money as before, but they are still making well more than 90% of other occupations, and it is harder to move a Doctor's office to China or India for outsourcing than a manufacturing or computer science job. Perhaps, rather than criticize people's desire to improve their lives, Mr. Reich should have encouraged them (us?) to consider a wider field of options for advanced education and skills -- like civil eingeering, aerospace, bioengeering, and liberal arts. Of course, this is my op-ed, so take this as "one man's opinion" as well.