EDITORIAL

When I grow up, I don't really want to be a doctor

Posted

No matter what your opinion might be of the current administration in the White House, one thing we can’t really complain about is how economic growth started under Obama continues  to expand under Trump.

A good economy means there’s plenty of jobs to go around. But it does create another problem — finding people to fill those slots.

A report released last year by the Society for Human Resource Management showed the toughest industries to recruit skilled and educated applicants is, by far, the medical industry. We’re talking doctors, nurses and specialists.

The education requirements for many health care jobs are steep. At the same time, however, interest in such important work is waning — especially with the very young, where fascination with being in the medical field typically is born.

In this week’s issue, you’ll find our near-annual special publication, “K-Kids,” where we surveyed more than 580 kindergartners throughout Riverdale and Kingsbridge.

While it’s hardly a scientific poll, we asked all of the youngsters what they wanted to be when they grew up. Just 8 percent of them said they wanted to be doctors. Less than 3 percent thought about being a nurse. And you don’t want to know how few considered becoming a dentist.

Of course, it’s likely many of these very early career choices will change as these young minds get older. And surely, their parents will nurture them through any career choice they want to strive for. But that nurturing needs to have an emphasis very early on education — not just elementary school, middle school, high school and college, but post-graduate as well.

Yet, that approach also means these children could see a mountain of student loan debt crushing them by the time they’re ready to clock in for their first day of work.

New York has made a difference through its newly implemented Excelsior Scholarship program — but even that would ultimately only help thousands of students out of more than a million who seek financial aid each year.

Work to reduce student loan debt ultimately must come from Washington. Yet it’s unlikely anything will happen anytime soon, especially with Republicans in charge of all branches.

Various resources have determined that 44 million borrowers have $1.3 trillion in student loan debt in the United States. That’s an average of  just under $30,000 per borrower. But the higher your educational level, the higher your debt climbs — and fewer people these days want to take on that kind of risk.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the average medical school debt balance for physicians was $183,000 in 2015. And by the time they pay that off, they’re actually shelling out four times that amount.

The United States is quickly falling behind the rest of the developed world. If we really want to make America great again, it has to start with affordable education.

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noclist

Economic growth under Obama? Obama was the only president in history to not exceed 2% GDP growth in any of his 8 years.

Saturday, December 16, 2017
TruthTeller

Thanks god the Repubs have abolished the tyrannical Obamacare mandate! Now perhaps I can shop for and afford health insurance once again. Obamacare increased my premium from $187 a month to $567 a month and I had to drop it. Of course my story and the stories of millions more like me were never told during this horrific nightmare period called Obamacare. Now, with the mandate removed, this tyrannical law written by the insurance companies and wicked social engineers (Jonathan Gruber anyone?) will probably go bye-bye. And not a minute too soon. Eff Obamacare!!

Saturday, December 16, 2017
Michael Hinman

Noclist:

That is true. The problem is that you shouldn't look at GDP growth year over year, but instead quarter over quarter. That's because a number of factors can affect long-term GDP — many times out of the government's control. Like recessions, depressions, etc.

The fact is that Obama took over in the middle of the Great Recession. Was the economic recovery as robust as it could've been? I don't know. But I do remember a campaign promise Mitt Romney made in 2012 — that he would lower the unemployment rate to 6 percent by the end of his first term, which would have been January 2017.

That was pretty bold, considering unemployment was more than 8 percent at the time.

Romney was not elected, but his promise did get fulfilled — and far better and earlier than what he anticipated. Unemployment dropped to 5 percent by December 2015. So a full percentage point (and a full year) better. It's only the fourth time since 1973 that it has dipped below 5 percent (the other times coming during the Clinton administration, and just after the start of George W. Bush's second term).

A couple quick things to note about your statement:

• I believe you meant to say 3 percent, not 2 percent. Obama did have a 2.6 percent growth rate in one of his year's in office.

• You should qualify your claim as being annual percentage rate, as he did indeed exceed 3 percent growth when comparing quarter by quarter — the standard way to compare GDP, actually.

• You also should qualify "in history." We have only tracked GDP since 1929 — and didn't start tracking it quarterly (which is how it's typically compared) until after World War II.

Sunday, December 17, 2017
Michael Hinman

And sorry, there was an inadvertent apostrophe in "years" above.

Sunday, December 17, 2017
TruthTeller

Wow, you really believe the official unempolyment rate? It's probably closer to 20-22 percent in the real world. I would think that as a newspaper editor you would have a more jaundiced view of official stats and pronouncements from the gov't, but I guess those days, if they ever really existed, ended a long time ago. But no one really believes in the official unemployment number except in the fantasy world of the legacy media which is still trying to paint the Obama years as some sort of success. In reality he left this country in shambles, economically and socially. It's going to take a while to fix that mess, but luckily with the rise of Trump, both the economy is coming back and the country seems to be freeing itself from the yoke of leftist PC culture.

Sunday, December 17, 2017
Michael Hinman

Mr. Teller:

The official rate is correct rate. Might it be off slightly? Sure. It's imperfect. But it's not "20-22 percent."

Please don't bring your conspiracy theories here. Sharing an opinion is appropriate — but trying to pass off false information as fact is not appropriate.

For all the handful of claims that the federal government's metrics are wrong — there has never been any proof offered to support such a claim. And the government's method of calculation always has been available and transparent.

Sunday, December 17, 2017
PSmith

Matt, the argument against the official unemployment rate is that it ignores the long term unemployed, people 'out of the workforce'. More people were out of the workforce during the prior administration than ever before (when the official tally went below 6%) . That number also ignored the underemployed. But you are right, the official statistic was extremely low.

Thursday, December 21, 2017
Michael Hinman

PSmith:

That is certainly a fair point, and it may or may not be a fact. However, that is not within the scope of the unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate is designed to show how many people who are looking for jobs are unable to secure a job. It is not designed to simply show how many people are not in the work force — because where do we end that particular statistic? I mean, children don't work either. Should we include them?

Many people choose not to be part of the work force for whatever reasons. Maybe they wish to be a stay-at-home parent. Maybe they are independently wealthy. Maybe they are disabled. Including those people in the unemployment rate is unnecessary — they are not looking for jobs, thus knowing they exist doesn't matter.

It would be like me saying that chicken is no longer available to 25 percent of the community — but that 25 percent is primarily vegetarians, who were not seeking it out anyway. That would be a useless number, as it should only pertain to those who were looking for chicken, and could not obtain it.

So yes, I would very much suspect that unemployment does not include those who have chosen to leave the work force. But I also feel that it should not include them in the first place.

Thursday, December 21, 2017
TruthTeller

The term "Conspiracy Theorist" and "Conspiracy theory" was one coined by the CIA in the 60's to discredit people who criticized the government, so if you feel using that term is appropriate, have at it. I don't bandy in so-called "conspiracy theories" at all. I deal in fact. I'm going to start calling you a "coincidence theorist" if you insist on using that term for me.

Also, I don't understand why "conspiracy theories" are bad anyway. Are you saying conspiracies never happen? People every day are convicted for conspiracy in the US court system. But somehow or other the Government is exempt from engaging in conspiracies?

Anyhow, no, the official unemployment number is a joke, fallacy, chimera, false. And pretty much everyone knows it. Also, most of the jobs created under Obama were low-skill, low0 wage service sector jobs. Hardly the kind of work that will keep families stable.

Either case, it's looking like Trumps new tax plan will be a huge boon for employment, so the number will really be lowered soon.

Thursday, December 21, 2017
Jennifer Scarlott

I deeply appreciate calling out the practice of passing off falsehoods, fake news, and concocted conspiracy theories as fact. It's vital to democratic dialogue, transparency, and accountability.

Saturday, December 30, 2017