NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 28, 2004

John Edwards heaps much of the blame for a growing divide between the two Americas on President Bush's policies. But the cause of the gap between the haves and have-nots is more fundamental: an education system that fails to prepare all Americans for a global economy demanding ever-greater job skills, says USA Today.

According to the paper, Bush policies are not responsible for:

  • A wider wage gap: In the past 20 years, the median income of someone with only a high school degree has risen just 16 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars, compared with 45 percent for those with a post-college degree.
  • Dimmer job prospects: The average new high school graduate will make $900,000 less than a college graduate over his or her career: $1.2 million vs. $2.1 million, according to the Census Bureau. The disparity is even greater for those with less than a high school diploma.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says that without major education reforms, the wage gap will continue to balloon. That's because the country has too few jobs for all of its unskilled workers, while demand for highly educated workers is high.

Bush has tackled the problem through his No Child Left Behind Act, which aims to hold schools accountable for improving education standards for all students, says USA Today.

Source: Editorial, "Two Americas? Yes. But look what divides them," USA Today, July 28, 2004.

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